Saturday, November 24, 2007
Writing Exercise Results
The task was to write a scene set at a holiday gathering attended by you, Evil Editor and a fictional character.
I’m finished with this, I said to myself.
I’d just about had it with all the smoochy froo-froo kisses and the grandstanding and the backslapping and the backstabbing one-upmanship series of endurance tests held each November during the family-reunion-from-hell otherwise known as our Happy Thanksgiving.
So when EE offered to host the minion who was most generous with his favorite charity, I suddenly became hyper-charitable and out-donated anyone I had to, so I could come along on a different sort of holiday ride, at least for this one year. And you know what they say, charity begins at home, so giving to others to give EE to myself, well, what can I say, it was a double dose of pleasure.
I had to agree to being blindfolded from the time the cab picked me up at LaGuardia. I figured the blindfold was a small price to pay compared to what my husband was gonna find on his AMEX next month, when he found out he’d be paying an exorbitant amount of money to fund something called the Editors Anonymous Retreat Foundation so I could be here today.
EE’d insisted on the blindfolding bit, I guess so I wouldn’t be able to find him again later on and beg for more. (And I could see myself kinda hangin’ on to his leg later in the day and beggin’ like a lovin’ puppy that doesn’t wanna go back inside her crate when her human daddy leaves her, so maybe he had a point.)
The cab stopped and started in traffic so many times I wondered if I’d ever arrive anywhere at all. Finally there was a stop accompanied by the cab door creaking as it opened wide, and a man’s hand took mine, and I was led inside somewhere, and elevated up several floors. Finally, a door opened with music inside and the warm waft of food and conversation and the clinking sound of glasses. No matter where I was, I was home with those. (And I figured whatever food was there would beat the hell out of a row of Ready-Whip topped pies. Not that I’m against Ready Whip, mind you, but I’ve always found it to be a little wasted when all it was sittin’ on was some pie. What a waste of an aerator, is what I always say.)
My blindfold was unfolded then; it seemed like my eyesight was unfolding as well, sort of like lying out on the beach for hours with your eyes closed against the hot high sun, and walking inside to a dark room later, and seeing stars. Like that. But the stars around me this time were real, real but indistinct; my vision was blurred and the lights were low, so I wasn’t sure I was seeing the sights my brain said I was seeing.
I looked around, blinking hard. There was one masked man. Well, hell, I thought; EE’s really got a mask. Dammit. He was grinning at me through his mask, leaning side-by-side back against an kitchen island concrete countertop with… Indiana Jones. One Indiana Jones and one masked Indiana, both sporting fedoras. Good Lord, let me now give thanks, I thought, for I have been delivered to a double dose of heavenly fictive pleasure.
Let the Ready Whipping begin.
"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving, hysterical, naked," I said, passing the mashed potatoes to EE. He flopped a lump onto his dish.
"You and five million other hippies." EE cut off my quote.
"Not so fast, his great-grandchildren take up the great causes of fairness and equality once again," Captain Jack Harkness said.
"Oh Captain, my captain, you sailed with my ancestors and blasted into space with my descendants. Does that leave me any life worth living or am I just a placeholder in the mad generations that form the past and future?" I asked. Captain Jack shrugged.
"I put poppies on your grandfather's grave."
"Turkey." EE loaded a drumstick into his plate.
"Who me? You're joking. I've defeated every alien invasion past'n present," said Captain Jack.
"No, pass the breast meat."
"Sorry, cranberry?" EE passed the dish to Captain Jack who sniffed and tasted.
"Who made this cranberry? It's famous in the future, minty and cinnamony at once. "
"My own recipe. So what you're saying is that this current flirtation with imperialism doesn't last," I said.
"Not as long as your cranberry recipe."
"Oh?" I sighed, saddened by obscurity of being known only for a cranberry recipe.
"At least you'll be known for something," EE said. His words held great promise for my writing.
"Ah, fashionably late, eh?" my host smirks as he opens the door.
"Sorry," I shrug. "Got caught up in, uh... responding to... um, somebody's blog..."
"Excellent! Come in."
The room is elegantly furnished, yet I have to cut a swath through a layer of crumpled-up pieces of paper.
"My other guest is even later," he says, peering through the curtains. "It's nearly... no, I take that back. It is sunset."
The doorbell rings. My host ushers in a tall figure draped in black, hangs his cape in a closet, but makes no introductions. Odd. We proceed silently to the dining room.
Attempting to lighten the awkward mood, I say, "My goodness. I'm as hungry as a... er, person who... ahhh, hasn't eaten anything in a long time."
My host rolls his eyes, then produces a bottle of Beaujolais, offering it to the other guest for his approval.
"I never drink... wine."
Our meal progresses smoothly but for two curious incidents. Our host, having just cut me a slice of turkey, accidentally pricks me with the carving knife, just enough to draw a drop of blood. Later, unnecessarily, he urges me to loosen my collar. I'm a bit self-conscious with my neck exposed and the other two still models of formality.
"That was delicious," I sigh as I push my plate away.
The other guest rises from his seat, a grimace exposing two razor-sharp fangs. In a flash, he has them plunged into our host's neck. When he's done, he glances at me, my eyebrows as high as those of a person who's been really surprised.
"I knew he liked vampires," he shrugs, pronouncing it "wampires."
"But he didn't know I liked editors. And I love evil. Mmmmm.... delicious."
Scarlet could smell the mustiness of the damp velvet fabric of her dress as she followed the captain to Rhett’s cell. She hoped he wouldn't notice. The cell door clanged open and Scarlet gasped in surprise. Sitting on a bench in the small room was a rotund, mutton-chopped, bookish looking man, aged at least fifty years. The handsome blockade-runner, Rhett Butler, was nowhere to be found.
“Sir, you are not Mr. Butler.”
“Madam, you are correct. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is E, er, Edgar Edwards. I’m an Editor.”
Scarlet reconsidered the situation and smiled prettily at the man. “Pleased to meet you, sir. Do you know when Mr. Butler will return?”
“Why ma’am, I was wondering that myself. I was just about to make a very generous offer when he was called away.”
“What kind of offer would that be?”
“Well, you may not realize it, but Mr. Butler is quite famous. From the docks at Liverpool to the sugar plantations in Jamaica to the Pampas in South America, the name “Rhett Butler” opens doors and brings smiles to many faces. I merely wish to commission his story.”
Scarlet thought quickly. She knew enough about Rhett and what she didn’t know she could make up. She laughed coquettishly and shook her head so the diamond dancing earrings sparkled. “Well, if you know anything about him, you must know what a liar he can be. Oh, where are my manners? I am Scarlet Butler, his sister. I’d be happy to help.”
“Hmm. Well, you may be of some use, after all!”
Scarlet was busy doing calculations in her head and didn’t notice the strange gleam in his eye. As she daintily sat down and arranged her skirts on the narrow bench she coyly replied, “But you did say ‘commission’?”
5. "I never thought I'd buy a ToFurkey," EE said with a roll of his eyes.
"A coven of vegetarian witches raised me from the dead. Somehow they thought that a fellow author..."
"I'm an editor, not an author, mashed potatoes and gravy?" EE interrupted.
"There are no editors only authors. We all write our life stories in some way or other. I wrote of the undead because the world seemed to me to be sliding into the abyss of hate. Pass those things you call Brussels buds."
"Sprouts Bram, little errant fart bombs for short," EE smoothed a pool of gravy on his potatoes and bread stuffing. He attacked the steaming pile with gusto.
"Strange that Fanu didn't hold up to history while that bounder Wilde is celebrated even today." Bram took delicate, tiny bites, enjoying the first morsels to pass through his lips in nearly a century.
"Fanu didn't have an editor like me and Wilde, well everything gay lasts in the modern world."
"A legacy of the Greeks and Romans. I notice they did make Lair of the White Worm into a motion picture for the modern kinetoscope. Thomas did good with that."
"Really? You met Edison?"
"No, just one of his assistants. He died shortly after we met?"
"How strange," EE remarked.
"Indeed. Now if you were an agent..." Bram Stoker smiled to reveal very sharp incisors.
I was just sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with King Solomon when there came a knock on the door. "Who could that be?" I wondered aloud.
"Only one way to find out, EE," Sol said.
"Ah, your wisdom has not diminished with age," I told him. I opened the door, and for a moment thought I was looking into a mirror, until I realized the man standing there was slightly less attractive than myself. "What's the idea?" I asked. "Where'd you get the Evil Editor mask?"
"Whattaya mean?" he replied. "I'm Evil Editor. What are you doing in my house?"
"Better let me handle this," King S. said. "It's right up my alley." He looked around the room and said, "I note that there's a mountain of manuscripts in the corner. You shall each take half of them. Whoever finds a salable book first is clearly the real EE."
"Fine," said our new guest. He grabbed up a manuscript, read a sentence and tossed it, then grabbed another, and another, and another. He was fast, I had to admit.
I went to work myself: I got out a snow shovel and within a minute had deposited my half of the manuscripts in the fireplace, just as the other EE announced he'd found a potential bestseller. "I win," he said, but he hadn't counted on the wisdom of Solomon.
"Get out," the king told him. "You're clearly an imposter. The real EE would never admit to finding a salable manuscript in the slush. Pass the gravy, would you EE?"
Posted by Evil Editor at 9:54 AM