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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spontaneous Tales

To keep sharp here, in this culture steeped in mediocrity, I create challenges for myself, realizing that the only artist one can really compete with is oneself. This particular challenge I have embarked upon with go to goil and muse to the star(crossed), the ever alluring Robin. Robin doesn't consider herself a writer, but as a remarkable muse she understands that when I have my pants on, I need inspiration of a different kind and she provides it wonderfully.

The challenge is to create a short story based upon a spontaneously generated 1.) title; 2.) paragraph; 3.) characters; 4.) or whatever the fuck. The first was based upon a paragraph, off the top of my head, no story in mind. Most are written sitting down with no knowledge of what we'll be faced with over the course of an hour or two. Hence the challenge. It's ever so much fun.

I have thrown this challenge out to some of the 'writers' I know, but as 'writers' they are too busy with other stuff to waste time writing. Regardless, we have generated some fun tales and as we're the only two to have enjoyed them thusfar, figured I would share some of mine and lay down a little writing exercise for the good folks hereabouts.

The only limitations we've adhered to is keeping words in the same order they were created in, titles are used as titles and all characters must figure into the story somewise or another. Beyond that, go nuts.

The first paragraph was by me and operates thusly:

I was on the set of Spunky’s Inferno when I first saw him. This was in the pre-independent film boom, back when they were still called B films. The film had script problems from day one and had run three weeks over budget just setting up craft services on the first morning. Something about thermite in the coffeemaker. He had seemed a little disjointed earlier when the wardrobe assistant mysteriously imploded while ironing some socks.

Enjoy!

Crafty

I was on the set of Spunky’s Inferno when I first saw him. This was in the pre-independent film boom, back when they were still called B films. The film had script problems from day one and had run three weeks over budget just setting up craft services on the first morning. Something about thermite in the coffeemaker. He had seemed a little disjointed earlier when the wardrobe assistant mysteriously imploded while ironing some socks.

I had originally been hired as a script doctor but after some rational assessment it was determined that a script coroner was more in order, so we ordered some sandwiches and played darts. After several rounds of darts (a game unlike the one played pretty much universally, where one comes up with an idea for a story line that doesn’t suck, then darts around the table stealing everyone’s drinks until the idea is shot down – with shots – and after refilling, it begins again)(I didn’t say it was a good game, just a game, so get off my ass) we decided that development money would be better spent on hookers and that pretty much killed the first, second and first half of the third draft.

As the budget diminished my role declined as well. I worked a week as script dentist, extracting all the decay and stuffing it with filler, using 12 ounces of pharmaceutical cocaine to keep properly numb. It didn’t do much for the script but it kept me and the hookers, especially Connie, oh how she loved the cocaine, satiated until my next demotion to script chiropractor where I worked out the old kinks, adding a few new one’s (thanks Connie!) and merely made adjustments as opposed to structural changes.

Finally I worked as script podiatrist, just offering footnotes and kicking around ideas until some genius, I think it was Vinnie the line producer, decided to gear up and fix the difficulties in post. Always in post, huh, Vinnie? Ya’asshole.

Skip Winterbottom, the executive producer came through with an additional 4 mil when they signed on David Spade. This was good because we’d burned through our seed money, per diem, sold most of the office furniture and Connie was getting a trifle sketchy and offering cleaning personnel handjobs for some of their ranker emollients, just to keep an edge. In retrospect, it’s probably best we parted ways, she had begun to smell of Comet when she’d do a Sid Viscous and that was off putting to the stoutest hobbyist.

When Spade showed up the first day of rehearsal (coincidently the first day of shooting) he was outraged to find Lite-Cheddar Cheeze Goldfish on the crafty table as he felt it was an example of reverse weightism; where in actuality they didn’t have the regular ones at Fart and Spinal so Cuddles (she insisted we call her that though it was a poorly rendered moniker and one that will cause her much pain when she sobers up) went with the low fat and Spade had a hissy fit.

And then the coffeemaker blew up.

Now there were accusations tossed about, David trying to bugger Cuddles behind the porta-potty, his ass-istant Peaches running around bitching about red Gummy Dogs, “Everybody else gets bears, why does David Spade have dogs?” and the like, but as they are all unfounded and unproven, for insurance purposes we are settling on calling it a manufacturing defect and letting the Wing Ho Soop company in Canton China (as opposed to a Chinese Canton which are in actuality provinces and little areas where people sit quietly waiting for their turn to howl like a cat in a paper shredder) deal with it.

He looked up. I fairly burst from behind a pile of severed donkey parts, to be used in the holiday montage, and stumbled toward him, likely looking crazed. My mouth was full of red Gummy Dogs (stupid Cuddles) and Lite Goldfish and I tripped over a PA who was unconscious against a rack of Nazi uniforms. I saw him pull back, concerned.

“Hiya, can I get a cuppa java?”
He’d been passing out Moe’s Bean Juice around the carnage on the set and I’d missed the bastard for 20 minutes. I knew the two remaining cups he proffered would be cold – I didn’t care. I needed something to wash down those awful Gummy Fish Dog things. Spade was right. Cuddles deserved her buggering.

I offered the other cup to Peaches. He was contrite.

What a freak show.

(Of course, you can play too. The following is the second challenge, this one offered by Robin. Use it in a short story and post it in the comments and offer up a challenge yourself. It's a fun and creative exercise for writers who like to keep sharp, and even for those who just like using their brains actively instead of passively.)

We ran around the corner of the building and hunkered down behind a couple of trash cans, then watched as it wandered in our direction, sniffing the air delicately. I was out of breath—God, I hate running!—and trying desperately to hold back a sneeze, which had been brought on by the smells coming from the garbage: stale beer, old vomit, moldy meat, filthy socks, human catastrophe. I knew that if that thing found us, we were toast. My breath hitched and my nose itched and I could feel nothing but the build-up of one whopper of an at-choo! and now oh shit I have to fucking piss!