Friday, November 29, 2013

Food Chase

Welcome to Black Friday and the beginning of the shopping season.  Remember, Jimmy Miller the Super Powerful: Forecast Acid Rain is only $0.99 for Kindle or Nook.  No waiting in line for it.  The story is so powerful, as is most everything I write, that you can just plug your Christmas lights up your, uh, nose and save money on electric bills this holiday season.  I don't know if it can keep a Menorah lit for eight straight days, but it might work for Hanukkah.  Someone just needs to show Jimmy how to play dreidel.

Here's a kid friendly bit of super powerful flash fiction:

Food Chase
I refused to chase after game-playing goof-balls who thought I had nothing better to do than to taunt me, spit raspberries at me, and hoping I would play along.  “No…I will not come after you.  No matter what you do.  I will not play with my food.”  However, the hot dog continued to dash through the house, passing by the kitchen to see if I was following.

Before my food took off on me, I was setting all the condiments on the table—mustard, ketchup, relish, and onion that I chopped myself with a sharp steak knife.  I certainly felt more like a responsible fellow and no longer in the baby stage of my life.  When I shoved all the containers with leftovers that were all green and fuzzy, I grasped the bottle of ketchup and found it to be empty.  

“Mom!” I called.  “We’re out of ketchup!”

When it came to my hot dogs, I could do without all other condiments, all with the exception of ketchup and mustard.  However, I assigned a particular order on where everything had to go, or I refused to eat.  On the top portion of my hot dogs I saved for a line of ketchup and along the bottom a line of yellow.   Once when I went to a place that put mustard on in a zig-zag line—it promptly went into the garbage.  My mom yelled at me for wasting food.  Only, I was on my way to becoming a man and I had to take a stand on what was acceptable to me.  Hot dogs were one of my favorite foods, so I had to take them seriously. 
My mom was at the stove heating up a can of baked beans.  She did take them out of the can before heating them because she’s not stupid (not as smart as me, but close).  I couldn’t believe the hot dog blaspheme that came from her lips.  “Honey, can’t you just eat it without ketchup?”

I turned from the fridge to face her with a shocked expression.  “Mom.  How can I eat a hot dog without ketchup?  That’s just wrong.  I’m sure that even God uses ketchup on his hot dogs.  He’ll zap us with lightning or something.”

Smirking as if my comment was some stupid kid idea, she responded, “God is not going to strike you dead if you eat your hot dog without ketchup.”

“Well…maybe or maybe not.  Still, I can’t eat it without ketchup.  It’s just…eww.  Can’t I just get some money and ride down to the gas station?  They’ve got ketchup.  It won’t take me long” 

The gas station was three houses away from us, so it wasn’t like I was asking to ride my bike across town.  Here was where I was baffled by my mom.  She always told me how mature I have become now that I was nine, and she seemed to imply that she no longer thought of me as some helpless kid.  So, I was disappointed when she argued that she would not let her nine-year-old son ride by himself for such an errand.  If I was twelve, she’d reconsider.  Her argument was a car could plow into me in which I responded, “I know how to watch for cars.  I’m not a baby.  You always say how mature I am and stuff. Now you’re treating like I’m two.” 

“Oh, I’m not treating you like a baby.  You are more mature, but you still have more maturing to do.  It’s a crazy world out there.”

She went on to describe another worry that a stranger could come along, snatch me up, and then my mom would never forgive herself for sending me to what could have been my death.  She proceeded to explain the horrible scenario of what kid abductors were capable of.  I told her that my friend Robert had been teaching me ninja moves that his teenage brother learned in some kind of ninja class.  Or perhaps it was from some realistic 3-D game he and his buddies played that involved being ninja’s and pulling out people’s guts and stuff.  Robert’s brother was the king of that game and he was 16 and everyone knows that teenagers at that age were experts on everything.  I couldn’t wait to be like Robert’s brother…

“Just let me bring along some throwing stars or something to use as a weapon.  I know how to deal with kidnappers.  Maybe…I’ll help free some kid that they had snatched before daring to try and take me.”  I assumed this would give my mother food for thought as she understood her boy could defend himself and others if need be.

“Donny.  Don’t be ridiculous.  Things aren’t like they were when I was a kid.  We could freely go outside and not be afraid of strangers, dogs, and cars.”  She was at the stove still stirring the beans, which I always loved to scarf as much down as I could.  Then, I could have fun and while we were curled up on the couch watching some movie, I would cut the juiciest farts and watch her reaction.  It was priceless.

“Mom…there were cars when you were a kid.  And, they were metal and just as likely to hit a kid on a bike.  There were most definitely dogs or did someone recently invent them? ‘Oh, look, I invented a dog.’” I spoke as if I was a scientist who created dogs.  “And…there had to have been strangers, even the weirdo kind that take kids.”  Something told me there had to have been scary strangers threatening to take kids in the 1980’s.

Looking at me with that expression that accused me of being a smart mouth, she relented, “Okay.  Those dangers were always there, but the difference is I’m a parent now, and it’s my job to worry about my kid’s safety.  Look, if you want ketchup so badly, I’ll drive down and pick it up myself.”

“And leave me by myself?  I thought a gang of pirates were in the neighborhood today,” I sarcastically said, purposely making a smart mouth of myself. 

“No, you can come along, but we’re just getting ketchup.  No chocolate bars, no ice cream, no soda, no comic books…just ketchup.”  My mom always said this before going to any store, but she could always count on me to ignore her and plead for something anyway.  She didn’t mention chips or beef jerky, so I would exploit this omission from her list of what I couldn’t get.  I would have had my own money, but Robert and I spent it all on ice cream bars when his mom took us both to the gas station down the street.

Getting up off the table in preparation to go with my mom to the gas station, I noticed my hot dog had gone missing.  I first wondered if I had eaten it already and I asked my mom about it.  “Hey, Mom.  Did I eat my hot dog already?”  

“No.  I was talking to you this whole time.  I would notice if you ate your hot dog.  You complained that you had no ketchup for it.  That’s why we’re headed to the store.”  That’s when I saw in the corner of my eye, my hot dot walking upright on little tiny human legs extending from the end of the frankfurter part, but not the bun.  Human arms waved out of its side protruding from the bun.  “Mom.  Look.  My hot dog is alive.”

“Wha—”  Her mouth hung open in disbelief.

Well, I was not going to let that thing get away.  First, I had to remind my mom, “See, if I put ketchup on it, it wouldn’t be doing that.”  I stepped over to it, but it took off running and I chased it around our town house occupied only by my mom and me.  My dad lived in a different city and I visited him every other weekend.  
 “Get back here!”

That hot dog was quick.  It reminded me of the Gingerbread Man, and when I thought of that story, I halted in my tracks.  “Fine!  I’m not chasing after you.  That’s what you want in the first place.”

I went back into the kitchen and sat stoically at the table, watching that little frankfurter doing its crazy dances, even running up so close to me, but then sprinting away when it thought I was coming after it.  “I’m not chasing you, you wiener!”

“How is that thing alive?” my mom asked.  When the beans were warm enough, she removed the pan from the burner and onto a hot pad on the dinner table.  

The hot dog passed right next to her and I thought I heard it mutter, “C’mon, lady.  Come and get me.”

She just laughed at the thing.  “No.  I’m not chasing after you either.  Get back here so Donny can eat you.”
“No…not without ketchup.”  The hot dog somehow was making raspberries at her, but there was no visible mouth or tongue.

My mom got up from the table and poked her head in the fridge.  “I gotta throw out all these left overs.”  She pulled out the bottle of ketchup I claimed was empty, and she pointed out a tiny amount at the bottom of it.  Shaking it in front of my face, she questioned, “I thought you said we were totally out.”

“Yeah,” I said because it was so close to being out, I knew trying to get the minute amount left inside would have involved a great deal of effort.  Not only that, it would make a bunch of fart noises and I couldn’t stand to use ketchup out of a bottle that did that.  “I can never get that tiny bit out of there.”

My mom rolled her eyes, but whistled to the prancing hot dog.  “I’ve got ketchup.”

My hot dog pattered over to the table, crawled up my leg, which really tickled, and then it lay itself down on my plate.  It waved its hand at her, “Bring it on.”  Pounding the spout end on the table, the ketchup managed to find its way onto the hot dog bun in the spot I desired, but it wasn’t a perfect line and it did make several fart noises.

I curled up my lip in disgust and uttered, “How can I eat it?  It’s not in a perfect line and it made fart noises.  It’s like it came out of someone’s butt.”

“Donny,” she sighed.  “Well, you better decide to eat it before it dances off again.  And, you better not throw it all out.”

Reluctantly, I accepted the ketchup as it was and I added the mustard, relish, and freshly chopped onion, and I did eat the little dog.  I let out a great, humongous belch, and I felt as if my stomach was coming up out of my throat. That hot dog was attempting to run free again and I would throw it up if I wasn’t careful.  Suddenly, a whole line of hot dogs in buns waltzed into the kitchen and there must have been thousands of them.  We could see outside a flying saucer where they were all coming from and we heard them all chanting, “We want Obe.  We want Obe.”

I wanted to get up and run, as did my mom, but as soon as I left my chair, they tackled me onto the floor.  They pried my mouth open with some kind of ketchup energy ray at least it sure smelled like it, and they made me throw up their brother hot dog alien dude.  He was all chewed up and disgusting from being in my stomach.  Using a mustard ray, they reformed him into what he was before.  After that, they returned to their tiny flying saucer and vanished from our eyes.

Lying bewildered on the floor, crying some from what those little wieners did to me, I shouted to my mom.  “Can we just order a pizza?”  My mom helped me off the floor and found the number to Little King Tony’s Pizza.  I vowed never to eat hot dogs ever again.

Be good to yourselves!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Plastic Ellie

Reflecting back on this whole NaNoWriMo process, I am unsure if it helped me to be a much more focused writer.  It's one of those things that I'll figure out in the future.  For those of you who don't know, I did finish the novel with 55313 words.  With 11 chapters, it is quite the compact novel.  Of course, it's a rough draft and will undergo revision and a search for the perfect cover design.  Chapter one needs work as it doesn't necessarily compel the reader, and I may add a whole new chapter as a "chapter one" for this purpose.  I absolutely do not plan on even looking at it for at least two weeks or possibly a month, which puts it pretty much into the new year.  What I love about the story is that it demonstrates that Jimmy Miller isn't my one and only franchise.  Hello, Ruthie McCall.  This NaNoWriMo story is not as much of an allegory of my life as is Jimmy Miller.  Very thrilled about it.

Plastic Ellie
"Please...please don't do this to me!" Ellie figured her arms were now broken because they lay over her head and she couldn't move them.  They weren't restrained or anything like that.  Nothing made sense to her as to how she even came into this room.  More than that, there were a hundred other women laying scattered about, all stiff like her.  Perhaps they were dead.  The man in the white lab coat believed himself to be a world famous physiologist and doctor, and all he did was babble over and over about making her over to appease the manager.  He was also 100 feet tall, as far as she could tell.

"Don't do what?  You must be presented as perfectly as possible. The manager is expecting nothing less."  He waved a razor blade above her face as he spoke.  "Only...the manager is so cheap.  He says, 'We can't afford scalpels, so use your razor.'  And I tells him, 'It'll scar her all up.  Your pretty new product all put back together like a jigsaw puzzle.'"  He cried out, "He won't pay for the proper equipment!  You see!"  Two inches from her eyes the blade reflected the overhead lighting and she could tell it had seen better days.

Ellie questioned his reference of her being a product.  "What do you mean by 'product'?"

"You stupid dumbbell.  You're the product he has to present to his  one particular customer with lavish tastes.  You see," he set down the razor and found a hand mirror to highlight her face to her.  "You see this nose.  Nostrils are too large, so I have a procedure where I just slice and stitch.  But...the manager expects me to use a simple needle and thread, only, I took the flesh colored tone.  Shh..." he held his finger to his lips.  "It's a secret.  The manager already wrote me up two times before.  And, I gotta take some off your lips because the customer is ornery and she...just, you don't want her to be ornery. You got some fat lips for a girl.  Let's make them thinner.  We gotta do something about your ears.  They belong on an elephant.  Oh, and..."  The doctor located a hammer in a tiny compartment above her.  "We gotta raise those cheekbones.  I'll just shatter them and reset them.  And, I gotta stretch your skin up, too."

In his white coat he pranced away to bring a formal flight attendant dress and hat.  Several other dresses, slacks, grub clothes, and a revealing thong Bikini he excitedly shook beside her.  "You'll be in the flight attendant dress because that's the number one thing the customer wants to be for some odd reason.  Oh, and we've got shoes.  High heels and whatever a lady needs when she goes out to attract her mate."  Thinking out loud, he mumbled, "I guess the jogging suit can stay in your wardrobe.  Plus, you'll need a boob job 'cause the customer doesn't like droopy boobs, but I'm trained.  I know what to do and how to fix your flaws."

At first, the doctor tugged to get that jogging suit off of her, but it wouldn't budge, especially the top part.  "I'll just cut it off you."  The man produced fabric sheers and began slicing down the cuff of one sleeve to the orange athletic outfit she wore.  

"No, don't.  Please...I don't want you to look at me naked."

"Ma'am...I'm a doctor.  But, look at the fat on your arms.  A little bit of lypo will take that all off.  You're not stopping for doughnuts while you run, do you?"  He only laughed because there really wasn't any fat on her.  Before he got all these gals ready for the customers, he liked to have his fun, too.

"No."  His insults so angered her and she'd do something about it if her arms weren't immobile.

Snipping down the side to the top part on the left side, he did the same to the right and he could now pull off the upper portion of her suit.  "Wow.  No bra.  You're brave to go jogging like that.  Once we stiffen those puppies up, they won't be so bouncy when you jog.  If the customer lets you jog, that is."  He continued on the bottom portion which was more challenging due to the elastic waistband and a thick tie that jogging pants customarily have.  Next, came her underwear.  "Good news, we have a budget for anesthesia, but do you really need it.  I mean, you're just plastic, you know."

Ellie looked at her body, her head movements were greatly limited, and she remembered how she came in here.  The man pretended to slice her in hopes of giving her plastic surgery, but he never really did anything.  It was all make-believe.  As for her boobs they weren't droopy at all.  Stiff and plastic and no nipples attached.  

Suddenly, another 100 foot giant man burst into the room with a white beard and a business suit that said Manager Kris Kringle.  "Hey...c'mon.  Get her packaged up.  We've got millions of these to process and we're competing with the Chinese."

The man's lower lip protruded in pity for himself and the realization his fun was over and the boss was hounding him.  "Yes sir, Mr. Kringle."

Mr. Kringle had turned to leave, but then pivoted back around.  "Ah, Steve...I'll make sure you get an Ellie doll of your own.  But...usually girls play, oh, never mind.  Just...get back to work."

Steve worked on cramming Ellie into her flight attendant suit, packaged up all her other accessories, and shoved her into a box.  Next, he tossed her onto a conveyor that would transport the toy to her next destination in the factory.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Out of the Loop

It was a dark and stormy, really.  Last Sunday a storm came sweeping through, fortunately no tornadoes here in Michigan, and the wind was quite intense.  Just down the block are large utility poles for the major high tension wires.  These aren't the small ones common on residential streets.  No, these are at least fifty feet in the air.  They were just snapped and the power lines were lying head level across the street.  For blocks, it was the same thing.  I tried to take a picture, but couldn't find my camera.  I did attempt using my son's DS camera, but it didn't turn out.  

Needless to say, I was totally away from the Internet and my computer where I type out this coffee break on the Internet that is this blog.  My mother-in-law took my family in, but then her Internet went down.  Fortunately, I was able to add to my NaNoWriMo story, since I back everything on a flash drive.  As of this moment I have 41136 words and the story is moving towards it's ultimate climax.  Characters that need to have their day of reckoning could very well meet their doom.  Should I send a prophet to warn them?  Sorry, I don't have a prophet character.  

Why?  Why do I do all this?  What's with all the writing and stuff?  Funny you should ask.  Here are five reasons that motivate me as a writer:
  1. Nothing thrills me as much as when I write.  I wish I could never stop.
  2. I've tried other things...believe me, this is my favorite activity. 
  3. I wish to do my part to keep the English language alive.  Yes, I use Americanized English, but I live here.
  4. A troop of wild monkeys will hurl glass bottles and feces at me if I don't write.  Boots, no...
  5. The real world often sucks, so I like to create a new one that has challenges when I decide the time is right.
Well, do you see yourself in this list at all?  Wild monkeys keeping you hostage?  Don't worry if your reasons are different or you don't do any writing.  So long for now.  I'll catch ya later!

Be good to yourselves!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Change in the Climate

All right.  I'm now up to 31021 words in the NaNoWriMo novel  and have seven chapters.  Writing 50000 words may seem like a large number, but it really isn't when you consider the challenge in keeping a novel to this length.  My goal is to have a complete story rough-drafted for the purpose of this gala writing event.  Well, maybe it's not gala, but I should do something to celebrate when this is complete.  Now, I have to really begin moving the novel towards its climax.  I do have an outline, but my novel outlines are not as fixed as when I wrote term papers in both undergrad and grad school.  Anyhow, I really enjoy the novel and can't wait to see how it finally ends.

Climate Change
Dang! 68 degrees.  Bob was freezing cold in his own house.  His wife insisted that the home be kept under 70 or she would get too hot.  Winter was Bob's least favorite season with its cold and shortened hours of daylight.  He loved the warm weather.  As a matter-of-fact he craved for those days when the temperature rose to the upper 80's.  If it weren't for mosquitoes eating him alive, it would be perfect just to sit outside and soak up the hot.  However, his wife Helen blasted the air conditioning so much that Bob donned sweaters just to be comfortable in his house in the summer weather.

While shivering in his bed, surfing the Internet on his laptop, Bob noticed an ad for a space heater that could be held in the palm of a person's hand, but could warm a room 8000 square feet at the most.  The whole thing only cost $9.99 plus tax and shipping.  It just plugged into the outlet like a night light and then the user would enjoy the blissful vanquishing of any cold, regardless of the temperature outside.  The thing even ran on a battery back up so, even if the power went off, the user wouldn't freeze.

The tiny appliance arrived within five days and Bob was eager to plug it in.  After the previous night snowstorm followed by the most frigid arctic blast in two years, Bob spent his day clearing off his driveway and some of his neighbors'.  Bob had just finished plowing when the delivery came.  He was surprised they even managed to make it through the ice and snow with their oddly shaped vans.

Helen saw the heater and puzzled, "What is that!"

"It's for me to be warm.  You can keep this house 68 if you want, but this will give me the right temperature for me"

"That thing couldn't possibly work as it claims.  It's a space heater for a mouse."

Undeterred, Bob found one empty outlet on the power strip where his TV and cable receiver were connected to.  He shoved the polarized plug in and it released black smoke that instantly warmed the room.  Kicking off his shoes and hurtling himself into bed, he lay with his head propped up against his hands, feeling mighty proud of himself.  "Ahh...this is more like it."  

The black smoke continued to billow out while the smoke detectors all screeched alive.  Helen cried out, "Oh my God, the house is on fire!"

When the fire department came, they figured out that there wasn't a fire at all.  It was nothing but a thick toxic cloud that originated from that tiny space heater--that one faulty space heater.  

Bob was found dead from asphyxiation.  It never did really heat the room much.

Be good to yourselves!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Quick Check In

As of now I have written 20357 words to my NaNoWriMo novel.  My time has been infringed upon by the passing of my wife's grandmother.  So...we had to deal with that, plus a funeral and such today, Saturday.  My schedule is a bit off.  My novel is coming along and is great fun to write, but definitely work.  Due to the death in the family, I placed my other works on hold, including finishing book 2 of the Jimmy Miller the Super Powerful series.  

Sorry for the extremely brief post, but I wanted to connect with you, super powerful blog readers.  
Briefest flash fiction story yet:

Once upon a time there was an invasion of the Earth by an alien species.  I found their one weakness--they were scared to death of Pillow Pets.  So, I gathered as many as I could legally obtain, and I threw them all at the aliens.  They've never come back.  The End.

Be good to yourselves!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Better Late Than Never

I know, I know...I post every Tuesday and Friday.  You know, I'm doing the NaNoWriMo thing.  My novel is coming along just fine.  I'm at a point where it's hard for me to stop writing.  However, I force myself to take breaks and connect with the real world every now and then.  Yesterday, though, I just ran out of time to tend to the blog.  I'm not neglecting it, but this month it may be like this.  So, I'm posting today on Wednesday.

My need to finish this NaNoWriMo novel is in great part due to a threat that I gave myself--finish by Thanksgiving Day or no pumpkin pie.  So, to avoid this terrible self-imposed punishment, I am being diligent.  The 28th is Thanksgiving, and I think it's a reasonable deadline so I can give a quick, once over edit.  Currently, the novel is titled Ruthie, but the NaNoWriMo website won't keep track of word counts unless there's something there to edit.  As you know, the title could change and so could the synopsis.

An extremely brief bit of flash fiction; Bath Time:
Judy was determined to give her dog a bath, but Bella was not having any of it.  No matter how Judy commanded in her "I'm the master" voice, the lab just pranced around, panting, appearing to almost laugh at her in sport.  Finally, worn out from Bella giving her the slip, Judy caught the dog by the collar and lifted the fifty pound canine up off the floor.  Bella didn't protest and enjoyed the brief moment of being carried by her human, in fact she gave Judy a few dog-lick kisses.  Hauling the pooch up to the top of the steps to the second floor bathroom, Judy had nearly succeeded in setting Bella into the water.  As soon as she let the dog drop, she heard a high pitched yelp.

"Mom!" Judy realized her son Daniel was in the tub taking his nightly bath.

"Oh, sorry, honey.  I didn't set the bath water for you, but for Bella.  I didn't even know you were there."  The dog and the boy both sat up.  Bella licked Daniel's face and he giggled.

Daniel asked, "Well, then can we both share the bath?"

Judy answered the blonde six-year-old, "That wouldn't be good.  You'll get dog hair all over you."  This was already the case with Daniel's arms covered with it.  "Why don't you go downstairs and take a shower instead?"

Daniel left the bathtub, dried himself off, trying to scrub as much of Bella off of him as he could, and he wrapped himself up at the waist and headed towards the basement to take the shower his mom suggested.  Bella barked after Daniel as he scuttled away from her sight.  

Just as Judy poured the special dog coat shampoo and readied the scrub brush, Bella suddenly bolted out of the water, taking a puddle's worth with her, splattered it all over the linoleum, and followed after Daniel, barking the whole way.

"Oh no you don't, Bella."  Judy chased after her, but the dog had a four-leg advantage.  She found the shower room with the water running, and saw both Bella and Daniel behind the glass door, distorted images from the pattern on the door.  When Judy opened the door, she found her boy graciously sharing his raspberry scented body wash with Bella, and spraying her down with the hand-held shower head.

Judy just slapped her forehead and laughed at the sight of this wet, clothes-less child determined to clean the family pet.  Daniel smiled up at her.  "See, Mom, we can at least share a shower."  Judy gave up.  Her son was covered with dog hair from his neck to his feet, even more than when he was in the bathtub with the animal.

She shook her head and said, "A raspberry scented dog.  Nice Job, Daniel."  Then, she turned to go upstairs to let all her friends know what had happened.  On her Friendface Plus Page, she wrote, "This is what happens when you mix children and pets." And then, she proceeded to write what all happened.

Well, be good to yourselves.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Writing Game

Most of my posts this month will be brief.  Why? NaNoWriMo, that's why.  National Novel Writing Month to be exact.  I resisted joining in the band wagon, since I'm not a band wagon guy.  Then I said, why not?   Let's have fun with it and see what happens.  So, my writing energy needs to be focused on one project, although I have multiple ones that have to done concurrently.  I will try and sneak in some flash fiction now and then.  However, you can still use this as your coffee break on the web as I, the super powerful author, have left many previous posts for your amusement and relaxation.  Joining in the novel writing frenzy. Just click NaNoWriMo, and you'll be there.  Okay.  I'll let you know how I'm doing in the novel I've planned for this occasion.  

Be good to yourselves.