Thursday, March 31, 2011

Week 12 Wrap-Up

A few months ago, a Laserdisc player mysteriously found its way into my home.

That's right.  I said Laserdisc.  I will pause for your exclamations of shock and wonderment.

(Exclaim Here)

For those of you who didn't have a ton of money to waste on soon-to-be-obsolete technology in the early 90s, a Laserdisc is something like a DVD.  Only it is about the size of a vinyl record and data is recorded on both sides.  In the middle of your movie, the Laserdisc literally flips over, making a really cool noise that sounds something like a Transformer transforming.  (I keep waiting for the Laserdisc player to change into a sports car or a robot, but it never does and my eager anticipation of such has become a bit of a running joke.)

And that's about all I can tell you.


I'm actually going to make my point now.

Along with the mysterious arrival of said Laserdisc player, came a large collection of classic movies and operas.  In this collection was one of the most well-known Westerns of all time:  High Noon.

In its day, High Noon was a very controversial movie.  Even before it was released, writer and producer, Carl Foreman, was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee and was deemed an uncooperative witness because he refused to name his colleagues as Communist sympathizers.  As a result, Foreman was subsequently blacklisted from Hollywood along with many other members of High Noon's cast and crew.  Even in 2011, fifty-nine years after its release, this movie gave me the chills.  To me, it's a fairly obvious allegorical protest against the wrongs of the McCarthy era.  But I also saw something else in it: an alternative version of an infamous Judeo-Christian story about a time when God was so disgusted with certain humans that he wanted to destroy them.  The biblical story and the movie both depict the power that a few brave people can have over the fate of an entire town.

That's basically the story of where Prompt 12 came from.

A lot has happened recently.  Frankly, it's all pretty scary.  But it makes me hope that there are still people who are still committed to being fair and diplomatic even when it's unpopular to do so, that we are judged by our best examples rather than our worst and that, most of all, we are not so irredeemable that the universe is better off without our tiny blue planet.

The Responses:
  • Madeline explored the vengeance of a woman scorned.
  • Michael resolved the Zombie Caitlin Penguin tale . . . sort of.  (I think she still has to take him out for ice cream and apologize.)
  • Brooke wrote about a very different type of hostage situation in our Saturday Feature.
  • Jes's story described a sort of personal apocalypse.  It was also my pick for our Sunday Feature.
  • Michelle Wallace wrote an allegory about a starving artist, a reporter and a madman.
  • Trisha gave us our Friday Feature which raised some serious questions about Justin Bieber.
  • As for me, I let a new creeper into Bernbriar.

See you all tomorrow!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Yeow, number 13. Unlucky. But last week was the apocalypse; can't get much unluckier than that. So something more lighthearted (and vague) this week:

Fall into the ocean. Revel in it.

Feel free to take metaphorical license, hehe. Or not.

Jennifer's Story Pick, Week 12

The apocalypse.  I think the idea conjures up some feeling in everyone.  It might be funny to you or scary, some sort of existentialist crisis or an extreme humanitarian tragedy.


There was one place I didn't expect anyone to go.  And this week, Jes went there.

So Close
The last time I saw her I was sixteen; she was twenty-six.  I was a weird kid I think.  Spent more time studying philosophy with my one friend in the whole world than jacking off in dimly lit bathrooms. She was a brainy type I guess.  The type of woman I now realize no man can get.  Back then, her hair was very long and very dark, and she dressed like every day was spring.  She’d looked at me — it was early summer — and the things that flashed across her face in the green light of that one hurried moment as we all ran down the street, well, they were things I didn’t yet know how to name.  Her face in my memory, always beautiful and bright and keen, was full of everything terrible. Anger, disgust, fear, frustration … things I’d never seen her face hold. Not once in all my studies with her had anything we discussed made her have that look. 
“Why aren’t you helping, damnit?”  Her arms had been full of books. Other people in the street carried more practical things as they ran for the shelter; blankets, food, backpacks crammed full of spare socks and shoes.
“I’m sorry,” I had screamed over the wind.  It was all I could think of to say.  I’d ran along behind her as she tore through one house after another, trying to save their books, their photographs and art. I’d only looked for canned goods and sharp knives.  She’d been mad about that.  

The tornado, I remember, finally got so loud, so close, I could hardly hear what she was demanding I grab.  My ears had felt like they should be bleeding. When I could barely hear her screams,  I’d torn at her summer dress with my free hand — it was a cherry color, like her lips — and dragged her out of there, into the shallow ditch behind some stranger’s house at the edge of town. She’d flung herself on those remnants of people’s lives, desperate to save what she’d been trying to teach me.  And then I flung myself on her.
When the tornado had passed and we were still alive, she’d shoved me off. In the silence after the tornado, I remember seeing the ditch mud on her jaws and scratches on her cheeks, clods of dirt in her pretty hair. I think I’d reached to brush some of it out when she slapped my hand away, staring hard at my face the way she did when we began a new and difficult book. Then she’d stood, and gathered the things she’d saved, climbed the ditch, and walked away from me.

But that was a long time ago.

Every day I stop at the Maple Street Coffee Shop on my way to work. The proprietor's Magda, a dumpy and kind older woman who gives me free slices of pie every now and then.  It is fall; the dust from ground up leaves stir as I walk out the open side door of the coffee shop. I take a seat on one of the small patio tables and open the newspaper. I have about ten minutes for a quiet read and coffee before I'm off to serve martinis and scotch all afternoon and night.
“Coffee, black please.”
That’s all she said, but I knew just from those three words who she was.  I pressed my back flat to the iron of the chair and slowly looked over my left shoulder, trying to keep my head out of profile.  She stood at the register, unchanged, except if before she’d looked like spring, now she looked like summer. Her hair was still dark and maybe long, but it was up, showing the slender line of her neck which disappeared in a gold sun dress.  Over her shoulder a messenger bag was slung, no doubt filled with books.  She paid and turned towards the side door, carefully guiding her bag and skirt through the tables as she came closer. I turned slowly back to my paper before she lifted her face.
The headline on the newspaper, I finally saw, was something about either Libya or Japan. I read the article without really knowing what thoughts the words on the page matched. She took a seat across the patio facing me, her back to the shrubs. In the full sun her head gleamed darker than the wrought iron patio furniture. Bending, she began pulling things from her bag, sitting them on her table.  Without looking up once, she became immersed.
I watched her for maybe five minutes before she drew up her eyes, right at me. There were gentle lines around them from smiling and squinting in the sun as she read. Her lips — the cherry lips — parted slightly, and her eyes took on a darker expression. She did not smile. She did not not smile.
I stood quickly, rolling up my paper. It was about time to leave anyway.
I pushed in my chair.
“Wait, please.”
The silence that followed was as odd as the one following the tornado, all those years ago. There was the wind, and the sounds of city traffic, and mowers, but on the patio there was only silence.
“Will you join me?”
I walked towards her. She moved the books back from the edge of the table so that when I sat down, they were the only thing between us.
“Hello.”  It was all I could think of to say.
I picked up my coffee and sipped.
“Please,” she began, “tell me how you’ve been. What are you doing now? What do you study? What are you working on? It … it has been a long time,” she added.
I tried to take my time sitting down my coffee so that I could think out what to say, but it didn’t really work.  Everything between us was so loaded now, so full of confusion and subtext.
“I’ve been … alive,” I said. It sounded harsh even to my ears. “I’ve been fine. I’m, uhm, I’m on my way to work, pretty soon.  I, uh,” and knew I looked angry, as if any of my life was her fault, but it wasn’t, “I tend bar at a hotel downtown.”
The pause showed blank on her face.
“But you — I mean, what are your studies abou—”
“It has been a long time.”
“Oh,” she said, looking down at her papers and books. “Yes it has been. Yes,” she said again, “it has been a very long time, hasn’t it?”
“And you?”
“Me? Why…” she looked up again, at me. So beautiful, and bright. So smart. “I’ve, well, been working on a new dialectic.” Her voice began to sound stronger, determined, and she leaned, just a bit, closer to me. “And it’s odd, but it seems to be tying into cosmology now. I’m in town to give a lecture on it down at Pear Hall. I just … I’m just so close,” she said, stretching one arm across to a sheaf of papers near my own hand, grabbing the top page, then letting it slip out of her hand and onto the table again, “so close it’s maddening.  I’ve just got to go back and re-examine everything. My theses…” she said, and now lifting her hand slightly off the table, pointing to something imaginary, her eyes turned wholly from me now, “and then from there…”
I watched her stop speaking. Her hand dropped. She turned herself back to earth, back to me.
“Odd, isn’t it? That I’m studying cosmology now, when so many fear the world is about to end? 2012 and so forth. As if whatever divine being is up there hasn’t already tried to end the world a thousand times over.”
“We must read the same paper.”
She laughed. It was the sound a bright sun should make.  I wanted to bask in it. But no.  
“So then if you’re tying in cosmology, do you believe in god?”
“I believe in us ... in humanity”  she said. “We are all capable of incredible things.”
I clenched my jaw. Looked at my watch.
“Well, it’s time I get going.”
“Yes, of course. Of course. Well," she said, standing at the same time as I did, “it was good to see you again.” And she extended her arm and hand, wrist pointed to the heavens, as if she knew I wanted to kiss any part of her, even the back of her hand.  I didn’t.  Instead I stared hard into her face and thought about what I really wanted to do, and let her see me think it.  But I did not take her hand. I did not take any of her. Because she wasn't the kind of woman for taking.

I park about two blocks from where I work, and on nights like this the walk back to the car from the bar is nice. I’d made shit for money this evening and the soured musk of hops and liquor rises from my clothes.  But the night itself is faultless. There's a good wind cold with the possibility of an early snow. I walk towards the car lot on Eleventh. Over head there are even a few stars visible — unusual for the downtown of any city.  Almost makes me want to whistle.
Then, a scream from an alley to the right.  I know that scream. But … and the next thing I know I'm running.

More screaming, and some low laughter.  More than one voice. More than a few.

When I got to the alley I saw them, the six of them. I slowed to a nonchalant walk. She lay on the ground behind them, a heap in the shadows. God only knew what she was doing out by herself at night; probably hadn’t even noticed the time.  One of them straightened and turned towards me. The gun was cocked in my face before I even saw him move.

“Come on,” I heard myself say, “aren’t you even gonna let me have a go before you get rid of her?”

They all laughed. Laughed like I was funny. I am not funny. The one with the gun in my face, who was very sturdy looking and probably somebody’s muscle, glared at me down the barrel, appraising me with jumpy eyes. I saw they were all armed. She was not moving; I needed to get close enough to see she was okay. The man kept pulling his lips back from his teeth, coked out of his mind … which meant they all probably were.

“Look,” I said, trying to make myself sound sleazy and unconcerned, “we can all take turns. We oughta at least get that much out of her before you finish.”
“Yeah.” The gun clicked back from my face.  Arms reached for my shoulders and flung me towards her. “Yeah, yeah — good idea. You have the first go at her and then keep watch.”
“Fuck yeah,” I said. I stooped; she was beaten but alive. Helped her stand. For a moment our faces were inches from each other. Her eyes, so close to mine, were swelling closed with dark bruises, yet still bright and beautiful.
“They’ll never let me live,” she breathed as I pretended to throw her against the bricks of the building near us. “But you, they might. If you…”
I pressed against her so that her chest was against the bricks, the scratch of them cool against my palms as I leaned behind her. She let her head rest in the hollow of my throat, her dark hair warm below my chin. Behind us, the men laughed and gun shots clapped through the alley, up to the stars.
“Get on with it,” one of them — not the leader — yelled. Then some more shots into the sky.
I used the hand towards them to unbuckle my pants and draw up the hem of her dress, keeping pressed close to her. My other hand I placed gently on her shoulder. She almost nuzzled it, and shifted even closer to me.  So close.
She knew what that meant to me. I knew what it meant to her. We both believed in us and what humanity could do. She was right, they’d never let her live. They probably wouldn’t let me live either, but I could at least save her from the worst of it.
I tilted so that I could loop my arm from her shoulder to close my hand around her neck, then moved my other hand up to the other side of her neck, pushing the dark hair out of the way as I did.  The men yelled, delighted with what they thought was happening.

She nodded, turned her face up to me just barely, and smiled with those beautiful lips shaped and colored like cherries.  Smiled at me like she had so often and so long ago, when we'd discussed the nature of man and of thought. She smiled even when her hands flailed under our bodies, so close to one another, beating softly against the bricks, her body pulsing slightly as she tried not to fight me. So ... close. And finally, she went.
We are all capable of incredible things.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Winter's Story Pick, Week 12

I expected some awesome perspective for this prompt, and Brooke definitely served it up. The ending gave me shivers!


Two angels sat on a cloud, their legs dangling over, crossed at the ankles. They didn’t talk or even look at each other. In fact, neither one knew the other was there. They were both too engrossed in their newspapers.

And it just so happened that they were reading the same one. Today’s article was on 2012, supposedly the end of the world. Of course, all the angels knew that was ridiculous; that wasn’t scheduled until 2102. Humans were, once again, looking too far into things. In a compassionate, humorous way, the writer agreed.

As the first angel read, he said to himself, This man has truly been gifted. And when he reached the end and saw the advertisement, This must surely be God’s will.

As the second angel read, he said to himself, This man must have been great on Earth. And when he saw the advertisement, It would be unrighteous not to go.

They both flew away, one one way, the other another, still without noting each other’s existence.

But their meeting was meant to be. Later that very day, they bumped into each other just outside the pearly gates. They then took notice of each other for not often did anyone venture beyond.

“Why are you here?” The first angel asked curiously.

“Why are you here?” The second wondered aloud.

“I’m headed to a lecture down on Earth.”

“Me too. Who are you going to see?”

“Reil Nodham, the newspaper writer.”

“Again, me too.”

“Then it must be God’s will that we should go together.”

So they went, falling through cloud fluff and chatting all the way. The topics of wing care, harp playing, and nonviolent video games were discussed vigorously until finally the second angel said, “I don’t know how I feel about the location. Coming down here for entertainment feels unrighteous somehow.”

“I get what you mean. I feel like I’ve lost something, being here with no assignment, no purpose. Nodham must have a good reason. Maybe it has something to do with the mood he wants to portray. Artists are like that,” the first angel mused.


They came in sight of a city, its tall buildings sprawling up into the sky and its streets congested. The skyline was not unfamiliar to them. God often sent them to that particular piece of countryside. The place definitely needed their help. It was riddled through with poverty, disease, cruelty.

The angels flew close to the dark and light-colored heads below, eyes peeled for the address. The numbers and street signs whizzed by, but their divine sight caught every character. The four numbers 6336 jumped out and they stopped, hovering inches over the hard concrete.

The theatres’ front doors were spread wide, the inside dark. As the angels approached, the first, out of habit, knelt and kissed the head of the homeless man sleeping on the side walk. He started to snore.

The soft shine from their halos lit the hallway as they floated forward. Another set of doors stood open at the opposite end. Inside, their lights joined hundreds, maybe thousands, of others. Every possible place held an angel. All the white was blinding.

The pair scooted along the edges of the room, ‘excuse me’s and ‘sorry’s following close behind them. They finally found two seats whose cushions weren’t completely degraded by rats. Just as they got their heavenly suspended tushes situated, a voice boomed through the overhead speakers, “Ladies and gentleman, please dim your glows.”

Halos winked off like burned out stars. All eyes were on the heavy curtains stationed across the stage. They parted ranks and a collective gasp swept through the room.

Reil Nodham stood there, but he was definitely not an angel, nor was he a man. He had four arms, one set right on top of the other, and each hand possessed six dirt-encrusted nails of extraordinary length and sharpness. Only sparse clothing covered his body, allowing an open view of his scaly, cracked skin and thick, double-kneed legs. His face formed to a snout, teeth poking around and through his lips.

His most prominent feature however, was his horns. They curled long, in two directions, forming what appeared to be some twisted hairdo gone wrong. The color of oil, they devoured all the light around them.

He looked like a demon straight from hell. Which he was.

His smile was terrifying, his skin split and bleeding black. “Ah, it gives me such pleasure to see all your shining faces.”

The rush for the door was instant; everyone moving like salmon upstream. But they were locked in. Miniature, not-quite-as-terrifying versions of the demon on stage stood in the way, guarding the exit. And the angels could not overpower them for they could not touch their impurity.

As one, they fell to their knees and prayed, their voices loud in the enclosed area.

Plead the first angel, “This cannot be your will, oh God. Banish these demons from whence they came.”

Plead the second angel, “Oh Lord, save us from these unrighteous creatures that would seek to destroy us.”

Nothing happened. Minutes dragged by. The angelic words became laced with desperation. Jeering and taunting erupted from the demons, adding to the din.

Reil smiled and turned to a nearby devil, “Do you think he’ll give up the world now?”

Friday, March 25, 2011

God et. al. vs. S....usan

Hoookay, it's that time again and I've got about 1,200 words for you here. Me hopes that nobody is offended as I am not setting out to offend.

The irony with this story is that I really did intend to make Susan good. But she just took on a life of her own!

Disclaimer: this perhaps borders on blasphemy if you're a very devout religious person, so yeah, if you're not into making light of such things, or seeing others do it, I advise you not to read on!

Maim and Destroy…for your sanity


God cut off with a sigh, throwing his hands in the air.

"What is it?" Susan asked from her spot in a folding chair nearby.

God looked at her, trying to find the words. Finally he growled and tossed her a high-tech looking object with antennas sticking out of it every which way. "Check this out, man!"

God handed her the Earthenvision transmitter and watched with raised eyebrows for her to check out the scene unfolding on it.

"I mean, seriously!"

Susan frowned at the little screen, and slowly her eyes widened. "Wow. These humans are really messed up, eh?"

God held up his hands again, exasperated beyond measure. "Seriously. What can I say?"

"Sometimes, God, I think you're too nice. You let 'em just walk all over you. Ever heard of not being a doormat?"

God's brows knit together as he regarded this latest addition to Heaven. "Look, Suze, I'm just trying to do good and shit. You know? Everyone thinks I'm meant to be all nice, and I'd really like to live up to that."

"Yeah, but you're also meant to be a vengeful bastard," Susan reasoned. "You know, 'wrath of God' and all that. I mean, you gotta give a little to get a little. Know what I'm sayin'?"

God frowned. "Um, not really."

"Well, what I'm sayin' is that you gotta give a bit of destruction to get a little peace. That's how I see it, anyway."

"That's not very Zen of you."

"Yeah, I know. But I'm Susan, not some Buddha or whatever. I don't have to be Zen."

"Oy!" Buddha yelled from over on the next grassy knoll where he was sunning himself. "Did I hear my name?"

"Calm down, Buddhs," called God. "Susan's just philosophising over here."

"All right!" Buddha exclaimed, getting peacefully to his feet and strolling calmly on down the hill. "Why didn't somebody say so? This is totally my gig right here. So, what'll it be? Metaphysics? Bit of ethics? God, the list really goes on. Err, no offense God."

"None taken, my man." God held up his hands to indicate total and utter peace.

But "Buddha," Susan said, wanting to get the focus back on non-peaceful topics, "check this out." She handed Buddha the Earthenvision transmitter. "It's the result of God's latest prayer granting session."

"I mean, seriously!" God huffed, exasperated all over again.

Buddha turned the transmitter around and around. "I don't get it. What's all that smoke and shit?"

"It's a fuckin' building they just exploded! What's worse, it's a a fuckin' church, man! House of God, right? And they killed it! It's their own damn church."

"Woah, that's pretty crazy," Buddha murmured to God, shaking his head. "I can't say I know how you're feelin' right now, man. My followers tend to be way more chilled than this."

"Yeah," God said, "about that—what's your secret, man? Got any pointers?"

Buddha shrugged. "Honestly, man, it's just a way of life. But I gotta say, this really helps." He pointed to the grass beneath his feet and started giggling.

"It does?" God frowned down at the grass, perplexed.

"Naw," said a new voice, and everyone turned to check out Justin Bieber who'd just rocked up.

"What the hell are you doin' here, man?" God exclaimed. "You were meant to live till at least forty."

"Yeah," Justin said, "I'm still alive—I'm just orbing. And I'm here to deliver a message."

"You're…orbing?" Susan muttered.

"Yeah," Justin said, then looked back to God, the guy he'd come to see.

"A message from…?" God asked tentatively.

"Can't remember the dude's name. But basically, the message is this: maim and destroy, for your own sanity." Justin shrugged, and his backwards baseball cap fell off his head, letting his floppy hair loose—it fell over one of his eyes. He ignored it, crossing his over his chest. God saw with interest that his index and middle finger of each hand was sticking out.

"Hey!" Buddha exclaimed, "that's my sign. Right on, brotha peaceman!"

And he and Justin exchanged a high five.

"What, so…maim and destroy?" God was frowning, scratching his goatee—that big bushy beard had got to be a real pain, and when he'd confessed as much to Susan after her arrival she'd offered her hairdressing services. He felt free as a bird since the transition. But he hadn't let her cut off his long ringlets…not yet. They were too much a part of him.

"Yeah, man," Justin said, nodding his head. "Maim and dee-stroy! Anyway, kids, I'm outta here." Justin raised his hand and performed a weird kind of epileptic action that God was pretty sure was meant to be a dance move. Justin scooped up his cap and stuck it back on his head. "Take care of yourselves, friends!" And then he was sauntering away, muttering, "Baby, baby, oh," to himself.

A moment later, he vanished.

"Dude!" everyone chorused, Susan included.

Then God turned to the others and said, "So, what do you think? Maim and destroy? Or maybe just maim…"

"Maybe just destroy," Susan said thoughtfully. "Like, it's okay for us 'cause we're up here."

"Yeah, so I could maim and destroy that hell hole and there'd be no more stupidity down there. No more destruction!"

Buddha looked confused. "But wait a sec…if you maim and destroy the entire world down there, won't that constitute…well, destruction? The very thing you're trying to avoid a future of?"

God nodded. "Hey, yeah. You're right."

"Also," Susan said slowly, "it'd result in some serious overpopulation up here. And down below too."

"Yeah, good point," God muttered.

"Well, we could always kick some people out of Heaven," Buddha suggested. "Like, we could go back through the records and purge anyone who only just scraped in originally."

"Yeah, but…that's a lotta paperwork." God shook his head. "Nah, not into it hey. It's too much work."

"Okay. So you're going to ignore Justin Bieber's advice?" Susan asked.

"Yeah." God nodded. "I think I am."

"Well, okay. Cool," Susan said.

Buddha shrugged. "All right. Well, on that note, I'ma go back up to my knoll. Catch you later God and Susan!"

"Catch you later Buddhs!" God replied, and Susan raised her hand in farewell.

"Well," Susan said, "now that you're not going to maim and destroy the world—what do you wanna do?"

"I was thinking we could play cards. What games do you know?"

"Ohhhh, what games do I know!" Susan cackled. "I know a shitload of games, God. Just you wait."

As God and Susan walked off towards the Games Hall, she breathed a sigh of relief he'd opted to ignore Justin Bieber's advice and had vetoed Buddha's idea about kicking some people out of heaven. If they'd looked back over the paperwork, they might've learned the truth about her and her "free pass" into Heaven, and she'd be gone, gone, GONE, right to the fiiiieeery pits of heeeyyyll.

Maim and destroy, she mused. That is a lovely idea…but not yet. I have to bide my time.

She smiled an evil smile at God's back as she followed him into the Games Hall, daydreaming of a day not far off.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Week 11 wrap-up

It's that time again - time to go back in time, baby! Week 11's prompt was:

If I keep your secret, what's in it for me?

And this is what we got for our trouble:

  • Our Friday feature saw Winter writing about a very sick girl and her unlikely friendship with the one person who stoutly refused to hate her.
  • Saturday's pick, written by Michael, involved yet another evil Susan - will we ever give the Susans of the world a break?! Ahem...stay tuned for tomorrow's Friday feature story to find out. hehe
  • The Sunday pick this week was from our newest participant, Michelle, who wrote about a player-fool whose arrogance got him in deep water - I want to know what happened!
  • Another of our newer participants, JesiMarie, brought us more of the Bert chronicles, and this week introduced us to some fabulous new supporting characters
  • Madeline kept us guessing till the end with her story about a mentally unstable person who's confused about their own reality
  • Jes sent us an amazing short story about a team that's spent weeks in underground caves, diving into ocean caverns. I really felt like I learned something new from this one :)
  • Brooke wrote about the ultra creepy "Yoda with correct grammar" as Madeline put it, and the subterranean secrets he's been keeping - but hey, that young dude was greedy!
  • Jenn returned to the echoing halls of Anais's mansion, and showed us Sophie meeting the mysterious Wyrvern for the first time
  • And I wrote about the last thoughts of a killer's victim - yay?!

I had a great time reading this week, so thanks everyone! :)

My Friday feature story is up tomorrow, so check it out then. Heh.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Oooooh.  Here we stand at an even dozen.  A dozen short stories is like a small anthology.  Is anyone compiling an anthology?

Here's this week's prompt. 

Write a short story of 1000-10,000 words, based on the following:

Do you know how many times God has wanted to destroy the world?*  I think we must read the same newspaper.**

*Apocalyptic theme courtesy of OMG-the-Mayan-Calendar-is-Ending-Bad-Bad-Things-are-Happening-Freakout-2012.  12 stories.  2012.  Does it work or am I trying too hard?

* *It might be fair to speculate that we may be fans of the same sports teams too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Trisha's story pick, Week 11

We have a new participant!! Yay! :) Welcome to the Chrysalis Experiment, Michelle. I chose her story this week because it amused me. I agree with Jenn though, there were a lot of great stories to choose from. I look forward to doing my weekly wrap-up so I can talk about all of them! But I guess this one was funny 'cause it's about a playa-playa and these kinds of guys just amuse me. However, I really want to know what happened in the end. It feels unfinished. :P i.e. did she add HIS fingers to her jars? lol

Without further ado...


Lee Lombard looked forward to another exciting weekend. It would be the usual routine of sun, surf, throw in a girl and a beer, and you had a winner!

The thought of his earlier conversation with his mother, was the only dampening factor in the whole equation.

“So what are your intentions?” she had enquired.

“What do you mean, my intentions?” he knew exactly what she meant. Being deliberately obtuse was second nature to him. Especially when it came to his mother’s ‘lectures’ (as he referred to the ever-increasing advice she felt compelled to impart on a daily basis ).

“Well, I’ve noticed a rather disturbing pattern that has evolved. A predictable path that your life seems to have taken.” She stood in that characteristic ‘lecture’ pose, hands on hip, no-nonsense tone of voice.

The scary thing was ~ she had a valid point!

“I’m ONLY 25 years old. There’s plenty of time for me to do the ‘ultra~responsible~thingiemajiggie’ that you are always on about!” his quotation-mark fingers remained in mid-air.

His mother served this particular “meal of responsibility”, three times a day, for breakfast, lunch and supper ; nag! nag! nag! Settle down, work hard, focus on your career!

“All in good time, mum! All in good time!”

And she had given him that look …the one that said, this isn’t over yet … one of these days, my boy …. He knew it sooo well!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jennifer's Story Pick, Week 11

Oh boy.  Choosing one story was really hard this week.  I liked everything that I read.  Even better, all of them seemed to have the potential to feed into a series or a larger work.  As someone who tends to get attached to characters, ending with the words 'to be continued' is like promising me chocolate.

I'm going to post Michael's Secret Identity.  That's the name of his story, not that I actually know his secret identity.  I'm not sure that he even has a secret identity.  Somehow, I don't think that's something he'd be willing to share with the group.

Anyway.  Tell me if you can totally see the part of Susan being played by Allison Hannigan.

It was all physics to him. Wonderful, beautiful, so-cool-you-just-can’t-stand it-physics. He watched the thug’s wrench as it ticked upward in a sweep that was intended by said thug to smack into his head and render him unconscious. He could calculate the exact position of the wrench and its projected arc, and thus he knew precisely where his head should not be. More importantly, he knew exactly when and where to dodge underneath the thug’s arm and deliver a precisely controlled bunch to a certain spot on the goon’s jaw. The goon, already resting well and dreaming of goon women, began to crumple to the ground. The man who had so elegantly disabled him was already moving away to deal with the goon’s friend, whose hand was moving in a draw that wasn’t quite lightning-fast. A red-and-silver metal claw-like shape sang through the air, striking the weapon from the unlucky gunman’s hand. Then a boot heel slammed into his head in an equally precise location. He hit the ground only a second or so after his partner.

Some vigilantes liked to tie up their captured goons and leave them for the police to find. That wasn’t the Wild Weasel’s style. He bent down and riffled through their wallets, depriving them of their cash, credit cards, and other pertinent information, then he left them sprawled there in the alleyway. The Wild Weasel was more pragmatic than most superheroes, and less wealthier. He viewed any financial benefit he got from his escapades as spoils of war. Besides, who would the bad guys report the theft to? The police who showed up to arrest them? Honestly.

Having collected his bounty, he turned to face the gaping young woman whom the goons had been on the point of robbing. The Wild Weasel saluted. “Ma’am.” Then he pressed a button on his belt. A jetpack flared to life, and the Wild Weasel soared dramatically into the sky.

“WAHOOOOOOO!” he yelled. Some superheroes liked to disappear into the dark, perhaps when their rescuees weren’t looking. The Wild Weasel didn’t much see the point in that. It wasn’t fun. Why bother to do superhero work if you couldn’t have fun with it? Besides, that sort of thing took time, and he was running late. She was probably on her way to the restaurant now, which gave him maybe fifteen minutes to change into civvies and zip over there. He patted the little box in his pocket. The Wild Weasel already had a really good feeling about tonight.  He’d already rounded up seventeen goons, and garnered over a thousand bucks in immediate cash, not to mention the credit cards. And the best was yet to come. Oh boy, was it ever.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Short one this week. Hope you like it. (It doesn't stick to the prompt TOO closely but ah well.)


Here, how about I tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a young lady named Isadora. She wasn’t quite young, actually—she was in that awkward age between where people call you ‘young lady’ and the years where they treat you like an actual human being. Long story short, she was in high school, and it sucked.

Isadora had black hair and blue eyes, and she was stump short and stick skinny, and nobody liked her.

That’s right, nobody. Her father and mother had tried their best—to like her and to raise her—but as far as they could tell, she’d grown up a brat. Her teachers thought her withdrawn and her comments relatively uninteresting. Her classmates thought she was stuck-up and snobby. Either that or just-plain-weird.

Isadora had grown up with not many people liking her, and as the years went on, that number dwindled down and down until it hit rock-bottom goose-egg zero zip nada. She used to wish that people would like her, but that just added to the massive amounts of self-pity she experienced, so she started pushing away the desire to be liked at all.

After all, after the summer before sophomore year, there was something that she couldn’t tell anyone, and keeping secrets makes people hate you.

Self-hatred is a vicious cycle. You hate yourself so much you start to expect that other people want to hate you right when they meet you, like everyone is out to get you. Social paranoia. You can’t see any good in yourself, so, you suppose, why the hell should they see any? They don’t even know you. So you treat them with an instant defense, because you’re so convinced they already dislike you. And that’s the type of hatred that Isadora had for herself. She’d never been particularly good at anything, so she had decided to be the best at being the worst person she could.

She’d decided this at a very young age. She was nine, and she had realized she didn’t really care about all the things other kids cared about, and she had assumed there was something wrong with her. This assumption didn’t change much over the years.

So, yeah, nobody liked Isadora and that was pretty much that.

It was pretty convenient that she’d done this to herself by the time sophomore year came.

Isadora was sixteen at this point, and when she walked into school, people looked at her a little funny. She was walking stiffly, jerkily. But eventually people stopped giving her second glances, because they pretty much assumed that it was just a slight mannerism they hadn’t noticed before that had developed into a funny walk.

So, the year went on, and if the stiffness worsened, people either didn’t notice or just couldn’t give a shit. Who were they to care about this snotty girl? Seriously, they had more important things to be worrying about.

Isadora was perfectly happy this way, because God knew she didn’t want to tell anyone about this.

Which was why it was so damn inconvenient when Arthur showed up.

He transferred from Indiana halfway through second quarter, and he had wavy brown hair and glasses, and he seemed to enjoy verbal abuse. Isadora was at a loss. For every quip she used to snub him, he had two to retort with. And before long they were friends, and that was a very bad thing.

When you hate yourself, you can’t believe anyone would be friends with you, because you think to yourself that if you weren’t you, and you met you, you wouldn’t want to be friends with you. So you hold people at arm’s distance. But there are just some people where you can’t do that, and Isadora found out that Arthur was one of those people. It was third quarter, and she was missing school—she didn’t want anyone to know why—and he showed up at her house.

“You don’t even look sick,” he said to her, and she averted her eyes, fidgeting, holding back the pain.

“Well,” she told him, “shows how much you know.”

“Oh, Izzy, I know everything,” he sighed.

She shook her head. “If you call me Izzy, I’m calling you Arty, remember?”

“God, spare me. Okay.” And Arthur sat down at the end of her bed, and she looked at him with eyes that were filled with suspicion. Then Arthur asked, “Hey, why don’t you ever relax?”

“It’s just not something I do.” Before she could stop herself— “Especially not this year.”

Arthur stared at her, because that was the closest thing to personal information he’d ever gotten out of her. “Okay, wait, back up. Why don’t you, and why it is it especially this year?”

“It’s just…a problem,” said Isadora. “Look, I’m…I’m sick. I have to sleep. Sorry, Arthur, but I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“We’re talking about this later,” he said, and she hesitated as long as she could before nodding.

When Isadora got back to school, it almost looked like she was hobbling, bent over a little, her legs swinging along straight and stiff and unnatural. But people still ignored her. Still didn’t care.

Except Arthur. “What’s wrong with your legs?” he asked. Over and over. She didn’t want to relent, but she did, after two full months of him badgering her.

And that was the day Fate decided to act.

They stood in the courtyard, and Isadora rolled up the legs of her pants and showed Arthur. And he was shocked.

Arthur let out a yell and stumbled back, for the legs that she had showed him were kneeless, skinless, emaciated ostrich legs. Long and skinny and frail and breakable. and as the sunlight gleamed off them, Isadora felt the rest of her changing, too.

She had always been skinny. Now her back buckled in and her shoulder blades erupted from her back. And now the rest of her was breaking and folding, the skin looping itself up, and her shoulder blades were tearing out and out and blossoming into a pair of magnificent dappled wings.

Not ostrich wings. Isadora’s nose burst out from its cartilage and curved into a wicked hard black point, and as her body twisted downward and inward, those long ostrich legs shrank down and down, and she became a tremendous glossy eagle.

She took flight, soaring into the air without goodbye, thanking God that Arthur didn’t have to waste any more of his time with her, thanking God that he got to be free of her. Her eagle’s eyes cried no tears. This was best. She was finally alone.

So yeah, that’s the end.

Did you like the story? I hope you did.

But see, this isn’t how the world really works. People won’t wait for you forever—I managed to push Arthur away by refusing to tell him about my legs. I succeeded without having to turn into an eagle, and then I felt weirdly satisfied. I was alone, like I should be.

And my legs?

I’m sitting in a hospital bed. Alone with the beep of a regulator that’s making sure I’m still alive.

Last summer, I contracted something called transverse myelitis. As far as I understand, it’s where swelling occurs around your spine and stops the right signals from getting to where they’re supposed to, basically.

I wonder if turning into a bird would be more or less painful than this.

The pain’s going to go, though. It’s not long until my legs are totally paralyzed. Maybe, if I’m lucky, there’ll be complications and I’ll die. Life without aimless walks by myself isn’t a life for me. Life without going unnoticed isn’t for me. My parents visit too often, and I don’t want to see them. I got get-well cards from my classes, and I know they don’t even like me. They probably feel guilty for never asking about my legs, but that doesn’t mean they like me.

And Arthur…he visits. Every other day.

I just want him to stop—can’t he get it? I don’t want him to be here. And, most of all, I don’t understand why he wants to be here.

A brisk knock on the door. Arthur comes in before I can tell him to get out.

He settles down on the chair next to me and pulls out a book and starts reading.

Confused, I stay quiet.

After a while, I drop off to sleep. When I wake up, he’s gone.

This happens two more days in a row.

Then, he talks.

“How are you feeling?”

“Okay, I guess. Why are you—”

“That’s good, Isadora.” His eyes are so earnest that I can’t find it in me to question him.

I look down at my hands and shift. A bolt of pain sears down my legs, and I wince. That’s worse than it’s ever been.

My heart speeds up—I can hear the beeping on the regulator—and my mouth gets dry.

He’s on his feet instantly. “Should I get the nurse?”

“Siddown, Arthur,” I say, exhaustion filling my voice. So he sits down slowly. “Thank you,” I murmur. My heartbeat slows down—way down.

“Hey, don’t be sad about this,” his voice says. “You’re still great, and you’ll be great even when you can’t walk. You know, that, right?”

Lie, that’s a lie, I think. But I give Arthur a sleepy drugged-up smile for affirmation, the first smile I’ve given in a long time.

I close my eyes to go to sleep.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Week 10 Wrap-Up

I wasn't exactly sure what I'd be getting when I wrote this prompt. I figured a lot of romance (mine was going to be romance and then it stopped being a short story and started being a novel. Damn.) but it hasn't been so! The variety was wonderful.

The prompt was: "Stop reading these words before it's too late."

Jes emailed us an awesome follow-up to her first story, about the avenging Fury Atropos and her efforts to invigorate the rather disappointing state of Olympus (what with the advent of the internet and all...).

Brooke wrote about a girl whose home-alone encounter is scarier than anything I've ever experienced... Jeez, glad I didn't read this at night!

Madeline wrote a fantastically-voiced story in which a slightly-obnoxious narrator gets her just desserts.

Michael gave us another Caitlin Chronicle in which we must battle with ourselves to determine the existentialist probabilities of being eaten by zombie penguins... or something like that. Sunday Featured.

Jesimarie, Saturday Featured, tells a tale of a Abercrombie model who gets caught up in intrigue that is definitely far beyond his expectation.

Jenn's Friday Feature develops further her story of a girl caught in a luxurious prison with relatives who don't seem quite right - and reveals a shocking truth.

Trisha wrote a second-person story about your receiving the diary of a classmate who committed suicide.

Raeyn wrote a very sweet love story about a (fellow) junior in high school with some unsavory habits who has two far more exciting men in her life than I do. ;D

Thanks to everyone for the great reads, and sorry for the late wrap-up. (My track record with these is getting worse and worse, bahaha)

Monday, March 14, 2011



Ahem, anyway. Here goes!

Write a short story of 1000-10,000 words, based on the following:

If I keep your secret, what's in it for me?

Because why not?

Evleven levnelvenevlvelnene. omg.

P.S. I am having fun! Are you having fun?! Of course, I feel just slightly manic right now what with the ridiculous numbers of commitments I have made in various writing ventures, including heaps of blogfests, NaNoEdMo, and all these competitions that keep coming up - which I am having to ignore because otherwise ARGH. Anyway...I am still loving this little Experiment of ours and hope eveyrone else is too! :D I love to meet with your weird and wacky characters every week and see what they're up to! And I find it fascinating what the creative mind can come up with, and how our interpretations of the same prompt can so vary!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Winter's Story Pick, Week 10

Haha, another wonderful Caitlin story from Michael. I thoroughly enjoyed this - I lol'ed quite a bit. Hope you do too!

It was two against two: Gaseous Girl and Mayor Flanbury vs. the two zombie penguins that had once been Princess Caitlin and Charlie Sheen. Such odds are not particularly good, but then the mayor made it worse by a sudden burst of stupidity. Completely losing his head, he snatched the bottle that had once held Charlie Sheen’s mystical essence, raised it over his head like a club, and charged the two zombie penguins with the wildly unrealistic hope of bashing their heads in. "WINNIIIIIIIIING!" he yelled, feeling this an appropriate battle cry. It was not. It was, instead, his last word. Zombie Penguin Sheen’s beak snapped forward, the mayor staggered and dropped the bottle, and all at once there were three zombie penguins converging on Gaseous Girl, still emitting their signature horrible squawk.

Gaseous Girl tensed herself, ready for battle. She had read all the literature, and gotten all As in the two Advanced Zombiology classes she’d taken in her junior year, so she knew exactly what she should do. She knew, for example, that fire can be a troublesome way to defend oneself with zombies, as they take rather a long time to burn, and in the meanwhile they’d still be coming at her. However, Gaseous Girl also knew that she could generate a blast of fire powerful enough to instantly reduce all three of the zombie penguins to ashes, brains and all. She was on the point of letting loose when she paused. Something had been bothering her about this entire attack. All at once thoughts tumbled together in her mind: it was too fast. If a person was bitten by ordinary zombies, it was supposed to take at least 23 hours or more before they zombified. Nowhere had she ever read that the transformation happened instantly. And she had NEVER heard of anyone mutating into penguins, zombie or otherwise. If that rule could be broken, then maybe the other rules didn’t apply as well, like the one that said that you couldn’t turn zombies back. And if there was still hope…

Gaseous Girl decided in a twinkling. She wheeled about and dove through the open window of the mayor’s office, flying outside and dropping down onto the street. A tall, auburn-haired woman was standing there, clad in white and looking rather sad. "Hello," she said, raising her hand in greeting, "My name is Maralyn. My daughter’s Caitlin."

"Nice to meet you," Gaseous Girl said quickly. "Now, unless you have an emergency, I’ve got to-"

"You don’t understand," Maralyn said. "I’ve come to tell you; I know what’s causing all this. I know what’s behind the Zombie Penguin Apocalypse."

Gaseous Girl stopped in her tracks and turned to face Maralyn. "REAL-ly. Do tell."

"Well, it’s a very long and complicated explanation, and…no, there is too much, and we’re about to be messily devoured by zombie penguins. Let me sum up." She took a breath and blurted it all out in a single British-accented rush. "You and I and my daughter aren’t real people. No one here is. We’re all characters in a story. Our author wrote a death scene for Caitlin, my daughter, but she didn’t want to die and so she resurrected herself. Unfortunately that broke one of the fundamental rules that govern the relationship between authors and their characters, and that has thrown all our fictional worlds out of kilter. Do you understand?"

Gaseous Girl actually began to laugh, rather surprising Queen Maralyn. "Perfectly. It’s all so clear now. I knew something wasn’t right, I knew these weren’t ordinary zombies, and now it all makes sense! Brilliant! Right, so, all we have to do to stop this is tell the author to write a happy ending, and boom goes the dynamite. Right?"

Maralyn’s face fell. "No. I’m sorry. But there’s nothing you can do. When my daughter broke that basic rule, she snapped the connection between us and our author. He couldn’t help us now even if he wanted to. Worse, this has affected all the fictional worlds. Anyone can come back now, and there are no more happy endings. Even the happy endings that there were have changed. The Death Star just blew up Yavin 4, the Thanagarians did turn the Earth into a hyperspace bypass, Sauron found Frodo and claimed the One Ring for himself. There’s nothing we can do about any of it, for we have lost our author, and there’s no one else to appeal to."

She stopped then, partly overcome by emotion, and partly because Gaseous Girl’s face had screwed up as if she had a sudden pain. The superheroine pressed her fingers hard against her temples. "Wait…wait…I’m thinking…I’ve got it! Maybe we’ve lost the author, but there is someone else to go to! Think! Who does our author, any author, depend on? Who validates his work? Who makes the characters come alive in their own minds as well as his?"

Maralyn’s eyes grew wide with the realization. "You mean…"

"Exactly! Have you ever read Peter Pan?"

"Not while I was alive, but in Character Heaven, there was a rather large library and….wait…you’re not thinking…Chapter 13?"

"Why not?"


Maralyn was on the point of asking how, when something black and white hurtled out of the sky, emitting a horrible squawk and landing right on top of Gaseous Girl. Caught off guard, Gaseous Girl instinctively reverted to traditional modes of combat; her sharp right knee shot upwards, slamming into Zombie Penguin Caitlin’s stomach. If it had been a man, he would have recoiled away and fled, howling in pain and clutching his stomach. But as a zombie penguin, Caitlin felt no pain. Instead, her beak slashed forward, biting Gaseous Girl in the shoulder. Gaseous Girl burped fiercely, the explosive blast of power sending Caitlin flying off her and into a nearby bush, but the damage was done. Already she could feel icy tendrils racing down her arm. "Maralyn," she gasped, "Run. Run now. Call the readers. Tell them-"

But her voice dissolved into a growing squawk. Maralyn didn’t look back. She ran pell-mell down the city streets, darting into alleyways and dodging round building corners, until she found herself in an open parking lot that seemed deserted. She came to a stop, gathered herself, and looked up into the night sky and the smoke-shrouded moon. Her heart faltered. Suppose it didn’t work? She didn’t even know whom she would be talking to! But there was nothing else for it. The world depended on her. Caitlin…And so she drew a deep breath and spoke to the cold air.
"I don’t know who’s out there, or if there even is anyone reading this right now," Maralyn began. "But if you are, I ask you, please, help us. Some of you may be mothers like me, or…or maybe you’re fathers, or girlfriends, or boyfriends, or cousins, or something. Surely there’s someone in your life who is closer to you than your own heartbeat, who is the moon in your every night, who you love more than anything else…if there is, whoever that person is to you, Caitlin is that to me. She is my daughter, my only girl, and…and I cannot bear…" her voice choked, and her hands worked in agitation. "She can’t end like this. I know she shouldn’t have done what she did, and if you…" Maralyn didn’t want to go on. She didn’t like the thought that darkened her heart.

"Even if you don’t think she should be saved, even if you think she ought to stay what she is now, trapped forever as that horrible creature, think of all the other people. There’s billions in this world, men, women, children, and none of them know anything about what Caitlin did. They don’t deserve to end as zombie penguins for her mistake." She heard a distant low squawk and a crash, and knew she didn’t have much time left. "So I beg you, whoever’s out there, readers or editors or random passers-by, please, believe in us. We’re not fairies like Tinker Bell, we’re only story characters, we may not seem real to you, but we’re real to ourselves, and we don’t want to go out this way! So please, if you believe in us, if you believe in my Caitlin, or in any of the people in all the worlds of story, please, clap your hands, don’t let us die!"

She saw them now. Rank upon rank of zombie penguins filing into the parking lot, cutting off her every escape. "Please," Maralyn gasped, "in the name of heaven, please!"

Slowly they moved towards her, Zombie Penguin Caitlin in the lead, waddling ominously, and now they began to chant, their cold zombified beaks clacking. "Squawk. Squawk. Squawk."


Please, oh please, oh please…"

"Squawk. Squawk. Squawk."


Caitlin, Caitlin, don’t-"


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Trisha's story pick, Week 10

This week I'm choosing the story written by our newest participant to join the Experiment, JesiMarie. Things I liked about this story is that:

It's not done yet! I want to know what happens neeext.
The guy's name is Bert
He knows there's a danger of him starting to drool over his own hotness. haha

It is a little similar to Madeline's story this week, in that both Bert and Madeline's characters had things they were forbidden to read...only they responded to these warnings in rather different ways. ;)

Anyway, read on for yourself and see what I'm talking about!

Bert frowned as he dragged the rake back, pulling leaves with it. Why was he left to rake his backyard when he paid some gardener to come in once a week and take care of this stuff? He shouldn’t be here getting dirty, he should be out somewhere, even if that somewhere was hanging out at work on his day off. He could be demonstrating to his bosses that he loved his job and that it would hurt them to get rid of him. He knew that all across America, Abercrombie and Fitch was getting rid of their male models, the ones that stood in the door ways with no shirts, pants down so far it was almost lewd. But he looked hot and he liked his job. He was a model but he could actually spend his days seeing the people who drooled over him. Sure, he wasn’t in to the chicks that stopped walking past the store front just to drool at his chiseled abs, his delicious hip lines… If Bert kept along this line of thought, he would start drooling. He was hot even to himself.
He grumbled as he pulled another rakeful of leaves into the pile he was making. He paused for a moment to stare at the small pile. What was he going to do with these leaves when he was done? Was he expected to shove them into a trash bag and haul them somewhere? If so, then where? And did he want to ruin his dish gloves just to get rid of some leaves.
“Stupid gardener getting sick.” He kicked the pile, sending leaves flying. “I shouldn’t have to do this!” He threw the rake to the ground and stamped into the house.
Once he closed the door, he let out a long sigh and ran a dusty hand through his hair. He needed a shower. He needed a new gardener, one who had a back up for when he was sick.
“Shower,” he told himself. “Then you’ll feel better.”
He carried himself upstairs, started the water, and got in. The hot water running over his tense muscles did what it always did: it relaxed him and washed his worries away. The shower had always been the place he ran to when things got too much to handle. The first time he had a crush on a guy, the time his dad came home drunk and broke every coffee cup in the house, the first time he hooked up with a guy… well, that was a completely different story that just gave a completely new meaning to his shower.
He turned the water off and got out, setting his mind to other trains of thought. Like checking his email. He dried off then grabbed a pair of sweats from one of his drawers and pulled them on. He padded down the stairs to the desk top set up in his study. He wiggled the mouse and got on the internet.
“Viagra… porn… how to grow your dick in three days… porn…. Why would I want to look at girls getting it on? Yuck!” He checked off each offending email and deleted them. “Forward… forward… forward… Does no one love me?” He was about to exit out of his email when a new email popped up. He didn’t know who the sender was, but the subject caught his interest. “‘The Game has begun’…”
“‘Dear Bert Sommer,
‘Before I get any further into this email, I would like to tell you to stop reading these words before it’s too late. What follows will change your life; but will it be for the better, or for the worst? I guess it all depends on how you take it.’
“Oooo, intriguing…
‘My name is Vincent P. Rice. I have chosen five people, you included, to come to my new resort opening in Hell, Michigan. It’s a small community, but I hope to bring in more tourists by opening this resort. Before I open, though, I would like to bring in a few specially chosen people to try out the facilities and give me a report on both them and my staff.
‘I have attached photos of my resort. I hope this titillates your fancy.
‘If you are interested, please respond and your fully paid tickets will be mailed to you.
‘I hope to hear from you, Bert.
‘Sincerely Yours,
‘Vincent P. Rice’”