Archive for December, 2009

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The Midnight Crawler: Creepy & Chattery Crawlers

By Homo sapien …. .. ………

– Not suitable for the faint of heart –

A cold boney hand slips down my bare back. I wake up. I suddenly gasp for air. I find myself being sucked by a vicious whirlpool in a sea of red. Fragments float around me. It is night yet the water is warm.

A camera pans over the hairy hand of a sleep deprived man, who is expeditiously stirring the contents of a white mug, from which the medallion of a cheap tea bag is dangling.

Cut! Do I now have your attention? I don’t know, and I care less as your tired eyes have already jumped to the next line to see if what follows is worth the read.

911 words in one sitting; not too long and not too short as my gray and wise former editor would say.

It has been a while. For an imaginary moment the white piece of paper rejoiced as my hand that held the pen brushed against its smooth surface. The piece of paper moaned. Every single pore in my weathered hands gasped for air.

It was…

It was…

It was just writing…

Well, it seems that I am imagining things again: The flickering bar turned into a pen, the blank Word document turned into a piece of paper and my handwriting was still intact.

Give a headless chicken a quill that was taken from another, whose dismembered body is now in the boiling pot of a gluttonous man, and it will turn out to be a better calligrapher than I.

A year passed. The olive wood colored bodies of Hamadryads sadly swayed with the blistering wind as the axe of the man bearing David’s star, treacherously struck. Silent stood the failing and cowardly gods as they watched an unholy war waged against women and children. When will this bloodshed of innocence stop? Damn the gods and the unjust world for if such is the way may the Mighty Atlas soon relinquish his worldly burden and eternal darkness prevail!

Months have passed since my last diarrhea yet the asshole is still feeling awkward; must see a good doctor soon. I pity the medical lab technician, who like a clueless cockroach, will dabble in shit.  Then again is a cockroach venturing into your toilet clueless?

Next time you see one make sure you ask it a few questions before you shoot—ehem—I meant step on it.

A poor cockroach is lying motionless on its back with three of his feet crushed, one severed and a half open lower part. The disgusting little creature sums up its courage and before the sole of a black shoe delivers the coup de grace it yells, “Stop!”

“You can speak?” a young man, who clumsily reaches down to pull up his pants and underwear to cover his shame, yells.

“If you weren’t busy listening to your own voice you would have heard the thousands of pleas that my race blurted before being cast into the dark Chasm of Evermore,” the cockroach retorts.

“Do you have a name?” the man asks.

“Yeah my name is Clint?” the cockroach, with confidence, answers.

“Really, they call you Clint?

“Fcuk no you idiot. We don’t use names to define ourselves we go by our charming characters,” the cockroach with mean sarcasm answers.

“So what were you doing in my toilet?”

“It’s not you it’s the human race?” The cockroach answers.

“Us? How can you blame us for what you do? Venturing into our toilets and violating our excrement is our own fault?”

“No! I mean it is the human race that your race have long ago created.  Sadly time is of no value anymore especially that now everyone else is chasing after it. We are all running around like a frenzied and rabid white rabbit whose hand is stuck in his pocket. The golden watch is slowing it down. It should cast it away and embrace the signs of the Lord and Lady Light on the one hand and the Duke and Duchess of Darkness on the other hand,” the cockroach with much eloquence explained, “you run after money to buy food that you ingest, digest and dispose through your anus. Why burden yourself with such a daunting task? Do as we do…”

“You see we cock…” the cockroach was about to say when a sudden and swift thud was followed by a slow disgusting crunch. The sound of clasping steel echoed in the cold corners of the white tiled bathroom before a strong flush followed. The man folded the newspaper and went to bed.

“Talkative little bastard,” the man said to himself before slipping under the warm sheets that sheltered him from the cold hands of the night. The cracks of a triumphant smirk formulated over his pale face like the ones left behind by a seismic activity that no one seems to notice.

And the nude crashed bodies keep on piling up.

One day…

These bodies will dissolve into the earth, the very same earth that once withstood the weight of their mighty footsteps, where they will be absorbed by a golden seed that in time will grow into an enormous tree that will for certain go through the pearly tiles of Eden the same way a fig tree will one day bring down a large wall built by bricks molded from hatred.

To be continued or not…

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The Face Reader

Posted: December 20, 2009 in Paper Cuts

The Face Reader
February 10, 2009

He saw it in their eyes. It showed: Hesitation and clandestine deliberation. They did not have to say it. He read everything they said in their glinting eyeballs.

When words fall flat faces wrinkle and barely visible furrows formulate on the edges of their lying mouths.

The only time he misinterpreted a face was that of a wicked man. Deep down he knew but opted otherwise. Two years of masked lies—two years wasted.

Why do people lie? Is it to hide their motives, profit out of others, is it out of greed and selfishness, or maybe because they are too afraid to reveal their true and ugly souls.

Masking one’s soul through his face is not an easy task. It takes years for people to master their faces and control each and every contorting muscle and they are by the hundred.

When people look at my face they open up to me the same way a flower does when facing the sun. How are they to know that I am the wolf and not the Sheppard that will lead them into the shadows!

Who am I? I am my inner monster.

At least I am not afraid to reveal my true face unlike those liars. I don’t lie. I am who I am a monster. Still that doesn’t mean a monster that kills cannot be polite. I’ve killed a few people in my life but I’ve never hurt an old man, a child or a woman.

You ask, “What’s the difference between hurting and killing!”

Killing is to squash a fly; hurting is to rip its wings and let it live. I don’t rip people or their souls apart.

A gentle little girl, no more than six, offered me some candy. I bought one. She went to a thin man, who stood next to thin and expressionless girlfriend. The little girl begged but they pretended she wasn’t their. Their greedy eyes were fixed on the shinning covers of the DVDs lined on the floor.

They refused to give the girl half a JD but bought a number of DVDs for over 20—those are the soulless monsters. They’ve ripped her soul out and she will grow up to become a soulless beast that will in turn rip other souls.

The other day a young man chided a little boy. He was mean; a bastard like no other. If you don’t want to give him money don’t, but don’t insult him or be mean to him. What did he do to you?

It is not enough that his father and mother whore him around the hour. An idiot of a man yells at him. That same man would probably go home and caress his brother’s children, who are probably the same age as that boy, with affection.

The boy’s parents are probably people like us—only they simply stopped caring about what happens to their child, who is standing in the middle of the street after 12.

He could be kidnapped, raped and then murdered. Imagine the horror of that child if such a thing happened.

Heavy panting followed by a short shuffling of feet was heard. “Hold him still?” one of the men whispered to another, whose pants and drawers were still down. The third stood motionless smoking a cigarette. A short light shined in the dark. Seconds later a red warm fluid dimmed its glow. The whimpering stopped. The panting stopped and life ended. Not a tear shed.

Why did I kill? No reason in particular.

I found a hammer, talked to it, picked it up and started killing. After a few months I got bored and decided to put it back in my father’s blue tool box. I honestly cannot remember if I washed the blood and hairs that got stuck to its surface.

No one ever saw my face but they most certainly heard my voice and the voice of my hammer.

Shopkeepers thought twice before turning their backs to a customer asking to take a look at an item found on an upper shelf. It was so delicious. I was the man sitting next to you on the bus, passing you by the vegetable market and talking to you whenever the phone at the office rang.

I was like you—a simple man. I am still that man and you have every right to be afraid even though it hasn’t talked to me for a while now. I’ve hid the toolbox under a carton of used boxes and a heap of dirty clothes that belonged to my parents and sisters. Where am I now? This question I will refrain from answering.

Who am I? I am the face reader. I’ve read a few faces in the past few years. I still do. But I stopped writing on them. I just hope and for your sake that I don’t read your face…so hide your soul and hide it well.

For when you hear the hammer…you will hear the blow…you will hear life end for you…and start for another…then again I could be one of those liars and none of the above ever happened.

Good night…

Mazinger Z and Grendizer Break Jordan’s Airspace
By Mike V. Derderian
U Men Magazine (November 2009)

The children, who were once amazed by their onscreen presence and super robotic powers, are now the very same grown men, who wish they kept their Jumbo Machinders in mint condition.

My UFO Grendizer plastic mini figure was confiscated by a teacher and I lost Grendizer’s Spazer. “You will have it again by the end of the year,” the 6th grade teacher, who took it, told me. I never saw my Grendizer and never again trusted a teacher for that matter.

A different type of teacher, more of a master, visited Jordan a few weeks ago. Japanese Manga and Anime Master Go Nagai honored us with a three day visit, during which he held two lectures, one at Princess Sumaya University for Technology, and another at the Royal Film Commission, where he talked about his greatest creations, Mazinger Z and UFO Grendizer.

The visit was arranged by the Japanese Embassy and Aranim Media Factory, which is owned by Sulieman Al Bahkeet, who told me that he has been working on arranging Go Nagai’s visit to Jordan for over two years.

Ask anyone in the street who is Grendizer, Daisuke, Dr. Umon, King Vega Baron Ashura, Kouji Kabuto, and he or she will tell you in detail who they are; some would even go as far as quoting memorable lines from the series.

Upon receiving news about his arrival I realized that I had to meet the man who created Grendizer, my first robotic crush, no matter what.

I immediately got on the phone and contacted the Japanese Embassy after getting the number from a friend. I ended up contacting Miss Dima Goussous, the Senior Information and Cultural Officer at Embassy of Japan in Jordan, who kindly helped me meet Go Nagai in person and a day ahead from the RFC lecture.

Even though I missed the Princess Sumaya University for Technology lecture after a date mix-up I didn’t break into tears, as I knew that I was going to have the chance to meet this visionary artist at a reception held at theJapanese ambassador’s residence. If I didn’t you would have most definitely found me sobbing on the floor like a kid whose toy was taken from him—actually my wife would have.

I was there at the Ambassador’s residence watching from a distance how Levon Peltekian, UMEN’s photographer, was setting up the lighting.

“It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you all here this evening to this special occasion in welcoming our guest and one of the most famous names in the world of animation, Mr. Go Nagai,” His Excellency Tetsuo Shioguchi, Ambassador of Japan, announced upon Master Go Nagai’s entrance.

Before the end of the speech Mr. Shioguchi said, “Remember tonight you are all special guests but not as special as Master Go Nagai. Speak to him and ask him about his work for tonight is your chance.”

No sooner the speech was over Master Go Nagai, whose career spans 40 years, was surrounded by a curious crowd of Japanese and Jordanians. My much awaited interview with one of Japans most prolific Manga and Anime masters was moments away.

It was truly a night to remember, well at least for this Grendizer fanatic.

I remember watching the dubbed version of the double scythe yielding horned Grendizer on Syria’s television channel and VHS.

Who wouldn’t recognize the energetic opening intro that was sung by Lebanese singing legend Sammy Clark? Grendizer, like many famous Japanese animes that we all watched growing up in the Middle East, was dubbed by a Lebanese production company with the voice talents of renowned Lebanese actors.

Mazinger Z (1972) unlike popular belief was created before UFO Gerendizer (1975). It ran a total of 92 television episodes, whereas, Grendizer ran at total of 74 episodes.

Other Go Nagai titles, and that are less familiar in the Middle East, include: Shameless School (1968), Devilman (1972), Cutie Honey (1973) and Great Mazinger (1974) in addition to many more amazing Mangas and Animes.

Those who attended the RFC’s lecture were surprised to meet Go Nagai’s more famous creation Mazinger Z, which according to Go Nagai was more popular than Grendizer especially in Japan.

Mazinger Z never reached Jordan, whether through television or VHS. It was more popular in Egypt, Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf Countries.

As customary when visiting a Japanese home I presented Master Go Nagai with an old Arabic issue of a paperback Grendizer magazine that I had since childhood. The gray haired and diminutive man was astonished to find his creation in Arabic; of course his astonishment doubled the next day when he realized how much his works were popular in the Middle East, especially after seeing the number of Jordanians attending his two lectures.

Take a look at UMEN’s Q & A with Master Go Nagai. Talking directly to a person is not like talking to him through a translator. If I knew I was going to meet the creator of Grendizer one day I would have taken Japanese as a minor instead of Spanish.

(Thanks to Ahmad Abu Odeh, a Jordanian university student, and a fluent speaker of Japanese, I found myself talking to the 75-year old artist.)

Q: How does it feel to be in Jordan surrounded by your Arab fans?

G: To be honest I am very happy that my works have reached this far in the Middle East.

Q: How did the concept of Mazinger Z and Grendizer come to be?

G: I was influenced by the Manga and Anime works of artists like Osamu
Tezuka, a robot innovator, who created Astro Boy.

Q: Who is do you favor more: Mazinger Z or Grendizer?

G: It is hard to answer such a question. When I am working on Mazinger Z he is the one I favor most and when I am working on Grendizer Z I do the same.

Q: In order for one to reach your level one must work hard. How many hours do you spend drawing?

G: The Manga and Anime market in Japan is quite competitive. It is a fast and growing market. It is a tough environment and one has to be very skilled, fast and very productive in order to be noticed and be ahead
of everyone else.

Q: Everyone knows who Grendizer is. Are you up to date to what is happening to your creations around the world?

G: I am very happy because of their success and the way they captured the hearts of people around the world. Of course some people over the years have objected the violent nature of some of my works.

Q: How do you feel when you are holding an Arabic magazine issue of Grendizer and were you aware that such publications existed?

G: I never knew! I am very humbled. As an artist I feel proud. However, I have to keep in mind if my rights as an artist were respected for what is an artist if his copyrights are violated. This has to be achieved in order for Manga and Anime to grow and become worldwide. If an artist’s work and achievement is respected and not violated the funds he gets from selling his work will ensure that he stays productive and creative.

Q: Having created a new robot genre and influenced so many Manga and Anime artists around the world how do you feel to be the Father of Modern Mecha Robots?

G: I am very proud for bearing such a title and for having created a genre that introduced human manned robots. The concept of a pilot sitting in cockpit inside a robot was and still is an achievement that I am most proud of—it is one of my best inventive accomplishments up till now.

Q: What do you think of the new generation of Japanese Manga and Anime artists?

G: Many writers and artists are able, thanks to their creativity and imagination, to breathe part of their own spirit in their works. I respect and enjoy reading their Mangas and watching their Animes. For example Akira is one of the works that I enjoy seeing.

Q: Are you with censorship and how do you feel knowing that American television stations edited many of your works on the grounds that they contained violent and material unsuitable for children?

G: I am against censorship. An artist’s output should never be censored. When I am writing and drawing violent scenes I am doing it for a purpose. The world is not a nice and easy going place. A child must know from an early age what he or she is up against. My cartoons help teach children about courage, values, patriotism and self-sacrifice for the good of humanity.

Here is the video interview on Ikbis’ Eye Channel:

http://ikbis.com/channels/eye/230577