Spring Ceramic DM™: WINNER POSTED! - Page 38
  1. #371
    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat
    The "Do you hate yourself?" line made me laugh. Quit with the self-recrimination; both you and Wandering Monster did an excellent job. That was an fun match-off.
    Nobody ever believes it when someone tells us we wrote something good. (We love to hear it but don't believe it.) We want them to rip it apart so we can learn how to make it better.

    Congrats to BardStephenFox. I'm still catching up on the reading, but it sounds like this was a match to look forward to, with two great stories to read.

  2. #372
    BSF, it was good. It was good, it was good, it was good. Ok?

    It's worth polishing up, and I'll look forward to seeing your revision over in kiln-fired.

    I'm glad you liked the picture. I was dubious about whether the drawing was too cartoony, which is why I left in the edge of the book: so a writer would have a legitimate excuse to use it as an illustration within the tory. But I loved the way that you did that, and then made it more than that.

    (The following spoilered out for those not actually interested in the backstory of the illustration.)
    [spoiler]
    I did the drawing back in college for a Jorune campaign. (Anybody remember Jorune? Terriffic world. Pretty illustrations. Easily Googled if you're curious.) I was running a naturalist who sketched pictures of all the creatures and plants we encountered in that strange and beautiful world. The first three pages of that book are all typical "naturalist" drawings (basically copies of the illustrations that came with the game materials).

    And then there is the one now called "Sharp," and it is labelled simply "Fig. 4. Crugar."

    I cannot now recall the exact details, but I think the picture speaks well enough of my PC's experience with these charming native creatures.[/spoiler]
    Last edited by Sialia; Sunday, 18th April, 2004 at 05:18 AM.

  3. #373
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    What's this, people start telling other people that their stories are good (which they are) and suddenly the thread winds up on page 2? This calls for a strategic bump.

    Actually I just wanted to say that I have found all of the stories extreemely interesting. Of course some were better than others and unfortunately some good ones went against some other good ones.

    I'm definitely looking forward to the ones that will be posted in the second round.

    And now that the pressure is off of me, I can sit back and observe.

  4. #374
    Preparing to post my entry...

    Just a couple of quick notes:

    "Maman" is a French term, roughly equvalent to "Mama" or "Mother." It is a term showing caring, love, and closeness. It is not a tupid typo on "Mama." Yeah, it is kind of weird, but it gave a better sound then "mama" or "mother," and I've read Camus' The Stranger way too much.

    This story is slightly short, and very experimental. I have a feeling it will either succeed admirably, or fail miserably, but I wanted to try it anyway. I really hope it is enjoyable, and thought provoking, but it may just end up being trite and odd. I've never written anything even remotely like this before, so give me the full brunt of your criticism.

    And without further adieu, I will giev it a last one over, amke sure the formatting's good, and post.

  5. #375
    Ceramic DM Round 2: Macbeth vs. AlSih2o
    Grow
    By Sage LaTorra




    Adam met his mother's gaze as she finished buttoning his jacket. Her sharp features made him feel at home. “Be carefull, Adam. It's cold out there.” Her voice was smooth and comforting.
    “Yes, Maman” Adam replied with some difficulty caused by the hood of his jacket. He turned and walked, or more exactly waddled because of his heavy pants, towards the door.
    “Adam?” she said, just as he reached the door.
    “Yes, Maman?”
    “I know you'll do well.”
    “I love you, Maman.”
    “I love you too, Adam.”
    He stepped out into the bitting chill of the outside world, leaving the comforts of home behind him. Adam was ready to be his own man.



    The world outside was not what Adam expected. He wanted to go home. He wanted his mothers touch, her warm embrace to let him know he was safe. The snow froze him, even through his heavy jacket. At least he had the jacket. Even if she wasn't here now, his mother had made sure Adam was ready for the world.

    Adam was tired and scared. He had already lost sight of the house, he was cold, he was hungry, and he was growing more and more sure that he was not ready for this. It was to soon. Maybe I should go back he thought, the wind cutting through his jacket slightly. Maybe Maman was wrong. I'm not ready. I'll just go back. She'll still be there. I can leave tomorrow.

    He took a step back towards home. Or at least the direction that should be home. But he the snow was falling, and he couldn't tell if that was the way he came. He turned slowly, searching for a sign, some way to tell which way he came.

    And he found a sign, but not one telling which way he came. This sign was telling him which way to go. And this wasn't the sign Adam expected. This sign was a women.

    It took Adam a second to take in the figure before him. Thoughts filled his head. Lace. Wings. Wand. Feathers. Eyes. Sharp. Strange. Important.

    “I was hoping you would come out today, Adam. It's time for you to come outside.”

    Adam wasn't exactly sure what was going on. But he did know this was special. “Outside? Outside where?”

    “Your house of course. It's time for you to leave. It's time for you to grow up.”

    “Grow up? But... I don't think I'm ready yet.”

    “Of course you are, Adam. Everybody grows up. Your mother knows. She knows your ready. She knows you can grow up.”

    Adam took all this in. He still wasn't ready for this. He wasn't ready to change, he wasn't ready to take on responsibility. But then again, was anybody ever really ready for it?

    “Okay.” Adam's voice was meek, unsure. He said okay, but his tone screamed “Not yet.”

    The women laughed, her voice ringing with joy. “It's not as if you have a choice, my dear. It is your time. You are ready, whether you know it or not.”

    “Okay.” Adam was slightly bolder now, but that didn't take much. “But... Who are you?”

    “I am... a guide. Destiny, maybe. Or fate. Dreams, possibly. I am everything from your childhood that has prepared you for this. Every time your mother told you a piece of advice, I was made a little stronger. Every time she out ice on your knee, every time you learned a lesson, every time she taught you, I grew a little. And now, it is up to you and I to see that you become a man.”

    “But I doubt you care so much who I am, as what you may call me. I really don't need a name, but you can call me... oh, lets see... Grace.” Grace approached Adam, put her arm around his shoulder, and led him off in a direction he was very sure was not towards home. Adam was still very sure he didn't want to grow up, but that didn't matter very much.




    Grace led Adam into a field, clear of the bitting snow they had left. It was hard to tell how such little distance could mean such difference in climate, but Adam decided it better not to ask. Grace stopped on the edge of the clearing, and turned to face Adam. “You can take of your coat. It's quite warm here. But make sure you keep it. Your mother gave it to you for a reason.”

    Obediently, Adam removed his coat, and slung in over his shoulder. “Why are we here, Grace?” he said as he looked up into the women's sharp features.

    “The first thing you should ask is 'Where is here?' Here is, for lack of better words, your imagination.” As Grace spoke, a bear lumbered across the field lazily. Adam recognized it instantly: he had drawn the bear on a piece of paper his mother gave him, with his favorite box of crayons. But this was not the mass of curvy, random, disjointed lines that had ended up on the paper, this is what Adam had been trying to draw. This was the true bear, the one he had tried to depict in colored wax.

    “But now that you know where we are, I'll tell you why.” Grace explained, as she glanced at the bear. “You have an amazing imagination, Adam, full of wild creations and untold promise. But you are growing up now, and people will not like those ideas. They will make fun of you, mock you, and try to crush the amazing beauty that you can create.” Adam didn't want to hear this. He started to cry. “But you cannot let your creativity, your beauty, die. Your mother would never want that. So we are here to take the ideas of childhood, and file them away. I wish that you didn't have to, your mother would never want you to, but it is not my choice to make. The world is not a nice place, and you are part of the world now. Your mother raised you well, but now you are the world, and They don't like imagination.”

    Adam had continued to cry softly, but his sobs subsided, and his sniffells stopped, and he turned to Grace. “So, I get to keep my imagination? I don't have to give it up?”

    “No Adam, your mother would never let them do that. She brought you up better. But the world still has some influence, and so the dreams of childhood must, at least, be packed away. Here. Come.”

    Grace led Adam to the middle of the field. There was a simple trap set there, nothing more then a box set up over a smattering of carrot pieces, propped up by a plank. A string was tied as a simple trigger.

    “It is time for you to grow up Adam, and sometime that means losing things we wish we could keep. You can trap your dream, that bear, in the box, and keep him to remember. I wish he could roam free, but it is the end of his time.”

    Adam took up a position behind the box, set down his jacket, and sat down with the string held tightly in his hands. The bear wandered towards him, as Grace backed away. Adam was amazed to see the bear in life. He recalled the frustration of not being able to show his mother what he imagined, at only showing her his simple scrawls in unusual colors. The bear sniffed the box, ignored Adam, and stuck his snout under the box, nibbling the carrots, then wolfing them down.

    Grace watched from the edge of the clearing as Adam pulled the string and the box fell. The box was much too small to hold the bear, but that didn't matter much. The box hit the ground as the bear somehow folded into it. Grace strolled forward, and out her hand on Adam's shoulder. “Good, Adam. You are ready.”

    Adam picked up the box, afraid that the bear would somehow unfold from it again, and that it would not have enjoyed the trip. But the bear did not emerge. Adam turned the box over, and found inside not the majestic bear he had trapped, but the haphazard drawing he had made with his mother's paper and his favorite crayons. Tears swelled into his eyes for the beauty he had lost. “I'm sorry” Grace said gently as she put her hand on his shoulder. “This is growing up.” Grace took his hand, her manner colder then before. “Come. We are not finished.”




    They walked for some time. Adam began to feel strange. Or, rather, stranger. His legs hit the ground too soon with each step, as if he was taller then he remembered. His arms bumped into his hips awkwardly. Tree branches that he knew he should be able to walk under seemed to bend over to smack his head. Grace didn't seem so big anymore. Adam was growing.

    With each step Adam grew more. As he reached Grace's height, they reached a series of buildings. Trees gave way to concrete, stone gave space to pavement, blue sky was shunted by glass. Grace stopped just the edge of the development. “Adam, this is the world. You have started growing up, and though you are not finished, it is time for you to move on. I know you are not ready, but this is your new home. I will be... around.” Grace's eye screamed sorrow as tears formed. Her voice shook. “Goodbye, for now. I may see you soon.”

    She turned, and returned to the forest. As Grace left his sight, Adam lost control. He body was not his own. It grew and grew, becoming a giant among the empty buildings, while Adam remained inside, looking out of the eyes like a pair of windows. The remains of what had been the clothes of his body had become bonds. He was left inside himself, naked, with only the jacket his mother had given him, and the box that contained the last traces of his childhood. He wasn't ready for this.

    “Grace” Adam screamed in desperation. “Maman! Grace! Maman!” Standing inside his own body, Adam felt undeniably alone. The eyes shut with monumental slowness, and plunged Adam into pitch black. He started to bawl, his tears a torrent of anguish for a youth he never wanted to leave. He lost track of any sense of the space he was in. It was all black. The ceiling, the walls, the floor, it was all lost in the darkness behind the eyes that had been created by the growth of Adam's body.

    A light sprung to life in the darkness. The room resolved itself again, but not in the same shape it had been before the eyes closed. The source of the light, a single, unadultered light bulb, hung up from the floor. It cast flickering light around the unknowable space of Adam's body, exposing nothing more then a couple of walls and the floor in hung from. A moth fluttered to the light. This was all that was left inside Adam's body. Adam and a moth.

    The moth fluttered around the bulb for some time, until Adam heard movement, a sound too big for a moth. A twisted shape entered the light. It was also Adam. Younger, deformed, the juvenile nature of childhood. The older Adam watched the creature enter the light from the wall, and watched it crawl onto the floor, it's mindless smile still fixed on Adam. The moth flew away at the creature's appearance. As it traversed the floor towards Adam, the creature spoke in a broken, childish voice. “Don't grow Adam, we can still have fun. Don't leave Adam, don't grow. We don't need to grow, we can stay young forever. We don't need responsibility, we don't need life, we need freedom, we need to be carefree.”

    Adam back away as much as he could while staying in the fluctuating globe of light. The creature continued to move towards him, and Adam grasped for anything he could use against it. His hand landed on the box he had trapped the bear in. He reached into the box, grabbed the picture, and began to pull it out, purely out of desperation. The creature was close.

    But as Adam pulled out the picture, the bear emerged. Not the crude scrawls of youth, but the perfect imagination of the young. It stood proud before Adam, and the Adam-creature backed away. “But we don't need to grow up... Please... I don't want to go...” The bear chased the creature out of the light, and began prowling the edges of the illuminated area. Adam was safe. He put down the box and the jacket, and sat down, feeling safe for the first time in a long time.



    As Adam began to grow accustomed to his body, light broke in. The eyes opened, and Adam rushed over to look out. He leaned out the window sized holes, and saw the body give way beneath. The huge, awkward thing that his body he become began to crumble. The head fell, landing on a small platform in the empty streets. The rest of the body collapsed into dust, leaving Adam free to crawl out of the head.

    Just as the body had changed, so had Adam and his belongings. As he reached for the jacket, he found a pile of clothes. Glad to have something to wear, he unfolded them, surprised at the size of them, but even more surprised that they fit perfectly. Adam had grown now, not just his body, and his new clothes fit. He reached for the box, and coaxed the bear back into it. Reluctantly, the bear returned to the box, and to the simple drawing. As soon as the bear returned, the box became a small briefcase. Much better suited for a man Adam thought. He stepped out of the head onto the street, stopping only momentarily to take a good look at the awkwardness, the pain, the bonds, the sorrow, he had left behind, all of it in the shape of the huge head of his old self. He was grown now, and Adam was ready for the world. But it wasn't ready for him. Not that it mattered much.

  6. #376
    Whew! I have really mixed feelings about this entry (for one thing I wish it was longer), but it's good to have it in. As I said, very experimental. Hope you like it, or can give me some really good criticism, cause I feel like Terry Pratchett trying to write Crime and Punishment. This entry goes so far beyond my comfort zone of writing that I'm taking a huge risk with it. Oh well, have fun reding it.

  7. #377
    still banging away at it, looking like i will be last minute again

  8. #378
    Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

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    Quote Originally Posted by WanderingMonster
    I do have to ask Pkitty—If my story reminded you of A Muppet Christmas Carol why didn't I win? Oh...wait. I'm thinking of John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. Nevermind. You're right.
    Best Christmas album EVER.

    "Oh bring us a figgy pudding...."
    "WHAT? A piggy pudding?!?!?"
    "A FIGGY pudding, Miss Piggy. It's made from figs."
    "Oh."
    "And bacon."

    I can't comment on Macbeth's yet -- but I'm looking forward to comparing it to Alsih2o's.

  9. #379
    Quote Originally Posted by Piratecat
    I can't comment on Macbeth's yet -- but I'm looking forward to comparing it to Alsih2o's.
    The suspense is killing me. I really can't wait to see what the judges think, since I can't decide for myself wether I like or hate what I wrote.

  10. #380
    Round 2 alsih2o vs. macbeth

    It's All In Your Head

    To: Sgt. M. Worley
    From: Desk Sgt. L. Michaels
    Re: local crazies
    CC: Sgt. J. Timmers, F.B.I. Missing Persons Taskforce

    Contained is the text of a note turned into Desk Sgt. L Michaels on July 14, 2002 by Father N. Flannery. All attempts made to contact Father Flannery have been unsuccessful. His diocese reports he requested a transfer to a small parish hospital in south Brazil. Endnote added by Father Flannery.
    ************************************************** *

    My pants are usually a little baggy, the result of a loss of weight some 3 years ago that I still cannot account for. My coat fits poorly, although it is warm, and my face is nearly always sporting some length of beard. If you add this to the fact that I am often seen about downtown with my briefcase, a gift from a professor some 20 odd years ago, and a shopping bag full of my work you can see how I am often mistaken for a vagrant. But I am not a vagrant. I am a writer.

    A writer.

    I wish I could tell you I was an essayist, or a brilliant fashioner of short stories that compel the American public to once again buy magazines full of submitted works. To be honest, I would be proud to tell you I bang out technical journals full of fascinating facts or stock predictions or even livestock manuals. I will tell you, for the record, that I have written 3 novels, a beautiful novella of historical fiction and a long series on Ethics.

    None have been published. None have been published because I now have a reputation.

    I am Shermain LaMour.

    Well, I am Vladimir Zivkovitch, 3rd generation American-Philadelphian Jew. Unfortunately my pen name, my alter ego, my better half is Shermain LaMour.

    Desperate for money and facing a room papered in rejection letters I sent a manuscript of a romance to a small publisher some 15 years ago and it was accepted. At that moment I became Shermain. I write trash and it pays me rather well.

    Oh, and I am raising a gremlin. If that matters. I think it does, because it will help clear everything up as I go on.

    You see when I was just starting out, when Shermain LaMour was just starting out, I got a letter from that small publisher saying that they loved my book. It tested well, the editors raved about it and the women in the office who had seen the manuscript all raved about it- but they were rather sure that most women did not want to buy a book from a Vladimir Zivkovitch. In a thoughtless second I blurted out the name.

    “Shermain Lamour” I said. “I also work under the name Shermain LaMour.”

    That was my first and last act of plagiarism ever. I guess I should add that to the list- a Jew, a writer and a plagiarist.

    You see I didn’t work under that name. Shermain. I only worked under my name but my best friend fro all the way back to high school was Pat Tracie and he worked as Shermain LaMour. He does, did, a great act down at the ‘Spankentickle’ on the corner of 5th and Broad every Friday night. He is, was, a fabulous man and a talented writer. We were in a writing circle together; supporting one another and critiquing work, and frequently went out afterwards for a drink.

    Now, I see you making that face. It wasn’t like that. We were just friends. At least I thought we were.

    I sat through circle the night of my acceptance ready to burst at the seams. I was conflicted deeply, of course, over whether to share the good news that I was actually getting paid for my work or to dodge the fact that I had, in fact, written a romance novel. I could already predict the whole gamut of the conversation, the supporters, those who would deride me for ‘selling out’ and those who would smile while the envy burned at their stomachs.

    What I didn’t foresee was the reaction Pat would have.

    I sat quietly through the circle, barely commenting but rushed to Pat right as it was done.

    “Tonight, drinks are on me!” I announced.

    “Oh, honey,” he said, I knew he was about to be unavailable, he was already slipping into character “I wish, I wish, but tonight she has a gig. Do come to the club and see. You can buy me a drink after.”

    I had never seen Pat as her. I knew he did it, I knew what he did with the men who took him home too, but I didn’t see that either. I almost said no, but I was dying to share my news.

    I was three scotches into the evening and was actually enjoying myself a good bit when Pat, Shermain, came on stage. He was radiant. (fey) big hoops on his ears, swinging his wand like some erotic cross between the Sorcerers Apprentice and a porn star. I had known him for all those years and even I almost gave in to the illusion. I should have appreciated that moment more.

    He, she, had her moment on stage and disappeared behind the curtain with a wink towards me. A wink none too erotic, just enough to let me know she appreciated my being there.

    When he, she, joined me at the table she was still all made up. Everyone in the bar was staring- partially to see her in all her glory and partially wondering what she was doing talking to such a disheveled man as myself. That unwanted attention might have delayed the whole situation.

    “I, um, I used your name.” I announced rather awkwardly.

    “Honeybear, you can always use me as a reference.” She growled, her tone seeming to imply the erotic no matter what she would have said.

    “No, no, you don’t understand. I got published.”

    “You!” she almost lost herself, almost became Pat, who I knew was ecstatic for me. “Baby!” she said, her voice climbing an octave, her composure returning instantly. “I could just hug ya’ till your eyes pop! Champagne!” She said, her snapping fingers held high, as if every eye in the place wasn’t already on her.

    I steeled myself and let the whole truth spill out. I told her how it had come to me in a panic, how I had to draw from something and how his, her, name just sprung up. I cannot even remember how it all came out, but I do remember it all had the tone of a confession.

    Her smile barely broke. “Well, sugar, you enjoy the champagne, I just have to slip into something more comfortable.” It was too abrupt I knew he was hurt. She was hurt. She moved for the back.

    “Tell me you are not angry.” I pleaded, snatching her wrist as she passed.

    “Baby, it’s all in your head.” She said with a sweet smile but there was acid in her voice. Acid I knew she could not spew. Acid I would get later from Pat.

    She slunk, whispered, floated into the back rooms of the bar and I was left clodding my way out to the street. I had never meant to hurt her, him. I wasn’t close to too many people and I could not afford to lose this friend. I walked most of the night, I wasn’t even smart enough to stow my bags in a locker at the bus station or to return to my home. I walked for the entire night. “It’s all in your head.” Kept coming back to me over and over again. Maybe I had misread his face. Maybe it would all be fine.

    Shortly after dawn, as the newspaper trucks began to roar out of their downtown building I found myself on the plaza between the Art College and the mental hospital. How fitting, eh? I was admiring the sculpture they added last weekend, a kind of ‘Blind Justice’ statement, feeling overwhelmed and insecure and alone and I came to the neck (head). On any other morning I wouldn’t have noticed but this morning I did. I could not see into the thing. I mean, the sun was aimed right at its face and the eyes were empty, light should have been streaming into the head, lighting the chasing and flashing inside but instead there was just inky blackness.

    For some reason I thought of the small jockeys that sat at the head of the driveway belonging to the nice gentiles I grew up next to. These tiny concrete men painted in blackface always had a special draw for me; they were the perfect foil for a boy of unlimited imagination and few friends. I would play cowboys and robber with them, address them as friends and ride my bike in large figure eights around their bases.

    Unless I was caught.

    My mother would throw terrible fits. She couldn’t stand the little men, couldn’t stand what they stood for, and was bothered to no end by my fascination with them. “Stay away from the sculpture!” she would shout form the window. “You could break it!” she would reprimand.

    So I looked to my left and right and seeing that I had the plaza to myself I stepped inside. I didn’t even drop my bags, I just stepped right into the things neck like I knew what I was doing.

    Like I knew what I was doing. Let’s add that to the list- writer, plagiarist and idiot.

    Sticking my head through that portal left me in an inky blackness. I am not just talking about a lack of light. I started through and my head got thick and sticky inside. I truly believe I started in, but fell through. Fell. Yes, fell is the right word.

    I dropped my bags, trying to use my arms to catch myself when I heard the buzzing. I looked up to see a gremlin(eager). Go ahead, make that face again. I wasn’t his lover and it was a gremlin. She had a light bulb in a stand, with no cord, and was watching a mayfly; taped to a string, arc back and forth banging it head on the walls.

    “Good to have you.” she said. “Good to have you, yes!”

    I swallowed deeply, disbelieving what I saw. “Have you?” I queried.

    “Yes, you come, now I have you, you have me, we have we.” She said with what I can only describe as greed in her voice.

    I tried to leave. I did, I tried my best but it seemed impossible.

    “Relaxes, he does, relaxes.” said this..thing.

    “What the hell are you, Yoda?” I asked, sure of my bravery as I had determined it was a dream.

    “Mine names Greccel. And now am your and yours mine.” She said. I know it sounds silly, me repeating it to you like this, but you get quite used to how she talks after a while.

    I have found you can get used to anything.

    Three attempts to leave later I was beginning to surrender to her, at least mentally. I was still afraid to get close enough to it for the there to be a risk of a touch.

    “You’s gotta takes me, or you’s can’t be gone.” She would explain with a sly patience that hinted at age.

    And I succumbed.

    If I didn’t look indigent before I certainly did with my shopping bag full of gremlin. By the time I had lugged the beast all the way home my shoulders ached, my feet were sore and my head was pounding from the strain. As I said before, I am a writer. I have a body built for playing chess, not for dragging mythical and surprisingly heavy creatures around town.

    As soon as we were through the door of my brownstone I collapsed in a chair.

    “We’s needs to be eatin’.” She announced as soon as she had sniffed the air enough to tell we were alone.

    “Find something then,” I announced, my eyes growing heavy “the kitchen is that way.”

    And I was asleep. Dead to the world for the first of what would seem many times. I awoke to a loud banging at the door.

    “Coming, coming!” I hollered at the impatient knocker. “Hold your horses.”

    I opened the door to find Pat, in tears. “You betrayed me!” he said, “You betrayed me and I was always good to you.”

    I held my hands up slowly, doing my best to placate him. I wanted him to sit, to let me explain it was a mistake and I could correct it, but I was afraid. I could not for the life of me remember if what had happened with the gremlin was real or a dream.

    “Sit, Come in, let me explain.” I said. “It’s over, I have already fixed it.” I said, lying through my nicotine stained teeth.

    Pats crying gave way to heaving without the sobs, his lip quivered and he walked down the main hall to the living room. “How? How did you fix it?” he asked when he had settled on the sofa

    “Well, I am going to fix it, you know, today.”

    “Today, what happened to ‘I fixed it’? What happened to me trusting you for so long? What..what..?” he trailed of slowly, staring at his feet.

    And then he exploded. “You stole her from me!” he screamed, leaping to his feet and charging me like some kind of maniac.

    He was on faster than I could have expected. As I said, I am not a strong man. Pat was an entertainer, not just a writer, all that movement; all those years of dance had left him toned, and much stronger than me. I expected to take a punch right in the mouth. I can remember time almost stopping as I prepared myself, I remember thinking that it would be good to have finally known violence. It would be one more thing I could write about honestly. But it didn’t stop when he struck me.

    He was on me, all around me, I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t see. I panicked.

    I panicked.

    I grasped and clawed out for help, looking desperately for some handhold to keep on my feet and I found an iron lamp.

    It was over before I knew I had made the decision to strike him. Her.

    He was just lying there in my foyer, a slow rivulet of crimson red leading across the dark wood and pooling by the baseboard. I think that is where I passed out.

    I awoke after what could not have been 5 minutes and that is when I heard Greccel. It was very similar to the sound my mother would make with a wet towel trying to make suction on the drain to clear it. It was clogged, like the breath of an asthmatic having an attack. I looked up to find her swallowing Pat. Whole.

    She was in the midst of choking convulsions, slowly moving her way up the body. As her mouth expanded around his waist and I watched his belt disappear behind her lips a small lipstick case fell from his pocket.

    Now here is the oddly funny part. All I could think of was getting his bag off the porch, so noone would know what was happening inside my house. Can you see it now? My witless neighbors staring at the porch, saying “Well, someone left a backpack on his porch, must be feedin’ ‘em to a gremlin!”

    I snatched his pack and brought it in. just as the door closed behind me I watched Pats cowlick disappear behind Greccels blackened teeth.

    I must have cried for hours. I just sat there in my front hall, bawling with my head on the steps. Greccel sprawled on the floor, a look of macabre satisfaction on her face.

    Like all first time killers I felt the remorse, and then the anger. I pawned the whole thing off on Pat. “This never would have happened if he had let me explain.” I said to Greccels sleeping form.

    And I grew angry. Angry at myself, angry at the world and especially angry at Pat. I kicked at his backpack, resting against the table and papers slid across the floor.

    My papers.

    Well, my words. That son of a bitch, that bitch, had stolen my work. He was passing around my work! Oh, it was retooled for sure, but any fool on any jury would have seen immediately that it was mine. That idiot was stealing my work all this time.

    I looked at Greccel, she is not much bigger than a grocery sack most days, and she was swollen with the corpse of my friend. The thief of my words. I guess I can add a perverse sense of justice to violence as things I can write about honestly now.

    Now it may seem strange to you, but we were in this together. How does one grow feelings of companionship with a gremlin? I wouldn’t recommend it, but killing your best friend the plagiarizing thief helps. Nothing like ‘aiding and abetting’ to really get the friendship juices flowing.

    From there it got much easier. Greccel was smarter than I was at first. She made all the plans.

    First came the beautiful mother and her daughter. It was Christmas, and the morning was exceptionally foggy. The child complained that her tie had come undone on her jacket. Her mother bent down to fix it, gently wrapping the cords around one another, telling her child how the rabbit comes out the hole, goes around the tree and back in the whole, pantomiming the movements with the string(touch).

    I used my fathers 5 iron on her. Greccel was on the child before it could scream; swallowing headfirst really muffles those incriminating cries.

    And I have to admit, I tasted the mother. Just a little, off the left calf. It was good. Once you get yourself to actually taste it the guilt passes quickly and it is just like any other meat. Well, like any other meat you have hunted. I am going to add that to the things I can honestly write about. Hunting. Write what you know is what they say, yes?

    That marked our preference for holiday kills I guess. It is always a little sweeter when you can watch the whole community panic and nothing does that like the holidays. ‘Homeless man may be missing’ just doesn’t sell as many papers as ‘Easter disappearances still unsolved.”

    Easter- now that was fun! The park is less than a block from the front of my brownstone. On the day before Easter there was an egg hunt sponsored by the Park Council and the local parish. Greccel spent a month making little fake rabbits and we littered them around our small garden by the walk. In their midst we stuck a fake trap, straight out of a cartoon(c’mere). I sat on the porch waiving and smiling at the young people and their parents parading by. Many stopped to comment on our humorous arrangement.

    After an hour or so on the porch a pinch faced woman power-walked up to the gate from across the street, tugging her child behind by the arm like so much dead weight.

    “You should be ashamed of yourself!” she announced in a tone clearly made loud enough to not just scold, but to attract attention. “My child has been shielded from such things! You have no right to force your meat-eating agenda on us just because you live near the park!”

    I recognized her immediately. She had shown up during the planning meeting of the egg hunt to protest someone ‘forcing’ their Judeo-Christian views on she and her daughter. I understand she lived a full 10 miles form here, and I have never seen her in the neighborhood before. As I wondered what else she considered force I could already see the Greccels drool pooling out from the ivy that was hiding her at the edge of the porch.

    Soon the children and their parents all made for the bushes and the rose garden to look for their eggs. I tell you, nothing tastes like a righteous person. Nothing.

    There were others of course. I had a brief job at a local sleep clinic. People just make certain assumptions when a narcoleptic disappears! Illegal immigrants also pass as more than just house help. I followed an old lead from Pat and did rather well for us at well-known rest stops.

    Then came the computers. Three rapists caught in 9 months based on computer models. They keep feeding information into the computer and eventually it feeds them an area to search. Patrols are increased, door-to-door interviews. Eventually they end up catching someone.

    So I am leaving. Maybe South America? I hear there are still portions of Africa where my income allows me to live like a king- especially if your enemies keep disappearing. Yes, some rural third world locale will suit us for years I am sure.

    So, add one more. Jew, writer, plagiarist, murderer and fleeing felon.

    If this all sounds like a confession; well, I guess it is. I apologize for burdening you, but I had to let someone know.

    Signed

    Vladimir Zivkovitch




    MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON MY SOUL, FATHER FLANNERY-

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