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DeusEx Vs. Masqua Write Off

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posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 02:08 PM
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As requested and I have to thank you both for your patience, our newest challenge will between Masqua and DeusEx. The challenge will consist of 3 rounds. No time limit for each round, but we will not move forward until I have entries from each of you.

Your first assignment should you choose to accept it
is to write a Spy/Detective/Mystery type short story. Tell it from whatever perspective you wish but think James Bondish, Agatha Christieish or whatever get you inspired. NO minimum or maximum length, just make sure you are able to tell a full story, with a plot and conclusion.

As always, reread, edit for spelling and grammar before submitting your entry.

I look forward to reading both your entries, this should be really good, since you are both quite skilled writers. Any questions, you know what to do


also readers and valuable critique is needed for this challenge, please participate or u2 me for details.

[edit on 2-21-2006 by worldwatcher]




posted on Mar, 9 2006 @ 07:34 PM
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1)

The view from the window is fantastic. Far below me, the streets were green lines of trees, and, if you looked hard enough, you could see people walking around down there. There were only a few buildings as tall as the one I'm sitting on top of and the closest one is lost in the haze toward city center...a gleaming spike of glass and steel shaped like a knife edge. It was just to the left of that blade where my old office used to be. in an old brownstone full of cockroaches and rats...the human variety and the animal ones. The memories of that hole makes me shiver.

I think I'm gonna pour myself a bourbon before I get into this. I don't know why I'm writing this down, but, I'm doing it for you, Bollywood, because you asked and I can't refuse. This is my third attempt, you know...regurgitating a this bit of personal history like this doesn't come easy to an old gumshoe like me, but what happened did get me this view.

For the record, my name's Sydney...Sydney Duthers and I'm a private detective and this story I'm gonna tell goes back two years, back in the fall of 2048...in the days when I was still in that dump downtown. I'd just wrapped a case of a cheating 'sig-other' (which ended badly, by the way...murder one...some just can't abide competition) and was sitting in that shabby office when the phone rang.

"Hello, Duthers Detective Agency here."

"Mr Duthers?" (A dame...young, by the sound of her voice.)

"Speaking, please go on..."

"Mr Duthers, I'm looking for assistance in finding somebody who doesn't want to be found. Can you help me?"

She had that London drawl and I knew she was a local right away. There was a bit of snootyness in her manner too. That high and mighty nuance always got me perked...I was adding onto my fee already.

"That's what I get paid to do, miss. Are you aware of my rates? I don't come cheap for my time, you know, and the fees are likely to change, depending on the circumstances..."

I was fishing, hoping it wasn't too obvious, but things had been rough lately, and the guy in jail for murder one wasn't going to be paying anytime soon after offing his partner in such a colourful way.

"I'll pay whatever you ask, Mr Duthers..."

"Call me Syd."

"I've got 2000 credits for a retainer...will that be enough?"

"What's your name, miss...?"

"My name's Lucy...Lucy Anacron, Syd."

(Damned if I didn't catch a flirt in the way she said that)

" Miss Anacron, can you meet me somewhere so we can talk business? How about the pub on the corner of Clarence and York? We could have a sandwich while we go over your case..."

"Please call me Lucy...I know the place, the York Tavern. That'll be fine for me...is one in the afternoon too early?"

"I'll see you there, Lucy...bring the retainer."

She said 'OK' and hung up. I checked the time and I had about 2 hours to kill getting down there. I figured a shave and a haircut wouldn't be a bad idea as I rubbed the stubble on my cheeks and grabbed my coat heading out the door.

2)

I have to admit, there's nothing like a visit to the barber to make you feel better. After listening to her ramble on about the war in Antarctica and how the New Republic got its ass handed to it by the African Alliance in the latest battle, I was close to falling asleep. Coming out of my brown funk, I saw she had knotted my hair into five bundles in a circle at the yop of my skull, leaving enough free to make little tassles which she had coloured green. I liked it a lot, since the green matched the snake tattoo I had coiled around my neck and up my right cheek. Green always looked good with the red mouth and needle fangs of the snake head just below my eye. feeling much lighter, I went outside and punched the taxi standard outside for a cab. Within a minute, an old crate was whining itself down to the pad in front of me. Getting in, I stated my destination and slapped my hand onto the IDCHEK pad.

With a quick retinal, the cab lifted off and zipped into the traffic lanes. Looking across the city in the fall always reminded me of why I liked London. They never lost that Forest City ideal and the old buildings disappeared quickly into the gold and red hues of a million maple trees just turning into their fall draperies. Lovely.

This hack,however, had seen better days. Scarred and puckered metal hinted at the violence it had seen in its day. The greasy perspex windows and plastic couch had me keeping my hands in my coat pockets. It didn't take 2 minutes, though, before I was coming down in front of the York Tavern. The tinny voice from the speaker told me that my account was debted point eight five three credits and I exited thankfully as the door slid open.

As usual, there wasn't many people walking around and the trees in the street were noisy with sparrows. High above, the high pitched whine of the traffic was barely discernable. The doorway was set in the corner of the building, and I knew it hadn't changed for well over 120 years. I took off my coat, checked my cronometer, saw I was early, and walked into the gloom of the old bar.

The white terrazzo floor looked shiny and clean and only a few tables held customers. Par for the course at this time of day. Taking a seat near the window, I looked over to the bar and caught Frenchie's eye. The young fellow knew me well, and, as usual, came sliding up on his roller skates.

"Hey, Syd," He smiled, with a knowing glint in his eyes..."Nice day, eh? What's your pleasure, gumshoe?"

"Pour me a Wellington, Frenchie, and clean this table off, will ya? I got a client due in fifteen."

"Sure, One Wellie coming up", he said as he wiped the table with the cloth he always carried around his left forearm. As he left, He pulled the third chair away and pushed the nearest table back a bit.

Frenchie is good, I'll give him that. He always knew how to work me for a good tip. As he bent over to push that extra chair under the table, I saw the butt end of the needle gun poke out from behind his apron. I smiled and remembered why I liked this pub so much.

Sitting, sipping on the beer and looking out the window, I was listening to the Nihilist Spasm Band tune that was being played and let my mind slip into a trance, remembering those crazy days when I was young and stupid. That's when a figure stepped into the bright doorway and stood trying to pierce the gloom. She was tall and well dressed. Had to be my Lucy and I raised my arm to catch her eye.

"Lucy?" I asked as she walked over. I stood to pull out her chair.

She had the kind of walk that had me thinking she'd had training. Head up, shoulders back, and her right hand clutching the strap to her bag all said 'ready for action'. Lucy was no Timbit, she was all business.
Her eyes sized me up as she sat down. Dressed in a tight light green blouse buttoned to her chin and black pantalooons, she certainly looked classy to me. But then, I've always been a sucker for women like this, the type that exude a natural danger in aa easy manner.

"Syd", she said, "Nice little spot. You come here often?"

Frenchie slid over with a raised eyebrow and nondescript grin on his face, holding two menus.

"I'll have the chili, Frenchie...Lucy, how about a sandwich and a beer?

"A Rhueben, please, and a double Rye and Cola, easy on the ice, please."

Alone again, Lucy reached into her purse and took out her notepad. She activated and punched a few keys.

"2000 credits, Syd...your retainer."

Her green eyes fixed on mine as if asking a question...

I asked her for the name of the person she wanted found, getting my own notebook out.

"It's a William S. Ryerson, Syd. He lives in a small village north of here called Auburn, but disappeared about 2 years ago. He's single, doesn't work anywhere, but his accounts are all still active."

I choked that back...how did she know that his accounts were active? Accessing banking service accounts is not easy anymore and hacking damn near impossible. There was more to Lucy than was meeting the proverbial eye, and she was already high in my estimation.

"What are you wanting with Mr. Ryerson, Lucy, if I may ask?"

"I need to talk to him about an object that came into my possesion, Syd. It's a mysterious small metal cube. Ryerson wrote an article about it back in 2006, over 30 years ago and I need to find out what he might know now.

I was tapping the name out...387 possibles...then I added Auburn as a 'last known residence'...and out came the address.

"He still supposedly lives at 16 Wyndham Crescent, eh?"

"That's him", she smiled, "and that was 2 years ago. I was at the house half a dozen times over the last year, but there's never anyone home"

The food came and we smoozed for a bit longer about the weather, the war, the old Siegels building across the street where the concerts happen, etc. As I was wrapping up, I told her my rates and she said 'fine'. We shook hands and I watched her walk out the same way she walked in...and I thought 'military. It had to be...no-one walks like that normally.

"I hope you're gonna behave yourself with her, Syd...she might just kick your ass otherwise."

Frenchie had picked up on it too.

3)

Auburn was, like, 20 minutes flying time in a cab, and I was standing in front of the house by 3 that afternoon. A neat little sidesplit with a manicured lawn, trimmed bushes and flowerbeds. In the warm afternoon sun, the place looked idyllic. Two old maples threw an ochre light across the yellow siding and the drawn white sheer curtains behind the picture window glowed. My guess is the place was about 60 years old, but in perfect repair. Somebody was looking after it. After a futile attempt at the front door, I tried the neighbour to the right first.

She answered after just a knock...no doubt watched me as soon as the cab landed.

"G'day, ma'am," trying to look innocent "Would you happen to know if Mr Ryerson is in town? I tried the door, but got no answer"

"No-o-o", she said, "I haven't seen Bill for some time...he must be travelling again."

She was a dear lady, and was sitting in her kitchen over a cup of coffee within 15 minutes. By a half hour I found out Ryerson had been home for a few days last winter, that Betty and Barney Millar looked after the place and they lived in the old brick place across the street and that I looked young for my age.
I swear she was flirting with me, the dear...I was 102 and she had to be at least 135, but these days, who knew? Medicaid paid off in spades these days...and 135 is middle aged now. I guess I was flirting right back and left her home with a full belly and a head full of information. Time for me to take in the sights of Auburn, go for a walk along the Maitland River which ran through the town, and take a dinner in at the local eatery. By the time I was done, it was past 9 and the sun was sinking into the western skies. Sitting on the deck of a pub, I took in the colourful display of the sunset as it added a blazing touch to the trees. By 10:30, I was into the back of Bills house via the key which Barney Millar had supplied to me with little persuasion. I told him I was checking Bills security devices as a rountine inspection. I always had plenty of credentials to make my case reasonably well.

The place smelled a bit musty as I walked in. I accessed the security keypad, disabling it quickly, and went directly into the basement. There were books lining all four walls of the den...all about archeology, by the looks of the titles. To the right of the den was a small cubicle with a chair, a desk and a large 3D monitor set...one of the newer types. I fired it up and the holographic keypad morphed onto the desktop in front of a lovely 3D alien head. I'd seen about a million pics of these little grays with the black almond eyes, slits for a nose and a mouth which looked forever petulant. It stared at me with those dumb eyes as if waiting for me to speak.

I shut it down instead.

The desk drawers were all locked, so I unlocked them. In the middle were the usual pens and erasers, notepads, jiffy notes...brickabrack. The deep side drawers were filled with files. I lifted out the 'R' files, hoping they might contain a clue to the mysterious Ryerson. There was a fair bit, I got a file on his career with NASA, the NSA, the DIA and a whole bunch of other alphabet soup I sorta recognized. Furthermore, it seems he was an off-worlder now and then, having been to Lunar Bases 1 and 2, the Martian Colony and a couple of places I had never heard of. The Zeta Reticuli system? Geez...I was getting cold feet.
I put the files neatly back, my mind racing on what the hell I'd gotten myself into. Opening the drawer on the other side, I saw a collection of strange items I couldn't understand at all. Everything looked like handheld tools, flat black in colour...short pointy things, stubby things...one that looked like it fit right over my hand. I pulled it out and slipped it onto my right hand. Lighter than a glove, it began to warm as soon as my fingers wrapped around a central grip. With a barely audible 'chirp' the upper surface lit up with a screen showing the desk I was pointing at as if it was a schematic diagram. I could see the files, the tools, the pencils outlined in green lines on a black background. Swinging it around, I saw that the walls became transparent and that I could see the bookshelves in the den behind all etched in fine green lines. Even the individual books showed through distinctly.

Handy, I thought...and swung it up into the ceiling above. Everything showed through the ceiling...furniture, appliances, light fixtures...this device was like nothing I'd ever seen before. Arching it around, I saw the roof beams and the branches of the maples outside. That's when I noticed a flash of orange in the bottom corner of the screen. Moving it down I saw a man's body like a mist of orange dots. His right hand was extended, and in it a red object was outlined. I know a needle gun when I see one and I was soon moving upstairs for the back door, slipping the device into my coat as I did. I almost got through the door when I heard 'freeze'.

I froze. No sense running...I'd have to wait for a cab anyways.

"Turn around, lemmie see your face"

I turned and looked the young man in his eyes, recognizing him instantly from the file photos.

"Mr Ryerson...?"

"Yes...who are you and what are you doing here?

"The names Syd Duthers. I'm a private detective hired to find you. I guess I just did."

Bill chewed on that for a second and the slim barrel of the gun dropped a millimeter or two.

"Who's looking for me?" His eyes were defiant again, as if he was expecting a problem with that question and the gun centered on my chest again.

"Easy with the gat, Bill...those things can ruin a day real fast. It's a woman by the name of Lucy Anacron. She's been wanting to talk to you about a cube or something"

The gun dropped to his side and I breathed easier.

"Lucy...well, shoot, there's a name I know well... A cube, eh?

Bill moved into the kitchen and opened a cabinet, pulling out two glasses amnd a bottle of rye whiskey. He set the gun and glasses down and poured a healthy shot for both of us.

"Syd..." he said, sitting down, " how did you get into my house?"

"Uh...Barney. I gave him a story about security system and he offered me the key for the back door."

Bill smirked and lifted his glass to me. "Here's to small towns..."

I sat down and lifted my glass to his, chuckling. We both took a good shot to calm our nerves a bit.

"Nice timing, Bill...you don't show for months and the minute I'm here...boom, there you are.

Bill laughed.

"Who said I ever left?" He arched his eyebrow and smirked again. "Tell me, how's Lucy and what's up with the cube thing?"

"That's what she wants to know, but she's looking good, by the way. You wrote something about a cube, didn't you? At least, that's what she told me."

He took another drink, draining the glass and poured another load.

"Syd...did she show you that cube?"

"Nope", I took a sip, eyeing the bottle. As Bill filled my glass, I said it was a small and light object and supposedly mysterious, that Lucy had paid cold cash to locate him to ask him about it and that it hadn't been half a day getting that done.

"Don't you find that a bit curious, Syd?" Bill looked at me, still wearing that grin. "I mean, Lucy's no slouch, you might have noticed...why do you figure it was so easy for you and next to impossible for her?"

Danged if he wasn't right about that. Her face swam into my memory...those eyes were all about appraisal and calculation. Something wasn't adding up here.

"Syd...how do you like your job? Is it satisfying?"

I just grunted, remembering that last job with the same-sex couple. One dead and the other one not paying from the slammer.

"It's not a bad go," I lied. "Could be better, though" I drained my glass and looked over at Bill.

"Lucy is a recruiter, Syd. Would you like to see the cube?" He stood up and walked into the living room with the sheers and not much else. I followed him in, getting a slight dizzy on from the quadruple whiskey.

On the coffee table was a small dull grey cube. As Bill picked it up, I noticed it began to glow green in little curlique lines all around its surfaces. On one corner was a bright orange spot. Bill looked at me and pushed his index finger on it.

Next thing I knew, the house was gone and we were standing on a sandy plain. There was an orange sky and two distinct suns overhead.

"Cool, eh?" Bill laughed at my stunned face. "Welcome to Serpo, Syd. You're here to help us get this place and Earth to know each other better. You're in the 'Service, now, Syd Duthers, and there'll be no going back.

4)

Well, rude gyall...now you know the story and why I've retired from my old job and today seem to be living high off the hog in my fancy new digs. I could tell you more, but I'd have to tell you lies, you know. The rules are simple, I can tell you 4 truths if I tell you 1 lie.

Its all about deniabilty.



posted on Mar, 9 2006 @ 09:14 PM
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I thought I was retired. I really did. No more hunting people, no more death.

I hung up the shield, hung up the gun, bought myself a new TV and a recliner. Got ready to relax with a can of beer in one hand and the remote in the other. The American Dream. Live off the pension until I died and made the entire floor smell worse than a week-old pasta dinner. But, then again, it's an apartment building, so everyone knows each other. I had a reputation.

The knock was at once desperate and hesitant. I got off the lounger, hitched up my jeans and groaned. I mean, my ex couldn't stick me for alimony anymore, I hadn't committed any crimes. I just hoped I wasn't being served. I cracked the door open, leaning against the frame. A disheveled, sweaty Asian man stood there, running a gnarled hand over a rapidly balding pate.

"Mr. Kim? Can I help you?"

He nodded. Mr. Kim was a local businessman, a Korean immigrant. He lived down the hall, in 905. I undid the chain, opened the door and ushered him in.

"Take a seat, Mr. Kim. What can I do for you?"

He stared at my ashtray atop the scarred coffee table. Something wasn't right. He stuttered to begin with, his accent unusually thick. He had been drinking.

I'm not going to mock his accent in the telling, but the basic idea of his story was that his daughter was sixteen. Mr. Kim's wife was dead of a heart attack, and so he hadn't had time to keep an eye on his kid. She had fallen for a guy with a nice car and suit, he said.

I asked him what the problem was, because I sure as hell couldn't see it yet.

Well, he told me. She had started coming home with bruises. Then, she stopped coming home at all. At first, she'd be home only every other day. Then, three or four times a week. And now, she was just...gone. He asked my going price. I quoted a figure, and it seemed like a done deal. Hell, it was enough for a bigger TV and cable bills for a few months.

The next day, he slipped my retainer and what information he had under the door, and we were in business.

His concern had given him a second sight, almost. He had recorded the make, model, and license plate of the young man's car, his cell phone number from call display, and a few other small tidbits and stashed them away. It was more than enough for me to start tracking him down, and presumably the girl too.

It's simple to track someone down, really. All you need is a phone number, a license plate. Either will get you access to the essentials, and once you have the essentials, you can track that guy to the end of the earth. It was a simple matter of using a few web sites, and I had this scumbag's name, address, immigration status...it wasn't really hard to figure out where he'd be. He had to sleep sometime, right? He'd go home, and I'd be waiting there. I grabbed my coat and gun.

I showed up around ten, ten thirty at the address listed on his driver's license. I scoped the place out with binocs, found nothing. No signs of life inside the little bungalow. It was in a quiet little neighborhood in Renton, white picket fence, the sort of suburbs the wife always wanted to move to. Not the place I figured a kid would stay willingly, unless this was Momma's place. I didn't see any lights, so I just kept back and waited.

Finally, he pulls in around two in the morning. I check Mr. Kim's notes, and the car in the driveway is the one that's been picking up his daughter. The guy that steps out is young, Asian, with a punch-perm that looks like it belongs in my dad's era. Flashy suit. I call the phone number listed. He picks up.

"Yeah."

"Hey, who is this?"

"Mifune. Ryuchi Mifune. Who the hell is this?"

I got out of the car. It's the guy.

"Hello, my name is Edmonds, I'm with VISA Credit Services. Someone recently updated your credit information from a third-party number, can I confirm the information?"

"Huh? When was this?"

"Today sir. I'm trying to make sure this isn't identity theft?"

I had him hooked. He confirmed everything I had, location and name. I concluded the call, knocked on his door. I had a bad feeling about this guy, in general. I heard cursing, and the harried man practically tore the door off the hinges.

"What?"

I reached out, grabbed him by lapels and hauled him out the door. He grabbed my wrists, and I gave him a good knock upside the head.

"Listen good, punk. I've got a minor missing."

His hands slowly relaxed. I let go, punched him in the neck for his trouble. He fell to his knees, and I went for his belt. Just as I thought, a Glock tucked in the pants. I pocketed it for myself.

"I've been a cop longer than you've been alive, dumbass. Don't try that again. Now, I'm gonna ask you once. Where is Maria Kim?"

He coughed.

"I don't know."

"I don't believe you. I think you and me are gonna have to talk inside."

His eyes went wide. I may be old, but I'm still a big guy.

"No, really! I just drive around the damn hookers!"

"Hookers?"

"Yeah...you...you didn't know?"

I didn't. He was pretty obviously an escort to escorts...making sure that the johns don't rough up the high-end merch. I handcuffed him, stepped away. The first thing I did was call an old friend in Vice. Maybe they had picked her up.

"Hey Victor, it's me."

"George? I thought you retired."

"I did, Victor. I need a personal favor."

"What do you need, man?"

"Can you run a name through your databases for me?"

"Sure, hit me with it."

"Maria Kim. Might have been booked for prostitution."

"Okay...nope, nothing. Okay, another others?"

"Ryuchi Mifune. Do I need to spell it?"

"Oh, #. What have you put your Goddamn hoof in now, George?"

"What? What did I do?"

"He's the son of an oyabun."

"Huh?"

"The Tōa Yūai Jigyō Kumiai. That's his gumi, his yakuza set."

"Oh my God. What?"

"You're messing with some serious players. They own more than half of Fort Lewis' hookers, and two thirds of Tacoma's. The guys in Vice are aching to nail these guys."

"Okay, I'm gonna dig around and give you a call back."

It didn't make sense. Why would a man with his pick of the city's finest whores want this one? The answer was that he didn't. He just ferried them to their customers.

"Mifune, here's the deal. You tell me what I need to know, you walk."

"No charges?"

"Not one. When's the last time you saw her?"

"Last week. Dropped her off at Canino's."

"Who's that?"

"Her...her best client."

"And?"

"No pickup call. Figured someone else got her."

"Where's this guy at?"

"You know what Canino will do? Beat my teeth out and kick me in the stomach for mumbling."

"Even an oyabun's son?"

"My dad doesn't give a rat's ass about that. Canino..."

He shut up. He didn't want to implicate anyone. I took his Glock, ejected the magazine and cleared it. I kept the bullets, hurled the gun into his house and uncuffed him. Walked away without another word. Mr. Kim's daughter was hooking on the side, probably in a bag in this guy's basement. Mifune went back inside, rubbing his wrists and thinking he was probably lucky not to be in jail. Too bad he didn't know I'm not a cop anymore.

I was headed back to my place to run down this Canino guy when Victor called me back.

"Hey George, got news for you. SWAT just served a warrant on a meth dealer named Canino, big timer. Found the guy with a kitchen in his basement and three pounds of product."

"That's good, I guess."

"George, they found a body."

"Maria?"

"Looks like."

"Well, #. Thanks, Vick. I owe you one."

Maria was probably dead before Mr. Kim came to me. I figure she was hooking some extra cash maybe. Got in good because she knew some gangsters, they gave her a better deal than all the other streetwalkers. They deliver her to Canino, he gives her a taste of product. Either she has too much, or she has a bad heart like her mother. Dies screwing, guy doesn't notice because he's too high himself. Cops kick down his door, and...well, the rest is history.

I stepped into the elevator of my building, and got ready to break the news to the poor bastard.


DE



posted on Mar, 12 2006 @ 09:33 PM
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Going to try something a little different with you two. I won't be offering any critique of the above stories at this time but instead will challenge you to start on Round Two. Your challenge is to write a romantic short story. It can be either sad or happy, but love and all it's side effects should be the focus of your characters and the body of the story.

In the meantime, Readers and Writers and anyone compelled, please feel free to show your support and offer feedback to our two talented participants.



posted on Mar, 18 2006 @ 10:09 PM
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it's only ten in the morning. Sitting in the back yard, watching some robins rooting around in the grass and pulling out big earthworms which yesterdays rains had brought to the surface, I was daydreaming and happy. Just wearing shorts, the skin on my legs,arms and belly was getting nice and toasty. Looking down to my feet, I felt pride that the soles were so calloused already that I could walk on sharp gravel without flinching. I went barerefoot everywhere...mostly to and from the beach. I lived my life with a beach towel and cut-off bluejeans in this, the perfect summer of 1964.

And the girls were so-o-o gorgeous. I played hard-to-get, of course...that was the best way. The less interested I seemed, the more they'd plunk their wet bikini'd bodies down beside me in the sand. The smell of wet hair accompanied by coconut oil would thrill me and I'd breathe it in like an elixer. Giggles and bright eyes, white teeth and darkly tanned faces...they were the epitome of loveliness to my eighteen year old mind...and so interesting.

I was carefree. Every night of the week, there were parties either at Tommie's place, on the beach below his house where there were three big logs around a firepit. Or we'd go to 'The Tree' in the ravine, where there was a rope tied to the branch of a huge willow tree and we would swing as far over the river as we could and then try to flip or make cannon balls. Other nights there was roller skating five mintutes from the beach, where we could also buy foot-long dogs and pop and then sneak into the Drive-in movie theatre which was right beside the roller rink. But, best of all, was the Pavilion on Saturday nights, where the best local bands, as well as some from as far away as Detroit would come and play.

Always,though, there were the girls...lots of beautiful girls.

There was Linda, an American girl who lived in a cottage all summer long. She was short and pert, always dressed in mini-skirts, blouses and school sweaters, and wore her ash coloured hair short, bobbed in the page-boy style. When she spoke it was in a husky voice and she would intimate about what she wanted to do with her life. She loved to dance and she was good. knowing all the latest moves, I thought of her as my Go-Go girl, and when Saturday night rolled around I was always looking for her.

Then there was Susan, a local girl, the daughter of one of the high school teachers. She was artisic and made pictures from bits of sand-polished glass and wood which she would find on the beach, Susan didn't talk much, really, and she wasn't much of a dancer, but when we'd go to the latenight beach parties and sit around a bonfire, I loved the way she'd tell stories about people and places far away. Sitting quietly by that warmth, she stole my imagination away and I loved that about her. Often, the morning after the party, I'd lay in bed and think that I'd like to go steady with her...she was so pleasant to be with.

But, then there was Diane as well...reddish brown hair and freckles around an intelligent pair of green eyes (which missed nothing at all). Another local girl, I'd been a friend of hers forever. I remember watching her playing baseball in the empty lot next door to my place when she was just six or seven. We ran in the same group for years, but then last year she started high school and now a rather beautiful girl was smiling at me instead of the fun-loving 'girl-next-door'.

Anyways, that should give you an idea of what was going through my mind as I sat in the morning sunlight, twisting grass between my toes and wondering what the day would bring while I watched those robins hopping around like little soldiers in the heat. That's when the phone rang and mom called me in...

It was John...a friend for the summer, who I first met a few weeks ago. He had a green MG and loved to tour all over the place in it and wanted to know if I'd be wanting to go to the Quarry with him and a bunch of other people. Of course I did. The Quarry is in the Elora Gorge and it's the kind of place where the very brave dive into deep water from a considerable height. It's set into a very picturesque place about ninety minutes drive from home and is a favourite with people all around. A sunny warm Saturday like this and the place would be crawling with all kinds of sun worshippers like me. John said to be at the West End Gas Bar at noon and we'd go on from there.

Great. I told my mom what we were doing and she just smiled and asked if I'd be home for supper. I said no, that we'd grab a burger or something and I'd be home before dark and I kissed her smiling face as I went to clean up, brush my teeth, comb my hair, grab some cash and a towel. A little visit with my best bud Bill, who had also been called and we were at the Gas Bar by twelve. Bill had a great sense of humour, always cracking jokes and playing the elastic bands on his braces to the latest rock and roll tunes.

John was already there. He was mostly popular because of his car, I'm thinking, but he was always around wherever the action was. Bill also brought a car, his parents new four door Chrysler, so I was wondering who else was coming.

And that's when the girls walked in...Linda, Susan and Diane. They came straight over to the table and sat down with us all excited, talking how much fun it was going to be. Right away, I could tell that Bill was honing in on Linda, because he knew I was going out with all three of these girls and he was yukking it up pretty good because of it. I was getting a bit nervous at this situation, but, hey...I wasn't going steady with anybody, right(?), so I brushed it off and started talking to Diane, because I could see that Susan caught on too and had clammed up with a silly smirk on her face. Johnny boy just sat and stared at each one of these bright lights that just joined us and he looked a little shell-shocked due to the proximity of such a concentration of feminine glamour. So, what else could I do but start talking to Diane, who at least was smiling in a friendly way.

That's when John laid the bombshell.

"So, Masq," he said, getting all serious and catching everyone's attention, "I guess you're going out with all three of these girls, eh?"

I was a little taken aback, but never I'm never to be one to be caught short of an answer, so I said, "Yeah, I guess I do...wouldn't you?"

Everybody but John chuckled at that one. John sat back in his chair, and looked really disgusted with me.

I stared him right back and said, "Well, enough BS, is everybody read to go?"

We all got up and we went out to the cars. Bill, Diane and Linda and myself left in Bill's big car, while Susan scowled at us and got into the MG with John. Everyone had a great time at the Quarry and we stayed until about seven that night and caught a snack on the way home. It was only a little soured by the stunt John had pulled, but I didn't let it bother me much. Susan didn't much like John either, so he got no sympathy from her and that pleased me a bit. But down deep I couldn't shake the feeling that Johhny-boy needed a come down more than he was getting from Susan. I just never acted on it because I didn't want to spoil the day for anyone. When we got home, the girls were dropped off first and then Bill and I split, so I was home by nightfall and ready to watch television with my parents.

About a half hour later, the phone rang again.

It was Diane, wanting to know if I could come over. I said, "sure I could", and was out the door and down the street in ten minutes (she lived just a few doors down). When I got there, she was sitting on the steps to the front porch, looking all serious, with a bunch of books, magazines and records I'd given her over the years laying in a pile across her knees.

"Masq", she said, her eyes smouldering a bit. (I was standing there kinda in shock) "Here's all the stuff you've given me, I don't want it anymore", and held the pile out to me.

"But, Diane, I gave 'em to you...they're yours and I don't want them back...they're just presents".

"Yeah, but if you don't want to go out with just me, then I don't want them anymore...so here, take them"

That's the moment that the world stopped, my friends, really stopped. It is that one particular moment in a life, when the decision you must make right then and there will either make you or break you. That moment when a boy becomes a man and a girl becomes a woman, all tied up in a few seconds and an arched eyebrow.

I said, "But, Diane, I'll go steady with you..." and then the world changed forever.



posted on Mar, 19 2006 @ 08:17 PM
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My ghoul never needed me, not once. I’ve known her for almost seven years, and I can’t remember her asking me for help. No calls, nto so much as a hint. Of course, my ghoul has a name, but not one I’m bound to repeat. A lot of people know her through my writing- the purple haired girl in any given one of my stories. She has profoundly affected almost every level of my life, from the gifts of the odd pirated song, a smile, a hug, or sound counsel. Any time I’ve needed her –and there’s been more than one occasion where her advice has changed the course of my life- she’s been there.

My golden ghoul is not, nor has she ever displayed in interest in me beside friendship. At first, I was stunned and captivated by her beauty. Short, thin, with long purple hair and brilliant green eyes, she was a stunner. Still is. She was part of the goth scene, and well, that’s where I got my nickname for her. But it was always more than looks- she’s brilliant, and there is something indescribable about her. There’s this aura, this drive you get around her. The only way I can describe it is with the fictional concept of man’chi – an instinctive loyalty, a drive to associate with someone. A drive to do whatever it takes for this person, a gut-level emotional reaction that's hard to put into words. You felt man’chi around her, everyone did. Well, at least it seemed like it. What started out as simple attraction rapidly turned into something else.

In the course of seven years, I’ve gotten myself accustomed to the situation I find myself in. I went from attraction, to friendship, to love…and to something altogether different. It’s gotten to the point where I’m beyond any romantic feelings for her. Not that they’ve subsided for an instant, mind you, but that I don’t feel the need to act on them. I want her to be happy, yes. With me would be nice, but I’ve realized I’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell of that happening. So, I settle for service. Whatever she needs, whatever I suspect she needs, I try to provide.

She seemed happy enough, when I saw her last year. We met downtown for sushi and a movie. Not a date, per se. Just old friends getting together. We met at the train station in downtown Toronto- Union Station, if you must know. I stood waiting and looking for her for twenty minutes, the music piped in through my MP3 player growing vaguely romantic. Felicitous, I thought to myself. Random shuffle results in songs about romance. Being a firm believer in luck, I thought it might be fortunate, possibly setting the mood for the night. After the twenty minutes was up, I sighed. I was getting hungry, so to tide me over, I grabbed a pretzel. It was barely in hand when I felt thin, strong arms wrap around my middle. I would tell without looking it was her. I closed my eyes, savored the moment before turning around.

She wore a black shirt and jacket, and these incredibly loud, tight, teal leopard print pants that matched her own teal hair, chopped shorter than I ever remember it being. I said as much, smiling and giving her a hug of my own before offering her some the pretzel. And, then we were off, via subway and streetcar. We split the pretzel, making small talk. She was happy and excited, pointing out her favorite landmarks. Funhaus, the market, her favorite clothing stores. I was smiling, with her, resisting the temptation to reach out and put my arm around those thin shoulders. She didn’t make any indications I should, so I told myself not to.

I was on my best manners, eating sushi with her at a nice restaurant on Yonge. We traded stories about former classmates, rumors and hearsay already years old. She laughed, sounding like the music of angels. I had missed the sound- her ‘lol’ing over MSN didn’t have the same effect on me. As the meal and the night wore on, my smile grew broader and broader. In fact, it had not faded when I went to class the next day. People asked me what prompted the change from my usual cynical, dour mood. I replied honestly, and got the most truthful statement from anyone I’ve ever told about her. Amanda, my class president, shook her head and told me, “That girl does strange things to you, Chris.”

I paid for the meal – it’s only proper- and we went to the theatre in an effort to see Serenity. I had already seen it, but I thought she could do with seeing it too. Unfortunately, there were no shows left. So, we went next door to Chapters. Despite a number of extremely comfortable chairs scattered about the store, we opted to sit on the floor of the religion section. Neither of us is particularly religious, I don’t think. She’s into Buddhism, and I’m sort of a Zen/Luck/Fortune/Chance believer. But we sat there, under copies of the Celestine Prophesy and Bibles and talked. I touched her, then. I reached out, barely noticing as we talked, and put my hand on her knee. She didn’t mind, and I apologized when I noticed. We had been talking rather intensely, and I had sort of glazed over during a monologue. But she just smiled, and shook her head. I blushed, I think, and she laughed. An employee came by and basically told us to get out because they were closing. We made a run at the scifi section, and she bought some Neil Gaiman and my favorite book of all time, Idlewild.

From there, it was back to the station. She had places to go, I had school in the morning. So, we split a Cinnabon and a shake from JugoJuice. I teased her a little, but knowing I had to be home so soon had me feeling hollow inside. I smiled, sipping the shake and offering it to her.

“Have a good time?”
“Yeah. I’m glad you came out, Chris.”

I smiled. I smiled hard. It made the entire night worthwhile. We might have been no more than friends, but as long as I made her happy, it didn’t matter. I barely hear from her anymore, but she’s always on my mind. Screw unrequited love. I think she knows, deep down inside, if she needs me, I’ll always be waiting for that call.

DE



posted on Mar, 19 2006 @ 08:57 PM
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very nice both of you...that's all I'll say for now.

Next and Final Round:

Think Yellow. Seriously I want you to both think about the color yellow and everything you associate it with, then write for me a short story, that best conveys everything you feel, associate, and are inspired by when you think Yellow.

now how's that for a final round??



posted on Mar, 19 2006 @ 08:59 PM
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ww...you never cease to amaze us with your ideas...now I'm humming 'Mellow Yellow' and visualizing 'Yellow submarines'

No...this isn't my entry



posted on Mar, 19 2006 @ 09:03 PM
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Cowardly bananas everywhere!

Amazing idea, WW. This will be tons of fun.

DE



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:27 PM
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Old Yeller is a movie which defines my 'coming of age'.

In the summers which carried my earliest movie experiences, it stands out remarkably well. Love between an animal and a man (or child) is an age-old standard encompassing tens of millenia, back to the first domestication of wild animals. I'm quite certain that the dog was the first to become a friend of humans and take that high place of trust and mutual benefit amongst the hunters and gatherers of the Upper Palaeolithic.

How could it not resonate deeply with a young boy of 10 when he saw that great film? How could he not be deeply touched by the shocking reality of rabies and the subsequent death of that devoted pet and the snarling, slavering madness which preceded it? I remember seeing the boy in the movie, tears pouring down his cheeks as he watched the unbelievable transformation of his loving pet through the slats of that rough wooden cage. This was a great lesson to the young boy in the movie and also to the child that I was at the time. Love and loss, and the sickness which creeps like a thief through the shadows of life.

Change.

Yellow as a colour can be defined in a myriad of ways. First of all, it is the colour of the sun and a basis for much of the religions which shaped our both our history and prehistry. The solar disc has the mysterious power of the gift of life. Without the yellow sun our Earth would be a dark cold rock floating in the immensity of empty space, devoid of any hope for even the hardiest forms of biological material. No wonder we still look upon that shining face with amazement and a certain amount of trepidation, shielding our eyes with smoked glass as we try to see the flares and prominences which billow far into space from its blazing surface.

And yet, every fall we watch the sun wane in strength and almost die upon winter solstice. Leaves would drop from bare limbs and grasses turn brown and die. The cold snows of winter are soon a blanket of death which presages like echoes of doom, the eternal night which would befall us if the sun failed to be reborn once again. Death and Rebirth is the most ancient myth on the planet for that very reason.

Yellow is also the colour of happiness. Ask any child to pick a colour which means joy and they will more than likely pick that sunny hue. Just being in a room painted in a subtle shade of straw can make me more active mentaly. It is also the colour of warning for that very reason. It makes me more alert. This is also why the radiation trefoil is painted yellow on black and so many highway signs use yellow on black as attention getters to tell us of dangers ahead. When you spot a flash of yellow in nature, you are immediately drawn to focus on the colour. Think of the bumblebee in the back yard and how quickly you can spot it.

And yet, yellow has another side again, a side connected to bravery and cowardice. The ribbon to remember a soldier in combat duty in some distant war zone has the same shade of yellow that we paint down the back of a cowards spine. This is confusing, to say the very least. Yellow is the colour of happiness and lightheartedness and yet also the colour of caution and alarm, cowardice and shame. It also carries with it the disparate connotations of sickness and of energy and vitality.

And so it was with Old Yeller. The brave protective pet who risked his life to save his human friends, yet succumbed to a cruel raving sickness, becoming a threat to the very people he loved. Yellow means change in all its forms...from the promise of spring in the lovely daffodils to the colour of death.
.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 12:53 AM
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Yellow, the color of cowardice and shame, the color of riches. The color of madness, of disease.

It's strange what a little bit of yellow metal will do to a man. Thoughts of riches. The three of us were down in the ravine, passing the summer hot Montana like most boys the age of sixteen do - dead drunk and being stupid. We were just wasting time, walking down by the little river, talking on the way to the swimming hole. It was Bailie who spotted it first, the jaundiced gleam amidst the silt. He pointed, a little unsteady. I swatted at a blackfly, almost dropped my bud.

"Yo, guys...whassat?"

"Dunno. Old beer can?"

"Naw."

"What is it?"

We all got a little closer, pace picking up. In the shadow of a poplar was the tiniest bit of yellow metal, sticking up out of the sand. Matt got down on his knees, examining it. Before I knew it, all three of us were down there, staring at the crumpled, craggy but still bright piece of ore.

"Is it gold?"

"Do I like I know, dumbass?"

"Well, gold is soft. Pick it up and bend it."

Bailie and Matt both went after it, hands scrambling.

"Yo, Pat...there's more of it! This is just the tip!"

I started shoving away sand by the fistful. I was delerious- if it was gold, think about what I could do! I could buy myself a Vette, maybe. Pick up ladies like that, even have some money left over for college. New clothes. New TV and computer. More and gold was exposed to our frantic digging. I was covered in dirt and mud, but I didn't care. The piece of gold went from being the size of a quarter, to being the size of my fist and showing no signs of stopping. I looked up at my friends. Their eyes were wild, wide. I look back, and behind the dreams and hopes of sudden wealth there was something disturbing. A shadow, a calculating shadow. Something sick and twisted and greedy that I ignored because I had my eyes on the prize.

We managed to mine under the big, sharp piece of gold. There was blood where we had nicked ourselves, bled into the sand. The edges of the strike became apparent- it was about a cubic foot, looking back, with that single finger sticking out of the sand just that once. I wondered how many people had simply stepped over or ignored it. How lucky we were. I was spinning, sinking into a singular insanity. Wealth.

"Matt...Matt, get something to pry this bastard out of the ground!"

He got up, started scavenging about behind us. Bailie let out a whoop, looked at me. He was excited beyond words. We clutched and clawed at the gold until I heard the first, sickening crunch.

Turns out, that was Matt clubbing me in the back of the neck with a baseball-bat length of hardwood from a running start. I feel, eyes wide and nerves numbed. Bailie looked up, and Matt gave him about five hits to the head. it just sort of came apart, and I closed my eyes. I heard him work above me, as the pain seeped and crawled through my skull. I wanted to scream, but I couldn't open my mouth. Part of it was fear, cowardice. The shards of my dreams cut on the way out, as I lay there in the hot sun with one of my best friends stealing almost three million dollars of pure gold right from the still-warm hands of his buddies.

They found me the next day, immobile and shattered as I watched Bailie's body sort of drift in the slowly rising water, unable to move. I was a gibbering wreck, the entire experience a stark horror. I spent the next year or two learning to speak again, trying to cope with what happened. Another year was spent in physio, trying to cope with my disablement- Matt's cowardice had left me a paraplegic.

So, i sit here in this asylum, reading and being medicated all day. Endless legends and stories to help me capture the fractured pieces of my psyche. It's like clutching at butterflies. Sometimes, they left me write, and this is what I have to write about. I am reminded of an old Polish legend from one of my many books- a poor farmer was caught on the road home from the market by a fierce storm, and accidentally fell through the roof of a cave of gold. Astounded, knowing he would be able to never work again, he tried to free the biggest piece he could find. He succeeded, and the weight of it crushed him to death.

Five years, and no fairy-tale castles do I dream of. The color yellow stalks my nightmares still.


DE



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 09:29 AM
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both great stories, DE you're brilliant, and your creativity never ceases to amaze me, however Masqua clearly and quite eloquently expressed the color yellow for me in his story and while I enjoyed both, he gets my vote for this round. Now for an overall winner, it's very hard for me to decide, I admire you both as writers and thank you for sharing your beautiful minds with us. Both of you have very different styles of writing but your style are equally comparable. You both are excellent in setting scenes, writing dialogue and setting a mood, spelling and grammar is basically a non issue with you two and I can easily admit to truly enjoying reading your works. Now I know you guys want a winner but like I said it's a hard decision, I'm going to have to call it a tie. Round Three to Masqua, Round Two to DeusEx, but Round One was really difficult, I hate having to choose a favorite, you both wrote really good stories and so when it comes to picking a clear winner, I'm stuck. so deal with it


once again thank you both


readers/writers, please post your comments or send via u2 to DeusEx and Masqua, they deserve your praise and critiques.




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