Bad, First Chapter! Bad!

Author’s Note:  Deidra Alexander had a challenge on her blog about writing a bad first chapter. While her take on it was bad enough, I couldn’t help myself. I decided to take up the challenge. And these are the results.

Enter at your own risk….

Isabella Dreamchild’s alarm went off. Late as usual. She opened her long-lashed eyelids, revealing miraculously cerulean blue eyes that sparkled constantly in the light. Her perfectly plump lips opened wide in a delicate yawn. She sat up and stretched her lean, modelesque arms. Her brilliantly blonde hair was like a sunrise of brilliance that sparkled incessantly with every move she made.

She uncovered her long, lean, perfectly proportioned, drool-worthy body and leapt delicately out of bed. (I guess she slept naked. Not sure. I’d like to think she’s wearing clothes, but it sure doesn’t sound like it, does it?)

(Her alarm was still ringing, by the way.)

She pirouetted over to the full-length mirror and admired how her miraculously cerulean blue eyes sparkled constantly in the light. Her perfectly plump lips never needed lipstick because they were not only perfectly plump, they were also a most pleasing shade of red that went with whatever she wore. Her brilliantly blonde hair sparkled like a brilliant topaz in the bottom of a swimming pool. Her long, lean, perfectly proportioned, drool-worthy body was perfectly proportioned and drool-worthy.

“Oh.” She sighed mournfully. “To be cursed with such beauty. What I wouldn’t give to see a blemish on my perfect porcelain skin or even a hangnail on my everlastingly perfect fingernails. But no. I look like this every day.”

She ran her fingers through her brilliant fountain of brilliantly blonde hair that was like a brilliant sunrise in the brilliant side of Maui.

A single tear trickled down her perfect face as she thought of all of her suitors and random guys who opened doors for her and asked for her phone number and asked if she were available Saturday night and….

She wept as only a woman of such grace and beauty can…..with grace and beauty.

And her alarm clock kept on ringing.

https://deidraalexander.com/2017/06/08/day-8-write-a-bad-first-chapter/

 

Captain’s…Log??

Author’s Note:  I was reading a post on rarasaur’s blog and this line leapt out at me and begged to be transformed into a story:

“It’s like a Captain’s Log from a really bad space saga, where the Captain is leaning back in her big chair, knocking the rocks of her whisky, talking about everything except what actually happened.”

How could I resist?   😀  Anyway!  Here we go…

***

“Captain’s Log. Stardate 24601. Captain Elinsa Mellpell speaking.”

She sat back in her chair and contemplated the whiskey carafe. “I would love to have a drink, but I’m supposed to be as sober as a crashing asteroid when I’m doing these log things.”

She grabbed the carafe and quickly poured the lovely, golden fluid into her glass. “Well. If they want me to be sober, they shouldn’t leave things like this standing around. Mm-hmm. Of course, this is my quarters. This is my quarters. These are my quarters.” She took a sip and winced at the sharp sting. “Gah! As I was saying, quarters are this? Can quarters be singular?”

Another sip. “Whoo! This is my quarter. Yeah. That sounds good. This is my quarter! Woo! Great stuff. Mm! Uhh. Stuff happened today, but I don’t want to go into details. If anyone needs details about what went down with the Zenzagari ship and that shipment of explosives and that…that tire iron….uhhh, where am I going with this thought? Well, ask my First Officer about it. She’s good at remember all the bad things. Such a pessimistic little….Mmm.”

Another sip.

“Mmm.” She smiled. “mm-hm. hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm. I love my First Officer. She’s the…bestest. She should be higher than Number One. She should be Number….Zero! Mmm. Love that girl. Umm. This log is running a little long today. I hope no one minds. I’m just so happy and shiny and glossy and mmm.”

Another sip.

“Yep. I think that’s all I need to say for today. I need to get me a nap. Yup.”

 

(h)ummus is the only perk

Devil Take The Hindmost…Or Never Mind

Author’s Note:  I was listening to “Devil Take The Hindmost” from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Love Never Dies” (which is the sequel to Phantom of the Opera). And there were a couple of things that stuck out at me. Especially the Phantom’s “He’s musical therefore he’s my son”. 

So, yeah. I just had to do this:

“Hello, fop.”

Raoul gasped. “You aren’t the bartender!”

The Phantom smiled. “Nope. And you aren’t very bright. Look at you steeped in debt, lousy father, crummy husband, borderline abusive. Oh, and you’re a drunk too.”

“Oh, yeah? Well….” Shoot. I can’t dispute any of those. “Well, you’re ugly! You’re so ugly you make mirrors crack. You make pigeons want to die. Die, I tell you! You’re hideous AND horrible. Take that! Wha!”

“Oh, touché. Or not. Hey. I’m rather unoccupied at the moment and you seem to be a stupid gambler. How about we make a bet?”

“How about we don’t?”

“Oh, but you haven’t heard the conditions. See, I believe that MY Christine loves me.” He scoffed. “As for her feelings for you, psh! What feelings? She totally wants me.”

“Oh, dream on, carcass face. She’s my wife!”

“Well. You sure seem confident. Do you want to hear my bet?”

“Nope. Bye.”

And that’s the end of the musical.

Or….

“You’re full of old tofu and bad curry.” snapped Raoul. “MY Christine and I have a son. You don’t have a son with her. Hence, you lose.”

“Oh? Are you so sure about that? Little junior is such a strange child. Don’t you think? He’s so talented. Musical.”

“Dumb headed Phantom. My wife is freaking Christine Da’ae. Maybe you’ve heard of her. World renowned SOPRANO. As in, oh I don’t know, SHE SINGS!”

“Well. That’s true but—-”

“And aren’t you the one who’s always raving about how great her voice is? Huh?”

“Well. Yes, but—”

“You think boys only get their talents from their fathers? You stupid stupid Phantom.”

“But…” The Phantom sighed and hung his head. “It totally made sense to me.”

“Again. You lose. Good day, sir!”

Raoul grabbed his coat off the bar counter and left.

And that is the end of the musical.

Or….

“Christine.”

“Oh, Raoul. What a surprise. Just marching into my dressing room while I’m trying to get into my performance mind-set.” She gave him a sarcastic thumbs-up. “Great job.”

“Well. See, there’s a problem.”

“What?”

“You know my terrible gambling addiction?”

She gave him THE look.

“Obviously you do. Umm. Well. I was at the bar this morning and stupid stupid Phantom popped out of who knows where and he…uhhh…”

“What did he do this time? Did he Punjab lasso you again?”

He laughed nervously. “No. Uhhh, he and I….umm. Well. I don’t think you should sing tonight. Let’s go back to Paris and—-”

“Raoul. We paid good money to get ourselves over here. I am going to sing. Unless you can give me one good reason not to.”

“Uhh. One good reason.” He flashed a queasy smile. “See?” He flapped his arms in an exasperated gesture. “It’s the Phantom’s fault. It’s all his fault.”

She narrowed her eyes. “What?”

“He bet me that you would sing tonight and I bet that you wouldn’t because of love and stuff.”

“You did what?”

“He said that if you don’t sing, he’ll give up on you and wipe away all of my debts because…apparently he can do that. But if you sing, he’ll claim you and Gustave and—-”

“Oh my gosh! What is wrong with you two?”

“Uhhh, love and stuff?”

“That’s it. That is so it. Forget about the concert tonight and that great big lovely aria he wrote specifically for me.” She grabbed Raoul by the ear and dragged him out of the room.

“Aggaaahh!”

“You are so going to Gamblers Anonymous. And we are going right now.” She snapped her fingers and Madame Fleck dropped out of the ceiling. “Get Gustave and don’t let either of the Giry’s go anywhere near them.”

Madame Fleck did a pirouette, a bow, and she somehow jumped back up into the rafters.

“What’s wrong with the Giry’s?” He winced as she tightened her grip on his ear. “I thought they were your BFFs/substitute family from way back when.”

“Yeah, but things have changed, Raoul. They have changed. They keep giving poor Gustave drop dead looks. I have a bad feeling that one of them is going to try drowning him.”

“What the heck?” He frowned. “Why drowning? Seems kind of specific.”

“Well. Either drown him or shoot him. Take your pick.”

Madame Fleck dropped out of the ceiling with Gustave. “Oh, mother! I was so—-”

“Don’t want to hear it right now, sweetie.”

“Christine. Could you let go of my ear?”

“Not until we reach the Gambler’s Anonymous building and we’re safely inside.” She tugged him out of Phantasia.

And no one died.

And that is the end of the musical.  😀

 

A Phantom Of The Opera Thanksgiving Disaster

Author’s  Note: I realize that these are French characters and there is no reason why they’d be celebrating an American holiday. But I did this just for the fun of it.

Christine Da’ae hummed an intricate snippet of an aria as she made herself a turkey sandwich.

It was Thanksgiving and she had chosen to celebrate it simply.

No turkey to unstuff and stuff back up.

No preserved egg coleslaw.

No mashed potatoes and gravy.

No pie of any sort.

Just a clean and simple turkey sandwich.

“Nice.” She plated the sandwich and carried it to the table.

The doorbell rang.

She gave her sandwich a wistful look before getting up to answer the door.

“Raoul! What are you…”

He grinned wildly from the other side of a large uncooked turkey.

“oh. turkey. uhhh…”

“Happy Thanksgiving, darling!”

She thought about her simple sandwich. “Uh, happy Thanksgiving, but that turkey is not cooked at all.”

“I know! I was going to cook it at home, but then I realized it would be so horribly cold by the time I got here and that wouldn’t be any good. Now, would it?”

She thought about her simple turkey sandwich. “No, I suppose not. Are you going to cook it then?”

“What? Me? I assumed you would.”

She considered slapping him, but she smiled. “Oh, how considerate of you.”

“I know.”

“Well.” She forced a smile onto her face. “Take it into the kitchen and I’ll see what I can do with it.” She thought about her simple Thanksgiving and wanted to cry.

“Oh, could you take it?”

“What?”

“There you go.”

“What?”

“I need to get the gravy cake and the pumpkin pie.”

“But I don’t want—”

“Be right back, darling.”

And he trompsed off, leaving her with a cold, bare naked turkey.

She waddled it into the kitchen and thunked it on top of the stove.

Raoul breezed into the kitchen and flaunted the pie in her thinking space. “Look at this! Have you never seen a more beautiful pie?”

She considered thumping it into his face. “Oh, it’s the thing all right.”

“I knew you’d love it. But honestly who can hate pumpkin pie?”

“My dearly departed father loathed pumpkin pie.”

“What?”

“He said it tasted like baby vomit.”

“What? I mean, really. What?”

The doorbell rang again.

“Oh, I’ll get it.”

She grabbed him by his coat’s lapels. “No. I’ll get the door. You unstuff this beast.”

“What? What? What?”

“You heard me. Unstuff its gizzards.”

“Oh, but isn’t that the woman’s job?”

He asked it so innocently. She realized he probably meant no ill-will. He was just terribly mis-informed about things.

She walked to the door, quietly sorry that she had slammed the gravy cake into his face.

Christine opened the door.

No one was there.

A man’s voice called out from the fireplace, “I’m here.”

He called out from the love seat, “I’m here.”

He called out from the broom closet, “I’m here.”

“Oh, for goodness’ sakes! Come out already.”

The Phantom entered the house and swooshed off his cape. “I’m here the Angel of Death. Oh. One moment.”

He went back outside and returned with something hidden behind his back. He cleared his throat. “As I was saying, I’m here. The Angel of—” He pulled out the largest Black Forest ham she’d ever seen. “—-DEATH!”

“Ham.”

He blushed. “Compliments from my Christine. I will write this in my love journal tonight.”

“Whatever. Take it into the kitchen.”

“Hold on.” He gave her the ham. So, she had no choice but to hold on. He took off his wide-brimmed hat to reveal a glass casserole dish filled with…some sort of pink and red and white glop?? A blueberry pie balanced on top of it. “There! We will go into the kitchen together, my Christine, and we will have a glorious feast.”

“Yeah.” She thought about Raoul’s offerings. “It will be a feast all right.”

They entered the kitchen.

Raoul had taken off his suit coat and rolled up his shirt sleeves. He pulled out the different gizzard packs.

He looked like he was twelve thousand miles from thrilled.

“Okay, put the pie over there somewhere. Keep it out of my way.”

Raoul raised his head. “What? But I.”

He saw the Phantom.

The Phantom saw him. “Insolent boy, you fop. You—”

Raoul picked up one of the gizzard packs. “Don’t go insulting me, you bloated carcass of ugly!”

“Ugly? Yes. Yes, I am ugly and hideous and—”

“Raoul! That turkey isn’t going to unpack itself. Phantom! Put the ham on the—-”

“Ham?” Raoul stopped unpacking again. “You brought a HAAAAAMMM?”

“Yes and it is beautiful. Like my Christine is beautiful.”

Raoul threw the gizzard pack on the counter. It splooshed open. “She is my Christine.”

“Hahahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahhahahhaha—-”

“Shut up! You ugly old—”

“Raoul! Phantom! Stop the kibitzing. Work or get out of my way.”

Raoul returned to work.

Phantom whooshed off with the ham.

“I bet he’s going to eat the whole thing.” Raoul muttered.

“Raoul! Turkey. Unpack. Now!”

He sighed and went back to work.

***

Five hours later

The Phantom sat at his end of the table with his enormous black coated ham, mysterious casserole, and blueberry pie.

Raoul sat at his end of the table with his enormous cooked turkey and his pumpkin pie.

Christine sat at the mid-way point with her simple turkey sandwich.

The two men sat there, glaring at each other. Neither one was even trying to eat.

Christine ignored them and their stupidity and ate her sandwich.

Raoul spoke first. “Ham is a stupid thing to eat for Thanksgiving.”

That was all it took to set the Phantom talking. “Pumpkin pie is for losers.”

“Blueberry pie is depressing.”

“Turkey is ugly.”

“Ohhh, and you would know all about ugly.”

Phantom’s glare deepened.

“Wouldn’t you?”

“Just like you would know all about how to dress like an idiot.”

“I call it dressing fashionably. Not that you would know anything about fashion.”

“I know all about music. Music trumps fashion.”

“Ha! Try walking down the street dressed up in music sheets.”

“Why? You’ve tried it already?”

“Boo! That was weak, old man. Weak! Boo. Boooooo!”

“With age comes wisdom. Which is probably why you’re so stupid, little boy.”

“BOOOO! You’re sinking so low! BOOOOOO!”

Christine finished her sandwich and contemplated the two men’s offerings. I already had turkey. Hmm. I’ll have a slice of ham. It does look good.

Phantom rose to his feet. “Insolent boy! You should be grateful that I left my Punjab lasso at home.”

“You did? Really?”

“Yes. I thought I was going to have a nice, peaceful dinner with MY Christine. No need to bring a Punjab for that.”

Raoul pounded his fist on the table as Christine sliced off a chunk of the ham. “She is NOT your Christine.”

“Well.” Phantom sat down and readjusted his mask. “I don’t see any wedding rings.”

Hmm. This is really good ham. She reached over and cut another piece.

“Because I haven’t proposed yet.”

“Then, she isn’t YOUR Christine. HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH!”

“Shut up!”

‘AAAHHHH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAAAA!”

Raoul pounded the table again. “I said, shut. Up!”

Christine licked her fingers. “Mmm. Good ham.” She considered the Phantom’s creep-awful casserole. “Nope. Not happening.” Hmm. Dessert. Blueberry or pumpkin? Blueberry or pumpkin?

She shrugged. I’ll just have them both.

“You want me to shut up? Go on, you infant.”

“Infant?”

“Make me shut up.”

“Ohh, you asked for it.” Raoul picked up the pumpkin pie.

Christine’s mouth dropped open. No. He wouldn’t. Not the pie!

“Take thiiiiiis!”

“Raoul! Nooooooo!”

He threw the pie.

His aim was horrible.

Unreasonably horrible.

The pie turned a sharp left and splooted Christine in the face.

Her outrage levels broke through the ceiling.

Phantom gasped. “My Christine! How dare you do that to MY CHRISTINE!’

“Phantom, don’t—-”

He picked up his blueberry pie. “Let it be war upon just—” He threw the pie. “—YOU!”

His aim was even more inexplicable.

The pie wound upside down on top of her head.

And that was the last straw.

***

Phantom sat on the porch step with Raoul. The mysterious casserole fell from his hair in thready, oily clumps. “Remind me to never upset my Christine again.”

Raoul turned his turkey covered head to Phantom and nodded. The carcass wobble unsteadily, but it stayed put.

Both men sighed.

Writing About…Having Fun

bertie-as-mutt

Sometimes when I’m working on a story, my characters will just grab the reins and take over. They will say and do things that make me laugh out loud or cringe.

In one of my off-line stories, my MC, Andrew Barnes, is trying to convince the Princess to let him be her hero. Of course, she doesn’t want him to be her hero. She’d rather choose someone respectable from the local Heroes Guild. In the course of the conversation, he sits on her desk and this conversation takes place:

“Get off of my desk.”

 Andrew grinned. “You don’t like me sitting here, do you?”

 “Of course, I don’t. It’s rude and disgusting. Please get off.”

“Nah.” He sprawled out on the desk, knocking her stack of papers and two polished crystal paperweights onto the floor.

“Oh! What do you think you’re doing? Get off at once!”

“I’ll get off as soon as you tell me where we’re going.”

“I’ll do no such thing.”

 “Too bad.” He tucked his hands under his head.

“Oh, you’re awful!” She bent over and picked up the papers. Why couldn’t a more genteel hero have found my advertisement? Why did a lout like him have to steal it?

“Ahh.” he sighed. “This is the life. Lying on a nice, firm desk in a beautifully decorated room without a single thing to do.” He leaned over and looked down at her. “Hey, I don’t want to get a stiff neck or a sore back. Tell your servants to bring up a bunch of pillows. Oh! While they’re at it, have them bring a plate of grapes, some bread, a nice chunk of meat, and a cup of your best wine. Better! Tell them to bring the whole bottle. That would be perfect.”

I wasn’t planning for him to do any of that. It took me by surprise and cracked me up because it felt so right for him. It was also a lot of fun to write.

A Squabble Between Thieves

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“Look. Jim. I’m just sayin’ we have this whole big bundle of loot and we’re just sitting here in this dinky cabin like we’re waiting to get caught.”

“Well. Don’t blame me, Pete.”

“Huh? Who else am I gonna blame? Huh? Who? It was your idea to come here.”

“Oh, and your idea of hiding out in Nebraska was all that hot?”

“Hey! Don’t hate Nebraska. I’ve had a lot of good times there.”

“I have no idea what you mean.”

“What I mean is Nebraska is da bomb. Anyway, it would be a whole lot better than being stuck in this 2 x 2 cabin with you.”

“You think I wanna share this cabin with you?” Pete stuck his face into Jim’s face. “HA!”

“Eeeugh! You packed a toothbrush. Why don’t you ever use it?”

“Oh. So now you’re gonna nitpick on my hygiene. Is that it?”

“Yeah. I’m ‘gonna nitpick’ on your hygiene. You’re not hygienic.”

“Oh, and you’re just made out of soap petals, aren’t you?”

“At least, I don’t stink like a two year old dirty diaper.”

“That was low, Jim. Too low.”

“If you want, I could aim a little lower.”

“You do and I’ll kill ya. Heck. I might just kill you anyway. Then, I’d have all of the money to myself.”

“And you’d still stay in this cabin. Boring. Stupid. Plain. Ugly. Dull. COMPLETE MORON!”

“Complete moron? COMPLETE moron? That does it. That insult has broken my back.” Pete pulled out his gun.

“Threaten me, will ya?” Jim pulled out his gun. “There’s only one way for this to end.”

“Yeah, with you dead and me with all of the money.”

“Stupid. No. With you and me whoopin’ it up in good old Nebraska.”

“But I don’t want to go to Nebraska!”

“Fine. Then, give me my share and I’LL go to Nebraska.”

“Fine! The money bag is in the abandoned fridge in the old coal mine. Take your share and split.”

“Sounds fair to me. Just so you know: If you shoot me when I turn my back, I’ll turn into the ugliest ghost you ever did see and I will haunt you. I will haunt you so much you’ll develop blisters on your ugly old mug.”

“Beat it or I’ll shoot.”

“Fine. I’m leaving.”

“Fine!”

***

Jerry the Super Ranger ducked below the window and considered his options. He could fly to the old coal mine, grab the stolen money, and return it to the authorities. That would be the honorable and expected thing to do.

Or he could fly to the old coal mine, grab the stolen money, and go whoop it up in the Aleutian Islands.

Well. he figured. I need to get over to the mine. He smiled. Then, we’ll see what happens.

Writing about Certain Phrases

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There are certain phrases that just make me smile. And here are three of them (along with a semi-reasonable explanation about why they amuse me so much):

Epic Fail – I imagine this as a failure so big an orchestra appears out of nowhere and plays epic music to accompany the failure. Drums. Gongs. Cymbals.  At least five cathedral-sized pipe organs. And there’s a choir singing awesome, fierce music.   It’s just so awesome. And epic.

Microphone Drop – It’s just so bad attitude. It’s in your face, “I’ve made my point. Ain’t interested in feedback. Bye, losers.”

Jazz Hands – This one is funny to me because of the actual visual – holding your hands in front of your face, shaking them, and saying, “Yeah. Jazz Hands.”

There are other phrases, but it’s those three up there that get me every time.