In case you just sort of ran into this, at Gamerswithjobs forums we have a running contest. August's challenge was to tell a story with nothing at all but dialog. This was a mean one, and all my attempts really suck. But this was the least sucky of the bunch.
Working Title: Celedon
Denise: So, this is it? What do I do now?
Voice: <Just hang on a minute.>
Denise: I did what you asked. I found the stupid pendant, I'm hanging it over the stupid pool. So when do I see my son?! If this doesn't work I'm going to pound you into the ground like a tent-peg when I find you!
Voice: <Sigh. Just hang ON a minute.>
Ezekiel: She survived it. Believe it or not.
Gabriel: So now we have to do the rest of it.
Ezekiel: I still don't understand the Boss in all of this. We've got nothing in the books. And they're supposed to cover everything. I mean, look at this list! Why couldn't she just pick a mythos and stick with it?
Gabriel: You know the drill. You're going to have to find us enough common elements to get her into the same realm as the boy. Come on. It isn't that bad. Remember the one we had to do the mouse for?
Ezekiel: Of course I do! I had to be the fargin' duck. My throat still hurts.
Gabriel: I know. No one else has ever tried to do this before. The model has always been if they were alive they would wait patiently at home. Especially the Moms.
Michael: I hope this isn't a new kind of story. We're going to have to make it up as we go along.
Gabriel: You're the best there is. If anyone can do it, you can.
Ezekiel: Sigh. All right. <grumble grumble> Let me see what I can do.
Michael: No. You can take that plan and fold it until it's all corners and....
Ezekiel: Come on! It's not that bad.
Michael: Look. I like the sword. I don't mind the wings. But I am NOT wearing the dress!
Gabriel: That's not a dress. That's a robe.
Michael: You're not helping him here, you know. I'm not wearing pajamas either.
Voice: <Awake, I see.>
Voice: <I told you this would be painful. You're too old for this. It takes too much to pull you out of the world you came from.>
Denise: It didn't hurt him like this?
Voice: <No. He didn't even feel it.>
Denise: Good. Because if I found out you made him feel like this I'd have to kick your ass again. And I'm running out of feet as it is.
"Have at thee!" he roars. It's so loud the window shivers in it's frame.
The upstairs neighbors stomp back and forth across the living room ceiling yet again. They're starting to get annoyed.
"WTHeck!? Look dude, last I checked that was my line. You're supposed to roar inarticulately and send a column of flame perilously close to my shield but actually hitting the fireplace screen." Fumbling through the script with my gauntletted hands, I show him the page. "Can't you remember last time?"
"But you always get to say that. It's not fair." He stomps back over by the fireplace muttering some sort of imprecation in draconic hisses and clicks. Two turns to wrap his tail around his feet and then he hunkers down, nursing his sharply rapped muzzle. He snarfs a big breath through his nose with a gargly sound, but the exhalation just sends a few sparks out past his nostrils. They drift onto the hearth and peter out.
"I didn't write this thing - go complain to the lawyers if you think it would do any good. Oh, and I heard that, smartalec. These pauldrons do NOT make me look fat." They do dig into my shoulder something fierce from where he dented them, though. I dig at the neck and try to adjust it so it isn't cutting off the circulation to my left arm. Doesn't do much good. Using my toe I nudge a couple of the books and DVD's on the floor into the corner. They must have fallen off the shelf when he rammed me into it during the last pass. I creak a couple times as I straighten my back and pick my lance out from between the couch cushions.
We've done this way too many times, I fear. He's getting bored and God help me he's starting to improvise. I'm getting so tired.
Maybe sweet reason will help. I take a deep breath and say, "Look, you're the one who got the really cool ability upgrades last time, not me, you selfish jerk. Those hydra heads must have cost them a fortune." Ouch. Probably could have phrased that better.
I get a dirty look and a snooty toss of his purpling and swelling nose. "Yeah! Well, look how much good it did me. That torch-thingy HURT!"
A grimace is my first answer - I still flinch a bit at that one. I feel bad about it. Not only did it stink to high Heaven, but even the memory of the sizzling makes me queasy. "Do you want some ice for that eye? You're not going to be able to see out of it here pretty quick."
He's not done grumbling, though. "You figured it out too fast. Next time I'm going to get all those books so you won't be able to read up."
Don't threaten the books, man. Bad idea. "Fat chance, Sparky," I snap. "I had that one memorized."
He sits bolt upright, splaying his wings and turning his good eye towards me slowly. "Sparky? Did you just call me SPARKY!?" He steps over the spikes at the end of his tail, raises a forefoot's worth of sharp talons and spits, "Have at thee!" through his fangs.
"Oh for crying out loud," I think. I shake my head and couch my lance. Who am I kidding? They'll always find something to go on, and then here we go again.
I need to do laundry. Not just a little. I mean the dresser is empty sort of need. I need to do laundry like Blue Elf needs food. That means my traditional uniform of geeky t-shirt and jeans is being replaced today with something from the grown-up section of my closet. And since it's 80+ outside, it's a certain
embroidered white cotton blouse. I only wear it a couple days a year, because that's all it takes to remind me why I don't wear it more often.
This thing doesn't just "get" wrinkles. It manufactures them to it's own fiendish specifications. No, that's not the best way to explain it. Manufacturing implies some sort of system or limits. This level of crease
requires some sort of dark pact. I can just see it.
The moment I close the closet after hanging it up all straight and starched it begins the rite. By some sort of cottony osmosis it slouches to the floor, genuflects and then kneels in front of a secret shrine way back behind the shoe-rack and the outmoded monitor. In the deep dark of the night when the omens are most auspicious it begins to chant and offer up cedar and mothball scented offerings to its wrinkly masters. The dim light of morning peeks in the crack under the closet door. With its need sated by the Creased Ones, it is exalted and lifted back onto the hanger to revel in its return to it's natural corrugated glory and await my bleary-eyed summons.
With all the embroidery and my usual 5am stupor as I fumble it out of the closet and get dressed it's more than possible I'll get all the way to the harsh purple light of the cheap fluorescents in the elevator of my office building before I realize the state that it's in. By that time there's nothing for it but to keep going. I can try to steam it a bit when the walking group in my office hits the showers in the locker room after their daily stride-and-gossip sometime around mid-morning, but for now I have a meeting with the coffee machine and an errant mail server. I'm stuck in my furrowed shirt for the duration.
Then the trial-by-coffee begins.
There's that old truism about how if you wear white you'll always spill your coffee on yourself. Happens to everyone. What most people do not know is that this is not a passive problem. The shirt isn't just lying there across your chest waiting for the coffee to strike the first blow. They bow and square off at the center of the mat when you start to pour, and then every sip is a silent struggle along every tight corner, jostling step and distracted sip. Cup after cup, the battle will rage until one is consumed or one is stained.
Like any good soldier, it has its squad mates. It won't trust just any old garment. It needs a grizzled old veteran of many-a-skirmish and today it's got the best. The white camisole that goes with just about every outfit has it's back, as it has for many a sharp young prospect that has fallen before. Its ability to take even a full cup black coffee strike and then survive the Bleaching brings it back from ignominious defeat time and time again. Behind the scenes keeping everything together is the serviceable but perky white foundation
known as "Wires".
The usual coffee and tea tag team called in it's own big guns. The whole seed German mustard from my lunch sandwich made a solid effort but missed its strike and hit the pants leg. There is little damage to the highly defended denim and what is there gets cleaned up with no trouble. An afternoon yogurt tried a drop
off the left side of the spoon but was caught in the other hand.
The day done and the battles won, the shirt basks in the sunlight on the way across the parking lot. In the dishwasher sits the vanquished coffee cup, shaking its handle at an uncaring sky and vowing to return to fight the next day.
Once home, the weary combatants head off to the Dryvel bag to down a few, share old stories and maybe manhandle their way through a dryer-dance or two with that lacy demi-cup that everyone thinks is so hot while I shrug myself into that disgraceful old yellow sweatshirt I won't wear out of the house even just
to get the mail and toss in a load of laundry.