Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Excerpt from "Image"

First, a little background dump leading up to the exceprt: Alayna (an escapee from Purgatory) had been rescued by the Archangel Michael in order to help her get out of her current predicament, which was helping Kevin ruin Keisha's (who is his crush) reputation. Alayna, Michael and Ralphie (Archangel Raphael) are at Keisha's condo to take care of Kevin and to make things right with Keisha. In this excerpt, we pick up the action where Alanya is returning Keisha's body back to her.

Alayna counted to three and dropped straight back. Like planned, it was a seamless fit. However, considering it was being done for the third time in less than twenty-four hours, there were a few bumps along the way. For one thing, Alayna had to fight a strong urge to throw up. Seems that Keisha was pumped so full of drugs that she was starting to experience a major backlash to them. For another, while she was trying to reconnect the body to the head, Keisha's body was resisting rather strongly the original connection. She was finally able to do the reconnect when she promised the body that she would indeed remain a distant part of Keisha's life.

The last bump in the road was the toughest one to take because no sooner than the transition was completed, Alayna was inexplicably shoved off the bed. Pulling herself up to her knees, she threw a questioning look at Michael, who in turn threw one at the sinner standing next to the bed. She leaned over, lifted an eyelid and gazed into the eye for a few seconds. Not sure what kind of answer to give but knowing she had to give something, she simply arched an eyebrow.

Slamming her hands down on the bed, Alayna stood up and got herself ready for action. She fluffed her hair and once again a surprised look came over Michael as over one dozen different types of lethal snakes suddenly appeared, with fangs bared and oozing venom. The surprised look quickly changed to horror because the next thing he saw, which caused him to scramble to the other side of the room, was one dozen miniature versions of Mother Nature's most lethal four legged animals erupting from her collars and sleeves, with teeth bared and dripping with blood.

Narrowing her eyes, she has such a look of pure evil spread across her face that Michael reflexively reached for his pendant of symbols while the sinner simply gave her a rictus grin in approval. Giving Keisha one last mournful look, Alayna put her game face back on and left the bedroom to take care of business.

After spending the last fifteen minutes absorbing phantom body shots from a guy blowing a trumpet and having his mind probe by another who stepped straight out of Fangoria magazine, Kevin's state of being was resting somewhere between the safe concrete walls of today and the volatile sandpit of the future.

To say that Kevin was becoming unglued would be an understatement. No longer sure of what he was seeing was actually real, he quickly retreated into the confines of his subconscious. For all intents and purposes, he was for the moment, on life support. However, that was about to change as Alayna announced her presence and abruptly brought him back to the present.

After she'd left the bedroom, Alayna made a detour to the second sinner and did a brief ten second mind probe. Smiling, a black mamba lashed out and sank its fangs deep into the man's neck. She caressed the man's cheek while she waited for the mamba to drain the bitter nectar out of one of the chosen damned souls of Hell.

Once it finished, she gave the man the briefest of kisses, threw Michael a look that burned a hole through the bedroom wall, before taking off to the living room via the front door. At the entrance way, she fled her wrist and sent a one thousand volt bolt of fetid electricity blasting through the living room. It missed Ralphie by mere inches but nailed Kevin square on the forehead.

Kevin felt himself being forcibly ejected from the safe confines of his self-conscious and being dragged kicking and screaming back to the harsh reality of the present. When he opened his eyes, the first thing that he saw was the soft golden aura of Ralphie, and that brought a weak smile to his lips. The second thing he saw, which curdled his blood and snapped his vocal cords in two, was Alayna in all of her hellacious glory.

Voicing a scream that no one alive heard, Kevin watched as Alayna strolled over to the lounge chair, sat down and straddled his waist in a kneeling position. Closing his mouth for him, she then took out a straight edge razor and with two flicks of the wrist, cut off his ears. Within seconds, the both of them were drenched from head to toe with blood.

Licking her lips, she stretched out her arms and hands before leaning back until she was eye to eye with Ralphie. Holding her gaze steady, she let loose with a high operatic wail that not only froze both archangels where they were, but unleashed her entire menagerie and the two remaining sinners. Kevin watched in stomach churning horror as not only was Alayna licked clean but so was he as well.

Suddenly, as if on an unseen signal, the menagerie and the sinners withdrew, leaving Alayna radiating pure wholesome evil with just a hint of jasmine, and Kevin wishing he was dead. Sitting back up, Alayna ran her hands through her hair until she found her black mamba. Stroking its chin calmed her down enough so that she could refocus on the end result: her solitude.

Kevin watched her stroke the snake and wondered what was going to happen to him next. He didn't have too long of a wait as he suddenly felt Alayna's empty eyes burn a hole straight into his cerebellum while her voice intensified the burning to an unparalleled level of pain.

In a voice that was both sultry and chilling, she said, "I know that Hue would've never given me up on purpose. How the hell did you find out where I was?"

Kevin tried to speak, but the only thing they came out was a small spurt a blood.

"You can't physically speak."

Kevin hesitated in answering, but seeing how he really had no choice in the matter, in his mind he said, "He was doing a weeklong fuckfest with a friend of mine and let slip that he and this woman were on the run from the law."

"What?" said Alayna, who amped up her rage by siccing a rabid beaver on him.

Kevin screamed in pain and sprayed blood down his chest. "Alright! I was working a robbery scam with a friend of mine! She pumped them up with drugs, got the info about you and turned him in! Far as I know, he's somewhere sucking up the sulfur!"

Alayna grabbed his face and began squeezing hard enough to make his teeth out of his mouth. As each one started protruding through the lips, a ravenous chipmunk would run down her arm and pulled the tooth out. After about a minute of this, in which he lost about a dozen teeth, Kevin screamed, "No more! No more! Please, I beg of you!"

Smiling, she stopped squeezing and called off the chipmunk. Turning up the heat, she said, "I do believe that your brain is slowly frying to a crisp. So, before it becomes a meal for one of my pets and thus you becoming a nonfunctioning unit, why did you decide to bother me with your pathetic little plan of revenge in a futile attempt to ruin an innocent person’s life?"

Kevin began hemming and hawing, but when Alayna had a weasel start to chew on one of his fingers, he cried, "Please, make it stop chewing my finger!"


"Oh God, the pain!" he cried. Taking a moment to collect his thoughts, the words soon began pouring out like a cut on hemophiliac. "I was in love with Keisha but she wouldn't even give me the time of day! I figured that if I could somehow make her see the error of her ways, she would have to come crawling back to me!"

"By ruining her reputation?"

"It seemed like a good idea at the time! I figured I would her reputation in shreds and, oh God, it's starting to chew on another finger! I'm begging you, make it stop!"

"You aren't done yet,” she said in a tone that chilled even the sinner standing guard over Kevin.

"Shit!" said Kevin, who spat out more blood, before going back to his story. "With me being the only one who would defend her against the lies and innuendos, she would see me as her knight in shining armor!"

"And you involved me because?"

"Oh God, it's doing another finger!! Umm..." At this point, Kevin was rapidly losing consciousness. Reluctantly, she called off the weasel and slapped him back to reality.

"Wh... what? Umm... I got you involved because I needed someone who could destroy a person with a clear conscience!"

"Threatening me and my children, was that part of the plan as well? Tell the truth, because you know the truth will set you free."

"It... it will?"

"Of course."

Kevin got no further than saying, "Yes." before Alayna detonated. Raising her arms, she let loose with two monster lightning bolts that literally blew the roof off a condo.

Grabbing Kevin by his shirt, she brought him closer until they were touching noses. Giving him one last passionate kiss, she said very quietly, "It sucks to be you."

With that statement, her body exploded with life as the menagerie came screaming down her arms to attack and devour Kevin. Alayna held him in place and watched with delight as her loved ones reduced him skin tissue by skin tissue, body part by body part, and finally organ by organ, until there was nothing left to him except the grease spot that was coating the shirt that she was still holding.

Carefully placing the shirt on the chair, she got up and snapped her fingers. Instantly her menagerie got to cleaning her off and as each one finished, she gave it a kiss as it disappeared back into either her hair or the outfit. When all was said and done, she snapped her fingers again, and became engulfed in a black sulfuric cloud of foulness that made everyone in the condo become sick to their stomach.

When the smoke cleared, Alayna was dressed in the clothes that she was wearing on the first day here: a soft baby blue sweater with a plunging neckline and a soft green blouse with a semi-plunging neckline, sky blue blue jeans and a pair of cowboy boots. Walking over to Ralphie, she gave him a kiss on the cheek and said, "Thanks." before giving his cheek a lingering touch as she casually strolled down the hallway to the bedroom.

Entering the bedroom, she saw that Keisha was still asleep, the female sinner standing guard and Michael reading a book. Bending over to read the spine, she said, "Cute. You're reading The Divine Comedy. Brushing up on the nine circles or on the eight levels?"

Michael closed the book and said, "I like reading non-fiction."

Alayna gave him a smile and a touché gesture. "Anyways, I want to thank you for all of yours and Ralphie's help today. I don't know how I can repay the both of you for this, other than to say that so long as I’m left alone by the human race, I will be on my best behavior. Now, I really do have to fix Keisha's life and get her back to what she was before I stupidly got in the way."

Michael smiled and waved the sinner out of the room. Turning to Alayna, he said with great sincerity, "You really are a unique individual. Remind me never to get on your bad side. And speaking of bad side, I really am sorry for what I did to you last night."

Alayna walked over and gave him a brief kiss on the lips. "I know you are, and I really do appreciate the heartfelt apology. Please, don't go beating yourself over what you did. It does take two to tango, and quite frankly, it's been at least a couple of decades since I got any, and it was well worth the wait. Take care of yourself and be sure to stop by to visit from time to time. Never know what you might get when you do.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Errors In Writing #1

Click here for the connecting post

My friends, here are the examples of what I didn't do right when I first started this fascinating journey.

1) Improper sentence structure (or rather, paragraph structure): As Wally hurriedly made his way across the park (to get away from the menacing crowd), he noticed that a change, however slight, had come over the park. No longer was there a carefree attitude permeating, but instead a fetid cloud of gloom suffocating. It took Wally only a minute to remember as he found a person that helped him this morning and who told him what went on after he left the park. That person told Wally ‘that the guy he caught was a serial child rapist who was currently out on bail (BAIL??) for sexually assaulting a 3 year old.’ Figures, thought Wally. ‘His partner was also out on bail for child prostitution.’ (Excuse me?) ‘What kind of judge’, the man continued, ‘would let two sick fucks like that out on bail? Oh wait; we live in New England where things like this are the norm. And you know what the scary part is? That the guy will try to press assault charges on you, and a sympathetic judge will probably let him do it.’

2) Improper usage of adjectives and adverbs: You name it, I wrote with the -ly attached to it. Almost every paragraph had an overabundance of adjectives and adverbs.

3) Improper dialogue structure (how not to write a phone conversation): “Yes. What is on your pretty little mind now?”…. “Really? That is an interesting thought.”…. “As a matter of fact, I would like that very much.”….. “What? You’ll meet me when?”…. “That’ll be kind of tough to do, I’m going out tonight.”…. “Yes, I do want to do that. However, tonight is not feasible. Now is feasible.”…. “Where am I now? I’m in a small park about three miles from where my family camps. You know the place I’m talking about? Yes, that’s the one.”…. “Well, if you can get here in about 10 minutes, we can discuss it, otherwise it will have to wait until Monday.”…. “YOU’RE WHERE???”

4) Proper scene breaks: This was a no-brainer, as in I wrote every single scene with no more than three paragraphs before double entering to signify a break within the same scene. In other words, in point number 3, the example was the beginning of an encounter between Wally and his forbidden love Azalea. If properly written, it would've been about a quarter page in length. However because of the way I was writing the story, that scene, although a quarter page in length, was stretched out to two pages.

5) Not using the writing guides that were available: Also a no brainer. Only guide I used was the 6th edition of The Gregg Reference Manual, which I got when I went to business school in 1994. So yeah, I was using a guide that was 12 years out of date.

6) Chapter breaks: Yeah, originally I wrote the entire thing with no chapter breaks. Repeat, No. Chapter. Breaks. Instead, I broke each section off and numbered it, I II III IV, and so on. Wound up with 120+ parts (and 90K words) before I figured out it was the wrong way to write this thing.

7) Improper font. Yeah, I did this the hard way too. I didn't like Times New Roman or New Courier, so I first started writing with the funkiest fonts I could find. Like what? Like Papyrus. Like Bradley Hand. Like Franklin Gothic. I finally settled on writing the first draft in Bookman Old Style, second draft in the font that you see here, which is Georgia, and third draft became Palatino Linotype. Font size? 11 point. Or 10 point, depending on my mood and frame of mind.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Complaint

My original e-mail complaint about being banned/blocked from their Facebook page. Editing was done to eliminate my full name and e-mail addy.

From: G

Banning me from your Facebook page only shows how thin skinned you really are to criticism from radio listeners. Seems to me that the program director needs to step down and let someonewho has a thicker skin do the job. Or at the least, get off the air.

Now, "his" response. Editing was done to eliminate my full name.

"I'm never on Facebook and from what I understand the jocks let everyone have their say for a week and started getting rid of the most abusivesince the page is for jocks and fans. If you're not a fan why would you be on anyway? The owner runs a business, non corporate or not hedoesn't want to lose money. So we had our 3rd round of layoffs to stayrock, stay live and local, and stay in business. Do you think if Maryand Holden had killer ratings he would've let them go? He made hischoice and we all have to live with it. Don't blame me or the jocks, blame the economy. You've had your say; I would hope you would stay with WCCC and the new more music less talk approach but if not there area ton of radio stations to listen to (I personally think they all suck but you know what they say about opinions) I can't get off the air they save a ton of money. Hopefully I'll get better soon. Nothing personal G I assume the jocks just got sick of the abuse they do not deserve. Hey I still like you!!!"
Note: I did not reply to this e-mail because I'm not sure if I would be able to keep a civil tongue while deconstructing this response with my usual amount of sarcastic clarity. Sometimes its best to let things stay at the point of live and let live.