|Chap 1.2 - Page 3||frangles: Skip book 1: Writer's Bricks|
"Do you ever get the feeling that it just never begins?"
least once, I'm sure. 'The phylor stirred his fading memory of a
precisely portioned mix of intoxicating liquids tweaked over billions
of years. At first he had asked the bartender for the drink by
name, who had never heard of it and suggested a vifa Rum and
Coke. Then he tried to describe the precise ratio of particular
types of booze that involved mixing it, but the bartender had never
heard of any of those, either.'
'Troubled, the phylor had then listed, in order, 47 types of booze that
would serve as tolerable substitutes for the drink, as each was
successively denied in turn at increasing frowns by the barkeep (partly
because the phylor seemed to be infringing some sort of comedy skit
involving a shop and a lack of a dairy product). Most of the
types of booze he'd never heard of. The rest he gave a shrug at
as if the man had inquired about a rough draft of an Egyptian
translation of the Bible long after the collapse of the star system Sol.'
'Exhausted--yet without hesitation about the necessary next course of
action--the phylor had asked for a few sheets of paper, and had
scribbled out a bizarre mess of molecular formulas and philosophical
proofs of some of the substances he'd asked for. The barkeep
simply blinked a few times as if being handed a child's crayon drawing
of an imaginary barnyard animal. Both glanced at the wall clock
and decided they didn't have time to pursue the matter.' "
"Skip, do you ever get the feeling it just never begins?"
"I'm quite sure you've already asked me that at least once in this very bar. Maybe twice."
"When was that?"
"Just after you ordered your drink."
"Ah, your recounting of the traumatizing ordeal must have gotten me nostalgic for it."
"My amnesia must be contagious."
"Since when did you have amnesia?"
"You're not seri--"
of course." The phylor's infinitesimal embarrassment said it
wasn't a hundred percent true. He suddenly turned serious.
"This is grave. Quite grave. Graveyard shift grave.
Date-expired Gravy Train grave..." The bartender froze and his
eyes flicked upward for a moment as he calculated whether "Gravy Train"
touched upon infringing anything copyrighted or was just a regular
trademark violation. He shrugged, resumed for a moment, then
froze again as he realized "Graveyard Shift" was a Stephen King
novel. He decided that whether the latter was infringed depended
on whether the phylor had mentally capitalized the 'S'. Refusing
to succumb to cynicism and the risk of getting furious and breaking
something again, he nodded committed to the more optimistic scenario
and resumed his cleaning.
just doesn't make any sense. I could understand your amnesia at
the end of the day; it would make a brilliant cliffhanger plot twist to
create suspense for any further frwoas about you, but now? What is there to forget anyway? You just popped into existence this morning at 1:11 o'clock!"
"I did? Oh, right; I still keep thinking I came in as far back as I can remember, seven minutes later."
"And two minutes ago,
yes." The phylor glanced at the bar clock again anyway for
effect. "1:23. 1:23... why 1:23? It's supposed to be
7:73 right now. I was supposed to meet you for the last time at
the end of the day when you publish your book. This must be your
second time off the train, right? The second set of seven seconds
you've existed since you thought Okuaka into existence?"
"Right! How would you know. Amnesia. I suppose
there's some sort of plot continuity where you vaguely remember your
first sour to keep things going as the minutes progress, but I can't
think how to use that to our advantage."
" 'Sour'? "
Sevth of an hour. Seven minutes of the 49 minutes in every
hour. You coined the term for gods' sakes. Have you lost
your tot? You--wait! You only made up the term later in the
day! That's right! Why would you remember? See, I was
supposed to pick up a copy of your final book at the end of the
day. You were going to sign it for me and I was going to bring it
back to the Old Cateot Museum of Future Past Relics. Now I have
nothing, and infinitely worse, my mistot here may have unraveled the
entire process leading up to your book's final publication! At
the best, you'll write a slightly different version now, but even that
could be catastrophic to the entire known universe. Even one
altered word could send a ripple through the entire progression of
Okuaka and affect all the books ever written--or that ever will
be written, from your frangle. Even a single typo could throw off
all the temporal perception of the tots at the big crunch I'm now
afraid to find a tot back to. In addition to screwing the known
universe over, Zeroa's tot schedules could starting un-synching,
to being dropped off totally off our tots! Like... well, like
here and now, for example!" The phylor threw his hands up
motioning to the
room, then noticed the clock again and gave it another rhetorical
stare. "So why are we here now... Why 1:23.. Why 1:23!?"
phylor thrust his glass off the bar table where it simply hovered in
mid air for a few moments--as the bar air was a little slow and still
getting used to the new rules of gravity--and then dropped to the
ground and shattered as it remembered what it was supposed to do.
Gravity was recently installed. It all got fixed by the end of
the day, I'd forgotten. I thought the glass would just vanish
completely as it used to do, or forget about itself or whatever."
The barkeeper refrained from getting angry, but simply looked over the
bar table and frowned as if he'd had the same thought and fully
understood. He grabbed a broom from the corner that had rarely
been used, and glanced up at the now-oblivious trouble maker with a
confused look as to whether this was supposed to be his job, or whether
he should have volunteered to clean up his own damn mess.
You say I'm writing a great book. Any book requires
conflict. I don't know what sort of story I was supposed to have
come up with, but it seems to me as a fresh budding writer that an
initial crisis of the upcoming events of the day--already threatening
the very fabric of existence--is as good a plot as any, however
miserable a headache it's giving us both. It 'breaks the fourth wall'
so to speak, thrusting the freer into an instant crisis that could
surpass the frwoa medium in question and threaten the freer's sanity in
a very real way, especially if they're philosophy majors. Why,
our writers themselves may just be inserting this absurd plot-twist
theory of mine because they themselves haven't a damn clue where to go
at this point and are praying to their own writers that I take over and
help all of them out. Perhaps they'd written a brilliant
seven-page frwoa and people liked it so much they were contracted for
another 117,642 when they'd already wrapped up their story and hadn't a
damn clue to go from there. You want a story that breaks new
boundaries? Well there you go, and here we are!"
The phylor slammed his fist down on the bar table in excitement causing
another glass the barkeep had placed just on its edge to tip over and
shatter. The air had remembered what to do this time, and the
barkeep's expression said that the phylor should have done the
same. Yet it still held a gram of guilt. Perhaps it was
idiotic to have placed the glass down on the edge of the table to begin
with, especially given the one just broken and his pre-knowledge of the
violent tendencies of the rowdy customer. In any case, for some
strange reason he looked like he was about to burst into tears, then
sniffled, shrugged, and reached for the dustpan again.
it! Let's go, we'd better figure out how to fix this as fast as
possible. Come on, Skip, I suppose I'm your guide for the next
four minutes or so, improperly inserted into your plot line or
not. If we can't find a way to water down your plot to one less
prone to catastrophic tragedy, all Okuakan fictional writing until its
final collapse could be in gravy train-grave jeopardy."
"And I thought forgetting about it was a crisis."
"If you're lucky, you'll get a few more crises by the end of the hour,
and then you'll have no problem thinking up material whatsoever. Maybe
you'll discover something less radical to write about. Like a
plush octopus or a gay chinchilla. Wait, I shouldn't have--forget I said that!" The phylor moved to leave but
the bartender cleared his throat. "Oh, I wasn't expecting to be
in the bar scene. I don't suppose you panhandled any money in the
station your first seven minutes and hid it away somewhere with a
reminder note on where you put it?"
"I doubt it, but I could check."
"Forget it." The phylor reached for the pen before leaving and
scribbled out something confusing enough to distract the bartender
until they left. "Molecular formula for adamantium."
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