Author Topic: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!  (Read 25729 times)

Offline thatollie

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2007, 06:45:05 AM »
Quote
I'd rather go with what I thought you were suggesting. That has a lot more of a collaboration feel to it. This just sounds like a writing challenge.
I'm sorry jeanette but this is what I also had in mind when I heard about this. You know what would help a picture of the place, I'm not an artist so I can't do it but I see the wide station with stairs curling off in all directions. The line of odd shops selling "wares from everywhere" The dank little bathroom on the bottom floor with a  line full of anything imagined. I'll finish this later.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline jeanette

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2007, 07:11:06 AM »
Hi Crystal. I looked at your Writers Cafe site. You got some nice reviews! I also posted my original story on another site (writelink) and had some reviewers saying they liked the idea, and thought it would make a good anthology, which was why I decided to throw this open. Of course you can use each others characters if you like. Anything goes.
\"Abandoned\" is available from www.lulu.com/content/2072117<br /><br />\"the Dragon\'s Promise is available from<br />www.lulu.com/content/8075592<br />visit my website at www.jeanettemccarthy.co.uk

Offline jeanette

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2007, 07:12:09 AM »
ThatOllie You don't need to draw it in pictures if you can do it in words. Your description sounds good to me.
\"Abandoned\" is available from www.lulu.com/content/2072117<br /><br />\"the Dragon\'s Promise is available from<br />www.lulu.com/content/8075592<br />visit my website at www.jeanettemccarthy.co.uk

Offline jeanette

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2007, 07:20:46 AM »
Hi Fordy. Good story, like the Station has moderators too! Nice idea, and thanks for contributing.
\"Abandoned\" is available from www.lulu.com/content/2072117<br /><br />\"the Dragon\'s Promise is available from<br />www.lulu.com/content/8075592<br />visit my website at www.jeanettemccarthy.co.uk

Offline jeanette

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2007, 07:22:03 AM »
Hi Gyppo. Nice story. I liked the idea of the "universal bouncer"! It's great how you have all picked up this idea.
\"Abandoned\" is available from www.lulu.com/content/2072117<br /><br />\"the Dragon\'s Promise is available from<br />www.lulu.com/content/8075592<br />visit my website at www.jeanettemccarthy.co.uk

Offline glued

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2007, 01:48:44 PM »
sounds really interesting. Looks like I might be in; once I get back home that is.

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2007, 02:10:38 PM »
Hi Gyppo. Nice story. I liked the idea of the "universal bouncer"! It's great how you have all picked up this idea.

Thanks, Jeanette.  I enjoyed creating him.  The idea came from the film industry where they have certain nameless characters, identified only by their role.  In a lot of Westerns you have 'The Wailing Hag', dressed in widow's black and wailing alongside a freshly filled grave as the 'stranger' rides into town.  She usually runs off and hides, watched by the newcomer, and when he looks around again the 'trio of drunken hardmen' are there waiting to serve as gun-fodder and thus establish his character as fast and deadly.   The old Clint Eastwood 'Dollar' films always had a 'wailing hag'.

If you watch the end credits you'll see all these anonymous parts listed,  'wailing hag/wailing woman',' drunken cowboy', etc.

As for 'Wicked Walter' I truly have lost count of all his manifestations over the years.

Gyppo   
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

crystalwizard

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Re: COLLABORATORS INVITED - EVERYONE WELCOME!
« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2007, 10:15:52 AM »
Crystal, this is great. What an excellent take on the idea: characters created for a game, with no story. The main guy sounds a bit like death, with a hood and no face, is that intentional? Anyway, excellent stuff.

Jeanette, I had to give you an update on this. I submitted my piece to Bewildering Stories and they accepted it. It's running in the current issue, #242. Last night I received a marvelous email from someone who'd read it and I wanted to pass on part of what she said:

===========

"I am sympathetic now to every character in every half-written story that never gets finished and sorry for every character authors leave  unfinished such as incomplete dark figures. 

I will think of your characters sitting in that bar waiting to have a purpose, and I will be sorry for and wonder about real people who for some reason or other feel that they have not been given all they needed and believe that they cannot participate at all."

================

Just had to let you know that your challenge had touched someone so deeply.

Offline Justin

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2007, 03:22:35 PM »
Too Many Damn Detectives



You’d need a carving knife to cut through the smoke in there, the bar.  So thick was it that a guy could get up from his table and get lost for days before finding the john.  So thick was it, it leached the colour from everything so that all inside felt they were in a 1949 movie.  So thick was it that it swallowed completely all sound from the rest of the station – the clack of wooden-soled shoes on marble, the sonorous echo of the announcers calls, the iron against iron grind of moving trains.  But she cleared it in a matter of minutes.

She had the kind of face that made you forget anything else ever mattered, including the cigarette quietly dying between your fingers.  These neglected butts, cigarillos, stogies and occasionally pipes gasped their last in vermillion death throes and their ghosts slipped effortlessly into the grey sea.  And when the last one had expired, the smoke sank into the carpet and she was left standing in the doorway.

She wore a mink that would have been glad to have died to spend eternity wrapped around that neck.  She wore a pastel blue jacket that clung to a figure so hourglass it cut you up that time didn’t stand still when you looked at her.  She wore a pillbox hat that cast a veil over her eyes and her lipstick was the colour of raw flesh.  They all knew it, the could all tell – she was bad news.  And that was just the news they’d all been waiting for.

‘Well,’ she said with an ivy-league educated tongue, ‘Isn’t anybody going to offer to buy me a drink.’

The sound of a dozen chairs being pushed back, a dozen hands being raised in the direction of a barkeep who only ever served whiskey.  Neat or on the rocks, but only ever whiskey.

The guy closest to the door got her, and only because he was the guy closest to the door and got his hands around that mink and started ushering her towards an empty chair at his table.  She sat, legs crossed, leant forward, the angle from thighs to abdomen acutely acute and some would say, well, cute.  Her bare shins glittered in the barlight.  She drew out a cigarette as long and slender as she was, propped it between those two delicious lips and waited.

‘Well?  Got a light?’  A dozen guys reached into a dozen trenchcoats but it was the guy that got her beat them all on account of him being across the table from her.  He cupped the flame as he would outside to protect it from the wind – a habit – he was used to smoking outside, a lot, in alleyways mostly.  She steadied his hand with hers.  It had been a long time since he had felt a woman touch him.  The others looked on, their eyes welling with envy.  None of them had wives.  Some had alimony repayments, some had graves they visited on the same day every year, some were lucky enough to have women they called friends, but none of them had wives.

‘What’s it going to be?’ He asked her, ‘The drink, I mean.’

She asked for a vermouth and thanked him when the barkeep put it down before her.

‘Mickey MacNally.  Private Detective.’  He offered her a business card rather than a handshake – they always did.  The card simply said: Mickey MacNally, Private Detective.  She regarded it for a moment and placed on the table before her, she didn’t pocket it.

‘I’ve got a problem, Mister MacNally,’ she said.

‘Maybe I can solve it,’ he offered,  ‘That’s kind of what I do.’

‘They told me I’d find a private dick in here.’

‘We’re all in here, ma’am,’ he told her and gestured at the others.  Each one sat at his own table, nursing his own whiskey, tugging on the lapels of his own trench coat, measuring the weight of his own .45 in his own shoulder holster.  They all looked on with jealousy at Mickey MacNally now, though.  She was a smokin’ dame, to be sure, but that wasn’t what they wanted.  They wanted the case.  Days, some of them had been waiting, months, even years and all they could do was sip whiskey and smoke cigarettes and pray for the day a smokin’ dame walked in there with a case.  See, they were nothing without the case.  Elsewhere in the station were captains without ships, artists without muses and lovers without partners and they were all in the same boat, so to speak.  These guys just needed the cases.

‘What are your rates?’ She asked him, because they always did.

‘Fifty a day.’  There were guys in there that would have done it for less, but you don’t muscle in on another guy’s game, it just wasn’t the way they did things.  ‘Plus expenses.’

Ah, yes.  Expenses; pay-offs handed to crooked beat cops under railway overpasses, dinners at hotel restaurants, photo developing and ammo.  It added up.

‘Fine,’ she said a little too quickly, maybe he could have squeezed her for sixty.

‘Wanna tell me about it?’ He prompted.

‘Well to be blunt, I am being blackmailed.’

‘Who’s doing the blackmailing?’

‘That’s what I’m paying you fifty a day to find out,’

‘Plus expenses.’

‘Yes.  Plus expenses.  Well, Mister MacNally, whoever is doing this is threatening to tell my father about the man I have been seeing recently.’

‘And you’re father don’t approve.’

‘The only thing my father approves of about my life is that I didn’t turn out like my mother, but that is neither here nor there.  No, my father cares little for my happiness, he would rather barter off my future for a good business deal.  You see he’d just as soon as marry me off to one of his country club buddies in exchange for construction contracts.  It’s how he does things.  Ask my three older sisters – all married to guys twenty years older than them, guys that spend every waking hour at work, guys that don’t love their wives.’

‘Couldn’t you just refuse.’

‘My father is a man not used to taking refusals Mister MacNally.  It’s a matter of stamina and I know neither I, nor my dear Pedro have it.’

‘Pedro’s your fancy man?’

‘Hardly.  He arrived here from Mexico two years ago with nothing in his pockets but mud.  He’s made a nice little business for himself cutting hair.  We’re fine as long as my father doesn’t know about us, but if he did…  I doubt Pedro would have the stamina either.  Maybe my father would threaten him, maybe he’d have him bought off, but either way, it’d be bye-bye Pedro.’

‘And now your father might just know about this.’

‘Yes.’

‘And you trust Pedro?’

‘I love him with all my heart, Mister MacNally.’

‘Love and Trust ain’t the same thing.  Not even close.  So, how has the blackmailer contacted you?’

‘Well, it all started about two weeks ago.  Pedro and I decided to get away for the weekend, get out of the city, get away from the prying eyes that may report back to my father when I got a telegram-‘  And then she stopped, as if she had just remembered that she’d left the stove on back home, though he knew for sure, this wasn’t the kind of lady that ever cooked her own meals.

‘Ma’am,’ he prodded.

‘I’m sorry.’  She recomposed herself, took a drag of her cigarette, a slug of her drink.  ‘Before we get too much into this, do you mind if I ask about you?’

‘Me?’ he was taken aback.  Nobody ever asked him about his life – he was a ghost walking through the tawdry misdeeds of others.

‘I mean, your credentials.’

‘My credentials?’  He downed his whiskey.  It didn’t burn, he was too used to it.

‘Your references.’

‘My references?’

‘Your previous cases, Mister MacNally.’

‘Previous cases, huh?’  He dug two fingers down between his collar and his neck and worked it enthusiastically, vainly trying to cool himself down.

‘You do have previous cases, don’t you?’  She asked, sitting more upright now.

‘Yeah,’ he grunted, ‘Sure I do.  The case of the seven dollar bill, for one.  The case of the one-eyed boxer.  What about the case of the madman on Bleaker street. I got all those cases.’

‘And satisfied customers who can vouch for you.’

He let out a mirthless laugh and glanced at some of the others.  Now it was pity in their eyes, not envy.  ‘Satisfied customers, huh?  That I can’t get for you.  Should that affect our deal?’

‘I should say so.  Why have you no satisfied customers?’

‘It isn’t my fault directly,’ he shrugged.

‘You failed to solve the cases?’

‘No I didn’t fail to solve nothing.’

‘What?’

‘They’re still…’

‘They’re still what?’

‘They’re still pending.’

‘They’re still pending?’

‘Right.’

‘How come?’

‘Don’t ask me.  I was all happy on the trail there.  Every morning get up and find some new clues and slowly piece together what went down.  Next thing I knows is nothing for six months and then I’m back on the street, new case, new client, and it’s all looking good and going well, and whammo!’ He clapped his hands for emphasis. ‘Nothing.  Can’t explain it.’

‘You just stopped?’

‘I just stopped.’

‘Why?’

‘Why?  Jeez, I don’t know.  Higher forces or something.  All I knows is now all I’m good for is hanging out here.’

‘Well, you understand, I need a detective with real experience – someone who has solved cases.’

‘I get it.’

‘It’s nothing personal Mister Macnally.’

‘Sure.’

‘But this is my life we’re talking about.  I can’t take a chance on somebody who’s never solved a case.’

‘Fair enough.’  Resigned he signalled the barkeep – another whiskey.

She stood and went to the next table.  The guy there was skinnier, taller, less-shaven.

He offered her a card, ‘Danny Densmore,’ he started, ‘Private Detective.’

‘And what cases have you worked?’ She asked without sitting.

‘The case of the three-legged dog.’

‘And you were successful.’

He just shook his head and knocked back his whiskey.

‘What happened?’

‘Like he said – all going well and then…’  He shook his head at the sheer inexplicability of it all.  It was no way to live.

She turned to the rest of them and called out, ‘You’re all detectives?’

Calmly, almost apologetically they murmured back an ill-rehearsed chorus of ‘Yes ma’am’s.

‘And which one of you has solved a case?’  She expected some hands to raise, maybe at least one, but none did.

‘None of you have solved a single case?’  She asked.

Some shook their heads, some fidgeted with matchbooks or the melting ice at the bottom of their glasses.  Some even said ‘No.’  But nobody could take that case.

She walked slowly to the door and before leaving turned one last time and surveyed them – all of them with their trench-coats and cigarettes and five, six, seven o’clock shadows, their whiskey and their ulcers, their Berettas and their forty-fives, their tiny offices behind Venetian blinds, their filing cabinets stocked with liquor, their divorce papers and their secretaries called Stella.  And between them, not one single case solved.

She left.  Ten minutes later, her scent, her sweet beautiful aroma realised it had been abandoned and it too left the bar and wandered out onto the platform to look for her.

The barkeep racked up the shot glasses and poured out the whiskey.  He knew what the problem was; too many damn detectives – not enough cases.


« Last Edit: May 03, 2007, 04:01:26 PM by Justin »
"Stories are never finished, only abandoned."  www.justinmaelzer.com

Offline jeanette

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #39 on: May 09, 2007, 08:44:48 AM »
Hi Crystal, congratulations on getting your story published. Very well done! And thanks for sharing your email.
\"Abandoned\" is available from www.lulu.com/content/2072117<br /><br />\"the Dragon\'s Promise is available from<br />www.lulu.com/content/8075592<br />visit my website at www.jeanettemccarthy.co.uk

Offline jeanette

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Re: Collaborators Invited - Everyone Welcome!
« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2007, 08:48:14 AM »
HI Justin, this is very nice. I particularly liked the succinct business card! You obviously know your Chandler/Hammett/Parker, because you've got the tone just right.  :)
\"Abandoned\" is available from www.lulu.com/content/2072117<br /><br />\"the Dragon\'s Promise is available from<br />www.lulu.com/content/8075592<br />visit my website at www.jeanettemccarthy.co.uk