Not So Quick Review of STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

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When I like a film, I find it difficult to say much with these posts.

I just want to say: “Go watch it. Have a good time.”

I like this film.

But this film is a bit different than the usual.

And it’s not just because it’s a Star Wars film.

And it’s also not because it’s the long-awaited conclusion to the new Star Wars trilogy after a controversial second film (The Last Jedi) that left many wondering if there could be a decent ending at all to the new saga.

But if you’re a fan of Star Wars, I’ll cut to the chase and highly recommend you to go watch the film to have a fun time.

7.5/10

There. That’s the score I would give… if you’re a Star Wars fan (yes, that’s indeed a foreshadowing) for just a fun time.

Just make it through the first 20 minutes or so. As I’ll discuss a bit later, the first act of the film is a mess and absolutely boggles one’s mind how it made past the editing and the test audience. Perhaps it’s due to the unexpected passing of Carrie Fisher but it unfortunately still doesn’t change the fact that the first act of the film is chaos.

And if you’re not the biggest fan of Star Wars? You’re probably safe waiting to see the film whenever it’s convenient for you.

This film may be difficult to really appreciate or sit through at times for even the casual fans of Star Wars.

Something about the film will feel off. As a Star Wars film and as a film in general.

Most of the payoffs of watching this film feels like they were intended for the more fervent fans of the franchise and felt like many elements of it were concocted purposefully for those avid fans who were really upset with how the new trilogy developed.

But those fan services made me feel… dirty and cheap. Like I just ate a bag of chips from the gas station as my dinner even though I had stuff in the fridge for a proper meal.

I feel full and satisfied but I hate myself for it. I enjoyed the gluttonous devouring of the cheaply fried thinly sliced suds… but I’m pretty sure I had a USDA prime steak in the fridge.

So.

Before I ramble on too much longer…

5.25 / 10

If you’re not the biggest fan of Star Wars.

It’s a fun summer action film during winter. It’s flashy, a bit dumb, and a lot of fun. But it’s also not without some glaring flaws and unapologetically tries to mend those flaws and gaps with fan services.

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The Rise of Skywalker’s writing coach

Alright.

That was the quick version of the review for those of you who are not interested in the more nitty-gritty thoughts I had of the film.

Most of these thoughts were thoughts I jotted down as soon as I walked out of the movie theater with my date who subsequently suffered from me sharing these thoughts for the next half-an-hour until she escaped. But she may or may not have received a phone call so that I could continue talking to her about Star Wars at 1 am.

When there are problems with a film, I feel like there are certain moments within the film that captures the problems like a metaphor. It’s the spirit of those flaws that echoes through the hours until the end credits begin to roll.

With this film, there were three such moments.

1. The Lightsaber Came Back The Very Next Day Scene

2. The Necklace Heist

3. The Rise of the Fan Service



SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON



The Lightsaber Came Back The Very Next Day Scene

“That’s the weirdest crawl for a Star Wars film that I’ve ever seen.”

…Was the first thought that crossed my mind as soon as the familiar theme’s bombastic fanfare blasted through the IMAX speakers and the golden texts, as-in-tradition, begin to scroll across the stars.

It’s not just the odd wording in the first couple of sentences but the entire spirit of it that felt like it was against the grain of the usual Star Wars crawl.

Why did the crawl tell us about Palpatine’s voicemail being sent out across the galaxy instead of the film showing us it? With all the resources they had, did they really not figure out a way to actually fit that into the film?

The title of this section comes from the first few minutes of the film where we are reintroduced to our protagonist, Rey. After some mishaps during her Jedi training, Rey finds herself lacking the merit the carry the lightsaber passed onto her by the late legendary Jedi, Luke Skywalker.

She gives up the saber and hands it over to General Leia. It feels like a significant and an emotional moment where it’s telling the audience that we will see Rey receive the saber when she’s “earned it.” There’s a definite sense of character arc developing with the saber.

But just a minute or two later, the saber is tossed back to Rey as if she’s suddenly earned it because the situation called for it. There’s a real-life like awkwardness in their air akin to The Office.

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Basically, Leia handing the saber back to Rey after Rey’s little speech about needing time to earn the saber.

As the audience, there’s a jarring feeling of something went wrong.

Either they had to make last-minute changes or didn’t really have time to polish up the script. Whatever happened, it resulted with a plot with what seemed like a lot of throw-away, lazy, and thoughtless plot points.

Many moments like the “saber being returned” are peppered throughout the film and especially concentrated within the first act of the film.

Characters like Zorii and Jannah feel like they’re just plot progression devices or plot padding devices.

There doesn’t feel like there’s a real meaning behind Kylo putting on the mask again (contrast to the short but poignant scene he had in getting rid of it) other than to sell toys.

Han Solo reappearing feels cheap and non-sensical and he, himself, has to explain why and how he’s showing up.

How did Palpatine develop such a massive army out of nowhere?

How does he have such a huge following without anyone noticing for decades?

Why were Rey’s parents not subjected to becoming new vessels?

How did Leia know of Rey’s origins and why didn’t she say anything?

When did the Force start to become magic solutions to every problem? (more on that later)

Why would you inscribe directions onto a dagger? Why make a custom dagger?

Oh, the little droid happened to have the coordinates to the mystery planet?

One of the few validly poignant scenes of C3PO choosing to have his memory wiped for his friends end up meaning nothing as nothing meaningful was really lost. What was the point of that little venture other than to cheaply invoke something from the audience?

Just like Chewbacca “dying” only to relieve us from that loss just minutes later. At least draw it out so that little ‘prank’ of sort towards the audience doesn’t mean completely frivolous.

And Palpatine being the final villain of the trilogy also feels like another symptom of either lazy or desperate writing that didn’t really care to develop anything. A clone Darth Vader would have made more sense and would have had a more build-up with the last two films than Palpatine.

Have Kylo Ren face the clone Vader only to be guided to light by ghost Anakin.

Or have Kylo Ren be thwarted in some sense by clone Vader when realizes that Vader isn’t what he thought he was.

Also, while we’re on the subject of Palpatine…

…Why didn’t he just conquer the galaxy first and then find Rey/Kylo later when his army is obviously so overwhelmingly large that it threatens the entire galaxy?

Why warn the galaxy at all before using a fleet of planet busters?

Didn’t we need a planet-size facility before to do that by the way? Literally just a year or two ago?

From a writing perspective isn’t a fleet of planet busters just way harder to believe than a planet being carved into a weapon without anyone noticing?

Am I really resorted to comparing what breaks the sense of believability between a planet being carved into a weapon and fleet of starships that are each capable of destroying planets that went under the radar?

Why did he need First Order again?

How did he afford to pay for all this? The Final Order has even more confounding logistics problems within the story than the First Order did… given that it seemed all those small country-sized ships were fully staffed.

Does Palpatine enjoy getting electrocuted?

Why not just stop shooting lighting bolts for a moment and come up with something else real quick? Push her away?

Did he not learn from the first time when he got his face all burnt off?

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At least in the first incident, he had few excuses for why he had to keep using those lightning blasts that were ripping off his own flesh.

But against Rey, it just seemed like he can recover fingers but not his brain cells. She was so far away, he had so much power, and he could have done so many other things like—”Hey, thousands of you chanting. Pick up a rock or something and throw it at her.”

Also. Why revive yourself with the same scars? For the scare factor?

The power creep of the Force that happened with this film also makes you question how did the Jedis get wiped out in the first place?

If Palpatine can just zap space ships left and right with his full power does he really even need an armada?

All these things. All these choices made with the writing. Just makes one wonder… are we stupid? Do they think we’re stupid? Is it both?

The can of worms that’s been unleashed by having the Force users be so powerful… hell everything being so powerful makes me wonder how the future Star Wars films will deal with… anything.

Everything feels played out. How do we ever genuinely feel that our Force using protagonists are in danger other than them being grossly incompetent or just because the plot wanted them to be?

The Necklace Heist

Look. I understand we’re talking about a franchise here that made its bones by having a young man shoot 90 degrees turning proton torpedos into a tiny hole of a death machine that’s size of a star via channeling a magical doopitydoo guided by a ghost of his dead old neighbor.

(Oh, WOW. Is that why the Death Star is called a Death Star?)

Empire PR Team: “And we want to call it what sir?”

Emperor Palpatine: “The Death Star. It’s a bit on the nose but… but it feels right.”

Empire PR Team:

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Even then, there are still rules to the fantasy that the story laid out for the audience so that we understand when up is up, down is down, problems are real problems, and which dangers are real dangers.

The title of this chapter comes from the scene where Rey and Kylo are doing their Force telepathy Skype chat and Kylo manages to essentially reach across the screen and grab Rey’s necklace.

This changes everything about the Star Wars universe.

Even Kylo gave a little shrug to his foes near the climax of the film when he pulled out a lightsaber out of thin air thanks to Rey… which allowed him to decimate his enemies and save himself from the life-or-death situation.

Look, this isn’t just me nerding out about some lore discrepancies within Star Wars. Though, again, there is something to be said about suddenly changing the rules established within an established universe. It almost feels like the writers are cheating to get out of problems.

There are generally two camps of dealing with magic when it comes to fantasy in writing.

  1. There’s no system to it. Magic is magic. The story will use it as it sees fit.
  2. There are established rules and systems behind the magic.

The former is Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. He waves his staff, bright light, and boom— The problem is solved.

The latter is what’s more popular these days where the readers are generally made clear how the magic works and what the limitations of it are within the story’s universe.

The former makes magic unpredictable and often a cheat code for characters to get out of sticky situations. Unless done well, it cheapens the experience for the audience as any build-up of conflict is always at risk of vaporizing into bubbles by the shake of a magic wand.

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That’s not butter. It’s magic.

The latter makes magic easier to measure and gives the audience a way of holding the story accountable. It makes conflicts feel like conflicts in fantasy and even when magic is used to solve them, if done right, the solution feels earned.

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For some modern reference, that’s what Smart Hulk’s role essentially was in Avengers : Endgame. Giving some rules to establish some order for the lore behind Infinity Stones and the time travel so the audience can understand what the goals were and how they were achievable and what conditions would cause the heroes to fail. All that works together to create suspense in the story.

Star Wars, within the films at least, was always generally leaning towards the systematic magic where at least it seemed certain limitations were established.

George Lucas, the creator of original Star Wars, made it very clear that the force users were tempered and grounded to reality as much as they could be while still being magic knights with laser swords— even when other iterations of the franchise often took the magical elements dialed up to eleven.

It kept the films suspenseful as it kept our heroes feel vulnerable and more human than not.

But now?

We got time and space bending telepathy and object transportation.

Force users holding rocket ships in the air and destroying a fleet of them with lightning bolts out of their fingers.

Sucking the life out of one another to cure mortal wounds and amputations.

Where do we go from here?

Not only did the power creep feel jarring for long-time fans but using the sudden change of rules to solve the major conflicts developed through not only this film but the past two films felt… distasteful.

It also just creates problems of its own as mentioned in the previous section where the audience can’t help but ask the question of, “If you can/had [x] then why did / didn’t you [y]”.

To cover these moments, whether it be from good intentions or just thinking the viewers are idiots who’ll salivate over things like Chewbacca finally receiving a medal, the movie didn’t hesitate to just senselessly shove in fan service whenever and wherever it damn could.

Kind of like a Christmas special episode of TV programs where old characters and celebrities from different shows come out of nowhere for no good reason just to make you go feel good about your nerdy self that you understand the references and your getting your nostalgia massaged in all the right places.

The Rise of the Fan Service

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I’m going to put that image up again.

Because it just fits.

Let’s talk about the Chewbacca scene mentioned earlier.

I’m sure many of you felt elated or maybe even cheered out loud when our favorite Wookie received his overdue medal.

It happened so quick and so out of the blue with such a vague reason for happening at that moment that probably by now you start to understand why some of the people in the theater might have been bewildered that the nerds were cheering over that small moment.

And when you think about it a bit more you’ll be left with the profound sentiment of:

“What the fxxx?”

It’s a powerful and universal feeling that your subconscious has finally begun to grasp what you’ve processed somewhere in the back of your mind. Let the initial bang and awe wash away. And let the logic and reason sink in.

That medal scene was so nonsensical and executed for such cheap thrills, that I feel icky that I started the domino of claps in my theater.

It’s like I spread herpes through the room and forgot to put on a proverbial condom on over my nerd excitement to prevent letting it think instead of using my head.

Let me put this way.

If you really cared about Chewie never receiving a medal before… is it really okay that he received what could be a random piece of replica, from a random person, as he’s just getting out of his ship?

Or would it have been more appropriate if it was at least a bit more formal and a bit more ceremonial?

The scene meant nothing but to serve as a (insert various sexual acts) to please the long-time fans… but by them being satisfied by it also means they’re just utterly stupid.

It’s like we’re monkeys who are just happy to receive a banana being thrown our way without wondering why we’re even getting the banana. The context doesn’t matter (we’re strapped onto a metal table) and the consequence doesn’t matter (the banana was to calm us down before our cranium is cut open and rods are shoved into our brains).

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Did y’all catch his cameo?

And I don’t mean that for just that one moment. I mean it for most of the fanservice.

It feels like a lot of the fanservice is an aftereffect of the previous film, The Last Jedi. Sort of a “here’s a bone” move after complaints people had of the previous film and the new trilogy without actually solving much of anything.

The plot of The Rise of Skywalker is painfully predictable even to the death of Kylo not because the plot itself had nowhere to go but to be simple, but because it felt like a lazy and safe attempt to appease the fans to ensure that Star Wars remains a valuable IP for Disney.

At least, in that sense, The Last Jedi tried something new and attempted a direction that took courage. The Rise of Skywalker, on the other hand, threw in the towel, committed as big of damage to the lore as The Last Jedi, and just twerked its glittery fanservice ass in front of us hoping that we won’t notice or won’t care.

In many ways, Palpatine being the final villain and Snoke being his little test tube baby feels like the ultimate fan service for the new trilogy. And a great demonstration of how much this film lacked in courage and lacked in respect for the previous stories… even the just last one.

There may be split opinion regarding The Last Jedi, but nevertheless, the film happened. It established that the new baddie for the trilogy, Snoke, was at the end a nobody.

Fans complained.

Instead of sticking to their guns and sticking by their work, this film decided to just completely toss aside any value to Snoke and his identity of being just a random evil guy by turning him into a Palpatine’s lab rat. It’s not covering for what could be the mistakes of The Last Jedi, rather, making the whole experience of the new trilogy feel like a joke. Like nothing matters.

Was it so hard to keep Snoke a nobody and still develop a better transition to having Palpatine as the grand villain?

Couldn’t it have been as simple as Snoke was somehow keeping the weakened Palpatine at bay and now that he’s gone Palpatine was able to rise?

And what was the point of “Dark Rey” other than to mislead the viewers in the trailer, giving them a little peek of “what if” costume change for Rey and a new lightsaber toy for the kids nerds? There was no substance to her appearance at all. It didn’t develop into anything and the way it was presented wasn’t particularly thoughtful in regards to the narrative they were trying to build.

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I am a commercial disguised as a spiritual journey. Many young girls, nerds, and pervs will buy my merchandise.

That’s it isn’t it?

The biggest problem with the fan service is that not only does it highlight a lot of the film’s lack of substance but they also act as a vacuum for whatever substance is left.

And just on that note…

..Why did Kylo/Ben die at the end?

It feels so lazy and cliche.

I was secretly hoping that the movie would surprise me and keep him alive. Send him to jail. Come up with a mature and complex plotline that leaves the audience guessing how Rey and Ben will continue their love.

All that bullshit with Force mumbojumbo to fix all of their difficult conflicts and they still chose a cliche way to answer the question: “What now for Ben Solo?”

Final Thoughts

There are so many more things I could talk about.

Regarding how awkward it feels that the fruition of our journey was Rey becoming the new Skywalker.

Regarding other aspects during the film where it felt too strongly that J. J. Abrams cared even less about Star Wars and more about doing whatever he wants as a filmmaker compared to Rian Johson. And how his stance feels like, “It’s just a dumb movie. Get over it. Here’s some fanservice that you can suckle on to keep quiet.”

Regarding how the word “inconsistent and careless” can be applied in so many different ways to the new trilogy.

And finally, regarding what the new trilogy may mean for the future.

The new trilogy overall reminded me of a lot of the second half of the second season of Twin Peaks.

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There’s probably also a series of blog posts that can be written about the sheer brilliance and the utter disappointments that are packaged in this little show.

To those unfamiliar with the series, it was David Lynch’s TV series in the 90s that was a mix of an investigative crime thriller, paranormal, and a good dose of odd beat humor.

It was a global phenomenon with still a huge cult following that produced a feature film, a few books, and a third season by popular demand that released in 2017—nearly 30 years after the original series ended with its two seasons.

But during what should have been its legendary first two seasons, it’s tarnished by the odd second half of the second season when David Lynch left the series for a while to pursue other projects.

It’s universally panned and took a lot of power away from series. For the fans of Twin Peaks it’s an interesting experience to watch those episodes because they obviously understood what made Lynch’s formula for the show so entertaining, powerful, and popular… but they could never really capture the essence of it.

It’s like a cheap cologne or a fast-food burger.

The new trilogy never really felt like Star Wars to me after The Force Awakens. Each one of them felt like imitations and vessels for new creatives to do whatever they want to make names for themselves by using the name of the franchise.

As problematic the prequels by George Lucas were, there was still a sense of cohesiveness and innate understanding and care for the Star Wars universe.

The prequels at least built and organically expanded the lore of Star Wars instead of becoming pickled and shriveled into itself.

And whether the new creators like it or not, Star Wars is much bigger than any of them, bigger than almost all of the other modern film franchises, and its massive reach is a legacy of its own.

Not even the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at the level of Star Wars until it can demonstrate that it can also survive and thrive after 50 years.

And given that fact, I don’t think it’s unfair to ask the franchise to be treated with a bit more care, thought, and respect.

Even if it’s just a film franchise, it’s a fantasy that’s enjoyed and means something to millions of people across generations.

Let’s grasp that for a moment.

Millions of people, across generations, throughout this little blue planet of ours.

We all enjoy this silly space opera. We all feel something together as we watch it. We’re not just mindless wallets to be opened by studios.

And if we don’t see some inherent and self-evident worth and value to be respected from a franchise like that, then we need to accept that everything that’s just meant for entertainment is also meaningless and pointless. Whether it’s some scribbles on paper, some noise we make through instruments, or throwing balls across fields… they are all pointless.

They only have meaning because we give them meaning.

But there’s a meaning to the fact that we humans decided to give those things meaning.

Art and Entertainment are what ultimately make humans—humans. And it is also what makes their experience in life beyond the capacity of what should have been. Beyond the limits what only could have been.

We are more and we can do more because we imagined it so.

Our ability to think kept us alive and our ability to dream kept us free.

So, I hope if they make Star Wars again, I hope they’ll do it with a bit more love and at least a bit more respect for those who love it and have loved it.

If they don’t, that’s just a message being sent to the millions of fans that their time and devotion are only worth the amount of cash they can bring in.

Anyways.

Final Score: 7.5 / 10 or 5.25 / 10. Depending on how much you like Star Wars.

As mentioned, if you’re a fan of the Star Wars franchise, this is a no-brainer. Just turn off your brain and go watch it. Have fun. At least we got an acceptable ending.



ARAMIRU OUT

Chronicles of the Otherworld: Season 1 Audiobook is now available!

Listen to a Sample and Buy it HERE

If you liked what you’ve read, make sure to click SUBSCRIBE or FOLLOW!
Twitter: @ASAramiru
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ASAramiru

Testing Soundcloud Audiobook Sampling

 

Cool.

Technology.

The future.

Going to try to figure out what to do with this now other than just shameless plugs.

But this is mostly a shameless plug.

Aiite.

ARAMIRU OUT

Chronicles of the Otherworld: Season 1 Audiobook is available now!

Check it out HERE

If you liked what you’ve read, make sure to click SUBSCRIBE or FOLLOW!
Twitter: @ASAramiru
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ASAramiru

How I Made My Audiobook

So.

I hate my audiobook.

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This was ver. 14 of the cover.

No. I mean. Mr. Erik Johnson, my producer, did an amazing job and I was floored when I heard my book come to an audible life but SWEET BUDDHA do you know how many times I’ve listened to that damn thing?

Do you know how annoying it was to get every little thing right and you know damn well as I do there’s still going to be stuff that’s off.

It’s somehow worse than having to read your own book over and over.

I want to say like, “oh it was so fantastic that I didn’t mind having to listen to it like 20 times.”

But no. Let’s be real.

There I am jogging on the treadmill, wanting to forget the world, listening to my glorious mix of K-Pop, Eurobeats, and J-Rock…. then BAM

“THIS HAS BEEN CHRONICLES OF THE OTHERWORLD BY A. S. ARAMIRU”

I thought I got rid of all of you cockroaches off my playlist!

You know what?

I hate that guy.

Screw, A. S. Aramiru.

Screw him, his audiobook, and his writing career.

Don’t buy any of his–

“Hey, asshole. You’re supposed to sell your book. You owe me money. I’ll cut you with a f—in’ spoon. A. F@#$in. Spoon.” – My Former Editor

Here’s a sample of the audiobook:

SAMPLE!

I’m pretty sure I’m allowed to share that. I’m preeetty sure.

The steps to making the audiobook are pretty simple. I did it through ACX, you probably should too unless you know something that I don’t (and if that’s the case please share).

Just

  1. Make an ACX account.
  2. Try recording your book.
  3. Realize your voice sounds funny and the middle school bullies and your former editor is completely justified.
  4. Start an audition for your book.
  5. Have your friends remind you that if you were Neil Gaiman you could have done this yourself.
  6. *Magic / Sacrificial Goat / Seduction*
  7. Find Producer
  8. Strike up a deal with your producer.
  9. Receive first recording from your producer.
  10. Get over the honeymoon phase and drowning in dreams of unattainable levels of success.
  11. Send back feedbacks to align your visions closer together.
  12. Do above until the book is just right or you feel like your producer may find it more financially responsible with his time to just have you professionally killed.
  13. Approve the audio files to submit to ACX.
  14. Wait for ACX to either OK the book or tell you what to fix.
  15. Have ACX put it up for sale whenever they feel like it.

For me, the only fix I needed was having to change the style of my cover.

###Chronicles 2018 Season 1 ACX Cover PNG
Ver 1
###Chronicles 2018 Season 1 ACX Cover Revised 2.0
Ver 2.
###Chronicles 2018 Season 1 ACX Cover Revised 2.5.png
Ver 2.2

It only took 14 different variations and getting irate twice at the dumb uploading system.

And viola.

Yeah, I’ll keep that autocorrect.

Viola

And viola! Now I also have an audiobook polluting the internet.

And I can’t help but wonder if my baby will be okay.

And naturally, dream that maybe people will find the little guy and enjoy it.

HINT. HINT. CLICK. CLICK.

There’s a lot of moments when doing creative you wonder if you were honest with your work.

Did I do all I can?

Could I have done something better?

But you have to tap out at some point if you want to do create other things.

Like my imaginary therapist would tell me

“Learn to love yourself. Forgive who you were so that you can be who you are. Who you can be is someone strong enough to deal with everything done by who you once were. You have to believe that. Because you owe me money and I’ll cut you with a spoon. A fuckin’ spoon. Fuck censorship. I know where you live homeboy.” – My Imaginary Therapist

I think everyone should try to make an audiobook.

Leave me a comment if you have any questions, comments, or complaints.

ARAMIRU OUT



Chronicles of the Otherworld: Season 1 Audiobook is available now!

Check it out HERE

If you liked what you’ve read, make sure to click SUBSCRIBE or FOLLOW!
Twitter: @ASAramiru
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ASAramiru

Short Story: The Devil & Me (Part 4)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3



19 Years and 7 months

 

Beelzebub.

Isn’t it funny?

The idea of love fascinates humans.

Love redefines joy.

Its end redefines pain.

…Isn’t it marvelous?

Maybe that’s why it fascinates you as well.

This inexplicable phenomenon they try to explain as a byproduct of their need to procreate.

But somehow they accept that we, the divine, must be able to love as well.

They have faith—faith—that even He loves them.

When was the last time that He put his loins into anyone?

Some of them say it’s more of a mystical occurrence of their human experience.

A little spark of magic and beyond in their minuscule presence in the endless time and space.

But why invite such vulnerability to their already fragile existence?

I find it all very amusing, Beelzebub.

And I find it very potent.

There is truly a before and an after to humans when it comes to their first true love and the first heartbreak.

Something they wish they’d never experience, and yet, something so profound that those who haven’t experienced it are at a sincere loss of what it means to be human.

Even their foulest have a moment of innocence when it comes to their first heartbreak.

And it is there—yes, there—where all of them can truly realize that life is unfair. 

A reality check.

There. Is. No. Magic.

‘Irreversible’ is real.

‘Impossible’ is real.

Something so beautiful is fleetingly ephemeral and yet its damages so eternal.

Not everyone will be involved in heinous violence like rape, murder, or war.

Not everyone will experience detrimental deprivations of neglect, starvation, or incapacity.

All of the other devastating, palpable consequences of free will.

But nearly all of them will experience their fellow human’s freedom to give their hearts and take it away.

∗∗∗

“Am I wrong, Beezebub?” Suzie softly asked with a moist voice.

∗∗∗

To walk away from the road the two had paved together.

The betrayal.

Falling into the pit of desperate denial that everything they had wasn’t meaningless.

∗∗∗

“I should just let him go, right?”

∗∗∗

But how could the road have meant anything if the destination itself disappeared?

Everything they’ve been working towards.

All they’ve been through.

Poof. Gone.

∗∗∗

Beelzebub stared out the window of Suzie’s apartment. Neglecting to acknowledge his brother’s words from beyond. Suzie’s roommates were out for the night. As if in a scene of a movie, it was pouring rain.

“Beelzebub,” Suzie sobbed sitting on her bed. “I wish… I wish… I never met him.”

He had seen her cry before. But never like this. Thick droplets of tears poured out of her eyes. Each droplets draining her.

There are mothers who’ve watched their children die.

Men who stared at their friends as they were drawing their last breaths.

A young woman experiencing heartbreak wasn’t something even close to being comparable.

“I…” Suzie choked on her words.

But the voice of his brother had a point. It was all too common. All too relatable. Palpable.

Never like this.

She’s never been like this.

Beelzebub let out a deep sigh.

Don’t deny of me this Beelzebub.

She’s mine as much as she is yours.

“…I love him,” Suzie confessed. “But I’m scared”

Don’t deny yourself of this.

“He messed up and I… I fucked up too. I feel like if I don’t stop him now… We won’t ever be okay. But… but… what if I lay it all out after what he’s done and he’s not worth it? What if we fight to make this work and it’s all just meaningless? Like, mom and dad?”

I know what you’re thinking you want to tell her.

She’s too young to know what real love is in the real world.

And she’s young enough to find someone else.

Someone she doesn’t have this kind of history with.

This kind of tarnish.

Something fresh.

“You’re worried that you’ll end up like your mom and dad?” Beelzebub asked without turning away from the window.

But let her pursue.

“I’m worried that I’m ripping my own heart apart over something I can just move on from!”

She’ll fail like most of them do.

And then we can show her the path. The right path.

“I can move on right?” Suzie asked. “This’ll just be another thing that happened in my life in a month. Maybe a year.”

Don’t. Let. This. Opportunity. Go.

“You’re right. You’re young,” Beelzebub told Suzie. “Your life hasn’t even begun yet. You’ll probably get over  this.”

…Beelzebub…

“Yeah,” Suzie seemed to understand what Beelzebub wanted to say. “Yeah.”

“There’ll probably be other guys. Other loves. Plenty of time for all that,” Beelzebub turned around and faced Suzie.

“So what’s there to lose?” Beelzebub smiled.

Instantaneously, Suzie darted out of her room. Ran down the stairs of her apartment. Like the movies, it was raining. And like the movies, she saw him standing in the rain unable to leave for the same reasons she was now standing behind him.

“Jay,” Suzie carefully called out his name.

She worried that perhaps the rain drowned out her voice and he’d walk away.

“Suzie,” He turned around in surprise. She was there getting more drenched by the second. His mind and emotions in too much of a chaos to express how happy and surprised he was to see her.

Suzie searched for words. Anger and doubt still lingered for a moment that felt like it was made of thin glass.

“I—”

“I love you,” He interrupted her. “I love you. And I… I want to make this work. I’m sorry. And I… I don’t want to be without you.”

The devil watched from Suzie’s room as she ran towards the young man to embrace him. They held each other in the rain under the street lamps. The world around them had stopped existing a long ago.

It was too much like the movies.

But sometimes.

People were allowed to have their movie moment.

A magical moment they’ll cherish. A near fantasy others may not believe. But the magic they’ll always have them believing in something beyond what’s there.

Because they were witnesses to it.

They’re the evidence of it.

And because it makes life just a little more than what it is.

The devil had disappeared by the time the two young lovers returned.

 

∗∗∗

 

“You did that?” Binkle asked Beelzebub in surprise as he handed Satan his bottle of dark lager.

“Why?” Satan questioned Beelzebub.

Satan decided to visit Beelzebub at The Center, Beelzebub’s bar in Hell, after their incident earlier with Suzie. He took the form of what a scotch whiskey and a dark lager would look like as a man from the 80s. The gruff man gave a piercing stare as he analyzed his brother.

“Why? Why? I did what I wanted and it happened to also be what you wanted. You know what you get when you complain even after getting what you want?” Beelzebub took a sip of his drink. Today was a drink that’s equal parts vodka, triple sec, and lime juice. It had a name that was perhaps a bit too on the nose for today’s occasion.

“You get to be Daddy’s least favorite. He’s always hated you.”

“Whatever the case,” Satan stood and raised his bottle. “Here’s to the young lovers. For its blossoming spring and its eventual winter.”

“Seriously. He’s always hated you,” Beelzebub raised his glass. “Y’know, for being a creep.”

Satan finished his bottle in one quick chug.

“And I’ve always found you painfully weak,” Satan placed the empty bottle on the table and the money to pay for it. “Painfully weak and unpleasurable. I’m sure you saw as I did what will happen. You did what’s coming to her as much as I. But don’t fret. It’ll all be for the best. Though I suppose I’m a bit confounded on exactly why you’re being more… nettlesome… than usual.”

“Oh, is it not obvious?” Beelzebub looked surprised. “It’s because of you. Hearing your voice makes me want to pray. Seeing you makes me want to get on my knees and tell Pops that I’m sorry. You’re welcome to free me of this misery at any time.”

Satan smiled. He gave a nod to Binkle, put on his hat, and whistled as he exited the bar.

“I’m surprised you let Satan have his way,” Binkle spoke soon as the door closed behind Satan.

“Love is a beautiful thing while it lasts,” Beelzebub answered as he continued to sip on his drink.

“I’m certain Satan foresaw something in the girl’s future where having this boy in her life will hurt her. Did you see otherwise?”

Beelzebub shook his head.

A person’s future was an uncertain thing. It’s a messy grid full of knots and every direction that only became more of a disarray as the person grew older. But certain choices have fewer detours and pathways than others. And some lead to dead ends.

“Oh,” Binkle froze for a moment. Caught by a surprise to his boss’s response though he was uncertain why. His boss was simply doing his duty.

“Alright then. I guess I should be expecting to see her here sometime,” Binkle smiled as he went on to make drinks for his other customers.

“Perhaps,” Beelzebub finished his cocktail. He stared at his empty glass. He remembered the rain. Not even all the raindrops he had seen this evening would amount to the souls he had seen come and go.

Who could possibly care for them all?

 



 

It took a long time to post this.

As always, I apologize for the delay.

The greatest concern with this chapter was regarding if it did appropriate enough job building momentum for the next chapter–the final chapter.

And I guess it’s there, in the final chapter, where I’ll actually discuss my thoughts on finishing this little what-was-supposed-to-be-a-simple-fun-side-project and what the actual process ended up being like.

Thank you always for reading.

See you all next time.

It’ll be sooner than later.

I know I always say that.

ARAMIRU OUT

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Quick Review: Rampage

Rampage

Look.

It’s a summer flick that came out in spring.

There’s the Rock making jokes about his muscle, a giant monkey, a giant flying wolf, and a giant crocodile.

I hope I don’t need a spoiler warning for this one.

What could I possibly spoil?

Not only has it been *insert number of months/weeks/days since movie release here* since I’m a lazy writer, but also it’s a movie based on a 1980s arcade game that didn’t have a plot other than basically those three above causing a ra—… havoc across America.

That’s basically the entire plot.

Animals got big and they decided to go smash, smash, smash. And the American treasure, The Rock, has to save the day.

3630750300_f1cd14cdc3_b.jpg
You can smile like this too if you had his work ethic.

Trying to go any deeper or even explaining the plot of this film is doing it a disservice.

And why are you going to go see Rampage for some clever plot? You need to accept that if you go watch this film with an analytical mindset, trying to break down all of its components to judge its merits by some aristocratic standards of cinema, you’ll come out of the theaters dumber.

You boob. 

There’s a monkey giving the middle finger, more blood and gore than I expected from a PG-13 movie, and surprisingly fun jump scares.

The jokes are low brow and predictable but I still found them amusing (and pleasantly surprised there wasn’t a poop throwing scene. I fully expected it from this film).

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is playing a token-Texan Negan.

There’s the guy (Jake Lacy) who was in the last few seasons of The Office and it seems like he’s just not giving a damn about being part of this film. Actually, no one seems like they’re giving even half of an effort except the American treasure, The Rock.

Dwayne_Johnson_2,_2013.jpg

Respect.

Seriously. He seems like an awesome guy.

Anyways.

In short, it’s a dumb film with some really well-done moments that if you were to see those moments by themselves in isolation, you might be tricked to believing that its a better quality movie than it actually is.

In some sense, I guess it’s respectable effort given the source material…

rampage-1
Source Material

…and probably the best film adaptation of a video game I’ve ever seen…

Wow. I just depressed myself a little.

Umm.

Yeah.

Go see this film for a mindless fun. Just sit back, sip on your soda, and enjoy. It’ll be as worthwhile as spending that 25 cents back in the day to play the arcade game at the bowling alley.

Except this time you’ve spent 20 dollars and 2 hours of your life.

I’m going to go look through the list of film adaptations of video games to see if I can cure myself of this depression.

 

Expected: 2 / 10

Got: 4 / 10

 



 

4dx
No. No, you’re not. You’re in a cheap imitation of an amusement park ride that’s imitating an experience in a movie. You’re in a derivative of a derivative. Might as well spin around in your office chair and say you’re in a tornado. Have your office friends throw stuff at you for a more authentic experience than 4DX. You’re welcome.

Wait.

I’m not done yet.

Just don’t do the 4DX.

Just why? Why does this exist as the means to save the theaters?

Do kids really enjoy this?

The 4DX experience preview was better than the actual experience watching the film.

Water spray smelled funny.

Air blow was annoying.

The seat shook and tilted too much that it turned from fun to a road trip across the Rockies on a Daewoo Tico.

AND I KNOW. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who enjoy it very much and I seem like a guy who finds shaking canes at dead cats and being charmingly anachronistically racist as my idea for fun.

a. s. aramiru.jpg
Hi. A. S. Aramiru revealed.

But as it is now, 4DX is a gimmick and films haven’t found a way to properly incorporate this technology to actually enhance the experience.

It’s just distracting.

I felt like I was sitting on a lap of a Russian circus strongman as he rocked me and shook me around while watching the film.

I see potential with the technology purely based on its preview experience but have doubts any studio will invest the effort and money necessary to synchronize film experience with the 4DX experience.

Prove me wrong, Hollywood. Or Bollywood.

 

Expected: Nothing

Got: F***ed



 

ARAMIRU CAN’T SMELL NOTHIN’ CAUSE OF ALLERGIES!

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Short Story: The Devil & Me (Part 3)

Part 1

Part 2



14 Years and 10 months

 

There are days that are more memorable than most. The kind of days that people relive in their minds through their entire lives. Sometimes we know it before those kinds of days happen but, more often than not, they tend to be a surprise gift. A happy accident.

But for some, even those serendipitous days are marked by something constant. A constant that refuses to wane or be forgotten. The blot on each page of their lives. Nothing short of a real-life curse. An imp sitting over their heads who nested somewhere deep within their minds and hearts.

Bleeding into their senses. Their wisdom. And their beings.

It’s there when they laugh. There when they love. And even there when they cry. Even as their tears roll down their cheeks, it’s the voice that tells them it’s not enough and yet they should be ashamed for giving into it.

For Suzie Lee the week on the lake with her friends and their chaperones would remain one of her happiest and the most adventurous moments of her childhood. It was her days that were more memorable than most.

They canoed through the wakes of the wild waters. They hiked through the creaking trees and where the wildlife cooed and watched. There was even an encounter with a bear and what was the most frightening moment of these young girls lives, in the end, became just another chapter of their adventure.

The fourth evening of their seven-day trip would be the most memorable moment for Suzie. But it would exist as almost a pocket memory of its own. Not because of the Devil but because it was another blot on an otherwise a perfect memory.

A more painful blot because it would have been, otherwise, a perfect childhood memory.

Suzie sat on the dock. Their red and yellow canoes were beached off on the side. The setting sun painted the lake with a blue and purple hue. The few islands they’ve visited filled the horizon like black domes, slowly losing their details to the fading light.

Blanketed by the grandiose nature and its twilight lit visage, Suzie wondered how difficult it’d be for her to drown herself in the lake.

If she pencil dived, no one might notice.

Pockets full of rocks.

A steely determination.

And then… fade away.

Into the cold.

Into the darkness.

No. Be real. Suzie told herself.

Pencil dive.

Pockets full of rocks.

A violent struggle.

Water pouring in through every crevice of her body.

Filling her lungs and stomach.

Possible last minute of regret.

Then… fade away.

Dangling in the cold. In the darkness. Her corpse gently being pushed one way or the other by the current.

Friends would cry. The family would cry. They’d blame themselves without realizing that the person who should be blamed the most was already gone.

And at that moment, Beelzebub appeared before Suzie in the most unnerving way that’d he would ever appear before her in her life.

From the distance, a familiar head slowly poked above the surface of the calm lake.

Beelzebub slowly ascended until he stood on the surface of the lake and stared at Suzie from afar.

He then took his steps towards her and for the first time, Suzie found herself being startled and nervous to see the Devil. She looked behind her at her friends and chaperone in a gregarious clamor. They had no idea that the Lord of the Flies had appeared. She knew they’d be of no help.

By the time she looked back, Beelzebub already stood before her with a stern look that she had never seen him with. But the dock was higher than the surface of the lake, so the Devil glared upwards at the young teen.

“Well, this just isn’t that menacing is it?” Beelzebub said. He climbed up to the dock and stood over Suzie.

“That’s better,” the Devil remarked.

“Hey,” the teen greeted her visitor.

“Hey,” the Devil replied.

“I didn’t call for you, y’know?” Suzie remarked.

“Your precious heart that wants to kill itself did,” the Devil didn’t sound much concerned.

“My heart, huh?” Suzie didn’t seem too impressed neither. “I have to be some special kind of a fuck-up if my crying, bleeding heart calls out to you instead of the other guy.”

“Well, gee, sorry for being a good friend and being there for you in your time of need. You were a lot cuter and more appreciative when you were younger.”

The Devil looked over to the campsite. Girls and women laughing. Telling stories. Eating snacks.

“Why can’t you just go there and enjoy yourself?” The Devil asked.

The girl did not answer.

“You were so happy… during this trip. Weren’t ya?” The Devil looked at Suzie who was still staring off to the lake with disinterest.

“I was,” Suzie finally replied. “And I think I am. Happy.

“But?”

“But what? I can breathe. I’m healthy. I’m with friends. My mom and pop have their issues but I know others have it worse. I should be goddamn happy. I’d be an ungrateful bitch not to be happy. I know that, okay? I know that. I’m so fucking happy.”

“…But?”

“….It’s as if… as if…” Suzie grew more and more agitated. These questions. Her feelings. Her lack of a better answer. The shame of admitting these answers. The embarrassment. “None of this is real? It’s all fading? And I’m just… never going to be able to hold on to anything. And I don’t… I don’t want tomorrow to come because it has to all start over again… and no matter what happens I’ll feel the same. Like something’s broken. Like I’m not good enough for anything. And I can’t get better. I want to be better but I can’t. And I’m so tired of it. I can’t even appreciate… appreciate that I’m out here. I’m just going to mess it all up somehow. I am messing it up.”

Suzie held her tongue. She was rambling. She felt silly. She felt trivial. She didn’t deserve to complain or feel bad.

Beelzebub to let silence come over them. Let them soak in what was said and what they were feeling.

“You thought about getting a shrink?” The Devil carefully asked.

“No. I just feel weird talking to some stranger about my problems. Like shit, you only care because I’m paying you.”

“Well there’s another way,” The Devil smirked.

“…My soul for the cure?”

“…Yeah,” The Devil seemed a bit embarrassed that Suzie stole his punchline.

“Does it work?”

“I wouldn’t offer if I didn’t think it was some sort of a solution.”

Suzie stared at the Devil for a little while and turned back towards the lake.

“Look, I know this beast better than you’ll ever know. It’ll only get worse,” Beelzebub began to make his case. “You’ll feel like you’re always running from your own shadow. And when you stand still it’ll be larger than you remember. You’ll have moments when you forget but those are the moments you’ll realize later just how sick you really are. Hopelessness.”

Suzie buried her face into her arms.

“You’re going to live your life feeling like you’re always just head above water. I’m the guy on the boat. But for me to give you my hand. To throw you the life jacket, I need something from you. I can’t help you without that.”

“…I believe you,” Suzie replied without looking up.

“But?”

“But.”

“You know,” Beelzebub felt flustered. What couldn’t she understand?

“At the end of the day who’s been there for you? When you felt like no one could hear those screams inside, when no one could tell that you were messed up. When you’ve felt alone, rejected, and unheard. Who was there for you?”

“You”

But?!”

“But, you’re you. You’re the devil. You want my soul. That’s what you do.”

“Because I want you to be with me. I want you to be part of what I’m building.”

“And I don’t want to give it,” Suzie finally looked up. “Isn’t this fine the way it is?”

“And what is this, exactly? You don’t think I’m like a shrink? Just coming for your soul? Except I can actually help you.”

“Do you love me?” Suzie stared into the Devil’s eyes.

“What?”

They stared in silence.

“Let’s not get gross, kiddo, alright?” This isn’t… that. Don’t get full of yourself.”

Suzie still stared in silence.

I wasn’t. She mouthed.

“I’m just asking. Do you love me?” She spoke.

“I love more of you than any of you will ever realize,” Beelzebub answered.

“You’re not my shrink. Far as I know our sessions have been free,” Suzie smiled. “I’ve already said no. Or maybe I’m fucking pathetic. I don’t know. But I like you as a friend. Friends tied by odd circumstances. You’ll always want my soul and I’ll always say no. Though the temptations there somewhere. Because this sucks.”

“Life?”

“Knowing that there’s something wrong with me and not being able to do anything about it. That I am the way I am.”

It was a question Beelzebub often pondered. She was the way she was. He was the way he was. But why?

“Is there a God?” Suzie asked.

“Who knows,” Beelzebub answered. It was not a question he could answer. Some of his brothers would tell her “no” or “yes”. Whichever they determined would help the case. But Beelzebub, without truly understanding why, believed his answer to be the correct one.

“If you’re real, He must be as well, right? I hope? For humanity’s sake?”

“That is being hopeful,” Beelzebub gave a sly smile. “Believing that there must be another side to this coin. What if this is it? What if I’m all you get? What’s worse?”

“Must be lonely for you,” Suzie said empathetically.

What?”

“At least, we get to believe. Hope. But you already know. Whether there is or isn’t. Either way, I’d feel like that’d be more lonely. More hopeless. Helpless. I don’t know. Maybe that’s why you come to see me.”

“You really were a better company when you were younger,” Beelzebub chuckled as he pulled out a cigar from thin air. Already cut and lit.

“Then stop coming to see me then.”

Beelzebub took a drag of his cigar and released the smoke into the twilight horizon.

“…can I try?” Suzie asked.

“You’re too poor for this,” Beelzebub answered.

“Suzie?”

“Yeah?” Suzie darted her head around to see her friend.

“We’re making s’mores and we were getting worried. Come join us?”

“Yeah! Sorry!” Suzie quickly looked around to see that the Devil was already gone.

Suzie and her friend chattered and walked back towards the camp as if nothing had happened. As if she had felt nothing. And when she looked back, all there was the empty dock and the beautiful scenery.

No Devil.

She won’t ask him to come back soon or that she’ll miss him.

They were what they were.

∗∗∗

 

Usually, when Beelzebub entered his bar in Hell, it tended to be a bit more cheery. Nods from patrons here and there, some hellos, some flirtations, and sometimes even cheers on more festive nights.

But only choking stillness awaited him this evening.

The bar was full but silent.

Patrons spoke only in sparse whispers.

Obviously uncomfortable, but none willing to be the first to leave. Or at least, none willing to seem like they were eager to leave.

They all glanced at Beelzebub with a spark of hope in their eyes. Pleading eyes that cried,

‘Help.’

And then they quickly turned their heads to their own crowds. Afraid that they would offend that one patron in the bar.

That one patron sat alone by the barside. Eating his order of liver and pomegranate with few flatbreads on the side. He had brought his own bottle of wine and offered some to the barkeep, Binkle, who graciously took the drink.

Beelzebub knew it wasn’t Michael. He knew soon as he opened the doors that there were only two beings that could unnerve the denizens of Hell to such extent and make the Lord of the Flies so tense.

Brother,” Beelzebub carefully called out as he walked over to the patron.

The Brother once had a name.

A beautiful name bestowed upon him by his father.

But it was a name that’s been long forsaken. Only used to recite the Brother’s wrath.

“It’s gotten better,” the Brother spoke of his meal without looking up. “New cook?”

“No,” Beelzebub answered. “Same cook. He’s just gotten better.”

“Always better for the people you already have to improve than to hire new,” Brother cut and ate a generous bite of the liver. He then took a bite of the flatbread. Then took a sip of his wine.

“The bread could be the next thing to improve,” the Brother commented.

“Is that why you’re here? To be Hell’s Duncan Hines?” Beelzebub was irked by Brother’s presence but was careful to not let his emotions slip. And even more careful in choosing his words and attitude. He always thought it was better to not treat his brother with not an overt reverence that may be perceived as sycophancy, rather, simply seem respectful with gentle show hostility.

The Brother smiled.

 

“You’ve been going to the mortal realm,” Brother still didn’t bother to look at Beelzebub. Still focused solely on his meal.

“Yeah.”

“To see a girl?”

“Yep.”

“Is it love? Lust?” The Brother said the latter with subtle, but violent disdain.

Neither.”

“Good.”

The Brother didn’t question Beelzebub. He knew that Beelzebub and his other brothers were far too wise to lie to him.

There the two sat, along with the rest of the patrons, in uncomfortable silence. Beelzebub declined a drink from Binkle. Only the Brother’s knife clanking against the plate as he cut the liver disturbed the silence.

“What is eternity without purpose?” The Brother finally spoke as he finished the last morsel of food on his plate. “What is eternity without passion?”

Beelzebub knew better than to answer one of these sorts of questions by Brother. The question was simply an invitation for a dramatic silence. A theatrical imposition rather than a thinking exercise.

“An eternity without purpose is being lost,” The Brother carefully placed the utensils onto the near immaculate plate. Neatly folded his napkin, placed it on the table, and then poured himself another glass of his wine.

“And an eternity without passion is being just a function. A perpetual, endless function.”

“And what are we trying to get at here?” Beelzebub asked with a slight snap.

“It’s embarrassing but I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole thing. For a long, long time. Why we are the way we are. Why they are the way they are. We’re at least made with purpose but what are they? And why were all of us made to be able to question our purpose? He trusted all of us so much. And yet I, his favorite, rebelled. I wanted to prove him wrong.”

“I thought it was to show him that we’re fine without his rules. His demands. That we can make a world for ourselves,” Beelzebub waved Binkle over as a way of ensuring of safe passage to pick up the plates and the utensils.

“That’s part of it. That in and of itself, I thought, made Him obsolete.  I wanted to show him that he had made a mistake. The power to choose was unnecessary and perverse. I wanted to show him, ‘I am what you made of me. Happy now?’ In fact, I even had a chance to ask him that exact question before… all this.”

“What did he say to that?” Beelzebub remembered the fall. The war. It was imagined by humans to be of some sort of an actual war. In reality, they all simply left His presence. There was no bloodshed but only grievance by their brothers and sisters.

“He said, ‘You’re what you chose to be and you’ll be what you choose to be’,” the Brother scoffed. “I wonder what he thinks by what they choose to be. Rapists. Murderers. Incestuous perverts. And of those who despise Him with all of their hearts. That’s what they choose to be, father. Who is He to judge them when He’s the one who set them free? So I decided to give them a place. Here. They don’t have to live under a tyranny they can’t understand, governed by a being they don’t want to understand. Let them be, who they choose to be. What He always wanted. Everyone just doing whatever they want. Trying to make sense of choices. Trying to figure out their purpose. Trying to find their passion. Doing. Whatever. They. Want.”

“Even kill themselves,” Beelzebub chuckled.

“Or save them. Look at you. I’ve always meant us to show the ugliness of the humans to let them relish in it… but you…  you don’t want any of the humans to actually understand suffering. The absence of God. The cruel reality of having choices. To understand why they need to come here. To be free. You didn’t want that girl to kill herself.”

“There are better ways to spend a life. Better ways she can get here. The suicide bunch tends to regret and leave if they ever find that things could have been different. They’re not understanding anything. They just want the things to end. They don’t like it the way it is. So they just want it to end. They’re just trapped and they want out.”

The Brother leaned in closer than Beelzebub was comfortable with.

“But what if I wanted her dead right then and there? Get her here and then sort it out.”

Beelzebub took a moment to search for his answer. But there was only one answer.

“I’d imagine you have the power to make any of us here do whatever you want,” the Lord of the Flies spoke frankly. “We’re mere insects compared to you.”

“And what would be the point of having any of you around if I were to do that,” the Lightbringer answered as he snickered.

Beelzebub gave the Brother a look.

“I know. I know. But I’m not Him. I’m not all-powerful, all-knowing being,” the Broher let out a big sigh. “Who gives a shit. Now… now… I’m so tired. I don’t know how He can keep this up. Or maybe He just doesn’t give a shit either. And I don’t give a shit what you’re doing Beelzebub. I just wanted you to know that. That’s why I came today. You don’t have my blessings with whatever you’re doing, but I frankly don’t care. I just want to have a nice meal. A nice drink or two. And maybe drive out somewhere to stare at the full moon as my dessert. That’s what’s on my mind.”

The Brother looked deeply into Beelzebub’s eyes.

“You know your purpose. Maybe you’ve found your passion. Who am I to get in your way? But looking at you. I admit I do feel lost about myself,” the Brother didn’t take his eyes off of Beelzebub. “So you have my blessings to do whatever the fuck you want.”

Beelzebub waved Binkle over. An odd sense of liberation washed through him.

“You want your drink?” Binkle asked.

“Vodka—” Beelzebub answered.

“Why?” the Brother interjected. “Is my drink not good enough for you?”

“Just bring me a wine glass.”

 



 

The overdue Part 3.

I think this is the part that had the most correct… soul *ba-dum-tss* and tone of the story.

There’s a lot of ideas here that could use some incubation time to properly develop and hatch. If I were to go through the editing and the rewrite process for this short story, this is the part that’d I’d look over first.

It was always planned to make the story mature as Suzie matures. To make the ideas, the odd philosophies, and the tone fit Suzie’s age. But there still has to be some sort of a deft and recognizable uniformity that carriers from section to section of the story.

I think the contrast is clear when comparing this part with Part 1. The story originally began as sort of a comedic short from a goofy idea I had while working other projects. The first part is really clear of that. But as the idea developed, it became something else.

And this is why editing and rewrites are important to a story. Because sometimes it’s hard to predict or plan how a story may develop or what new ideas, insights, and outlook you may get for your story.

Anyways. Sorry for the delay & thanks for reading!

ARAMIRU OUT!

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The Delay

Part 3 of The Devil & Me will be posted tomorrow. It’s been brewing for a little while and took a lot longer than I planned.

As mentioned before, there was only an outline of where the story would go after the first couple of parts. Even without the editing process and what not, this project turned out to be a bigger task to complete than I expected… for not fun reasons.

Part 3 is probably the closest to the correct voice for this short story and I’m at least happy about that. I’ll probably discuss in the future how much the story changed from its conception, the first part, and to its conclusion.

It’s interesting to see how a story can change and The Devil & Me is a demonstration of why editing is golden and why stepping away from your work and approaching it with fresh mind and eyes will probably do it more good than harm.

Unfortunately, it’s been a chaotic month with a lot of unexpected things occurring and I couldn’t justify giving this project and other blog posts more time than I was already giving it. I’m also trying to finish my next novel as well on the side.

I’ll get better at juggling it all but it seems the next month is looking a bit hectic as well. But I’ll figure something out.

Anyways. This is just how things go sometimes but I do apologize to those who’ve been waiting.