Thursday, May 29, 2008

My first shot at a short story


By Craig Decker

The explosion sent the terrified woman flying into a pile of rubble. Flames began licking at the walls, and from the smoke a she heard someone say her name. The woman scrambled for the door like a trapped mouse. She couldn’t open it. She screamed out for help. Out of the darkness she him staring at her from across the room. His eyes flickered orange and red as they reflected the leaping flames. The maniac stepped forward and showed his teeth in a deformed, sadistic smile. In his right hand he gripped a chain saw. In one swift motion, the machine growled to life. The screaming roar of the chainsaw ripped the air, hungry. The woman shrieked and blood splattered across the walls as the chainsaw shredded her body.

Ben looked away from the television screen and began to breathe again. The long, hot hours of the journey had filled the bus with stale air and body odor so thick he could cut it. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness again, he took inventory of the situation. Down the aisle several dozen faces were illuminated with a comical mixture of wide-eyed fascination and disgust carefully deciphered the Spanish subtitles. The line of small, flashing televisions hanging from the ceiling of the bus swayed in unison as the old Argentine tour bus sped down a dark canyon road. The dim yellow reading light shone done on his open scriptures, deserted midsentence.

Ben felt his face flush. He reached instinctively for the black name tag that lay over his heart, and cradled it in his hand, fingers caressing the badge, feeling the cut grooves of two inscribed names -- his own, and the name, ”Jesucristo.”

He sighed.

This wasn’t good. As a missionary, he had promised to live as a disciple of Christ so that he could help people to change their lives, and that included avoiding filth and violence. Memories from the day washed over his mind like cool water. He had been working with prisoners. He reminded them to fill their lives with good, pure things, and they would be filled with peace and power to truly change. And it was true. He had felt it.

Why had he watched the movie for so long when I knew it was the opposite of everything he stood for? How long had it been? Half an hour. His eyes seemed to have a will of their own, and had been drawn into the movie like a moth seduced into the flame of a burning candle, coming to a startlingly painful understanding of reality a moment too late.

Another string of vulgarities resounded through the dimly lit bus, and he glanced up curiously in time to see the subtitles dancing merrily across the bottom of the screen. Ben chuckled. The translation was never right. The Spanish subtitles were completely inaccurate. Of all the passengers, he alone could fully appreciate the colorful dialogue. The movie progressed in a slow crescendo of vulgarity until the screaming chainsaw ripped apart another woman and the killer raped his bloody victim.

A white-hot flash of light tore Ben’s mind. He blinked reality back into existence. Why had he l watched again? He squeezed his eyes closed, trying to rid his mind of the images he had just seen. It was no use. They played out again under his eyelids. He leaned forward and rested his head on his fists.

“Okay.” He said aloud to himself, trying to gain some sense of dignity.

The word disappeared into the air.

“Okay,” he said again.

He had to ignore the movie. He looked down and studied the dirty black floor. Not very exciting. He carefully turned his head to look out the window. A massive black void stared back at him. His traveling companion dozed quietly below the window. He envied his astonishing ability to stay asleep despite the noise and movement of the bus. A distant reflection on the window caught his attention. What was it? He curiously studied the glowing image for a few moments, and then jumped as he realized that he had been watching the reflection of the movie. He slowly closed his eyes in a desperate effort to think of something besides the movie, but the images of carnage flooded his mind. He urgently searched for a safe place to look. His eyes were pulled to the screen almost magnetically.

Earlier that day he promised a struggling man that there was no temptation that he couldn't overcome. Now those words echoed in his mind, mocking him. There had to be a solution. While thought about it, his eyes drifted back to the movie again. He leaned back into the orange and blue overstuffed seat that held him prisoner, defeated. Almost as an afterthought, he sighed again. It was a soft prayer for divine intervention.

Doughnuts The word wandered into his mind. Doughnuts.

That afternoon he had bought a dozen hot, glazed doughnuts at a little tourist shop. Doughnuts were a rare American delicacy in Argentina. Their chewy warmth and the sweet glaze melting in his mouth was like seeing an old friend. He had eaten until the glazed sugar stuck to his hands, lips, and chin, and his stomach bulged. The remaining doughnuts were carefully placed in a brown paper sack to take on the long trip. He pulled the sack out from under his seat and looked inside. There were a few left. He took one from the sack and bit into it.

Ben casually began watching the movie again as he chewed. Ahead of him and across the aisle a young boy was playing with an action figure of a super hero. He was completely indifferent to the screens flooding the aisle with pale light and the roar of the chainsaw. He looked at the boy, then back to the movie. The boy caught his glance, and looked back. Ben looked back down at the boy. He wasn’t moving. He was staring at the doughnut, his mouth slightly ajar. Ben offered it to him, and he took it eagerly. As he shoved it into his mouth, Ben turned back to the movie. He couldn't stop.

“Vos sos Americano?” asked the boy.

“Yeah, I’m American,” Ben turned back to the boy.

Que copado!” he said, Che, Vos queres ser mi amigo?”

“Do I want to be your friend? Sure, kid.”

Estas mirando la pelicula?”

“Yeah, I’m watching it, but I don’t like it.”

“A mi no me gusta tampoco. Es muy aburrido.”

He smiled and laughed at the irony. The boy laughed too, not knowing why.

“You’re right. It is boring.”

“Vos queres escuchar un chiste?” The boy’s eyes shone. “wanna’ hear a joke?”

“Sure,”Ben said.

He took another doughnut from the sack and gave it to the boy. Ben listened to his joke, then told him one of his own. They laughed until the other passengers bombarded them with “shhhh’s” of annoyance—to which they chuckled defiantly.

They cleaned out the sack and licked off their glazed fingers. Ben glanced at the seething television screen. Suddenly it was all that the boy had said – boring. It was hollow and ugly. His sigh of relief made the boy pause in the middle of his newest story.

“thank you,” Ben whispered.


“Nothing.” Ben smiled and nodded for him to continue.

My original poetry- What do you think?


I take a step into the street

as cars whiz by.

And I should look before I cross

but I’m not going to

until after I step.


at my steely glare

the cars slow

and stop at my feet

like trembling iron monsters

forced to make

an embarrassing submission.

Five deliberate steps

and pause

at the double yellow lines.

A thundering red mountain of existence


and passes inches before my face

If I reach out

I could caress death

with my fingertips.

I step again

before the thing has passed.

and a new line of cars

cowers at my presence.

I shudder,

and revel in primal ecstasy

like my ancestors

after killing

the mammoth.

-Craig Decker ‘08

Ode to a Grilled-Cheese Sandwich

As cold rain pours outside

kindergarten to college

You fill my soul

with warm cheesy goodness.


Pocket Lint

Blissful, Heavenly Fluff

Comforting, Soft, and Gray

How Did You Get

Way Down Inside

My Pocket,


Friday, May 23, 2008

Gotta try this

I found a fascinating game on it's called "Magic pen" and actually requires some creative thinking and engineering skills to get through. (watch out! It is addicting.) This is a game that I would let my kids play if I had kids!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spring singing

I just got a copy of last year's Spring University Choir performance. The music was incredible and affected me profoundly.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Praised be the Lord
My Song in the Night
Sure on this Shining Night
Now Glad of Heart
Letatus Sum

Friday, April 25, 2008

One handed typing options.

7 lessons from a firework (written 2-07)

I haven’t always been left handed. In fact, I still get weirded out when I look down at the stub where my right hand used to be! Christmas vacation this year took me on a road trip to Mexico. Question: Where can you buy better quality fireworks than in Mexico? (Answer: anywhere.) On New Year’s Eve I lit a harmless looking firework at midnight, and a moment later I looked down and realized that my hand took the early bus back to heaven!

All joking aside, I have learned some powerful lessons through that experience. (Surprisingly, most of them have very little to do with firework safety!) Although what occurred was tragic, I believe what I have learned has made me a better person and will continue to bless the lives of many individuals.

1. Don’t buy fireworks in Mexico!

2. There are some things in life that we simply cannot control. (If I hadn’t blown off my hand, some other poor person would have.) It’s okay. As we let go of those things quickly and completely, we become free.

3. “Men are that they might have joy”! Life is good. Laughter heals. Life is funny. There are funny things that happen every day even in the worst of situations. Bad days make good stories. There is a time to laugh and a time to cry. It’s funny that laughter and tears come together so easily.

4. The atonement of Christ brings peace and healing “that surpass all understanding”. We come to know ourselves and we come to know God through our trials. We are surrounded by miracles. When we trade self pity for humility, our eyes are opened to see them.

5. There is so much life to live! Why waste time worrying and stressing about inconsequential things? Spend time doing what matters most—the things that bring the most light and joy to life. Enjoy the ride.

6. Challenges make us stronger and better. With creativity and patience, we are capable of much more than we ever imagined. Our perspective determines our reality. (There is nothing that quite compares with the feeling of accomplishment gained from flossing with one hand for the first time!)

7. We can always lift others, no matter how bad of a situation we are in. It is a divine gift. The only true and lasting joy comes from forgetting ourselves and lifting those around us through love and service.

I would never wish another person to lose their hand. But I hope my experiences and lessons make a difference in your life. Wahoo for the resurrection!!