Monthly Archives: October 2012

Children of the Corn/Alien/Underground/Babysitter/Nannies

 

Upon meeting the strange sisters I was immediately taken aback at the unnatural shininess and tautness of the skin on their faces, almost like a mask concealing a twitching mass of  muscles underneath.  Their general movements and physical ticks seemed almost reptilian in nature; heads bobbing side to side, necks fully extended at all times.  Each word that exited their mouths seemed to hang in the air as though completely unrelated to the next,  implying that the phonetic construction of each was of more interest than the words actually flowing together to form sentences.  I now understand Lovecraft’s description of the way otherworldly beings regard speaking English.  Additionally, one of them used “hitherto” in the first sentence she spoke, which struck me as a little odd, but by the end of the interview seemed consistent with everything else.

The meeting was in regard to one or both of them nannying my 14 month old daughter.  I had joked with my fiancée in hearing the initial information on these girls that an interview question might be, “If you saw the mark of the beast on my daughter’s scalp during bath time what would you do?”  Needless to say neither of us uttered this question because we knew the answer would be, “drown her” spoken in emotionless unison.  In the course of the conversation we also found out that they don’t actually eat food, but instead subsist on food pellets filled with dried pulverized food stuffs (I’m not making this up), which might explain their skin qualities and general twitchiness.  It’s also completely possible that they sensed that my daughter is unbaptized and wanted to secure my house against witches who might try to make flying potion out of her (if you don’t get this, it’s okay, it’s a “Warlock” reference, which is an awesomely bad horror movie from the eighties); the lack of religious artifacts on my walls providing no defense against Evil.

 

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NaNoWriMo: My first and likely only attempt + free writing material

So I’ll be cranking out a novel next month.  The unfortunate part is that the novel I’ll be working on is probably on the 150,000 to 200,000 word variety based on my plot outline.  One of the reasons that I think this will be a good exercise is that I have a strong novel idea that I don’t take very seriously because it’s kind of Pop/Vonnegutty and I’ll be happy to have it done and move on to more complicated work.  Also I have machines to build and writing tends to consume a decent amount of time, even though time seems to pass at an accelerated rate when I’m doing it, which I guess indicates that I’m enjoying myself.

I guess what I’m saying is that for anyone who reads this blog, most of what I’ll be posting will be sections of the impending novel and not much else.  Because 50,000 words or 250,000 words, I’m starting and finishing it in the month of November.  If anyone is participating or is curious about participating and has an idea that they would like to flesh out a bit, I’d be happy to trade suggestions regarding your book.  That’s what I’m supposed to do I suppose, participate and get others to participate for the good cause and such, however as I stated earlier it’s also a good way to get a story over and done with rather than doing active editing for a year or two and forgetting the state of mind that you were in when you originally perceived your idea.

The below is not my NaNoWriMo subject but simply something fun.  If anyone would like to use it, go for it.

Two women sit at a table in vaguely post-apocalyptic Baltimore.  One eats a cookie with a child’s handprint on the back.

-I’m leaving her.

-No you’re not.  She’s leaving you.

-I’ll be here though.

-It’s not the same, I’ll always imagine you looking at me and thinking of her.  I can’t do this anymore.

-Janet wait.

Janet leaves the table leaving Susan staring at the cookie in front of her.  She works for Five Points Baking which is the company that makes the cookies.  Last month she had an affair with an executive behind her girlfriend Janet’s back and today was the reckoning.  The cookies are made by the children of members of the losing side of a somewhat recent American civil war.  These children roam the wastelands of the Midwest and are brought to the cookie mills to work the production lines and hand stamp the cookies as a symbol of their parent’s failed war and the consequences of opposing the North American Union.

Susan was one of those children. She worked her way up through the company and is now a marketing executive.  When a board member came onto her it was an almost instinctual response to do what she could to fulfill her request.  She remembered being chained to the oval rack on the ceiling and pushing her hand into the cold dough before it entered the ovens, sleeping in the factory basement with hundreds of other children who subsisted only on production line leftovers.  At age thirteen she took her place among her peers and started digging her own grave.  She was fortunate that her hands remained small for longer than most, giving her a chance to prove herself an asset to the company.

 

Alright, there you go, gift wrapped dystopian future with a dash of DFW’s marketing affinity.  Let me know if you use this, I would be happy to see it torn apart and rebuilt in any way you like.


Unwriter’s scene

It is 4:30pm when an explosion rocks the lobby of the Metcalfe Mining building.  A city bus careens into the entrance of the parking garage, blocking both entry and exit.  Another explosion on the upper floors of the building shatters several rows of windows.  A figure in black sits perched on the rooftop across the street looking through the scope of an assault rifle for movement in the smoke.  She does not blink when the bus explodes, but continues to watch the door to the CEO’s office.
This is the fifteenth time he has rewritten this section.  He started with a frontal assault on the building which dead ended with a ridiculous interrogation scene.  Subsequent attempts yielded little more than sequences reminiscent of everything from The Raid, to Ocean’s Eleven.  His goal was a more kinetic scene than any thus far and this was proving utterly maddening.  Staging the action from the bus driving robot’s perspective might prove more fruitful, but he tended to doubt it.  Undue pressure from expected productivity was causing him to hallucinate robot butlers in the corners of his apartment and asteroids floating above his building.  He spends the remainder of the evening looking up the best ways to steal a bus.


Autumnal

Fleece aspect is corrugated against the rail of wills in a bloodless relative fallscape angle of albatross.  Pumpkin of rote is regressed by fields of isthmus and hieracrhy.  Cold is redoubted in a vertical diatribe of leaves and ash.

There is a gourd on my table.


Pillager

 

They had migrated here from the East and had been enjoying an understated existence for what seemed like some time now.  For most it was an overwhelmingly positive transition, but some were initially wary of the valley, particularly of its distance from the ocean that they had lived beside for so long.  Most of those concerns were forgotten after the first few years though.  It wasn’t until the disappearances started that stories of old times began to dominate conversation again.  Rumors abounded concerning strange lights and large misshapen shadows moving along the cliff ridges at night, but were generally dismissed as the alcohol inspired hallucinations of a few degenerates.

Adam, the oldest in the valley was generally regarded as the definitive resource for the history and phenomena of the area.  He had lived by the ocean for his early years, and had only been caught up in the mass exodus west because his wife at the time wanted a change of scenery.  She had left him for a young local shortly after they arrived and he had been incredibly bitter ever since.  Once public outcry had reached a near fever-pitch he issued an official statement that they all existed in a changeable world and if they didn’t learn to expect the unexpected they were doomed.  There was no specificity concerning what type of doom they were to expect, however it was generally accepted that it was likely to be of the unexpected variety.

At the bottom of the valley is a small town that consists primarily of restaurants and bars with a few small businesses in between.  It is Wednesday morning and traffic is stopped, residents gather in the street as a man in a waiter’s uniform struggles against a point of light.  Eventually he falls to the ground and is repeatedly perforated by the glowing object until there is nothing left but a silhouette in the dirt.  It then cuts through the crowd, punches holes through all those in its way and vanishes over a ridge.


Bar

A large man sits with his elbows on the bar and looks in the mirror that stands behind a row of bottles.  He wears a brown coat and has been watching the couple one seat down from him since they came in.  The woman hung her purse on the hook below the bar and while he does not look at it, he imagines it as a weight pulling down the bar where it hangs.  The woman sits nearest to him and is relatively attractive aside from all the makeup and perfume.  She gets up and goes to the restroom and the sag in the bar remains.  Her man’s eyes have become fixed on the baseball game in her absence, which is when the man moves and relieves the bar of its burden.  As he turns to leave he feels a hand clap on his shoulder followed by a stern voice issuing a warning.  He breaks the wrist connecting the hand to its arm and looks in the mirror to see himself still holding the woman’s disfigured limb.  Her man stares at the television and she doesn’t move or make a sound.  And then nothing does.


Lunch with Unwriter

-Hi, I’m Phillip.

He shakes Sasha’s hand, sits down and attempts to move his facial muscles in such a way to indicate that he’s not staring, but is simply concerned with something else.  This makes him look doubly uncomfortable and seems to Sasha as if he’s avoiding eye contact.

-Nice to meet you.

-So you like the book so far?

-Yeah, it’s fun.  I don’t think I’ve read much like it.  Where did you get your idea?

-Lots of places, something like process of elimination.  I’ve never seen the plot before, so I thought I’d write something I would find entertaining.

-Who would you say are your influences?

-No one really, probably everyone.  I watch a lot of movies and read everything I can find.  Most of it is crap though, so sometimes I feel like I have to avoid all the mental junk food floating around in my head to think up anything I don’t hate.

The waitress arrives, Sasha orders coffee and a sandwich, Phillip orders coffee and would like to order the same sandwich that Sasha did, but ends up ordering something that sounds utterly disgusting to him.

-Sorry I took so long getting back to you.  I’ve had a crazy few months.

-You were travelling.  Where did you go?

-Just New York and Chicago, no place warm or fun.  Your questions were funny by the way.  Did they help with your story?

Phillip feels like his stomach is boiling and his heart is twitching, but in a good way.

-Yeah, I mean just seeing some of your photos online helped me make some decisions regarding the plot.

-Do you have a publisher yet?

-No, I’m trying to get it done first, then I’ll shop it around.  What about the last few months was so crazy?

Coffee is delivered.

-I had some great opportunities that kind of fell through or became disappointing, but I just got a new job and apartment, so things are looking up.

Phillip now shifts in his seat and feels like he might be shaking with excitement at how nice this girl is.  He tries hard to stop the shaking and hopes that the coffee will help, even though he knows it will more than likely exacerbate the situation and he’ll have to try even harder to speak without his lips looking like they’re quivering.  At this point he’s certain he looks like a twitching mental patient though, so continues as best he can.

-Wow.  Thanks again for taking the time to read the section I sent you; you seem to be in the midst of a lot of upheaval.

-It’s really no big deal.  I haven’t been going out much and it was nice to have something light to relax and read.  I want to know how it’s going to end though, you totally have my attention.

-I got rid of the robot butlers.  I just didn’t think they were necessary.

-Oh…. I guess that works, I hadn’t really paid much attention to them other than your Bob guy. Are you cold?

-Maybe a little.

-It is a little chilly in here; you look like you’re shivering though.  Do you want to move away from the door?

Sasha’s observation increases the intensity of Phillips shaking and he buttons his jacket up to appear to be trying to warm up.  He feels completely psychotic at this point.  It takes every ounce of concentration he has to appear relatively normal.

-No, I’m okay.  I must be under a vent or something.

The waitress drops off their sandwiches.  Phillip successfully resists grimacing at the sandwich placed in front of him.  His teeth are chattering as he looks to the ceiling at an air vent that isn’t there.   A few French fries seem to help the situation and he focuses on relaxing in his chair a bit and continues the conversation.

-So is your new job like an office job or something else?

-It’s just a hostess job.  I’ll still be doing temp work, but the money’s not always consistent and I have rent to pay.

-Saw something in your hobbies about martial arts?

-I do kickboxing a few days a week, a lot of girls do.

-So nothing exotic like Krav Maga or Drunken Boxing?

-I’ve never heard of the Krav one and no, no Drunken Boxing. (Smiles)

-I’m envisioning the character in the book using the Krav one, it’s the one used in the Bourne movies.

-Oh, okay.

Sasha takes a bite of her sandwich and looks out the window.   Phillip is convinced he is coming off as a basket case nerd and needs to pull this conversation out of the mire it’s sinking into immediately.

-Sorry, the visualization makes writing it more fun.  I know it might not make sense.

-I get it.  You’re pretty imaginative.  Tell me again why you wanted to interview me specifically again.

-You look pretty much exactly the same as I envisioned the Sasha character in the book.

-You don’t think you may have seen me somewhere before you started?

-Maybe, I don’t think so though.  Do you go the bars on South Street.

-Sometimes, not consistently for a couple years though.

-I guess I could have seen you there.

-So were there any other specific questions you wanted to ask me?

Phillip freezes for what feels like 5 minutes, but is actually about ten seconds.  The shaking has stopped and his mind now feels like an overheating hard drive spinning harder and harder to find something that isn’t there.  With nothing constructive to say, he finds himself asking the question that’s been getting louder in his mind since he saw this girl through the café window, there is no more room for other thoughts it is now at critical mass.

-Are you in a relationship?

-No, does that have something to do with the character or is that a personal question. (Smiles)

-Well, the character isn’t in a relationship either, although I thought that I might give her a romantic interest, but sort of backed out of it because I thought it might compromise her believability as a strong female character.  (says all of this in roughly 5 seconds)

-Woah, you can talk pretty fast when you get going.  I don’t think it makes a female any less strong to be attracted to someone as long as that someone isn’t a tool.

-Interesting, I might go with that later in the story then.  Also, would you like to get a drink later this week or something?

-Maybe, will you have some more of your book done?

-Most definitely.

-Well here’s my number.  Just text me Thursday after 7, I might get out of work early that night.

-Thanks

They finish their meal split the check and go on their ways.  Phillip has trouble standing, but holds the door for her and walks in the opposite direction that she does even though he’s now walking away from where he parked his delivery truck.  He circles the block a couple of times, partially out of excitement and partially because he wants to be sure that Sasha doesn’t see him climbing into his truck and changing back into his uniform.