Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Putting a face to a voice (three word Wednesday - generate, meager, tease)

Berlin. 1988.

Frank was facing a conundrum. He just signed a deal with a new artist. He loved their sound and could hardly wait to get their album on the music store shelves. He was certain this new musician would generate great revenue for the label. The only problem was, the guys were not easy on the eyes. Frank pondered long and hard if this act could bring in a following based on talent alone. They certainly would not visually appeal to his targeted audience. These guys were too old, too fat, too ugly for the 18 to 25 crowd. Frank had been around the block in this business, he knew that the pop star image was an important part of the package.

“Another beer please”, Frank requested of the spiky haired bartender. The neon light beams straying across neon clothing in the night club created a kaleidoscope of color. He turned his bar stool around and scanned the scene. Girls with their bangs teased into an attempted imitation of a flower, looked more like many of them grew tumors over their foreheads, were dancing far too provocatively for their ages with some featherheaded acid washed punks. The bass beat of a Run DMC song shook his clothing as the wandered through the club. Usually youth is wasted on the young, but these kids were living it up. Any one of them could have been from a fashion magazine. Frank wished he knew of such a club when he was their age. If only his new music deal could have half the youthful appeal of those that surrounded him. He rubbed his chin. Why couldn’t they… he thought. He peered around the club once more, this time paying more heed to the males. His eyes fell on a couple of dark skinned young men with long untamed hair falling down their backs. Attractive girls were sandwiching these men, and were dancing in a fashion that would have been impregnating if clothes weren’t involved. Frank decided he was going to change someone’s life… raise them from this meager existence and launch them into superstardom. He found his superstars. As Frank dismissed the females as politely as he could, the men glared at him as if ready to attack. He extended a hand, “My name is Frank. I’d like to talk to you guys. What are your names?”

“I am Fab and this is Rob”, the young man smiled like a superstar.

The above is a dramatization based on the facts below :

- Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan quickly rose to international stardom and fell just as fast in 1990. Milli Vanilli’s premier album “Girl You Know It’s True” went six times platinum. They won a Grammy for Best New Artist, which was later revoked when their lip syncing went public. Their career having become a mockery was too much for Pilatus to cope with, and in 1998 he was lost to a drug overdose. (see Wikipedia search of “Milli Vanilli” for more information.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Maid In Colombia (three word Wednesday - occur, ragged, tidy)

A young maid cleans a patio overlooking the south Caribbean Sea. She leans a broom against a corner railing and lifts a throw pillow. Gently beating the dust, bugs, sand, and whatever else out of the cushion, she stares longingly at the water. How she misses home. Across that water, a better life awaits, and she is eager to return. It is a place where she can live as a slob; a place where she would not need to stay on her feet, in these heels, and keep everything tidy. How silly she feels in this costume. She looks down at her skimpy black and white French maid uniform, seemingly acquired from a costume shop. How degrading. When she first laid eyes upon the outfit, she thought Santino was joking. Do maids really wear this? Hasn’t the look been modernized, made a bit more conservative… less objectifying? This is Columbia and Santino is her “master”, he can request her to wear anything he prefers. “Master,” she hates saying it, and referring to Santino in that manner. But “Santino” is unacceptable. “Santino” is reserved for peers. And he is not shy about reminding her they are certainly NOT. She places the square pillow perfectly in a kitty-corner of the wicker love seat and exchanges it for a round throw pillow. Carrying the pillow to the railing, she repeats the cycle. She meticulously places the pillows, square behind the round, just the way Santino likes them. Such attention to details does not go overlooked in the Cortez mansion.

“Oh Fifi,” the bratty voice of Santino’s daughter Sierra, calls to her. Sierra’s voice spikes hatred in the maid, the primadonna latina walks around in clothes too tight thinking she’s God’s gift to Columbia. The maid replies in a suppressed curt manner, “C’est Monique. Je m’appelle Monique.”

Sierra ignores her, keeping her eyes and hands locked on texting. “When you are done in there, could you wash Asesina?” She motions to the black poodle at her feet. Monique sneers. Wash the dog? Are you kidding me? This was certainly not in the job description. Asesina certainly has an attitude problem. That ragged little bitch tried to bite her last two times they were in the same room together; who names their miniature poodle “assassin” anyways? Are these people for real? Monique feigns an overjoyed tone, “Certainment Shakira, this room ees almost tidy and I will wash the dog next.”

The teenager glares up from her cell phone and scathes a correction, “Sierra”. Monique smiles, if she is going to be referred to as Fifi, then she can only return the favor. Sierra walks away, leaving the canine curled on her fluffy dog bed. Monique debates which of the pair is the bigger bitch.

The dog expresses growing discord as Monique approaches. “Well this won’t be pleasant for either of us, I am sure. I’ll go prepare the bath. Don’t go anywhere.” Monique walks across the living room to a terracotta tile bathroom she had cleaned earlier in the morning. She stops the drain and turns on the water. A vibration tingles her right leg. She retrieves from her garter belt, yes Santino even insists on a garter belt, an almost unnoticeably small cell phone. She shuts the bathroom door and flips open the phone.

“Cortez mansion.”

“Very funny Susan. Status check.” A distant male voice speaks from the phone.

“Still has no idea who the leak is. He took out one of his gunman last Monday on suspicion. He’s not satisfied he has sealed the leak either.”

“Good, let them eat themselves…”

“I don’t know how much longer I can stay here Ed. This mission is really not what I expected…”

“Just hold tight Susan. Don’t do anything brash. We need you there, should anything unexpected occur. Until the time is right, we will continue to deter his suspicions elsewhere.”

“They’re having me wash their dog, Ed.”

“It won’t be much longer. Trust me, keeping you safe is our utmost priority.”

Susan sighs, “Fine, I will be their obedient little maid until further notice.”

“That’s a good girl. We will be in touch.”

“Oh Ed? One more thing…”


“Would you be opposed to me killing the daughter?”


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Prison break, whatever. (three word Wednesday - lucid, righteous, salvage)

A brief intro: The characters in the following story are participants of an ongoing roleplaying campaign I have been running for the past 6 months. "Tulip" and "Wendall" are my own creations placed in the story for social interaction with the other characters, that are played by five of my friends and my wife. The epic adventures of this team continue to this day and may possibly be revisited in future installments. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.

“How did I get wrapped up in this? One little party crash, and now I’m wanted for murder. Now my new found friends trust a mentally imbalanced babbling idiot to lead us to safety. Brilliant. This moldy cavern air is not good for my complexion for sure. I’m sorry, where are my manners. My name is Tulip Cantacross, druidess of the Cantacross elves of Fort Redstone. Well, that’s a bit presuming, I’m more of a work-in-progress than a druidess. Actually, I suppose I’m more of a fugitive than anything right now.”

“Tulip, who are you talking to? We got to keep moving,” a deep raspy voice says from further down the cavern.

“Umm, Grizz, hellloooooo! Narrating here…”

The disapproving giant grumbles unintelligibly. Tulip flips her blond hair over her shoulder before continuing, “Sorry, that’s Grizz. He’s a bit of a grump. I think he drank a bit too much rum last night. He’s in the same situation. Well, a fugitive… not the whole druid part. There’s eight of us altogether, on the run. Not my usual crowd at ALL. But, I was going with them, or I was going to stay in a nasty dungeon prison cell in the Pendel guard barracks. I don’t think so. My choice was obvious. Totally.”

A soft glow augments to a bright beacon. A handsome elven male approaches, his robe and facial features lucid from the “torch” he is wielding. The torch is a splintered inverted table leg salvaged from the castle dungeon, illuminated by magic rather than fire. The bluish aura emits no heat, Tulip rather would prefer the table leg provide some warmth with a good old fashioned flame.

“Come along Tulip,” the male speaks.

“One moment Quellonos.”

“It’s Quiglamonous.”

“Quigmonolonus. Whatever.”

“Q, just Q.” He grabs her forearm and notions forward. She moves alongside Q, “There was this big feast for this guy in the Pendel guard…”

“Sir Wilhelm”, Q interjects.

“Yeah him. He was getting a promotion or something. Anyways, he was killed overnight. Murdered in his sleep. The town consulate and some of the captains in the guard pointed fingers at the group of us as the prime suspects. They had no evidence, but we were just a bunch of out-of-towners. Easy to blame. We don’t even know each other. We were thrown into the prison in the dungeon. Well our group is a crafty team, full of dirty tricks. Long story short, we fought our way out. We took in a prisoner named Wendall and he showed us the entrance to this cave. He’s a bit of a crazy though, bursts out in laughter and talks to himself a lot. We took his advice because our alternative was fighting our way out of the castle. I’m not sure if any one of us killed William…”

“SIR WILHELM”, Q jabs.

“…whatever. I mean, we aren’t the most righteous group of people. We have a warlock among us, as well as a ninja. The guy with the eyepatch talks to spirits, and the gnome girl over there is some kind of pyro. Grizz told me he used to be a pirate, and this Q guy is an illusionist. It could have easily been any one of us.”

“I’ll pretend I did not hear that” Q states impatiently, “Wilhelm was a friend of mine, of all ours. What would my incentive be to kill him?”

“Watch out guys!” The roar of a startled Grizz echoes from ahead. Q and Tulip advance to an opening in the cavern with several tributaries leading into darkness. The stench of decay emanates out of the blackness. The acoustics of the cavern perform a deceptive ventriloquism with the sound of shuffling footsteps, making it impossible to locate the source. Grizz stands a towering 9 foot 6 amidst the other “fugitives”, and is in the center of the clearing, prying the grip of an undead from his leg. Zombies shuffle in from several sides, the team aghast in horror, spare an unnerving impressed expression on the warlock of the group. Q frees up his hands to commence a spell, “We thought the guards pursuing us were the biggest of our worries. Ready up Tulip, we’re in for a bloodbath.”

Q glances to the empty space on his right, “Tulip?”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Protection Amulet 2 (three word Wednesday - frantic, lurch, odor)

“Wat yoo hafta be worried foh, worst already happened ta yoo Pyar, no?”

Pierre slouches in a wooden chair, pensively staring at the handkerchief Dean places at the opposite end on the table. Dean rolls a confident smile across his face, unraveling the handkerchief to reveal giblets of bones. Pierre’s expression becomes frantic, “Da meeting went dat bad Dean? Wat haf yoo dun?”

“Reelax. Dees ar jus zeeken bones”, Dean holds up a drumette bone and peels away the cartilage on the nub of the chicken wing. Pierre’s shoulders slouch in relief, “Thought da worst foh da moment dere.”

“Nah brotha trust me, I was in no danja today.”

Pierre frowns. “Shame she was not wat yoo hoped foh. We could use moh talent desperately.”

Dean throws the bone onto the table and selects another giblet. “Thas jus it Pyar, talent. We need talent. We don’ need handicaps, liabilities, moh trouble dan useful.”

“But da war… could she not haf even been an expendable pawn? A sacrificial lamb…”

“I could not do dat ta Zeal, she was too wide eyed an’ innocent. Wud be like puttin’ a child in da line o fire. Wud ya do dat an’ live, well, deal wit yorself aftah?”

Pierre glares at his brother, “Yoo won’ get much sympathy from me.”

“I expected not. As foh our numbah o troops in da war, I haf sent Lyssa ta da States ta pursue sum talent.”

“Ar yoo sure about dis contact in da States?”, Pierre folds his arms skeptically.

“I haf a good notion dat our interests ar on a similar level”, Dean holds a half eaten chicken wing over a candle. The scent of roasted chicken is faint compared to the putrid odor of the trash barrel the bones were retrieved from. Pierre scratches his head, “Why Lyssa? Wudn’ it been easiah ta send a spirit ta meet yoh mutual interest?”

“Ar ya volunteerin’? ‘Not dat easy ta negotiate wit ghosts, as yoo well kno”, Dean bites into the remaining skin on the bone, now warm but undercooked. He continues while chewing, “…yoo know like Zeal, ends up thinkin’ she’s moh gifted dan she is. Either dat, or too spooked ta reply.”

“But sendin’ away some of our strength…”

“We ar safe foh da time being. Dey ar also too busy lookin’ fer talent, dis I know.”

“I wud still tayk caution,” Pierre stands, “don’ give dem a chance ta catch ya off guard.”

“Yoo ar wise brotha, always wer. I fully intend ta keep ma place a sanctuary.” Dean approaches the door to his shack, retrieving chalk from a bookcase on the way. He recites some words while drawing various symbols on the door. He continues around the room, sketching cryptic chalk marks symmetrically. He looks to Pierre, “Fraid I mus ask ya ta leave.”

Pierre looks back over his shoulder, his essence becoming foggy. He waves a fading hand, “Understood, already gon’. Til’ next time brotha.” The wall behind Pierre offers him no resistance as he passes through, leaving a rolling steam of cold that dissipates in the humid Jamaican air. Dean mutters to himself, “Dere goes ma air conditioning.”


Stupid. So stupid. Jill pouts in the airport with her carry-on bag beside her. Why did she come to Jamaica looking for someone she never met? Why did she listen to a message from a ghost? She cannot wait to leave, she wants to be home and put this behind her, all of it. She looks at her protection amulet Dean taunted her for. Some protection this was. Pssh. She gets to her feet and approaches the nearest trash bin. Jill parts with her amulet in frustration, and she seeks a coffee from a nearby vendor. She examines the “Departures” board, next flight to London commencing boarding in three minutes. She had better get down to the terminal. She takes a dozen fast steps before she hears, “Scuse me miss!”

Jill pivots impatiently to an elderly bald custodian lurching over the trash barrel. Holding up her amulet as if he has caught a large fish, he smiles a toothless grin, “Ya not thinkin’ o travellin’ without protection, ar’ ya?”

EDIT NOTE : here is the early installment of this story