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01.16.03 12:45 a.m.

Fame comes only when deserved, and then is as inevitable as destiny, for it is destiny.


Previously in Xenology: Emily was an off-Broadway baby. Zack and Emily auditioned for Sweeney Todd.

Emily insists that I had made of slight... errors... in the prior entry. I prefer to think of these as harmless slips of the lobe, but she feels I should correct them.
James Lipton, who actually was at her father's art opening, didn't remember Emily. He merely asked the typical question adults ask the young, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Emily answered that she wished to act and the rest of the story is the same except that he gave her sixth row center tickets to Le Mis, which are the best seat in the house.

R.I.P. Kip
Emily's dog Kippur had to be put to sleep a few days ago. As Emily leads a life requiring frequent emotional pain, she was there to hold it as it was killed. She has given me permission to use her letter:

hey love,
so we're done. i'm home with my father and without the dog... Its not as awful as i thought it would be but its also really sad. I've never felt so emotionally and physically drained and wasted as i do right now. We've done so much crying my face hurts and is raw from all the times i've rubbed my tears away. She was so peaceful. She was a little scared and shaky but not even too much. She didn't cry or whine and she just lay on the table and had my father and i pet her and hug her and cry. She was just done. In fact my father and i didn't even realise she was gone really. They gave her an injection and we thought that there were going to be two of them, though after the first she was done. Her nose got cold and so did her paws and my father and i cried and I kept apologizing, and here i thought i was done crying but writing this to you i've started again. I know now that this was absolutely the right thing to do. She was so peaceful and calm and it was just time. I do not think that we should have waited and i do not think it was too soon. it was just right, and i think i feel bad for me now and for my loss than for her. She is happy wherever, and i hope she gets a bath... So i need to go to sleep now... It doesn't even feel like sleep as much as complete mental oblivion that i need. just darkness and peace and relaxation without worry or tears. I will wake up refreshed i hope, or at least not as raw both physically and emotionally. Anyway i love you and thank you for being there last night and holding me when i needed it. I miss you and i wish i were with you, cozy right now.
I know to some this seems like a small thing. I would wager most who think this way have not owned dogs in their lives. M and Kippur grew up together. There are scattered photos of a tiny, Shirley Temple-curled Emily with a puppy version of the dog. Granted, when I entered upon the scene, Kip was already a senile, one-eyed bag of fur who barked at me as often and as well as she could no matter how many times I met and petted her. She still had a certain charm, as all dogs that are not biting tend to. She would sit down suddenly, and all at once. Four legs to lump in under a second.
Of course, this affects me most deeply because it hurts Emily. Aside from being her dog since she was three years old and banging pans together to make breakfast for schizophrenic, Kippur was a part of her past. A vestige of childhood and different lives.

Packing Pussies into Pies
As you may know, Zack and Emily auditioned for Sweeney Todd and indeed got roles. This should surprise no one; they both have excellent voices and stage presence. Pursia auditioned and was accepted to the musical as well but the pressure of... well, something she claimed was pressure (I call it "stage fright") got to her and she declined to be a part of this production. More the pity.
Zack, M, and Pursia
Emily had just arrived back from her week in Florida with her friend Kelly. She did not fall out of the sky, despite the fact that I do not understand exactly why planes to not plummet. I was happy about this, as I prefer my Emily in one piece and original recipe.
The time without Emily had been rather endurable, given that we still engaged in brief telephone conversations whenever she was outside of a ride or attraction that she thought I would have liked. Zack considers this the height of sweetness, as this means that she is thinking of me in conjunction with a delightful time. He is not wrong.
I arrived at the airport early, though I left most of my standard accoutrements in my car for fear that my digital camera case or my PDA would arouse the suspicion of the federales. I am largely unused to airports, having only spent an hour in this very one many years ago to retrieve my mother from the clutches of some hell beast in Seattle. I paced the length of the terminal, which took under a minute. Understand, this is a very small airport. I was not that nervous. In an effort to distract my mind, I went to the cupboard-sized gift shops and whispered to a monkey puppet that a guilty, loving father who misses his young daughter very much would soon rescue him. An officer with his hand on his firearm conspicuously looked me up and down. I had an urge to inform him that I am a slight, obviously Caucasian male and had no interest in getting anywhere near an airplane, but he took his hand off his gun and walked away without uttering a word to me.
I started pacing again, hoping without reason the cops would be more interested in a stationary target, when I ran into Matt. I actually was expecting him to appear, because his friend Mike was trapped in Florida and in trouble. Initially after discovering this, he offered to drive to Florida in his freshly repaired car and retrieve him. However, I knew that Mike would actually take a plane back and that, furthermore, it would be the same plane Emily was on. Why? Because the writing and travel budget for this narrative and shoestring thin, so we thrive on such contrivances.
We hung out and awaited the arrival of our respective parties (indeed, Mike was to be on the same plane as Emily), discussing the situation and bands in the area. The latter topic was largely Matt's, as my knowledge of the scene is that Evan's barn used to be the epicenter of local music years before I met him. Matt invited me to a show that his band is having in Danbury on the 25th, so I may well have to attend (with earplugs, as I recall his band being high in both the "loud" and "hardcore" columns).
Emily disembarked from the winged chariot and into my arms. It wasn't one of those movie, clichéd encounters. Just a quite hug and a peck, then to the business or recovering the luggage and getting away from paranoid men with firearms. Mike was not on the plane, nor was another plane departing from the airline until tomorrow. Matt and his friend were confused as to how to proceed and this is how we left them.
"Damn, it's cold here," remarked Emily as we were ushered through the automatic, rotating door that I was certain was going to trap and gas me.
As I had been dealing with weather that was as frigid, unreliable, and surly as its middle teens degrees suggested, I sighed and said, "Yes. It is winter."
"But... I was in Florida. Like, three hours ago. And it was seventy! Why is it seventeen now?"
"Because god hates us. Also, it is January."
We piled into my car, found a Chinese restaurant where we could purchase warm food to go, and began our trek to Emily's rehearsal (by way of stealing Conor so I wouldn't be bored... or he would be bored with me). Zack had told Emily several days earlier that she was in the chorus, however Emily was hoping that he excuse of, "Sorry I am late, I just got off my plane from Florida," would show enough dedication that she would get bumped up. This was not the case.
Here is the story as we heard it when Emily came into our room and pulled us into a closet to avoid detection. Cap'n Hook, the director, had originally intended for Emily to be Joanna. He had already given the other female lead to his wife, who had not bothered to audition, so Emily was perfect for the role of the slightly busty blonde girl. However, after Hook had made this decision, his wife's friend whimpered, "Oooooohhhhh, I have always wanted to be Joanna... So much... It would be so nice if I were Joanna... because I so would like to... Be Joanna, I mean... in the play Sweeney Todd..." and possibly made some vague threat to Hook or his wife about their use of her recording studio. Thus this woman stole Emily's part, despite having never auditioned and the fact that she can only manage to come to one rehearsal a week and will miss all of tech week. The musical director clearly was upset that this had been done, and made this plain to Emily. Hook, himself, explained that this was completely politics and M should rightly have this part. I rather think that this show is going to suffer if the director is casting his irresponsible and whiny friends rather than talented people. Then again, I haven't acted in a few years so this seems par for the course.
Speaking of my sense of deep foreboding about this production, Conor and I were honestly horrified at the singing. Beyond the fact that they spent - without hyperbole - two hours singing one bar of one song repeatedly with no progress whatsoever, it was the sort of bad singing that seems contrived when one is watching a banal sitcom. To call it discordant would be an insult to Eris. Certainly, there were a few voices in the din that could actually sing, but it otherwise sounded like rabid howler monkey eating crack babies.
After permanently damaging our eardrums bearing witness to this audio atrocity, we ducked into an empty adjoining room that had stools. We placed one each on the floor, though we spent most of our time pacing and expounding about the frailty of reality when we were not busy mentally creating "The Nightmare Before Christmas on Broadway!" (All we need is a backer and Disney's approval and we can have the next "Lion King"). I cannot go too deeply into the former, as I am making this the centerpiece for a story I have begun and wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.
I have a theory that being in the presence of Conor excites some frenetic part of my intellect, for when we are together we rarely cease speaking. We can cover one hundred subjects within the course of a few minutes or completely flesh out one topic. It is an amazing function of our synergistic mind. I have told Emily that I always feel like he and I are speaking so rapidly and about so many subjects that we are wholly incomprehensible to those beyond five feet of us, and all they will hear of the tones from a modem. It feels like a different, twin language full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse. I find it amazing to share this bond with another.
Conor received a call from Flynn, so we went outside so he could complete the call. I approached a young boy playing in the snow and said, "You really should build a snowman."
He looked up at me and, without any condescension or fright, responded, "No. Can't. The snow is hard."
I reached down and confirmed that it was coated with a thin layer of ice. "Very well," I conceded, "you win this round." I noted that he was grabbing handfuls of the icy snow and throwing them at the ground. "How is this game played?"
"I dunno. I throw it at the road."
"Oh. That's a pretty good game, actually." I experimentally threw some snow at the road. "It's a bit like bocce ball." I gave up at this point, as I was certain I would soon accidentally shatter the window of a Lincoln Continental, though he continued. The game evolved into the boy throwing hunks of ice on the roof of the theater and avoiding them as they fell to the ground. This was less of a good game, despite being physically active, because the ice kept slamming onto the roofs of cars in the parking lot.
When we reentered the theater, Conor realized that he knew one of Emily's castmates. We shall call him Horndog, for reasons that may become apparent. This story really begins in high school, specifically Haldane. Horndog was interested in Alison first (though it may have been Kendall, the order seems inconsequential to me), despite her being something like seventeen and his claims that he was thirty. Nonetheless, he and she (whichever she) got together and he contributed to the delinquency of a minor... at least until the other female caught his eye and, summarily, other orbicular parts of his anatomy. This resulted in the girls hating one another, which was due to happen soon enough anyway. I recalled to Conor that he once ran at me with a claymore and I stood my ground and snarked in effect, "Put your overcompensation down, Horndog." Understandable, my respect for him is slight.
After this march down memory lane was done, Emily was done with her rehearsal. We spent the car ride home deriding the play and contemplating the idea that people surround themselves with reflections. We couldn't quite place what all of our friends reflected, but it is worthy of further contemplation.

Soon in Xenology: Kate's dates. Vampire: The Masquerade Ball. Skiing with Dave.

last watched: My So-Called Life
reading: Porno
listening: Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff
wanting: excitement in my relationships.
interesting thought: We surround ourselves with reflections.
moment of zen: time with those I love.
someday I must: ski.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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