February 13, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Grab Bag

You may have noticed that I've run into a kind of deficit this week as far as the "Daily Stricks" go. Fortunately, I've been working a lot—but unfortunately, it hasn't left me much time for anything else. I decided a little while back to allow myself one "rerun" per month, so today's the day for February. By posting some previously published material, I'll get back on schedule. So without further ado, I present a grab bag of oldies but goodies.

Family Trip to Lake Powell, 1998

Like most memorable experiences, it started with a bang. No sooner did the houseboat leave the dock than a first-class thunderstorm rolled over Lake Powell. Kids were screaming, the Skipper was stressing, the boat was pitching. And out in point position, scouting for any port in a storm, the powerboat fared even worse. It rode the wind waves like a dune buggy in the desert—only it was buckets of water, not sand, that flew into the faces of its occupants.

But, like a taskmaster testing those who would sail upon her waters, the lake soon calmed, and the sun shone down brightly for the rest of the week. And what a magical week it was. Words can't do justice to the beauty and majesty of Lake Powell. It's a sight to be experienced, not described. Wide-open waters for swimming, boating and skiing; narrow, high-walled canyons barely wide enough for a powerboat; a majestic yet alien landscape tailor-made for rock climbers and artists. Crosby Canyon, Padre Bay, Cornerstone Canyon, Cathedral Canyon, Gunsight Bay: the week was wonderful, but much too short.

What made the vacation truly special, though, was spending quality time with each other. The opportunities for such a large family to get together for more than a few hours at a time are few and far between. When such occasions do come around, they build memories to last a lifetime. [photos]

Excerpt from "Homecoming," 1998
Short story inspired by the Star Trek: Next Generation episode "The Inner Light"

Picard sat down in the shade of a wall and reached up to his head. With a sharp hiss, he vented the air from his suit and removed his helmet. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath. Beneath the acrid smell of the dead air, he detected a faint yet familiar scent. It was barely noticeable now, but it was there. He picked up a brick-sized chunk that had fallen from the wall behind him and held it up to his nose. Yes, there it was. The earthy smell of Kataanian dirt. Not a particularly strong nor fragrant smell, not one that anyone else would notice. But, like the odor of an old pillow or a musty attic, it was a familiar scent: the smell of Home. [Full story]

Two Entries for 55-Word Short Story Contest, 1992

Hollow Victory
Sparks danced as blades met. So it comes to this, he thought. His opponent growled and lunged. Off guard, the man caught a fist in the midriff. Suddenly sensing an opening, he thrust his sword through his attacker's gullet. Victory is ours! But, looking down, he saw blood. Alas! 'Twas a knife, not a fist!

First A.I.D.S.
For in the end, there would only be pain. No love from fearful friends. No comfort from a misled society. No eleventh-hour cure from an uncaring government. He closed his eyes and retreated into the vortex induced by the latest round of painkillers. A single tear ran down his face. He waited, alone.


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Chuckle:

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

Today's Column
Send a Comment


2/12: The End is Near
2/11: And the Winner Is...
2/10: Exploration is Risky Business
2/9: Staphylococcus
2/8: Morning Cup of Kofi
2/7: Game Over
2/6: The Eagle Never Landed
2/5: Pope: Potter No Problem
2/4: Time for Another Rewrite
2/3: A Matter of Opinions
2/2: Suicidal Bravado
2/1: Godspeed, Columbia

Like what you've read?
Find more good reading on

In Association with Amazon.com

(and support future Daily Stricks!)