Random encounter

We were discussing whether to head out when I saw it. The light was still on in the bathroom, and through the door I had a clear view of the partially demolished far wall above the bath. The creature was scorpionlike, but with a long thin tail that waved and curved, rather than a stinger.

The rest of the family continued to argue as I reached into my courier bag and drew out the buzzsaw gun. It’s been a favorite of mine for a couple of weeks now; I got the idea from a video game. It fires small circular saw blades, spun up to high speed before launch. It needs a minor exemption from the laws of aerodynamics so that they shoot straight, but that isn’t a problem for me. I usually have more important things to worry about than keeping projectile physics accurate anyway.

The first blade sliced into the creature at the base of its tail as it emerged from above the edge of the bathtub. The second and third shots embedded themselves in its back, which was apparently protected by a hard carapace. The creature subsided onto the ground and laid there motionless, apparently dead.

That was easy, I thought. Far too easy. They’re tough, dream monsters; they don’t just die from a few superficial wounds.

Still ignored by my oblivious family, I stepped towards the creature, buzzsaw gun at the ready. As I got to within a few meters of it, I saw its head slowly swivel around to stare at me.

To my surprise, it had a human-like face. It looked Asian, female. While I was trying to decide if it was the face of someone I knew, it spoke.

“Why did you do that?”

Not many nightmare creatures speak English, so this one was clearly something special. I decided to humor it.

“You were invading our space.”

“I was just coming in to see you. You know, socialize.”

“Get to know us?”

“Yes. You especially.”

“To meet with me?”

“Yes. Meet with you.”

“To make friends with me?”

“Yes, make friends with you.”

“To ram your ovipositor into me?”

“Yes, to ram my ovi- no, wait! You tricked me!”

Like I say, most of them don’t speak English. I think it’s because they’d be too easy to outsmart if they did.

“That’s why you’re here, though, isn’t it?”

She nodded. “I wanted to start a family.”

“Well, go start one in someone else,” I suggested, waving the gun in a way that suggested a direction away from my family as well.

“It’s hard being a single mother,” she sighed as she slowly turned to head back into the unspecified zones.

“Hey,” I said, “it’s not your fault. You’re a monster in my dream. You have to do what you have to do. You just don’t get to do it this time.”

She looked sadly at me over her shoulder.

“Still,” I added, “nice camera.”

She turned back to face me, defiance suddenly flaring in her eyes. “No! Excellent camera!” She held it out proudly for me to see. It was a Leica, f/1.4 lens, brand new. Much better than mine, and we both knew it. She wouldn’t have any tender family moments to photograph this night, but she had the camera, and I didn’t.

I shot at her a few more times as she scuttled away, but my heart wasn’t really in it. I guess I felt a little sorry for her.

And then I woke up.

Got a digital camera

Got a digital camera last weekend. The SLR is great, but I wanted something small to carry around places where I wouldn’t be bothered to drag an SLR. I also wanted to be able to take one or two pictures a week and send them to the family by e-mail. Resolution wasn’t a big concern, as long as I could get 4×6 prints for any shots the family really liked.

I settled on the Canon PowerShot S100. It’s the smallest 2.1 megapixel digital camera. Nice metal case, with an iris that protects the lens when the camera’s off, so you don’t need to screw around with lens caps. It shuts down into a flat rectangular slab about the size of a packet of cigarettes. Picture quality is excellent—there are a couple of Olympus and Sony cameras that do better, but largely because they have bigger and better lenses.

We’re off to Minnesota on vacation soon, and I’ll take the SLR for that trip.