Moving On From Goodbyes

Private Eye

Remly gives the door a swift jerk, hearing the soft click of the lock sliding into place. Someday, when finances allow, he will replace the damn door. Better yet, he might just move out, and leave the ghosts behind. With a satisfied grunt, he makes his way down the dimly-lit hallway of the building, whistling to himself a nameless tune.

The elevator shaft is a distance to the other end of the building. Why this is so, Remly doesn’t know. But it does mean his unit is the cheapest in the building. Being far removed from the nosy neighbors and prying eyes only sweetens the deal.

Still, it doesn’t change the fact that he’ll be out on the streets if business slips. He could let out one of the offices, but that means changing the signage out front as well.  No, what James & Manson really needs is a new gig, and Remly wants it now. Taking his cigarettes out from his coat pocket, he lights one up as he rounds the corner, distracted by his own problems.

“Excuse me.”

What? Remly looks up from his stupor to see a elderly gentleman in a white suit walking towards him. Well-groomed beard, a studded ivory cane and a spot of decent cologne, Remly smells money.

“I say young man, do you to know where I might find the offices of James & Manson? The unit I was given doesn’t seem to exist.”

Remly blinks, trying to control his excitement. He plays it cool and throws his cigarette to the floor, stubbing it out. “You found it, Remly Manson at your service.” He extends a hand which the man warmly accepts.

“Oh wonderful, I’ve been referred by an associate of mine, he tells me I should speak to a Mr. Albus James.”

Remly feels his enthusiasm wane. “James is gone for the day, if there’s anything I’ll be more than…”

“Thank you, but no” the old man says, raising a hand. “I’ll like to speak to Albus in private,  it’s a matter of upmost confidentiality. Is there anyway I can reach him?”

Think fast Remly. “I can assure you, that as a partner of James & Manson, I am just as capable in handling your request, Mr…”

“White, Sullivan White.”

“Mr White,” Remly tips his hat. “Now, I’ve been in business with Albus for the last thirteen years. There ain’t a thing we don’t trust each other with. Don’t let this youthful mug fool ya.” He forces a laugh to appear to friendly.

The old man looks at Remly warily. “You’re the Manson of the company?”

“Presently so,” Remly answers. “Now why don’t we go back to our office so that we may discuss this business in private.”

The old man bites his lips, considering the proposition.

Remly weighs the costs in his head. “Tell you what, there’s a nice little restaurant just across the street. If time permits, perhaps we can discuss this matter over dinner.”

The old man’s features start to soften. “Well I guess….”

“Good, let’s go then. I hope you like steak.”

<– Part 1: An Intro To Goodbyes    <–Part 2: A Follow Up To Goodbyes

 

Authors Notes: 

  • This part has the ‘sudden’ appearance of another character to let the story move forward, let me know if the handling of it here is ok, or is it just too sudden. I can always add a “he looks up  and sees a man exiting the elevator”, or something like that.
  • As per the part 1, I have opted to do away with most dialogue tags. This makes it read faster which can be a good or bad thing.
  • I’ve went back to edit Part 1 and 2, trying to insert the character descriptions into the text without dedicated an entire chunk to it. I need to create an image for Albus. I’ll see if it works.
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A Follow Up To Goodbyes

Detective

Picking up his uncle’s rolodex, Remly fingers through the yellowing cards. scanning the all too familiar names. James & Manson hasn’t had a new customer in years now, and its day-to-day survival depended entirely on the few companies unafraid of employing a little subterfuge in their dealings. Debt collectors, employment agencies and other shady businesses. They make up the entirety of the agency’s client list.

Now that both founding members of James & Manson are gone however, Remly needs to find out which of these regulars will be sticking around with the new management. Only one way to find out. He picks out a card at random and makes the call.

“Hey Wachowski, long time no hear. How’s the bailor business.”

A gruff voice on the other end answers, “Ain’t got nothing for you Manson, better luck next time.” He hangs up.

Remly picks another card. “Milo? Remly here. James & Manson. No, just calling to check if…” Same answer. He pulls out three more cards and tries again, and again, and again.

“Words out you’re flying solo now Manson. The boss ain’t too thrilled about that you know, Albus has always been the one handling our business. You lack experience kid.”

“Krippie, I know your business inside out, I’ve been working with you since I was a kid! You know my dad.”

“Sorry Remly.”

Another hang up. Five strikes in a row and Remly’s psyche is shot. He slams the receiver down and grabs for the bottle, pouring himself a double. “I’ll show em’,” Remly fumes, chugging down the whiskey. The liquid burns down his throat, forcing him to wince. “To you dad,” he croaks, raising his glass. “And so-called friends.”

The heat spreading inside Remly’s belly helps him to relax. He pours a generous helping again, gulping down the fiery liquor with gusto. Just one more. The drinks start to fly, by the time Remly stops, he had finished half the bottle. “Sorry dear, won’t happen again,” Remly slurs, chuckling as he mimics the voice of his father. Leaving the mess on the table, he stumbles out of the office, ready to call it a night. He will call again tomorrow, though the prospect of rejection looms heavily upon that promise.

But tomorrow can worry about itself. Tonight, Remly has his mind set on a steak dinner. The thought of one anyways, since he can barely afford a sandwich. Sighing at his sad state of affairs, he grabs his coat and hat off the rack, shuffling out the door. Without uncle Albus around, he makes doubly sure to lock up everything behind him. Fumbling with his keys, Remly can’t help but smile. Already he is starting to miss the old man.

<– Part 1: An Intro To Goodbyes     Part 3:

Author’s notes: 

  • So far this is my writing style, write as much as I want, rewrite the entire thing, then cut it down to size. Usually I can cut off about 25%-30% of the text without losing any context, though I have to try to slow down the pace if it reads too fast. 
  • Playing the subtext of the relationships without being too direct.
  • First time writing a scene about drinking. Lemme know if it works.
  • My constant war against “As” “And” “Before” “Then” “After” — Basically link words. I try to cut them down and just separate the sentences if I can, as long as it still reads right. I am overly reliant on the word “As”, usually I find about 10-12 of them in a 500 word chunk before I cut them down. It is incredible how versatile that word is, yet is totally meaningless and can often be replaced with something more descriptive.

Removing as to make it more descriptive: (as is usually associated with the dreaded -ly, the telling words)

  • Albus turns away, shielding his eyes. With a final pat on Remly’s back, he …
  • Albus turns away, shielding his eyes as he pats Remly firmly on the back. He…

Where it fulfils no purpose: 

  • The warmth spreading through Remly’s belly makes him relax.
  • The warmth spreads through Remly belly as it starts to make him relax.

 

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An Intro About Goodbyes

Detectives

Six-Thirty.

The glare from the setting sun cuts through the window, bathing the clutter in the office in a warm orangey hue. Remly, lost in his thoughts, looks up from his desk. Time. He straightens his shirt and walks across the hallway, passing the tarnished signage with its unremarkable lettering: James & Manson – Private Eyes.

In his room, Albus sits on his desk, the back of his bald head turned to the door as he stares motionlessly through the blinds. Whether he notices Remly coming in or not, he makes no show of it. Waiting quietly by the door, the younger admires the view of the evening sky outside, watching it cool into a navy blue.

Eventually, Albus stirs, wiping his face with rugged hands.  “Well, this is it I guess.”

“Yup.” Remly looks at the floor as Albus picks his coat off his chair and puts it on, eyes still transfixed on the sky.

“Been here over forty years ya know.”

Remly smiles.“Forty-one, twenty-eight with dad, thirteen with me.”

Albus turns back and grins, wrinkling his eyes. “Forty-one years and the best damn partners a man could have hoped for.”

“You can always visit,” Remly says, walking towards the desk. Albus produces a bottle from his drawer and pours out the drinks, handing one of them to Remly.

“Ain’t gonna be the same kid. You gonna spruce this place up?”

“Maybe.” Remly says, lowering his eyes to the glass in his hand.

“Well, at least the old girl’s in safe hands.” Albus says, running a hand across his mahogany desk. He stretches out to make a toast. “James & Manson is all yours now Remly. Remember. If you ever need anything…”

“You’ll be the first to know uncle.”

“Good,” Albus says, blinking back tears. “We’re proud of you, you know that?”

Remly sighs, “Too bad pride doesn’t pay the bills.” He downs the smoky brown malt in a single gulp and grimaces. “…where you get this stuff?”

“It’s been sitting around.”

“For what, a decade?”

Albus laughs, downing his own with a satisfied smirk. “Strong stuff. Bet your old man would have appreciated it though, that man knows his whiskey.”

“Enough to die from it.”

The moment lapses into silence.

Albus makes a slight cough and puts on his hat. “Well, guess I better be going…”

“Sure you don’t want me to call you a cab?” Remly asks, taking the glass from Albus.

“Save it. Buy yourself a nice dinner tonight. God knows you’re gonna need it. Goodbye junior.”

Remly gives an appreciative smile. “Goodbye uncle. Thanks for everything.” The men share a quiet hug.

Albus turns away, shielding his eyes. With a final pat on Remly’s back, he breaks away and disappears out the door of his office for the very last time.

Remly sheds a tear before forcing himself back to reality. Looking around the abandoned office, he worries about making the rent this month. Other than that though, life goes on. It always does.

 

 Part 2: A Follow Up To Goodbyes –>

Author’s Notes: 

  • Does the silence work?
  • Going for a more mellow tone here, the yin to Pixel’s yang.
  • Inspired somewhat by Madmen. Picture Don Draper and Roger Sterling at one of their bar scenes. Don says almost nothing of direct note most of the time, but the emotions still get through.
  • Men always have trouble with good byes.
  • Want to get a Noire thing going without being overly cheesy. The mention of private eye already conjures up a grayscale 60s office.
  • Trying out subtext here. Letting words go unsaid etc. I need to be less direct.
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The Trouble With Pixels: Part 2

Bowser

Elroy glances hesitantly at the turtles. As far as their namesakes go, these creatures move pretty fast on their feet, snapping their jaws as they lumber towards Elroy. He stands his ground for a moment, holding the plastic sword in his hand in front of him, still trying to figure out what exactly is going on here. Then he sees the slimy tongues of the creatures sticking out from wet hungry mouths.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” He thrusts, jabbing at the creature leading the attack. With a single bite, the turtle snaps off the blade, munching the plastic like gum as it advances on its prey. “What the…” Elroy flings what remains of the plastic blade at the creature, and staggers back against the curtain.

“Sir Rocketbuster, watch out!”

The foul-smelling beast is within arm’s length now, giving a guttural roar through its mouth full of plastic. It swipes its hand like a massive club, grazing the retreating Elroy who tumbles back into the cloth, sending the entire curtain cascading down over him and the advancing turtles. Blanketed in darkness, Elroy panics and crawls through the dusty sheet, tumbling out through the other end.

“My knight, what a clever ploy! Strike the creatures while they are down.”

Elroy, panting from the adrenaline, looks up at the turtles groping blindly under the sheet. Picking up a plastic chair, he approaches one of the two shambling lumps and swings hard against it, expecting to be greeted by meaty thud or a crunching blow. What he did not expect, is the plastic chair to simply bounce off the harden carapace of the turtle, spring back in his grip and smacking him on the head. Elroy falls to the ground, stunned by his own blow. The creature is pissed now, raging under the curtain. It bites and gnaws at the thick cloth, until it manages to rip a hole large enough to stick its head through.

“Boogers!” Elroy yells, clambering away from the snapping head as the creature continues chewing at the cloth, trying to free of rest of its body. Picking himself up, Elroy runs back into the arcade, waving his hands like a mad man. “Get out! Get out now! We’re being attacked!”

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ahhhhh!

Human screams overpower the digital blips and bloops in the hall as panicking parents pull their crying children to safety. A couple of jaded teens by the DDR machines look on unfazed, wondering what the fuss is all about. “Didn’t you hear me, get out of this place now!”

From across the hall, Elroy sees Manager Bob running out from the back room, dressed in his usual blue shirt and khaki pants, sweat stains and all. He holds on to his bald sweaty head in astonishment as he makes a beeline for the only Rocketbuster shirt he can see. “Elroy! What is the meaning of this, you trying to run Rocketbuster to the ground!” he yells, his normally concealed Irish accent coming through in his anger.

“No sir, look!” Elroy points to the turtles still struggling to break free. “We’re being attacked!”

“Bah, youngsters nowadays.” Manager Bob scoffs when he sees the turtles. “You probably faint at the sight of blood too don’t ya?” With a laugh, he rolls up his sleeves and flexes his fleshy arms. “Lemme teach you how my generation deal with them hooligans.”

“Ahhh sir?”

Manager Bob puts his palm in Elroy’s face and strides over towards the turtles. “Oi! Come here you!” The two turtles, finally free of the cursed curtain, turn to regard the sweaty bald man. Manager Bob balls his fists up and waves them about like a boxer, spouting a stream of heavily accented cuss words at the bewildered creatures. “… And if I ever see your pompous hides in my arcade again, you’ll be in for a good walloping. Am I making myself clear!”

Turtle looks at turtle as the relatively tiny man in blue stops in front of them, and jabs a finger into one of their thick hides. “And where did you get this awful looking…”

Whump! One of the turtles swings its arms at the man, sending him flying through the air, as they casually turn around and walk back towards the princess.

“Sir Rocketbuster, help me!” Princess screams.

“Aww no!” Elroy runs up to manager Bob as he lands hard on top of a Street Fighter cabinet, smashing its screen in the process. “Talk to me sir, you alright?” Manager Bob could only stare straight at the ceiling as he sputters and chokes, wheezing and blinking his eyes rapidly.

Princess screams again. This time, Elroy looks up and sees one of the creature carrying the tiny Princess and dumping her over one of its massive shoulders. The other turtle is bent over on the ground, waving its stumpy little tail as it fumbles with a piece of glass that looks like a mini-pyramid. In desperation, Elroy shouts at them. “You leave her alone!”

Suddenly, a female voice calls out behind him. “Relax dude, we got this.”

Elroy turns back and sees two teens by the DDR machines walking towards him, eyeing the creatures coolly as they sip on their colas. One is a Asian male, a literal copy of one of those characters you read about in manga comics. His hair is spiked immaculately, gelled and waxed to perfection, freestanding in the air. He wears a shiny plasticy green jacket, over a simple black tee that spells Pixel in front in bright rainbow fonts.

The other one, apparently the one who spoke to Elroy, is a blonde female. She has a shoulder-length bob streaked with pink highlights, and she has on a rugged denim jacket over a black tee with a green alien face on it. Her face is similar to the Asian kid, with a sharp pointy nose, small mouth and big watery eyes, right out of manga.

“Not cool kids, get out of here before…”

The Asian kid shouts something in a foreign language to attract the attention of the beasts, while the girl fans out to approach the creatures from a different direction.

“Guys please, this isn’t safe, we should wait for the police.” Elroy says, holding on to the limp hand of manager Bob.

Blondie turns to look at Elroy. “Dude, we are the police.”

“But…”

“Kogeki!” The Asian kid charges forward with his fist, running directly towards the two turtles. Reaching the first, the one handling the glass pyramid, he somersaults into the air as the creature snaps at him with its massive jaws, and delivers a swift kick to the one behind holding on to Princess.

“Ow!” Princess cries, as she falls to the ground. The turtle carrying her staggers back from the surprise attack as the first turtle makes a gurgling sound, turning around to help its comrade.”

“Not so fast!” Now it is blondie’s turn to charge forward, going straight for the one who just turned its back on her. Running at full speed, she arcs back before leaping up and delivering a stunning strike to the back of the creature’s head. Elroy hears a loud crack. Whether it was the girl’s hand or the turtle’s head, he could not tell.

“Digity! They sure have thick skulls,” Blondie comments, shaking her hand limply as she winces in pain. Her target sways around for a moment, as if unhurt, before it crashes to the ground with a loud thud.

“Serves you right for skipping training Miranda,” the Asian kid says, speaking perfect English as he squares off against the remaining turtle. He dances back as the creature swings both its hands together, clapping them together in a thunderous blow over where his head was just a moment earlier.

The creature, sensing its plight, backs itself to the wall, as the fiesty Princess picks up the broken plastic sword and stabs it into the creature’s leg.

“Princess no!”

Before the princess could react, the creature scoops her up with one hand, grabbing her by her flowing locks and dangling her helplessly in the air. “Let go of me, monster!” Princess screams, still pummelling the creature with the broken plastic sword.

The turtle pops a sharp claw out of its squabby paw and points it precariously near Princess’s neck, bringing her attack to an abrupt end. It turns to glare at the all-action heroes as a standoff ensues.

END PART 2

Bring Me Back To Part 1

Author’s Notes:

  • Part 2 is mainly just a big action scene, plus some attempts at humor.
  • Essentially I’m trying to replicate a ‘chosen one adventure’ type of deal ala Harry Potter, Percy Jackson with the gimmick of video games.
  • It is supposed to be whimsical, slightly low-brow, and fantasy-like without gong overboard, relying on people’s knowledge on current subcultures.

Seeking HONEST Feedback on the following:

  • I’m trying to inject some life into the dialogue through accents like Irish manager and the Japanese kid without going overboard with either. I used different styles on both, let me know if they worked.
  • I dropped in a few attempts at imagined exclamation words – digity, boogers, not sure how well they work.
  • Does the descriptions of the two anime heroes work for you? It’s either too much since I rely on you drawing a picture based on something you already know. Is it too much or too little, can’t decide myself.
  • Should I even be using turtles? They can actually be anything, but I’m going for a mini-dragon reptile thing. Slow lumbering grunts, the lowest life form of all.
  • Manager Bob is a side thing, not core to the plot, but just trying to build some sort of world. Does it work? Or did you go eh? I’m of the opinion it injects some humor in, but let me know as well.

World War Z: Screw The Movie Edition

Wow, great trailer right! Now that I got your attention, kindly get this upcoming movie starring Brad Pitt out of your mind. I want to talk about the novel here. You know, pages, words and stuff.

Just another case on injustice done by Hollywood as per I Am Legend, which I have reviewed before here. My beef is this, two of the GREATEST vampire / zombie horror novels ever written by man, turned into star-driven dull-a-thons which totally destroys essence of the movie. I’m referring to I am Legend by the way, as for World War Z, we’ll know how the movies turn out this summer, though I’m pretty certain I’ll be on the right track.

The NOVEL, World War Z, is absolutely nothing like the trailer. The entire setting is wrong, the entire description of the zombies is wrong, the entire approach to the conclusion of the zombie outbreak is wrong. And that’s just from the trailer, what right do I have to prejudge the movie? Well, let’s just say anyone who has read the novel will know what I’m talking about.

Update: For those more interested in a debate between the book and screen versions of WWZ. Kindly refer to this article on Screenrant.com – World War Z Movie Debate: Too Different From The Book.

 

World War Z

World War Z: The Novel – in a nutshell

Firstly, think Wikipedia. Now think of a Wikipedia about Zombies. Great, Now think of a Wikipedia about a Zombie Invasion that forces humans to learn from their mistakes, adapt to their environment and very methodically, fight back.

What do you know, that already exists – The Zombie Wiki

Now this wiki isn’t exactly the wording in the book, but honestly, it comes pretty darn close in terms of presentation. The novel is essential a fake-mockumentary about how humans handled a zombie outbreak, minus the dramatisation, and minus the character point of views (except one particular storyline about a survivor from Japan).

Horror – Slowly, Surely, Methodically

World War Z is a horror novel. There is no doubt about that, but it’s not about senseless scares or shadows in the night. There are no suddenlys, plot twists or miraculous escapes here. It’s horror comes from the way the writer chooses to feed the information and plot to you – slowly, and bit by bit, letting you savour each zombie lumbering towards you and each human very slowly chewed up.

By the time you finish reading half the novel, you probably learnt more about zombies then all the rest of the Resident Evil movies put together, such is the difference in approach.

The Telling In This Story Works

They say telling a story doesn’t work. You have to express it, emote it instead of simply telling it. Not for Max Brooks. Taking the style of adventure guides and documentaries, he takes the present fiction as fact approach and puts his storytelling high up, away from the action and in a “this is how things went down” manner.

Some of the most incredible scenes in the book are retellings of epic battles that changed the course of mankind. These include the Battle Of Yonkers and the Battle Of Hope, basically the two big pillars in the book that swung the war in favour of whoever won them. He methodical describes the build up to the battle scene by scene, and then proceeds to dissect the action post-mortem, again scene by scene. You literally feel utterly hopeless and depressed by the end of the battle of Yonkers, and liberated and cheering by the end of Hope. And not once did he use emotive writing to create this whirlwind of feelings.

An Excerpt Of The Writing

ADS, that was my enemy: Asymptomatic Demise Syndrome, or, Apocalyptic Despair Syndrome, depending on who you were talking to. Whatever the label, it killed as many people in those early stalemate months as hunger, disease, interhuman violence, or the living dead. No one understood what was happening at first. We’d stabilized the Rockies, we’d sanitized the safe zones, and still we were losing upwards of a hundred or so people a day. It wasn’t suicide, we had plenty of those. No, this was different.

Stripping Storytelling To Its Essence

I don’t think this happened by chance. Max Brooks is able to accomplish this because of the risk he took in planning out the novel. He strips away almost EVERYTHING you ever cared for in a story – characters, emotions, choice, opinions – and presents just the story and nothing else.

P.S: He did leave some bits in, particularly in telling the story of individual survivors.

If you ever read a history book about World War 2, and remember how you felt as you went along with the rise and fall of the Allies, that would be basically what he managed to accomplish in a fictional novel.

For Writers

Even if you’re not a big fan of zombie or war novels. You really should give this book a chance, if only to learn his technical prowess in telling the story – the method to his madness. Not only is the story itself very popular, but the individual scenes themselves became major references and talking points. Don’t believe me? Google them.

For Everyone Else

Please, please, please, for the love of God and all humanity, don’t just wait for the movie and ignore the book. This is a fabulous piece of fiction that brings the “B” grade zombie genre up to the level of Mary Shelly and Bram Stoker in terms of monster fiction. Fifty years from now, when people talk about THE zombie author, it will be Max Brooks, while the movie will wither away with sub-50% tomato ratings.

If I can convince 1% of the people who will spend $10-$15 to buy the book instead of watching the movie. This book will probably shoot back up the bestseller’s list. Book! Book! Book!

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The Trouble With Pixels: Part 1

Pixel Art Princess

Bleep bleep bloop bloop!

Elroy Jenkins is alone. Surrounded by the ding of the arcade machines and screaming kids, he tugs at the buttons on his scratchy neon-yellow uniform as he wonders where the rest of the evening staff went. Some kid just spilled a soda over the Wheel of Fortune machine, and Elroy needs the cleanup crew stat.

Jabbing a finger on the intercom, he sends out the broadcast. “All staff, all staff, please report to ticketing.” He goes all deep and smooth into the microphone this time, trying to channel his inner deejay vibe. Still, the voice that comes out over the system cracks like a adolescent male on the verge of puberty.

“Hey mister, I need a refund, your air hockey machine’s broke.”

“No it’s not,” Elroy says to the fat kid in line, pushing up his glasses. “You and your sister were hogging it for the last thirty minutes.” Glancing back at the Wheel of Fortune machine, he could see the inviting smile of Vanna White on the side of the cabinet, while the taped over voice of Pat Sajak chirps “The category is thing.” At least the game is still running.

“Ma! He won’t gimme back my money!” the kid screams, turning his head.

Elroy looks up and sees a large overbearing woman folding her arms, glaring at him from across the hall. “Kidding!” Taking the fat kid’s game card, he swipes it on his terminal and restores his credits. “Here you go kid, have fun!” He smiles and waves.

Making a face as the kid waddles away, Elroy sticks his head out of his booth to scan the dimly-lit arcade. Under the glare from a thousand arcade games, he could see no one else wearing the Rocketbuster uniform. With a sigh, he turns back to the Wheel of Fortune machine, eyeing the sticky liquid seeping through its controls as he pulls at his shirt again. He could run over and wipe up the spill himself, but the last time he left the counter unmanned, someone made off with all the candy out front.

“Come on guys, where are you!” Elroy mutters. If that machine shorts out, he’ll have to call in the technician. That will be the third time this week already. Manager Bob isn’t going to be too happy with his new assistant if that happens.

Elroy looks on in horror as the screen flickers for a moment, and screws his eyes shut as the machine fizzles and dies. “Ahhh Boogers!”

“Excuse me?”

Elroy opens his eyes to a faint tapping sound. In front of him, a little girl dressed in a bright pink gown is stretching up to knock on his counter. “Hi, I’m lost. Can you help me find my daddy.”

Elroy bends over and smiles. “Sure sweetie, I can blast it out over the intercom for ya, what’s your name?”

“Princess,” the little girl says, in the shy innocent voice that only little girls can pull off.

“Princess?” Elroy says, raising an eyebrow. Ok I’ll bite. “Princess what?”

The little girl beams as she answers, “Just princess.”

Elroy looks expectantly at the little girl, waiting for her to break out into a fit of giggles. “Real funny kid, where did you buy that costume from?”

She gives him a puzzled look.

Elroy shrugs. “Alright kid, if that’s the way you want it.” He taps the intercom again and tries to do his best impression of a Disney park announcer. “Ladies and gentlemen, if anybody here is missing a brown-haired, big eyed Princess, aged about four or five, wearing a pink princessy costume, and a matching princessy crown. Please make your way to the ticketing counter to retrieve your princessy... I mean princess.”

Princess giggles, revealing little dimples on her cheeks. “You’re very funny, kind sir.”

“Thank you m’lady.” Elroy says with a smile. “Rocketbuster, always here to brighten your day.” He quotes the arcade tagline, twirling his hands in the air as he gives her a little curtsey.

The little girl gasps, opening her eyes wide. “Good sir, are you a knight?”

Elroy hesitates for a moment. “Why yes!” he exclaims, deciding to play along. “Champion of the five realms to be exact.” Reaching behind, he shuffles through the toy bin and pulls out a plastic sword. “And this is Dragonsblade, slayer of dragons and all things most foul.”

“That’s wonderful!” The little girl says, clapping in excitement. “You’re the person I’ve been looking for.”

What? “Alright kid,” Elroy says with a laugh, “Fun times ov…”

“Aaaahhh!” The little girl screams, pointing over Elroy’s shoulder.

“What?” Elroy swings around, holding his sword up against the shelves full of plushes which kids could exchange for with their tickets.

“Draco!” she screams, lifting the hem of her heavy skirt off the floor and running into the crowd.

“You mean the dragon one?” Elroy glances back just in time to see her disappearing behind the machines. “Hey kid, come back!” Fumbling with the waist high door separating his little booth from the outside world, he swings the barrier open and goes after her. “Princess!” He makes it as far as the Guitar hero machines before he stops, losing her trail in the darkened maze.

“Hey you there!”

“Uh-oh,” Elroy spots the large woman storming towards him, with a bawling chubby in tow. Not again. “Sorry ma’am,” Elroy says, raising his hands in front of his chest. “I can’t help you right now, I’m looking for a kid.”

“Shush!” the woman says, ignoring his protest. “You need to do something about those boys hanging around the shoot-a-hoop in their turtle costumes. They chewed through all the balls! My son was…”

“Excuse me? Yea, I’ll check it out. Come by the counter later and I’ll give you your refund.” Elroy runs off towards the shoot-a-hoops. A princess, turtles, what’s next?

“Princess, you here?” Elroy shouts as he makes his way to the back of the hall. He pokes his head into the dank little corner where all the older machines still in service are kept. From behind a musty black curtain, where the employee break room is, he hears a sound like grunting.

“Christ guys, have you been hiding in there? I’ve been calling for you all evening, what are you…” Elroy flings the curtains open, “What?”

In front of him, the girl named Princess is wielding a plastic chair, fending off two green turtles standing on their hind legs. “Champion, aid me!”

Elroy walks into the room, “Hey you two, cut that out before I call security!”

The turtles turn to look at Peter, regarding him with curious eyes.

Wow, that looks real. “Nice costume fellows, next time get mummy to buy you matching turkey ones.” Elroy scrunches his eyes as he tries to figure out where the eyeholes are. He could see none on the scaly necks and torsos.

“Sir RocketBuster, I implore you to save me from these horrible beasts! Slay them with your sword!”

“Now wait a second princess. No one is doing any killing today alright, just because…” The turtles snarl and charge.

END PART I

Bring Me To Part 2

Update: Removed all the swearing and tried to replace them with actions and what-nots. Lemme know. Added in some additional parts as well, for purposes which will be made known later on.

Author’s Notes:

  • If you’ve read my earlier stories, I’m using the basic story format and opener here. That’s one thing I’ll like to keep constant for now. Makes it easier for me to put ideas down.
  • I’m still trying to keep with a creature / fantasy theme like my previous horror stuff, but I’m trying not to put myself into that niche at the moment. Keeping my options open.
  • Why I prefer starting with action? I done some research and received some comments that it’s usually the case that you need to come back and edit your intro to suit the needs of your later story. A action start means I can throw in something before that. E.g. building a backstory for the main character, turning him from Zero to Hero if need be, or add in unique touches if I need to.

Seeking Feedback on the following:

  • I’m trying to find more fiction based on stuff like Tron or Wreck-it-ralph, if you know any, would appreciate it if you would direct me.
  • People swear in real life. However, I’m slightly uncomfortable with putting it in aside from a few “Christ!” “Oh for crying out loud!’ and “What on earth!” in there. If anyone can advice, how suitable is it for Young Adult to have a few “fucks, hells, Jesus Christ and damns” in there? I’m just trying to be appropriate here, and honestly, I think its a crutch.
  • Regarding the above question, would also like advice on how to AVOID using them all together, without sounding stunted i.e. an alternative to having your characters EXCLAIM something without using the term exclaim, or having your character just shout the name. i.e. In Harry Potter, it’s ridiculous how often characters go “Harry!” “Harry!” “Harry!”

Optimism

It’s pretty amazing how easy it is for me to bang out a story now. I have Part 2 ready to go after I do a few edits. But seeing my lack of posts lately, I’ll like to space it out a bit. Let me know if you like it, particularly the theme of it. I’m going to keep this one a bit whimsical and outlandish.

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