I woke up this morning. Something, someone, was missing. I looked around, and on top of my computer, there was a hastily scrawled note in familiar handwriting. My own.

"What the hell?" I thought. "I didn't remember writing any notes..." Nervously, I picked it up. It read as follows:

Dear Greth,

I am sorry, but I need a break. I've been helping you so much, and well, frankly, you haven't given very much back. So I'm taking a vacation. I should be back within the week, but if I am later, do not fret. This is for both our benefits, as I've no ideas to give when I'm this tired.

Sincerely, Your Muse

"Oh shit," were the only words that found my lips. Quickly, I whipped out a notebook, pen in hand. Nothing. Not my signature starter phrase. Not layout inspiration. I forced myself to write something. All that came out was the following:

I live
I will
A fast

That was all. I was empty. I was alone from my inspiration. Writing poetry keeps me sane. It keeps my feelings from either over or underwhelming me. But... now. It's gone, now. She's gone. I certainly hope that she's enjoying herself, no matter where she is. But she had damn well better have some good ideas when she gets back here.

I thought of this teacher today that I had back in my junior year of high school(1992-1993). Her name was Grassino. She was hands-down the oddest teacher I've ever had, including all of grade school, middle school, high school and college.

First of all, she was/is an obese female version of Fox Mulder. Give her something paranormal to believe in and she believes it. UFOs, ghosts, Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, the Mothman, honest lawyers, you name it: if it's weird, she's into it. (She was a member of MUFON – the Mutual UFO Network - one of the top in the St. Louis area supposedly). She even was convinced that the moon landing was faked. Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not saying anybody who believes in Bigfoot or aliens from outer space are nuts. (People who believe that the moon landing was fake are a bit off, though). I myself think there's something to UFOs, ghosts, and, to a lesser extent, the Yeti and I enjoy watching all those paranormal shows on television. These aren't the main reasons for her being the oddest teacher I've ever had.

First off, she was a good teacher. 'Tis true what all the students said about her. "...but she makes you think..." I had her for Science Fiction class (one of the most fun and unique classes I've ever had; every high school should have one but I doubt it existed anywhere else). Her lectures on the theories and science behind science fiction - time travel and the like - were very interesting, to say the least. She knew her stuff (well, about as well as you can know that stuff). One of the theories of time she discussed is that "all times exist at all times," meaning all events past, present, and future are happening right now and we only perceive time as linear and, if we knew what we were doing, time travel would just be a matter of moving to the left or right, etc. When she explained this she would reach out her hand and say it was possible to grab something or someone from the past. When she did this sometimes you thought she was going to produce a caveman! That explains the level of her conviction and ability to convince, I think.

What made Grassino a candidate for electric shock therapy at a mental hospital was her paranoia. Not only did the paranormal excite her, she was, as her belief that the moon landing was faked suggests, also into conspiracy theories. She would talk with you at length about the JFK Assassination. The thing was, she claimed she knew who the second shooter, or real killer was. Not thought, guessed, theorized, postulated, no, she knew. There was no doubt in her mind. But, you see, she couldn't tell you who it was or how she knew. That would put your life in danger. The look in her eyes when she told you this convinced you she wasn't bullshitting you, that she really thought she had it figured out. But you see, because she knew this, and because she spoke fluent Russian, supposedly, the FBI had special files on her. And possibly the CIA.

Think she's nuts yet? Wait, I'm not finished yet. You see, she was very concerned about the safety of her students (always a good thing for a teacher, yes). If you ever wanted proof of how wacky this lady was, all you had to do was open the window shades in the classroom. She always kept them closed. Why? Because of the ubiquitous threat of FBI agents hiding outside in the grass with guns ready to shoot and kill her if they got a good view. If you opened a shade she would about have a heart attack and frantically demand you close it again. "CLOSE THE SHADES! CLOSE THE SHADES!" She didn't want any students to be shot in the crossfire! This is what really made her the oddest teacher. Nobody else I've ever had was anywhere close to being that mad. That really freaked me out, not because I actually thought there were FBI agents out there ready to make Swiss cheese out of me, but because I was afraid she might pull out a pistol and fire back!

Grassino still teaches at my old high school (I just looked it up) and I wonder if she's still freaking students out with her zany UFO/JFK/FBI stories. I also wonder if she still wears those short shirts that expose her huge midsection whenever she raises her arms up. Yeah, her choice of wardrobe was another thing that bothered people about her. But the main thing was her paranoia. At any rate, unless she got offed recently and my school's website hasn't been updated, I suppose the FBI hasn't gotten her yet. Or the CIA.

Or the aliens.

Why must everything in this world be either gay or straight? What's the fucking difference? It's projected desire, not a personality trait. Queer literature, heterosexual panic, gay cinema, 'gay/straight audiences'. They don't call most fiction 'straight literature', do they?

Men attracted to women, for example, are not attracted to every single woman they come across. It is similarly retarded to think that people attracted to both genders are attracted to every single person in the world. Why, then, is gender even an issue? It's chemistry, fucking electricity, not genitals.

I'm sick of this world having to say 'I'm gay' before saying 'I love you'. Almost as if it's an excuse, and the love is an afterthought. There should be no excuse for love, no labeled explanation for desire. Nothing is as basic, primal, and universal as desire.

Gay? Straight? Bi?

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At a payphone rang in downtown Portland I met two other beekeepers. A fourth beekeeper was waiting. At 1453PDT, that fourth answered the phone, had a conversation with the other end, and named the other three of us as fellow crewmembers. He was then asked to pass the phone to me.

Operator, is this really you?
Yes, it is.
They might be listening in. They seem to be everywhere. I'm sure I can find you if I just ask the right questions.
Can you tell me the name of my favorite song?

Stormy weather.
Good, you remembered. Do you know it?
Yes. [I fumble for my crib sheet]
Can you sing it for me?
Sure. [I hum the first line as find the lyrics sheet, coming in at] stormy weather, since my man and I ain't together, keeps raining all...
Good. Do you have a favorite song?
Yes, Papageno's aria from The Magic Flute.
Can you sing it for me?
[singing] Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja! Stets lustig, heißa, hop-sas-sa! Ich Vogelfänger bin bekannt bei Aly und im ganzen Land.
I know that! Does it continue, [singing] Voi che sapete che cosa è amor?
That's another Mozart aria!
Why do you like that song?
Well, the opera it's from is about challenges and acheivement.
What is your name?
Uh-ro-bo-rus. What is your rank?
What ship did you serve on?
The Apocalypso.
So you're one of my crewmembers.
Crewmember, I have a mission for you:
I need you to broadcast to the rest of the crew that I have hunted down and encrypted the rogue process with a code sequence. It will be trapped there forever.

Alright. I can do that. Is there any other mission?
Not right now.
Do you know anything about an A.I. called Durga?

No. What is Durga?
Durga is a threat. Durga is a security breach. These communication channels are not secure. Can I contact you again over a more secure line?
Yes. I have a chatter number.
[she asks for my phonenumber and I give it to her]
Now, you understand in the future I can't call you directly and compromise security. But I'll transmit to you once a week. Do you agree to this?
Yes, I do.
I must go. This connection is not reliable.

Information as to the current state-of-game is available at ilb.extrasonic.com/index.php/Main_Page.

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