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I Remember

Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:28 am
by Edminster
I remember one time back when I was in jail for something I to this day maintain my innocence on I was cellmates with this really tall and beefy guy named Paul. We got to chatting as you do when you've fuckall else to occupy your time and eventually became pretty decent friends. Well, as decent as you can be when you're in the pokey, but you take what you can get, you know? Anyway he was a pretty stand-up guy and seemed decent enough so we got to talking about what we were accused of doing. I've told you my story before so I don't have to go into that but his story was so far out there; I mean like I know my alibi was shaky as hell but to hear this man talk you'd think he was some figure out of tall tales your grampa's grampa told his kids. Real crazy stuff, you know what I'm saying? In order to do it justice, I gotta tell it the way he told it to me, so bear with me because it's kind of long. Not so long as you'd make a book out of it or nothin', but long enough that you're gonna be wondering when I'll get to the fucking point already.



He was born in some shitty log cabin way the fuck out in Who Knows, Missouri to a poor couple of dirt farmers who had the misfortune of inadequate foreknowledge regarding just what kind of child Paul was going to be. You see, I wasn't kidding when I said Paul was a tall and beefy guy. In fact, I may have understated just how large this man was. A standard jail cell has something like eight-foot tall ceilings, and Paul had to hunch over when standing in it. Dude was mondo-sized, no two ways about it. The thing is, he's always been big; his poor sainted mother had no idea what she was in for. Paul's parents had prepped for twins because of how big the old lady's belly was getting, but all they got was big ol' Paul tipping the scales at 25 pounds and measuring in at nearly two and a half feet long. For those of you who've never known this stuff, that's about the size of a one-year old child.

Thankfully Paul's old man was handy with a saw and hammer, and he managed to convert the two matching cribs intended for bouncing baby twins into a mostly symmetrical supercrib that creaked when Paul wriggled (as infants are wont to do). The clothes weren't so easy to rejigger, but a little clever work on Ma's part with a needle and thread and the great sacrifice of the nursery curtains meant that Baby Paul was able to keep clothed in a style that tastefully complemented the wallpaper. Of course, a boy the size of Paul was going to need more milk in a day than Ma could give in a week, but luckily the ramshackle farm had an equally ramshackle old milch cow named Daisy who could keep pace with the seemingly bottomless pit that was the terminus of Paul's stomach. In short, life was going to continue on for the Bunyan family, even if it was a little odd to the outside observer.

And odd it certainly seemed! For Paul was a hearty tyke, and by his first birthday he was big enough to roughhouse with the ornery old bull kept in the south paddock, and at age five he was pulling the plow for the spring planting. This latter activity brought the young lad's family to the attention of Child Protective Services, and thus began the path to the jail cell from which he told me this tale. You see, rather than calmly explain to the prim government lady in her severely cut navy blue suit that this activity was in fact the child's idea and was being performed with full supervision, Pa Bunyan threatened to blow off her head if she stepped foot on the property as "Tools of the State were unwelcome" on his stead. Even then, had he diligently filed his tax returns every April he could make a case that he was a responsible citizen but alas! he had not. So it was that Paul, at five years old (and just as many feet tall) was taken into the custody of the State of Missouri, pending completion of Parenting and Anger Management courses by his parents.

The shock of losing her baby boy sent Ma Bunyan into a deep depression which kept her from helping Pa Bunyan on the increasingly run-down and decrepit old farm, and Pa's fierce temper prevented the hire of farm hands capable of helping. One hot and dry summer the barn was struck by lightning and caught fire. Fueled by the abnormally dry hay stored inside it burned to the ground long before anyone was able to come help extinguish it, and with it died the remaining few hopes and dreams the Bunyans had of life ever returning to normal. This final blow was enough to send Pa into an apoplectic fit, and he died right there on the spot while screaming his rage at an unfair world. Ma died shortly thereafter, having lost the will to live. All very sad stuff. Of course, when Paul caught wind of this news his heart broke in two, and he cried so hard half an inch of tears coated the floor.

Life as a Ward of the State wasn't too kind to Paul. At seven years old and seven feet tall, he was too big for the beds in the children's section of the Institution that the State of Missouri placed him, but also far too young to spend his days in the Adult section. The solution to this problem was as straightforward as it was absurd. Paul was to spend his days with the children, and his nights with the feeble-minded adults. And so Paul went about his life as best he could, until one day with his oversized feet Paul accidentally tripped another child who was running through the halls. No amount of apology or explanation could sway the stony faces of the Institution Staff, and so they decided that for the safety and health of all the other children Paul was to be exiled to the Adult section entirely.

[WC 1,063] will pick back up after sleep

Re: I Remember

Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:10 am
by Kimra
I have read it, and it's interesting. I look forward to procrastinating my writing some more when you post more. : )

Re: I Remember

Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:44 pm
by carbonstealer
I like this tall tale business, totally won't steal it for my own story or advertise your own work as my own work

Re: I Remember

Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:59 pm
by Edminster
Life in the Adult section wasn't as fun as life in the Children's section for Paul, but thankfully there were still some distractions that a young one could appreciate. A game of Checkers with only three pieces missing, a couple of colouring books that were miraculously untouched, the board for Chutes and Ladders (dice and pieces not included), and an off-brand Encyclopedia set (Volumes 6, 9, and 15, 1914 edition). Not the best selection but better than nothing. In this barren, entertainment-dry environment Paul slowly grew closer to the addlepated adult Wards and slowly grew taller as the days passed by until finally at twelve years of age Paul Bunyan stopped growing, breaking all known records at twelve feet in height. Ma Bunyan would be proud, God rest her soul. It was on this day, the day he stopped growing, that Paul started growing in a different way. Having finally exhausted the last clean bit of the coloring books, Paul turned to the actual books.

In particular, he turned to Volume 6. Volume 9 concerned itself overmuch with the reign of various Kings and suchlike while volume 15 was filled to the brim with information regarding trade routes with the East Indies. Volume 6, however, included a section that was all about the kinds of jobs one could find in the mysterious land called America. Fur trapping, Bead trading, Gold prospecting, Oil drilling, a list as long as Paul's arm. But in particular one stood out to the young boy: Lumberjacking. He had long gazed through the locked grates barring the windows of the Institution, staring at the tall pines that afforded the building privacy from the outside world, viewing them as the final, insurmountable barrier between him and escape. For you see as tall as Paul was, the smallest of these trees were twice, sometimes thrice so and a select few seemed so tall as to scrape the blue off of the sky. The revelation that not only was it possible to fell these monuments of wood and leaf but that one could make money doing so filled Paul with an intense desire to escape.

And so, keeping this desire to escape deep in his heart, Paul set about ingratiating himself to the staff of the Institution. He started small at first, offering to dust the vaulted ceiling of the activities center and clearing cobwebs that accumulated in the upper corners of the rooms, and slowly worked his way up to washing the interior windows with the help of a staff member's gratefully loaned key. Eventually the staff came to view him as just another member of the janitorial crew, and let him clean as he liked. After all, it kept the young one busy and harmed nobody, so why worry? The irony of letting the same child who was taken from his parents for just this sort of activity was left unobserved by the whole of the Institution. As time passed, he was trusted with more and more janitorial duties until finally, at sixteen years of age and still only twelve feet tall, he was offered an actual for real job as a junior assistant janitor for the Institution. Paul was outwardly placid when offered the position, but inside his heart soared! As part of his duties, he would be allowed free roam of the building's interior and exterior, as everything eventually needed to be cleaned inside and out.

One day, while marveling at the other peculiar talent a bird possesses (that is to say the ability to poop on the upper portion of a recessed 10 foot tall window with nary a perch in sight), Paul noticed in the reflection a small and dilapidated shed that had somehow escaped his notice when peering outside as a small child (figuratively speaking). After faithfully discharging his duty and removing the offending efflux from the now-pristine window, Paul lumbered over to the creaky building scarcely half his size to investigate. Barely six feet in height at front with a sloped tin roof descending to a four-foot back wall, the five feet of depth seemed hardly enough for Paul to poke his head into, let alone enough to store anything of note. And yet surely it must contain something to remain standing, for the silvered wood constituting the sides seemed far to frail and inadequate to support even as light a roof as it happened to have. Even the door seemed ready to collapse at the slightest provocation, limply hanging from rust-chewn hinges like a leaf ready to fall during an autumn breeze.

[WC 759, total 1822 surplus 155]

Re: I Remember

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:26 am

Re: I Remember

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:10 am
by Apocalyptus
Enjoying this one!

Re: I Remember

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:48 am
by smiley_cow
I love the premise of this. Look forward to reading more.

Re: I Remember

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:35 am
by Edminster
Timorously, Paul approached the door. His hand, trembling, slowly reached out towards the handle of the gently-swaying amalgamation of wood and metal, stopping an inch short of touching for fear of setting off a chain reaction of collapse. His oversized heart thudded loudly in his ears, making the already quiet lawn deafeningly silent by comparison. How had this building escaped his notice for so long? What secrets were inside, just barely contained in the near-rotted shell of wood and tin? Would he get in trouble for investigating this miniature building which, through the sheer accident of being wholly unknown to the young man despite his habitation of the area for a full decade, felt as imposing as the marble-clad edifice of the Institution itself?

This last thought drew him up short. He was still only a Junior assistant janitor, and could not afford the risk of losing the additional freedom afforded him by this opportunity. After all, if he was let go he would no longer be free to roam the grounds, and his chances of escape would be that much more limited. Reluctantly, he withdrew his hand; exploration would have to wait until he had earned more trust than he was given now. As his heart calmed down, Paul's universe slowly expanded until he could once again perceive more than the tattered old shed sitting on the edge of the ancient pine stand encircling the Institution. The time would come for him to return and examine soon enough, he told himself. Until then, he should continue to execute his duties as Junior Assistant Janitor faithfully until such time as he could leverage his trust into a chance at investigation. So, with great shoulders hunched in self-defeat, Paul turned and walked away.

[WC 291, total 2113 deficit 1221]

Re: I Remember

Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:55 pm
by Edminster
Time passed in the way that it does, and roasting summer turned to crisp autumn turned to bitter winter turned to balmy spring. Paul Bunyan was now seventeen years old and had just been promoted from Junior Assistant Janitor to full Janitor, skipping completely over the intermediary post of Assistant Janitor. Ordinarily this would not have happened, but through a freak accident both the Janitor and the Assistant Janitor were killed when one slipped on an errant bowl that had previously contained black bean chili while buffing the floor of the cafetorium, causing the machine to careen out of control and strike the other upon the head, causing massive brain swelling and eventually death. So, Paul found himself in a position that solely reports to the Senior Janitor (who had years ago decided that it was much easier to just let the Janitor and Assistant Janitor do all of the work and was not inclined to change this habit now that they had both died).

The Senior Janitor was the sort who, on arriving to work promptly at a quarter to seven in the morning, would immediately head to his office, lock the door, and nap until seven-thirty. From there he would variously read a fishing magazine, do the crossword in the paper, or if he were feeling particularly daring he would take another nap until lunch time. He was, in effect, exactly the sort of boss that Paul needed in order to investigate the old shed that had somehow miraculously survived the winter snows, and when Paul brought up the idea of perhaps restoring or otherwise dealing with the unsightly construction the Senior Janitor informed him that he was free to do with it as he pleased so long as he refrained from further informing the Senior Janitor about his activities and that it would be highly appreciated if Paul just continued working as he had and stop bothering the Senior Janitor altogether.

[WC 324, total 2437 deficit 897]

Re: I Remember

Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:42 am
by Edminster
Paul approached the ancient, etiolated old shed with a sort of reverence. Over the past year it had never left his thoughts, and now that he was given explicit permission to do with it as he pleased he was almost reluctant to do anything at all for fear that it could not possibly live up to the narrative he had built up for it in his head. Again the shed filled his universe but this time fear of disappointment rather than fear of getting caught stayed his hand from touching the rusted handle. Surely his salvation would be contained within a more appropriately ornate housing and not a barely-standing old shed tucked away in a forgotten corner of the grounds?

His hand hovered, an inch from the knob.

He grasped the handle

and it


[WC 132 total 2569 deficit 765]

Re: I Remember

Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:24 am
by Edminster
When threatening assault, a phrase that is thrown around is that of "a world of pain". Depending on the intended result, the word "world" in the phrase can be replaced up or down with concepts as grand as "a multiverse" all the way down to "a sparsely populated midwestern town" of pain.

Paul awoke, several hours later, to an existence of junk. Taking inventory of his person, he was distressed to discover that while he was able to wiggle his toes, it felt as if they were soaking in an as-yet unidentified liquid. His hands and fingers were able to clench, but there was something heavy preventing his right arm from moving to any significant degree. At first he believed himself to be blind, but upon shaking his head it became clear that it was simply ensconced in a bucket. Something large seemed to be resting upon his chest and when he attempted to sit up it became clear that it was also the thing pinning his right arm to the ground. Some careful experimentation proved that his left arm was in fact free, but proper coordination of it to extricate himself was hampered by his bucketed head.

Clearly, the first task was to remove the bucket. With some difficulty, Paul was able to navigate his left hand through the pile of unknown materials and objects until it rested on the rim of his head covering. After a gentle shove, the outsized pail escaped its perch on Paul's head and he was free to marvel at the massive junk pile that his lower half was fully ensconced within. It was immense. So immense, in fact, that Paul was uncertain whether or not the bulk of it could have fit in the minute building from which it spewed forth. With his left arm free to make changes to his personal environment now that his eyes were free to observe same, Paul was able to lift what he discovered was a rusted girder from his torso and right arm. With fully fifty percent of his body and all of his hands free, now was the time to reevaluate his situation.

To Paul's left and right were the bucket that previously inhabited his cranium and the girder that formerly called home to his chest, respectively. Across his thighs rested an old lawnmower and his shins remained buried under various old and careworn appliances in various states of repair. Unfortunately, the pile of technological scree was too dense for Paul to ascertain what, exactly, was soaking his poor feet. If the texture was to be believed it was more viscous than water. Perhaps motor oil, if the visible portion of the detritus pile towering over his supine figure was an accurate summation of the contents within. While pondering his immediate situation, Paul could not help but marvel at the scope of debris ensnaring him. The lawnmower, which he gingerly removed lest his motions inadvertently calve a fresh chunk of metal scrap in a mechanical avalanche, was missing the carburetor and clipping bag, and several cables appeared to have been replaced with baling wire.

[WC 516, total 2953 deficit 2030]

Re: I Remember

Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:44 am
by Edminster
In all, there seemed to be something wrong with each and every item in the mountain of refuse claiming Paul's legs. Paul muttered to himself the strongest oath he had learned in his time at the institution, "This shit is bananas". The doorless refrigerator at the peak of the mechanical hill stood silently in agreement.

Paul planted his hands solidly into the dirt and gently shoved, trying to pull his trapped shins free of the junkpile. As his ensnared limbs inched their way out of the impossible