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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
05 January 2022 @ 10:49 am


Prison Break Fanfiction
I write primarily non-shipper general fiction, and some Lincoln/Michael slash pieces as well. Yes, I know they’re brothers… and no, I normally wouldn’t be writing brothercest. That said, if it’s not your thing then please stick to the General Fiction section.

                  Prison Break Gen Fiction                      Prison Break Slash Fiction

Supernatural Fanfiction
Supernatural also deals with two brothers, who in this case are bound together in the pursuit of demons and vengeance. An excellent overview of this show and its characters can be found here.
                  Supernatural Gen Fiction                      Supernatural Slash Fiction

Other Fanfiction: Iron Man, Die Hard 4, Chuck, White Collar, Burn Notice, Reaper, and more

Original Fiction and Non-Fiction Stories: Miscellaneous Original Fiction // Real LJ Idol Season 8 // LJ Idol Exhibit A // LJ Idol Exhibit B // LJ Idol Season 9 // LJ Idol Friends And Rivals // LJ Idol Season 10

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
15 October 2019 @ 02:47 pm
Hammer Time
idol season 11 | week 3 |577 words
Everything looks like a nail


Okay, first of all, I do not have an attitude problem, all right? Those are just rumors. And lies. And crap my cousin Jackie says, 'cause he thinks it's funny or something.

None of that matters. Here's what you need to know:

You can pay consultants to do almost anything these days—offer advice, design buildings, plan weddings, manage your money, etc., etc. But those services don't come cheap, and not everyone can afford them. That's where I come in—'cause baby, I can handle anything you need.

See, I'm what you might call a 'fixer.' Whatever you've got that sticks up or out, I will slam that sucker down and flatten it into the landscape for you. Whoo! Problem solved!

I know what you're thinking: "Wait, what if that thing is my toe?"

No worries! One good bang will take care of everything. Whatever was bothering you before, you'll forget alllll about it.

Now, my frenemy colleague, Malcolm Mallet, is always bragging about what a light touch he has. Okay, so I'm not good at being subtle, so what? It's not how I was made. How is that my fault?

I'll tell you this: they never bring Malcom in for the heavy-duty work. You want reliability, you call me. I'll get the job done.

I'm not perfect, of course. A few broken tiles here, a cracked alternator there… Hey, these things happen! And my run-ins with walls are legendary, too. Stupid walls. They're so freakin' flimsy.

And sure, I've had complaints from a few screws over the years. They say I "grind their feet off" and crap like that. But if they weren't so damn stubborn and didn't fight me the whole way, maybe that wouldn't be an issue, you know?

But I try to be a good guy. I even do some volunteer work from time to time. I'll wander around looking at stuff and seeing what needs to be done. If I find something, I'll go for it—no thanks, no trophy. It's just me, doing the right thing and hoping it helps someone out.

In fact, that's what I'm up to right now. I've spent the last hour bopping around the neighborhood and getting things back in shape. That loose hose-clamp two blocks back on Westfield? Bam! Problem solved. Or the flood lights in that garden over on Bell Street? I've got you covered. Wham wham wham! There you go. Those'll never bother you again.

Groveland Avenue is coming up ahead, so I'm almost finished. Another successful day of vigilante repair work for the books! Not bad for an Ace Hardware standard-issue product, if I do say so myself.

Oh, wait, something's moving over there in the grass. A rogue lawn sprinkler, maybe? No. It's not even metal. Looks like some kind of dark fuzzy thing sticking up out of a hole…

Ooh! I went to a carnival once with my friend, Air Rifle Andy, and they had a game just like this. That thing was made for me, let me tell you. I was all over it. What a day!

Okay then, you furry freak, you want to tango? Let's do it. I'll just slide up here through the grass and sneak around from behind and… Oh yeah, I've got you now buddy, you bucktoothed bean-headed little mutant.

Wham! Hah-hah! Buh-bye, sucker! Yeah, baby, that thing is history.

Wait, what the—

Oh, no. Oh no, oh God, please no.

So much blood…


I wonder if Gary knew this is what I would write this week? \o?

Voting information to follow soon...

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
07 October 2019 @ 04:57 pm
The Forgotten Promise
idol season 11 | week two | 430 words
Living rent-free in your head


In the woods behind the house
(the secret woods, the ones you always forget),
there are mysteries beneath the branches,
under stones, around the corners,
unseen treasures just waiting to be found.

You move mouse-quiet, feet too soft to make a sound.

The path snakes its way to the edge of a shadowed lake,
where whispers below the water call your name
(you must pretend you cannot hear them).
The air is wrong here, dank and heavy,
the pall of a graveyard in the night.

(You creep back in silence, too cautious for full flight).

The trail ahead grows clearer, green leaves stirring
in the barest hint of wind. You listen.
The trees sigh. Snapping twigs and distant rustling
prick your ears (your skin), then quickly fade.
They only betrayed what you already knew:

In its hidden heart, the forest listens too.

You steal toward the glade, stepping carefully
over the uncertain ground ahead. Searching
left then right, you see only the forest itself.
But an alluring scent seeps out from the gloom,
its odor woodsy and green and somehow true.

You track it to the murky depths, a choice you may yet rue.

Peering through the foggy mists, you glimpse—
yes, there—a glint of light. It draws you near.
Breath held in tight, you stretch your arm out
toward the branch that blocks the view. So close now,
you can almost touch it, almost reach, but then—

Those teeth, oh god, those teeth! What have you found?

It growls and turns, but you are already running
fast and hard, down the path and through the bushes
with no clear thoughts but Away, away, away!
You didn't quite see—but it was big, you are certain—
and if you are caught, you will not survive.

This is all that matters now, this fight to stay alive.

You leap and crash through the underbrush,
leaves and cobwebs snagging on your face,
and witch-like moss fingers pulling at your hair.
The woods are darker now, so dark you cannot see.
How can you escape, can you even find your way?

The monster will not forget you. You are its only prey.

Breath raging and lungs aching, still you run.
Your heart pounds, a frantic bird inside your chest.
You hear it coming, the beast there behind you,
gaining fast and much too close, oh god, so close.
Your legs are tired and slow, the beast is at your neck—

You are not the first to have this dream,
nor the only, nor the last.
You never remember just exactly how it ends…


If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
29 September 2019 @ 03:58 pm
New Religion
idol season 11 | week 1 | 1300 words


"But it was just a little chest pain," Harold Mackey told his doctor. "I mean, c'mon. Let's not get crazy."

"Too late," the doctor said. "Look at these numbers." He had Harold's chart and some incriminating vital statistics. "They're terrible. You're headed for diabetes and an early heart attack, at the rate you're going. Do you want to die young, like your father?"

"Of course not!" Harold said.

"Then you need to make some serious lifestyle changes, starting now."

Harold drove to work in a funk. He hadn't been that depressed since 1978, when his mother married that fathead mechanic, Joey Biggles. That had been a life sentence, too.

The rest of the day was a blur, his coworkers' voices droning behind him like a swarm of drunken bees. When Harold got home, he went straight to the kitchen and started pulling things out of the fridge and dumping them in the garbage can. Leftover pizza, fried drumsticks, half a cheesecake, and mac and cheese. Then he went to work on the cupboards.

It wasn't the dietary changes that really bothered him. He'd half-expected that bomb to drop years ago, and if he had to, he could live off sawdust and water. He'd survived his mom's cooking, after all.

No, it was the other part he was stuck on, the part that was like asking a bear to perform ballet.

The doctor had said he needed to cut back on his stress and learn to let things go. But Harold was not a letting things go kind of guy. He was still mad the Bengals had lost the Super Bowl, and that had been decades ago! The whole thing went against the very core of who he was.

But somehow, he would have to become different. Meditation, soothing music, magic candles, whatever it took. Harold was committed to making it work—his life depended on it.

One way or another, he was going to learn to develop some god-damned patience!

He spent the rest of the evening looking up suggestions on the computer, and decided that counting to ten and a mantra of calm were good places to start. They sure couldn't hurt.

Easier said than done the next morning, when someone cut him off as he was merging onto the freeway. He was halfway through a string of curse words when he remembered. "Oh," he said. "Yes. Um…" He thought for a moment. "So, luckily, no one was hurt."

He wasn't sure he felt any better. That might have been the most spineless thing he'd ever said.

The office would be a huge challenge, he knew. It was a battleground of constant irritation.

And the grocery store.

Hell, the real problem was basically people.

He practiced deep-breathing during the drive in to work, and made it into the parking lot without wanting to kill anyone. Progress!

But during his first meeting of the morning, when Dwayne Pinnabaker launched into his inaugural interjection of stupidity, Harold felt rage like the rising roar of Yosemite Sam trying to burst its way out of him.

"Grrrrrrr…" he growled.

"Harold?" his manager said.

Harold coughed. "Nothing," he said. "Excuse me for a minute."

He went out to his desk and got a rubber band to put around his wrist. He spent the rest of the meeting periodically snapping it under the table as a reminder to keep quiet. An hour later, his wrist was sore but he'd only lost his temper once.

More progress. Maybe he could do this after all.

At lunch, he sat at his desk and chewed through his mayo-less turkey sandwich instead of going out to grab something. He was finished in ten minutes. Now what?

He decided to go out for a walk. That was supposed to be good for stress, right? He took his apple with him.

It was nice outside. Sunny skies, a few clouds, not too hot. He made his way down to the park, and ate his apple on a bench next to the pond. Not bad.

He felt refreshed after lunch, though his mantra got a workout as the day went on. Who forgot to call Spears and Thorpe about their account? he thought, and This is the worst logo I've ever seen! before he remembered to calm himself.

"Sleeping dogs," he muttered, "sleeping dogs…" He flagged both files for follow-up, and sent an email to his boss. Then he went back to working on his own assignments.

He made it through the evening commute fairly smoothly, and dined on grilled chicken with broccoli and a baked potato. He watched a few comedy re-runs on TV, but finished with a science show on outer space. Amazing stuff, he thought.

He slept soundly that night, and awoke to the daunting prospect of practicing his new principles all over again. But at least he knew it was possible.

Car horns and a traffic snarl on the freeway had him feeling pretty frazzled by the time he got to work. He paced in the break room while waiting for the coffee to brew.

Buddy from accounting walked in "Hey, Harold," he said. "Everything okay?"

The coffee machine started to erupt over the edge of the filter tray. "Ugh!" Harold said, as he rushed to pull the plug out of the wall and then tried to feel calm about that. "Not really," he said. "My doctor is trying to kill me."

"Wow," Buddy said. "You should report him."

"No, not literally, you moron!"

"You are such an a-hole, Harold," Buddy said. "I don't know why I even talk to you."

Probably because you're too nice to even say 'asshole', Harold thought. But instead, he took a breath and said, "I'm sorry."

It felt unnatural. But Buddy looked at him and nodded. "Thanks." So, maybe Harold had made the right choice.

He took his lunch with him when he walked to the park for the noon break, and thought about how nice it was to be relaxing outside again. There was an old man sitting on the bench next to the pond, but Harold decided he could live with that. "Mind if I join you?" he asked.

"Knock yourself out," the man said. "I could use the company."

Harold hoped the man wouldn't be one of those people who talked just to hear themselves, but for the most part, the man just sat and looked at everything around him while Harold ate.

"Are you retired?" Harold asked, when he'd finished his sandwich.

"Oh, yeah," the man said, "about fifteen years now. It's nice."

"What did you do before?"

"I used to work at the factory. Dullest job you can imagine, and it was hell on my knees, but what can you do? It fed my family and got my kids through college."

"That's fantastic," Harold said, and meant it, but the man's words had caught his ear. "What can you do?" he repeated to himself.

"Right?" the old man said. "Life is what it is, and you just gotta keep going the best you can."

Harold thought about the stepfather who'd always had a harsh word for him, who'd made Harold work so hard to reach the point where he could leave home. It had been awful, but Harold had lived, and he'd made something of himself.

And that job that aggravated him so much was better than most, and it paid well. Plus, he was good at it. Maybe that was some kind of victory.

He walked back to the office with a swing in his step, watching the birds and smelling the breeze.

The afternoon would be full of meetings, and life was full of Dwayne Pinnabakers, but what could you do?

Just shrug your shoulders, I guess, and keep on going. It'll all work itself out.


If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
25 September 2019 @ 01:32 pm
We drove our son down to L.A. for college on Saturday, and then drove home on Sunday. Boy, I remember the days when a quick trip like that just meant a lost weekend. Now, it wipes me out!

Not to mention the funk that settles in afterwards as empty-nest syndrome returns all over again. :( It's better today than Monday, but it's still hard...

On a lighter note, trips out of town mean bringing along the Garmin GPS unit, which is both helpful and a source of unplanned entertainment.

Our GPS system butchers Spanish and other foreign-language words pretty badly, and sometimes struggles with fairly typical English ones. It doesn't always recognize composites, so Lakeshore comes out as lacka-shore, and it uses a peculiar half-French pronunciation of boulevard that sounds like BOO-leh-vard. Like other algorithmically-generated audio systems, it also sometimes resorts to yodeling when it's really unsure what to do. So, Terwilliger (in Portland) comes out as Teh-ER-eh-wil-AZH-er (which is also oddly half-French, for no good reason).

During our weekend trip, the GPS unit launched into some Spanish street-name begining with "La" and immediately mangled it into "Lay," which brought back memories of one of our Hawaii vacation highlights:

We took the GPS along for that too, and it was REALLY hopeless with Hawaiian words—absolutely pathetic. Still, the last thing you expect for a street named "Kamehameha III" is to hear it pronounced "Kammy-hammy-ha Ai-yi-yi!" :O


The hotel location in Kona was totally worth it just for the number of times THAT little surprise popped up whenever we drove around. Holy cow! \0/

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
19 September 2019 @ 03:43 pm
Who, Now?
lj idol | season 11 | week 0


Hi, I'm HalfshellVenus, and I am probably a person. Probably.1

I may or may not live in a house in one of the scorchier California cities, or I may only live inside your computer.2 Nothing is certain!

Except that there will be stories.3 Funny stories, sad stories, weird stories,4 and possibly even the kind of thing I choose to call 'non-fiction.' You can never be sure what I'll do. An Idol topic might inspire genius,5 or it might force me into a place of desperation that results in crack6 based on the most literal interpretation of the prompt. Possibly both.

In addition to concocting stories, I may talk about other things happening in my 'life.' Work, family,7 philosophy, and hobbies8 are common subjects. I probably read books—or I have a bot9 that does it for me. I either ride my bike a lot, or I have an intelligent word-generating algorithm10 that runs on top of data stolen from Strava updates. What is the nature of reality?11

My (programming? temperament?) causes me to enjoy kindness and reasonable discussion.12 New friends are always welcome and appreciated.13

Thanks for stopping by!

1. Offer void where prohibited. Not sold in any stores.
2. In which case, watch out!
3. Prerecorded for this time zone.
4. Not liable for damages arising from use or misuse. Keep away from open flames.
5. For a limited time only. Allow four to six weeks for delivery.
6. Use only in a well-ventilated area.
7. Action figures sold separately.
8. At participating locations only.
9. Batteries not included.
10. Some assembly required.
11. Apply only to affected area. Do not fold, spindle or mutilate.
12. No substitutions allowed. Driver does not carry cash.
13. You will be assimilated.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
19 September 2019 @ 12:26 am
We got home from Hawaii last week, and I've been flailing around unpacking, working, and catching up on chores ever since.

We spent the second half of our trip in Kona, the sunnier side of the big island. Our first stop on the Kona side was at Snorkel Bob's, to pick up equipment for the rest of our stay. I love Snorkel Bob's—the prices, the convenience, the weird humor, the thoughtful guidance in snorkeling etiquette. Plus, the recommendations for where to snorkel.

Our Kona hotel was a 1-bedroom apartment-like suite in a resort hotel, chosen because of the fitness room and the private kitchen & washer/dryer. Also, it was more-or-less on the beach, as opposed to being a block or two inland (or inside town). There was a golf course in the way, but you could still see the ocean beyond it. What is it with golf courses on the big island? So many hotels are coupled with them. They're like an infestation. :O

The first few days were still kind of rainy, but that didn't spoil anything. Our tendency to go snorkeling at high tide was more of a issue. ;) I've never had any reason to care much about the tides—I grew up in Oregon, where the ocean is so cold and the waves and current are so strong that you never go in above your knees anyway, and you're always looking for beaches that are sandy. For snorkeling, you want reef areas, and that often means beaches where waves will throw you against the reef or the rockier parts of the shore when the tide is coming in. I got quite a few bruises and gashes from our Friday/Saturday snorkeling. :O

Friday night, I went to a luau with our son. He really wanted to try the full luau experience, which we hadn't done during his previous trip to Hawaii. (Mainly, because his sister would have hated all the food, and luau prices are a lot to spend for dinner rolls and fruit punch). HalfshellHusband didn't want to go because he couldn't eat most of the food (his diet has severe sodium restrictions). So, the two of us went to the Voyagers of the Pacific Luau, at the Royal Kona Resort. The band was very good, and the entertainment featured songs and dances from most of the Pacific Island cultures, which was really neat. The highlight was (and is always) the Samoan fire dance. The Boy was duly impressed, and he had a great time and ate allll the food. We even both tried the purple sweet potato, even though neither of us likes sweet potatoes. It wasn't bad!

Our son wanted to go on a snorkeling trip by boat (like we did on the previous trip), but when he and I looked at the various brochures, we decided that a night-time trip to see manta rays would be even better! We had an early dinner, then went off to join the boat. This was a wet-suit excursion, where floating 'lattices' are used that have strong blue lights shining downward every 8 feet or so. The lights attract plankton, which in turn attract the mantas that eat them. You hold onto the handles at the edges of the structure and just float face-mask down and watch and wait. The mantas get very close, looping head over tail beneath you as they eat their way along the illuminated area.

The mantas were beautiful, and the whole experience was really neat up until about 30 minutes of time-in-water. That was when the dreaded progression of horror began: "What's that sensation? It's weird. I don't really recognize it. No, wait—oh god, it's nausea, isn't it? No, I refuse to let that happen, that is unacceptable. Stop it! Oh, maybe it's gone now. Hmm, hmm, hmm. So relaxing. Hmm, hmm—urk, I think I'm feeling it again. No-no-no-no-no! Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, everything is fine..."

That went on for about five minutes before it became clear I had lost the war, and I struck out for the boat. Hit by a surge of it on the ladder while making my way onboard, and forced it back down until I got to the bench near the edge where we'd been sitting on the trip out. And then it was too much. Ugh—right over the side. It broke my 42-year streak of not having thrown up, and I even remembered to take Dramamine beforehand! Nuts. I've struggled with this on past snorkel tours, and it's usally the boat, but I've been hit with it while in the water once before.

Still, I wouldn't trade the experience of having done that trip for anything. No regrets.

We had hoped to drive up Mauna Kea to see the sunset and stars, but that wasn't possible this trip. Read more...Collapse )

Something else we didn't see? Most of the creatures making the unfamiliar sounds we heard during our trip. Outside the house where we stayed in Puna, there was something that talked nearly 24/7. We could hear it day and night, in all kinds of weather, but we never managed to see it. It might have been a bird or an amphibian, but who knows? And why didn't its throat get tired?

It was definitely not one of the shrieking frogs around the Hilo area, though. ;)

It was a great vacation, and a wonderful opportunity to spend a lot of time with The Boy before he heads back to school again. In three days... :O

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
11 September 2019 @ 01:09 pm
We gather to battle LJ Idol once more.
With wits duly sharpened and keyboards at the ready,
We are braced for the prompts ahead,
Be they gladdening, vile, or vexatious.
We may yet survive, we few brave writers;
Arise and take heart, the game is nearly afoot!

On Saint Crispin's Dayyyy!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
08 September 2019 @ 10:46 pm
Our vacation in Hawaii is nearing the end, but it's been wonderful. I'm sure glad we got the chance to do this.

More on that in a bit. First, I want to mention that LJ Idol sign-ups are going on now! If you've ever been curious about Idol, or intended to participate but didn't get around to it, it is:
  • A writing competition with prompts every week or so.
  • A chance to flex your creative muscles and see what you're capable of (Hint: probably more than you think).
  • A opportunity for all kinds of writing, such as fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Just in case you typically write just one of those OR you'd like to stretch yourself and write something new. :)
  • Happening back here on Live Journal again after last season at Dreamwidth.

  • There's an FAQ here, and sign-ups are here. What have you got to lose? :D

    So, Hawaii. We're on the Big Island, on the Kona side now after almost 5 days over near Hilo. We've seen beautiful waterfalls, miles of shoreline (lots of lava-edged cliffs with waves breaking against them), lots of flowering trees and plants, Waipio Valley (on horseback), and the legacy of devastation that is Volcanoes National Park. No flowing lava, unfortunately. We'd been looking forward to that, but everything is quiet right now because the island let off so much thermal pressure last year when all of the destruction and panic and evacuations were happening due to encroaching lava. Basically, multiple year's worth of activity happened all at once last year. Thank goodness people living in those areas were able to get away safely, and the damage wasn't worse.

    We've done a lot on this side of the island too, but right now we're packing up and getting ready for an early morning of returning the rental car, boarding a 9:30 flight to Honolulu, and then settling in for a long, long day of travel. :O

    Hope you've all been keeping well in the meantime. :)

    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    29 August 2019 @ 12:28 pm
    Why oh why is that song in my head? :O

    It's been decades—I can't even remember what Puffenstuff looked like! I do remember his human sidekick, Jack, and that Puffenstuff was probably on right before the bizarrely dull "Kukla, Fran, and Ollie" (a show that signaled the end of Saturday morning cartoons, and which we watched with the same grasping denial with which you eat the lousy bottom-of-the-pumpkin Halloween candy that was never worth eating before, but is now sadly all that's left of the good times you're desperately clinging to).

    *koff* Or maybe that was just me?

    I've avoided Googling H.R. Puffenstuff, because as long as I don't, he still looks like my random mental image of him. Which strongly resembles one of Maurice Sendak's 'Wild Things,' but with a lot more orange and hot pink.

    So, we got back from vacation a couple of weeks ago, but we're leaving again to squeeze in a last-minute trip to Hawaii with The Boy before he goes back to school. We wanted to do this in June with both kids, but our daughter balked and asked us to think about September instead. And now she can't go, because she's working. Which we pointed out to her at the time, but hey...

    We're really looking forward to it, but since I've been heavily researching and planning and booking since last Friday, the lead-in has been wall-to-wall flailing. Now I need a vacation from that.:O

    In the intervening two weeks, it's mostly been pretty hot here—too hot to bike outside, some days. Between the heat and planning for the trip, I haven't spent much time in the yard since before the LAST trip. But my recon from back then showed a few areas that are really suffering from the sun and scorching temps, and a phenomenon peculiar to lavendar in our climate:

    Lavendar Bush: It's so hard being me! You have no idea. The heat, the pressure to perform... I can't take it anymore! /o\
    LB: *sporadically dies off in scattered chunks*
    LB: Also? I've randomly decided to spawn a friend about eight inches away...

    We added a different variety of lavendar in another (shadier) part of the yard this Fall, and it's doing that now too! The lavendar in England and France doesn't behave like that. :(

    Still no major headway on weed-proofing the vast spread of bare dirt in our yard...