Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spookymilk Survivor VIII: I Said “Lunch”, Not “Launch”

The challenge this week was to create a short story where a character hears something wrong, and it creates lasting consequences. No other intro is really necessary.

Joanne is a girl unlike any I’ve met. She’s smart and clever, with a taste in music that almost perfectly matches mine. There’s just one problem.
Whereas a normal (one might say ‘sane’) couple might have a couple subtle coded hints to get messages to their other in a crowded room, Jo has over a hundred – all context sensitive. When she first told me, I thought she was kidding. She wasn’t . She just likes getting needlessly specific about things. Instead saying something like “oh, it’s getting late” if she’s ready to leave the party, she’ll say something like “so, tell me, what do you think about the ramifications of last year’s trade treaty?”. That doesn’t just mean “it’s time to go” it means “it’s time to go, but I need to go to the store on the way home.” Needless to say, no boyfriend has ever managed to keep it all straight.

The incident took place at a party a couple of months after we started dating. She had informed me that there were a couple of people there that she hated, and that she wouldn’t want to stay very late. She gave me a cheat sheet for conversational words I’d want to pick up on when she was ready to leave, and we left.

After about an hour, Jo was talking to some guy named Randy, while I exchanged boring pleasantries with some guy who would not shut up about the space program. As he went on about trajectories and polymers, I found my mind wandering back to the day Jo and I first met. It began to dawn on me that she had been talking about a locust plague in south Australia, which I found odd at the time. Taking out my cheat sheet, I flipped to the “insect-related oddities” section. to my horror, I found that that was the code for “the guy I’m talking to seems nice enough, but he bores me to tears, let’s make out in the park.” So that’s why her boyfriend suddenly got an allergic reaction to the clam dip he’d been cramming down his gullet for the past three hours.

I was pissed, but she deserved a chance to explain herself. I began to contemplate how I was going to breach the subject when I realized she was staring right at me, looking annoyed, talking about the French revolution. Shit! What did that mean? I checked my pocket for the cheat sheet, but couldn’t find it. How had I lost it that quickly. I panicked for a couple moments before remembering her saying that there was no subject that interested her less than the French revolution, she would only use that in an extreme situation. Springing into action, I tackled Randy and sucker-punched him. Then, tossing Jo over my shoulder, I sprinted out of the door as a party full of shocked people stared dumbly at me.

“Put me down, you psychopath!” screamed Jo.
“I got it right, didn’t I? French revolution and all? Was Randy an ex or something?”
“I was talking about the french art revolution, not the insipid one with the peasants and the guillotines!”
“Wasn’t that one supposed to be for if you had a cold and needed some cough syrup?”
“Only if the person I was talking to was female… why can’t anyone ever learn that part?”
“I assume we’re breaking up?”
“Hell no, you’re the only one that’s ever tried to figure out my system. For future reference, though, next time I call you. Over to introduce you to my brother, it would probably be best if you didn’t try to kill him.”

K: A fun concept, although just about anyone would misunderstand this crazy wench, so that sort of took away from this one. I would have liked more dialogue and less explanation here (well, you’d have to work the explanation INTO the dialogue) because these characters are tons of fun and I wanted to spend more time with them.

B: This is just over the top silly, making every single spoken word a misunderstanding. The wackiness is amusing, but I still feel it bites off more than it can chew. Even in this world the author created, I still don’t find the conclusion believable.

Ah, Beau, that’s because it’s not believable. The concept for this one was fun (though, again, not my first choice – more on that in a second), but a bit ridiculous. I actually chuckled more at the concept than any particular bit that I ended up coming up with. That coupled with the fact that the entire thing ended up being written on my phone when I realized that I wasn’t going to get to a computer in time to hammer it out in style, and I guess I should be happy that it wasn’t savaged. Oh well. I’m on a cold streak, time to step it up, I guess.

I had originally planned on doing a story of a sentient robot assassin who kills the wrong woman and self-lobotomizes because of the guilt. I really liked how the story flowed except for one problem; it was exceedingly difficult to wedge the misunderstanding portion in without being either nonsensical (how does a robot get it wrong? If an order was vague, he’d ask for confirmation) or WAY over-wordy (I had one explanation for the mix-up that ended up being three paragraphs of exposition. It was awful.) In the end, I went with something a little more light-hearted. I was 98% sure it wouldn’t win immunity, but what can you do?

Tanya was a nonsub, so it didn’t matter, anyway. The days of DSK have been tragically cut short.

1 comment:

  1. You wrote that one via phone?! Sheesh, you deserve some degree of difficulty points.