Bringing the Rose Language to the world is a very intricate and involved journey, which may be fitting, as Rose is a complex language. I am using Kickstarter as a literary platform. I know, I know, this is somewhat akin to going to Bombay India to follow his dreams and become a movie star...a bit of an odd path.
The Trust workbook will help you work through some interesting ways to view who you trust and why you trust--examining what is possible (T), what you base on your memories (R), what is comprehensible (U), and what changes (S) those possibilities (T). I will have these up and ready and sent to you next month (December 2014).
In the meantime, I have left Thorn and friends in a cliff hanger. Will Pistil and Stamen get the courage to rescue their friend from the clutches of the cops? WIll Thorn survive these accusations of internet mayhem? And what of their hopes of winning a Spark Prize and gaining glory and saving the earth? Hmmmm...
Well, you will just have to tune into the next Kickstarter. I plan to launch that one, Family Workbook, on December 21, 2014--on what would have been my wife's and my 8th wedding anniversary.
As promised, you backers will get first notice and extra offers as we intermingle commerce and kickstarters, literature and fun.
Pistil and Stamen wanted to know if Potent, Thorn's hermit crab, liked root beer and ice cream. Thorn was arguing that hermit crabs didn’t like sweets, they preferred lettuce and vegetables. Pistil thought that that was just plain old UnAmerican not to like chocolate ice cream and root beer, and Stamen asked how Thorn knew of Potent’s dislike of sweets—had Thorn ever tried feeding Potent anything other than just lettuce leaves and tomatoes?
horn admitted that Potent had never had the opportunity to try chocolate ice cream before. And yes, this was a major celebration, and probably, ok, alright already, Potent should be invited to the party. So, with that, Thorn carefully rummaged about in the backpack and got Potent out. Potent was curled up inside its shell and was refusing to come out. Stamen smeared ice cream on the outer claw, but Potent didn’t move for it. Pistil opened a ketchup and drew a line of ketchup from Potent to the ice cream, as if hoping the crab would follow a promise of tomatoes to something even better. Thorn just looked on, amused.
Finally, Potent opened its claws and went in search of the ketchup. Pistil seized the opportunity to shove a straw filled with root beer into Potent’s open claw. Potent closed the claw, trapping the root beer inside it. “Come on, Thorn, get it to drink some!” Pistil instructed. Thorn shrugged and leaned closer to Potent, trying to loosen its grip on the straw and also bring the straw up under Potent’s mouth. This proved to be an impossible engineering feet, and Thorn’s face drew closer and closer to Potent. Then Potent waved the straw suddenly, spewing root beer into Thorn’s eye, along with a corner of the straw itself. Thorn drew back and groped quickly to the restroom for water to soothe hurt eyes and to take the sting out of the root beer.
While Thorn was occupied, Stamen languidly reached for Thorn’s backpack. Pistil put his hand over hers, stopping her. “What the **hell** are you playing at?” he hissed. Stamen shrugged coyly. “Don’t be a fool, Stamen,” Pistil went on. “We need Thorn. We’ve only just gotten in the door, just entered the Spark Prize. My Spark. Our future. If we go snooping around, and Thorn stops trusting us, we are screwed**. So don’t go messing about with our future here. Hear?”
Stamen leaned back, slightly away from the backpack and arched her shoulders. She glanced out the window and stiffened, “The brass! The brass is just outside parking. They are going to come right in here. We gotta **book now!”
Pistil grabbed their stuff and they slid out of the booth. Stamen let Pistil go ahead, and just at the last moment, snagged Thorn’s backpack as well, leaving Potent on the table, waving claws that would be completely ineffective against the hammers of the brass. As they got out and down the alley before the brass came in, Pistil used every swear word he could think of, and then some. As he calmed down, he shook his head. “Dang, “ he sighed heavily, “and we were just about to trust our whole futures to that one.”
When Thorn came out of the restroom, holding a towel to the still-smarting eye, he found a Portly man in a uniform sitting in the booth Stamen and Pistil had just vacated. Thorn’s heart sank. How had Pistil and Stamen managed to betray their trust so badly? And, vowing not to trust so lightly again, Thorn faced the consequences.
After Thorn hit the send button on Pistil’s entry, they all felt a bit like celebrating. The deed was done. Their entries for the Spark Prize, for the fame and money that went along with the good feelings of saving the world, were actually in the system.
“In. The. System! Hi five, getting jive, going to be alive!” crowed Pistil as he scraped up the last of his change and bought them all chocolate root beer ice cream sodas. They clinked straws as they sipped.
Been trying to do that for four months now—when we got the whole enchilada, the whole taco, together, we just never could find someone to get it in the system. You are the catalyst, my friend!” Pistil slapped Thorn on the back and got a spray of root beer in return.
“This is just the first step, my friend,” Thorn replied. “Next, we have to find a way to keep checking these emails. I did some pretty fancy redirects, but anything can be traced. So we will have to find a better drop next time. Can’t use the same one twice like we did now. And then if the MD Foundation likes our ideas, and that is a big if, then we have the Thrilling Grilling, and the Rose Essay and all the other crap they’ll throw to get their hands on the next idea that could save the world.”
“And make us all the big dough,” softly reminded Stamen.
They nodded and sipped their root beers silently, each wrapped up in the dreams of money.
8/31/2040: 24:09MDT Alert: From: 197Dalpha to 139Hgamma:
Activity on flagged accounts. Tracing accounts now.
8/31/2040: Pete’s Diner, ID674. Unregistered Access. Spark Prize entry under firstname.lastname@example.org. Spark Prize entry under email@example.com.
Request further instructions.
8/31/2040: 24:10MDT Instructions: From: 139Hgamma to 197Dalpha:
Analyze entry using content analysis protocol with threat level 5TH
8/31/2040: 24:12MDTAnalysis Report: From: 197Dalpha to 139HGamma:
Analysis complete. Subjects of entry directly pertain to computer intelligence and regeneration. Both entries go beyond the acceptable parameters of computer capabilities.
Request further instructions.
8/31/2040: 24:13MDT Instructions: From: 139Hgamma to 197Dalpha:
Stop both entries. Apprehend.
“So, are they right? Is that why you guys can’t use your keys?” Thorn asked, after the couple had rejoined the group and they all had left. “Because if you do your parents will track you and get you back?”
Stamen stretched out to Pistil, but Pistil jumped up and played the gun brigade from Bitter Fire, a movie just out which featured far too many guns for Pistil’s mother’s taste. He had seen it over 11 times, just to show his mother he could. “Yep. There’s a tracer put on each missing kid, each runaway. An Amber alert. You go over to any Port, put your little finger in, put your little DNA out, and that’s what its all about. Yes sir, no sir, got my parents right here sir. The brass’ll be on you so fast you won’t have time to enter your name, let alone your game.”
“Well, the library is out then,” Thorn said. “I’d hoped you guys could at least use your keys to figure out a map where we could get some internet access the old-fashioned way--without a Port. I’ve used all my sources already this week, and I need to lay low until the data stream runs by and covers my tracks.” Thorn gathered the backpack, which was still well out of Stamen’s reach, and glanced in to check on Potent. After seeing Potent’s claws tucked tight into its shell, Thorn hoisted the pack and got up.
The trio now walked along the streets on their own mission of trust, in silence. Or as silent as Pistil could stand to be, which wasn’t much. He provided a running commentary on the business suits, the bike messengers, the abandoned construction, the hot dog sellers, and the old homeless men.
“So not gonna be that guy,” he said, pointing to one rummaging through the trash, a plastic bottle of vodka nestled at his feet. “Gonna get me that Sparkly. Gonna win the ring, gonna get the brass, and aint no brass gonna take it from me.” Stamen and Thorn ignored his rapping as best they could as they all walked up 17th Street, down the faded murals of Urban Restoration and Barrio Unite from the bust and boom of LoDo in the 2030s.
Thorn had them stop in every diner, every laundromat, every greasy convenience store, looking for a Port they could access which didn’t require the biometrics just to turn on. But LoDo held nothing.
They walked all the way over to 20th and Federal, then up Federal to 40th. This area had recently been renovated, and the new fancy shops were just too rich, too modern to hold any relics of unregistered internet access. The diners downtown, tucked into the slums, seemed to be the only hope. Eventually, the trio found themselves back in the same diner on Colfax they had started from, foot sore and belly empty.
“Oh come on buddy, old pal, old bosun friend. Come on, just forget about your paranoia just this once. Do this just this once. Go on the net. Just get it over with.” Pistil handed over a memory cord as he munched through a second sandwich. “It is all here, my friend. Just do it. Just do it now.”
Thorn shot back, “We’ve got till tomorrow. Let’s kelvin tonight, just hang out. Then we can try Five Points in the morning. Should be something there. I am just not going against Pet-the advice of my friends, that is all.” Petal’s name had so nearly surfaced. Throughout the long tramps of the day, Petal was nearly all Thorn had thought about.
“Tomorrow we might not find anything anyway,” Stamen added, sipping a now cold coffee and rubbing her foot under the booth. “Please, we want to enter so bad. Be nice knowing we had now…. and we can. Why are you being all paranoid anyhow?”
“Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.” Thorn absently quoted Petal, upending the backpack and rooting about for a memory cord as well. “Ok. Ok. I know two accounts and I’ll just do yours from firstname.lastname@example.org and mine from the goldeneagle. I really shouldn’t, I’ve used both before. But, as you say, who’s out there to watch?”
At the Civic Center Park, lots of kids were sitting quietly in clusters about the cement park benches, settled into the ground with the late September flowers, the ones that might survive a snow or two.
“We uns is kelvining, just as cold as cold could be, chilling with our genus.” Pistil was crooning under his breath, handing out ketchup packets he’d lifted from the Burger Baby down the street. A few had managed to splatter on the insides of his pack, and he cleaned those up with some napkins he had scrounged from the diner.
Stamen smiled a bit and reached over to muss his hair. “Hey, quit that . Don’t be fussing.”
Thorn sat a bit away from the not-quite-intertwined bodies of Pistil and Stamen. Thorn’s backpack, the one Stamen had coveted so badly, was neatly on the other side, positioned so Stamen could not reach over to pick at it without Thorn knowing it. A couple of kids, both with huge red cloth roses hung over their necks, came sauntering over.
“Saw your signs, man,” one of them nodded to Stamen’s pack, which was wreathed in roses. Her skirt was festooned in pink and dark gray roses as well. Thorn’s only visible sign was a tiny primrose applique on the back of nondescript jeans—as unobtrusive as possible. And of course, Pistil would not deign to wear a flower. “You Rosers?” They all nodded.
There was silence for a while, as each sized the other group up. Stamen had her hair down loose, almost blue black in the morning light, with a thin barrette holding it over her ear. She turned her head liltingly and ran a finger through her hair, looking up at the sky. Pistil made a show of getting one of his blades, the one tucked by his ankle, and inspecting the edge. Thorn simply sat, motionless.
“Going for the Prize?” the girl asked, fingering her rose and running her hand through long dishwater blond hair that had not seen soap in several weeks.
They nodded. More rounds of silence.
“Gotta key?” whispered the boy, leaning into them, and the girl held him back with a warning look.
More rounds of silence. This time, no one moved. Pistil glanced at Stamen, then over to Thorn.
“You guys on the run? Dare to use your key?” the boy looked about, obviously looking for anyone watching. Of course, if no one had been watching, they might well be watching now.
“We’re on the run.” the girl confided. “Just now. We want to enter the Spark Prize Tuesday, but we don’t dare.” She jerked her head over to another group of unwashed kids, each sporting a rose somewhere, on their backs, in their hair, or tattooed on their arms.
“Jeremy tried already and got picked up by the brass. Delivered right to his parents’ door, all neatly packaged. Last we heard, he was packed off to military school, complete with a new set of bruises.”
“You guys gotta plan?” the boy’s voice was low and hopeful.
No one said anything. The silence was too thick to bear for the couple, and they left, rejoining the other group. En masse, the group turned and stared at the trio for a moment, and then walked off toward the fountain arches, on the other side of the park from the library.