Anna scowled as the wheel of the shopping cart found a crack in the floor of the supermarket and she nearly fell. This was a hazard, she would report it to the manager, she thought. But suddenly the floor began to rumble and the lights flickered. She froze in panic while mayhem ensued; others shouted and ran towards the exits. And yet she couldn't move.
The crack in the floor spread to several feet wide. A shelf of pickles toppled and crashed. And yet she stood still as the floor shook and the crack continued to grow. An entire grocery aisle tumbled into the void. This caused her sense of self preservation to outvote her panic response, and thus she left the store.
Outside she was hit with a chorus of sirens while cars sped past and crashed into each other attempting to flee. She joined a crowd that was calmly watching and taking cell phone videos, each hoping their earthquake footage would be the hit on social media.
The crack was now two hundred feet wide and the building was collapsing. In a matter of minutes the entire grocery store was swallowed into the earth, the power lines cracked and spit out sparks as the wires were torn away. The onlookers were impressed, they had been there to witness the beginning of the end; for this was the day the earth inexplicably broke in half, and it all started under the wheel of Anna's shopping cart.
Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is an autistic math savant. He is a small-town CPA with a side-gig as a freelance accountant for criminal organizations. Wolff is a shadowy figure who eludes the Feds until, with the law closing in, he chooses a new legit client, a robotics firm. At this company the accounting clerk Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy. Nobody expected him to find the truth, especially company CEO (John Lithgow) and (spoiler alert) everything goes dramatically sideways as a result.
The compelling thing about this film is the performance of Ben Affleck. His life has been a tortured trial, an abusive father bent on 'fixing' his neuro-divergent son has created an action hero: a Jason Bourne who suffers in loneliness as he excels at his job.
The story line isn't perfect by any means, however it's a satisfying action film with a plethora of great plot twists and excitement. Definitely worth a look.
It is what it is.
For centuries philosophers have struggled over it. Whether they believed that it was death, it was the loss of hope or even the 'it girl', the definition and purpose of it has been the rosetta stone and led to some mixture of insanity and bored college philosophy majors who smoke a bit too much pot and they get into arguments on Reddit. But a breakthrough was made in 1959 by physicists at Harvard when the great Doctor Henry Schnellmanberg proclaimed that it is what it is. At the time this esteemed professor was at a crossroads of his life, having just given up a professional surfing career to pursue his lifelong dream of merging the fields of quantum physics with existentialist philosophy. Everyone laughed at Schnellmanberg until he published his famous ten word scientific treatise entitled, "What is it and where did I leave it". The body of this paper said simply, "It is what it is, and that is it, really." Critics scoffed at the brevity of this paper, but soon it gained traction and of course now this concept is accepted as fact.
Five Cool Tips for Summer
It can be difficult to stay cool in the Summer, so today we at the Acme Chemical Company bring you these five helpful tips, let's go!
Number one, keep hydrated. Liquid hydration can take many forms such as water, iced tea, beer or even mixed drinks in moderation. And don't fall for the trap of only drinking overpriced bottled water when city fire hydrants provide all you can drink for free. So carry a fire hydrant wrench in the summer months so you will be ready when thirst strikes.
Number two, get naked. Yes, this may get you banned from the zoo or the public library, your comfort is more critical than any so-called rules, laws, or restraining orders. We are all born naked and anyone who tries to take away your right to be naked will hear from your lawyer; and since he will show up naked in all court appearances and proceedings, those in attendance will be convinced in the benefits of nudism in terms of keeping cool.
Number three, fans and airflow. Fans are everywhere if you use your imagination. Every car has two high speed electric fans that are just ripe for the taking and let's not forget that many airplanes are equipped with large efficient fans. So if you're hot, all it takes is a quick hop over a fence at the airport to catch the breeze from an Airbus or Boeing that's sitting at idle making a truly refreshing breeze.
Number four, that refreshing coolness you can find underground. People forget that the soil temperature thirty feet underground is always around fifty degrees, rain or shine. So with a shovel, backhoe or simple boring machine, the path to coolness is literally right under your feet.
And lastly, your friends at Acme Chemical are working on some amazing new products to keep you cool this summer. Acme has developed a new line of lotions and cremes packed with special ingredients to keep you cool. These new UltraCool line of products contain a patented mixture of barium hydroxide and ammonium chloride; big words you say, but these products lower your body temperature by as much as one hundred degrees on a hot day. See the product links below to get a special discount code to try a sample of UltraCool today.
Just remember, there's no need to lose your cool when trying to keep cool, it just takes your imagination with a little help from Acme Chemical.
It was barely a trail
More the suggestion of a trail, a natural break in the trees where deer had left their marks in the mud, a heady mixture of swamp and decay so strong you could taste it. The dog didn't care about the mud or the brush or the branches, those were background noise to his senses, whatever the deer left behind was some sort of hypnotic elixir to his nose. The sunlight flickered through the spring leaves, the wind flittered and kicked that fresh shade of green that oaks wear so well. I should have worn my boots, so now the muddy trail was devolving into a swamp, the dog mindlessly marched and splashed on, I didn't dare to disturb his earthy frolic down a muddy trail into the woods, my job was to watch for snakes and ticks and water too deep, but I saw none of those things that day in the woods.
At 5:10 AM, FBI director Nelson sat slumped at his desk, defeated. He hadn't slept more than five minutes since the crisis hit and the government-issue coffee wasn't helping. His day had begun in the situation room where he watched the live feed of a hostage rescue gone horribly wrong. He cursed under his breath as a text message appeared on-screen; career-ending messages always come before dawn in this business.
TOP SECRET--INFOSEC 4 STATUS -- EYES ONLY
OPERATION ARENA STATUS -- Agent Carla Johnston missing, presumed dead. Agents Fowler and Rowland KIA. Contact with suspects lost. Nothing Further.
The delivery notification said the box was on the front porch, and it was there as expected. I placed the box on the kitchen table and cut it open, a bundle of new socks. What a glorious time to be alive: we click a computer button and socks just appear on the porch. But suddenly a silver colored beetle scurried out of the box and ran across the table. Then a second one. I grabbed a magazine to swat it but missed. Some sort of roach? I tossed the package outside in a panic then grabbed a can of insect spray, but no luck. I sprayed the kitchen baseboards and hoped for the best.
At 3:00 AM I was jolted awake by a sharp sting on my arm. I switched on the light and shrieked. One of the silver beetles was on my hand and the room was alive with a steady buzzing sound. All at once a flurry of stings hit my legs and feet. I tried to throw off the bedsheet but it was wet with blood. Scores of insects were attached to my legs, biting, suckling on my blood. I screamed in horror and tried to brush them off but they were too strong. I scrambled out of bed to run to the bathroom but tripped on something. It was the box that was delivered earlier. The package of socks lay shredded and chewed.
Then everything went black.
I made a left turn by the overpass. There a beat up Honda Civic sat steaming with the hood open, so I stopped to help. Then I saw the girl: tall with ripped jeans and a dirty t-shirt. I shouted out the window if she needed help, and she said yes. As she removed the license plate from the Honda, she said, “I need a ride.”
“Sure, do you need a tow truck?” I said.
“No,” she said, “This car’s toast, I just need a ride.” I made room on the front seat of the Mustang and she threw her bag in the back.
“I’m Clara,” she said, “on my way to California.”
“Tom,” I said, “the good news is I’m headed to Fresno.”
It was overcast and thunder rumbled in the distance, I appreciated the company, parts of the drive are boring and bleak. She said she had just bought the car from a friend but thought it might have blown head gasket. She seemed nervous and kept checking the mirrors as we entered the freeway. She noticed a pickup truck parked on the next overpass.
“Shit, shit shit,” she said as she started digging into her bag.
“What’s wrong? I said.
“Sorry to drag you into this. We’re being followed,” she said. It was a black Ford pickup with two men. Suddenly the truck was closing fast.
“What’s going on? Who are these people? Call the cops!” I shouted. Soon the truck was in the rearview mirror. She pulled a gun from her bag, chambered a round and dropped two more magazines in her lap.
“Whoa! WHAT is going on?! Call the cops!” I shouted.
“Floor it Tom, NOW! They WILL kill both of us, just floor it!” She shouted.
Soon other cars were a blur as we topped 100 then 120 and 130. But the truck was still close behind. Suddenly the rear window shattered in an explosion of glass. The bullet blew the rearview mirror off. My heart was racing and time seemed to slow. Focus. I held the throttle to the floor as the tach needle flew up.
We seemed to be losing them but traffic began to slow, there were signs for construction. I cut to the hard shoulder to pass slow moving vehicles as the car rumbled and road debris hammered the car. If I get a tire puncture we’re dead, I thought to myself. I reached over and called 911 on the phone, but she slammed her fist into the display to end the call.
“No COPS!, she shouted, “THEY are part of this!” From behind more shots rang out. In an instant she scrambled into the back seat to return fire. As we passed slow moving trucks in blur, she fired five times at the pickup truck, then shouted, “GOT HIM!”
In an instant the pickup truck blew a tire and started sliding. A fireball erupted as it slammed into a construction vehicle. I took a deep breath and slowed down. There was glass everywhere and the mirror was hanging by the wires. I was bleeding from a cut on my arm but hadn’t noticed.
“Should I pull over and let you out? I said. My mind reeling. She climbed back into the front seat and reloaded the gun. She casually aimed it at my head.
“Nothing personal, but if you stop I will shoot you and take your car,” she said.
“Then I guess I keep driving,” I said. Out of nowhere I started to laugh. She put the gun away and smiled. She started laughing as well.
“That was fucking awesome, where did you learn to drive like that? She said.
“My mom was a race car driver,” I said.
“No way,” she said.
“Are you single, Tom?” she said.
“At the moment, yes, I said.
“I’m glad you turned left at the overpass, you saved my life,” she said.
Outside with a precocious four year old on a starry night, I pointed skyward and said, "Some say there are patterns in the stars, Orion the hunter, the big dipper..."
Child, interrupting, "You mean constellations?"
Me, somewhat defeated, "Yes."
Hattie Wilson stared at the cracks in the ceiling and could not sleep. The anticipation of killing her husband was too much to bear, she was as giddy as a child on Christmas morning.
The bleeding had stopped but her jaw ached as she probed the gap from her missing tooth with her tongue. Tom Wilson had done this to her and now the Florida heat was making it worse.
Heavy footsteps approached and the doorknob rattled. She reached under the pillow to touch the rosewood of her revolver for reassurance. The gun sat silently with her and together they waited for the bedroom door to open so she could sit up, aim and fire. She would fire three rounds and save three to finish him off without reloading.
For days she had rehearsed what she would say to the police: I thought it was a burglar! I was so scared, it was dark! It was an accident, I didn’t mean to do it!
She had practiced getting hysterical and making herself cry on demand -- this would be the acting performance of her life.
As the bedroom door swung open, Tom Wilson never saw it coming. He was welcomed home with three rounds to the chest and one to the head. He was dead before he hit the floor.