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"Writer's pad lock, eh?"
Skip held the mysterious metal padlock his publishing agent had given him up to the florescent Starbooks lights. Its shiny new chrome shone with its personal elation of having a solid life-long purpose: to keep the greatest, most self-important Flutonian frwoa friter from whimsically veering off whatever topic he'd last whimsically steeled himself to cover. It was its first day on the job, but it had a shining resume and the most competent professioned creator a pad lock could possibly have, so it had high confidence it could damn well do its job. To boot, there was the added plus that even if it just sat there and did absolutely nothing (likely what inanimate padlocks are supposed to do), it would certainly at least be half-effective via the placebo effect, given the power of every aspiring writer's delusional imagination and paranoia of commitment. For all it knew, it's very train of thought and sense of awareness was just a metaphorical interpretation of Skip's paranoia that the stupid thing might actually work.
Skip tried to rotate the pad lock like a master juggler who can make it seem as if an object is almost floating without human contact, but failed when he'd had the impulse that such a task should involve a good amount of creativity and practice. He therefore resolved to give it a good amount of creativity and practice, but after a minute of trying, he began to feel a light vertigo of anti-diligence and figured he should get back to his writing to be rid of it.
"I thought it was only supposed to keep me on topic, not drag me back to work. Maybe Mr. Flick thought up a cheap generic lock brand and it isn't working quite right." Only in the back of his mind did Skip admit the difference between not writing, and conspiracy to avoid writing altogether.
The fact that it was working at all suddenly made Skip even more dizzy with the threat of some upcoming writer's consistancy, and so the back of his mind made a decision to completely randomize his setting to hopefully plop him somewhere more inspiring. (Not that there was any consistancy since the time he'd received the pad lock in explaining how it was possible to think things into existence, other than a parenthetical catch-all floating about that would cover the minimal legal requirements of the uninitialized environment even if grammatically confusing if not technically incorrect.)
The back of his mind's first thought, however, betrayed Skip (due to some sort of innate writer's survival instinct) and caused a vanilla chai he was suddenly craving to materialize next to him to help him focus. Since the arm of a comfy chair wasn't a very sturdy place for a vanilla chai to be (especially since the stability of space-time there had only a moment ago been fiddled with), it fell over just as Skip was reaching up for it. But since Skip may or may not have ever experienced a cup of liquid spilling onto the ground, it didn't do very much except cause a few wet drops that he was sure a "Starbookstaffian" would mop up later.
Skip blinked, and the setting shifted to a tree next to a corporate Starbucks building that he'd managed to climb the first time the setting had appeared. It seemed an excellent place to continue writing, despite the lessened access to legal stimulants. While the wooden branch wasn't nearly as comfortable as the comfy Starbucks chair, it at least kept him more awake and less sleepy than it, which he supposed emulated enough of a stimulant aura to keep going. It was only when he looked down at his notebook that his enthusiasm entirely failed to increase. He hadn't remembered what he'd been writing after meeting the pad lock, and hence hadn't even thought about what chapter he was on before he'd clicked the lock shut. His jaw now dropped in horrid terror. On his notebook, he'd written a mere two words:
Just "Chapter One".
Skip physically clawed at the padlock, but it did no good. From Mr. Flick's description, it worked to finish whatever chapter one was working on; but since he hadn't even decided what theme he would even be writing about--just that it would be the first chapter of the book--his block seemed even more hopeless than it had ever been that day. "Perhaps it's for the best!" Skip declared with a commendable attempt at feigning enthusiasm. "Now I'm guaranteed to set up the initial themes and style of the whole book, and finish the best chapter to finish first, first, to boot! Why, if I decide to use the pad lock to write the chapters in order, perhaps I can even get the whole thing written by brunch tomorrow! "Now, Mr. Lock, we shall write ourselves a book!" The inanimate pad lock gave an indifferent yawn.
"Chapter one... chapter one... hmm..." After about twenty minutes of staring blankly at his locked notepad, he soon decided it wasn't making a hell of a lot of difference. He'd immediately stumbled onto Mr. Lock's nemesis: a loophole in the system: just don't writing any damn thing at all. Then, as a further distraction from not writing, he decided to test the lock's strength.
"Chapter one... hmm!" he declared with a melodramatic symphony of deception, as he reached to turn the page to a fully blank one to move on to chapter two. The lock, jerking awake as an already- half-sleeping guard on duty in a priceless museum in which a field tripping fourth grader had raised a bat to a three million dollar vase, rushed to do something about it. It yanked at Skip's will and his moral conscience to break the deal that he had agreed to be engaged in less than a half hour before. It really wasn't quite sure as to the full nature of Skip's deception, but it wasn't taking any chances. It simply tugged at Skip's will with a justifiable degree of certainty it was being played. Skip was intrigued at how the thing worked; its tug was a tug on his mind's will, as if it had a power over his very decision making process that was now fully dedicated to turning the page (Or perhaps it was just his conscience at work.) Given the spectrum of poorly fleshed out familiairity each had with the other, Skip decided a surprise attack was excessively prolifically prudent.
"Oh dear me, it seems some sort of force of conscience is holding me back from turning the page! I suppose it's due to a confusion over my intentions. Why, it probably looks like I'm trying to avoid my task of continuing the first chapter of my book! What an insulting and ridiculous assumption given the force seems to have never met me, and is apparently making condescending judgments about my level of honesty based on a mere fraction of a chance of the lack of it. Why, given the mathematics of probability and quantum uncertainty, there's likely always some chance at a living being deceiving someone else in all his waking hours! Perhaps there's a thousandth of a percent chance that even a Peace Corps volunteer will take a penny from the third world children's jar every time he walks up to a drugstore register. What percentage chance of my deception this force has decided to act on--given I could easily just be intending to re-copy the current title for the sake of creating a writing momentum towards the third word--I have no idea about, but if it's anything less than beyond a shadow of a doubt, I feel a horrible sadness at living in a cynical society in which potential criminals are presumed guilty before innocent." The lock began to feel sad and wondered if it knew how to cry and whether it would rust if it shed a tear. It decided to relinquish its grip on Skip's will and was about to do so before it realized Skip wasn't done with his speech.
"Why, god forbid I'm framed for a murder some day, and they toss me in jail based on on my nervous fidgeting in the courtroom before the evidence has even been presented. God help me if I'm ever discovered to be an exact look-alike to a captured warlord on judgment day, and I'm sentenced to life in hell before my lawyer is even able to request a blood test. What a horrid day for the entire human race if we manage to master the very technologies of the universe and rule whole galaxies of life, and are sentenced to eternity in oblivion because the memo "Order Helen Thempto a cast" was misread as "Cast them all into hell today" by an incompetent dyslexic secretary! Alas, what depressing half-empty times are these indeed. And if I think so, then surely my justified cynicism is shared by many others. Perhaps I should simply give up writing, head to law school, and dedicate my life to legalizing assisted suicide!"
Being an invention of Mr. Flick -- who it considered less than fluent in the precise subtleties of human speech and hence whom couldn't have designed it with any concrete sarcasm detection methods that may or may not have been interlaced with Skip's speech -- the writer's note pad lock was now plumitting in the guilt of assuming intentions it was now significantly less than sure about. For all it knew, Skip's tone had already condemned his credibility for being honest beyond a page of a doubt, but it seemed an obscure possibility to put stock in. Given its unfamiliarity with human nuances and its maker's enthusiasm for Skip's potential as a documenter of human experience, the lock hadn't a clue why it had even questioned Skip's motives in the first place. Perhaps it was his own fear of the gray areas of its jurisdiction; was it against the rules to turn the page and simply re-write what had been written for whatever rhetorical purpose the writer had in mind? Perhaps Skip and the lock would have to work on defining such boundaries, and it seemed a perfectly logical thing to allow at this point. Plus, Skip seemed to deserve incredible leeway by now given its unfair condemnation of all of humanity.
Like a child who'd told a stranger who'd claimed to be his guardian angel and asked for permission to borrow his beach ball to just plain go to hell, the lock finally decided that relinquishing his grip on Skip's will was the only appropriate thing to do. Yet just as he began to do so with an apologetic tear (regardless of the risk of rust), Skip -- seeing his only chance -- used its hesitation to tear the now proverbial beach ball from its weakening grip. He whipped the page over and shot his pen toward the upper left corner as the lock jolted to full attention and lunged for control of Skip's will to write.
"Chapter Ttt!@#$....... Chapter TTTttttw.... Chaaaapter TTtttwowawa--" Skip lost his balance and fell completely out of the tree as a large beach ball smacked him in the wrist. The park child who'd thrown it ran over and defiantly snatched it back as if from a pedophile who'd gone beyond staring and actually slightly exposed his pubic hair, and ran back toward the safety of the park pool. The pad lock likewise harumphed and folded its arms like the expert guard it was, having itself lost a great deal of child-like innocence in the last few moments. It instantly resolved never to let compassion for human dilemmas get in the way of its job again.
Skip--on the ground now--unwillingly scribbled out the word and a half he'd written, as the setting morphed back into the bookstore Starbucks to contrast what Skip had gotten done to the whole library of books in order to drive in the moral of the story. A cashier looked over the counter and frowned, wondering what type of business Skip was engaging in on the floor. Skip shrugged, stood up, stood tall, and plumfed back down into the stimulantless comfy chair.
"Alright! Have it your way. I'll just stare at the first two words of my novel for a few hours, shall I?" The starbucksian next to Skip simply shook his head that Skip was now talking to an inanimate chunk of metal. "Then, when it comes time for supper, I should hope you'll let me resume my normal daily tasks and head home, because at that point it will be perfectly normal not to be even trying to write. Unless you intend to chain me to the chair until I starve to death, or they toss it in the dumpster to be rid of me and a trash compactor kills me instead. I suppose you might survive such a fate, Mr. Lock, but my notepad and I most certainly would not! And then we're back to your condemnation of a poor innocent being."
The pad lock said nothing. For the moment it seemed to be the totally inanimate object it was. Perhaps the simple feeling of intense fear of the thing's potential had caused the entire ordeal in the first place via the placebo effect he originally suspected fueled the thing.
Or it could be playing dead.
"Back to blankly bricking! My one and only job." Causing yet another frown from the starbuckian that he was no longer talking to a person or a padlock but just plain thin air, Skip now raised his voice as if addressing god himself. "Now would probably be an excellent time for a writer to wrap up my chapter or book, for I plan on not doing a damn thing for quite awhile!"
In the ensuing defiant silence, the pad lock had every intention of making sure neither of them did. It was quite a task, and continued for quite a monotonous while.
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