Ideas

March 17, 2012

I got another short story coming. 

I didn’t plan it. It just showed up like an unexpected visit from an uncle that has that funny smell. Don’t get me wrong, you love him, he’s your uncle…but that smell. You know what I mean.

It’s one of those moments of Writer’s Non-block. If that’s a thing.

As a matter of fact the idea came to me at about 1 a.m. this morning. Like lightning….

Oh…you’ll see what I did there soon enough…

::Rubs hands together menacingly:::

So yes, this is a short post now telling you that I will have a longer (and hopefully a better) post tomorrow. I could have just surprised you with some productivity by displaying a new short story tomorrow. You would have made a double take. But I’m not going to use too much energy for this post. I’m in the writing mood. I’ve got the basic story down…now I just need to edit and make it better.

This additional brain usage will prevent me from making much more than that awesome pun you read above.

And a few notes: (in convenient listy goodness)

1. This will be more of a shorter story but it won’t be a flash fiction.

2. The reasoning behind this story is something I heard about writing. I’m not sure where I heard this but this is the idea.

There are two kinds of stories. One is a story of ‘The hero goes on a journey’. The second is ‘A stranger comes to town’. 

I like the idea of “a stranger comes to town”. It’s so mysterious. So cool. So here’s my take on that. A stranger comes to town.

3. It’s not going to be the most original idea ever…you’ve probably heard of a variation of it. But this one will be distinctly mine.

It’ll be called The Man in Blue.

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Been Writing a Little

March 13, 2012

Actually, it’s very little. But that’s the intention. I’m going to try my hand at a little “flash fiction”.

Why?

Well, why not? It seems like it would be a fun little exercise. Convey much with very little. That’s a concept I really enjoy. So I’m going to take my time with it and see if I can edit it into something that makes sense.

I don’t want it to be more than 300 words. And I think that’s about right.

So why don’t I go ahead a post it instead of talking about it? One simple reason. I’m very tired. I used up the last of my constructive capabilities just coming up with the tiny thing. Now, my brain (which looks more like an old prune you would find under a couch after you lost it there for a few years) is depleted. So I will edit that tiny thing tomorrow and maybe post it then.

That’s fair I think.

As a side note I should mention that I’m getting a little too regimented in how I write. When I write for you on this blog, I write in the first person. When I write a story I write in the third person. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to write a story in the first person. So I’m going to try and write this “flash fiction” in the first person.

We should always push ourselves right? Even if it is in very tiny and seemingly annoying for no reason at all.

As a matter of fact, If you have an example of excellent writing in the first person, point me toward it. I’m very interested in seeing how a master works in that medium.

Beddy Bye,

D.A.

Moving Ahead

July 10, 2011

Thunk.

Julian’s bloodshot eyes suddenly opened. He turned to see that his alarm clock read 6:32 a.m., much too early to start a day. He lay half-naked in his bed clinging to his childhood Batman blanket. Sleep was still in his eyes and the sun was just barely peaking through his broken blinds.

Three hours of sleep wasn’t going to be enough to get through today.

Julian Sanders wondered what had woken him. Did he hear something? He threw off the old tatter of a blanket sat upright in bed. After some hard blinking and rubbing of his eyes, he turned and placed his feet on the bare wooden floor. He kept his breathing shallow as he tried to listen for another sound.

After some time of waiting, and nothing happening, he assumed it was safe.  Julian contemplated not getting out of bed. Maybe he could lay back down a get another few hours of rest.

Thunk.

The sound seemed to come from his living room.

Did somebody break in?

He didn’t have anything of value, except maybe his pitiful DVD collection. And what kind of burgler would work at six in the morning?

“Nah,” thought Julian. “Nobody in their right mind would be up this early.”

Maybe it was his neighbors in the apartment above had dropped something on the floor. Julian contemplated going up there and complaining. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Now he heard muffled voices. But these were definitely coming from his living room.

Julian’s mind raced and he had to stop himself from panicking.

Somebody was out there.

He knew he had to see what was going on, he had to do something. Julian glided his way toward his closet. He didn’t think to reach for pants, or a phone, but instead grabbed his Louisville Slugger.

“I’m not going out there with nothing.” he thought to himself. The plan that formed in his mind involved a lot of bravado and yelling. While he may not be a very loud and aggressive man he expected the bat would do most of the work for him.

“Okay, Julian, just stay cool. Just walk out there and get ready for anything that comes at you. Remember, you’re the boss.” Julian’s conscious spoke to him. “These punks probably don’t even expect me to be home. So, I’ll just go out there and demand they leave. They’ll be out of here in a split second.”

He took a few deep breaths and convinced himself that he was brave. Julian kicked open his bedroom door and stepped out to confront whoever was out there.

He expected to see one or two guys wearing black ski masks and carrying crowbars. Maybe they would be carrying sacks with all of his things stuffed inside. They were probably tip-toeing around as well.

Instead, he opened the door and saw two rather normal looking men in uniforms. There were a lot of open cardboard boxes scattered around the room, some of which contained his possessions.

There was also a large opening in his wall that emanated a green glow of light. These men did not seemed alarmed by the unnatural object whatsoever nor the half naked man facing them armed only with a baseball bat.

The men in the yellow and blue one piece work-suits continued onward, moving boxes to the middle of his living room, and carrying on normal conversation.  

Who- who do you think you are?” Julian managed to squawk out. He had wished his words sounded more menacing.

The men finally took notice of him.

“Oh. Hi there.” said one man casually. “Did you not get the notice? We were told you had gotten notified of your departure.” said the man with blonde hair that was holding Julian’s table lamp. His voice was bright and cheery.

This was discomforting for Julian this early in the morning.

“What notice?” cracked Julian’s voice.

“I guess not.” replied a mustached moving man now walking in through the portal. The bill of his yellow hat was bent in the middle, causing it to look like a cartoon duck bill. He grabbed a box and walked back into the doorway, leaving Julian behind, dumbstruck.

“Did he just walk through my wall?” Julian said. His eyes were locked on the green passageway.

“Yeah, now I know you didn’t read the letter of notice.” said the friendly looking blonde. “You’re moving. Today. And you’re also coming with us.”

“Did that guy just – walk – through -my wall?” Julian repeated with obvious discomfort.

“Yeah, if you would have read the notice you wouldn’t be so concerned right now.” said the kindly man.

After a few seconds of incomprehension Julian allowed a small dribble of drool fall out of his mouth. He had just seen a man walk in and out through a solid wall. It might have been very early for Julian, but he knew that something wasn’t quite right.

Taking notice of Julian’s confusion the blonde man set down the lamp and slowly approached with open hands.

“Okay bud, just take a seat.” He guided Julian by the shoulders to sit on a box full of his unimpressive DVD collection. “Don’t flip a lid. Breathe. Just. Breathe.” The man’s voice was soothing. “Here, drink some water.” he handed him a nearby bottle of water.

Julian wiped the drool from his face with the back of his hand and began to drink. His eyes were still locked on the odd opening in the wall.

The moving man extended a hand. “Hi, I’m Frank. That’s Grant. We work for a moving company – of sorts.”

“I- I don’t understand.” said Julian. His eyes finally broke away from the portal and met those of Frank’s.

“Of sorts?” Julian asked. ” There’s a hole in my wall. I don’t know many moving men that put glowing holes in your house.”

“Oh, no, that’s not a hole per se. That’s what we in the business like to call a ‘Dimential Rift Membrane.’ Most other folks just call it a ‘rift’ for short.”

Grant walked back into the room and tried to explain what he could. “We work for a company that relocates those who have been displaced by the Korring Effect. That’s when people from one dimension end up in another by accident. Our records show that you were moved here, and we’re here to bring you back.”

This guy wasn’t making any sense. Julian thought of the possible explanations of his current state of mind. Maybe he was hallucinating. After all, he did order take out from a very questionable restaurant last night. Perhaps he was still sleeping and a gas leak is causing him to have a trippy dream. Still, everything felt so uncomfortable it had to be real.

After a few awkward seconds Grant spoke again.

“Hey buddy, can you get up? I need to take that box next.”

Julian decided now was as good of a time as any to stand up and fight these guys. He was determined that he wasn’t just going to get robbed, or moved, or evicted without a fight.

“Get  away from my stuff!” he leap up from his box and held his bat in a swinging position. “I’ll hit you so hard your mustache will fly back to where it came from.” Julian didn’t think too hard about his insult, but he figured that if he said it loud enough, they would stop what they were doing.

“Mr. Sanders, just stay calm. We will explain everything but you just need to calm down.” said Frank.

“How about I don’t calm down and you explain everything, or I make that hat become part of your skull.” Now his threat felt a little more convincing.

“You live in a dimension that is not your own. You were moved here when you were young, you just don’t remember. Our company checked your records and decided that it was time you came back to your original dimension. You were slated to move today. It’s not a big deal. It happens all the time.” explained Frank. His voice had a casual tone.

“How can you just “move” me to some other place. I live here. This apartment is my home. I don’t want to crawl through some hole and end up who-knows-where.” he complained. He searched for something else. “Plus, that thing will probably give me cancer or something!”

“No, you don’t understand.” said the man with the mustache. “We move people through, what you might call, ‘wormholes’ to other dimensions. It’s totally safe technology, just this dimension hasn’t discovered it’s wide spread use yet.”

“So, you mean this is like, some Stephen Hawking stuff?” Julian managed.

“We don’t know who that is, but if it makes you calm down, then yes. Yes it is.” said Frank cooly. “Just put down the bat and we’ll get this process started.”

After a few moments, Julian calmed down enough to have a seat. Frank pulled a piece of paper from his pocket.

“This is a copy of the notice you were supposed to have read. Read it and then you’ll have a better idea of what’s going on.” said Frank as he handed the paper to Julian.

It took a few minutes, but Julian read every word.

After another few minutes, Julian stopped crying.

He was placed in the wrong dimension. Something called the Korring Effect causes rips in time and space that mixes things up.

Maybe this is why he always felt alone in this world. Maybe this is why he never found it too easy to live in a world where people lived like this. He always felt out of place.

This could be his opportunity to start over; to fit in.

“Okay, I think I’m ready to – leave – I guess.”

Great!” said Frank. “Come with me. Grant here will take care of the rest of your stuff and I’ll just guide you through.”

“Okay. Just don’t break anything.” said Julian. He dropped his bat and figured Grant would take care of it.

They walked up to the gateway and looked into the green swirl that seemed so sophisticated and terrifying. The neon glow seemed to churn within. There was no sound, nor was there anything to identify inside. It looked like he was going to walk into a dense cloud.

“Now, just walk through. There’s a little step, so don’t fall.”

“Okay…”

Julian took a deep breath, and stepped into the green world that lay beyond.

He was trusting his life to these two men; men he had never met before today. Men with funny yellow hats. Men who were comfortable around the idea of a wormhole.

He wasn’t sure why, but he decided to close his eyes. Maybe it would make the decision less terrifying if he didn’t see what he was getting himself into.

Julian took one step and found nothing for his foot to land on.

He fell.

He decided in that moment to not open his eyes. He would prefer to not see how he died.

Sooner than expected, he hit the ground, face first, in a heap.

When he opened his eyes he saw Frank, heartily laughing, helping him up.

“I said don’t fall.” Frank chuckled.

“Sorry.” Julian squeaked.

“That’s alright. Now you know. Keep your eyes open next time.” Frank opened his arms wide and looked all around him. With a big smile he said. “Welcome to Plane #243 D, Alpha! Your new home.”

After looking around the building he was now inside, his breath was taken away. This was his new home.

Julian acted accordingly.

After another few minuets, he stopped crying and took his first steps as a new resident of Plane #243 D, Alpha; wherever that was.

“Hey, uh, Frank?” asked Julian.

“Yeah?” replied Frank.

“I think I need some pants.”

Really, I’m having a contest to see who can make me giggle.

You in?

Allow me to tempt you further.

The winner of the contest will receive this plethora of incredible and significant objects:

Best Prize Ever?

And there’s more. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

So allow me to explain myself and the rules for the contest. If you don’t want to read the explanation, and want to get right on to the rules for free stuff, then skip the next few paragraphs.

I’ve noticed a very strange theme through all of my stories (all 3 of them).  A lot of my characters seem to die. They usually die in some out of the ordinary manner or circumstance. I do this because I think it’s funny, but there is the chance that I could just be mentally disturbed…

Since death is considered by many people to be a very serious topic, let’s have some fun with it. All you have to do in this contest is tell me a funny story or situation where you are grieving the loss of something silly. You see, crying over your long lost granny is sad. But crying over your ice cube tray named Otis, that died in a tragic skiing accident, is funny. So let’s aim for funny here. Let’s try to make death a “not too serious” problem we can poke fun at.

In return I will give the winner a sympathy card and handwritten note expressing my condolences for your loss as well as the items listed in the picture above. Now here are the rules.

Rules for “In Sympathy” Contest

  1. To enter this contest you must post a comment on this particular post’s comment thread. Your comment must describe a very silly and made up event that would cause you to grieve for a loss of something. Your odds for winning go up if they are in a story form but they don’t have to be. Just be creative. (If you decide to post your story on your own blog, then provide a link to the blog in this comment thread).
  2. It must not be about anything real. It must be SILLY and MADE UP. Remember, we’re going for light hearted fun, not painful reality.
  3. I will pick the winner one week from today. That means you must have your comment posted by 12 p.m. (eastern time) on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011. I will inform the winner via email so I may obtain their mailing address.
  4. You will then win (in no particular order): A card and handwritten note of sympathy for your (very funny and made up) loss. A paper clip. A rubber band. An old guitar pick I don’t use anymore. And a marble of average size and of great importance. (More on the marble on a later date).
  5. No, I will not send you anything creepy or weird (other than the listed things above). No, you may not send me back anything creepy or weird. No, my hand is not included in the contest (even though it was in the photo).
  6. If the winner will not accept the prize, then it will be forwarded to the second place. If they refuse, then third place, etc. If nobody accepts the prize, then I will be happy to keep the marble for myself, and the rest will be destroyed.
  7. If you want to enter multiple times, (I’m not sure why you would), then feel free to do so. Just make sure each one is unique.
  8. Have fun.

Remember, the most creative/silly/made up event will win the contest. This means you can tell me a story or just describe something silly. Take your time with it. Treat it like a writing prompt if you wish. And try to make sure your story makes sense.

When I Grow Up

June 7, 2011

“I checked every room for 15 minutes Mr. Krantz. I opened every drawer, cupboard, and box I could find. It wasn’t there.” the sweaty man huffed for air. “I think our tip was from a bad source.”

“Yeah right. You said the same thing three hours ago and I found you sitting in the kitchen eating a box of Yum-Yums.” the man known as Krantz spat back at the other. “And I don’t care where our information comes from, I just do what I’m told to.”

“Well I wouldn’t have needed to eat something if we could take a break every now and then.” the now visibly upset fat man, named Reed, walked back into the living room. He put his hands on his hips in exasperation. “Let’s just let the boss know it ain’t here and we can move on with our lives.” He loosened his tie.

“The only way we’re going to be able to ‘move on with our lives'” Krantz mockingly used finger quotes. “Is if we are allowed to keep them. If we go back to the boss without what we’re here for, he’s going to shoot us, hang us, kill our pets, and then write mean letters about us to our families. And trust me on this, my grandmother couldn’t handle anything like that.” Krantz’s nasally voice hung in the air.

Reed reluctantly gave in. “I know, I know. But I get sleepy when my blood sugar is low, so if you want me to keep working-.”

“Shut up and grow a pair!” Krantz interrupted. “Just keep looking!” Krantz lit a cigarette out of frustration. “We will turn this place upside down if we need to. Remember it’s a small green box. It shouldn’t weigh much either. It’s just a jewel.” Small clouds of smoke filled the air around his head.

These two men were looking for the Jewel of Yamamoto, an ancient gem that had been discovered to be one of the largest found in the eastern hemisphere. Earlier that day, they had been assigned by the owner of the gen to guard it during a private display. Everything was fine until a child had ran in and took out most of the security. She also took the jewel. Since the display box was also taken, the tracking device hidden inside had signaled this house as being the location of the jewel. So they followed.

Across the street, in the second story of an abandoned house, sat a little girl in a window. In her possession was a Hello Kitty walkie talkie, a Girl Scout uniform, and a backpack with one small green box that didn’t weigh very much. The tracking device for the jewel lay hidden in the house where the two men were arguing.

Marla switched channels on her walkie talkie. “Come in Condor, this is Bumble Bee.” her childish voice sounded strangely mature.

“Go ahead Bumble Bee, this is Condor.” the voice broke through the static.

“I’ve got the package. Request new orders for delivery. The first drop point is hot. I repeat. First drop point is hot.”

“Wait, you’ve got the jewel? Already?” the voice sounded surprised.

“Yup.” Marla stated with a level of confidence that was similar to a car mechanic talking about transmissions.

“Okay, one minuet.” the man on the other end muted his channel. He was probably checking with the higher ups to make sure they understood the situation. They would also give her new orders.

The man came back on the line. “Alright, you drop point is Honeycomb. Repeat, Honeycomb.” That was the code word for the park near her house. Marla loved that park. That’s where the big swings were. Plus, that’s where her and her friends would play hide and go seek. But most importantly, it would make her trip home shorter. She didn’t have much time.

“Okay Condor. Honeycomb is go.” She was about to end the transmission when the other voice came through again.

“What did you do about the guys on your tail? If you leave in the open, they could find you again. HQ needs an answer.”

“Nothing. Yet.” She almost forgot to get rid of these bad guys.  She was almost certain one of them actually saw her steal the jewel. It would be necessary to make sure they didn’t follow her or find out who she was. That could make her job much harder. It would also mean she would have to skip school for a couple more days. But she had a spelling test on Friday, so that wasn’t an option.

Marla needed to think of a plan, and quick. If she wasn’t home before six her mother would get home, and then she would be in real trouble. “Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of them. See you at Honeycomb. Over and out.”

She clicked her walkie to the other station. This station was rigged to listen in on the bug she planted in the house across the street. She though it would be a good idea if she was going to leave the tracking device their as well. Every word that was spoken between the two men was heard clearly. She had the element of surprise.

“Fine, I’ll check the living room. Again.” Reed huffed.

Marla heard him move close to the hidden microphone she had planted. If he finds it, she thought, then they will be on to me. She needed to do something. As she looked around her bag she realized that she only had the equipment she used from the heist. She also had her Girl Scout uniform and a few boxes of cookies.

And just like that, she had her plan.

“The living room is clean Mr. Krantz.” Reed yelled to the still smoking Krantz. “Will you at least help me look around instead of just sitting there puffing away at your cigarettes?”

“No.” One could hear the simple joy in his voice when he said this.

“Why not?” Reed started to sound like a little kid.

“Cause I’m thinking, you lump. Just keep working -” he was cut off by a knock at the front door.

Knock, Knock, Knock.

They both froze.

“What do I do?” said Reed only standing a few feet away from the door. “Oh no. What do I do? What do I do? WhatdoIdo?” he was losing his composure.

“Just answer the door and lie to them. Tell them you’re a prospecitve buyer or something. Just get rid of them.”

Quietly Krantz slipped into the kitchen, hiding. Reed slowly approached the door. He took a deep calming breath.

“Uh,” he tried hiding the uncertainty in his voice. “Who is it?”

A muffled response came from the other side of the door. “Gril Scout cookies!” The voice was sweet and innocent. And it promised tasty delights, that seemed safe enough for Reed to open the door.

“H-Hello little girl, and what have we got here?” he started. He saw a young girl, no older than seven, looking up at him with a big smile that was missing an incisor and trying to hand him a box of Snickerdoodles.  “I don’t think I ordered any cookies. You have the wrong house.”

“Oh no, Mister, I have the right house, but my mommy told me that the people who used to live here ordered cookies. Since we don’t have their new address or anything I asked if I could give their cookies to our new neighbor. She said that would be very nice of me. So here I am!” Her little teeth were beaming.

“Oh, well, that’s so nice of you. But I’m sorry little girl, I don’t have any money to pay for these. So, you know, go away.” He didn’t know how to act around kids. He didn’t even really like them all that much.

“Oh that’s okay Mister. It’s free.” she nodded reassurance at Reed as she put the boxes in his hands. “I’m just doing my Scout Duty.” She even gave him a short stature salute.

He had to admit, this kid was cute. She was handing him free cookies. And Snickerdoodles were his favorite. Maybe if he took them he could solve two problems at the same time. He could get the kid to leave and he could satisfy his hunger that had been sticking with him all day. Why couldn’t all kids be this way? he wondered.

“Oh. Alright. If you insist.” He gave the little girl a crooked smile. ” Thanks.” He didn’t wait for her response, he quickly turned back inside and kicked the door shut with his foot. His hands were busy opening the first box of cookies. He was starving.

Reed walked back into the kitchen after taking a deeply satisfying bite of a freshly unpackaged cookie.

“Who was that? And what are those? Asked Krantz from his hiding place, underneath a table.

“These are snickerdoodles, and I am one happy fat man.” replied Reed. Cookie crumbs started hitting the floor.

“No, you slob, who was at the door?” Krantz asked this in a heavy whisper.

In a normal tone and volume Reed informed Krantz “It was just some gap-toothed girl scout. Nothing to be afraid of.” He continued to devour the cookies. “These are delicious.” he exclaimed delightfully.

“Girl Scout? Like with the sash and buttons and all that?”

“Yeah, the whole nine yards. I think she even had a missing tooth. Pretty cute kid.” Reed’s answer was muffled by the last of the cookies he shoved in his mouth. He started opening the second box.

“Did she have pigtails in her hair?”

“Yeah, but don’t they all?”

Krantz looked deep in thought, the only sounds that could be heard were the crunching sound emanating from Reed’s mouth and a slight beeping coming from the kitchen.”

Beeping? Krantz thought. That didn’t seem right.

“What’s that sound?”

Reed’s chewing stopped but the beeping continued. Now it was picking up in rhythm. Reed looked inside of his newly open box of cookies and pulled something out.

“Hey Mr. Krantz, what do you think this is?”Reed held it up, in Krantz’s face.

It was beeping.

A beeping block of C4.

“I don’t think that was a Girl Scout-”

The explosion was covered during the six o’clock news that night. Marla watched it from her living room couch. She even beat her mother home by half an hour. Marla greeted her mother at the door when she arrived home from work.

“Sorry I’m late honey. There were police blocking off some streets because of a house fire a few block from here.”

Marla’s mother put her car keys and purse on the side table by the entrance. “And what did my little Bumble Bee do today?”

Marla gave her mother a hug. “Nothing too much. I had a Girl Scout meeting after school.”

“Oh yeah? And what did you learn about?”

“Fire safety and cookie sales.” she smiled.

When I Grow Up    © D.A. Bancroft

I am willing to bet that I’ve done something you never have. It’s not like I’m incredibly proud of this or anything, but from now on I will have a story to tell people. I will also manipulate that story to make it sound like I narrowly escaped death. Now you really want to know what I did, huh?

I grilled ribs in a freaking hail storm. (Totally true)

Yeah. I’m all that is man.

It wasn’t like they were golf ball sized or anything, just small peas. Still, I didn’t want to walk out there and flip the ribs in weather like that. And I didn’t do it to give myself a challenge, I just misjudged what the weather was going to do. And ,apparently, it decided to suddenly have a thunderstorm appear overhead as I just start cooking my dinner.

Now don’t tell anybody, but when I tell the story to people, they will believe that I fought off a tornado and hurricane wrapped into one. The hail was the size of soccer balls and lightning was crashing all around me. And the grill wasn’t just a grill, but a furnace that could only be controlled by my perfectly trained hand. Afterwards my clothes were ripped to shreds and I received a personal letter of apology from all the Norse gods for thinking they had any power on this planet.

Yeah…that’s how it was….

The ribs were delicious by the way.

So…short story time, right?

Well, as you know, I’ve delayed it. I was indisposed at the time of my soft “deadline” of sunday, so no story for you then. Since I’ve lollygagged for long enough I’ve decided that my final will be posted on Tuesday at 11:00 p.m. This will be tough for me to meet, considering I do have other plans. But I will set the timer on the story to send at that time. Maybe if I know a deadline is looming I will buck up and get it done. Or maybe you’ll see a very sorry and poorly written story pop up on here around that time. Either way, you should read it, because it could be a fun story to read or a funny failure to remember.

In other news:

If you recall anything from my previous posts, you will remember I created this fake story of pineapple handed Hawaiian zombies. I named their master “Marla”. Since this name seemed so friendly and interesting (I’ve never met a Marla before) I’ve decided to name the little girl in my story Marla.

And if you haven’t been watching Dr. Who, you need to. This is the CRAZIEST season ever. I saw the first half season finale, and wow, it’s just, wow….

 

Maybe it’s just me, or it’s just the effects of technological trends, or it’s the race of genetically modified corn husks that are taking over the world, but has anybody noticed that the number of members on WordPress has been steadily decreasing? In the past week I believe I’ve seen nearly 5,000 people leave the site. (I am seeing this on the homepage, when you first sign in). Since I love participating in reckless speculation as well as sorry excuses for my past mistakes, allow me to elaborate on the causes of depopulation in the blogosphere.

Let me tell you why it could just be me:

I have only been on here for a couple of weeks. It’s possible that I’m just seeing something very commonplace here and I have no previous experience to base it on. Maybe the “population” of bloggers on the site ebbs and flows, just like any other real biological population. There are down periods and there are up periods. Knowing that WordPress is one of the more popular blog sites, I expect the numbers to trend around the same area, with some sporadic dips and rises from time to time.

That’s one reasonable explanation….

Let me tell you why it could be due to technological trends:

Blogging may be dying. I’m not sure if it will actually die so much as it will just wain until something similar (and likely better) will replace it. Maybe more and more people will commit their blogs to a more vlog format. This may be happening now and I just don’t see it’s big effects quite yet. Also, Twitter may be responsible because it allows people to enjoy the benefits of social networking as well as creating short written content (kind of like a really tiny blog). Less work + Ease of use = Big satisfaction.

That explanation is logical as well…but

Let me tell you why IT IS the mutated corn husks:

It’s my fault. I let them out. They overran me. I just thought they looked so friendly and all cooped up in those cages. I guess I just have a thing for illegally modified food products stuck in cages.

One of them even screamed obscenities into my ear as they trampled over me. It was awful. Not the obscenities, I can’t speak Cornish, but the trampling. You wouldn’t believe the number of very small scratches I have all over my face. Not to mention, I might lose my janitorial position at Aperture Laboratories for my boo-boo.

I’m not sure what they want, again the language barrier is there, but I know they do not like bloggers that do only movie reviews. When they made it to the city, they bought out all the seats in the movie theaters that they could find. I’m still not sure why did this, or how they got the money, but that seems to be the first part of their plan. Then they found out where they (the bloggers) all live and just filled their homes and apartments with their fellow husk-folk. People can’t move in there. They’re probably getting cuts as well.

Last I heard they were going to buy ad space on major search engines. I can’t imagine what they’re going to do with it.

Anyway, I’m sure it’ll just blow over. Just in case though, I wouldn’t go out past sundown. They can sneak up on you pretty quick.

So, sorry for the Corn Husk thing, it may have ruined WordPress.

D.A.

Charlie 3

May 29, 2011

“One minute ’till glory, boys!” the Sergeant grimaced through the puff of smoke in his face. “Hoorah?”

Every man in grunted out their response with gusto. “Hoorah, Master Seargent!”

The yellow ready light turned on. The men stood from their seats and formed two single files.

Master Sergeant Dripps knew the men in front of him were nervous. He tried to make a point of looking nonchalant about their work even though the plane bounced in the storm clouds. He was about to give the speech that he had given to all the men he had previously led into battle. While looking into their frightened eyes he spoke clearly and with confidence.

“We are here to do one thing. That’s to kill us some of those humans that crawl beneath us. They’ve scuttled around on the ground for long enough. They enjoy the freedoms that we deserve.”

I know I don’t need to remind you that they consume us. They feed off of us.” One man in the back of yellow team had begun to throw up. He had probably seen it happen before. The enemy below were known for doing deplorable things to his fellow people. There were even rumors that the humans had build machines that allow them to drink the fallen.

“I know you can’t stand it. I can’t either. Even though this war seems like it doesn’t end we’re here to make progress. When we jump, we jump for a promise of hope, a promise of victory.” his voice sounded like gravel. He had given this speech hundreds of times.

The Sarge, as he was affectionately known, surveyed those who were in front of him and he saw the potential. The potential for these men to stand up and become fighters; heroes. And he saw the potential for them all to earn nothing more than an obituary. That was the reality of  those who served in the Drop Trooper Program. They always turned out to become one of two things. They could become total wash outs, or they could reach the highest state in The Cycle.

The Sarge quietly hoped for the latter.

His second in command handed him their orders in an envelope. They were kept secret until the last possible moment. It helped to stop the humans from predicting their movements.  He snatched the paper from the younger officer and read the words before him. He understood his orders. He knew they were going to jump into certain death. He did his best to hide his disappointment in front of the men but despite his effort, his men seemed to know. With a fake sense of confidence, he gave the orders.

“It seems that our target has been designated Charlie 3. It’s big. We are to hit it with full force. No mercy. Use whatever you’ve got equipped. I know you don’t want to hear me admitt this but it looks like we’re going to have casualties. Remember your training and you can survive. Remember the target. Charlie 3. Don’t deviate. Don’t miss. Every hit counts.”

The sergeant took note of the effect his words had on the men around him. It wasn’t enough. They needed something more. None of them had the fire they needed to get their job done. His job was to make sure every man he led met the call of duty. He decided to reach out and remind their tired hearts of how the Cycle could help them come to terms with their fates.

“I know it doesn’t look good boys. But remember what The Cycle means. You know the motto: ‘If it falls, then it will rise. If it rises, then it will fall.'” he got some silent nods at this. They all knew about the Cycle. They’ve been taught about it since they were young. “All out us have been through it before whether you remember it or not.” More nods. He was getting through. Some of their demeanors were starting to change for the better.

“You’ll come back. We all get the chance. Maybe by the time that you’re back here, we’ll have made some real progress in this war. And when this thing is finally over, maybe we’ll never need to be Cycled again. Until that day comes we have a job to do. So let’s get to it!”

“Hoorah!” they trumpeted in unison. This time it was enough to shake the chest of the Master Sergeant that stood in front of him. It made him grin.

He pulled out his cigar and gave them the only appropriate response. “Hoorah.” He snapped a salute.

Finally he could see the fight in his men. They wouldn’t become washouts. They were heroes already.

With that small sign of comfort, he walked around to the end of the Yellow Team line. He attached the hook for his chute and double checked his cable and harness. No mistakes would be allowed.

The pilot looked behind him and yelled into the fuselage. “30 seconds until drop!”

“Blue Team! You’re up. After 15 seconds I expect to see each one of you on your way down. Then Yellow Team will follow. I’ll be jumping with them.” the Sarge barked. He knew deep down that these men were ready. They knew they were going to complete the Cycle.

For a few tense moments nobody spoke or moved. They could only hear the hum of the engines and the rumble of thunder outside of the craft. The sounds of war.

The yellow light turned green and Blue Team started their exit. They took their leave in a tight order and each man yelled “Geronimo” as they dove down toward their fate.

Another green light blinked on, and the men in front of the sergeant quickly stepped to the edge and looked into the wild blue yonder.

“Alright you lollygaggers.” The sergeant seemed to speak through his smoldering cigar. “Go! Go! Go!”

They took flight knowing only one thing. Hit Charlie 3.

***

On the earth below them Becky Bainbridge looked out of the windshield of her 1998 Volvo. She heard the loud splat of a drop of water on her roof looked up toward the sky.

“Hmm, It looks like it’s starting to rain.” Soon, and in rapid succession, she heard the rest of her car get hit with droplets. This time, before she heard each drop she could have sworn she heard a tiny scream.

“Odd.” she said to herself. Becky shrugged it off and started her engine. “Well, I’m not going to let it ruin my day.”

Charlie 3     © D. A. Bancroft

The Big Conspiracy

May 27, 2011

So I’ve noticed some sort of a, let’s call it, conspiracy.

Remember only a few short years ago how different t-shirts were? I’m not talking about the design or size or anything. I’m talking about the tag. Whatever happened to the idea of the tag?

Don’t get me wrong. I hate the tag. I hate the tag on anything. I was hating the tag so hard people asked me if I was getting paid to hate the tag. No. I was pro bono on hating the tag. I made hating the tag cool. When I was a kid I remember hati- wait. Sorry. I’m losing it here. Let me refocus.

I really hate the tag when it’s on the inside of the side of the shirt. You know what I’m talking about, right? How it’s always scraping you in the side? Maybe it curls up and pokes you as well. I mean, wow. How could that possibly be better than at the back? At least in the back it felt a little symmetrical. And the back of your neck had built up a small immunity to it. Or, at least when compared to your side. The side has no chance of being free from it’s discomfort.

This topic brings up something else. Why did it take so long for the “tagless” shirt to come out? I mean, really, we cured smallpox decades before the tagless shirt. I would like to believe that humans are pretty intelligent, curing disease and all, but did it really take that long?

Look at it  from a business standpoint. More comfort = more happy customers. Less material = Lower cost. Win – Win.

In short, I smell cover-up. Who’s with me?

In other news.I didn’t get anything done today. Not just in terms of writing (except this) but in terms of everything.

My lazy meter has been in the red all day today. I shouldn’t be okay with that, but I am. Sometimes I’m very good at coping with my own inadequacies.

For your added benefit here’s a list of a few things that make me feel awesome:

  1. Old episodes of Hey Arnold.
  2. The free release of the Portal 2 soundtrack.
  3. The smell of opening a pack of Magic: the Gathering cards.
  4. The smell of books from the used bookstore.
  5. The smell of clean cups. (You don’t really know if a cup is clean unless you smell it).
  6. People commenting on my short story Memorandum RE: Galaxy. (Trust me, I’m almost done promoting it).
Tomorrow I will get stuff done. Yes. Tomorrow.
D.A.

Lately I’ve been looking at the use of language in short stories. This includes the speaking mannerisms and conversations of characters/perspectives in a story. Allow me to explain.

Everybody talks differently. I say and use words that you probably don’t, and you probably use words that, if i heard them in conversation, would confuse me. I’d just awkwardly laugh and pretend that I know what you’re talking about. Well, I  think the same is true for any character in a story. Even if it is very subtle, it’s still a difference.

For example, if I were writing a story from a human male perspective, I would include words like “Gnarly”, “Rad”, and “Awesome.” There would also be some smelly armpits in there somewhere. Alternatively, if I were writing for an unintelligent mass of goo, I would make sure the vocabulary included words like “Blurp”, “Squish”, and “Gurgle.” This would be accompanied by some slime dripping (and some stinky pits of some kind).

Now conversations are a whole ‘nother problem.

People not only use words differently, but engage in conversation differently. Maybe they make eye contact with the speaker, or avoid it at all costs. Maybe they are uncertain and shrug all the time. Maybe they tap their fingers or bounce their knee. Suppose the speaker is very authoritative, so they only speak in commands and short sentences. “Do this.” “Go over there.” “Massage my feet, you scum.” You see my point.

This was something that really took a lot of effort for me in Memo. Even though the whole story wasn’t conversation I still wanted the reader to feel like they had a good look at what was going on as well as what was being said. I tried to imply body movement and emotions in conversation. I’m not sure how successful I was in accomplishing this, but I gave it the old college try. It will be something I will work on in the future.

So the next story I’m working on is going to have a noticeably different tone to it. I would like to be able to focus on these issues, but I will likely end up forgetting what I want to focus on, thus leading me to write a story about two tiny ponies that just nay at one another.

Oh Crap! That could be the best idea ever! Better put it in writing!

Pretty Pony: Nay :::translates to: Sup? :::

Cute Pony: Nay ::: Sup?:::

Pretty: Nay Nay :::Nothin’. You?::::

Cute:  Nay :::Nothin’.:::

Pretty: Nay :::Cool:::

Cute: Nay :::Cool:::

Old Englishman Pony: Nay :::No:::

Or, maybe not?

Answer: Nay.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to avoid humor. In fact, I will try to get a serious short story made one day soon. I’ll just write what comes to me.

In completely unrelated news, I’m currently searching for the best way to clean a laptop from the constant touching of my hands. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

D.A.