J. Otis Haas
Revisiting the Mountain
In my memory, the hill in the park where we rode sleds as children is a Himalayan slalom. I’d peer over the cliff in fear before launching myself along the icy track to be rocketed down what we called “The Mountain” at ludicrous speeds that, even then, felt reckless. Catching air over the jumps we made sent us soaring so high we’d swear we were above the treetops. There was euphoria in that weightless moment at the apogee, a fleeting sense of breathless wonder that seems elusive in adulthood, one of those joys that you’ve forgotten you’ve forgotten until something brings it all rushing back.
The Cup of the Lamb vs. Sunshine the Breaker
Living things invariably place themselves higher than inert objects in the hierarchy of creation. Though this may seem born of arrogance, it is merely an inevitable result of the finite and narrow perceptions of most conscious beings, and is certainly not limited to humanity. Do trees pity rocks, which in the timeframe of even an ancient oak’s existence, can not grow, but only break down? They do.
- Top Story - February 2024
My vocal.media Goals for 2024
A short piece about my 2024 vocal.media aspirations should be a simple enough task to complete, yet this is my seventh attempt and the deadline is looming. In unpacking why this has been such a difficult exercise, I must forgive myself by acknowledging that up until a few short years ago I was little more than a free-roaming id, and planning has never been my strong suit. I’d like to believe that’s been tempered a bit by some newly acquired wisdom, but the truth is that having spent so long living in the moment, weighed down by the gravity of the past, the future, as a concept, is something I’ve never really been in touch with. Trying to reconcile that with hopes and dreams down the road can be a struggle. Though now cured, this is the legacy of my depression.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Goldie the Goldfish
Considering the supposed peculiarities of their limited memories, one must imagine that no goldfish could ever understand the importance its species holds in our culture. These little, gilded creatures have taught generations of children lessons about the fragility of life and finality of death. When little Eve came home from her friend’s seventh birthday party with a goldfish in a bowl, every member of her family, even Bobby, suspected that such an education would soon unfold.
- Top Story - December 2023
The Heretic’s Screams: A Yule Tale Top Story - December 2023
After a full Terran decade of waging interstellar war against countless alien civilizations, Captain J4Y of the Imperial Navy was returning to Earth for Yule with a heavy heart. The Conquest had kept her away from home since receiving her commission, and she was looking forward to seeing her parents and old friends. There was also the question of reenlisting or applying to be repurposed.
- Runner-Up in the Smooth Challenge
- Runner-Up in Arid Challenge
Eating Cricketburgers in The Sands with Concrete on the 4th of July Runner-Up in Arid Challenge
Payment was expected at the permanent oases. These were bustling places with names like Watertown and Shady Palms, mostly built up with ramshackle structures, but whose precious trees were made into stately homes for the wealthiest inhabitants. Past the gates, vessels, artifacts, and resources could be traded with merchants for hamster-pemmican or hamster oil, which was burned for light in lamps, but nothing in The Sands was more valuable than water. It was always a matter of what you could afford to part with versus how much you could carry versus how thirsty you were. Jack knew he’d have to be pretty desperate to part with his shovel.
Bobby had been dreaming of The Sphinx. Its completion with a human head was seen as heretical by the cat community and had remained a sore spot for millennia, though he could scarcely blame the clumsy, oafish humans, who were obviously jealous of the feline form, and sought perfection through imitation. Bobby loved his human servants and considered himself a benevolent master, but felt it was important to remain cognizant of their foibles and inadequacies. Case in point: he was hungry and they were all still asleep.