Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Special 2011


Good day,

I know I’ll regret this later, but here’s a cover of We Need A Little Christmas from the musical Mame.


Gods, are you kidding?
This isn’t winter, this is autumn with dandruff
Everyone’s bidding
On meaningless crap and other pointless stuff now

Oh, is this your little Christmas?
Oh, is it fulfilling?
Screaming gangs of children?
Malls making a killing?
Oh, is this your little Christmas?
Are your dear hearts spillin’?
Because I’m sick, my eyes are blurry
I have to get home in a hurry

Enjoy carpooling
To some big holiday party in Newmarket
For I’ll be drooling
Over the new trailer for The Hobbit again

For I’ve grown a little older
Got a little fatter
Losing half of my hair
But it doesn’t matter
Because I’m getting a little bolder
Cutting idle chatter
And that is Christmas to me

Do you see the folly
Of exclusivity during the winter holidays?
Oh, Canada: golly!
Why not give Sikhs and Jews some extra praise, now?

So Happy Chanukah to you
Happy Gurpurab and
Festivus and Solstice
[Yes, I’m late, and it’s grand]
And happy belated Dongzhi
…And a really late Ramadan
2012 soon, but don’t fret
It’s not really the end of times yet

Don’t mind the tackiness
Of this time of year, we all know that it’s taxing
So spend this last week
With all your loved ones, curled up and relaxing now

And go have a happy winter
However you spend it
Christmas or Ganapati
Or whatever’s a good fit
But you should go watch Tintin
Right this very minute
Seriously, watch Tintin NOW
…I mean it: go watch Tintin NOW


Happy holidays,

-RWI

P.S. The Indigo Book Store close to my house has a nasty tendency to blast the Glee version of this song at full volume. If you ever needed to flush me out of a building a la Manuel Noriega, use that rendition and I’ll be in the police van after the first minute.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Let's Talk About - The Batman Paradox


Good day,

                In a previous post, I had talked about improving western superhero comics. It was there that I discussed certain aspects of cape-comics that I felt need to be downplayed considerably if not completely thrown away, not least of which being the overly serious attitude generally found in many works. A few of my friends read the article and asked a question that stirred around in my head for a while: What About Batman?

And they are right in asking. Batman is not only a big name in comics but a massive pop culture icon in general. He has been interpreted and re-interpreted in a number of ways across the globe, from award-winning programs to lesser-known Japanese re-imaginings. I personally think that this is all because Batman himself is arguably the most malleable mainstream superhero in existence. Maybe not the best, but certainly the easiest to play with.

What do I mean? Let’s talk about The Batman Paradox and find out.

Some context before we proceed: I grew up with Batman merch. In my youth, I vigorously devoured some comics my parents bought, as well as some of my dad’s old single issues from the 1960s. Recently, I enjoyed The Long Halloween, and adored Grant Morrisson’s entire Batman library, Batman Secrets, and the original Bob Kane run from the 1940s. I watched the Adam West show and the Bruce Timm-animated series, as well as both Tim Burton films and the first Joel Schumacher flick in my adolescence, rightfully avoiding Batman and Robin. As a grubby university student, I had my fun with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and now as a grubby manchild I eagerly await The Dark Knight Rises and had a hell of a time with Batman: The Brave and the Bold. So, it’s safe to say that I get Batman as much as the rest of you nerds.

Everyone has the own visions of Batman’s portrayal, whether he be The Caped Crusader or The Dark Knight.  A lot of people ragged on the Schumacher films (mostly the second) because they were cartoony and overly campy toy commercials, but there were those who also rallied against Batman Returns for being too grim, and I’ve heard ordinary people compare The Dark Knight to a horror film. Certainly, we’ve had a range of styles and tones throughout the years, but which one works? Well, the answer is both of them; sometimes at the same time. This is the Paradox we face with Batman and the key to his malleability.

Here’s why: he’s a tortured, traumatized billionaire who has everything except a loving household. His parents were murdered before his eyes, and he had nobody to turn to except his aging butler. In his grief and glaringly apparent psychological torment, he enacts vague, violent revenge on the criminal underbelly of his home city…

…while dressed as a bat.

Seriously, that is such a major part of Batman and yet it is the silliest thing about him, especially since he has a bat-themed everything – a Batmobile, a Batcopter, a Batbike, a Batplane, Batarangs, and a Bat Cave. When you take away the Bat Family – which includes several Batgirls, Nightwing, a host of young boys in green undies, and Ace the Batdog – and his increasingly ludicrous rogue’s gallery, what do you have? You have a man with a lot of bat-paraphernalia and a full wardrobe of spandex suits beating people up out of a sense of justice that makes sense only to him. I remember having this conversation long ago with Loading Ready Run crewman Alex Steacy, and how he himself could not take Batman seriously because his cowl had ears.

Really, what more is there to say? When the basics of an idea are so vastly different from each other, it’s easy to fall into either side of the campy-versus-serious debate. You can make him dark. You can make him the techno-hero who casts aside his humanity and adopts the image of an animal as he beats down on assassin syndicates, serial killers, and mobsters. Yet, you can also make him silly; you can make him a total blowhard with a lot of disposable income who takes himself way too seriously, our sole defender against an array of colourful creeps and kooks.

With that in mind, he also works well in any kind of scenario, whether part of a shared universe or as a standalone character. On his own, he works because he’s an incredibly grounded hero. You don’t have to use fantastical or science-fictional elements because you could just toss in gadgets and real-world tech for him and the bad guys to play with. As part of a larger universe, he also works as a kind of misanthropic straight-man in a world gone mad. I always found it astounding how well Batman fit in with the Justice League, a group that also employs aliens, wizards, and The King of Atlantis. I wonder if the bat-suit helps in this, that dressing like a proto-furry is an image thing he keeps up so he doesn’t feel out-of-place when next to the rest of the rodeo clowns.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single mainstream superhero that has this advantage, where they can be dark and silly at exactly the same time, or where creators can use either style without it feeling out of place. Superman and Spiderman always worked best as the boy scouts, sailing in with a wink and a smile, good-naturedly disposing of bad guys in time for bed. The Fantastic Four and The Flash are just really pleasant people who experienced the best workplace accidents ever, and nobody seems to know what to do with someone like Wonder Woman.

Batman, however, can afford to be dramatic and bleak, just as Batman can afford to channel Golden and Silver Age ridiculousness. He’s the moral hero and the dark one, able to adapt to any environment and for better or for worse has become an integral part of pop culture.

See you next time,

-RWI

P.S. Some of you may be aware of Hans Zimmer’s call to have people around the world add their voices to a massive chant he’s composing for the final cut of The Dark Knight Rises. Well, I decided to add fuel to this fire and add my own. Enjoy.

EDIT: May 23, 2012. Minor, minor edits.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Flash Fiction - Rendezvous

Good day,

 Let's get back to I've A Nuking.

***

                Jessie was at the bar. A train sped by the window and rattled all the bottles and the tables and the guns people left hanging at the front. I saw the bartender, an old Caldaray with wrinkled tentacles and a mop of white hair, shudder at the noise before returning to work.  The air was thick with smoke and low on lighting.
                I made my way across the floor. I was pleased to see that the bar patrons were the usual roster of rat bastards and sex fiends I would have found in this district years ago. A scar-patterned Black man in a white cloak sat across from two Latinas with matching crab tattoos on their faces.  Standing by the jukebox in an orange sweater, a green-eyed Selek with a missing ear and grey fur watched a diminutive Asian girl with dyed-blue hair bringing him drinks. On the side, a trio of Nalg-nas, beet-red and built like semi trucks, sat around another table playing with knives and a severed hand.  A Polyp played cards with some North Croatian soldiers, uniforms and all; there was some serious coinage on its side of the table. Its opponents looked pissed.
             My focus was on Jessie, “Jess!” I called out.
She faced me. Black-haired and almond-eyed, her bronze and round face lit up when she saw me. She was in the chequered coat I got her for Christmas and a pair of black pants. She was still a bit heavy, her thighs thick and her body as broad as I remembered it. That was fine; I could never picture her thin.
“Took you long enough,” she said, holding up a glass of something awful, “I was in here for hours yesterday.”
“I got held up at the station,” I told her, trying not to mention the food poisoning I suffered on the train. “Do you have the package?”
She reached under her chair and lifted up a black suitcase. “Fourteen fucking hours of Neo Fascists talking about Mars’ economy,” Jessie told me before putting it back down again. “Why did I do that again?”
“H.Q. needs that intel.”
“I’m sure learning that the East Martian dollar has passed parity will be integral to the war effort.”
With a smile, I moved my chair closer to her. “Every minute counts. We’ll have the boys back in the office keep an eye out for code when they transcribe it all.”
She scoffed. “They’re welcome to it. Can’t believe I miss checking the radar.
My hand sought hers. “I missed you, y’know.”
“Oh, Kent,” she cooed, gripping my fingers, “I missed you, too.”
My shoulder pressed against hers. “You look great, by the way.”
She laughed, “Still fat, you mean?”
“You’re not fat.”
“I’m fat, love.”
“Don’t lie to yourself.”
“I’m pretty sure I’m fat.”
“You’re just big; broad-shouldered and wide-hipped, yeah, but not fat.”
“Sounds like fat to me.”
I sighed. A Priest of Rock once told me that men were handicapped by a need to make sense. I was starting to think he was on to something.
The doors were thrown open. Five Levennan boys entered with one of their jewel-encrusted women, diamonds embedded in her supple green skin. She was on the arm of the tallest man, a passably handsome man with a t-shaped body and long legs.
“Hey-hey!” the tall one laughed, pointing our way, “Es fat gerl from yastarday! And shae breng skennae man over to boom-boom!”
His friends joined the chuckle. I ground my teeth. Jessie looked at me and shook her head, “Don’t.”
I wanted to; by void, I did. I hated it when she called herself fat; I liked hearing it from other people even less. My body boiled with every word and joke they exchanged. In my head, I translated the odd word here and there. They were speaking in a mix of English and the West Kal Island dialect. Key words like ‘cow’ and ‘huge’ made themselves known to me. And they were making me angrier.
Something bounced off the back of my head.
To this day I don’t know if it was an orange or a baseball. In any case, it put me over. Flying from my seat, I vaulted over a table and rushed them. Years of CQC training floated to the surface. Two of his friends saw me and ran ahead, arms out to tackle me. I ducked and grabbed their wrists, rising as I slid between them. Shoulders rotating, I had them flipped. One of the remaining three grabbed the girl and leapt behind the massive man in white; his other, smaller friend fainted. That left me and the big one.
Idiot thought it was a good idea to throw a kick at me. Stepping to the side, I caught it in mid-flight. One free arm reached for his vest. My weight shifted. We tumbled onto the friends of his I tossed. Flipping myself on top of him, I gripped his shoulders and slammed the back of his head into the floor.
“You wanna fuck with me?” I asked, dropping an elbow into his face, “You wanna fuck with a government man? Eh?”
“I think he gets it,” I heard Jessie say, tapping my shoulder feverishly.
“Oh, no,” I spat, staring into my opponent’s bruised and frightened eyes, “He –”
I heard safeties being released.
I turned to see the Caldaray bartender holding two class-five hunting rifles in its tentacles, massive pump-action weapons with multiple barrels. They were aimed at me.
“Gwet,” it tried to say, “Gwet ohwet ovv my barl.”
I took the hint. Hands in the air, I rolled myself off the Levennan. My head jerked to the door and I shot my lady a look. Jessie ran ahead and I walked backwards, arms still raised. Behind me, I heard her take her guns from the hooks out front and turn a knob. I sped up.
When we were far enough from the danger, Jess started talking again.
“Well, great job,” she began, kicking me, “Not only did I waste a weekend listening to a bunch of gasbags, but you kept me waiting a whole day, then started a fight and got me kicked out of a bar when you showed up.”
“I was defending your honour and shit.”
“Defending my honour got us thrown out of a bar.
I pocketed my hands and looked at her, “You didn’t really like it in there, did you?”
Hesitating, she took a moment to take that in. “Well, no.”
“You’re welcome, tubs,” I teased her, putting my arm around her shoulders.
Jessie gave me a hard look and a soft smile. “Shut up and kiss me.”
I pulled her close and tasted tobacco.

***

 See you next time,

-RWI

EDIT: May 23, 2012. Edits.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Who I Am - December 2011 edition


Good day,

                If you’re reading this, then you’re either a friend of mine who I had referred to this page, or you’re someone who stumbled across the website by pure fluke. Either way, Welcome!

                My name is Robert and I’m an aspiring storyteller. This Blogspot account is something I set up for some of my articles, editorials, short fiction and flash fiction. It’s already been up for a year. I’ve tried to have an online presence before in the form of a failed Livejournal account (created back when I thought being random was clever), a failed Deviantart account (created back in the days when I was convinced I could draw), and a previous failed Blogspot account (created back in the days when I thought I could be an internet critic), and finally settled on this – A Collection of Literary Mishaps.

                There are three purposes of this page: the first is a challenge to get myself to write something new on a weekly basis, the third is to have an online portfolio of my work, and the second is my attempt to entertain you denizens of the internet.

                …Wait.

                Anyway, the website is called I’ve A Nuke for two reasons. One, it’s a play on how my surname is pronounced, something an old university associate pointed out to me years ago. Two, because words are weapons; if the pen is mightier than the sword, then a well-written, informative, or otherwise entertaining editorial or piece of literature is mightier than an atomic bomb.

I want to be a storyteller; I want to be an educator; I want to build bombs packed with creativity and information and throw them at people; I want to make an impact. Well, I’d like to, but I’m very worried about it all blowing up in my face.

I’ve had the website up for the past year, and during that year I’ve had some hits and misses with some of my writings. I’ve dabbled in different genres and different concepts, created serials and one-shots and others that I’m both proud of and ashamed of. I want to share my personal favourites from that with you now.

COMEDY:
                The L Series: L (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four) and Live (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four)
                Rampage
                Moment

SCI-FI
            Shrapnel
This weird superhero thing I did that I’m sort of proud of (The Hero, Interview; there are two more but they’re rubbish-y)

HORROR/PARANORMAL
                Frost Bites
                Shelter From The Storm

LET’S TALK ABOUT/REVIEWS
                Travis Touchdown
                Improving Superhero Comics
                Black Swan

                I hope you enjoy these. I’m always open to comments and criticisms, so don’t hesitate to tell me how much of an awful person I am in the comments section.

See you next time,

-RWI

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo - Jesus Christ , did that just happen?

Good evening,

 So I got very wrapped up in NaNoWriMo this year, as well as a plethora of events that transpired since I last posted here.

 That reminds me, did I mention I was born on the same day as Neil Gaiman? Well, I am. Not the same year, though. That would be weird.

 Anyway, the final word count I put in before my soul drained out of my eyes was 50,385 words. But was the story finished? No. I got carried away. I added a fuckton of content and decided to be a giant asshole by tying it to the book I wrote for last year's challenge. The result was something larger and more complicated, which I'm as proud of as I am afraid. Size is no issue (tee-hee) but I hope it doesn't turn out convoluted.

 Anyway, my plan with that baby is to let it sit and ferment, and then to finish it off when my mind is fresh again.

 I'm very glad I got on it, though. I think I'll do one last NaNoWriMo, make a nice trilogy, and then call it off. In the meantime, I'll take a week off from flash fiction to prepare for the winter. I also plan to make a single page and show off works I recommend most highly to first-time readers, so expect that in the near future.

 Sorry for the neglect. Expect regular, and irregular, updates as they come.

See you next time!

-RWI

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo update and excerpts

Hey!

 So I'm about 10,230 words into the story so far - I'm behind! That said, I am enjoying it somewhat. Returning to these characters a year later is something of a treat, and introducing the new ones is as aggravating as it is thrilling. So you know what? Here are some excerpts!

 The two main characters, one of whom is suffering from a hangover.

***


Her phone rang next to her head. Yelping, she clutched her head and gnashed her teeth bitterly. She reached for it blindly, and brought it over her head. Her friend’s name was on the screen. 
            She hit a button and put it to her ear, “Cass?”
            “Crystal, I had so much fun last night!” Cassandra told her. 
            Wincing again, Crystal pulled the phone back an inch. She fumbled to activate the speakerphone mode, and then set it by her face “I’m glad you remember it.”
            “What, you don’t?” 
            “I think I yelled at a black guy at some point?” she recalled, the deep recesses of her memory bringing the image of a dark brown face recoiling in horror into her mind, followed by a blurred platter of pizza, “Then I think we went to Pizza Pizza…?”
“Oh yeah!” Cass laughed, “Fucking hilarious! But no, you don’t remember tearing up the dance floor with us?” 
“No?”
“Oh, it was great. You did a grind on Victor.” 
She sat right up, “Oh my god Victor touched my bum!
“No, Crystal,” Cass said, You did a grind on Victor.” 
When she connected the dots in her head, she slumped back onto her mattress and slapped her forehead, “Oh god.”
“Yeah, and you stuffed a shot-glass down the front of your pants before you did. So for about five minutes Victor seriously thought that you had a penis.” 
Crystal’s headache became worse, “Nooooooooooooooo.”
“Come on, it was funny.” 
“I’ve got my rep to think about, yooo.”
“Oh, come on, you’re Crystal Qiu. You have no rep.” 
“I want one now. I want yours.
“You don’t want anything I have.” 
“What about your cat?” 
“You want Button? Fuck you, she’s mine.”

***

 Here are the villains.

***


            “Seriously?” she said, crossing the room and eying her lover’s work, “We could always just hire a junkie to knife her in an alleyway.” 
            “It’s not enough,” he growled, sloshing the blood across the ground, “I want her hunted. I want her suffering. I want her alone and afraid. I want her clawing the walls, thinking she’s gone mad. This will do nicely.”
            “Didn’t think you would be such a sadist, my love.” 
            “I put a lot of work into Dexter. He was almost ready. He could have been beautiful. She ruined that. So, I’ll ruin her. I trust you don’t mind.”
            She shrugged, “Everyone needs a hobby.”

***

 And then the main character has a dream!

***


She dreamt of bodies.
            Not right away, of course. First, she dreamt of a bleached, dry flatland. A pale sun beat against her face. Animal skulls and human arm bones lay around her, rising from the ground like weeds. A tuft of grass waved in the distance. 
Under the heat, her clothes melted away like ice. It became a liquid, seeping into the earth, getting drunk between the cracks. She covered herself and looked to the sky for answers. Storm-clouds were gathering in a once-cloudless sky. Lightning struck the air.
            When she looked down, she was in a black sundress dress with red linings. She brushed her fingers through her hair and felt a ribbon. 
Then the bodies fell.
Dried-up bodies, gray and long-dead fell from the sky like rain. Like her, they were in red and black dresses, ribbons tied loosely to their heads. They piled on top of each other. Some broke when they landed, sending bits of finger or knees or teeth flying through the air. Ribbons drifted down around them. 
Then fell other bodies. These were fresh bodies, pale fleshy things with all their hair and all their teeth, but still in black and red dresses like the rest of them. They crashed into the other bodies like rocks against sticks, sending more bones and skin strips scattering across the desert. A rib flew in the air and landed at her feet. 
Hands to her chest, Crystal approached with caution.
Her heart sped up when she recognized them.

***

 That's all I'm showing right now. Expect something different next week.

See you next time!

-RWI

Monday, October 31, 2011

ANNOUNCEMENTS and Flash Fiction - Shelter From The Storm

Good day!

 I have some news for you; but first, this week's Halloween/Día De Los Muertos Flash Fiction!

***


            Hard rain slowed to a halt outside the old house. Andrew waited in the bedroom upstairs and feared looking out the window. Instead, he had the blinds shut and focused on the hardwood floor and the dark red carpet and the bed to his left. A hot drink was in his hands. He had asked for tea. He didn’t know why. After everything that he had seen that day, he doubted that a warm drink would be the first thing he could possibly want. Sweet scents and the heat took his mind off of things, but only for a short while.
The day was a blur. It began with waking up in a bed that wasn’t his. He entered the kitchen and was greeted by a man he knew as his car mechanic the day before. The man swore he was a librarian.
Andrew fled the apartment. Outside, he saw his mother arm-in-arm with a stranger, denying she knew her only son. At his office, nobody recognized him, and neither did he know any of them. He spent the afternoon hiding from the rain in an old coffee shop, his senses escaping him.
Then he saw the thing rising in the streets.
He saw it spreading everywhere, a black mist that snaked through every road and into every window he saw. People breathed it in, and let it enter through their faces and up their fingernails and inside their clothes. Everything began to grow dark and thick with the twisting black mass; that is, except for an old house he saw up a large hill. He ran for it.
            His host and the owner of the old home crossed the threshold of the room in a one-piece black silk dress that stopped at her ankles. Three obsidian bangles sat on her left wrist. Pale skinned, brown-eyed and raven-haired, she was tall with a broad face and full lips. Back in town, the children claimed she was a witch, calling her Lady Hyena or Madame Jackal behind her back.
            She said she preferred Shauna.
            “How’s the tea?” she asked, walking up to him.
            “Not helping,” Andrew admitted, “But it’s making me focus.”
            Her fingers drummed against themselves, “You know you’re safe, right?”
“I don’t know what’s happening,” he whimpered, avoiding the question, “I think I’m going crazy.”
            Shauna’s eyes traced up and down his body with the same intrigued look she gave when he first showed up, “Do you, now?”
            “Everything’s different,” he muttered, “I told you, everything’s different. I don’t know what’s happening. I,” he swallowed, “I need help, lady.”
She laughed, “And you think seeking shelter from the storm with this old cougar will help you?”
            “You can’t be that old,” he said, sceptically.
            Cooing, she leaned over and pinched his lip, “You’re sweet. Besides, I’ve heard the children say I’m quite the bitch.”
            Andrew shook his head as she let go, “Kids can be cruel.”
“Honesty comes from the mouths of babes,” she misquoted. “But we’re not here for idle chatter, are we?” She crossed the room and opened the blinds. “We’re here to talk about that.
Hesitatingly, he joined her side.
At the window, they saw the massive, writhing shadow emerging from the centre of town. Lights flicked off and on as amorphous limbs stretched into each house and store and church it could find. Red bubbles rose and fell across its ever-twisting form like bloody mist. Branches of its impossible body rose and clawed at the sky.
            “We’re the only ones that can see it, you know,” she said, her hands finding his shoulders, “And it’s been here longer than you could possibly imagine.”
            He found himself staring at it, staring into its pulsating red-and-black body, “What does it want?
            “Change,” she said, leaning in, “Constant change. Every night it rises and pulls people’s memories apart, places them in different homes, gives them different jobs – even rewrites the records at city hall. Then, it sinks back to wherever it came from and watches you live another life.”
            “Why?” he asked, feeling her breath.
             “Fun?” she whispered, “Perhaps it feeds on incomplete lives, wasted potential energy? All I know is that you go to sleep a believer and wake up an atheist. One minute you’re the mayor’s son, the next your dad’s the town drunk.”
            “That’s horrible.”
            She lowered her eyes, “My mother knew about it years ago. This place was never touched by it, not once. That’s why I was raised here. That’s why I invited you over two days ago, Mister Repairman.”
            He blanched. “I’m not a repairman.”
            “You were,” she insisted, “I took photos. You said I was being awful peculiar. Don’t you recall, Greg? Or, who are you now?”
            His blood ran cold. “Why do you want me?”
“I’m lonely,” the woman confessed, circling round to his front, “Just some middle-aged lady with poor fashion sense and an overactive libido. I used to drift from man to man to woman across this whole town, and now my bones ache and I need to settle down.” She put her arms around his neck, “You just so happen to be the man for the job.”
He tried to take a step back, but she had him fastened in place, “You’re nuts.” His voice began to break.
“I’m bored,” she complained, pulling him close, “I used to think it was exciting, seeing a new world open up before my eyes every morning. Maybe it’s time for stability. Maybe it’s time to save some lives,” she stroked his neckline and hummed thoughtfully, “We can start now.”
            “This is a joke,” he wept, tears rolling down his face. Blindly, his hands sought the sides of her dress, “This is all a joke. My name’s Andrew. I work in a bank. I studied accounting. I did a minor in Latin. I,” he gulped, and pressed his forehead against hers. Big sobs bubbled up in his throat, and words escaped him, “I – I –”
            “Hush, now,” she cooed, pressing her finger against his lips. “We’re safe. Just you and me, we’re safe.”
            He gave in.
            Outside, the shadowy devil shook its limbs at the sky and rumbled out a deep, agonized groan.
Inside, Shauna drew him in for the longest kiss in his known life.

***

 So, now that that's done, I have two things to say!

 First and foremost, one of my short stories is going to be published in the December 2011 issue of Schlock Magazine! I got the news this morning and spent about half an hour floating one foot off the ground. I feel like I'm finally making some headway with my writing! Thanks for reading! Let's hope this doesn't make me all pompous.

 On that note, I'm also announcing that I will be writing in NaNoWriMo this year. I already did it last year, creating a massive novel titled The Anti-Cupboard of Cassandra Dalton. I intend to return to the characters and world I created there with a sequel titled The Unfortunate Life of Crystal Qiu. As such, updates will be a little more irregular on I've A Nuke while I try to hammer together this new creation and search for stable employment once again. Expect little blurbs and bleeps here and there, but on the whole I'll be focused on this. It will be big and IT WILL BE WEIRD.

 See you next time! Happy Halloween, y ¡Feliz Día de los Muertos!

-RWI

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Flash Fiction - Live4

Good evening,

 I promised Live4 and here it is.

***

            “Dude,” Jeff said, as they forced their way through the thickest part of the crowd of fellow concert-goers, “Dude, listen! If she’s dead, I’m giving you so much money.”
            “No,” Mark snapped, “If she’s dead, I’m kicking your ass and taking your money because this was your idea you fucking nimrod. 
            News had circulated through to their side of Ground Sound. Violence had broken out at the three-way rap battle between horrorcore rapper Slither and his opponents, Dadaist rapper M.C. Shaz and the foul-mouthed Hazardous Matt. Reports they heard over security radios were mixed. Some told of shots fired, others of a riot.
            There was one report that seemed consistent: a woman dead or dying. 
Mark’s girlfriend had gone to see the battle on Jeff’s recommendation; they prayed it wasn’t her.
In moments, they were at the centre. Jeff and Mark immediately recognized two of the three rappers being led away by several security officers. Hazardous Matt was in a full-body radiation suit, while M.C. Shaz exited the scene in his trademark candy-coloured top hat, white sleeveless shirt and heart-patterned boxer shorts, and with his jeans pulled down around his ankles. 
Vans and motorcycles and old BMWs were parked in random locations across the lot. A predominantly male crowd stood around, its numbers murmuring at one another. Yellow police tape lined the area and people were pulled aside for questioning. The distinct smell of fire and kerosene hung in the air.
Jeff shook his head, “Fuck, where do we even begin? 
Hands running through his hair, Mark hissed with panic, unable to take his eyes off of the scene, “Ask questions. Please, please, ask someone something.
“Right,” Jeff hummed, looking around. He stopped and raised his hand. “You, there! Hey!” he shouted, flagging down a long-haired man who smelled of spices, “What happened at the battle?” 
            “Okay, so like,” the spaced-out youth began, “Slither totally started eating a guy’s face, right? And then M.C. Shaz turned a gun on the crowd and totally killed everyone?”
            Mark blinked out of his trance, “What?” 
            “And then Dracula showed up and we all had cake,” their informant concluded. 
             There was silence for a second.
            “I’m taking him home,” Jeff declared. 
            Turning pale, Mark ground his teeth, “NO!
            His friend shrugged, “Come on, he’d be a great conversation piece.” 
            “Do you like French fries?” asked the youth.
            Jeff put a hand to his chest, “I love French fries. Not this guy, though,” he said, indicating towards Mark, “He’s a poser.” 
            The youth narrowed his eyes, “Fag.”
            Mark began to sulk away, “Fuck you.” 
            “Don’t be such a poser, fag,” Jeff’s new friend mumbled, “Poser-fag. Fag-poser. Fagoser.
            Another young man with chains attached to his pants slumped over to the three of them, “What up, Brett?” he asked the first youth. 
            “That guy’s being a fagoser,” the one named Brett said, pointing to Mark.
            “Oh, right on,” he said. 
            “NO!” Mark screamed, whirling back and shooting a fierce snarl at them both, “You will not invent a fucking word while my girlfriend lies bleeding to death by a minivan!
            “We don’t even know if she’s dead!” Jeff shouted back, “Just calm down and let’s –!” 
            Mark grabbed Jeff’s collar and yanked the squirming man close to his face, “Fuck you! Fuck you! I ought to leave you out here to starve! I’ll –
            “Mahku?” 
Mark released his friend and turned left. He bit his lip and moaned. Slender and flushed, Haruka stood next to the largest policeman either he or Jeff had ever seen, a titantic cross between Ving Rhames and a Buick.
Mark rushed the girl and held her in his arms. He choked. Giving little squeaks of confusion, Haruka patted her lover on the shoulders and cooed in Japanese while Jeff rolled his eyes. Mark pulled back, pressed his forehead against hers and wept with joy as they kissed. 
            Jeff walked past them both and pocketed his hands, screwing his gaze upwards to the giant officer, “Alright, so while Tristan and Izanami here have their little moment, you mind explaining what actually went down?”
“Slither threw a Molotov cocktail into the crowd during his rebuttal to Hazardous Matt,” the man said, in a grim bass voice, “But we’ve got him detained; again. His parole officer’s going to have a fit.” 
“Was anyone hurt?” he wondered, casting a glance back at the lovers.
The policeman shook his head, “People are shaken but not stirred, if you get my drift. Some kid’s shoe caught fire from the blaze, but she’ll be fine.” 
Jeff’s nose scrunched, “Christ, the radio chatter we heard made it sound like a warzone. What was all that about shots fired and a woman dying?
The officer shrugged, “Broken telephone? It’s hard to get a reliable witness out of this crowd.” 
Jeff glanced over his shoulder to the long-haired youth from before, who now writhed on the ground scratching himself as his associate laughed, “Tell me about it.”
The officer tipped his hat and left. Turning on a heel, Jeff put his hands behind his head and strode for the lovers. “You guys okay now?” 
“Fuck off, Jeff,” whimpered Mark, lifting his head. Haruka looked his way at the same time.
What?” he called out, offended. “Fuck your teeth, I’m your friend. I just –” He paused and froze, his eyes growing wide. 
            “Jeffu,” Haruka said, sniffing at him, “What’s up?”
            There was reverence in his voice, “I hear the opening bass riff to ‘We’re Going To Get Several Bitches In This Motherfucker.’” 
            Mark dried his eyes and stared at him, “How?
             “I just know, okay?!” Jeff snapped, shaking his head, “Enough! I must go! The Further Colonels need me!
            Without another word, he was gone. They stood and watched their friend rush into the distance. A drum beat pounded against the air and shook the earth.

***

 Yay, Haruka's not dead! Now to retire these characters until I can think of something else to use them in. Perhaps I'll make an epilogue to Live later.

 Stay tuned, ladies and germs, because next week we've got our first Halloween special and an announcement!

 See you next time,

-RWI

EDIT: May 23, 2012. EditsstidE

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Flash Fiction - Live3

Good evening,

 Early bird here! I'm continuing on from Live and Live2 and hitting you with a cliffhanger!

***

            “Have you seen Mark and Jeff?”
            This was the question Adam posed to every one of his friends that he could find. Lost in a maze of concert-goers, vendors, and security guards, Adam weaved his way through the mass of people in search of them. A thunderous bass from one of the many stages shook the trees as he hunted for the pair.
He remembered seeing the panic on their faces as they bolted through the crowd ten minutes ago. He had to know why. Responsibility dictated that he was to find them, and to support them however he could. He knew where all the Lost and Found stations were. There was a first-aid kit in his car. He had memorized the exact locations of each outhouse, emergency services tent, and information desk. He would do his part. He was ready.
It was Paul he flagged down next. Drenched in sweat, the man wiped his face on his shirt and shrugged, “Dunno where they are now,” his friend admitted, pointing to his left, “But I did see Fat Johnny passed out in one of those outhouses over there.”
            “Oh,” winced Adam, “Oh, wow.”
            “Yeah, and he stank of vodka. I think Nanako’s Chinatown gang loaded him up and set him loose.”
            “He was dressed, right?”
            “And how. I’ve never seen a man wear that many ponchos.”
            “We’re getting sidetracked. What about Jeff and Mark?”
            Paul shook his head and thumbed to somewhere in the distance, “I saw them heading that way.”
            In an instant, Adam pulled a map from his pocket and scanned it. His finger ran along the page and his eyes darted back and forth from the paper to the horizon, “Okay, so they’re going North-East...” he mumbled, “so they’re heading to the hot dog stands, or the Stanktastic show, or the –”
“Dude, what does it matter?” Paul griped, “You’re not Superman.”
“No, I’m their friend,” he said, boldly, “And I have to be there for them.”
Paul rubbed his cheek, “Doesn’t mean you gotta chaperone two twenty-five-year-olds.” He stopped and leaned left, “Oh, hey!”
Adam turned to see who he was hailing. Bleach-blonde Claire entered, tall and lithe and pouting. A taller, tanned man he assumed to be her latest victim strode up with her. He felt his sinuses burning away from all of the perfume she wore.
Paul stepped forward and waved to her, “How’re you liking the show?”
“Broken Nose was tight,” she said in a nasally, whinging tone, “Some prick tried to grind me during ‘So Low?’ But then Gustavo showed him what’s what.”
“‘Sup?” said her consort.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Adam yammered, forcing himself between them, “I’m looking for Mark and Jeff. Have you seen them around?”
            Claire sneered and checked her Blackberry, “Those guys? I saw them just now. They’re looking for Mark’s ho-bag.”
            He never understood why she didn’t like Haruka, “Did she get lost?”
She put the phone to her side, “Nah, she went over to that rap battle in the parking lot? Jeff told her to check it out.”
            Adam’s blood froze. He knew who was performing and how volatile they were known to get. He remembered seeing one of the police cruisers and a handful of security rushing off moments before he saw Jeff and Mark run for the distance, “What’s going on there?” he asked, expecting the worst.
            “I dunno,” Claire said, checking her Blackberry again, “Some fight broke out and they think Haruka’s dead or something? Whatever. Is there any pizza here?”

***

 Expect Part Four of Four on Tuesday. I'm a busy boy!

See you soon,

-RWI

EDIT: May 23, 2012. Edits. WHAT.