i've brought thee a gift
though it's size is immeasurable
though you can't hold it in your hands
you can't see it, smell it, taste it
but it is there, it is within me
and it cannot exist with you
as it's source of energy
that gift
is
my
love

cmb/7.19.99

A horror/thriller movie about a psychic who sees the murder of a young local woman, the daughter of a wealthy family prominent in the redneck town.

Cate Blanchett plays Annie Wilson, a widowed mother of three young boys who supplements her Social Security payments by giving card readings ("I don't call myself a fortuneteller") to local residents. Among her clients are Buddy Cole (played by Giovanni Ribisi), a troubled young mechanic who considers Annie his only friend, and Valerie Barksdale (Hilary Swank), the long-suffering wife of Donnie Barksdale (Keanu Reeves), who comes to Annie for support when Donnie beats her and looks for hope in the readings despite her husband's belief that Annie is a witch and a Satan-worshipper. Greg Kinnear plays Wayne Collins, the principal at the school Annie's children attend, and Katie Holmes appears as Jessica King, Wayne's fiancée, who is busily cheating on him two months before their wedding - until she disappears. When conventional methods don't locate his daughter, Kenneth King (played by Chelcie Ross) turns to Annie for help, to the dismay of skeptical sheriff Pearl Johnson (J.K. Simmons). The initial reading is useless, but the next night Annie has a dream in which she sees the missing girl dead and decomposed. Her visions become more frequent and more terrifying, but Annie refuses to ignore them and continues to pursue the truth about what happened the night Jessica King disappeared.

Directed by Sam Raimi, written by Billy Bob Thornton, and filmed entirely in Georgia, The Gift was rated R for "violence, language, and sexuality/nudity" (specifically, Katie Holmes appears almost completely naked in a flashback sequence).


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide

Season 5, Episode 22

The Gift

Original Airdate: May 23, 2001

Written and directed by Joss Whedon.

100th episode. Also 5th season closer.

The “Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer” montage begins with clips from the very first episode. We meet all of Buffy’s friends. We see shots from later episodes, getting shorter as they proceed in chronological order, until it’s a blur of unrelated frames.

This is Buffy’s life flashing before her eyes. And still, none of us suspected.

The episode begins with a vamp cornering a teenager in the alley behind The Magic Box. Buffy wanders out, and is struck by the fact that this vamp has never heard of the Slayer. She dispatches him routinely, without a break in her somber mood.

Inside, she joins the Scooby gang as they attempt to plan how they will rescue Dawn. Buffy makes Giles describe the ritual again (fulfilling the recap that the montage didn’t): When Dawn’s blood flows, it will open a rift between dimensions, and only her death (the ceasing of the flow) will close it. Giles suggests that if they arrive too late, they may have to end Dawn’s life to save the world. Buffy insists that is not an option. She bluntly threatens to kill anyone who tries to hurt her sister.

Cut to Dawn held hostage by Ben/Glory and her minions. Dawn is disgusted by Ben (who won’t commit the murder, but won’t move to stop it either) and she demands that he become Glory. Glory makes Dawn put on a strange fairy-tale dress for the ritual. Evidently the apocalypse has a fashion sense.

The Scoobies are brainstorming ways to hurt Glory. Willow has been working on a spell to restore Tara’s soul after Glory’s having eaten it, and thinks that might harm her somewhat. Anya suggests the Dagon Sphere (from No Place Like Home) and the Troll Hammer (from Triangle). While she and Xander ostensibly search the basement for the Sphere—uncovering the Buffy sexbot in the process—they make sweet pre-traumatic nookie. Afterward, Xander proposes marriage. Once Anya is convinced he’s not doing it because he believes they’re both going to die, she displays more warmth than we’ve ever seen, visibly blushing. She says yes.

The Scoobies follow Tara (who, like the rest of the mental patients, is inexplicably drawn) to the site of the ritual, where Glory’s slaves have constructed a massive skeletal tower, with Dawn tied to a plank at the top. Glory confronts them. Willow places one hand on Tara’s forehead and the other on Glory’s, and performs the spell. All three of them go flying in a spectacular discharge of energy.

Glory gets up to find Buffy itching for a fight. She has the Sphere, which is having a Kryptonite-like effect on Glory, but then Glory crushes it with one hand and the two begin kung fu. Eventually, Glory knocks Buffy’s head off, only to discover she was fighting the sexbot. She then receives the first of many whacks in the face with the Troll Hammer.

Tara comes to.

Willow: Tara? Baby?

Tara: I got so lost…

Willow: I found you.

They embrace.

Willow: I will always find you.

Buffy and Glory are at something of a stalemate. Then a wrecking ball crashes through the wall into Glory, courtesy of Xander behind the wheel of a crane. Buffy begins pummeling the immobilized god repeatedly and mercilessly.

Dawn believes she is safe, as Glory cannot reach her in time to perform the ritual. Then the Doctor (from Forever) walks toward her with a very long knife. The Scoobies below notice the figure. Willow sends Spike a telepathic message to get ready to run. (We didn’t know she could do that, did we?) She and Tara link hands and blast the minions out of the way of the stairs. Spike runs.

Glory changes back into Ben. Buffy can’t kill him and walks away. Giles approaches Ben and remarks that Buffy is a hero, and that the two of them are not. Then he suffocates Ben.

The Doctor knocks Spike off the tower and cuts Dawn. Buffy reaches the top and pushes the Doctor off without even looking at him. The rift has opened and general chaos is everywhere. Buildings burst into flame, horrific beasts take flight. Dawn implores Buffy to kill her, knowing it’s the only way to stop the madness.

Buffy thinks back to what the first Slayer told her: “Death is your gift.” She remembers convincing Dawn that they were truly sisters, no matter what, because they shared the same blood. “She’s me.” “They made her out of me.”

Buffy says some beautiful final words to her sister and then leaps into the rift, closing it.

We see Buffy’s inert body as her friends gather around it and sob (even Anya, and especially Spike). Cut to a tombstone. It reads:

Here lies
BUFFY ANNE SUMMERS

1981—2001
DEVOTED SISTER
BELOVED FRIEND

SHE SAVED THE WORLD
A LOT

Highly subjective addendum: If you can watch this episode and not get teary, then you have a heart like a cold cold rock. The only time I’ve ever been more affected by a TV show was watching The Body.

Commonly referred to as the ability for a male to sustain an erection after having orgasmed or ejaculated. A term often used crypically by females with much reverence and respect in reference to the prospective male with said potency.

A casual mention of 'Yeah, he had the gift,' will induce oohs and ahhhs from her knowledgeable cohorts.

Some men naturally have 'the gift', though many do not. For those not naturally inclined, it can be learned... reference ccunning and donfreenut's excellent writups for more. Partners can also aide in the process by applying pressure to the vas deferens or the 'lion spot' on the perenium just before ejaculation.

For even more, check out www.tantra-sex.com

The Farullopian ambassador stood on its three hind legs and waved its eyestalks back and forth. "Gift!", it crooned, and again, "Gift, gift!", almost falling over from its excited gesticulation.

It's happy, Miller realised, happier than I've ever seen one before. This made his stomach churn. He looked again at the strange thing on the table between them. The ambassador had brought it in this very morning, set in on the table, and announced that it was a "gift" for humanity. It was a small machine about the size of a football, a twisted shape decorated with alien swirls. There was a single blue button on the top and a small hole at what was probably the front. So far the alien had offered no explanation of its purpose, or indeed any explanation at all. This unexpected offering greatly puzzled everybody in the diplomatic corps to which Miller belonged, since so far, the Farullopians had shown no indication that the concept of giving gifts was known to them. Indeed they had shown no indication that they understood the concept of "generosity". And now, suddenly, this machine, with the ambassador more excited than Miller would have thought possible. Evidently, something was fishy here, but what? Still, he had no choice but to accept it, since the Farullopians certainly knew how to be insulted, something that he could not afford to let happen at this difficult stage of trade negotiations. If he did not accept the gift, then the aliens might use that as an excuse to withdraw hard fought-for concessions.

So he spoke into the microphone: "I am honoured to accept this gift in the name of the whole of humanity. We are very thankful. But please explain me its purpose."

The ambassador dropped back on its forelegs and approached the table. One of its tentacles flicked out of its mouth and touched the big blue button on the top of the machine, which then hummed for a moment and spat out a small, blue gemstone. The alien took it and held it up to Miller, who was suddenly frightened. What if this is some kind of trick?, he thought. What if it's trying to kill me? Poison me? I'll have to go through decontamination after this! Nevertheless he accepted the gem from the ambassador and held it towards the light. Looking into it he saw a complicated pattern of reflected light, shifting slowly but constantly. It was beautiful but totally puzzling. He put the gem away into his vest pocket and bowed to the ambassador, who held up its tentacles in return.

Thankfully it left after that and so Miller was able to get himself, the gem and the machine into decontamination quickly. The device was screened for poisons, biologicals, explosives and radioactives, but nothing was found - it was totally inert and apparently harmless. Nevertheless it was sealed away in a hermetic container along with the gem. Miller did not believe in taking any chances, not with the Farullopians. He had himself checked through thoroughly by the doctors, who not find anything wrong with him either. Miller was relieved, but still puzzled. He sent the container to the analysis department and then went home for the evening to lie in his bed and stare at the ceiling.

The next morning there was a preliminary report about the gift on his desk. He barely had time to leaf through it since the ambassador had arrived early. He did learn that the gems were neither poisonous nor radioactive, but of a structure unlike any ever seen before. He also quickly scanned the various theories as to their actual purpose. The most popular one was that they were espionage devices, intended to give the aliens information about the diplomatic corps' inner workings. Another rather simple theory was that they were little bombs, though such a crude and direct attack did not make much sense - if the corps headquarters were blown up, humanity would know exactly at whose six feet to lay the blame. The inner workings of the machine were as much of a mystery as the gems themselves. It simply dispensed gem after gem when the button was pressed, and if it served any other purpose, it was not apparent. But, the report stated, perhaps this apparent function as gem-dispenser was only a distraction from some more sinister but yet unknown ability.

The Farullopian ambassador was behaving most strangely today. Until now the negotiations had proceeded at a glacial pace, with every tiny facet of the treaty examined with absurd care by the ambassador, carefully avoiding the big issues of the treaty. But now it seemed to ignore the minor points while it headed straight for the central questions. It simply went through the list of proposed articles and approved of them without even reading them through, or so it seemed. Discussions Miller had feared would take days were concluded within minutes, with the alien giving in to the human position on almost all issues. Distracted by the strange gift he could not shake from his mind, infected by the strange hurry and carelessness of his counterpart, Miller accidentially approved of a whole section of the trade compact which he had not yet properly studied. And in the middle of a discussion about tariffs the alien suddenly asked him about the gift. It wanted to know whether he liked it, and whether he found the gems it produced to his taste. Miller was utterly at a loss as to what to respond to this strange question. To my taste? Am I supposed to eat them, or what?

"Yes, they are very... nice. Thank you." he answered haltingly. Fortunately this seemed to satisfy the alien, who then switched back to trade negotiations to the silent relief of Miller. However, the alien's proposals were becoming ever more confusing. Lost in thoughts about the gift he was unable to pay attention to the ambassador. He even had to ask it to repeat itself several times. He remembered what his instructor had said about the Farullopians: Never, ever, show them any sign of weakness on your part. Once they catch you, they will not let you go until they've sucked you dry. But what was he to do? He couldn't very well break off negotiations at this point just because he couldn't think straight anymore. That would be the greatest concession of weakness possible.

As the alien launched into another rambling proposal, his thoughts wandered to the last lines of the report he had scanned, the ones that suggested that the gems were only a distraction from the true purpose of the gift. And suddenly he knew exactly what that purpose was.




I wrote this short story with the intent to create a story of the kind often featured in the Analog magazine. I think I managed to do that, at least in terms of style and content.

Yes, I know, the title's hardly original. But guess what - it was the title we had to use for the assignment in school where I wrote a first version of this. I won't change it now because I've become used to it. Besides, it does fit the story.

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