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  • The toys on the bus goes round, round, round…

    It was an average day on a Portland bus, or so I thought. But as I boarded the 4 headed downtown, I found that it was hardly an average day. I took my seat towards the front of the bus, and noticed my fellow passengers all seemed to have a wide range of facial expressions. I saw disgust, I saw delight, I saw disturbance, dumbfoundedness, and in one passenger’s eyes, I even saw a bit of desire. It was quite the array of emotions. Despite the smorgasbord of emotions, not one of them seemed to have a look of disinterest. For on the floor, rolling all over the bus, was a sex toy.

    24214319_BG1It was a little dirty….it’s hard to say if the dirt was there from the, ahem, loving it received by it’s orphaned owner, or if the dust was just from the bus itself. It was silicon- nothing fancy by any means. Not that I’m an expert on sex toys, but I’ve seen enough on the internet to know this didn’t have any bells or whistles – granted, I never saw it up close, so I could be wrong. As far as size and, uhhh, girth, it was rather short for a sex toy and probably about average size, so average size by most standards. Just a flesh colored, no frills prosthetic penis as far as I could tell.

    The bus went along its route, the toy raced from place to place. Sometimes the toy landed in front, sometimes it landed in back, sometimes it rolled near our feet. Passengers would quickly lift their legs as the toy raced towards their toes – no one wanted to touch it. And can you blame us? I mean, where has that toy been? What has it seen? Who has it…well, you know! We just didn’t know. I mean a normal, healthy person is gross enough – but we had no idea if it’s orphaned owner was healthy. For all we knew, some horrible disease could be lurking on it’s silicon body. We just didn’t know.

    Maybe ten minutes into my ride, an elderly woman who seemed to speak some type of Slavic language got on the bus. She dressed as many elderly women dress – heavy polyester, below the knee skirt. stockings, and modest black shoes with a short heel. She sat at the front of the bus, in priority seating, and did not notice the sex toy rolling around the floor. The toy, however, seemed to notice her. As the bus rolled out of the stop and onto the road once more, the toy rolled from its previous position directly to her feet….and rested at her heels.

    We didn’t know what to do…should….should we tell her? Hey lady, there’s a sex toy at your heel! Should we keep our mouth shut? I mean, it was touching her heel only…I seriously doubt she would be making contact with that part of the shoe. Besides – it had stopped rolling so our terror was over. We didn’t have to worry about the toy finding its way to our feet. So….that’s pretty much what we did. We just let the toy be. Most of the passengers went back to their normal bus faces…delight, desire, despair – all replaced with the blank look of a passenger riding the bus some random afternoon. The lady seemed oblivious, and I think I only really noticed the toy at her feet because I happened to be sitting near the front, so the toy was still in plain view for me. The universe seemed to reset itself to normalcy – or rather the bus at least (when has the universe ever been normal?).

    A couple stops after the elderly lady got on (the bus), a few middle school aged girls get on the bus. They plop themselves in priority seating, and, well, acted like middle school aged girls act. When they looked across the aisle, and saw a toy at the feet of an elderly lady, they giggled and pointed. The lady herself, not noticing the young girls as she was absorbed in a novel by that time. The girls, of course, presumed the toy was the lady’s. Of course they didn’t realize that the toy was there before the lady – and of course I could have said something – but what could I have said? Hey girls…that’s not that old lady’s dildo. Awkward! For all parties – the girls, the lady, and myself! I kept my silence once more. Eventually the girls exited the bus, as did I.

    I have no idea what happened to the toy, or the old lady. I hope she didn’t realize she had a sex toy at her feet. That would have been, in my opinion, a wave of embarrassment, disgust, and queasiness. I know if that had happened to me, I would most likely never wear those shoes again. I wouuld burn those suckers as soon as I got home. So – yes – I hope she never discovered the secret of the toy at her shoes. And I hope whoever finally dealt with the toy, most likely an employee of Trimet, used rubber gloves.

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  • American (Voting) Horror Story

    Note: This is a fictional account of voting in North Carolina. The state was chosen as a state that is far away from Oregon and does not have the vote by mail system we have in Oregon. The author has not, nor does he ever, have plans on moving to North Carolina. I also want to add, if anyone from North Carolina reads this and finds my portrayal of your state offensive, perhaps we can open a dialogue about it. Really, I played a lot of stereotypes here, and I don’t know how many are actually true. So yeah – let’s chat!

    electionmailIt was a foggy October morning. I had just moved to North Carolina a few months ago and was excited about voting in my first election in my new home state. I made sure to register on time, with my correct address and my political party of choice. All my t’s were crossed, all my I’s were dotted. I just needed to sit back, relax, and wait for the postal carrier to bring my ballot, along with the junk mail and bills they usually bring. I waited for a few weeks. By October 25th, I started to worry. What if I filled out my voter registration wrong? What if my address was wrong? What if the post office accidentally sent it to my previous residence in Oregon? My hands began to sweat, my body began to shake. I decided I needed to call someone.
    After I got home from work, I called the county voting office, which gave me a polite message saying they were only open from 10-3, Tuesday through Friday. Stupid government agencies! Oh well, I’ll call tomorrow during my lunch break. The next morning, sandwich in one hand, and phone in another I called again, only to be put on hold. I consumed my lunch and listened to the Muzak – patiently waiting for someone to answer my call. I waited 30 minutes and my lunch break was over. I decided to wait for a few minutes more, when finally someone answered.
    “Eeeyello, Mecklenburg County votin’, ow might I elp ya’ll?” – a male voice with a distinct, southern accent rang out.
    “Umm,” I said sheepishly, “I never received my ballot. What do I do?”
    “Son, what r ya’ll talkin’ bout?”
    “In the mail, I never got my ballot in the mail. Shouldn’t I have gotten it by now?”
    “Yer not from these parts, are you?”
    “No – I’m from Oregon. Why?”
    “Oreeegone? Shoot. Well I don’t know what they do up there, but ‘round here we don’t send no ballots in the mail.”
    “Umm….how do you vote then?”
    “Boy – you don’t even know how to vote? You gotta go to a polin’ place from 9 AM to 5 PM.”
    “Umm…that’s odd, but when in Rome I guess. Where are the poling places?”
    After a short interchange of information, he directed me to a school near my house. I vaguely, back in the 80s, remember standing in line with my mom at a school. Maybe this is what she was doing.
    I made arrangements with my boss to vote before work. He insisted I be in by 11, I figured that would be plenty of time. I figured wrong. When I arrived on Election Day at 8:45, there was a massive line. It was like the lines I saw in Portland, waiting to get into concerts. Strike that – these were not concertgoers. These were people from all walks of life, different ages, different ethnicities, different politics – way more diverse than a crowd waiting for a New Pornographers show.
    At 9 AM sharp, the doors opened. They let a few people in at a time. There was probably around 150 people in front of me…I had no idea how long my wait was going to be. I sat on the ground, but an officer came up to me and barked “NO SITTING!” So I rolled my eyes and got up to my feet once more. Meanwhile a slow drizzle of people walked into the school. Finally after an hour and a half, it was my turn. Voting Booths
    I walked into the door and to a table. A lady asked a few questions, glanced at my ID, and handed me my ballot. I was instructed to silently walk into a nearby booth. I felt more like I was taking a driver’s test at the DMV, and less like I was exercising my constitutional right to vote.
    As I reached my booth, I got my cheat sheet out and realized there were things on this ballot that I hadn’t even thought about! Geez, how do they expect you to know every little item, every little race, and every little measure on the ballot? I wanted to say to the next booth – hey, what did you get for number 8? I mean, I was in a school, and I felt like I was taking a test after all! Then I looked over my shoulder – the officer who barked at me earlier was staring straight at me, almost wanting an excuse to throw me out. I decided I better play by their rules for the time being.
    After I turned in my ballot, it was nearly 10:50, and I was supposed to be into work by 11. I was not going to make it. I raced to work and arrived ten minutes late. My boss, angry at my tardiness walks in and says “This is why I don’t vote – my time is too precious.”
    I miss a lot of things about Oregon. I miss the coast, I miss sunsets over the Pacific, I miss the weather, I miss the people, and I miss recycling. Today, I learned of one more thing I miss – I miss voting by mail. I miss the convenience of filling out my ballot at my leisure, and dropping it off whenever I had a moment to do so. I miss not having to stand in line like it was the 80s and we were voting for Regan. I miss not being barked at by officers who were overly stimulated on equal parts power and, I’m guessing caffeine. I miss not getting ridiculed or hassled, all because I want to cast my voice. All the pain and horror experienced casting my vote in North Carolina, could have been easily avoided by implementing a vote by mail system. This truly was an American Voting Horror Story.

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  • Characters in Ancient Vandal Literature

    bookofthehoursRecently, I’ve gained a fascination with Eastern European history. Of course, being of a literary mind, I’ve naturally read about literature of Eastern Europe, as literature always shows an interesting perception of the culture. While I’ve found many interesting styles, genres, and what have you, perhaps the most interesting of all I’ve found was a concept in Vandal literature.
    If you’re historically inclined, you’ll know the Vandals were the group that sacked Rome in 455 AD. They were the very epitome of barbarian, as they were unkempt, uncivilized, and generally unruly. If one googles Vandal literature, it’s hard to find anything about them….however….in my digging I did find one tasty tidbit. In Vandal literature, the characters fictional age had to match the year of their creation. For example, if a vandal had written an epic of King Gerogis the III in the year 432, King Gerogis had to be in his late 60s (for as we all know that King Gerogis was in fact born in the 360s or so). Likewise, if a fictional character were to be thought up today, but the stories of said character were to take place when said character was 28, the writer would have to wait 28 years after inventing the character to write about said character.
    This custom of age was not just a matter of social taboo, but a matter of law. Violating this law could actually carry a death sentence. For, it was not just an arbitrary law, this was about keeping the Hoi Polloi grounded in reality. I used the example of King Gerogis the III earlier, and this was no accident – for it was highly encouraged by the monarchs of the Vandals to write about their lives. King Wisimar (the first known Vandal King of the tribe of Hasdingi) put this law into place. Remnants of this law might have inspired early tales of Vlad the Impaler, which then of course inspired Bram Stroker’s Dracula…but I digress. The law was about celebrating the monarchs of the Vandals, as it is much simpler to write about a character who was about the same age as the hero in one’s story, than to invent the character 28 years earlier, and then wait to write about said character. Oh – but writers are complex people – and simplicity is often their enemy.
    In the beginning of the law, writers did in fact write about their “beloved” monarchs, however it wasn’t all that long until a few loopholes in the laws were found. As there was no log of invented characters, the writers would suddenly “remember” characters they invented as a child. Furthermore, as there was not a stipulation of who invented the character, writers would simply ask friends, family, etcetera for older characters as 33-year-old writer could not have invented say, a 55-year-old character. In some cases, older Vandals would sell characters of any age. This actually became a decent source of income to those whose physical bodies could not earn them a living any longer.
    And then the Monarchs closed the loophole. Sometime in the early 390s, a new law, stating that all characters shall be documented at the date of creation and registered by the magistrate was enacted, closing the loophole for ten or so years. However, art always finds a way. Savvy quasi-entrepreneurs saw a way to make money. The return wasn’t immediate, but to register a character for a nominal fee and sell the character at a later day could only bring about profit. It wasn’t long until everyone who could afford to do so, would register as many characters as they could. Characters would be sold at auction, used for personal investments, given away as a form of charity, and even written in as part of a will. Older characters were, of course, worth more than younger characters. Stories themselves became a group effort.
    The Monarchy admitted defeat. There were no shortage of characters to write about, and therefore the monarchy gave up on making writers write about monarchs. A great experiment of egotism was deemed a failure. However, greed was not so easily quelled. These were, of course, the same Vandals who sacked Rome. They were cunning, and never passed up an opportunity for gain. The monarchs saw how much income the character registrations were bringing in and they were pleased. But pleased or not, they also saw how much income the character market was bringing to the common people and it was far more than the character registration fees. The Monarchy decided that profit should, instead, be theirs and theirs alone. Once again, laws were scribed. Gone was the original law; a character’s fictional age vs its age of creation was no longer an issue. romeburningAlso gone were the registration of characters; writers no longer had to register characters at their inception. In place of the registration fees, a general character tax was issued. All characters in any piece of literature would be taxed, depending on its age. Just as it had once been easier to write about younger characters in the past, it was now economical to do so. The Monarchs had once again found a way to influence literature. Egotism of the original law bowed to the greed of the new law.
    Of course, there were always bribes to the local magistrates if one wanted an older character and could not afford one. This led to yet another chapter of Vandal characters. There was revolt amongst writers to bribe officials. Yes, it began as a matter of economics, but also became a matter of principle – a way to make sure the monarchs didn’t see the profits they so desired. Eventually – the monarchs gave up on the whole pursuit, and life went on. Stories were once again free to be written with characters of any age. And then the Vandals sacked Rome, and really that was the end of Vandal literature.
    In the end, did art win? Did greed? Were any of the Vandal writings really art? Very few of the Vandal writings have survived, so is it even possible to judge? Granted, it is theorized that Borges thought about characters in Vandal literature when he wrote The Lottery in Babylon. Of course, this is just a theory, and perhaps there is no evidence to support any of these claims.

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  • Coffee Lost numbers: Buffy vs Twilight

    sm_monkeyIf you read the title for this post and said “What a bunch of foolish gibberish!” while throwing your device of choice out the window because you thought that aaronjedwards.com was supposed to actually make sense, well…I’ve got news. Firstly, you’ve got some issues: I mean, when has ANYTHING on aaronjedwards.com ever made sense? Secondly – that title IS gibberish – kind of. The terms “coffee,” “lost numbers,” and “Buffy vs Twilight” are the top three terms of all time that direct google users to aaronjedwards.com. This has inspired me to write a post which does nothing but capitalize on every search term that has ever directed people to this website…..far be it from me to not use an already proven method! So here goes nothing:

    Coffee – social mercy in Buffy Session 8 and Bob Dylan’s drug of choice. The lost number, lost humor, and Einstein Lost explain what happened to Starbucks in 2007. Overlooked movies of 2010, How to make a Dutch Bros Annihilator, and burning books not withstanding, Aaron James Edwards coffee pic made Hulk bubbles. Meanwhile, Spike and Buffy Fanfiction and radiohead decline makes one ask “Is REM Anti Christian?”

    Excuses are bad decisions. What is mean of life? Sparkly vampire T-shirts and coffee cups. Not to mention songs about alternative lifestyles.

    Man sipping coffee, 5 overlooked movies, censorship burning, and кофе фото made pro wrestler’s political beliefs look like Transformers 3: Sunshine Cleaning. I write fanfiction Jinx. Think about this: Einstein – Nazi Germany, Hitler meeting an Alien. Weird Al and stumptown comics.

    Buffy spike, angel, Buffy kils Edward. Buffy stakes Edward. Twilight sucks, Buffy rules, Joss Wheddon knows an Einstein comic. JJ Abrams and Star Trek will stump other bands. Buffy Buffy Buffy, willow Buffy Buffy.

    So, with Dylan’s house of the rising sun, coffee and smoke,” I leave you with this thought: Other bands hate Radiohead.

    My brain officially hurts, but maybe this post shall bring in new readers to aaronjedwards.com. Maybe the new viewers will tell all their friends about the exciting and wonderful posts they read here. Or maybe they’ll see this post as a troll to get hits, and hit their browser’s “back” button. Regardless, to the person searching for Aaron J Edwards in Colorado, I hope you find them.

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  • The Cave

    Today’s entry will be a little different. It’s a short story I wrote about a year ago, and figured it would be a great piece to publish for Halloween. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    caveOne cold, autumn evening, I stumbled across a cave. Usually I’m not brave enough to explore dark and damp places, but there was something about this place – something almost audible whispering….“enter.” No, not in a haunting, creepy way. It was more of an inviting call – it spoke to my soul’s deepest yearnings, as if the thing I’ve been searching for my entire life was down in the cave. How could I resist exploring? How could I do anything but to explore this cave?

    I walked a few feet inside and found an unlit torch. I took my lighter out, lit the torch, and to my surprise, I found a trail of gold coins leading further into the cave. I followed the trail, picking up two out of the three, but leaving the third just in case I couldn’t find my way out. I followed the cave for what seemed like a mile, but may have only been a few hundred feet. My only way of measuring was the amount of coins in my side pouch, and I wasn’t about to count them in the middle of the cave. No, it really didn’t matter. Almost as soon as I decided against counting the coins, the trail stopped. Still, something told me to keep going. Keep going. My very satisfaction, nay, my guarantee of any further happiness for the rest of my life depended on my trek forward.

    As I walked further down, I began to realize I was hungry. When was the last time I had eaten? I really didn’t know – I just wanted to eat. I would eat anything at that point. Just my luck, I found a box of Twinkies. Here, in this ancient cave – I found a most delicious, yet most innutritious food. I scarfed the box down, Twinkie after twinkie, leaving a trail of wrappers as I walked further down the path. I wanted more! I needed more! As luck would have it, I found another box of Twinkies. Again, I ate, and wanted more, leaving a trail of wrappers behind. A third box appeared at my path, and I realized I should save some in case I got lost. I left myself half the box. I still wanted more, but survival over desire….
    Just then, I could have sworn I saw someone. I ran towards what appeared to be a beautiful woman. She ran off, and as I ran after her, she suddenly appeared nude. And perfect. I had to find her and gaze upon her beauty. I huffed my chest to make myself look more muscular to her – maybe she’d like that. I ran after her, for awhile, and then – and then I remembered I was in a deep and dark cave. If I kept pursuing her, I might get lost and never find my way out. I quickly looked behind me and noticed my own foot prints in the dirt, but the dirt was ending. I would have to stop before long, or else find another way out.

    I sat on a nearby rock, and I realized how tired I was. Wanting to do nothing but sleep. No, not even sleep. Wanting to do nothing. Just sit there until I fossilize. Just…..wait. I need to keep moving. If I don’t keep moving, I’m going to die down here. Maybe I should just close my eyes a bit…maybe a quick nap in this cave. No…I must get up. It was evening already, and I’ve miles to go before I sleep. It took every ounce of strength I had to drag my body from that rock. But I finally got up. Perhaps I should head back to the cave entrance and come back another day. No…I must explore further….I can’t explain it logically, but my gut says go deeper inside the cave.

    But as soon as I got up, a rat ran up my foot and bit my leg. I was wearing shorts, and my leg started bleeding. I chased the little bastard. He’s gonna pay with his life! I’m going to catch him, skin him alive, and then use his skull as an ashtray. I don’t smoke, but I’m taking it up just to make sure his ass gets burned time and time again by my cigarette butt! Ooo, it’s gonna be rat stew for dinner tonight! It’s going to be chicken ala rat! It’s going to be rat sushi! It’s going to be…my mind froze, as I realized how much idiotic dribble was coming from my lips. It was just a rat. Sure, I want to ring it’s stupid neck, but my quest is more important. I must find what lies in this cave. I must figure out how to find the secrets of this cave. I must go onwards.
    I found myself in a big, open expanse. In the center of the expanse was a man in an expensive suit. Next to him was the woman I had seen earlier. He had bags of gold coins, and even a box of Twinkies. The hunger pains in my stomach returned as I saw them. And my desire for the woman as I saw her. The rat that bit me ran up to the man. The man in the suit held open his hand for the rat to climb up, and padded it’s nose.
    There you are, you little beast.

    With that, the man snapped the rat’s neck and turned to me…

    Oh, sorry, you wanted to do that, didn’t you?

    I did, I really did – and not just out of banal revenge – not just because that same rat bastard bit me earlier. I wanted to snap that rat’s neck because the man in the suit did it. I wanted everything the man in the suit had. I wanted the money, the woman, the suit, even the Twinkies. I don’t even like Twinkies, but I wanted the Twinkies. But that same feeling of survival I had experienced earlier came over me….knowing I had to get out of the cave at some point. My body was shaking as I fought my envy, but I had to get out. I burst into tears and ran for the path out of the cave, but just before I got to the expanse’s entrance, an iron gate slammed in front of me. I turned around to see the man was no longer a suave, debonair playboy, but rather a cold, withered man – a skeleton covered in skin.

    Plead for your life….what’s so special about you….. the skeleton hissed at me.

    I gulped, and noticed he was sitting on a throne of bones. In fact, the entire expanse was littered with bones. All human. I needed out. Maybe he would think I was special…..maybe that’s why he asked. Maybe I am more special than his previous victims.

    I’m a very important man, sir! I….I’m more important than anyone’s who’s ever come here! I’m more confident, more savvy, and I’m even clever enough to see through all your little traps. Every single one. I’ve given into common sense over my every temptation in this cave. Six temptations, and I’m so great I…..

    Six temptations. Six. My Biblical upbringing came screaming into my mind – There’s supposed to be seven temptations! Seven deadly sins! Quickly, I processed, what is the seventh. The man sat there glaring while stroking a previous victim’s skull like it was a cat. Gently, he sat there and glared…..

    Go on, tell me why you’re more special than all my other victims. My hundreds of other victims. Each one of them, I’ve killed. Each one of them I’ve lead here. Some of them were easier than others, but they’ve all found their way here and that is where they stay. You, you are no different. I shall cast your bones to the nearest pile to be jumbled with dozens of others – all laying there – dead. Even if someone found you, they would know nothing of you….all you’ll be is a skeleton in a mass grave. No name, nothing more than an archeological curio.

    That’s not true! I’m special! I’m special! I’m better then…


    No, I’m not special, I began to sob.

    Ooooo, but you are. No one has ever made it past the six challenges. No one has ever come face to face with the real me. Why, I’m not going to put your bones in a random pile – I’m going to place your skull on top of my throne – the most prominent place in my cave.

    I’m no more special than any of these. Just kill me and get it over with. Let me die in peace. Let me….

    The man’s eyes filled with rage.
    NOOOOOO!!!!!! You HAVE to be special!

    I realized I was in the seventh trap. It all made sense. There might be a way to survive….

    I’m not special…

    The man’s head nearly exploded. His pale skin becoming red with more blood than could possibly be in his skeleton like body. His breath, panting. Like a dog on a hot day – or even like a dragon…The moaned, grunted, and screamed “You – you have to be special!”

    I’m not….

    The man clutched his chest and fell over. He was dead and I had won. I walked up to the throne to examine the body – just dust in a black cloak. I saw a lever made of bones – it was the switch to open the gate. I threw the lever and left the expanse.

    I realized my rage for the rat might had saved me, as I had left a trail of blood from the bite as I chased the beast. Then I reached my footprints in the dirt, and then the Twinkie wrappers. Finally I found the trail of gold coins – in five minutes time, I walked out of the cave, into daylight. I was free. I was…..

    And yet, I heard that same audible voice, summoning back into the cave. I, I had to see what else the cave held. What wondered I might have missed the first time. I wandered back inside, and found every coin I had taken was replaced….I began to follow the trail of coins once more, this time taking three out of four coins.

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