Mar 7, 2011

Undone (Part 3)

The squad car pulled into the station and the pair walked into the station.  It had been a little over a  month since Sebastian had been at the station, although life had continued there - as it had everywhere else - seemingly oblivious to his absence.

As Sebastian headed toward the front doors of the station, his babysitter quickly corrected him.  "Incorrect building, Detective Ford.  We'll be meeting in the auxiliary office building."  He directed Sebastian to the smaller structure with a quick point.

Sebastian turned to head toward the auxiliary offices and wondered who he was meeting with.  He had originally thought he'd be talking to the Captain, but Slater's offices were in the main building and there was little reason for him to ever leave it.  The auxiliary offices were used for R&D, bureaucratic overflow, and...interrogations.

"Wait," interjected Sebastian as he grabbed his companion's arm. "What kind of meeting is this, exactly?"

"I'm uncertain what you mean, sir. It is a meeting in that you will be sitting down with a active member of the force and talking about the new assignment you've been given. It is the very definition of a meeting, but I cannot give you further details on the content of your assignment, if that is what you are looking to obtain."

"No, of course not," responded Sebastian. "Let's just go in and find out what this is all about."

The auxiliary offices were used for auxiliary purposes for a reason.  As they stepped into the conference room of the building, Sebastian was reminded of how roomy and brightly lit the rooms in the other building were.  No wonder they conducted interrogations here.  One could get depressed being left alone in this room for too long, let alone working here day after day.

A few minutes passed and Sebastian noticed that the messenger was still sitting beside him with a blank expression.  Sebastian turned to him with a friendly smile.  "You don't have to keep me company, you know.  I'm sure you have other business you need to get to.  I'm not going to run away."

"No, there is no reason for you to run, Detective Ford.  But my instructions were to be present at the meeting with you should you choose to accept the assignment."  The man returned Sebastian's smile, ever so briefly.  "For the time being, it appears, " he continued, "you are my business."

Sebastian's brow crinkled.  He was about to figure out exactly what that might mean when a thin pale man walked into the room.

"Ah!  Detective Ford!  So glad to see you."  The man took his place across the table, extending his hand.  Sebastian shook it slowly, attempting to find that place in his brain where he had stored this man's identity.  His face looked familiar and Sebastian was certain he had seen him around the station before.

"I'm Andrew Sullivan, the chief scientific officer here.  I'm sure we've seen each other around the station before but I didn't really know your name either before the suspension.  No offense."  Sullivan blurted out the last sentence as he realized how callous he had sounded.

Sebastion shook his head dismissively.  He was sure everyone at the station knew about his outburst and suspension.  It was hardly news that it had even reached the ears of the lab geeks.

Sullivan continued.  "I'm glad you decided to come in.  We have an exciting assignment for both you and our Messenger Unit here."

Sebastian held up his hand.  "Wait...Messenger Unit?"

Sullivan gestured toward the man sitting beside Sebastian.  "The man we sent to pick you up.  He's a robot - one of the newest prototypes based on human appearance, behavior, and social patterns."  The scientist smiled broadly.  "Didn't you notice?"

Feb 14, 2011

Sonnet for Simon

With Cheerios stuffed in your tiny mouth
and shrieks that call your pterodactyl friends,
your manner would on grown-ups be uncouth
but that your face and smile make all amends.

Can I believe that from my form came thee?
A babe who knows nothing but smiles and screams
now sits upon his throne and looks at me
for all his needs, his hopes, his wildest dreams.

Now when I hold you up, I hold myself
in smaller size and younger look, it's true,
yet somewhere deep we share that sense of self
that bonds such that no power can undo.

In time your perfection may fade a tad
but 'til that time - and long beyond - love, dad.

Feb 11, 2011

Undone (Part 2)

As the car pulled onto I-208, Sebastian sighed.  The traffic was immense, as it was nearing the afternoon rush hour and everyone seemed to have decided to leave work a bit early today.  The car crawled along the rightmost lane in silence.

Sebastian didn't feel like engaging in a conversation and the messenger simply sat there, watching the road.  After what had been nearly a half hour, Sebastian swung the wheel of the car sharply to the right and roared it onto the shoulder.  He hit the siren, floated past a few dozen cars, and took the next exit.

Suddenly, his passenger spoke up.  "Sir, this isn't the exit for the main office."

Feb 1, 2011


I didn't grow up with a true tiger mother.  I was allowed to visit friend's houses and participate in theatre.  I was allowed to choose which instrument to play and how much I wanted to practice.  If you follow the news, or listen to NPR, or even read Entertainment Weekly, you've heard of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by now.  Perhaps you've even read the Wall Street Journal excerpt that got such a polarizing response.  To recap: it's a memoir about being a parent and about driving your kids to perfection through strict control and demanding routine.

Reading the excerpt made me think about my childhood and about my role as a father to Simon.  Like I said, I wasn't a child of super-strict parenting, though I believe that my parents, having had a Chinese upbringing themselves, were stricter than those of most of my schoolmates and friends.

Jan 25, 2011

Undone (Part 1)

"Do you want to see your son again?"

Sebastian stared blankly at the man at his door: wiry, pale, and wearing a suit that seemed at least one size too big.  Undoubtedly, he was from the head office.  His gait and the way words came out of his mouth at a practiced pace made him just robotic enough to give away his training.

Sebastian's left hand closed the door behind him as he relaxed his right hand from the involuntary fist it had made.  There was no way he was going to let this bureaucrat into his home.  He struggled to find the right words to convey his thoughts.  "I'm sorry," he began.  "Is that a threat?"

Jan 18, 2011

Gift of the Unicantelope

Steven considered the road trip a flop
when his father suggested a quick rest stop.
They pulled into the parking lot, spilling out
of the minivan with nary another family about.
"Stretch your legs," said his dad, "but don't wander
too far." And as Steven stretched, he remembered fonder
days when he hadn't had to sit and endure
visiting relatives he disliked in a tri-state tour.

Jan 9, 2011


I used to come here on Wednesdays because the shakes are half-price before 6.  I still enjoy the half-price shakes, but I now come because I know you'll be here.  You'll take the second booth on the wall with the piece of art that looks like a big blue nose hovering the air and order fried pickles, unless it's occupied.  Then you'll sit at the bar and order a martini.  You're never alone, but your companions are always women.  I don't know you, but I need you.

This scares me.