Wednesday, February 26, 2014

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: Naked And Lost

I stopped stealing insignificant little things like money, jewelry and virtue when it stopped being exciting. The Eiffel Tower, however, is none of those things. It's 10,000 metric tons of hopes and dreams and national pride, and right now it's in pieces and on its way to Berlin, that beautifully organized city that appeals so strongly to my intellect.

And that's the beauty of the two cities, they're worlds apart, yet I feel drawn to both of them. I go to Paris when I need to let my mind run free, when I need passion and art and life to flow through my veins, silky French-accented voices that leave red lipstick on my skin and the teasing touch of feathers and velvet. But Berlin, that's where I go for discipline. When I need to delve into the deepest corners of my mind I seek out Berlin with its whispered secrets, forever repenting, on its knees, hanging by the chains, yet never defeated. Such strength and determination; it fuels my drive, energizes my mind and fills it with possibilities, with endless promise.

This is where the pieces of the Eiffel Tower will end up, and where feathers and chains will collide. On the abandoned tarmac of the Tempelhof Airport, tonight the Eiffel Tower will magically appear, less than 24 hours after it disappeared from Paris. My men are instructed to leave it in pieces, carefully laid out as a giant jigsaw puzzle for Sherlock and the good people of Berlin to figure out. Of course, I also instructed them to leave out one vital piece from the puzzle, making it impossible to reassemble the Tower correctly no matter how hard they try. The greatest prank ever played, and sure to frustrate the crap out of the stuffy Germans.

I can barely contain my glee thinking about it. It's reminds me of the time when I went polar bear hunting with Vladimir Putin and kept pointing out snow-covered shrubs for him to kill. Turns out Vladimir Putin has absolutely no sense of humor and I ended up naked and lost on the Siberian tundra. It was a good day.

I take a sip from my espresso and look out the window at the beautiful scenery speeding by. I'm on a train again, but this time without an ill-mannered sword making my travels miserable. I wonder how long it will take for Sherlock to realize that I'm not in Berlin. I doubt very long, I left him that bar of Toblerone, after all, and I feel a twinge of unease. I have some preparations to make before he finds me. Our game of cat-and-mouse has gone on for too long. It's been fun, but Sherlock is too observant for his own good. One of these days he will outdo me, and I can't allow that. When he finds me, and he will, I will see to it that he won't be around to mess with my plans anymore.

The train stops in the town of Meiringen, where a car is waiting to take me to my final destination. It's a short drive, and as we near our goal I can hear the roar of wild and unforgiving water. This is where the last chapter of Sherlock Holmes will be written.

Reichenbach Falls.

This rather hastily put together post was written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. To see the other participants' posts, please visit We Work For Cheese.

This particular story line with me in the role of Professor Moriarty and MikeWJ in the role of Sherlock Holmes started sometime around Day 7 when Mike took offense to my shameless blogging outside of our agreement. Rude of me, I know. So in this post, he challenged me. And I, of course, responded. With nudity. This got Mike's panties all in a twist, so he wrote this here post, in which he planted an extremely conspicuous tracking device on me, in what he thought was a brilliant move.  It was, of course, but let's not tell him that. I responded here, by creating a mystery for Sherlock to solve, which he did quite adequately in his next post. I mean, it was nothing to write home about, but he didn't suck, either. And now we're here, about to face off in a fight to the death. Or until one of us gets an ouchie. Tune back in on Friday for the unbelievably exciting last chapter in Moriarty and Sherlock's great adventure. Or don't.
We don't give a damn. *

Sunday, February 23, 2014

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: There Are Things

There are certain moments, certain things, in life that go straight to your soul. They happen when you need them the most, when you’re sinking and in need of saving. These moments lift you up and carry you through, and no matter how many times you go back in your mind and re-live those moments, they never get old. This is one of those moments.

It’s ten years ago. We’re not even twenty yet, but six months ago my sister was dying of pulmonary embolism. There have been tears and begging and whispered words to any deity that will listen, and most of all a bone-chilling fear that’s planted itself deep in my soul. But we’re here now, just the two of us under the Mediterranean sun. Two weeks in Cyprus to work on our tan and to celebrate life. Two weeks to get away from the horrors of what happened. Two weeks to melt away the winter that’s taken root within us.

And as the taxi driver laughs at our mispronunciation of the name of our hotel, I can feel the healing begin. “Chrielka!” he says loudly, as if dumb could be fixed by a louder volume, and we both try again, to his great dismay. He shakes his head and mutters something while weaving in and out of traffic and flipping other drivers off. Malin’s hair tickles my arm, and the trees are full of exotic flowers.

It’s the start of two amazing weeks of sunshine and the sea, of getting lost and finding our way back again, of fighting battles with cockroaches and emerging victorious, if a little worse for wear. It’s two weeks of incredible memories, but it’s that first taxi drive that I remember with the most fondness, because that’s what saved my life. It was those first few moments of laughter that expanded my chest and made room for the ice to melt.

This post was written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. To see the other posts, please visit We Work For Cheese.

Monday, February 17, 2014

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: I Faked It


I stared at Dr. W, then looked at the huge cabinet filled with various surgical implements, neatly packed individually in sterile packages.

“Uh huh. Scalpel. Coming right up.”

Tentatively, I reached for something that looked sharp enough to cut through skin.

“Nope. Not that one.”

I reached for another one.

“Not that one either.”

“Remind me again why you thought this was a good idea?”

“Oh, don’t worry, you’re doing great, just grab the one at the end there. Now give it to me.”

“If you at any point during this tell me to wipe your forehead, I’m sticking the scalpel in you.”

It started like any other Monday. I got to work at 7:45 am, turned on the computer, and greeted Dr. W. In retrospect, I think that’s where things went wrong. By 8:05, I was assisting Dr. W while he was cutting a woman open.

Well, cutting her open might have been a bit of an exaggeration. But he did cut away a huge mole right in the middle of her chest while I was busy not contaminating any of the instruments he had me put out and trying to ignore the fact that I normally faint just when having my blood drawn.

To my own amazement, my hand holding out a plastic jar for the severed mole was as steady as ever, and when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I looked positively excited. Maybe I missed my calling.

But I digress. Back to the beginning. So there I was, pulling out scalpels and scissors and suture kits and alcohol, some of it for cleaning the area, some of it not so much. The poor woman on the table was staring at me, wide-eyed, as if she somehow suspected I had no clue about what I was doing.

I didn’t, of course, but she didn’t need to know that. So for the next 20 minutes, I did what anyone would have done when confronted with hysterical patients, rogue moles and irresponsible doctors with scalpels.

I faked it. And I did it well.

I love my job.

This post was written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. To see the other posts, please visit We Work For Cheese. *

Thursday, February 13, 2014

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: Incommunicado

Sometimes I just drive.

No goal, no destination.

In the twilight the rush hour traffic slows to a crawl and the headlights become an endless string of pearls. Faceless people in cars without make or model, alone together. In my anonymous darkness the radio plays softly. Someone sings about an ice-cold winter -02, and I spend 30 minutes with only my thoughts and dreams for company.


This post was written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. To see the other posts, please visit We Work For Cheese. *

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: One Bite

The life of an evil mastermind is solitary. The hours are long, the nights are dark, and making friends is not something I prioritize. Everyone I meet is another possible victim. I’m a succubus. I tempt them with what they want most. I seduce, I make promises. I tantalize and deceive, con and cajole. And they come running, ready and eager to give me everything. It’s been years since I had a real challenge.

But Sherlock might just be more of a challenge than I thought, I muse, as I look down at the huge sword leaning against the empty seat next to me. Turns out traveling with a deadly weapon the size of a toddler is even more challenging than traveling with an actual toddler, as evident by the two police officers that boarded the train on the last stop and are now talking to the conductor in hushed tones, sneaking not so stealthy glances in my direction. Next time, Sherlock better hide his tracking device in something a little less cumbersome.

I sigh as I get up and start down the aisle, away from the law enforcement and what’s sure to be a minor international incident. I’m technically not allowed into France anymore, following a slight dispute over whether or not I was behind the widely publicized heist on Banque de France in Paris a few years ago. It was never proven I did it, but I have a one with a hell of a lot of zeros behind it on an off-short bank account that tells the real story. Behind me I hear someone yell “Arrête !”, and I promptly fail to do so.

As the train glides to a smooth stop at Gare du Nord, I get out and easily lose the blubbering idiots in the crowd of people at the railway station. The living, breathing thing that is the wonderful city of Paris welcomes me back. I’ve been missed. Paris, in all its beauty, is a restless and impudent lover, and I can feel her laugh and clap her hands in delight as I tell her about my grand plan. The heist of all heists. I’ve been planning this for a long time, and now, everything is finally coming together. It’s a first, and will go down in history as the boldest theft ever committed.

I can’t help but smile to myself as I think about my plan. But first, I have to make a stop. I’ve yet to have lunch, and I head toward Montparnasse. Located at the intersection of Boulevard Raspail and Boulevard du Montparnasse, I find my old hangout, Café Le Select. I grab my old corner table and order the Croque Monsieur from an arrogant waiter who clearly has someplace better to be, much like every other Parisian who is forced to do menial labor. I like him immediately.

I have a bite of the food, and it’s just as good as I remember it. I eat in silence, reading Hemingway. With a fountain pen, I make a note in the book, then underline a passage that I think suits the occasion. All too soon, it’s time for me to go. I pay for my food and get up. At the table, I leave the katana and the book. A message for Sherlock, who, if my calculations are correct, should have arrived in Paris by now and is probably on his way over to the café.

I start walking up Boulevard du Montparnasse. Up ahead, hiding behind a bend in the road, is the Eiffel Tower. For now. Tonight, there will be a blackout in Paris, and in the morning, tourists and Parisians alike are going to have the surprise of their lives. And Paris, my fickle mistress, will be one tourist attraction short of a sightseeing tour.

This post was written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. To see the other posts for today, please visit We Work For Cheese. *

Monday, February 10, 2014

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: Zombies

Okay people, imagine this. Moriarty is in the shower.

No, no, eyes up here, you can only see her from the waist up.

Now, she’s wet and holding the showerhead as a microphone, singing as if she knew how.

Stop it, you perverts, her hair is covering anything of interest, this is a family blog, after all.

Now, where were we.

That’s right, in the shower. Singing. All alone in a big empty house.

The camera moves through the house, past the kitchen, past the living room, down the hallway. At the end of the hallway, the front door.

Ever so gently, the doorknob turns. Someone’s entering the house. Uninvited.

Over in the shower, our protagonist is still showering and singing. Badly. Soap has replaced the hair covering all the important bits.

Back to the hallway. Our villain moves slowly, not entirely unlike a zombie, limping a little from an old battle wound sustained when he went to war with a car driven by an old lover. He’s taking his time making his way down the hallway, into the living room, past the kitchen.

The bedroom. He’s one door away from his grand prize.

In the shower, our heroine is singing something by Whitney Houston, oblivious to the fact that someone’s listening.

….or is she?

Sherlock yells “ah-ha!” and comes barreling in through the door, only to find the shower running, the room full of steam, but completely empty. He lowers his katana, confused. The camera zooms in on this face as he searches the empty bathroom. He even looks in the hamper, but finds no one.

As the camera pans the room, we suddenly see Moriarty in the mirror, standing behind Sherlock. She’s pointing a gun at him, a look of smug superiority on her face. As Sherlock searches behind the towels, she grabs his katana and sneaks out of the room, unnoticed.

In the dark of the night, she makes her way to Sherlock’s house, and uses his precious iPad to write a post and publish it.

Moriarty, 1 – Sherlock, 0.

This post was written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. If this post didn't make any sense to you at all, you might want to check out MikeWJ's post from a few days ago. Oh, and tell him I win. To see the other posts for today, please visit We Work For Cheese. *

Saturday, February 8, 2014

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: Damn

I’m sure most of you have noticed that the Winter edition of the Olympic Games is in full swing over on the Russian Riviera. Palm trees line the streets in Sochi, where athletes are enjoying luxury accommodations with a wonderfully Soviet twist.

As a Finn, I enjoy winter sports. Not to practice, God forbid, but it’s always fun to watch them from the warm comfort of my designer sofa, a nice bowl of buttery popcorn in my lap and a generous helping of I-could-do-it-better on the side.

I don’t know how familiar you are with winter sports, but I thought I’d write you a helpful little guide to see you through the next couple of weeks.

First, we have ice hockey. I love hockey. There is nothing like grown men beating the crap out of each other and calling it a sport. Here’s how it works. The puck needs to go from the middle of the ice into one of two goals. Preferably the one guarded by a Swede. The puck manages this an average of once every 15 minutes. The remaining time is spent fighting and finding alternative uses for the puck as a tooth-extracting device. Brilliant sport.

Next up, skiing. Cross country skiing is boring as hell, but thankfully, there are also daredevils who participate in downhill skiing and make the Olympics that much more exciting. I watch it for the broken limbs.

Sadly, downhill skating isn’t an Olympic event, but it damn well should be. And it should be called suicide. In suicide, you take your skates and walk up a mountain. You then put on your skates and, along with three of your fellow Emos, fall down the mountain in a pile of razor sharp blades and brainless muscle. The one who accidentally manages to slit his wrists is the winner. Down the road, not across the street.

Bobsleigh is the rich kids’ sport. You pretty much have to own a mountain to be able to play. You also need three friends and way too much time on your hands. The idea is to run like hell for a few meters, then jump into a warm and cozy sled, and gently ride down the mountain in a nicely carved track that keeps you on your course. You don’t even have to be sober to compete. This is why Jamaicans love this sport.

Skeleton is the poor man’s bobsleigh. It’s called skeleton because that’s how you’ll end up after you fly off the track, break your neck and never breathe again. You do it alone and you do it by night when the rich kids aren’t using their track. You take your old toboggan, run like hell for a few meters and then race head-first down the icy track of death. Darwinism states that these athletes shouldn’t live long enough to reproduce.

Now, Nordic combined, there’s a sport for real men. Living up here in one of the Nordic countries, no one knows the dangers of the North better than me. Almost every single day I am forced into a situation where I quickly have to put on my skis, race down a mountain, take off from said mountain and fly 140 meters through the air, only to set a perfect telemark landing. This is almost always followed by a leisurely 10-kilometer cross-country ski. Originally this practice was developed to escape the hungry polar bears roaming the streets, but nowadays we do it just for fun. It’s even part of my daily commute. The second part of my commute involves something that doesn’t have an English name. It consists of a big hole in the ice and a very cold swim. If you add a sauna it also doubles as the national pastime in Finland.

Enjoy the Games, my friends. Next time, we’ll be talking about figure skating and curling. Oh, the fun to be had!

This post was written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. To see the other posts, please visit We Work For Cheese. *

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: Hint, Hint

The perfect hint is subtle. A mere breath of a suggestion, planted in the subconscious mind without knowledge or invitation. A secret, hidden in the wind.

She’s been whispering hints at life. Getting close, so close. Her lips at its ear, her breath on its skin, unseen, unheard.


This post was written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. To see the other posts, please visit We Work For Cheese. *

Sunday, February 2, 2014

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: It Was No Accident

Accidents happen when you have a credit card, a steady income and a big new house to decorate. I know this from experience. In fact, I have some of that experience sitting right there in my hallway, waiting to be taken back to IKEA where I picked it up a couple of weeks ago. Turns out I didn’t really need that lamp shaped like a giraffe.

But things happen when I’m at IKEA. Things I don’t really want or need just accidentally fall into my shopping cart, and I come home with more friendly furniture than I could ever need. In fact, I have had several accidents like this happen over the past couple of months, several of which came with blocky Swedish names and helpful instructions for how to assemble them for maximum buyer’s remorse.

But the lights I just bought, they definitely didn’t come from IKEA, and they were definitely not an accident. I saw them online and I fell in love. Warm, soft shades of gray to light up these cold winter days. I needed to have them, and unlike that giraffe monstrosity, they are staying for good.

This post was written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. To see the other posts, please visit We Work For Cheese.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III: Gouda

I am not writing about cheese.

The thought invades my consciousness before I’m even aware of being awake. They’ve chosen it to mess with my head, I’m positive of it. They know how much I hate cheese. I’m not even sure I want to do the challenge at all, and a cheese prompt on the very first day hasn’t done much to inspire me.

I sigh as I get out of bed and greet the day. Black thoughts lie heavy on my mind as I walk through the empty house. M’s away in Brussels or Paris or Rome or some other beautiful European city, and I’m talking to my cats again. Life has become complicated, and I feel it in my bones. I made plans, and they’re not working out. An endless series of anti-climaxes.

I am not writing about cheese.

I stare at the computer screen, see the cheese posts appear one after the other, and I know there’s no way I can do this challenge. The writing, the reading, the commenting, it will wear me out, bring me down. By the end of the month, there will be nothing left of me.

I close the laptop and go outside. Last night’s blizzard has gifted us with several inches of heavy snow, and as the plows came by this morning they left a knee-deep wall of snow five feet wide between my house and the world. It seems symbolic, and I contemplate leaving it as it is, but I know M won’t make it past the wall and into the driveway when he finally comes home.

I grab the big snow shovel and start working. Back and forth I push the thing.

I am not writing about cheese.

“You have a lot of snow.”

The little voice comes from behind me somewhere and I turn around. The little girl next door stands there, and she’s inspecting my driveway with an expert eye.

“I do, don’t I?”

“Yep,” she says, “we’re all done with ours.”

“Yeah, I saw that.”

She walks off, and I continue with my shoveling. Back and forth, back and forth.

“I’ll help you if you want.”

She’s back, and she’s carrying a child-sized red shovel.

“You know, that would be great. Thank you,” I say, and she gets started.

Together we work, side by side. She tells me she’s 4 years old and has an older brother who’s 6. She has little brother, too, but he’s just a few weeks old, so she’s not sure he counts yet. I tell her about my cats, and about my work.

She makes narrow paths in the snow. Happy and carefree, a swirling pattern in the snow next to my perfect straight lines. Lines executed with the military precision of someone who’s forgotten all about fun and is irrevocably stuck in the tangle of expectation and predictability.

She asks me if I’ll be her friend, and I tell her I would like that very much. She can’t stay very long; she has to go home for dinner. She yells a happy goodbye to me from her front porch, and I abandon my straight lines in favor of soft curves around the driveway. I dig out the car from under the snow and carry more firewood into the house.

When I sit down in front of my laptop again, I’m tired and hungry and my entire body aches from the hard work, but I feel rejuvenated. Maybe I’ll write a post after all.

But I’m still not writing about cheese.

This quickly thrown together post was, to my great surprise, written for Nicky and Mike's 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing III. To see the other posts, please visit We Work For Cheese. *