Monthly Archives: September 2012

New Journal Seeks Submissions (Flint, MI)- More of the Same

“The High Water Mark, a new literary journal, is seeking submissions of prose or short poetry. This is not a paid market, but more information is available at thehighwater.wordpress.com”

 While this might not be as egregious as other posts on Craig’s List, this is still somebody asking writers to do something for free.  Now, supposedly, this magazine is going to be published, but there’s no information on who is going to be reading it or if anybody who does read it might tap one of the writer’s for an actual paying job.

 I’m a little iffy on the whole writing for the prestige of it.  If it’s for a cause of some kind that I actually believe in, I might do it.  But unless it was my own magazine or maybe someone I knew, it would have to be a well-known magazine for me to even consider it.  And even then, why is a popular magazine looking for people to write for free?  At least I would know a lot of people would see it.  Regardless, an unknown magazine I have no connection with that offers no guarantees and can’t offer me anything doesn’t meet my minimum standard to write something for them in place of writing something for myself.

 This could wind up being a humongous magazine and the editor could turn out to be a kingmaker amongst writers.  But there are easily 300 other magazines starting out just like it that won’t go anywhere.  It really depends on how much of a risk the author decides it will be.  For me, that risk is too much.

As I’ve written before, you can’t expect to have people passionate about your passion and that applies to ‘free’ magazines.  If you’re a writer considering this, be sure to ask if they’re going to be taking on advertisers and how much they’ll be paying per ad.  If people like you are populating the guts of the magazine, why aren’t you getting paid if money is changing hands in any capacity?

 If you are going to be in the wish fulfillment business, make sure they’re your wishes.

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Dethm8, ep 10

“I’m telling you that’s all I know,” Dusty said.  “And I don’t know how I know it.”  Dusty and Guthrie sat next to each other at the counter.  He was leaned in close as if he was interrogating her, but it didn’t feel that way.  She was starting to believe that Guthrie and his crew weren’t what they’d been pretending to be. 

He nodded, his eyes swimming back and forth as he drummed his fingers on the counter.  Dusty took another sip of water—that was really weird, she hadn’t had a drink of anything lacking in caffeine or alcohol in probably the last two years, but water was all she wanted—and put the cup back on the table.  Father was outside.  Father was hungry.

“You sure you don’t want me to strengthen that?” Kevin said on the other side of the counter.  Someone had found an old bottle of scotch in the back somewhere and it was quickly making the rounds.  Dusty shook her head.  Had any of this happened yesterday, she would have been the one to find that scotch and she probably would have downed the whole thing herself.  But she suspected this new zest for life or whatever it was was part of the entire package.

Dusty shook her head and Kevin did a thing with his eyebrows that brought the memory of him of the night in the car with the Evil Motherfucker more into focus.  The urge to purge her former boyfriend from her mind had grown to the point of making her tongue itch.  She kept wanting to talk to him, to tell her all she knew about him, about that night, about what happened not long after that changed her life forever.

Guthrie was mumbling something, but he appeared to have been talking to himself.  Dusty made eye contact with Kevin and inclined for him to follow her.  He walked around the counter and joined her at an empty booth, two seats away from Arlene and Todd.  Whatever moment that had been between them seemed to have passed.  Todd seemed to be his usual, withdrawn self and Arlene was being… odd.  She seemed even more withdrawn than Todd, almost catatonic.  And Dusty had the feeling it had nothing to do with the shock from whatever happened earlier outside.

“What’s up?” Kevin asked.

“I know you,” Dusty said.

“Well, yeah.  I didn’t want to say anything if you didn’t remember.  Thought it would be kinda lame.”

“You were Ed’s cousin.”  She broke eye contact with him, rubbing at an invisible spot on the table.

“Yeah,” he hung in the air.  Dusty felt his feet shifting on the floor.  He was uncomfortable too.

They were silent a moment before she said, “It really hurt… what he did.  I know it sounds selfish and weird, but I’ve always wanted to know why he didn’t choose me.”

Kevin’s mouth hung open as he stared at her.  He leaned forward and closed her hands in his.

“That shit wasn’t your fault, man.  That was him.  Ed was sick.”

“I know he was sick, but it was such a… betrayal.  Did you know we were engaged?”

Kevin shook his head several times.  “No.”

“He proposed to me two weeks before he did it.”  Kevin was silent and she continued.  “We were going to sneak off somewhere to do it.  LA or something cheesy like that and live in the wind for a while.  I had some money saved and plus my gramma had been giving me a fifty dollar bond every year for my birthday since I was two.  I thought we could have done something.”

A tear spilled from Dusty’s eye before she knew it was coming.  More followed.

“Do you know why he picked her?”  Dusty’s voice was a choked sob.

“I’m sure he was… he was sick.  I mean, you couldn’t—you shouldn’t—”  Dusty could hear in his voice Kevin had no idea what to say.  To console her would be saying he was sorry the Evil Motherfucker hadn’t killed her instead, to entirely dismiss his actions would say how she was feeling right now didn’t matter.  He tried again, “Dusty, he killed Sarah.  And then he killed himself.  I mean, you’re alive!”

“I know I’m alive.  But don’t you understand I was in love with him.  As deeply as anyone ever could have been.  And he chose her.” 

It took Dusty a moment before she could continue.  “I knew they’d dated, but so what?” she shrugged her shoulders.  “I’d had a few exes, no big deal.  We made plans, Kevin.  The night the we went on that double date with you and Rosette—” that was her name— “was the day before he proposed.”  Dusty felt the whole thing spilling out of her now.  Tears free-flowed, but she didn’t bother wiping them away and Kevin was frozen in place.  With each word, she could feel the bitterness, resentment, and anger that had plagued her these last five years trickle, then pour out of her.  She almost didn’t notice Todd slide out of his booth and slowly head toward the kitchen.

“I started buying all kinds of wedding magazines and he looked up hotels and flights for Las Vegas.  We were still too young to go to any of the casinos, but just being there with each other was going to be enough.  The idea was I’d finish high school and the next day we would catch a plane.  After we got married, we’d find a little apartment in California, I’d go to college and he’d hunt down every music exec he could find with a dufflebag full of CDs of his band’s music.  As unrealistic as it all was, it was perfect at the time.”

Dusty found herself twirling the fork, unraveled from the paper napkin next to her hand in much the same way she would have with a cigarette, she realized.  She continued, “I was with him when he heard about Sarah’s engagement.  He seemed… happy for her at the time.  I never would have guessed otherwise.”  Dusty paused to sort her thoughts and realized she was also waiting for Kevin to say something.  She looked at him and saw only confusion registered on his face.

“I don’t know if there’s a way to explain it that makes sense.  It doesn’t make complete sense to me, either.  I should have been Sarah, but don’t take that to mean I wanted to die.  We were supposed to be together forever, but in his own twisted way, he chose her.  Does that make sense at all to you?”

Kevin’s head began to move, but before he could answer, someone began screaming.  Several someones, in fact.  They both looked toward the kitchen as a man hurtled out, crushed the pie dish as he bounced off the counter, and crashed to the floor.  The whole restaurant was quiet for just a moment, save for the man moaning on the floor.

“Get that psycho!” Guthrie yelled.  Kevin and Dusty rose at the same time, but he tripped after two steps, going down in a howl of pain.

“Dammit, my ankle!” Kevin said through gritted teeth.  She wavered between the downed man and whatever was going on in the kitchen.  For a moment, Todd appeared in the kitchen entryway with one man on his back and one with his arms outstretched in front of Todd, the giant man-boy holding him by the wrists.  Todd was kneeing him mercilessly in the chest, the man bouncing back with each rib-cracking blow like a ragdoll.  The giant let him slump to the floor and reached up, peeling the man off his back and flinging him deeper into the kitchen.  Several people cried out in surprise and Todd flung himself back in.

“What the hell is going on in there?” Kevin said, struggling to his feet.  Just about everyone in The spoon was looking toward the kitchen now.

“I don’t know,” Dusty said.  “What should I do?”

“Help me,” Kevin said.  He leaned over her and they began limping toward the kitchen.  She had no clue what an injured man could do against someone who easily outweighed him by a hundred pounds until she caught sight of the gun holster just inside his jacket.  She felt sick at the thought of killing Todd.  Whatever had happened couldn’t have been his fault.

“Ay!” one of the biker’s said, coming out of the kitchen.  “Gimme that heater.”  Kevin made a face, then nodded.  He let go of Dusty just a moment, whimpering in pain at even the slightest amount of weight being put on the injured foot, the clasped onto her again.  Dusty dug out the gun and tossed it over.  Todd or no, he had to be stopped if he was hurting people.

“Don’t kill him!” she added as an afterthought as the man went back in the kitchen.  But as soon as the man caught the gun she could see it in his face.  He turned to go back in the kitchen and her blood ran ice cold when she smelled the gas.

“Don’t shoo—”

Everything in front of her eyes exploded.

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Think Like a Man- Review

 

My wife and I saw the movie Think Like a Man a couple weeks ago and to took a little for my thoughts on it to culminate. The movie is based on the Steve Harvey book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, published in 2009. In it, Harvey describes how a woman could learn different types of men and determine if a potential relationship is right for her.

The movie is based on four men and four women, the men being the different ‘types’ the women need to think like in order to have successful relationships. I’m truly of two minds regarding this movie. For starters, it’s very heavy-handed that it is based on the Steve Harvey book. I mean, there wasn’t a book with a picture of Mario Puzo anywhere in the movie The Godfather, and Rhett didn’t need to reference a book before telling Scarlett he didn’t give a damn in Gone with the Wind, why couldn’t a story be crafted without having extremely convenient and awkward-fitting cut-ins to Harvey mentioning segments of his book or the women saying things that begin with, “Steve Harvey says…” And by the way, this is a romantic comedy, to play Steve Harvey serious is a complete travesty. The man is an accomplished comedian and he was a bore.

But maybe I’m being unfair. The Godfather and Gone with the Wind were two completely different kinds of movies from Think Like a Man. A comparison to a movie within its genre would be fair, right? How about, I dunno, say He’s Just Not that Into You, starring everyone. That movie was based on the book by the same title, written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo and made into a romantic comedy. But it didn’t need to constantly hearken back to its source material as if seeking purchase in the minds of the people who’d read the book or wanted to. And as romantic comedies tend to go, He’s Just Not That Into You was boring (in my opinion).

Which brings me to my other mind on Think. Despite any preconceived notions I found myself laughing frequently throughout this movie. This is mostly due to the efforts of Kevin Hart, who plays Cedric, a man at the tail-end of divorce in the midst of three of his friends involved in budding romances. But Hart is more than just comedy relief. He’s the movie’s fulcrum and carries it off with a degree gravitas, despite going for the joke in nearly every scene. There’s a palpable degree of juxtaposition between what Cedric is going through and what the other three men are experiencing, most apparent during his divorce party when the men are all thinking about their relationships and realizing how they are being manipulated.

So not entirely liking or disliking the movie, the only other means I have to determine if it was a success in my mind is watchability. Would I watch this again? I rented it from Blockbuster, but I don’t see myself renting it again (but that’s probably more likely because I can get it from my library), but when this comes on HBO or Showtime, unless it’s competing with boxing, I think I would. I’d give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars.

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Really Bad Book

I found an author on Craig’s List looking for reviewers and, curious, I looked up his book. Not that I’m the be-all, end-all, but the cover is completely awful. There is nothing about it that indicates what the story is about. On top of that, the story sounds boring. Now I know that’s a matter of judgment, but from the description, I’m betting the guy could have used an editor.

There’s no way I can reach out to this guy without sounding self-serving, so I’m pretty much keeping my opinion to myself. I would even guess his book is at least 200 pages too long for the subject matter (unless it was written with really, really large print). And his promotion of the book was bad too. He released the book June 20 of this year and has no reviewers at all.

Oh, well. If he wants to learn, he’ll find the tools to get there.

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Experienced Writer Needed To Tell My Story (Caledonia)

“I am looking for someone to help tell my story. I have no idea where to begin, so I need help putting it in a book/short story format. I am willing to share the profits once the story is published. I just need some direction and help putting it in a format that will sell. If interested please respond with your writing history and we can talk to see if it is a fit for you andyou are willing to work with me.”

If you really believe in your story and feel it needs to be told to the world, you may want to actually pay someone to write it. Nobody is going to have your buy-in and you are not going to attract the highest quality talent possible with a promise to pay if your story actually sells.

I understand, people are dealing with shoe-string budgets, if anything at all. Times are tough all the way around. But it really is a matter of if you do or if you don’t have the ability to make something happen. I’m my own publisher, if I had a printing press, I just might make a WHOLE lot of money. But I don’t have the cash flow to buy the equipment and software to necessitate a printing press. So I’m not going to go on Craig’s List to put out an ad for someone to give me a printing press with the promise that we’ll split the profits after I start cranking out books.

Essentially, these people are asking for a loan without having any concrete plan to repay, save for a promise ‘in case’ they 1) get a publisher/agent/producer; and 2) the book/screenplay actually sells and makes a profit. And that’s on top of if the person the writer is actually dealing with is honest and makes good on said promise and makes good on sharing the profits.

I don’t mean to come off harshly to the poster of this ad, I’m sure he/she wasn’t aware that’s how this ad comes off. I’ve seen dozens upon dozens of posts just like it. But just like these posters are struggling and don’t have cash, people cruising Craig’s List for jobs are in the exact same situation.

Shame on Them!

Editing – Why Not to Do-It-Yourself

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Watch Out for Jimmy Pudge

The story is simple and even if you don’t figure out the twist right away, Jimmy Pudge pretty much drops it in your lap by mid-story. But even with a ‘Mother’ storyline, I was rapt.

I bought this book more than a month ago, but my Kindle app wouldn’t download it for whatever reason. Finally, I was able to get it this morning and I read it in about five minutes.

Janine’s potty mouth was hilarious. And what she thinks of herself was even better. I’m trying not to give away anything significant which makes it tough to review this story, but trust me, if you like a laugh or two with your horror, Pudge is the right guy and Bit** Gone Crazy in the Attic is the right story.

You can get a copy here.

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‘Paranormal Sci-Fi ALIENS – Ghostwriter (Michigan)’ It’s Crap Like This…

Read this Craig’s List posting I found and then I’ll comment after…

-Ghostwriter wanted for Paranormal – Sci Fi-Fantasy ALIEN – Suspense Thriller
-Candidate chosen will write a 20,000 word high quality first draft to be edited by poster of this ad.
-Candidate MUST have great imaginative/creative skills and MUST cause potential reader to keep turning the pages.
-Travel experience or knowledge of geography a plus.
-Candidate MUST have an interest in all things Paranormal or Sci-Fi
-Candidate MUST provide a sample of their work.
-Perfect for college student, at-home mom, retiree etc.
-Candidate will be required to deliver an outline of story within 10 days, then 20,000 word draft within 4 weeks of executing the agreement.
-Each story will be written under a new and separate agreement, and ghostwriter will be paid via company check.
-MUST sign agreement which gives this poster ALL copyright, future royalties, and future publishing rights, (you are selling us a story
to do with as we please) and we may publish under a pen name (pseudonym).
-There are NO benefits associated with this position. Ghostwriter is freelance and is simply selling us a story.
-Each new story will be written under a new and separate agreement.
-Compensation is $150 per story.

This is probably one of the biggest rip-offs you can run across if you’re a struggling writer. To spend the time it would take to write 20,000 words in coherent form and then to just give it away is insanity. I would have no problem with ghostwriting if two conditions were met: a) I’m being paid an actual decent wage for the hardwork I’m turning around, and b) I have a contract in hand before I start work.

What they’re suggesting is someone crank out an outline they may or may not like and once the writer has come up with one good enough, write 20,000 words that they could still reject. But if everything goes as perfectly as possible, the writer will earn a paltry $150, while the poster of the ad could go on to earn an untold amount in perpetuity. So if it only sells five copies or it becomes the next big thing and a blockbuster movie is made out of it, the person who actually came up with the idea and wrote it out can maybe buy groceries for the month if he lives alone.

So go ahead, take essentially 80% of the risk and reap not even a full percentage point of the potential earnings. Yeah, right.

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Psycho Prequel

 

I’m wondering about this. I just read the news on Yahoo’s site that A&E is doing a prequel to Psycho, starring Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Finding Neverland’s Freddie Highmore as a young Norman Bates and Vera Farmiga as his mother. I’m not opposed to a prequel for the reason you might think. I actually like prequels, particularly when they are well done. I liked Prometheus, even though each time I think about it, I like it a little less—more on that later.

My problem with the prequel is that it was already done and actually utilized the original Bates—Anthony Perkins. I think the Psycho series is probably one of the best series of horror films you can find. II was arguably every bit as good as the first. I don’t really remember III except that Jeff Fahey and Dennis Hopper were in it and that I liked it, but IV, I remember pretty well.

Up until now, I assumed the four movies were canon.

But with this new prequel, there will have to be differences from the storyline of IV, which was half prequel, half Norman trying to reconcile the demons of his past after finding out his wife was pregnant. IV explained perfectly the inappropriate relationship he had with his mother and why it was he was pushed to the point of murder. Now with a ‘reimagining’ things have to be changed for the sake of avoiding the disaster that was the 1998 Gust Van Sant remake. But will those variations complete rape the storyline that ended twenty-two years ago?

Even Rob Zombie’s Halloween had its problems. Sure, it was great to have an explanation as to why Michael Myers was a mindless killer. If you insist. I personally prefer the mystery, the ‘killer for absolutely no good reason at all’ of it. Zombie’s reimagining kind of took a dump on the reason Halloween was such an awesome flick.

But there may be hope. A&E is traditionally known for reality shows like Storage Wars, Intervention, and Biography. But with promising new shows like Longmire and Coma, they may be ready to stretch their wings and compete with other networks that are putting out quality programming, like AMC’s Breaking Bad, or HBO’s Everything They Put Out.

I admit to worry, but I’m hopeful that this is more of a flag being raised rather than a pooch being screwed.

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Repairman Jack on Audio

GeraldRice

I don’t have the time I used to to read. So I’ve been gobbling up all the books I could get on audio. I just listened to the last 2 Dark Tower books and a bunch of shorts of King’s. I also listened to Neal Stephenson’s Reamde (excellent) and a bunch of other novels. But I just checked to see if my library has any FPW on audio, specifically Repairman Jack. Nada. So I figured I could request my library to order it. I hopped on Amazon and looked up the only RJ book I haven’t read, (that’s currently sitting in a box since I moved) The Dark at the End, and guess what? Not available on audio. So my question to you, Dr. Wilson is, whaddupwitdat?

FPW

Brilliance Audio has made an offer on adapting all the RJ books not already audio, starting with COLD CITY in the fall. I accepted.

GeraldRice

Any idea when they’ll start cranking out or who the voice talent will be?

FPW

The contract is under review at my agent’s – there’s always details to be ironed out.

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Dethm8, ep 9

They’d killed the red thing together, but it hadn’t stayed dead.  No, it took some doing to finally make it lay down for more than a few seconds and eventually Arlene understood it wouldn’t stay down, so she got the idea—well, remembered she’d read something in a book—to lock the thing away.  She asked little Toddy if there was a place where his mommy and daddy locked things away, a place where they put things they didn’t want others to steal.  Toddy had nodded and led her into the house.  It was a huge place, filled with wide rooms, all of the windows open with curtains billowing with a wind that hadn’t been there when they were outside.  She felt the red thing close behind them, but didn’t see it when she looked behind her.

It was good that it was close, though.  Arlene wanted it close.  By this point, she knew this was some sort of hypno-dream state, that she was really in the Spoon, sitting across from Todd Adams with her hand on his forearm.  She could withdraw from him anytime, but she knew this was a crucial point.  Of the many times this scene had been reenacted in his mind, she knew the red thing had gotten him.  It had crawled in his head and eaten his brain or mutilated some other part of him.  Even if he’d managed to run away first, eventually it had caught up to him and gotten him just the same.  No, if Arlene broke contact and abandoned him now she’d lose him forever; she’d be just another person who’d abandoned him in a deep moment of need.

The rooms were endless, one after the other and they all began looking just the same.  Arlene knew the house was a construct that was his mind—well, a different one, the outside had been one too—and that if she could make anything here it would be just as imaginary as in the real world.  But she could sharpen his mind, bring him to attention of a kind.  Arlene yanked him to a halt and he turned to her, frustration in his eyes as he pointed, clearing wanting to continue running.

“No,” she said, shaking her head.  “We have to go to the room with the safe.”

Little Toddy nodded.  He wanted to go there too.

“Then take me to the room.”  She pointed to a lone door in a wall across from them.  “Isn’t it through there?”

Toddy looked confused, but then he nodded furiously.  He pulled on her arm for them to keep going and she followed him.  Once they’d pushed through they were in a bedroom.  It was as equally unfurnished as all the other rooms they’d passed through, but there was a closet door directly ahead and a narrow doorway where she spotted a toilet and a sink.  This was an upstairs bedroom, but they’d never come to any steps.  Did Toddy not like them?

He pushed open the doors, revealing a barren look-in closet.  No, Arlene looked again: there was a miniature safe on the floor.  It was off-white with a black face and cubicle-shaped.

“Open it,” Arlene said to him.  Toddy turned to her, shrugging his shoulders and holding up his hands as if to say, ‘I dunno the combination’.  “Yes, you do.  It’s your safe.  Don’t you remember?”

Toddy made a confused face, but a second later something lit behind his eyes.  He knelt and began spinning the wheel left and right.  The red thing had been a legless, armless creature, but Arlene suddenly heard it coming up the stairs they’d somehow been able to bypass.  She looked to the room’s only door out, hurried over, and locked it.  This was going to work, it was destiny, but they needed time.  No sooner had she gone over to Toddy at the lock when a bump came at the door.  It was light and Arlene was sure it would have to hit much harder to break through, but when she looked again she saw the tip of it wedging underneath the door.

“Hurry,” she said to Toddy.  “You have to get it open.”  He nodded and kept spinning the wheel left and right, left and right.  If ever a smidgen of doubt entered her mind it was right then.  But a moment later he grabbed the arm of the safe and pulled it open and then the red thing pulled the last segment of its body from underneath the door.  Arlene saw it and stepped aside from Toddy.

“Hold it up,” she said, pointing at the safe, but looking at the red thing.  She felt Toddy move rather than saw him.  The red thing creepy-crawled, zigzagging left and right.  But then it rocketed toward them—toward Toddy—and when it leapt from the floor for his head, Arlene was ready.  She hadn’t known how she knew it would go for his head, but she’d expected it and caught the red thing mid-air.  Toddy had the small safe door open and she redirected its forward momentum, gripping it only long enough to throw it inside.  He slammed the little door shut and spun the wheel, locking it inside.

It thrashed around, the sides of the metal box bending and bulging like it was made of rubber.  Arlene heard it screech inside and caught the safe when Toddy clapped his hands over his ears.  It was heavy and she could feel it thrashing around inside.  It went on for a moment longer, but eventually the subsided, even its screeching sounding defeated.

Arlene looked at Toddy until he made eye contact with her.  He’d been staring unbelievingly at the safe and turned those wondering eyes on her.

“Is it… over?” he said.

Arlene nodded.  “Yes.”  She walked to the closet and put the safe on a shelf above her head.  She turned to Toddy.  “It’s over.”

He smiled.  She walked back and took his hand.  The house dissolved around them until there was nothing but white as far as they could see.

“What do we do now?” he asked her.

She smiled at him.

“Do you like wrestling, Toddy?”

He blushed.  Toddy turned his head, but Arlene put a gentle hand on his cheek, sliding his eyes back to meet hers.  He flashed a glance at her and she smiled even wider.

“It’s okay, I guess,” he said.  She put her hands on his shoulders and bent so they were eye level.

“I like it too, Toddy.  Know who my favorite wrestler is?”  He shook his head.  “Sinistar.”  Toddy’s eyes crawled up to meet hers.

“Really?” he asked, hesitant.

“Really.  He’s just so big and strong.  I don’t know if he has a girlfriend, but if he doesn’t…”

Toddy gave a nervous laugh.

“I don’t think he has a girlfriend.”

“Do you think he would help me with something if he were my boyfriend?” she said.

“Oh, I bet he’d do anything for you,” Toddy said.  Arlene took his hand and the walls melted.  They were standing on the ground outside again.  The sun was high in the blue, cloudless sky, but the air was cool.  Toddy looked around, his mouth open.  “Did I do that?”

“Yes,” Arlene said.  This entire place was a construct of the boy’s mind, but just as she knew she wasn’t really holding the hand of an eleven year old boy, she knew she held the controls and had directed him—had been directing him since they ran in the house.  “Do you really think he’d do anything for me?” she asked.  “Like anything-anything?”

The boy looked confused a moment, his mouth a silent ‘O’, but then he locked eyes with her and puffed his chest out.  “He’d do anything for you,” Toddy said proudly.

“Good.”  She nodded, bent to his ear, and began whispering.

At the booth, a single word had yet to be shared between them since the only question she’d asked—half asked a mere few minutes earlier, but volumes of information was being exchanged between them.  Not information like where she’d grown up or gone to school, but the schematics of her soul.  Arlene left her imprint on him until the two of them were as close as siblings, or perhaps more accurately, a mother and son.  As she whispered into the ear of his mind, she erased or overwrote the parts that would impede her goal.  She dug deep into the core of him until every facet of him she could find had been thoroughly saturated with some aspect of her.  She received from him the surety that even with the undeniable evidence that his actions on her behalf were against his best interests, he would given nothing but absolute fealty.  He had hurt many people in his lifetime—first in the fights his father had forced him into as a teenager and then in the ring—but he’d never come close to killing anyone.  But that self-made border had been crossed and the heat of complete certainty that he would kill without hesitation if and when she asked warmed him to his core.

Todd—Sinistar—looked over at the man who’d been doing most of the talking since the group of bad men had come in here.  Arlene squeezed his hand to pull his attention back to her.  It took a moment, but he affixed his eyes on her.  Sometimes, the wrestling program would do close-ups on Sinistar and his eyes blazed like lamps in the dark.  She’d always thought it was the contrast of the red-trimmed black mask, but looking at his naked face now it looked like he could illuminate the room if the lights went out.

“Wait,” Arlene said.  “We have to do it when the time is right.  We have to get them all.

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