The Christian concept of the flesh constantly at battle with the will to do good, this fellow named 238, whatever that means, is haunted by a demon of terrible temptation of his long-hidden inner desires he wants no one to know about. The demon knows these weak areas in his life an exploits them with incessant taunting. However, the battle is for the better -- for every person 238 feels tempted to harm, he asks God to bless them and each person is totally and completely healed, even as far as long lost limbs suddenly being present or organs once removed respawning instantaneously in perfect condition and health without additional surgery. 238 wants the demon to go away, but if he does then he knows the healings will stop because without the demon to taunt him the healings would never be requested with such love. Sections involving the interviewer, Mr. Wesson, are chronoloically backward while 238's scenes are in the correct passage of time, until the two meet at the conclusion. I have no idea what 238 means. Ever since I first noticed the number some number of years ago as being the room number of a friend staying in town for the weekend, I have noticed it in dozens and dozens and dozens of locations in strikingly ordinary places, much like the fourth scene with Mrs. Wimberley who didn't need her glasses anymore. I have noticed it many times as prices or change handed back to me (which is the amount of money the man in the sixth scene gives from his pocket, $2.38), and cannot begin to count how many times I have idly glanced at the clock at work at completely unplanned random moments to see 2:38am. I have stopped driving a particular route to work because I keep seeing a Highway 238 sign on the way. I am unsure if Room number 238 at the hotel my friend was staying at was the first time I'd seen it, but certainly it was the first time I actually remembered having seen it in more than one place. I got the idea for this story because I too am seemingly haunted by similarly bizarre temptations with which I argue about not making sense. I have also always wanted to be a healer, and do so in the way that Christ did to the people he encountered. The idea to write it all down came to be while I was watching The Bourne Supremacy in the theatre, and actually shed a tear or two near the end because of the combination "grand idea" to write it came as well as the fact that the movie was so good on both action and doggedly-tiredness of the character in realizing his situation. In some ways, this story is a confession, and others it is a put-forthing of questions. Which is which, shall remain a mystery, I reckon. Part of the thoughts that cross my mind whenever I randomly recognize the number in places I am not expecting, comes from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode of a time loop the Enterprise D gets stuck in and repeatedly crashes into another ship also caught in the loop. Data (Brent Spiner) somehow implants a number that appears throughout the ship in peculiar places and they only figure out what in the world the numbers mean until the very last second. I hope that it doesn't take me that long figure out what 238 means. The character of Rhu actually came to me in a dream, about a girl that I somehow knew was in a hospital of some kind and that I was immensely in love with in a romantic way but could never get near her, there was always some kind of barrier or glass wall seperating us, keeping us apart physically although my heart yearned for her in a very intense way. So intense, that after I woke up I wrote her name on one of my dry erase boards (I took a picture of myself some weeks later so online friends could see what I looked like and it was still up there, in the background inadvertently -- thankfully no one asked) and was somewhat sad that I couldn't see/visit her again. Just the other day, about Jan 14, 2005, I was surfing the web and came across a video of a girl who looked so strikingly similar to her I was just aghast and encouraged me to make this story compilation as at the time I had just been considering making one. There's a lot of weird stuff going on around here.
Originally titled Honk!, I dropped the ! because it seemed too cartoony, although the description of turning yellow-haired with glowing aura and flying comes from the anime/cartoon Dragonball Z, the teeth and eyes from vampiristic thinking of my high school days, and spikes along the back from the Gremlins villan, Spike. I wrote story based on a few things that regularly occur with me (and is perhaps the nature of the mind to wander). Just as one can watch the Lord of the Rings movies and be glad one does not have such a pressuring burden as Frodo does and simply return to reality by pressing stop or walking out of the theatre, so can we also imagine perplexing and anguish evoking predicaments and be glad to not actually be there. Winston, however, is the opposite, in that he is stuck in his prison-like mental asylum and yearns to be free so he imagines escape but is, as opposed to walking out of the theatre, jarred back into his crummy reality quite suddenly, to his disappointment. I think part of the idea for this story was from the movie The Shawshank Redemption where main character Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) tells a perplexed Red (Morgan Freeman) about living outside of the prison in the mind, while physically being stuck in prison in reality, remarking something like, "knowing they can never take it from you." In a similar way, we know that Winston will not likely be cured in the near future, as he is in the asylum for having just these sort of imaginations and dwelling constantly in them, but in fact the asylum is the very root of his current series of fantasies. But like Andy at Shawshank, they can never take it from him.
I frequently get this one mixed up with Galapogos, both because of the titles but also because both were originally journal-entry type stories. I changed Waikiki to 3rd person, though, because it seemed to work much better that way, and kept Galapogos as-is for the same reason. This whole story was written in one or two sittings (and remains largely unedited) after I borrowed a book from a future roommate about Harris Burdick, a gentleman who submitted extraordinary illustrations for stories he promised he had to back them up, but lost all communication with the publisher. The illustrations were so perplexing and thought-provoking that the publisher simply compiled them into a book on their own, and has since become a rather interesting starting place for creative writing in schools across the US with the assignment to make a story up based on the pictures. This story is one such story, but you don't know until the end, and likely only if you'd seen the Harris Burdick book in the first place. It turns out that the "Waikiki" button on the elevator was not such an oridinal idea that I thought it was, because I later found a lengthy compendium of Steven Wright (comedian) that I'd kept for some great number of years who remarked in one of his dull-faced bits about meeting a man in an elevator who was going to Phoenix, so he simply pushed the button for Phoenix. I have to wonder about what other kinds of bits I have included in stories that are actually things I picked up from who knows where. Considering a great many of the stories I have included in this collection came from overnight dreams I've had, that's really highly possible. Part of the conceptual inspiration for this weird city came from the Twilight Zone episode where a couple find themselves in the toy trainset land of a child, in that they cannot escape by train since it travels in a big circle (whereas in the city it loops itself back over if you walk too far in one direction -- not exactly the same, but close)
The idea for this came about when trying to think up ideas about how to make a time travel device, when recognizing that the author has the complete liberty to not even explain at all how exactly it works but that it simply does. I'd had a discussion about such technology with my brother about how such situations seem to become predictions when technology actually progresses that far, such as when Asimov wrote about weird contraptions like the pen that records what it is writing ("story title here") or that androids had positronic brain types, that later became actual inventions or realizations that the android brains would actually work best if they were positronic. So, I took the liberty of conjuring a time device that could be made from simple electronics kit circuitry, because I can. Part of the idea for the nature of this journal-entry type story came from the same episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation described in 238's commentary, about the time loop. I so enjoyed that concept I had to use it myself in one way or another, but not with the same circumstances or outcome, of course. My own actual theories on time travel have boiled down to the fact that the circumstances of actually discovering true time travel are destined to never happen, in that the nature of the universe somehow conspires so that just such a situation in which time travel could be discovered will actually never happen. Or, that time travel has ALREADY been discovered and the "Men In Black" as it were of the Federal Time Commission in the story do such a good job of keeping the whole idea under wraps that in passes on into myth. Check out the episode "insert title here" of Star Trek: Voyager where Janeway attracts just such officials. Anyhow, I think at some point of writing this story (done in one or two sittings also) I got so thoroughly confused with where I was going with it I just had to wrap it up. I had had an inkling of an idea for a different story that I instead used in this one where a scientist was going to announce his time travel discovery as Dr. Labeur (pun on "manual labor", of course) makes just such an announcement. In the original, he was going to set up the machine (similar to the "Time Machine"'s machine, where you sit in it) in his basement, and watched the passage of time in ultrafast progression mostly uncaged, gradually building to become a platform where media crew had begun to set up and finally land in the present, but then grow to detest all the attention and go sabotage his own plans, but discovered a flaw in his own plan to sabotage himself that would result in disastrous results to the nature of time itself that he from that point then decides to attempt to sabotage the sabotage before the time- chain-reaction obliterates hope for any kind of decent "future", for humans in general. Now that I think about it, that might have made a better story. Run with that.
I'm not altogether positive where much of this story's idea came from, but I am rather certain it came to me in a dream. I'm not positive since dream imagery usually comes from something I've seen or thought about in recent memory at the time of the dream, jumbled up. I've always been glad to write stories about an unusual circumstance, and the epic-ness of this dream seemed too good to pass up, so I wrote it down. Some of the cohesiveness may be rather hole-ful, whereas facts don't line up exactly, but that's generally how dreams progress -- from one seemingly unquestionable fact to another seemingly unrelated and impossible situation given the previous fact but too is also unquestionable as true simultaneously. There may actually be a second version of this dream floating around somewhere, because as I was typing this up again from the printout I'd dug up, I distinctly remember there being a part where the narrator was being chased by the hairy thing, jumping thru the basement door up to the basement to safety and the door slamming closed, the chaser, whatever it was, banging into the door as it slammed, in a climactic chase ending -- but it wasn't in this version. Very weird.
The entire story was written in one sitting, and based completely off the idea at first of receiving pieces of a chess game in the mail. Each little facet like the "don't use that piece with another board" feeling completely manifested itself as I came to it, as if I were writing the entire story from a voice telling me what to write (although not quite like that), but the ideas just seemed to come out of nowhere and sounded good so I stuck them in. It was originally titled C2-C4, the opening move, but I decided Stalemate sounded dual-meaning-ish and being a big pun fan (that is, enjoying puns a lot; I am not actually big) and went for that instead. It wasn't until near the end I decided to make it a letter to the person who started getting the pieces in the same bizarre fashion. In hindsight, I wonder if some of the mail the first family got might have been deliberately sent from the true source to ensure that the family actually got mail that day -- otherwise the postal carrier wouldn't have been able to 'box it in' or set it aside -- and could possibly be traceable to its originateur. I'm not sure if I wrote this or Opportunity first, but may have been the first homage to a favorite short story I'd read with weird twists in it, "The Monkey's Paw" by ().
This is another one that has been set aside, taken up again, set aside and taken up. After I actually finished it finally, I decided that it wasn't finished because I wanted to change a very core aspect of it that would require a complete re-write: The wife of the partnership was going to be dead, but the reader would hear her words as would the husband, but no one else in the story would, and only at the end would it be revealed by the photo finish that it was only the husband standing there. It was at that very point, of writing the photo finish, that I got the idea that, "what if he was the only one there?" and I started to get this weird Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance inspiration. However, didn't actually sit down to write the new version for some months, then lost it, and started all over again -- I actually wrote the commentary for the story, what you're reading now, before I made the new version. It's weird describing the future in the past tense, presently.
Like Stalemate, this was also written in one sitting and much in the same way, straight off the cuff as I just pulled the words out of nowhere, and the weird twist ending didn't come to me until I got to that point myself. I'm still somewhat confused about how exactly that wishes-are-done-pass-it-on sequence works, but I remember being so "aw yeah!" glad that it seemed to work so well when it came to me. This story in particular I think is most similar "The Monkey's Paw" by () that I had read in high school literature that I thought was just such a cool idea that it stayed with me for a significant time in the back of my mind. Just using that concept was really cool. Stalemate is somewhat similar, but not quite.
Vanguard Oakenfold: Mage Dwarf
The entire thing started during reading The Two Towers of the Tolkein series, and I wanted to do a story about a very small person achieving something great. I wanted it to have an ancient-turned-new feeling like Stargate, where prophecy was being fulfilled in the present and it all hinged on this one unlikely hero who himself wasn't convinced he was the hero and neither was anyone else near him. It started out being a history lesson, and I didn't even get much of the real story finished for a few years until one family trip to Missouri (I think) where I actually got the outline finished for the most part. I greatly enjoyed writing just scenes here and there that had no real cohesion, so I decided to break it up into scenes I could just write at random and when finished would fit puzzle-piece-like into correct order. I had originally titled it Vanguard Oakleaf or Vanguard Inncarver, and was going to have his parents' forefathers be great wood carvers who found the giant tree and decided to carve aninn out of it before I decided to eventually use Rosenbo as the originateur of the tree's uniqueness -- Rosenbo is the name of a town we passed on the trip I thought would make a good character name. I'd seen bits and pieces of some Baron Von Munchausen movie with Robin Williams that had a bunch of characters all with specific abilities and decided to use that concept here. It didn't really occur to me until a bit later to make the entire story into a giant witnessing/evangelism tract, which introduces the reader to a bunch of Christian principles and concepts in a knights/armor/dragons fantasy setting, a place many anti-religion might be more accepting to reading such a thing. I wonder when this will ever be finished, because there is SO much to still write up that I don't know if I'll ever get around to making it so. I could probably make a Cliffsnotes version of it just so people could get the idea of how the core story goes, without writing out the entire thing first, but in my experience of doing those type of summaries just to get it down ended up being the final version to a largely uninteresting story that I decided I'd never finish because I was tired to dwelling on it, like watching the same movie 6 times in a row that really isn't all that spectacular. I had also originally written about 9 chapters of this in a spiral notebook by hand. By that time I decided to change a big part of the beginning which would require a rewrite -- also because of the fact that I'd written myself into a hole and wasn't sure where to go with it from there and stalled out. In that original draft of the first clump of chapters, both of Vanguard's parents had been killed in front of his eyes and he had scared the ogres that did it away with his then-unaware capabilities as a very powerful mage for his age and Kyrie Arts training. The Sardan band then came upon the Inn in their usual rounds of the area looking for his parents and decided to take him up. I had decided I needed to make the initial area a very happ place so he would always be conflicted about whether to go on or whether to turn back to his place of security, as Frodo often thought about the Shire during his arduous journey with the one ring in the LOTR books. A number of aspects of the story might seem remarkably Harry-Potter-like, most of which completely unintentional, just like the map that I'll explain on down a ways. It wasn't until I had read the first HP book that I realized I'd written the Great Oak Inn to have similar properties as the Castle Hogwarts' structure: changing staircases -- although different method of doing so -- as well as its overall state of being enchanted), mail delivery by bird (differing, not exclusively owls, and note how the bird deliverer seems to symbolize the content of the message in some fashion). Also, the map. I had originally drawn the map completely out of random squiggling -- honestly I did, it seemed totally random to me and not resembling any figure I could think of at that present moment, and placed wher certain cities would be and such. I did not occur to me until months later that the entire continent excruciatingly closely resembled the shape of the United States, even down to the city placement. I'd inexplicably placed the giant tree in California (where the Redwoods are), the capitol in approximately the same direction as our national capitol, placed two of the large bay areas in similar areas as the Gulf of Mexico (althought the SanFran Bay area seems more like Arizona on version) and the Bay of Craws is almost exactly where the Great Lakes are. I was totally undone upon realizing this striking similarity, as I had grown rather attached to the whole layout and had modified the outline to fit these particular paths I had already draw out long ago, so I just decided to keep it. I still can't believe how I was convinced that it could have been a truly random squiggly region when it so obviously looks like the United States now that I had looked at it again *rolls eyes* !! Some of the town names are anagrams of people I know, and the two main rivers mentioned in parts of the story, the Ezgaard and Karetac are puns off alarm system brands that I had to work with when I was doing a lot of writing on these stories when I worked as a security alarm dispatcher (we had joked one could not only read books on shift, but also write one, and I actually did to a degree), the brands being E-Z-Guard (a company homebrew) and Caretaker. A lot of the names throughout the entire story are puns or anagrams of people I know/knew. One in particular that was my favorite is a lady whose name is never written out in full but could be figured out if you take into account all the husbands she'd had. Even her plight through the story could be told in her name if you'd known. "Eventra Bolpuin" is a crudely written British-accented utterance of "Having Trouble Poo-ing" who had frequent bowel troubles and eventually married the right guy who solved her issue, a Mister Waynanamo (Wait, Not No More). The triune cities near the capital are aligned in the same pattern and modeled after the names of the 3 stars in Orion's belt: Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. More about this story to come.
I'm fairly certain I wrote this all in one sitting, but on a yellow legal pad. This was one of my first attempts at making a massively intricate array of symbols and parallels, many of which I have forgotten but I remember there being a meaning for practically every single aspect of the entire story with few exceptions. For example, the window he looks into is a sign that he's doing a good job, but when he looks into it again later, the glass is dusty, meaning he's looking in the right direction but he's being blinded by something (not wanting to help the moaning man). The shop keeper and son symbolize God and Christ, specifically because of what the owner tells the son should probably give it away rather obviously. The bandaid represents forgivenness and healing (although I forget what I had intended specifically). I had originally written this as an email forward to try and send out, but it never caught on so much. I posed the question at the end to figure out how many symbols one could find, but apparently that's too English-geeky of a forward to catch on, and I suppose it is. I imagine I may still have the answer sheet somewhere backed up in email where I'd made a list. I'll have to hunt that down and write back on this commentary.
Beacon 83 is a multiple-personality story -- not about someone with such an issue, but that it appears in at least two forms: the story available on this site, and the unfinished Choose Your Own Adventure style I have for exploration here ("Govern Your Fate" series). Until I had read part of the story again while I was formatting it, I had thought it was actually the story called 'Front Row Seats' because both involve a person who operates on an orbiting station and I got them mixed up. Since Watchman Loviglio talks Rick the Repairguy out of committing suicide, her first name Savia might become more apparently a pun on Savior as it was intended. I'm surprised I didn't name the repairman Winston or something, I sure have a lot of Winstons (although the only one I can recall ever seeing elsewhere is the dude from Ghostbusters). Anyhow, I had intended to make this story be something like one of those hospital/crime dramas where only the presinct name is given and be a fairly ordinary or un-science-based situation of a human nature in a rather unhumany setting. Apparently there isn't much draw for event-based stories (the kind I like) in the scifi fiction magazine market -- most writers guidelines kept calling for 'character-driven' stories with a scifi background and this was an attempt at one of those. I'm not sure how well it came out, I'm not a very good judge of my own dialogue since I don't really talk that much myself in the first place. After reading over it again it seems somewhat rushed particularly in the split decision moment when he explained how he paused that might could use some rewritten delays to stretch that scene out a bit more. In most of the dialogue I couldn't think of much anything to talk about so I just stuck on small-talk conversation about technology ideas I had myself but couldn't find many story ideas to integrate them into. When the local newspaper displayed a graphic explaining how the new hockey rink would stay cool without chilling the entire arena's open air, I got the idea for the MagZone stuff. Other than that, it feels like a force attempt (to me) to integrate some sort of drama, but in the Govern Your Fate version you are Watchman Loviglio and make choices about whether to send out for a repairman, fix it yourself, etc. There's an alien encounter, and in the future will be the option to beat the tar out of the repair man to save him the trouble of killing himself, but with some tough-call twists. However, I still have to just sit down and type it out -- something that has hindered loads of work getting done for just about every story up here, especially the Vanguard set.
The House God Gave Pete
I wrote this one out in one sitting also, and gave tribute to The House Where Jack Lives by ____ _____ because of its obvious style borrowing. I had prayed this same prayer myself after I got my first house but wasn't sure how exactly that would work, but it has done well so far methinks in that regard. Not necessarily in the way the story goes, but in other ways. I had to changes the names on this one multiple times because I kept using names that either sounded similar or began with the same first letter and kept getting them mixed up with who was who and did what before or after who, so changed them to be unique so I could keep track without getting thoroughly obfuscated. I probably have gone many more steps after that, but as a childrens' type story I think it may be just long enough.
Front Row Seats
As of writing this commentary, I have no idea where the hardcopy or text file for the story is but I can remember most of how the story goes. In this one I wanted to make a situation where science thought it had stumbled onto a spectacular find that could revolutionize the way the world operates, but tragically realize that it is the very fabric of what keeps the earth viably stable, interrupt that delicate balance and end up destroying the whole situation just from exploring too far than they should have, but not knowing how far too far is beforehand. This also loosely symbolizes the relationship of Christ to the world, being the very fabric and tool used to created it but pressing the boundaries on his patience too far will result in utter obliteration. Since some instances of prophecy in the bible indicate that Christ will return just as the world will nearly collapse on itself in destruction, I had a suspicion that much of that destruction might come about by science exploring too far into some particular nature of the universe like atomic bomb technology or whatnot and the widespread abuse of such technology the the primary front to survival of the species before Christ's return. This story somewhat pushes that idea along.
Fill A Stein
More of just a joke story, with its cousin being Babbling On also found in this collection, it takes the form of an incident of regular conversation at the point of a major event in biblical history, this one being when Samson famously pushed the pillars down on top of the Philisitines ('fill a stein') at their big gala. I tried to make it where the setting wasn't obvious until the last paragraph when it all begins to make much better sense and practically needs to be read twice to get all of the inside information. Credit to Dr. Asimov for giving me the idea to write a story that is actually just a joke, after having read ____ ____ ____ which I thought was pretty clever set up just to deliver a really corny pun at the end.
Raytheon, or Ray Theon -- I keep getting them mixed up -- came to me in an epic-quality dream, possibly after watching a time-loop type episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation such as the one where Data has to hold some clamp object thru a time-distorting singularity in order to close all of the time splinters into the same alignment. This dream had very specific images with vivid colors, and might have been one of the first ones I turned into a story before I had actually begun writing all of my dreams down that I could remember. In case you're wondering, the ending is a deliberate idea-borrowing from the movie Date With An Angel where the main character thought he had gone out with this beautiful girl who actually turned out to be a real angel of God with wings and everything, but then wakes up at the end and the nurse attending him looks exactly like the angel, in the face, who acts like they've never met. Mine, however, has a better twist on it, I think. I can't remember if I actually included the aspect of the computer system labeling his name as Raytheon or not. I had come out of the dream with that very name, and thought it was a really cool name, but I looked it up and it turns out it is some technology company. I decided to keep it, since there's practically no connection between the company (nor intended) and one guy in some obscure short story.
The Heavens & The Fred
This story came about simply from wondering if God could have actually remade the universe a number of times and having started over repeatedly without letting us know, since all we know is "in the beginning" about the creation of the earth and practically nothing before that for the most part. This story is another good example where I can take the liberty to explain that something happened without actually giving the details of how exactly it happened (just as Star Trek is not required to explain the mechanics of warp technology other that its own fancy words like subspace phase variance and inverse tachyon deflector arrays. In particular, I just explained that every argument for evolution or other scientific assumption was shot down repeatedly by the fictionalized God in a rather smarmy attitude that was more reflective of my somewhat less-than-sweet mood I was in at the time. I actually submitted this story to Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction but it was rejected. I still have the response letter.
This one is more along the lines of Stalemate and Opportunity found in this collection, that is rather like a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode, with a small basis of the The Monkey's Paw short story by _____ ______ as referenced in the commentary for those. This one was one of the more scary ones I think, but more on a thrillery side than outright terror. It's rather short, too, I now notice -- but I'm happy with it as-is. Not really much to say about this one, except to wonder how exactly Evelyn was able to warp time and Winston's mind like that, but that's just up to the imagination to suspend as necessary explanations :-)
This one had some weird ending stuff that I kept getting mixed up with that I'm not sure it ever became hole-free that I just left it as-is because I didn't want to mess with it. I had sent this story to a writers' group called International Online Writers Association (IOWA) which I am unsure if they are still around. There were a few that critiqued the story for me and had some good things to offer, until I at last was able to tell them that I'd submitted the wrong version. There are two versions of this story, the first of which was where an alien named Xefinex (sounds like a foot fungus powder) was in place of the FBI agent and I had mistakenly submitted the alien version and not the FBI version. I had been fairly certain I'd submitted the FBI version and didn't even check to make sure it was the correct one until the DAY of the critique just before everyone was giving their spill about it, and turned out to waste everybody's time reading and going over it in a professional way. I felt really really stupid after that incident. Alas, HERE is the FBI version. I do have the Xefinex version somewhere, but it's not as complicated and may actually be more cohesive that this mix-around edition. This story is also one that had come to me in a dream and at the time was pretty vivid. I didn't write it down, though, and went strictly from memory from days earlier and I'm sure I lost a good bit of the twists that had originally struck me as so fantastic I had to get them down in a story of some kind. I had forgotten I even had this story until I was making this very collection.
This has to be the shortest short I've ever written, and I had always wanted to make one this short but couldn't think of anything brief enough throw in some twist at the end and still be good. Then one day I was thinking about how much of my ideas seem really good and then within a year if I don't write them down they happen to show up in a movie. I can vaguely recall one specific movie I saw that I had had the near-indentical idea for and hated the movie because they "stole" it (as if I don't borrow enough ideas in the first place). If only I could remember what movie that was. It's probably better that I didn't. Anyhow, I figured I could write up a short of a guy whose ideas were all taken and with such frequency he could begin to predict which movies were going to come out next, and the fact that I wrote a story about him sealed his fate as being incapable of coming up with a seemingly original idea (even as an autobiography) because I had thought of his predicament as a story before he thought his own problem might be a story. Sorry, Winston :D Was first called An Original Idea.
was originally called The Babbly Bunch, a pun on The Brady Bunch, but that seemed too corny. This story is similar in concept to Fill A Stein, which, you can probably guess what it is about now that you've read this one, even if you haven't read Stein yet. Not a terrible lot to say other than just repeating the same from Stein's notes.
The Cost of Fellost
I wanted to make a Dr.Seuss-style poem for a potential childrens' book that explained the oft-misunderstood (by adults even) concept of faith versus works. I wanted to explain that if one has faith, works will abound naturally and that the faith (trust in Christ as payment for sins) is the thing that determines entrance to heaven, not the good works that come as a result of having faith. So, I turned faith into Fellost, an edible substance that produced Trooples and Nelders (works) that came about magically with a POOF once Fellost had been consumed, also paralleling that works comes as a result of the indwelling faith and not the faith of someone else and that each is responsible for his own entrance into heaven as his own personal decision and not by proximity. I think this story worked out really pretty well, to say the least. I hope some publisher might pick this up as a kids book someday.
I actually just got finished writing it (Feb 7, 2005). I'd had the idea for quite some time and thought I'd written it down someplace but the more I got to thinking about it the more I realized I had not written it, so since I was working on the story site I decided to just go ahead and type it all out. I didn't think of the wishes idea until I got to that part, and it added a bit more to the surprising revelation of this weird little guy under the sink. Didn't even think of the North America part until I started writing either. I had told my current real-life roommate about it just this morning and the more I got to thinking about the idea the more I liked it. I'd also told him that the roommate might say they purposely didn't feed it and later found it dead underneath the pipes and thought they'd gotten rid of it when another one appeared, but I decided that would be too mean to deliberately starve a funny little elephant (sounds so cute to me) that lives under the sink. Possible inspiration for this story comes from a book my father's father bought me and recorded himself reading it to me ages ago when I was learning to read, called the "Teeny Teeny Tiny Giraffe" about a very miniscule giraffe who was wandering around a field asking other animals and such about where he was supposed to go or something. I vaguely recall the pictures in my mind, but most specifically remember his voice reading it. I am wondering whether one of the other animals he talks to is an elephant who is also tiny, because I have an image of an elephant with the same style of artistry medium found in the little book in mind, but not sure if they're from the same source. Anyhow, see if you can find the two Mary Poppins references and also a Vanguard Oakenfold (another story included in this collection) reference.
Front Row Seats
..But She Didn't Believe Me: Tales of the Malar Key
The Seventh Earth
Somewhat of a pun on 'Seventh Heaven' but not referring to a place, but an elemental. At the start God orders seven of each elemental created (fire, wind, water, earth), an elemental being a physical embodiment/manifestation of the element it is assigned to maintain or control. Elementals also have immense God-like (but limited) powers in each repsective category. I am guessing a date for this writing (done in one or two sittings) at about 1997. I'd originally wanted to make Micah be the seventh elemental of earth, being that the original seventh Earth elemental had been in some way incapacitated (such as a metaphysical prison by some enemy) and Micah was to be trained up to replace him, whereby he would assist in some global maintenance to ensure the wellbeing of mankind until the original seventh earth could be freed. He would then return to his parents none the wiser. The stairway is in the old man Paul's field, and Nate is the son of Paul, who stumbles on to the door in the field mistakenly and begins to make connections after reading about the peculiar evidence of the missing Micah's circumstance (clod of dirt and grass on the floor, matching no DNA of grass in the area), and Jim, having been recruited by Felson when Nate showed too much interest in details, attempts to silence Nate (not violently) or prevent him from learning too much about elementals. Fire has pearlesquely orange eyes, water blue, earth brown and wind green. They act in fashion akin to Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness angels (which I had not read or heard of until 2003 or so), catching whisps of prayers regarding weather. The man Paul met near his truck is the same man who bought him a drink after his 'nice day' and is the same man who appears in his field, the Earth elemental that retrieves Micah. I just got too tired of thinking up ideas for this story, and have practically thrown it out as far as completing it. Maybe someone else would like to take over and give me some "based on" or "inspired by" credit.