As a way to motivate myself, I chose to write a story in a Self Writing Challenge: 30 minutes to write a story (with occasional "throttle a toddler" moments).
Story Card ideas (drawn from a box of them my wife bought me):
monsters! (yes, exclamation mark)
person about to pawn an heirloom
Here you go:
Beckett's Pawn was a sprawling necropolis of toasters, engagement rings, numerous incarnations of movies and tv shows in different formats, as well as the nostalgic standbys of fendered guitars and other musical instruments.
Each toaster had it's own junky ghost, hanging around on jittery feet dancing and waiting for the next fix. Tools carried with it the hopes of hobbyists who had lost their jobs. Star crossed gold sat waiting for a new host, discarded by broken hearts and late rent dues. They also had Western Union, because, you know, some people needed to be paid without a paper trail.
Soren was not one of these penny pinched visitors. Being forced here, to Becketts, was an act of desperation not related to addiction or the electric bill being turned off. Although being alone in the dark was certainly a worry. If everything went right, she would get the final amount of money she needed to start a new life.
Beckett himself was at the counter. He was thin to the point of being an ectomorph, with a wizened face that sat perpetually on a turtleneck. No one was ever sure if they had ever seen his throat, and it was a topic of late night discussion as to what lay underneath. Almost as talked about was his shock of black hair that ran back from his forehead on an otherwise gray head of hair.
Beckett watched Soren approach the counter, slowly bringing his wire frame glasses down from his forehead onto his pointed nose: a vulture waiting with baited breath.
Soren placed a large cardboard box on the scratched glass counter. There was a long pause as Beckett regarded Soren. She was an unassuming figure: quiet, plain in her faded jeans and brown corduroy jacket. Her black hair was pulled away from her face in a severe bun, with thick strands that fell out and framed her face. The moments turned into actual minutes before Beckett scoffed and opened up the box. He reached inside and pulled out the heavy object on the counter.
“Well. This seems to be an artifact that could be placed here, if it wasn't actually valuable.” Reedy and condescending, he nodded his head up and down rapidly changing perspectives, looking through his glasses, then using his own squinting eyes. “Worth quiet a bit of money. You could get more for this on eBay than here.”
“I need the money without a paper trail.” She said, defiant. She realized her error right away, but recovered. “It's mine. I inherited it, but if I get rid of it outright the family will be pissed off. This way, there's always a chance that I can get it back. Online, all sales are final.”
Beckett arched an eyebrow, incredulous. The sound of internal clockwork mechanisms seemed to emanate from his skull, calculating time and space.
“This is quiet the family possession. You have an Ericsson Eiffeltower telephone from the eighteen-eighties. Rare. I would place the value somewhere at fifteen thousand dollars.”
“You can have it for ten. Money order. Here's my I.d.” She flung a set of cards across the counter. In less than a week it wouldn't matter whose names were on those cards, or even the face on it. This cash flow was going to pay for a plastic surgeon, and she already had a name chosen for herself. She was going to disappear, and never have to deal with anything related to the phone again.
Greed whet it's lips, but Beckett wiped its mouth and held it back. Just as he was about to ask further questions the shops phone rang. Both Beckett and Soren jumped at the sudden noise; Soren glaring at the Ericsson, Beckett staring at Soren. Without taking his eyes from her he reached below the counter and prattled off a very bored shop announcement.
“Wrong number.” He hung up the phone. “Were you expecting a call?”
“Do you want the phone or not?” She demanded, crossing her arms and looking away.
“We have a deal. Just give me a few moments to write up some receipts, and check to see if this is stolen.” He walked away from the counter and busied himself in the backroom.
Soren stared at the Ericsson. Her eyes traced the ornate cast iron legs, the twisting black wire. She scoffed at how texting on this monstrosity would be a horror story.
It rang. Soren knocked the receiver off the cradle. From it she could hear a voice, rich and menacing.
“You look so pretty, Soren. I see you. I always see you. I'll always remember your face.”
She hung up the phone just as Beckett returned. He reached across the counter and dropped a money order onto the counter. She snatched it up right away as she turned on her heal, making for the door.
“You forgot your drivers license. What's the hurry?” Beckett called after her.
“Monsters!” Soren called back as she hurled herself through the door and into the sunlight.
The Ericsson began to ring.
An Excerpt Bubble* from "The God of Nightmares"
The wedding was in a tasteless style, whatever that meant. To the people throwing it, it meant that it was an avant garde “fuck you” to traditional marriage. Really, it was just a cry for attention. That middle child cry of “pay attention, any attention to validate me” that so many people fell into.
I wasn't there as either a guest, or friend, or server or anything. I wasn't crashing. These people were on my turf. This was my space that they'd decided to have their vegan friendly, P.E.T.A. Approved civil union of non-gender specific roles of whatever politically charged dross you want to insert.
They could have been fascist anarchists and it would not change the fact that I would be here long after their petty little squabbles turned to dust.
They saw me as they wanted to see me. The same way a cat sees a rock. A cat will play with a ball of yarn because it has the potential for movement. The cat sees that movement and assumes life, and does what it can to kill that life for sport. To a cat, a rock is not part of its perception. To a human, I am nothing more than a rock.
I am not a rock, nor do I look like one in a limited way.
I heard this joke once. It was “God created us in His image”, and the punchline was that people thought this meant that God had two arms and eyes and all that. They didn't even understand how it was a joke. A shadow is created in the image of a person. It doesn't have organs. Yet these shadow people somehow thought that being created in an image was a duplication process. A Polaroid captures the light that leaves a persons face, it's an image. How they could ever mistake that for godhood is beyond even me.
I have to water down my meanings. I have to create connections that you can understand, but that you might not understand. Or even like. Might even hate the connections I make. If I call you a retard, it is not meant to be insulting, especially if its true. In that same regard I have an affection towards the stupid little mortals that populate this world. The same way a person with their genetic code mostly intact would look at a puppy with down-syndrome as “cute”.
Humans, even with all their killing and stupid acts, are “cute” to me. You are toddlers that fall down and curse the universe.
Its so adorable. Like that time you obliterated Nagasaki out pure childishness. You were all so serious about it. Your planet and culture could be completely snuffed out right this instant and you argue over so much. Less than a thousand years from now, if your descendants have made it that far, they won't care that you argued over GMO foods.
*Bubbles are a term I use when I pull a character out of their universe and have them speak about a topic. It may or may not be part of the novel.
In the past I've been against the legalization of marijuana, and to a large degree I still am. My reasons are that I really don't understand why anyone would want to make themselves stupid, as well as I'm against giving Somalian 12yo's guns.
That last part may be confusing so I'll explain.
Follow the money. See, people think that if we legalize marijuana that the money will stay in our economy. And yes, while some of that money will stay here, most of it will be spent overseas. Not by us or our government, but by arms dealers that use the soft drug industry to fund their gun purchases.
Normally groups like Hezbollah and Al Quaida use heroine, opium, or cocaine. These drugs arouse too much suspicion, and there has been shifts to the “harmless” drug of hashish and marijuana.
“But I buy locally, not that mexi-brick crap”.
And that's fine, Johnny. Because no one would ever think to set up a grow op on our soil, right? Of course not. And the local growers don't answer to anyone other than the government, being all nice and legal like. No person would ever sell out their country for money, either.
So, since Johnny Hempseed only buys from his local provider, who only grows here in B.C., who only funnels money back into the economy and not to pay his investors.
Sure. See, the hippies may hate capitalism, but drug dealers don't. Setting up a grow op isn't cheap, and going out to get a bank loan can be a little tricky. How odd would it be to get a loan for all the equipment used for hydroponics and soil and such, without drawing attention?
Sadly, legalizing marijuana would not lessen these investors getting their money. It would actually increase their profits since they would no longer have to fear their soldiers... er I mean distributors getting arrested.
So I propose fully legalizing it.
“Wait, what?” hypothetical reader may ask.
Yes. Make it fully free. And by that I mean that you can go out, grab a pound and smoke up in your back yard or down the street all you want. Hand a puff off to your friends.
Do not allow it to be bought or sold. Do not tax it. Create laws that state that if anyone tries to gain financially from the trade of marijuana they get an automatic sentence of one year for the first offense, and greater jail time after that.
I mean that if you grow a plant or an entire crop in your back yard, no worries, no legal ramifications. If your neighbor offers to mow your lawn for a joint, jail time for both of you.
Walk down the street making it rain with joints if you want. If someone hands you ten bucks for your effort; jail.
“But I need to make my money back on rolling paper and electricity!”
Tough luck, Johnny. Charge even a nickel for rolling a joint = jail time.
Treat it like the absurd idea of taxing the air you breath. Make it horrific to even think of trying to make money off of something free.
Who would bother selling pot when you could grow your own for free, and smoke it in broad daylight without repercussion?
This would satisfy the hippies ideas of altruism and anti-capitalism, it would cut funds off to the cartels and terrorist cells, etc.
The downside is that I would have to start dealing with potheads more. Weak willed people who are slaves to their appetites like smokers, alcoholics, and the like.
Unfortunately you can never trust a person who is a slave to their appetites, for they will consume themselves and you.
For more information, consult your local library and think for yourself!
Why "Failed Daily"?
Because I fail to update daily.