His Lordship

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I’m Jason L. Secrest, an aspiring author and impoverished college student. Sometimes I blog. When I’m being real about real world things that other people also believe are real I post at wiseyetharmless.bogspot.com. Then there are the moments that I’m also being real, but in regards to a different real world where there is a real annoying talking demon in my basement and where my non-fake butler/valet/gentleman’s-gentleman knows Jujutsu. In those moment’s I’m Jason L. Secrest, Lord of the Manor, and I blog directly to you from my mansion study at whathowadsworth.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Disturbing Dream

Again, I'm interrupting my adventures in hell to bring you other news:

I had a horrible terrible nightmare last night. It was so visceral. So real.

I was 12 again, and I was outside in a dark wood. A man much resembling Wadsworth approached from the forest. When he looked at me I felt small, insignificant, and frightened. He walked closer leaning slightly on a black and silver cane. I tried to shrink back from him, but found that I could not move. When he was close the man bowed stiffly and locked his gaze on me. I could see disdain burning in his eyes.

“I am Walters,” he said. His voice was firm, cryptic, and aloof. “I have been sent to fetch you.”

Lightning flashed and the wood was gone. Before us there was an enormous building that I immediately recognized as the mansion house, but it was old, crumbling, and decayed. The lawns had gone to seed and the hedges were full of long sharp thorns. Here I’d like to mention I have a favorite hedge sculpture at the mansion.  In reality, it is trimmed to resemble Abraham Lincoln patting a large squirrel on the head. In the dream it was Hitler throttling a rabbit.

In my dream Walters walked up the path to the house, waggling his fingers at me. I didn’t want to go, but behind me I heard howling and a scream. Swallowing I followed Walters. At the door I looked inside without entering. The interior was decorated in deep black colors complimented by red velvet trimmings. Most of the furniture was covered with black sheets and cobwebs ran rampant.

As I timidly crossed the threshold the ancient doors (which were iron rather than oak) swung shut with a bang, clipping my heals. I heard the deadbolts lock of their own accord. I tried the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. Walters turned and lifted an eyebrow. There was a hint of amusement on his face.  Then he turned, waggling his fingers at me again. I followed him past the cold unlit fireplace of the grand foyer and up the great stairs to the door of Uncle Nick's study. It was black and foreboding. Walters stepped back and gestured at the door. I turned the knob and peered inside. One glance was enough to make me shriek and jump back in fear. A blody altar of bones sat atop a scrawled chalk pentagram.

Walters calmly pushed me inside and slammed the door behind me. I pounded against the door, yelling in fright as Walters dryly intoned, "We do hope you enjoy your stay, sir. Please call should you need anything."

I heard deep resounding laughter behind me and spun around to see a skull hovering over the alter its eyes were aflame.

I woke up then, cold and sweating. I leapt from my bed clambered up on my dresser and yelled into the vent, "Beezle! What the heck are you doing?"

"FUS ROH DAH," said the vent and I was blasted backward, thankfully landing on the bed. "Beezle," I hollered not missing a beat, "Stay out of my dreams!"


"Beezle! I'm serious! Stay out of my head!"


Truth be told, Skyrim is the best game that ever happened to me. Not just because it's a great game, but because it keeps Beezle occupied. He can't spend more than a few hours away from it at a time, and the occasional dovahkiin shout through the vents is more than worth the peace I get throughout the rest of the day.  I hope some DLC comes out soon, so that I can release it to Beezle in manageable trickles.

I was disturbed by Beezle's reaction though. It’s not like him to NOT claim something like this. He’d have been proud of it, would have drawn out his victory by taunting me. I supposed that it was possible to have a bad dream without Beezle’s help, but it didn't seem likely. There was a knock at my door, interrupting my thoughts. "Lord Secrest?" came Wadsworth's soothing voice, "Are you alright?"

I blushed. I hadn't meant to wake Wadsworth. He does enough already without being shouted awake in the middle of the night. "I just had a bad dream, that's all," I called through the door.

"Ah. Perhaps a cup of something warm would help settle the nerves? Shall I fetch you something?"

"No thanks. I'm okay. You can go back to bed."

"Very good, sir. Please, don’t hesitate to wake me should you change your mind."

I lay back down and tried to think pleasant calming thoughts. I was almost asleep when the vent bellowed, "WHAT? SHE'S EVIL? HOW CAN I IN GOOD CONSCIOUS KILL THE ABUSIVE CARETAKER OF AN ORPHANAGE? IS THIS MANDATORY IF I WANT TO JOIN THE DARK BROTHERHOOD? IT CAN’T BE. THAT WOULD BE CRUEL."

I smiled and let myself fall into a peaceful, dreamless slumber.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Crimson Surprise (Part 2)

Last time on Crimson Surprise the following happened:

I attended a writing convention and got a little creeped out by Paul Genesse's over interest in Beezle, so I skipped out on the rest of the convention, went home, and locked my door. 

A few days after the convention I came home to find the house unnaturally quiet. Suspecting that Beezle was up to something I dashed off to his lair finding his door open. This left me disquieted because that door is the one thing keeping him contained. Inside the lair I picked up a letter left on a pedestal and in doing so triggered some sort of spell that slammed the door behind me:

"Dear Lord Secrest,
 Until recently there has been an evil entity occupying this space. Whether you considered it a blessing, curse, or tenant, it will not bother you again. To ensure both your safety and cooperation this room has been sealed for the next twenty-four hours. Have an enjoyable weekend. As always, feel free to submit stories about any demons you encounter for inclusion in 'The Crimson Pact.'
 -The Spirit Traveler"
At this point I left to have a good cry. Since then, I've left you out to dry as Griseus so sternly reminded me. Let's jump right in, shall we?


Looking around my prison, the prison which had once held Beezle, I felt an enormous weight of despair. "Beezle? Gone?" I thought. Then I chided myself angrily, "Beezle has been a pain in my neck since the first summer I spent in this house, way back when it belonged to Uncle Nicholas. Not only that, but he's a demon for crying out loud. He's never stopped trying to get at my soul. It's what he does."

Still, Beezle has been a significant part of my life for over a decade, howbeit obnoxious and dangerous.  Maybe it was his devilish charm or his evil sense of humor, but I found myself feeling hollow and empty at his loss. "Just a trick," I thought, "Just a ruse. He's been working on me all these years, trying to make me like him more and more to make me a loyal friend, ready to fall into some deadly trap that would cost me my soul to escape." Honestly, I still believe that what I thought here was fully accurate, but it was no use. I felt like a family member had just been kidnapped, and the culprit hadn't even left me the option of putting up a ransom.

Angrily I threw the letter across the room and began to pace it. I didn't try to look for a way out. There wasn't one. That was the idea. You keep demons in it so that they can't get out. There was the vent in the ceiling of course, but it acts as a pressure valve - lets Beezle reach into the world and interact with it but prevents him from building up enough energy to blast his way out of the wards. The vent wasn't any kind of use to me though. It was several stories above me. I couldn't even see it in the vaulted darkness.

Finally I dashed at the letter and attempted a good kick. It got caught on my shoe and lifted a few feet into the air and settled back down next to a thin trail of demon blood. Grimly I followed it with my eyes to the wall where a larger stain smeared the smooth onyx stone etched with golden runes. I squinted and knelt down next to the smear. A small black circle containing one rune was completely blood free, and it was close to the center of the splatter.

I brushed my finger thoughtfully over the rune and it lit up. I stepped back as I felt intense heat radiate from it and it glowed red. The fiery glow spread to surrounding runes, and from them to others. Soon a full third of the wall was burning like a furnace, forcing me to the the other side. I thought that at any moment I'd be roasted like a pig. The shining onyx stone before me melted away revealing Beezle's fireplace.

The Beezle's fireplace is one of the few things in his room that never seems to change shape or size. It's always the same. Twenty feet tall, surrounded by ironworks and statues depicting torturous burning misery, a blazing inferno - except today there was no blazing inferno. The fireplace was completely empty save one thing: a golden door with a silver handle.

"Of course!" I thought, "I forgot about the fireplace."

I've known for a good long time that Beezle has had a route too and from the demonic realm via his fireplace. It's not anything that's ever concerned me much. What comes in and out of the hell-fires is no business of mine, unless it wanders into the rest of the house. The room and the door see to it that nothing ever does. Now though... now I had to make a decision that I never thought would be difficult: I had to decide whether or not I should leave the safety of my house, and of this world, and enter a the demonic plane.

"Beelze obviously ment me to find this," I thought, "so presumably it's relatively safe for me to go through, or at least close to the door."

"But what if," I added, "What if this is one last kick in the ribs? I never did sell him my soul, so what if he led me to the door out of spite?"

Somehow I doubted that. Not because Beezle isn't spiteful. No, it's because currently Beezle is my demon. That relationship is more important than you might think. It's a matter of pride for Beezle that he gets my soul and no one else. If he sent me as a mortal into the depths of hell and I somehow ended up selling my self to some other demon, Beezle would never live it down. And Beezle wasn't dead. Otherwise I wouldn't have been locked in my room.

If Beezle thought he could get back he wouldn't have led me to the door either. Obviously, he thought that whatever the risks behind it, this golden door was the only way for he and I to be reunited as tempter and temptee.

I walked tentatively toward the door, "Are you really going to do this?" I thought, "Are you really going to risk your life and probably your soul to get Beezle back in your house? Don't you think that maybe you should just sit back for 24 hours, and then throw a 'Beezle is Gone' party after the fact?"

"Well," I countered lamely, "he must think I'm capable, or he wouldn't lead me this way. Beside's he'll owe me one. It might make life better when he's back. Look, I'll just step through and if it looks too risky I'll just say I'm chicken and come right back."

With that final foolhardy thought firmly in mind I gripped the long silver handle. It was curved ever so slightly and felt comfortable in my hand. With measured pace I pushed it down and pressed softly against the ornate door. The moment it cracked open a magical gust of wind caught me from behind and sent me tumbling over the threshold. I tumbled through the air for several feet, landing on my back in the dark on something surprisingly soft and textile.  A ray of light above me revealed the door as I looked up, but the ray became feebler and vanished as the door closed with a subtle click.

----to be continued-------

Sorry, but I just scared my own pants off reliving the horrible realization that I was trapped in the dark in Hell of all places. We'll pick up on this again next week when I'm not quite so short of breath.

(Crimson Pact references used with the written permission of Paul Genesse. Get the anthology or risk your life submitting your own demon related experience at www.thecrimsonpact.com)

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Mansion House New Year

I have been visiting the mansion house for a very long time now, and I've been bringing you stories about it for 1 year 6 months, and 28 days, and I have done it with great satisfaction. It pains me, however, to admit to you or to myself, that I haven't truly cultivated a sense of duty about these reports. I've flitted from topic to topic, and only written on days that I found convenient, meaning almost never. Well no more. I've been awakened to my responsibility by a an ancient and nearly forgotten book in the library.

You see, today, or rather the day which has just ended, is the first one of this year, and last night was the last one of the last year. It's a time of new beginnings, not just for me but for everyone, everything, and particularly for the Mansion House. Every year, as the first light of the new year dawns upon the house, it undergoes hundreds of changes. Some are spectacular, others mundane, some permanent, and others instantaneous and fleeting. This year, for example, one tile of the marble floor of the library gained an extra vein of crystal; a staircase shifted locations; a room appeared and another  vanished (with a beloved family heirloom locked inside of course).

Any dust and grime that had not yet withered at Wadsworth's gaze vanished from existence, and new gargoyle appeared on the southern battlements, and the eastern cellar repopulated itself with various rare spirits - which I do not drink - and a particularly vibrant flavor of root beer - which I savor.

Most of the day, miniature fireworks have been sporadically exploding inside the fireplace; and our perennial phenofuax, a rare red bush, has been exploding in flame, burning to ashes, and growing again from the soot. (It would, of course do this in any house on the first day of the year. The whole cycle takes about one hour, so it does this approximately 24 times before sitting still and quiet for the rest of the year). Even more spectacularly Beezle slept quietly for the duration of the day. (There are some days of the year, like New Years and Christmas, that sap him of strength.)

At about midday, I walked into the library with Wadsworth for a private poetry reading. We had each selected a few verses that we found inspiring, along with one or two that we each had written. I would post them here, but I still find them private and personal. As we finished, the afternoon light spread into the room and little things changed here and there. Nothing major happened, with the exception of Griseus waking.

Griseus is a very old book—not a dusty one, Wadsworth has seen to that—he's full of arcane writings and lost spells and hidden knowledge. At least, that's what he'd like you to believe. Actually I believe quite a lot of it. I just also happen to also believe that Griseus exaggerates more often than he'd like you to believe. Griseus has been deeply asleep for a number of years, but as the light of the new year caressed his black leather cover his pages fluttered open in a wide yawn.

Wadsworth's eyebrows lifted, and so did mine. "Good morning Griseus," I intoned. The book snapped shut, and hovered a few feat above it's pedestal, before turning to face me. Griseus's is blank on his back cover and on his spine, but the front cover is adorned raised silver emblems - the masks of comedy and tragedy that are commonly seen on the walls of acting theaters. The mask of tragedy made a quizzical face and gave voice to the words, "Good heavens. Am I still here? I expected to wake somewhere a little more... prestigious."

I winked at Wadsworth and responded, "Yes, well, I did once consider pawning you a at a gypsy flee market a few years ago, but nobody offered enough to make it worth the trade. I suppose it's for the best. I needed the cash, but you've made an excellent ornament."

Griseus swelled up like a waterlogged journal, and I couldn't help but wonder whether he most wanted to protest the indignity of the flee market or the disgraceful idea of using him as a common decoration. To my surprise he did neither. Instead he compressed his pages, smoothed his cover and icily replied, "I will not dignify that obvious jib with a response. However I suggest that in the future, if you do not wish to find yourself lost in the nether, you address me as is befitting one of my station." Then he turned to Wadsworth and said, "Though the lad has grown older, he's not much more mature, is he."

"His lordship is light of heart, certainly," said Wadsworth.

I smiled wryly. "You're personality hasn't changed much either, Griseus. And that's why I know that when we leave this room for the comfort of the smoking room fireplace, you'll follow, but pretend that you don't like us much."

"There is nothing to pretend. Tombs as old as I have few thoughts to spare on the briefly lived existence of insolent mortals like you."

I turned and walked toward the door. "Then I guess you won't follow me and pester me about what's happened in the last few years."

Gristle sniffed loudly. "Interest in you, and interest in keeping up with current events are two separate and highly dissimilar concepts."

"Yes, yes, of course they are," I grinned.

As we entered the hallway Wadsworth paused and asked, "Shall I prepare a hot beverage and perhaps a light snack, Sir?"

"Yes thanks." I responded. "A cup of hot dark Belgian chocolate would be nice right about now."

"Very good sir," Wadsworth bowed, "I shall rejoin you shortly."

And so it was that I spend the rest of the evening, in the smoking lounge updating Griseus on current events. I told him a few anecdotes, showed him a few objects of interest, and read a few of these blog posts to him.

"How many of these 'blog' postings have you recorded?" Griseus asked, after I read to him from Dumpster Diving and What Bears Say when No One is Listening.

"Well, let's see," I said, and did a quick tally, "Looks like 22 of them,"

"I see. And for how long have you been producing them?"

"Oh, about a year and a half... something like that."

Griseus's tone took on a hint of annoyance, "Do you realize, your lordship, that in one and one-half years there are 78 weeks? That is nearly 18 months, or 546 days. Do you care so little about this place and its happenings that you have only made brief public mention of it on an average of little more than once each month?"

I cleared my throat. But I wasn't quite sure how to respond. I wanted to say, "I've been busy," but as I opened my mouth to say it, the words withered and died on my tongue. I have been busy. But not so busy that I couldn't write now and again.

"I've been writing a book," I hazarded through a tight throat, "It's about the mansion."

"Oh? And how for how long have you worked on it. Is it complete?"

"No." I said, "and I've been compiling it for much longer than it should have taken."

"I suspected as much. What is the last thing you reported about this house?"

I quickly surfed to Crimson Surprise on my laptop and read it out loud, pausing with shame at the incomplete ending.

"Mmm. Yes. This seems like a particularly consequential event." said Griseus, "Where is the concluding entry?"

"I haven't... I haven't quite -" I trailed off, but Griseus finished for me, "-gotten around to it?"

I nodded, and we sat in awkward silence for a short time.

Griseus sighed. Then he hovered in front of my face very deliberately said, "Please listen carefully, Lord Secrest. I believe that you began this project because you believed it was important as well as entertaining. You thought it was worth something, not only to you, but also to others. However, your negligence strips your writing of value and makes a mockery of it's subject. Some tasks are better left uninitiated than having been done the disservice of being started only to be left undone. This project is perhaps a task of that nature. Now, I think I will take my leave. I do not wish to distract you. It seems to me that you will wish to take some time to write before you sleep."

Griseus hovered quietly out of the room. Subdued, I began to write this entry. I have nearly finished, but I haven't written nearly enough. The new year is a time of new beginnings. It's a time for change, so here's my resolution. I will update weekly. Expect it. If I disappoint you, know that I have also disappointed myself along with a very old and very wise friend. But let's not dwell on that. Let's look forward, and raise a glass to the coming year. God bless both my endeavors and yours.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We interrupt this programming to bring you statistics.

I've really been a naughty boy as far as this very true and very frightening story has been concerned. I got it half way down and started chasing bunny rabbits (Literally. A good number of them popped out of a drawer in my study one day. I'm not sure how they got there, and I'm sorry that they didn't get there with newspaper underneath them.) and forgot to tell the rest. Now I've been occupied trying to finish my memoirs of my younger years before worldCon comes up in august. The second I have a spare moment, I promise I will finish dragging you back from that nefarious cliff I left you hanging on.

To prove that I haven't been slacking, I'll give you a little status update about how my day went today. This was the first day that I have ever devoted full time to writing. My writing group and Wadsworth pushed me to try it this way instead of wandering around the mansion looking for important memorabilia for 8 hours on a Saturday before giving it an obligatory unproductive hour in the evening. I finally gave in. Here are my statistics for the days work:

My new record for words written in one day: 6247 Words.

Estimated time spent writing today: Between 10 and 11 hours. (also a new record.) (also got the "treat it like a job" achievement)

Words per hour: Between 570 and 625. Not very high, not a new record, but not terrible. Some of my hours had really good productivity. Others I zoned out a bit, and had to fight to focus. I also had to spend a little time thinking about the plot.

Current Book Word Count: 43,560 (what I wrote today accounts for 14% of the existing count or 7% of the estimated final count)

I guess that I’m half-way through the plot, meaning that the book will probably be around 87120 words long. This is probably too long and will need to be cut down to around 75 I think. I need to double check the genre standards.

Assuming 600 words per hour (which seems average for me) this book should take 72 more hours of writing time to finish.

Number of days that I can fully commit to writing before worldCon: 1 maybe 2.

The amount of editing that I’m going to want to do before worldCon, but not do: All of it.

Chance of being able to interested an editor in my book at woldCon and overnight her/him a full manuscript? Zero percent.

How about the first 3 chapters? Good percent.

Amount of nasty sticky residue on my armrests after a day of sweating away in my study. Way too much for comfort. I know, too much info, sorry.

Amount of hope/fear generated by looking at these stats: infinite.

Person who keeps posting stats that make me angry enough to write more: Nathan.

P.S. Nathan has ePublished a book called Paradise Seekers, and it's one of my favorite books. Read it all day one day and finished it. Could barely stop for a potty break. It's 70,000 words for a dollar, the story is great, it's well edited, and it's way better than all of the garbage eBooks that are written in a week to flood the market in get rich quick scams. Also, Nathan's wife Rebecca feeds me frequently when Wadsworth has the day off, so by buying his book you are ensuring my health and happiness. (I may be just a little biased, but you can be too because of your love for me.)
get it on Smashwords in lots of formats
get it on Amazon
get it for your nook

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Crimson Surprise

Forgive me, but I'm still not talking about quarters today. I was working on a history of Beezle's obsession... trying to decide what was relevant and/or entertaining and what was not. Unfortunately something more drastic has occurred, and I felt it more relevant. Enjoy this week's installment of "Crimson Surprise!"


               The last few days have been trying to say the least. I've been dealing with things that are... less ordinary that what I'm used to. The details of the whole story started a long time ago, long before I was born, and I'm not really too clear about exactly how they go, so I won't attempt to divulge or explain them. My part begins four days ago on Saturday, May 28, 2011.
                Saturday morning I abstracted from the Mansion House to my Provo residence where I met up with a few friends who had invited me to spend the day with them at Conduit. Conduit, for those who don't know, is an annual convention that encourages authors and nerds in general to be as embarrassing as they want to be without feeling quite as self conscious about themselves. I've attended twice now, and after observing a few of the attendees I've concluded that a few of the people are much like me - we experience reality slightly differently than the people who surround us. I'm convinced, for example, that Larry Corriea carries a concealed weapon not because he's a gun nut, and not because he feels the need to protect himself from other people. I suspect rather, that he is acutely aware that creatures of myth and legend are stalking him on a regular basis. It is likely that Monster Hunters International is a spiced up set of memoirs.
                I enjoyed the convention greatly, took a few notes, and did my best to schmooze with the successful people around me. One such person goes by the name of Paul Genesse, though now I wonder if that's just an alias. You see, Genesse has been collecting stories about demons, and he's especially interested in Urban Fantasy (you know, accounts of winged nightmares that terrorize the streets in back-road villages; inner-city libraries that hide do-it-yourself possession booths in the self-help sections - stuff like that.) At first, I found Paul's invitation to submit a story intriguing. I keep a demon in my modern-day basement after all  and I exploit the antics of said demon shamelessly in an attempt to win myself a little fame and fortune without selling my soul. Paul's pitch sounded just exactly like my kind of thing. I said as much to Paul, and immediately regretted it.
                Most of the time, when I tell people about Beezle and The Mansion House, they chuckle with me and we move the conversation along. Paul however had a completely different reaction. He got a sort of darkly eager look in his eyes and started probing me with endless questions. I answered them uneasily and did my best to end the conversation. Paul reluctantly let me go, but he insisted on trading business cards. I pretended to have lost mine, but he pressed his into my hand along with a flyer requesting submissions for his Crimson Pact anthology. I smiled, said I might submit something, and backed my way towards Correia's corner of the room. Genesse's eyes followed me as I went, but I felt a little safer. Larry, as I mentioned earlier, packs heat. It wasn't long before Paul was smiling at another fan, and I slipped out of the signing area. I sent a text to my friends saying that I felt ill, walked around the street corner, and abstracted back to the mansion house where I breathed much more easily. I shrugged the episode off and completely forgot about it by dinner time.
                Monday was memorial day. I went home to Roosevelt to visit the graves of some loved ones and to enjoy the company of my immediate family. When I returned to the estate, I abstracted into the northwest forest. This perturbed me because I'd been aiming for the cluster of trees next to the driveway. The evening was late and cloud-cover hid the moon and stars. No lights were on in the house and the walk was dark and foreboding. I was severely anxious until I remembered that I'd given Wadsworth the day off so that he could honor a few comrades who had fallen in The Wars. (He wouldn't say which ones. He gets cryptic like that.)
              In Wadsworth's absence I grabbed a snack from the fridge and settled down in the study to work on my memoirs. After an hour the silence of the house was grating on my nerves. Beezle hadn't breathed a word. I checked my ventilation shaft. It was neither stuffed nor shut. Generally I see quiet as a blessing, but given that the day was Memorial Day, I wondered if Beezle wasn't preoccupied with some special way of honoring the dead. (The list of rules at the mansion house is growing long. One of the prominent rules reads "Reanimation and other extracurricular activates involving the (un)dead are strictly prohibited." This rule is preceded only by the rules that prohibit things like lighting me on fire.)
                Concerned, I cleared my throat and called into the air duct, "Beezle, how's Memorial Day been for you?" I got no reply. After several seconds I repeated, "Beezle? What are you doing down there?" Nothing. I listened intently. The silence was complete. Usually I can at least pick up the soft roar of Beezle's hellish fireplace. My stomach twisted with anxiety and I had to force myself to walk instead of run to the wine cellar. As I went I made loud remarks like, "Duncan is more than willing to lend me his witch taser," and "Beezle, answer me or so help me I'll cut off your internet access again." By the time I'd made it to the basement door I was jittery and nervous, looking everywhere for anything out of place.
               Nothing was. Everything was unnervingly still and orderly. Even with Wadsworth home there was always something misbehaving. I gave up on walking and dashed the rest of the way to the cellar. I had force myself to slow again and to take the stairs carefully. They're old and rotted. I replaced them once, but they decayed again before the day was out. At the bottom I dashed through the perpetually dusty wine racks. I seized the box of matches by Beezle’s tunnel. My hands were shaking so badly that I snapped three match heads before I managed to light the torch in the scone. Usually when I visit Beezle I burn away the ever present spider webs that lead to his door. This time I just ran with the torch before me and blazed a trail through the webs. In retrospect, this was rasher than it sounds. Some of those webs are occupied by more than one variety of deadly arachnid. The end of the tunnel and the heavy bronze door couldn't come quickly enough. I rounded the final corner to find that the door was already open.
                I cannot think of any situation in which that might be a good thing. Beezle can't open that door. He can barely affect the world beyond that door. If he found a way past it, heaven help this world. More than that, heaven help my Uncle. Uncle Nick travels dimensions. Beezle happens to be his ticket home.
                I burst through the entry, ready to charge into Beezle's cavernous lair. Only, it wasn't cavernous anymore. I nearly crashed into the close far wall. The room was as it had been ten or twelve years ago, when I unwittingly opened a portal for Beezle and launched my uncle deep into somewhere else. There were only two differences between now and then. The first was a large splotch of blood on the south wall. The second was a sealed envelope on the polished onyx floor. In shock I picked up the letter and examined the red wax seal. It was stamped with the letters CP. When I lifted the seal the bronze door slammed shut and a gust of wind circled the room. I ran to the door and inserted my key. It wouldn't turn. I tore the typewritten letter from the envelope and read,
 "Dear Lord Secrest,
 Until recently there has been an evil entity occupying this space. Whether you considered it a blessing, curse, or tenant, it will not bother you again. To ensure both your safety and cooperation this room has been sealed for the next twenty-four hours. Have an enjoyable weekend. As always, feel free to submit stories about any demons you encounter for inclusion in 'The Crimson Pact.'
 -The Spirit Traveler"
--to be continued---

Sorry for the break. I had to stop here to cry a little bit. Much as I hate to admit it, I've grown attached to Beezle. This is an emotional scene for me.


(Crimson Pact references used with the written permission of Paul Genesse. Get the anthology or risk your life submitting your own demon related experience at www.thecrimsonpact.com)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"I Beezle" or "The future is a delicate thing, Sir. Do try not to break it."

If you haven't yet read the previous post, I recommend that you peruse it. It contains facts and terminologies that I are slightly relevant to this post. I've moved the most important fact to this one though. Actually now that it's done and I'm really thinking hard about it, if you get this one fact you may not really need the rest, but maybe you'll understand a few more of the inner workings of the story? I certainly hope so after taking the time to type all that out. There is a story about a fire breathing opossum in the previous post if that's enticing to you at all...

I learned a new verb recently through the power of Google. I performed a search on Beezle, trying to decide how seriously people have been taking his newly formed e-cult, and this is what I found:
(http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Beezle). Of course, I took immediate interest. It's important to me to know if the things that Beezle sees on the internet can impact me negatively. As of the time of this posting, the most upvoted definition of 'beezle' on Urban Dictionary is as follows:
This term is used to describe any activity done for its own sake/pleasure. People seeing someone/something beezle will likely not understand why that person/creature/thing is doing whatever he/she/it is doing. Examples include: frolicking, climbing trees, most things done while stoned/drunk. Baby animals (and for some reason, squirrels, dolphins and whales) naturally beezle all the time. It's generally considered complimentary, but just a little confusing...
I had several reactions to this. First I had a good laugh at the image of Beezle romping playfully with aquatic and woodland creatures. Then I realized with shock that the term is accurate. If anyone beezles, Beezle does. What do you suppose he accomplishes by hypnotizing me at night and making me sleep dance? Or by pretending to be "The Mummy" and swallowing me with swimming pool water when I make use of the high dive? (I don't think I've ever mentioned it yet, but I that's actually how the Mansion House Wars started. I nearly drowned. Maybe I'll remember to tell you the story one day.)

Finally, I realized that if anyone else besides Beezle beezles, it would probably be me. I'm easily entertained, and I was actually glad to have a word to put to the group of actions that entertain me. Any word is better than "dinking around." However, to be honest I was a little terrified to learn that I do yet another thing that Beezle does. I don't like feeling similar to Beezle, but as time rolls onward my list of like traits keeps growing. I'm writing them off as meaningless - I'm not damning souls after all, but I've got to watch myself. Having more common ground makes it harder to keep my guard up.

That's not the point of this post though. The point is that I beezle, and that I need to be careful when I do it because there can be consequences. Here is an excellent example:

I rent an apartment in Provo out of necessity. I work and go to school at BYU and there are rare occasions when I can't quite seem to abstract* back to the mansion house. If those moments happen to come at night, I don't much like competing with Riverman Johnson for park bench space (or bridge space when the weather is foul.) I mentioned at one point that he told me he was going to acquire a sword and Chinese stars with which to defend his multiple forms of literature, didn't I? I can attest that he has acquired these, and that he is more than willing to defend his territory. His weapons are of poor quality and very dull, but they still hurt quite a bit when he manages to land a hit.

*(I've covered abstract travel recently, but here's the gist: to get to the mansion house I have to be both distracted and in motion. It's really not that hard, it just doesn't always work as advertised. I don't do magic, remember? It just happens to me when I'm not paying attention.)

I also like warm water. If there is time and hot water enough, I like to take long showers or baths. Even when I don't mean to take a long time, I loose track of time in the shower. It's because I relax and let my mind wander. Since I first came to the mansion house, I've spent inordinate amounts of time in the natural hot-spring cave that the mansion is built around. When I'm stuck in Provo, I can do almost as well at the outdoor hot tub behind the complex's clubhouse. The hot tub in question is large by apartment standards, and can accommodate perhaps twenty people if all of those people don't mind literally rubbing shoulders. When it's empty it feels spacious.

A few weeks ago on a thursday I was stuck at my digs in Provo. Feeling active I decided to have a short swim and to then enjoy the hot tub. When I got out of the pool the tub was empty and I was happy about that. I try not to beezle in public - it feels awkward. I eased into the tub and let the jets work on my back. As always my swimming trunks filled with air and I became more buoyant finding it harder to stay anchored to my seat (I am a very light person.) On this occasion however, I had a beezeling epiphany of sorts. I wondered If I could float on my back and drift about the tub in whatever direction the currents took me.

No sooner did I start my experiment then two very muscular guys and their girlfriends splashed into the pool. (I didn't actually see them because I was staring up at the stunningly clear big dipper. I just heard them through the water.) I sat up quickly to move out the way and to appear less silly. The thing is that sitting up while floating makes a person sink. I sputtered back up to the surface and took my original seat. The other four had the common decency to keep their chortling to a minimum, and for that I was grateful. I wondered how long they would be there and I busied myself by playing subtly with the flat leaf-like elm seeds that had fallen into the water. They floated nicely like little boats and I sent them off on excursions in the eddies.

When I was bored of sea seed missions I had another swim until the group left. I then I hustled back to the hot tub. I laid out on the water, puffing my chest out and tucking in my legs so that they didn't touch the bottom. The currents did the rest. I only bumped into an edge once and I was kept in a continual counter clockwise rotation with my head at the center. It was enjoyable and relaxing. The whole time I watched the crisp stars above me rotating. More than ever, the big dipper appeared to me as the turning hour hand of a giant clock. (It really is one. See the companion guide to this post). I must have made at least three full rotations before I realized that I had abstracted to the mansion house hot tub. (Not the hot springs cave. It doesn't grant an open view of the stars. There is an actual man-made hot tub outside, close to the pool and conservatory.)

Pleasently surprised and done with sailing about on my back, I toweled off and went into the kitchen through the servants door. I grabbed a roll from the constant supply Wadsworth keeps there, and pulled on the light fixture that opens the hidden door to the hidden passages behind the walls. (I like using the secret corridors every so often despite the fact that the standard hallways are much more comfortable. It's a beezle thing.) I walked happily toward the Master's Chamber until I heard Wadsworth's pleasant voice saying, "Will take your supper here or in the dining room sir?" I stopped dead in my tracks. I was at that point, just above my study. The secret passages are designed for eavesdropping (hence the clarity of Wadsworth's voice) and I unstopped a peephole in the floor. There was Wadsworth, and there was me. I was saying "No, the dining room will be fine. I'm nearly done reading this entry in Uncle Nick's journal and then I'll be in. What's for dinner?"

"A salmon steak with steamed vegetables, sir. What would you like to drink? I suggest that something citrus would complement the fish very well."

"What about that lemon orange concoction you put together? I like that."

"An excellent choice sir. May I help you in any other way, sir?" As he made this last remark Wadsworth's eye roved up to my peephole, and I had the distinct impression that he was talking to me, besides talking to me. Nothing gets by the man. He's as much ninja-sleuth as he is butler. I stoppered the hole and tried to comprehend what I had just experienced. Seeing myself wasn't totally new. I'd seen transparent and barely detectable versions of myself in many places in the mansion, doing different things without acknowledging me. I'd also seen gruesome figures in my image march happily to a joyful death in Beezle's fireplace. (These later were a demonstration to show me how easy it would for me at payment time, if I ever felt I wanted to buy something with my soul.) I had, however, never seen Wadsworth offer dinner to one of my  dopplegangers, and I was heavily disturbed that he should do so now. And hungry. It didn't help that I remembered having a similar meal three days earlier. It was phenomenal - the fish was moist and flaky with subtle interplays of spices and herbs.

As I thought longingly of the meal and made way for the kitchen to intercept Wadsworth I had a sudden more revealing insight. In the many years that I have eaten at the Mansion House, Wadsworth has never repeated a meal exactly except by special request, and he has certainly never cooked the same kind of fish twice in the same month. He would probably faint at the thought of it. I'd been reading my uncle's journal three days ago too. I had traveled time! I yanked the door open and launched into the kitchen.

"Good evening, Sir." said Wadsworth. To someone who didn't know him, he would have looked and sounded like nothing but pleased to see me. I've known him for long enough that I could tell he was annoyed as he continued, "Will you also be having salmon this evening? I regret that it will be a duplicate of something that you have presumably already consumed. With more notice I could have easily compensated."

"The salmon was excellent three days ag-- er.. today, I think it will be just as good.. um.. today. So, I'll just have what he's - er... what I'm having."

"Very good sir."

"I'm sorry about the short notice. Is there enough? I didn't exactly realize that there would be two of me today until just now."

"I am always prepared for unexpected guests, sir. There is always enough. May I offer a word of advice about your current adventure, sir?"

"Yes, please. That's why I came down."

"It is not well known what happens when one's past self comes into contact with one's future self. Theories range from nothing to a universal Armageddon. The current middle ground of the debate is that the person fades from existence. While scientists and pranksters alike might appreciate one's rushing in headlong to see the look on one's face, I suggest that the action would be inadvisable at best, Sir."

"Right. Well. I guess I'd better stay out of sight then."

"In that case, sir, I suggest that you make yourself scarce. I think I hear you coming."

"Oh. Distract me." I said, and I dived back into the passage way. I went up a floor and unstopped a peephole for the kitchen. I really didn't need to. I remembered the upcoming conversation, now that I had a clear picture of the day. As I'd placed a bookmark in my uncle's journal, Beezle had announced that, "THERE IS SOMETHING VERY INTERESTING TO SEE IN THE KITCHEN. I THINK YOU'D BEST HURRY OUT AND SEE WHAT IT IS BEFORE IT'S GONE."

Normally, I wouldn't pay much attention to something like that coming from Beezle, but the kitchen is next to the dining room and I happened to know that Wadsworth was there, so I didn't even feel the need for too much caution, just a bit of caution. I watched through the hole as I entered the room and said, "Looks like the kitchen, Beezle. An interesting kitchen, to be sure, but nothing I haven't seen."


"Have you seen this interesting thing, Wadsworth."

"As far as I can tell, sir, there is nothing out of the ordinary behind the afore mentioned door."

I can't help but marvel sometimes at Wadsworth's ability to misdirect without telling lies. I've only witnessed it on a handful of occasions, but I still marvel. On this occasion I wondered if he meant that I shouldn't be behind that door anymore, or that it wasn't out of the ordinary for me to be behind it. Knowing Wadsworth he probably meant both.

I watched myself open the door, see nothing, and say, "Nothing to report here."


"If you will pardon me sir. Your salmon is approaching its optimal temperature for consumption. You may either have a meal that boarders on perfection or go chasing 'interesting things' through the passage ways; possibly with apocalyptic consequences, given Beezle's definition of the word 'interesting.'"

"I choose dinner," I said happily and I strode into the dining room with Wadsworth close on my heals.

I, the me upstairs, went back to the kitchen and waited for Wadsworth.

"HOW DOES HE DO THAT?" Beezle asked. He sounded genuinely interested. I could also hear him pleading me urgently to come back into the kitchen from the other room. I knew I was safe. I remembered being annoyed and shutting the dining room vents three days earlier so that I could eat in peace.

"Do what?," I responded, "Look so good? It's because he's me."


"He didn't lie. He told the truth."


"Wouldn't that be nice. The problem is that you'd start by telling me to come look at something that might make me fade into oblivion, and I would believe you."


"No thanks. Knowing you they'd probably try to eat me."


Wadsworth came back and put together a to go box for me in preparation for driving me back to Provo. (Even distracted, Wadsworth is a competent and safe driver.) Before we left I had a final epiphany.

"Wadsworth, I failed a cleaning check tomorrow because I couldn't get a stain off of a wall. Do you have anything that might work?"

Wadsworth handed me a spray bottle of something green that smelled like minty lemons and said, "Try this Sir. And do be careful, Sir. The future is a delicate thing. Do try not to break it."

That was that. I left the bottle in a conspicuous place with the label, Care of Wadsworth, and avoided myself for three days. I passed my cleaning checks without breaking the future (finding myself 20 dollars richer in the process) and made sure to position myself for watching Jones crash into the conservatory. I figured if someone was going to demolish the side of a glass building I owned and I wasn't able to stop it, I'd at least better watch.


The "I Beezle" Companion Guide - Kind of

There are four facts that are fairly relevant to the post "I Beezle". You can skip it if you like, but you might get confused and you might not learn the answer to the ultimate question: "Where do my left socks go?" On the upside, that's less reading if you just wanted a brief anecdote. If you want the best of both worlds, you'll find key words and phrases in bold. (Edit: really this is only semi necessary since I moved the main fact, fact four to the main post. There is still that bit about your missing socks though, and maybe you'll understand a bit more about how things work around the mansion house in general.)

Note: You may have noticed that I tend to get off on tangents and forget to get to important things that I've promised to tell you about. That would ruin the point of this companion guide to the other post so today I'm trying to herd my thoughts together with a new html tag that I've just invented: the <tangent></tangent> tag. If you didn't really care about my ramblings just look for the end tag and move on with the facts.

The Facts

Fact 1. I'm not talking about Beezle and what he likes to do with quarters today. I promised to and I meant to, but I've got something else on my mind today. Next time?

Fact 2. The big dipper is attached to the north star, a fixed point in the sky. Because of this, as the earth rotates the big dipper forms the hour hand of the largest twenty four hour analog clock in the known universe.

Fact 3. There are 2 main branches of magic, which I will informally call 'flashy magic' and 'just missed it magic'.
  • Fact 3.aGenerally speaking flashy magic is like the hood on a cobra, it's main function is to make the wielder look more powerful and impressive. Beezle loves flashy magic, and there are plenty of other natural examples. Take, for existence, two headed dragons, fire breathing opossums, and levitating islands in the sky. These are all about as useful as a forest fire.

    <Tangent>The levitating island was actually the aftermath of the legendary battle between and Eddie - the resident fire breathing opossum - and some wandering Siamese dragon who probably got distracted while flying and abstracted here. We now refer to the dragon as "Two Face." Eddie and Two Face burned down fifty acres of the western forest, but something about their magics didn't match up properly and the whole chunk of land just picked up and left. This was fortunate as the fire suddenly became self contained and spared me the joy of dealing with the fire department (They'll come, but they don't like it. They hate all of the flashy magic that goes on around here). Actually, it's still around here somewhere. I can't see it today, but it generally hovers over the lake at varied altitudes. Eddie won, by the way. He lives happily on the island among a rising generation of saplings and a few larger, somewhat singed, oaks and pines.</Tangent>
  • Fact 3.b. 'Just missed it' magic is the kind that happens just as you look away. This kind of magic is most relevant to me. I don't do magic. Magic just happens to me when I turn my head. Actually it happens to most people while doing laundry. Think about it. Why did you start the month with only paired socks of the same brand and end the month with half as many pairs and a large drawer full of differently branded and lonely unpaired socks? You just missed the originals straight into The Void and, like a slot machine, The Void spat missing socks from around the nation into your dryer.  (The Void is a real place known also as The Either, The Nether, and Under My Bed'). I also just miss my wallet, my cell phone, my truck keys, and my assignments on a regular basis (It gives me back gas station receipts, broken charger chords, keys to unknown doors, and last semesters homework.) Sometimes when I'm around other people for extended periods of time they accuse me of 'rubbing off' on them because they can't find something. The unfortunate truth is that I'm just missing things for them.

    Don't think that 'just missed it' magic is a complete pain. It's actually quite useful. It's the basis of the travel to and from the mansion house for one. For another, how do you think you miss the memos about waste of time meeting that you were supposed to go to (other than... you know, the times that you accidentally shredded that memo on purpose). Just missed it magic also makes the current day of the week Friday when you still think it's Wednesday, and causes to flowers bloom and money to stretch and all manner of other things besides loosing stuff.

    <Tangent>'Just missed it magic' is why it's so hard to tell real magicians and stage magicians apart. Stage magicians make you look at one hand while they load a coin into the other. Real magicians make you look at one hand while the other materializes a coin. If anybody (magician included) can see where the coin is supposed to pop into existence nothing happens. Sometimes real magicians are stage magicians. Take Penn & Teller for instance. Real magicians. They are the longest running inside joke of the magical community because they do real magic and then they show audiences a well performed trick that might explain the magical thing that they did. Masterful. </Tangent>

4th and Final Fact. I recently learned a new verb: "to beezle." This fact is the main point of the main "I Beezle" post, so I'll just use it as place to start from, shall I? Very good. See you there.