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1-744 [Frook 1, chapter 7.4, brick 4]

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13.744

 "Excuse me, is this the center of attention?"
 Do you see that sign?
 "I do, and I'd read it for you, but I'm too occupied with figuring how best to politely correct your chalkboard-nail structural grammar of answering a question with a question without sounding like an ass. Sorry, was that rude?"
 First...
 "-ly. 'Firstly'. It's an adverb. Sorry."
 ..off, there's nothing wrong with answering a question with a question without sounding like an ass, at least in the presence of a demented grammatical nitpicker, because if I didn't sound like an ass to you, I probably didn't do anything wrong. Hence, there should be nothing to correct, because I can't imagine any percieved error that didn't piss you off would be worth bothering with. Getting pissed off at infinitesimal details is stressful enough, so if I didn't look like an ass, then even if I made an error, it was probably too infinitesimal for you too notice and get angry at. At least, that's my guess from what I know about your character so far, which is a great deal, since no one has ever rudely nitpicked my grammar twice in twenty seconds and been wrong about both--
 "What was--"
 ...the second being your adverb prophecy than turned out incorrect. The first, rhetorically, was your lack of a comma after your second "question", comma, which would have prevented this absurd nitpick, which I'm only making to hold you up a mirror for a moment.
 "My second question was--"
 No, not your second "question", your second " 'question' ", that is, the second time you mentioned the word initially. This type of interaction is generally why I'm not speaking myself, because if I were, the internal grammar of my "chalkboard-nail" corrections would be even more difficult for a local reader to parse.
 Skip stopped for a moment. He hadn't considered that a good writer might portray his assasin's defenses in a fourthwalse manner by disincluding proper dialogue quotes. He seemed outnumbered 2 to 1, here, and he was definitely going to have to step it up a bit if he was to survive in the center of the center of the attention of the last of the reader's loathing for the end of the end of--"
 "Don't try to modularize the scene prematurely by cutting it off."
 Skip realized he'd just been speaking his imagined sympathetic narration aloud, attempting to end it dramatically so the scene need not go on with any diligence. "Why not?"
 "It makes it little self-sustened. You're being greedy at the reader's expense. Neither of us have uttered a single sentence of description yet, and anyone listening to us in an audio-only medium, or one lacking supplemenatry narration, is going to go away pissed, and then you'll really look like an ass, because you're the one who will have had screwed them over. Incidentally, if you're going to keep trying to end the scene by ending your sentences conclusively, my suggestion would be to at least throw out a catch-all non sequitur proper noun for our setting that will allow at least a minute hint that we're in some sort of an at least vaguely corporeal environment, as opposed to an unread page of a textbook on philophical logic. Honestly, I'm starting to look like an ass myself, because I also could have done so long ago, and that last sentence was annoyingly alliterative. Why don't you throw me a bone for once and aid us both with a spec of respectfulness. A single unique word might accomplish a great deal. After all, it worked at the end of the Neverending Story. Not that you could hear what it actually was in the film version when Bastian yelled out the window due to the storm, kind of eliminating the point of the entire movie, actually, but you get the point. I'm sorry for rambling, but I'm finding it hard to break the momentum I created when I started parodying your poor sentence structures.
 Skip shuttered a bit with a feeling of eerie awkwardness at the referencing of an existent artwork. It seemed out of place somehow. Probably because it was the only thing of the sort so far since his starting initial question. With any luck, augmenting it enough might even make things fourthwalse enough for their dialogue to finally end. (Or at least move forward to something relevant.)
 "And yet, the Neverending Story wasn't anywhere near as medium-surpassing as the last of the great existence-wide short-but-mighty slightly corporeal dialogues of the final artistic age of the vast and enveloping realm of what would now and forever be called... 'Zeronia'."
 Scratch. Crumple. Toss.
 "What?"
 "I was being creative again. A good fourthwalse writer might have written, "Scratch. Crumple. Toss." just there, because you're paragraph's trash. You know; as if you were physically writing on a piece of a paper, rather than speaking aloud. Of course, I suppose from some points of view this indeed is your story. Would you write me in a new stapler? This one's stuck for some reason and Darlene's out to lunch."
 Skip shook off the strangeness of mentioning an object when almost no other setting clues had been given. "Why's the paragraph trash?"
 "It ends with 'Zeronia'."
 "You told me to come up with a setting name."
 "That I did, but I didn't set you free from revision. 'Zeronia' is absolute mud. It's no good."
 "Why?"
 "Because we're nowhere even near Zeronia."
 Skip viciously shook his head to induce a migraine of a comparable magnitude to the one the conversation was increasingly causing. A worse one would be an especially welcome distraction. The conversing had been largely dizzying, mostly because it began with someone correctly correcting his nitpicks, a misfortune that would have equally snowballed his lack of pride even if they'd only been discussing tea and crackers since then. He needed a few moments to rest his mind, and the next several seemed as good as any to take.
 This he did.
 And just after them, not a whole lot had changed. He was still stuck in the strange descriptionless limbo of the entire conversation; at least mentaphorially, given his setting was, incidentally, completely corporeal, and only nonexistent from the poive of a blind xeer.
 "Hmm.. xeer.. poive.. mentaphoria..." The strange words seemed to make some sense as he said them to himself and considered context. He decided he should define them at some point, though this was probably because he'd already failed at coining a proper setting name, and a list of lesser nouns seemed much less likely to deal with fictional reality takeover whatever something- or- other insert your non sequitur textbook here as something sure as hell should replace the latter half of this sentence; it's fourthwalse nature is so just plain wtf-esque that it perfectly reflected the alien terms Skip was now contemplating procrastinating.
 "Fourthwalse! That's another one! !@#$ Zeronia, I'm defining 'fourthwalse'! But how?" He glanced at his closet idol for a hint of help, but found only an empty chair.
 "Ha! No nitpicker. I'm the only god of grammar in the room! I can freely write without fear of failure or manuscript rejection."
 Skip snatched a pen and slice of tree from the desk that was incidentally always there. He was now the center of attention if anyone in the room was at all, and if no one, at least his protagonist would soon occupy the title. Skip had a lingering feeling that he was supposed to be up to something else (or at the least, writing something else now that he was at all) but he was finding his self-induced migraine had the added benefit of a bit of amnesia. Just a handful of unwritten words into his plan to procrastinate writing anything useful about the words that needed defining, Skip made the decision he would write a story to expand on them above an beyond defining them. A story that would explain them ineffably, beyond doubt or criticism or nitpicky reviewer.
 With a goal sufficiently ambitious to generate good cause to give up, Skip began a rare story inspired by his time spent in the room at the center of what everyone unknowing would incorrectly call "Zeronia", as this is what Skip called where he was. (If just to spite that it was nowhere near.)

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