Story Time: Fantasy

Very little editing and mostly word-for-word from the notebook it was written in. Editing be damned, coherency be damned, etc. This was brought on by an article I read recently.

Word count is 599 words (lol). I’m pleased with it, so let’s share it!

~*~

Title: Fantasy

 

I like watching them squirm in the first few moments of waking up in my care. Every single person wakes up differently. Some come to on their own, groaning a bit from the chemical-induced hangover, and slowly move their head. Some jerk awake, as if from a nightmare. Some only start to wake up after a soft knock on their head.

Normally, it takes them a few before they realize they’re taped to a chair, and this new one was no different.

“I hear you like fantasies.”

He can’t respond to me. I made sure the ball gag was tightly wedged in before wrapping the bright, hi-lighter pink duct tape around his head. Having his eyes widen, in fear or surprise, makes me want to do a happy little jig, but all I can do is smile. I can’t let him see me being too excited—that would ruin the fun.

“Y’know,” I started. “You’re a lot heavier than you look.”

He looks around, no doubt taking in the setting, and looks like he’s trying to keep his mounting panic in check. I’m not sure if he’s realized he’s only clad in a t-shirt and boxers.

The area’s not much to look at, built and kept sparse enough to look like an old work space. The floor was mostly dirt and the walls of the building look like they could collapse at any moment. A few lights are scattered around and here I am, sitting on an old metal stool beside a scarred, old table with a handful of things scattered on the surface that he can just barely make out.

“Only thing that can hear you is animals.”

His head shot back and he glares at me while my grin just gets bigger.

“Ok, I lie.”

His look of disbelief is enough.

“Anyone who hears your pathetic cries here won’t help you.”

I crack my knuckles, to give a few moments to let what I said sink in. there’s really no reason to give this guy any hope of help like I normally do.

“If anything, the only person who is probably going to hear you is Mike,” I pointing a thumb behind me.

“Keep me out of your villain talk, Maggie,” my brother grumbles and the glare from the guy I’ve brought is something I will cherish.

“I’m not the villain,” I purposefully turn away from my guest. “Think of me as The Punisher. A sort of vigilante justice.”

Mike snort-laughs, ruining my description.

“Frank Castle doesn’t need help dragging a pudgy Nazi into a car.”

I poke at my guest’s knee with a hammer, “you should feel bad about that comment. Not the Nazi part, though.”

I grabbed the hammer, damn. That’s the wrong tool. Where’s my boning knife?

Ah, there it is.

“You,” I point the tip of the knife towards his mid-section, “are a scourge.”

He makes a snort-grunt noise, as if to deny this.

“You have happily, and eagerly, stated your views on how women should be property,” I kneel to the left side of the chair. “You’ve stated your feelings and beliefs towards incest and rape.”

I think I’ll start with the top of the shoulder.

“You justify your actions by claiming women have rape fantasies,” the first cut is always the nicest. I get the best surprise noises.

“We’ll work on fantasies.”

I stop as I reach the elbow and stare at his face.

“My fantasy is to remove people life you.”

I don’t tell him Mike’s only here for his skin. His client is a huge fan of pasty flesh.

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Story Time: Haunted House

I’ve been sitting on this story for a few weeks, going back and forth on whether or not to see if I can submit it somewhere (magazine, look through anthology calls to see if it fits, nosleep) or just post it up here. I’ve figured I can post it up here because, hell, why not? I like to share.

~*~

Working title: “Haunted House”

There was a house down the street from where I lived as a kid that was known to be haunted. It’d been abandoned since before my parents were kids, or at least that’s what they claimed. I never saw a “For Sale” sign in the yard, so I don’t know what was going on with it. Like, I don’t know if it were owned by the bank or someone who just didn’t have the heart to get rid of it because it was some much-loved family member’s house.

It was a traditional haunted house. Dead grass was the yard, weeds growing over the pathway towards the front porch and where flower beds should be, front porch sun-bleached and slowly sagging, some of the window shutters either hanging askew or missing completely. It was a two-storey house, complete with attic and quite possibly a cellar.

Stories were handed down from older siblings to younger, elder neighborhood children told the younger bunch, and parents who knew the stories would laugh them off and tell the scared ones that their elder brother or sister was just telling tales to scare them.

Every so often, a group of kids would dare each other to go in and spend the night, but not much would happen. A squeak here, a groan there. Someone would scare themselves silly walking around an abandoned house in the middle of the night with nothing but a flashlight.

The summer I was 12, I remember it had been a handful of years since the last group of kids had decided to go in. Max, the guy across the street from my house, had gone in on a dare to go into the attic, and had wound up breaking his leg after stepping through a rotting step. The parents in the neighborhood had gathered us all up to give us The Talk about breaking into houses and, well, killing ourselves being stupid. It was a mild summer and the arcade had been shut down for some reason that my brother Ben refused to talk about besides muttering about “sick freaks.”

We were bored. Ben had been grounded and his keys hidden from him, so he was stuck with me.

“Hey Aaron,” Mikey walked up to the front porch where we were being lazy.

“Hey Mikey.”

“We’re going to go up to that house, wanna come?”

Ben frowned, putting his comic book down on the porch. “Why?”

“Max thinks he found something cool.”

“What? His balance?” Ben snorted.

Mikey laughed a bit, “He said we can look around during the day. No harm, no foul.”

I looked over at Ben, who shrugged. “It’s been a while since anyone’s been in there.”

“Mom said no.”

“Mom’s at work and won’t know.”

“No, Aaron.”

“Come on, Ben. I haven’t been in there.”

“It’s not like there’s anything interesting in there. Just a bit of dusty furniture.”

“But I haven’t been in there. It’s not fair.”

“Come on, Ben. It’s a haunted house,” Mikey added. “And it’s not like we’ll be there at night. Besides. It’s a group of us going so it’s not like anyone is going to get hurt.”

Ben sighed, no doubt remembering how loud of a high-pitch wail Mikey could still belt out when he wanted to and checked his watch. “Alright. Mom won’t be home for another few hours. I’ll leave a note for her just in case, saying,” he glared at the both of us, “We got bored and decided to take a walk around the block. Agreed?”

I nodded, “Yeah.”

Ben pointed at Mikey, “Agreed?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Mikey, if you tattle, I’m telling our mom and yours that you convinced Aaron to go with you when I went inside to take a leak and had to go hunt your asses down.”

“Ugh, fine.”

Mikey and I watched my brother go inside the house to write a note beside the phone. I remembered when Ben went inside the haunted house, a month or two before Max had gone in and broken his leg. He’d gone in with a few of his friends, but wasn’t able to stay longer than a few minutes since one of those friends wound up scaring themselves stupid with a flashlight and a mirror. Mikey was practically vibrating from excitement while we waited. It felt like an eternity had passed before Ben finally came out and shut the door.

“Why do you have a flashlight? It’s still daylight,” Mikey whined.

Ben rolled his eyes, “Not every room has windows, stupid.”

We started walking towards the house, and I saw a few other kids slowly making their way over as well. I guess Mikey or some other kid had gone and convinced others to come and explore.

Sure, it was daylight. It was only like 2.30, so we had plenty of time to walk down, search the house, and get home before Mom noticed we’d done anything. She wouldn’t be home until about 5.45, so that was what? Like just over 3 hours. That was more than enough time!

“If Mr B spots us,” Ben started, “we’re screwed.”

Mikey snorted, “If Mr B spots us, he’s not going to do anything.”

Mr B was an old man, known mainly for being grumpy against everything that wasn’t the roses beside his porch. He wasn’t like other people. If your soccer ball landed in his yard, he’d kick it toward you, mumbling about “stupid kids” with “terrible aim.” He was a harmless old curmudgeon.

I nodded in agreement with Mikey, “Ben, Mr B won’t do anything.”

Ben shrugged, “I’m just saying.”

“Whatever man. Max said to meet him around back. I think he was able to break off the new lock on the kitchen door.”

Ben and I nodded. One of the parents had installed a massive lock on both the front and back doors so kids wouldn’t break in. The cellar door had a large, rusting lock-and-chain wrapped around the handles that looked more like it belonged in some horror flick than in our neighborhood.

By the time we got to the back of the house, a small crowd of kids were gathered around Max. He had this smug, “I’m better than you” look on his face and seemed to be enjoying his extra-cool status from breaking the lock. I don’t know when he did it, it could’ve been days ago and he was just now telling people after setting up the house to scare someone. It could’ve been this morning and he just wanted to bask in the glory of being the bravest kid in the neighborhood.

“About time you showed up, Ben,” he called out.

“Some of us have responsibilities, Max.”

“Or you had to hype yourself up to come over,” he mocked.

I remember asking myself if Max really was older than us or just a tall five-year-old. He always had a knack for getting under my brother’s skin, but it’d be a few more years before Ben would break Max’s nose. I watched Ben push past Max into the dark kitchen and get halfway through before Max realized that my brother had taken the lead and was the first one in.

“You brought a flashlight? Are you afraid of the dark or something?”

“Not every room has a window, dumbass.” Ben didn’t even look behind him as other kids started to pile into the kitchen.

I heard a couple kids mutter an agreement and at least one girl lament not bringing one herself. A few kids just breezed through the room, ignoring us in hopes of finding something really cool further in. I guess Ben just walking into the kitchen helped dispel any fear that there’d be something lurking around the house during the day and then realizing that the room itself was just an old, faded room with an old iron stove and fridge that none of us had seen unless it was on tv, and an old, faded table pushed up against a wall.

It wasn’t anything special at first glance. Old, faded, white. White walls, white doorways, white table, white stove, white cabinets. No dust. No cobwebs. I remember looking through the old glass of the window, watching the world bubble and twist from where it was slowly warping itself, and noticing all of the dead flies. No spiders, no webs, no dirt or dust. Just dead flies. And thinking the whole thing was weird. It was like…someone came in to clean this area, but left all these dead flies just sitting there piled up against the sill.

I could hear other kids talking throughout the house, their footsteps stomping up steps or scraping against the floor above my head. No one bothered being quiet because, really, who heard of monsters coming out in the daytime? All ghosts and murderers came out at night, and almost all the adults were at work or running errands.

“Hey,” Max said near us. “Since everyone else is exploring, I want to show you guys something.”

He wasn’t being his normal self, acting like a stuck-up jackass. He sounded kind of confused, like he’d found something he wasn’t sure about. Sure, he could’ve just been pretending to lure us into some kind of trap or trick to blackmail us with later on. But, there was something about the way he said it that made us follow him through the doorway and down a hall that no one seemed to have noticed. It looked more like everyone else was pulled towards the areas with more light or the better possibility of finding something like lost treasure.

Ben cut the flashlight on, allowing Max to lead us deeper down this narrow hallway. It had a couple doors, which probably lead to rooms that had kids walking around them, and reminded me of our grandmother’s house, which had doors you just didn’t notice because they weren’t ever used. There were doors there that had been accidentally sealed by paint and no one was sure if it was lead-based didn’t want to have it tested, there were doors that were behind furniture that lead to bricked walls, doors that were locked that no one bothered with because there was a door like right beside it that lead out of the room.

Again, there was no dust on the floor or anything. The flashlight didn’t catch any dust floating around, and the air didn’t seem stale. It was like someone had just came in recently, opened all the windows, and cleaned the house maybe a few days before we came in.

Max stopped in front of a spot on the left and removed a large board to show another door.

“Wow, it’s a door.” Mikey deadpanned. “There’s like a hundred doors here.”

“Shut up.”

The door opened smoothly, like someone had oiled the hinges. Not even a click for the knob sounded, and Max just let the door swing to a stop against the wall. Ben shined the flashlight into the room.

“Wow. It’s a basement,” Ben’s sarcasm dripped.

“No shit. Look again.”

We stared down and I realized there was something off about it. The walls seemed unfinished, with a couple paint cans sitting in the edges between the exposed studs and empty blackness of the open area underneath. Ben’s light showed the top two or three steps, part of a handrail, and nothing else. It was kind of like when you’d open up the basement door and right before you turned the light on to go down the steps. But we could only see the top couple of steps.

I don’t think any of us wanted to go down. It was the first time I actually felt apprehensive about a part of the house.

Ben sighed. “Dude, it’s a basement. A basement with no windows. Big deal.”

“How good’s your light?”

“Good enough to read by.”

Max nodded and started pulling something out of his pocket. At first, it looked like a snot-rag, y’know? The light was weird and I only got a glimpse of red before I realized it was way too large to be a folded up bandana Max normally kept in his back pocket.

It was a flag. An American flag that had seen better days from what I could tell in the light.

“Dude, did you steal your dad’s flag?” Ben asked, not really believing it.

“We got a new one. No one’ll notice this one’s gone.”

“Your dad’s a vet,” I pointed out. I remember thinking about being told that flags have to be taken care of a certain way when they go out of commission by Max’s dad, who had very staunch views.

Max glared at me as he fished a lighter out of his front pocket. “No one will notice.”

“Uh, huh.”

He started flicking the lighter to life, trying to set the cloth on fire.

“You’re going to Hell for that.” Mikey piped up.

“Just keep your eyes peeled,” Max responded, not looking away from the flag.

A small flame had caught and was slowly gathering steam. Max had kept the small flag in his hand until he was satisfied that it was burning enough before tossing it through the open doorway. I heard Mikey gasp, like he was about to say something, but kept my eye on watching this little orange ball.

We stayed silent, watching it illuminate two more steps that Ben’s light couldn’t reach, before disappearing.

Yeah, disappearing.

There was no splash of water, no sizzle of the fire going out. Just poof. Gone. One second it was there, and the next it looked as if nothing had happened. The light didn’t even reach the bottom step far as we could tell.

“What the…”

Max nodded, satisfied that we’d seen what he did, and went to pull the door shut. Mikey went to grab him before realizing that Max had pull the door with the inside edge, near one of the hinges, in order to avoid stepping foot inside. The door shut, he put the board back over, and turned around.

“What do you think?”

“I think you set something up,” Ben was annoyed.

“Everything that’s gone past the third or fourth step has disappeared. You saw what it was like. You can’t see anything, lights or not. I don’t know if the steps end and it’s just a bottomless hole or what. I’ve lit firecrackers and dropped them down there. Nothing pops. No sound, no light. No nothing.”

Max left us standing in that hallway, shaking his head as he walked away from us. I didn’t know what to do and I don’t think Ben or Mikey did either. We looked at each other a minute or so later before Ben shook his head.

“We should go. Mom might be home early and I don’t want to think about what I just saw.”

Mikey nodded in agreement.

Happy Revenge of the 5th!

Work:

+ Yesterday, I learned that HeadBoss (store manager) is a Star Wars fan. A coworker got a promotion and was signing the paperwork when I went into HR to fix something. They’d asked what day it was and I went “It’s Star Wars day!” I got a blank look from the coworker and a grin from HeadBoss, who said “May the Fourth be with you.” lol

It’s nice to know that while I don’t know if HeadBoss just tolerates me or what, that every so often, I can get a glimpse into who they are. (I rarely see HeadBoss because they are busy. I don’t really have an opinion of them besides thankful that they trusted BossBoss (the manager above Ajax) enough to approve me coming back to Store. My goal is mainly to stay out of the way)

+ K, a coworker in another department, pointed out that while he loves hearing “may the fourth be with you,” his upbringing automatically tells him to respond “And also with you!” I laughed and told him I automatically do that if anyone tells me “May the Fourth…” (getting to go to a Catholic church multiple times as a teenager and experiencing the “Peace be with you” handshaking thing really sticks with you)

+ Ajax complained the other day about trying to figure out a nice, non-offensive way to broach the topic of “I don’t care how old you are, you’re homophobic and racist and it needs to stop” to one of our coworkers. I told him “Just like that: you’re racism and homophobia are excessive and you need to back the fuck up.”

+ I had a guy ask me how I was able to get my “hair so tight, like, for real, yo. [Your] bun is, like, so tight.” And not in a “tight = cool” late 90s/early 00s slang, but in an awe and “I’m waiting to be asked if I do ballet” kind of tight. I looked at him and went “My hair is down to my knees.” I received a look of shock and “No way!”

+ I also had a guy (recently) yell at me that he “Can’t hear women! No really! I was tested for it! I can’t hear women!” while looming over the counter.

I realized that I’m glad I’ve had 20 years of customer service in me (I include working for my grandparents from 11 to 17 every summer) that just staring at the guy and his friend was my best response. His friend said “You have to TALK LIKE THIS.” as the guy is leaning over the counter to loom over a coworker to yell about why he can’t hear.

No, you can’t hear certain levels of sound. Using the excuse “I can’t hear women” is fucked up and if you’re going to blame your past work experience, get a fucking hearing aid and stop blaming your lack of hearing on some 50s-era bullshit.

My coworker talked with them, I refused to project my voice (because it takes a lot out of me. yay breathing problems), and continued working around the issue. I don’t consider myself female most of the time, but I also know that I have a higher-pitched but quiet voice. I am a quiet person. I always have been. (seriously, if in the 31 years of my family trying to get me to be louder hasn’t worked, you screaming at me while looming over me in some sort of ape-like act of dominance is not going to make it miraculously work.)

+ I got to make at least 2 coworkers mad yesterday! One out of sheer confusion and one out of…I don’t know, normal hatred? They hate me anyway, have told various people/coworkers how much they can’t stand me, and it’s just gotten worse the past week and I find it absolutely hilarious.

Ajax asked me to re-arrange the freezer so that it’s more organized (and oh look, he just stole shelves that were supposed to be thrown away because another department got brand new shelves and he’s been asking for new ones for 2 years) and looks nicer. I told him I could totally do that.

I spent like 4 hours in the freezer.

I’ve hauled like…400+ lbs of various frozen items (bread, meat, etc) around (and o.m.g do my arms hurt today) in order to change things around. He asked for me to take photos of the end-result and he was floored by what I got done in there. We’ve got room for stuff. It’s…looking larger. Manager Puppy was like “I can actually move in here!”

I’m sure it’ll take less than a week before it gets destroyed. I don’t care. I’ll spend more time hiding in there and away from the Drama that is my department.

 

Craft/Art:

+ I found fabric I want!

It’s a sheer fabric with bits of glitter on it. And it’s on sale. And I want it all.

I also want the light cotton weave perfect-for-Belle type fabric that’s near it.

+ I had someone I follow on twitter send me a link to a really cool netting how-to website. I think it would be really cool to try out. Mainly because I want my own hammock, but also because I could make something to use as a holding area for stuff in the craft room where the cats can’t access.

+ I”m hoping to work on knitting soon. I want to finish the green shawl and work my way through some more yarn for shawls. Or start on a blanket. I found the loom that would be awesome for a twin/full size blanket (and I’m pretty sure I can either order a loom for king/queen size or just duct tape some looms with the same widths between pegs together to create one).

I want a Tom Baker era Doctor Who blanket. I hate myself for even thinking about it because that’s a lot of yarn not to mention hundreds of hours of work. But, I really want one.

+ I told Jamie I need some packing tape and some printer paper. He asked why and I told him it’s because:

A) I want a Me-size mannequin
2) I need patterns for the dogs.

I want a Me-size mannequin so I can make things for myself (there are so many things I want to make for myself) and I need to make patterns for the dogs because I have pitbulls and pitbulls are 1) all created equal, 2) are very different from other dogs. And there’s Cricket, whose fuzziness needs to be taken into account so she doesn’t overheat.

I also figure that a packet of printer paper and a 4-pack of packing tape is a lot cheaper than a mannequin (although, we did find a Me-size mannequin for like $50 plus shipping on Amazon once)

+ I have a lot less yarn than I thought. However, this is because of a recent fiasco of cats. And I’m ok with this. I figure I can use this to my advantage and be like “Well, I’m down a lot of yarn, so let’s work through this yarn” as well as “Well, I’m down a lot of yarn, and this skein is only $5…”

+ I haven’t worked on my comic in a while. I did find the Wacom pen and did a half-assed sketch of me with “Plans vs Reality” as the latest update.

I feel kinda bad that I haven’t updated, but I also feel…ambivalent to it. I need to find my tracers for Manders/Jamie, I didn’t make a tracer for Matt (I’ve been trying to stick with the Manders/Jamie thing because it is about us and our lives and most of the stuff that does happens is what has happened to us), and I don’t know where the stack of previously-made comics went (probably the trash after being ruined by a cat). But I do have a bunch of 5-second-sketches and I may just update with that for a little while. I don’t have a scanner, the computer won’t recognize my phone, and my phone is…slowly dying.

And then there’s the whole work-thing, where I’m trying to get used to the vastly different ups and downs of the department from what I’m used to (beginning of the month is no where near as insane as I’m used to, but we’re getting into graduation-season and shit’s gotten weird). My concept of time is almost non-existant again (time is a wibbly construct based on who won the right to create history books and not because “sun go down” or “it got cold.”) So my idea of keeping Tues/Thurs as my Comic Days have turned into “oh shit, I forgot what day it was.”

 

Writing:

+ Uhhh…

+ Weird Grandpa, et all, has stayed within its virtual hiatus until I can remember to get back to it. I wrote a handful of sentences down for Weird Grandpa that cracked me the fuck up and garnered a response from a friend over twitter about how if I had any questions about the Reagan Administration to just ask them because they remember it (I don’t. I was born during the Reagan Administration and my concept of it was “these are the fuckers that caused D.A.R.E programs.)

Google tells me that the Reagan Administration was from Jan. 1981 to Jan. 1989.

Jan. 1989, I was 2 and a half and we were moving into our own house in Salem, where I’d be woken up by cows mooing in our neighbor’s backyard every weekend until May of 1995, when we moved halfway across town. So yeah, my concept of anything other than family/house was non-existent unless it involved the NES. My aunt probably has a better understanding (she’s 5 years older than I am) of what went down.

Anyway

+ New story started, in a notebook. I’ve got…5.5 pages written down and I haven’t even gotten to where the narrator implicates himself into what’s going on. Currently he’s just rambling on about how much he hates dog abusers (and I don’t mean like “Oh, I’m a terrible dog-parent. I didn’t give them their dinner on time” or “I’m a mean person, I cut their crazy-dog outside time a little short because I was running late.” I mean: “I do trunking.” and “I stole this dog from their yard so I can make $50 selling it to the testing lab in the next town over.”)

I’ve noticed that writing things down while riding on the bus causes the people around you to stop talking and stare at you like you’re doing something awful. It’s awesome and hilarious. I find it hilarious because I see various people working on things while on the bus. There’s the guy who works on songs, there’s the people who work on homework, there’s various men and women who work on taking notes of scripture.

But, one tiny little white kid, furiously scribbling (in nice handwriting because I have somehow almost perfected nice handwriting in a moving vehicle) in a notebook is grounds for “oh gods, theys up to something!”

Ha. I said white kid, like I’m still 16. I forget how old I am most times. I say white kid because I love my pasty pallor, my death-like colouring. But hey, it’s either that or look like a boiled lobster. I’d rather look like I’m about to languish of consumption like a Regency-era poet than look like I was just pulled from a boiling pot of salted water. In the lottery of “melting pot” background, apparently a bunch of European blood will cancel out any Native blood when it comes to tanning.

+ Have I submitted anything lately?

No.

I’m not a professional writer. This isn’t my full-time job. I understand that I need to have a “real” job in order to survive in this fucked up economy. I’ve got bills to pay and pets to feed. I’ve got repairs on the house that need to be done. And all of that shit is way more important than me living off of writing/arting.

I haven’t finished anything of note. I’m still working on the same handful of story idea I was the last time I talked about writing (weird grandpa, conspiracy/AI, the yellow sign, etc). I’ve written down 1 (ONE!!) new story idea in the last few weeks and started 1 “new” story idea that’s been poking me every so often for the past 12 years. (it bubbles up every time there’s a local trunking/fighting/cop-killed-my-dog story).

I’m still working within the 1st POV range because, for whatever reason, I still have (very low) hopes of getting an acceptance email from the NoSleep crew.

+ What am I working on?

More detailed:

+ Weird Grandpa
+ Conspiracy/AI

both of which are “can I get this to novelette form?” because I’m curious if I can

+ The Yellow Sign
+ The Mold Thing
+ Creepy Old Man
+ Hey, what about that neighborhood of vampires, werewolves, etc??

+ The typewriter story is languishing on my computer and I don’t know whether or not to read over it, pitch it to a potential agent, send it to a friend to see what they think of it, or just post it on here.

+ I got into a discussion about rejections with K, who said he’d just recently got another rejection on his series proposal. His coworker thinks we’re crazy for being “so negative” over rejections and still thinks it’s weird, even after I pointed out: “I submit a story, it goes into a slush pile with a few hundred to a few thousand other people who want to be published. There’s like a 98% chance of rejection due to space, your work, they like someone else’s work way more, it’s not within their theme, etc. I submit to a magazine, nine times out of ten, they’ve only got space for 4 or 5 new stories to publish, and that makes it so much harder to be accepted.”

K and I discussed where he should end things and how I’m going with my dog-abuser story (currently named “Trigger Warning”)

screaming into the void

I feel that I’ve been screaming into the void and the only response I get is silence. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but it is kind of disappointing.

+ Knit hat for coworker has been in my bag for like 2 weeks and I haven’t seen him, so it’s like I’m just carrying around this lemon-yellow thing for no reason.

+ Working on another shawl and this one feels like it’ll never be completed. I’m at the halfway point, trying for a larger shawl, so I’m really not surprised that it seems to be taking forever. The more I go on, the more I realize I have so much green yarn.

+ A narrator/voice actor that I love (and follow on various platforms) sent out a call to authors for stories for him to narrate. He’d requested more sci-fi (because he mainly does horror), and I’ve been tempted to double check the word count on a story or two that I’ve finished and send one on to see what happens. Because, really, why not? The most that’ll happen is I’ll get told he can’t do it or whatever.

+ Still need a title for the Heironimus story. I mean, I could leave it called as such. I think it’d be really awesome to send it somewhere, but it’s a little past the normal 7500-word limit.

+ Started working on a fresh story and I keep having to make notes to myself within the story to look up what certain things are called or look up what the correct part for an item is. So far, I’ve mostly got descriptions of things. I texted Jamie about it, saying that I felt a bit like M R James and I’m trying to keep that in mind while I work on the idea. I have a vague idea of where I want it to go and how to end it, but that’s far on down the line.

+ I’ve got bits and bobs of stories pecked at on the computer that I need to work on, but my notes for a couple of them have disappeared so hell if I know what I was doing besides half-thought notions of “what if” and “I wonder.”

+ I’d say I’d be working on stories and such tomorrow, but tomorrow is a day for housework and seeing if the weather is decent enough for me to go outside and start cleaning up around my roses and working on encouraging them to grow. I think two of them straight gave up after last year’s well-intended flower bed clearing by other people (who mowed them down). Maybe I’ll plant a pumpkin seed and see if I can get some nice leafy growths to help maintain some cover and maybe get another Surprise!Pumpkin out of it.

But now, it’s time to wake Jamie up and let the dogs out so they can get some of their crazy out of them.

little thought exercise

I’m enjoying making shawls. They’re light enough to be either a shawl or a scarf, they use up a bit of yarn that I have laying around, and they’re fun. I decided, while listening to some M R James, that I’d knit for an hour and see how many rows I got done since I am starting up a new one.

Including the 1 lonely row I did last night, I got 10 rows done in an hour.

1 hour = 60 minutes
10 rows in 60 minutes = 6 minutes per row
300 rows needed per shawl (times 6 minutes per row) = 1800 minutes
1800 minutes / 60 minutes = 30
30 hours = approximately 1 complete shawl

This does not include the fact that the longer I work on the shawl, the more rows I get done because I decrease every-other row. But, for the sake of this thought exercise, we’ll keep it at 1 row takes 6 minutes.

If I were to go by the “charge how much you believe you should be making per hour” bullshit (the whole notion that, as an artist, you should charge a per-hour rate or have a finished rate that you can break down to a per-hour rate if need be.)

Let’s start with the Federal Minimum Wage, $7.25 an hour:

7.25 X 30 = $217.50

Let’s see how this looks if you were to charge $9 an hour:

9 X 30 = $270

The higher we go, the more ridiculous this gets. $12:

12 X 30 = $360

$15:

15 X 30 = $450

And this is just for labour. This is if I were to charge “how much I believe I should be paid” for a dinky little shawl I’m having fun making and using up parts of my stash. This doesn’t include “materials,” which kind of irks me anyway. What if I were asked to work on another Tom Baker Doctor Who scarf?

If I were to buy brand new skeins of yarn, let’s say Red Heart because it’s the easiest for me to get in the colours I think look the best for this scarf, that is $2.98 per skein.

2.98 X 7 = $20.86

2.98 X 9 = $26.82

Both numbers because there is always at least one skein I run out of if I don’t buy the Super Saver.

$5.98 X 7 = $41.86

That’s more than I charged the last time I made one of those scarves, and that was even after I met the person who insisted she pay for materials and we spent like an hour going through trying to find the softest yarns because her kid is tactile-sensitive. $41.86 is more than I charged a person who was using the scarf in a web-series. (granted, I did agree, afterwards, that from then on I was charging people more than what I charged him because these scarves take for-fucking-ever to make).

And I don’t get the whole “pay for materials” thing in my case. In other people’s work, it makes perfect sense. You might not have the exact materials you need to build what someone wants and you need to go out and get them.

Me? I have a stash of yarn (and fabric). There is a reason why “I’m like a dragon, but craft things are my horde” is my personal tagline. Unless it’s a colour I normally don’t have (like pink), sure I’ll probably be like “I don’t have this colour so it’ll be a bit.” Unless I randomly get a box of pink yarn on my front porch (like I did over the summer because my friends know I’m a yarn hoarder and will take whatever they want to give me).

And really, why would I charge $100+ for a shawl or whatever when someone can just as easily go to the mall or online and buy something approximately the same style/weight for like 1/4 of the price or less?

That doesn’t really make much sense and it reminds me of back in high school when a girl I had a few classes with decided to paint these circles on a canvas and put a price tag on them (average size canvas, acrylic paints, done while in art class, so it was a ~50 minute class per day) of over $250 during an exhibition of stuff that was pretty much “hey fam, come look at all the stuff we do in art class!” (the MLP chess set was awesome, done by some other kid who I don’t think ever put their name to the peice)

knitting

Still working on the shawl I started a few weeks ago or so (omg it’s not done). I am 28 rows away from being halfway done (yay) and I have finished the skein that wouldn’t end. Now I’m on the second skein.

Yay, one skein down. One ugly ass pink skein used up and now I’m on the second one.

Working on this thing, I’ve practically buried the cat in the finished part while knitting and have realized that, by the time I’m done, I’ll be able to wrap Cricket in this and not have it drag the floor.

I’m not sure how it’s going to look until I’m done. I have an idea (a hope), but right now it just looks like a woven blanket.

And now I am wanting to be done as soon as possible, because I want to use the hideous rainbowy skeins of yarn (2, maybe 3) I have in my stash and make a new shawl, but in a slightly different way.

I also want to see if I can make a dog sweater. Because I have lost my mind and I have “big dogs.”

stocking up on dayquil

I feel as though the thing I had last week did not go away entirely, so I told Jamie to buy me dayquil gel tabs because we went through like 2 bottles of the liquid in record time it seems. (two adults taking something that amounts to like half to a whole shot glass’s worth of liquid cough and nasal suppressant tends to kill a bottle quickly, especially when they forget the last time they took some). I’m cold, I’m tired, and I don’t want to do shit.

On the upswing of things:

I finished the novelette’s first draft yesterday, adding 350 words to the end and just stopping it where I was. I realized if I continued to stare at the computer screen, I’d just start nitpicking it to death, hating it even more, and probably either never finish the damn thing or delete it entirely. And I don’t want to delete it cuz I’ve spent like two weeks working on it and…yeah.

So, I emailed it to Jamie to see if it flows ok. I told him I’m not looking for inaccuracies, or if he finds them to make a note of it somewhere, I was just looking to see how it reads. If he finds something that sounds weird, to make a note of it and I’d look over it later.

It’s taking a lot of willpower to not pull the story up so I can start working on edits. Edits to change names of characters, edits to add descriptions where they need, edits to fix some continuity problems that I’m sure are there. Still going back and forth on whether or not to change it from 1st POV to 3rd, still have mental reminders to change the description up a bit (because terms like “cubicle wall” get really fucking redundant after a while)