The sergeant lay on the ground. His left arm shattered, and multiple puncture wounds in both. Bone fragment and blood leaked onto the asphalt. Dark crimson pools formed under his arms.
‘Why?’ he thought, as the pain became more than he could handle.
Suddenly a shot rang out. The beasts body seemed to explode right above its chest. Blood spattered onto the sergeants face. He started to feel a sense of hope.
Again and again its body sprung holes as bullets penetrated its putrid flesh. It held up its right hand like it was blocking some bright light, when a bullet whizzed by and took its middle finger with it. It’s face seemed to explode as a bullet entered its head and again exit just above it’s left eye.
It was jack, the sergeant figured, opening fire with the Squad Automatic Weapon.
Tracer, and the sound of gunfire filled the crossroads. The tracer disappeared into the creatures chest, then re-appeared as it came out it’s back. This was one of the weirdest things the sergeant could remember seeing. He thought that it looked like extremely fast fireflies buzzing directly at, through and out the back of this… thing.
The fire from Jack didn’t let up until the creature finally fell onto the sergeant limp. Blood and brain matter began pooling on the sergeants chest, and neck.
It was at this moment the sergeant caught his first smell of the beast. It smelled like rotting meat and eggs, which came from its flesh and it’s hair.
Then the sergeant saw it. It’s head, which was split apart from the crown of its head to its neck started slowly healing itself. New flesh was filling the gaps, while its brain started re-forming itself and slowly it’s face began closing the gap.
Bell arrived at the sergeant first and started to pull its foot claws out of his arms. His left arm moved strangely as he removed the last claw, and he noticed it was bent in the middle of the upper arm. Bell knew then it was broken.
“Sarge, your arms broke. This thing did a number on you sarge.” bell said as he reached for the beasts arm.
“Just get this damn thing off of me, goddamn it! Lets get the fuck out of here!” The sergeant yelled as air finally returned to his lungs.
Burch helped the sergeant to his feet, and was assisting him toward the guard shack with Bell.
A rustle behind them made all three come to a sudden stop in their tracks. Slowly all three turned their heads to see the origin of the noise.
The creature stood, it’s back toward them. It grabbed the hem of its leather overcoat and pulled it tight.
Then it turned.
It’s face was still closing the gory hole that had split it’s head into two. Then it was done, it looked as if nothing had happened to it.
“Holy sh…” Bell snapped, but could not finish. The beast sprung into the air filling the gap between them, kicking Bell in the cheek. The sound of bone breaking filled the air between the alleys. Knocked unconscious he fell to the ground like a rag doll.
In the same moment it’s left arm swung around, hitting Burch in the face with his claws, tearing muscle and tendons. His jaw came completely off of his face, spattering the sergeant’s face with new blood and saliva. The gaping hole dripped with gore and mucus. He fell to the street grasping where his lower mandible was once attached. Blood poured from between his fingers, as his tung made a kind of macabre dance in the air.
Jack and John stood helpless. The sergeant took a step backwards, tripping on a curb, landing on his butt.
The creatures eyes seemed to flash as it looked at John and Jack. It then turned its attention back to the sergeant. It’s jaws seemed to unhinge as it bent over towards the sarge. It’s mouth was growing twice its normal size. It made contact with the sergeants neck, as he started to scream and beat at it’s face with his right hand.
It bit down on his neck with a ripping sound. Piercing the carotid artery showering it’s face with fresh blood. The blood also fell like a crimson rain onto the street, and sidewalk. A suckling noise arose from it’s mouth.
The Iraqi man had not moved from his position. He uttered prayers to Allah, while fingering the beads in his fingers. His eyes shone from the sheer size of them, reflecting the light from the single bug encrusted streetlight in the road.
The sergeant went limp in it’s grasp. It released its mouth from his neck, showing the tremendously large wound. Half of his neck was missing. Bone and cartilage protruded from the flesh. His trachea was exposed, and quivered in his death pangs.
Flesh hung from the creatures fangs, dangling as he turned his face to look at the other two on the ground. It ignored Burch, still writhing in pain, and turned it’s attention to Bell, who was just shaking the darkness from his eyes. Recovering fully only to see the shining eyes of the beast mere inches from his face.
The scream became muffled as the creature covered his face with it’s mouth. A slow crunching noise, like that of a dog breaking a bone in it’s mouth, permeated the air as it’s teeth broke through his skull and jaw bone. The scream abruptly ended.
When the creatures mouth finally closed and it turned it’s head toward Jack and John, the body that had once been Bell fell onto the ground. Where his face had once been turned toward the two. The gaping hole, covering his whole face, was nothing more than blood, and bone fragments mixed with teeth, and an eye that was shrinking as the fluid leaked from it.
“Go! Get out of here” John yelled at Jack. They had been staring in horror, paralyzed as it all transpired. Reality never never set into them until Burch lay on the ground, looking at them with tears streaming down his bloody cheeks, still grasping where his lower jaw had once been. Death slowly creeping upon him as the blood pulsed from his arteries.
“Move it, Get the fuck outa here!” He yelled again, grabbing Jacks sleeve, pulling him with. Forgetting the Iraqi driver as they ran down a side street.
Darkness descended on the city fast. It was almost otherworldly. One by one lights, either gas or electric (for those who had electricity), flickered to life.
Soldiers patrolled the streets, mounted on HUMVEE trucks, or patrolling by foot. Their vehicles belching out black smoke as they passed by side streets. Foot patrol radio’s crackled with life, beeps alerting the radio operators of an incoming transmission. The only audible sound from feet away.
The rifle men had eyes peeled, waiting for movement, their fingers on the triggers of their M-4 carbine rifles, ready to end any trouble that may arise.
They walked toward a vehicular checkpoint operated by an airborne platoon, private John Weaver the first they saw. Beside John stood Specialist jack Avery. They were the security force watching the roadblock set up, which was manned by Sergeant Bill Watson, Private Stewart Burch, and Private Timothy Bell.
John’s M-4, loaded, scanned the buildings and streets. He secured the vehicle inspection point from gunfire, or any other attacks.
The patrol passed, and the soldiers exchanged waves, and a couple small words. Finally the foot soldiers disappeared around a corner continuing their rounds.
Off in the distance gun shots rang out. Automatic fire still in celebration of the coalition forces freeing the city. The tracer of the rounds visible as it streaked into the night sky, and disappeared as the tracer burned out.
John fought the encroaching boredom. During the day, children and adults choked around the checkpoint. Screams of joy, the occasional “Praise Bush” and yells of “Water Mister” came regularly. Without electricity, water, or money, many people were forced to beg for handouts, whatever and from whomever they could.
Headlights turned a corner, and approached the checkpoint. It was a white and orange taxi which came to a halt in front of Sergeant Watson. He had the driver exit the vehicle, and open the trunk and hood. Private Bell had him step away so that the sergeant could inspect the contents of the car, looking for explosives, illegal weapons or contraband.
John’s attention was pulled to his left, toward a dark alley. He was unsure what he just saw. Man? Animal? It was unclear, but it moved again.
“Sergeant Watson, there’s something in the alley over there.” John said.
“What is it Weaver?” The question came from under a seat where sergeant Watson was currently inspecting.
“Dunno, it’s hard to tell, it’s too dark”
“Put on your night vision goggles, idiot!”
He had forgotten he had them attached to his helmet. He rotated them down and turn them on. When he finally got them focused on the alley, whatever was there was gone.
“Aint shit there, guess I was seeing things” John said to no one in particular.
The driver was starting to mumble something in Arabic.
“Shut him up!” the sergeant said.
John continued to scan the alley, as Jack pulled security to the rear. He manned a M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon, it uses the same size ammunition as the M-4, but it is a fully automatic machine gun. He had a night vision scope attached to it, and was scanning left and right, covering the street to the squads rear.
The sergeant moved to the engine of the car, and was shining a flashlight in the compartment. He had placed the hood between him and Bell, who was guarding the driver.
Off to the sergeants right stood the guard shack that John and Jack occupied. To the sergeants front stood private Burch.
“Uh Sarge…” Burch said.
The driver continued to mumble something, but it was now almost inaudible.
“Bell, I said shut him up!” The sergeant moved his head and flashlight closer to the engine, “What is it Burch?”
“Bigger Problems Sarge” Bell said.
The sergeant lifted up from the engine, and shined the light toward Bell and the driver, blinding them momentarily. Their focus was on something above the guard shack to the sergeants rear.
The sergeant spun, the flashlight streaking a stream of light through the dust filled night sky, and aimed it at the top of the guard shack.
A pair of red eyes, almost human, yet definitely animalistic turned and glowed brightly when they made contact with the light.
The figure on the shack was human, or formerly human. It seemed to be dressed in all black. It was crouched down, left knee and right hand both resting on the sandbags that made up the roof of the shack. It’s hair was long, partially covering it’s face, resting on it’s back and hanging down to it’s chest.
It smiled, teeth sharp, as if they were filed to an almost razor point, yet they were almost an inch long. Saliva dripped from the longest of the teeth.
It then leaped. It was then the sergeant noticed its fingers. Claws tipped each one. They looked sharp, and they were almost as long as the fingers themselves. It flew through the air and drew its hand back as if it was fanning its wings to slow it’s fall, exposing it’s feet forward as it approached the sergeant. Referring to them as feet was the only thing the Sergeant could describe them as.
They were nothing like human feet, rather they were almost like hands in their own right. They too were tipped with massive claws, which as it approached him through the air, were yellowed with dark encrustations on them, like barnacles on the side of a ship, only much longer.
Contact came. It’s feet dug into the sergeants arms as he threw them up to repel the attack. The claws on it’s feet dug into the arms, breaking the skin, causing blood to flow. Blood, sand and desert uniform filled the wounds as the pain flashed into his head. The claws did not stop penetrating until they hit and chipped bone.
More flashes of pain shot thorough the sergeant as the force of the beast propelled him backward, toward the hard asphalt.
His back made contact first, causing his head to shoot backward. His helmet impacted with such force that his chinstrap ripped, launching the helmet off of his head. It skittered to a stop, after bouncing off a curb fifteen feet to his rear.
All the sergeant saw was black and white splotches in front of his eyes, as his brain impacted the inside of his cranial cavity. He forced himself to keep from blacking out from the hit and pain. Images of his family shot through his head. Young Peter’s first birthday. He could still taste the air, filled with the sweetness of cake, candle smoke and his wife’s perfume. He shook his head and regained consciousness around his second heartbeat.
He saw the beast draw back one of it’s clawed hands, then rake it across his chest. He thanked God that the Kevlar vest was mandatory to wear in his unit. The hand retracted after contacting only Kevlar and fabric, some of which dangled from it’s fingers.
The flashlight, which rested on the street within arms reach, revealed the face of the attacker. Definitely human. It’s mouth, and nose were slightly elongated, he thought, to facilitate its enormous teeth.
It turned it’s head and examined it’s claws. Craning it like a dog contemplating a new noise. It returned it’s gaze to the sergeants chest, and smiled. It’s grip on his arms intensified, shattering his left arm. New jolts of pain and adrenalin shot through the sergeants head. He tightly shut his eyes as it happened.
John turned his night vision goggles up just in time to witness the carnage.
“WHAT THE FUCK?” screamed privates Bell and Burch almost in unison.
Jack was just staring, while John was positioning himself to get better aim at it with his rifle.
“It’s fucking the sarge up, Shoot the bastard!” John yelled.
I wanted to let all of my readers know what is happening in my life right now, and a couple projects I have on the horizon that you may all be interested in.
First, I have now been working for a large factory here in Schweinfurt for a proud 6 weeks now. The company if ZF Sachs, I am loving the job, it is both physical and stimulating at the same time. I could not be happier to be working there.
So here is what is coming around the corner for all of you.
1) My novel, The Face In The Falls, is back on track. I am re-proofing my manuscript as it stands, and re-organizing my notes and plans for the rest of the book, and am organizing the story and character plots and dialogue for the rest of the novel.
For those who don’t know what The Face In The Falls is, it is the story of Issiquah Homicide detective, Jackson Anderson, King County Medico-Legal Pathologist, Mary Langstrom, and their investigation into the discovery of 7 bodies at the top of the Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State. It is a roller coaster ride of an investigation that will take both of them in a direction that no one had imagined.
2) Probably my most ambitious project to date, is my upcoming podcast, which has yet to be named, It will be hosted by me, and co-hosted by my Brother-in-law Kyle. We will be discussing subjects that are important to us, including Star Wars, toys, comic books and anything else we want to talk about.
It should be totally fun and entertaining, as both of us are ex-military, and some times rather dirty-mouthed. We are both also very dedicated to Star Wars, and are extremely excited for the new films and the announced director of the films.
I am also asking you, the reader, what you think I should name the Podcast. When it is available it will be downloadable on iTunes, but first I need a name that I can place them under.
This I leave to you…
Below please submit your ideas in the comments block.
I thank you all
Well, for those of you that know me, well personally, I am a big comic book guy.
It started for me back in the late seventies when we were visiting my Grandfather, Grandmother and Great Uncle at their cabin on Mount St. Helens. This was a few years before it blew its top in 1980. however, at some point, I think either my cousins or aunts and uncles had visited them and brought a Gold Key, Twilight Zone comic and left it behind. It was something new to me, reading, and having pictures to help fuel the imagination of the story. I wish to this day I had this comic, as it was my introduction. But every comic book collector has their “Holy Grail” of comic books that they search for their entire life, and mine is that Twilight Zone comic.
Shortly after leaving the mountain, and returning to Portland, where we were living for another year or so, so this would have been 1978, maybe the latest 1979, I went into one of the drug stores and saw, and looked at my first comic book spinner.
There in the area dedicated to magazines stood this tree like rotating stand with issues of comic books. I stood there with about 75 cents in the pocket, and looked at every issue on the rack. I was sure that I was getting quizzical looks from the staff, as I stood there alone, with my mother in the grocery store next door. Slowly I pulled three of the issues from the rack and made my way to the counter where a late seventies teenager was sitting with her charlies angels feathered hair, ala Farrah Fawcett. I placed the comics onto the counter, and paid my 75 cents for the three, then made my way with these three rolled up comics in my back pocket, sticking out over my Star Wars T-shirt.
I waited till I was home to read them, but snuck peeks at them on the short trip home, as we drove our station wagon with faux wood panel siding, the short distance to the house.
I wish I could remember the titles I had purchased, however one I will never forget, Mutants born with super powers, which in a way goes against everything super-hero comic books profess. Through one event or another every super-hero is imbued with their powers through seemingly tragic accidents.Superman was sent to Earth seconds before his planet of Krypton was destroyed (Turns out there were a couple other babies sent to earth at the same time, Super Girl, Super Boy, and even… Sigh… Krypto, the Super-Dog) Batman became a hero after his parents were killed, and he dedicated his life to avenging their death.
The Flash was hit by lightning while handling chemicals, giving him super speed. Hal Jordan was given a ring of power when he found a dying alien that had crashed to Earth. Steve Rogers was given a drug that turned him into Captain America. The list goes on and on, but there was this comic book that had heroes that were born with their powers.
The X-men instantly became one of my favorite stories. Following, at the time, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Banshee, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Charles (Professor X) Xavier, Storm and eventually Wolverine.
There were arcing stories that took the reader into an alternate present day that was littered with people who were born with such a wide variety of powers that the possibilities were endless. Some used their powers for good, as Wolverine often times did, some used them for evil, such as Magneto.
These stories had a single overtone of hope for people like me, who were living with few friends, seemingly outcast because were not living the “Normal” life. I was a big Star Wars freak, collected trading cards, and was very, very hyper active. The main basis of the X-men stories was that they were always fighting for acceptance of the mutant kind by the rest of humanity. Fighting to be accepted as they were by the rest of the world. This spoke to me.
I openly accepted the X-men into my life. I bought and read every issue which for a while came out bi-monthly even, so I could continue my exploits of the team of heroes.
Lately, after my mental breakdown of last year, I got back into collecting the comics again, I have been looking for American issues of comics for sale here in Germany on E-Bay, and making some amazing purchases.
I am looking into the Golden age of comics, and Silver age. These are the years of comic books that is considered by many to be the best time of comic books, based on the stories, and artists that were supplying the panel drawings.
Some of my recent purchases, now hanging proudly in frames on my wall , are to me, simply amazing for the prices I paid. There may be more personal worth to the comics than true worth, but I don’t care. They were bought for me, to remind me why I love comic books so much.
One of the purchases was The Mighty Thor number 135, from 1966. The cover of this comic is great, inked by Jack Kirby who was an amazing artist. He has been considered one of the most influential artists in comics in history. He co-created heroes such as The X-Men, The Hulk and even The Fantastic Four. This cover features Thor fighting against The Man-Beast. (It is listed as the Super-Beast on the cover for some reason) The Man-beast if a High Evolution evolved wolf that had been hit with an evolution ray that caused it to become so powerful, and have mental powers as well. The creature becomes a challenge for Thor, as the “God” of Asgard finally may have met his match in battle.
The Cover, as you see, is so simplistic, as was Kirby’s signature trait, the colors are beautiful, and the sense of the fight and plight of Thor is evident in the single image.
The next proud purchase is to date my absolute favorite. Uncanny X-men number 45, from 1968. This comic has two stories in the pages, both centering around Cyclops, “When Mutants Clash” is the story of Cyclops trying to free the rest of the X-men from captivity of Magneto, Toad and Quicksilver. One of the greatest lines ever told to the X-men which sums up the overall story between the evil and good in the comic books was spoken by Quicksilver to Cyclops in a battle that ensues when Cyclops stumbles into him trying to find Magneto in the stronghold.
“Enough! I will listen to no more of your Homo sapiens-sympathizing blasphemy! You have had your chance to join us — and declined it! Therefore — I can consider you nothing but our enemy!” -Quicksilver
The enemy, Magneto, has assembled mutants who want to eradicate the human presence from the planet, as he knows that they are afraid of the mutants and the powers they possess and want them eradicated from the planet as well. Having survived Auschwitz, and having his powers poked and prodded by the Nazi party, Magneto would rather kill every last human that make other mutants go through the same thing.
The cover is by John Buscema and shows a single sceen from the battle from the super fast Quicksilver (Think Marvel comics version of The Flash) and Cyclops, as he fired his ocular blast, just missing his opponent by mere inches.
These two comics are proudly displayed on the wall in my house, on my “Nerd Wall” to solidify myself into hunting and collecting these important comics from our past.
Being an american in Germany, and knowing that there has been a U.S. Army presence here in Schweinfurt since the end of the second world war, I know these comic books are out here, waiting to be rescued and collected by myself, and made available to the discerning collectors in the United States, or myself for my collection as well.
As time progresses I will update and share some of my collection with you all, for your pleasure, and if you have questions or have interest in one of the comics, please feel free to write me. I am open for all queries and thoughts.
To every one of you reading this.
well, taking into account the sheer number of large budget action and adventure films being hosted on the big screen, many people seem to overlook the films made on modest budgets that are directed to the straight to video market.
I am a fan of these films. They are not my main forte, however they are sought after by myself quite often to help pass the time and providing a enjoyable and laughable evening at the television.
There are companies that release one or two films a year, and there are others that will pump them out at a rate that seems to be a dozen a year. All of these companies share a single belief though. they love film.
Some of the best companies to capitalize on the upcoming success are companies like, The Asylum
They have found a way to make films, based on the premise of big budget blockbusters in the works, and release DVD’s to confuse most consumers in the DVD shop, as a modern example, type in Hansel & Gretel into iTunes and see what comes out. they have released their own version of the film. Thor also got their very own film, and sequel, Titanic was not spared and neither was Battle L.A.
Now what The Asylum does is also male new and original films with the profits from these knock-off films. one of the best is a film called Mega Shark V.S. Giant Octopus.
This was a really badly acted romp into what was supposed to be a serious film. It is so campy it is laughable. but the weird thing not in a bad way. it is fun. the story is horrible. the effects horrible, the actors horrible. but, and I don’t know why, it works.
Most recently there was an instantly cult of a film released on SyFy and then shortly afterwards on DVD and iTunes. “Sharknado” followed a few hapless heroes as they try to survive and destroy a tornado ravaging downtown Los Angeles, more importantly the tornado was dumping hundreds if not thousands of sharks on the helpless citizens of the city, eating them without discrimination.
The plot was filled with more holes than ten thousand pounds of Swiss Cheese. The editing was shoddy, the special effects were horrible and there were plot points that were hit, and then were never followed up on. Yet somehow throughout the film I remained laughing, and in suspense.
After having a 3 run showing on SyFy in July which had 1.8 million viewers the first night, the second showing increased by 38% and on the final showing the viewers were at 2.1 million. It was also released in 200 select theaters across the U.S. which every showing sold-out within minutes. This made Sharknado the highest viewed SyFy original film in their history. The Asylum and SyFy announced that a sequel will be made within a day after the third showing.
The second film will be called “Sharknado 2: The Second One” and will this time take place in New York City. It will be released on SyFy in July 2010.
There are many many films, not just by them, but other companies as well that all deserve looking into and enjoying, usually with a few beers.
However if you are new to the low budget film genre, than this is the place to start.
there are rules to low budget film watching though. so I will list them, so you don’t expect more than you will get, and you will get the most out of your viewing pleasure.
1: Never, ever, feed them after midnight…. Oops… wrong list… hold on, let me re-start
1: Never go into a low budget film expecting something great. Be weary that you will be watching bad acting, bad effects, bad filming and bad stories. once you understand this, then the film will be ok.
2: It is Ok to laugh at the film… they are meant to be serious, but often fail at it. expect them to be more like an action comedy.
3: popcorn and beer are a must. the more beer you drink, the better the film will be.
4: Never pick the film apart, just let it run… many times the plot is lost in the filming. What started out as one thing, may end up something completely different. this seems to be normal.so just let it ride, and your enjoyment will be better for it.
Once you can just let the film go, and enjoy a few laughs in the expense of the actors and crew, then you, like my wife and I, will really love watching the films.
We liked some so much, we actually own them on Blu-Ray now.
Hope you like this, and I will give you a few examples in the next few months.
Well the time has flown by since my last post.
I am now a proud employee of a personnel company called GPS, and I have been contracted through them to a company working for the FAG ballbearing plant here in Schweinfurt, called Madinger.
I am more than excited to be working at one of the large factories here in town, and FAG (Look through the obvious name issue) is one of the largest. Sachs is larger, but I will not complain.
The job involves the inspection of parts that are used in the manufacture and repair of cars, including Ford, Volvo, Volkswagen and Audi, and passenger aircraft engines from Rolls Royce.
There are so many different parts to the job, which is why I like it so much. I almost never know what I will be doing on the days until I get into the factory. Then I learn what I will be doing, or what I will be inspecting, or what I will be repairing. It is a truly amazing thing knowing that lives are in my hands. Maybe it seems trivial or small, but the smallest thing can cause catastrophic results without the proper attention to detail.
since most of the parts are created by machine, using 3 ton metal bars, we need to inspect every individual piece just in case a part is made using the end pieces, and pressed into form. this piece, if not found, when used in something like a flange for a car, could separate when the vehicle reaches high speeds, causing it to break apart, and the car to loose control from the excess wobble of the now damaged part. Now imagine what a bad part in an aircraft could do.
Pay wise, I will not complain. I can not complain. I am working, that is what matters to me the most. I would like to leave the personnel company, and go to work directly for Madinger. Where the pay would be slightly better, but the kicker for me would be the unlimited contract from them. That kind of security is something that I truly desire.
Well, I will let you all go.
thanks for reading my words of dim-whit. 🙂
Wow, how the days go by.
Been jobless now for around 6 months. Receiving unemployment now until the end of this month, May, and then getting nothing more from the government of Germany. This is not of my doing. I have been applying to any job that I have knowledge about or that may be open, also sending my resume to work at some of the factories in the city on the production line.
I sometimes think I am not getting any call backs for interviews based on my nationality.
I know that as a hard remark to say, but when you are sitting in my shoes, it sure feels that way. I am a pretty damn knowlegable person, pursuing all subjects that I have even a little knowledge in, and expanding my base of knowledge.
However it is not in the German way to hire people that know positions, they only hire people trained after school in the positions. I couldn’t be more sorry that I as an American was not trained in a job position, as the Germans are, in High school. I was a soldier. I am trained how to shoot other humans, out of spite from opposing government positions in matters that matter to them.
I was not taught graphic creation, or web graphic production, word, excel, after effects, or even how to paint paintings. These things, and many more I learned on my own, because I enjoy them.
I took it upon myself to learn skills that I saw I was good at, and excited me so I could apply them into a real world position. Not for the money, but that is not bad, but out of the love for the creative process of it.
Oh well. So here I am writing chapter three of my new novel, The Face in the Falls. This is again something I like doing, so we will see if I can finally get myself a literary agent to back me up and get me published finally.
This was just a little steam to let out.
I have been purged,
Thanks for reading.
I remember when I was young, around the time I was 13 or 14, I made a proclamation that I would never make it to 30. I was convinced that I would burn out my flame well before then, as I was sure I was going to have an adventurous life.
Well I did, and life had other plans for me.
I joined the U.S. Army a couple months out of high-school, after a job interview in Cherry Hill, New Jersey fell through, and I had a pretty terrible car accident. Now I was not 100% innocent of the accident, as I had just blown my nose and was looking for a place to put the tissue in my sister’s car. Now I was in the center lane of a 3 lane highway, so how was I to foresee that there would be a Philadelphia Inquirer truck parked in the center lane delivering to a gas station? Needless to say, a seat belt saved my life, and the Mitsubishi engine was designed to crumple away from the driver… Again saving my life.
So there I was, a freshly out of high-school soldier. Where did they send me? Germany, where drinking is legal at 18. The town I was stationed in was in the middle of nowhere. I had only a small pay check each month, and could buy beer and alcohol at 18, what it was I did at this point does not need a doctorate in psychology to figure out.
I pretty much spent every night I was there drunk, at least when I can. We did have training maneuvers, and live firing exercises that would often take us from our base and bring us to another for up to a month at a time. While on these drinking was highly forbidden. Me and a couple guys did occasionally find a way to drink a beer or two without detection, but never enough to possibly endanger the rest of the team.
My next duty station, where I actually began to grow as a human was Fort Bragg, in North Carolina. This was in 1992. Here in the land of the 82nd Airborne, soldiers are honed into killing machines. There is almost no place for the weak of will, motivation is a highly treasured friend and strength of character is built. Here I met probably the most influential friend in my life. Through him, I found how education and personal growth is more important than any party. I am not saying that I didn’t party, rather I just didn’t party every day.
In 1993 My unit deployed to the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. The town where we were is called Sharm El Sheikh, it is the furthest south you can go on the peninsula. It was here that Jeff and I both had a total blast with some of our other friends, Joe Gower was the greatest of them. We had our barracks, a dog named Gumba, and a barbecue pit, all with what I could describe and be honest with as the greatest in the world.
We were part of a force dedicated to ensure the peace treaties between Egypt and Israel was fulfilled. It was here that I enrolled in my first college course, Criminal Psychology, through the University of Texas. I did not realize at first, however the short time I attended the class, I had begun something that would change me as a human.
I started to understand there were other things to do with ones life, rather than look for parties, and drink all of the time. I started to learn that self education and the furthering of ones knowledge in whatever it is you like is more important. One of the things I liked to do was write. However for the most part I kept it to myself. Jeff’s mother was an English teacher, so he would often correct grammatical errors I was showing in writing. I learned that English is actually fun to write, and placing word to paper I was better spoken than I ever was orally. Soon after leaving Fort Bragg, en-route back to Germany, I started to explore story writing and journal writing.
However, back to Egypt, I found out many many truths about myself. It was often times when Jeff, Joe and I would make trips to a small hamlet town (Now a major tourist town) named Dahab. It was here that I truly understood how destructive I was toward myself. I would often find myself the brunt of many jokes of all my friends and people we were meeting who were back packing through the town. We often times would sit on the beach with many people we would meet, and spend days talking, swimming and partying. I would often be left out of many of the activities, as I was trying to find any way to garner attention from people, including belittling myself to be the laughing stock. This measure from me never gained me many friends. I know the friends I did have understood, and liked me for whom I was, not who I was projecting myself as.
I found myself in a moment in Egypt looking inwardly trying to actually discover who I was. The classes in psychology helped me actually understand myself. I realized, with my two friends help, that I was not an average person. I now knew that I was able to excel on my own, and that I did not need to look for others for acceptance. With time that would come, and if someone could not accept me for whom I actually was, I would not adjust to them. They like it or they don’t. It became that simple to me.
I did however get into the occasional trouble there though. I was an infantry mortar man. We tend to team up with the scouts of our unit more often than not, and Egypt was no exception. (Mortars are like a small artillery piece that was able to be carried around, providing almost instantaneous support when needed. Scouts are also infantry soldiers, who often try to go forward of the front line to call for our mortar fire, and also provide enemy intelligence to the unit.) The scout platoon, for one reason or another never liked me. On one occasion Jeff, Joe and I were having a party with a few other people in our barbecue pit at out barracks. It became a crazy night, but we had a blast, and I for the most part, am a person who becomes way to talkative when drunk.
The next morning I was summoned to the commanders office. Jeff and I had no idea what it could have been for. Standing in front of the commander, he looked me over really quick, and asked me why I had attempted to light a guard tower on fire the night before. I stared at him, and tried to make sense of what it was he was asking me. I could not swallow the accusation. I may not be the most intelligent person, but I do know, and I am sure 100% of the other people on the planet also know, metal does not burn. The accusations were unfounded. I called forward 2 witnesses, Jeff and Joe and they corroborated my story. We were talking with the guard on duty, but there was no way I was piling wood under the tower, attempting to set it ablaze. If I wanted to light a fire under it, there would have been no try, there would have been a done!
Eventually I also decided to soldier up, and become more than I was, a mediocre soldier. I decided to attempt to be better in my job. Follow orders more closely, and study the army way. There is a test of basic soldiering for the infantry soldiers. It is a difficult task, involving everything from 12 mile forced foot marches, carrying over 50 pounds of equipment, first aide events, weapons proficiency and many more tasks. It is called the Expert Infantry Badge. It is an elite badge of honor for infantry that places them slightly above other infantry soldiers.
For the first time I took this test studying all tasks with a renewed fervour, determined to make it and pass all of the tasks. I accomplished my mission. In the testing phase you are only allowed to fail three tasks, I made it only failing 1.
One of the most proud moments of my life, I wore the badge with pride for the remainder of the time I was a soldier.
Egypt was an enigma for me. It showed me who I truly was, and I began to aspire to become a better person from that point on. I think of my time within the sand and sun as being a place that turned my life around. It helped me learn to strive to become a better person. To not try to please others, to please myself. It taught me not become what other people wanted of me. If I couldn’t not accept myself for who I was, then I strove to become the person I wanted to be. But only for myself.
I thank Joe Gower, and Jeff Holloway for giving me at that moment what I really needed, Understanding and friendship. Because of them, and Egypt, I finally understood who I was. It was at this point I decided that I would allow my flame to burn as long as it could. I wanted to learn everything I could, and maybe share it with someone else out there who is a confused young adult as I was, maybe showing them how to finally understand who they were to become as well.
Lance M. Goolsby
I thought I would show some of the art work I have painted in the last year. Although I am relatively new to the medium of painting, I feel I am learning quite fast. I tent to do paintings over subject mater that matters to me, which I guess is important. I do allot of Star Wars paintings, mostly for me, and comic book heroes as well. I paint them with Acrylic on canvas. and on none of them do I have a frame. I painted them with the plan of not framing it. so the image actually continues around the edges as well.
Here are just a couple of the paintings I have finished over the year 2011, in order of making them.
This was my first, around March, I wanted to paint Darth Vader on a dark background, and only paint the highlights that reflect off of his costume. I didn’t know at the time many of the blending and color bleeding principals I learned later in other paintings, which usually came through trial and error. However, as a subject it is one of my favorite paintings so far.
This one came directly on the heels of Darth Vader, which I guess makes sense, the canvas is slightly smaller than vaders, and It is meant to go to the right of Darth Vader when hung. There will be a second storm trooper in the series, which will go to Vaders left side. The series will be repainted by me, in the styles I have learned through the series of paintings I have done, to make them stand out a little better.
This one was the beginning of me learning how to blend and bleed the colors together. I found out by total accident when I had a blob of black drip, when I was talking with the wife, that water could bleed the color down enough to use it for shading. This is the first that had no subject matter film or comic book related. However, as in the style of my paintings, it is a dark image, with little color.
This was the very next one, The bleeding principal I learned was used throughout this painting. The photo was taken while there was a spot still wet, thusly the wet area. I was happy with the painting, however not overjoyed. There seemed to be something missing from the subject that I did not see when painting it.
This is my favorite to date, I had fun doing this. Wolverine has always been, and always be one of my favorite characters in comic Books. He has a dual personality as being the hero, yet being more brutal than most other heroes in the comic universe. The antihero as people refer to him, does not look to fight evil, however it has a way finding him. No matter how deep he hides himself in the shadows of humanity around him. This one was based on a still from the X-Men Origines: Wolverine film, I however thought it would be better adding the comic book face of Wolverine, rather than the film recognized Hugh Jackman.
This is a painting that I was asked to do for my Sister In Law, for her husbands Birthday. This is my best painting , and the hardest I had to do, to date. I needed to make sure the detail I added to Yoda was on the money, and as realistic as I could do. The overall length of time taken to paint this was about 2 solid weeks. Making sure every wrinkle and gray hair was properly represented. Not to mention the field of depth needed to portray his arm coming at the viewer. This photo does not do this painting justice. Hanging on my in laws wall, you can stare in awe at it for quite a while.
This was another painting asked of me by an in law. He wanted to have a Darth Vader painted by me, and customized for him to hang in his apartment. So I added the AT-ST seen in the bottom right of the painting, the Death Star 2, in the upper left, and the star cruiser and TIE-Fighters flying above. I had a blast with this one, and enjoyed making it as well. Notice the light saber glow on the costume, that again was created with the color bleeding I figured out just a month or so before. I had not yet figured out how to thin the colors enough to create really fine details, while not loosing the strength of the color. as seen with the white reflecting off the corners of his helmet, or off the chain holding on his cape.
Again same Brother in Law, and this time he asked me to do something based of something completely different. This painting is a single frame in the Kick-Ass comic book, where the father is about to show the daughter how it feels getting shot while wearing a bullet proof vest. The hard way. I changed a small portion of the color scheme, as I didnt agree with the way it was originally painted, but it was my interpretation of an already painted scene… So my artistic input is ok… LOL
Well, there you go. A small view into the few paintings i made last year. And slightly after our move in the next few weeks, I will begin again painting. So expect to see a few more in the next few days.