Saturday, April 10, 2010

Alligators by Twitter on… Twitter?

Today is a big experiment. Flash Fiction Online is live-tweeting “Alligators by Twitter,” my story about a man whose house is attacked by burrowing alligators. He tells it to you via tweets from his cell.

Now FFO is making an actual Twitter feed for him. The story runs all today on the very medium it makes fun of.

You can follow @flashfictionmag to have the story delivered right into your tweet stream.

Alternatively, for people not on Twitter or who want to see the whole thing uninterrupted by what their best friends are eating and watching on TV, you can read it as it’s updated here:

Massive thanks go out to the people at FFO for adapting it like this. It should be a lot of fun.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: It’s its own form of love

"Audition nannies immediately. I’ve given it three months and I simply don’t love them, Claris. I don’t have the maternal instinct. They’re loud, smelly, demanding things. Fortunately I’ve got the one thing they need more than a mother’s love: money. And along with all the things I’m going to make sure they never go without, I’m buying them that love. Select nannies from pools of barren women, ones who are willing to live in and answer at all hours. Wet nurses as well as ones who will sign twenty-year contracts to look after them into college. Financially and emotionally vulnerable women who will love them as much as I should. Then audition them with the kids. I won’t have some needy bitch who doesn’t “click” with the babies. With my babies. I should love them, but putting this roof over their heads, feeding them, and ensuring someone does care for them until they’re on their own will have to be enough. It’s its own form of love, I suppose."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wiswell Joins the Interblog Choose Your Own Adventure

The busiest week of my publishing life continues. You've already seen my work at Flash Fiction Online and Every Day Fiction. Come back Saturday for a special with Twitter. But today I'm partaking in a game. Barry Northern has organized a Choose Your Own Adventure serial. He wrote the first entry, then left it with a branch. Erin Cole and Jodi MacArthur continued from there, writing the story in two different directions, then each ending with their own branches for four more writers to continue. I am one of those four, following a branch from the good Ms. Cole. Readers can go to Mr. Northern's site and begin reading at will, following whatever path they choose - with a different writer taking them through each chapter. Here's my entry, with the kids getting stuck in the bus with the evil alien driver.

Michael stared at those fangs, pearl white and hooked. The Mandigan bus driver looked back at him, grinning wider and revealing a second row of fish hook-like teeth. Its eyes flashed to Sarah, then scanned the other rows. It snapped its fingers and the other children turned with clockwork precision.

"Mind implants didn't take on two of you, eh?" asked the bus driver as the other students began marching out of the bus in single file. "Fine."

A tentacle emerged from the bus driver's sleeve and wrapped around the bus radio receiver. It held the receiver up to its mouth and said, "Two students just flunked out. Sending them to the nurse's office."

The last of the children waddled past the bus driver and it pulled the leaver, the door squeeling shut. The children all proceeded into the warehouse.

"Where are you taking them?" Sarah yelled.

"Where I always take you. School." It gestured to the warehouse with another tentacle. "Does it look different to you today? They should probably mow the lawn."

Michael shook his head furiously. He and Sarah piled onto their seat, pressing against the window as though this would protect them from the Mandigan. It waited by the wheel, in no apparent hurry to catch them. They fiddled with the latches for the window, but it wouldn't budge. If only Jackson were here.

"Nurse's office ready," squawked the radio.

"Ten-four," replied the bus driver.

Every part of Michael's body tingled. It felt like his leg had fallen asleep, and every other part of him had joined in. He looked down at his hands. They sparkled like crystal.

Sarah cried out and Michael looked over. She was sparkling, too, all bright pink and red. They grabbed at each other, then disappeared.

The next thing Michael knew, he was in a rusty, dusty old room. There were several padded tables with belts and straps attached.

"Oh my gosh," Sarah panted behind him. She clutched at herself, looking around the room with wide eyes. "Where are we?"

"I think this is upstairs in that warehouse," Michael said, looking over her head. There were windows in the back of the room that gave a view that was at least two stories up, but it looked like there was a fire escape.

"So you two need a check-up?" asked a Mandigan, looming over one of the tables. This one wore only a white lap coat and Coke-bottle glasses.

"Stay back!" Michael said, inching towards the window. He noticed one of the tables had a tarp over it, and something shaped like a person was clearly under it. It was not moving.

"I told you the next one would say that!" exclaimed a second Mandigan in another white lab coat. This one had no glasses and four black, beady eyes. "That's five bucks."

Glasses Mandigan grumbled and slapped a fiver into No-Glasses' tentacle.

"So what do you advise for them?" Glasses asked, staring at them through its thick lenses.

"If they're resistant?" No-Glasses thought aloud. "Probably the kidneys. A lot builds up in there."

"Kidney extraction?" Glasses asked. "Okay. They have three of those, right?"

"They only have two kidneys."

"Ohh, good idea." Glasses grinned with its mouth of fish hook teeth. :We'll say they have two and keep the third for the black market."

"No you fool. They only have two kidneys."

Sarah tugged on Michael's collar. He hadn't even realized that he'd been standing still, staring either at the tarp or the Mandigans all this time. Sarah's eyes remained wide with fear, but he gestured for him them to go in the direction of the fire escape. The two moved excruciatingly slowly as the Mandigans bickered, sneakers sliding along the floor, not even taking full steps.

"Listen," Glasses continued. "I went to veterinary school. I know they have more than two of those juice-dispensing digestabobs."

"You're thinking of the pancreas."

"No I'm not! You could never get away with stealing a pancreas. You might as well steal one of their hearts and pretend it only had one."

"They do only have one!"

"Have you even cut open a human before?"

"Of course I have."

"Really? Or were they just lab monkeys?"

"Mostly monkeys."

"They were all two-kidneyed monkeys, weren't they?"

"Not everybody can go to a big university! I come from modest... hey, where are you going?"

Here I tag out. What happens next?

1) Do the kids make it to the window? Coming soon.


2) Are they stuck? Written by Nicole Hadaway.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: What did I even say?

The captain handed him a blanket. The survivor pulled it around his shivering shoulders.

"So you were stuck in the cargo hold?"

"Yeah.” The survivor nodded, rubbing the blanket on his hair to dry it. “I was looking for my luggage. My wife packed some really nice waterpoofed socks."

The survivor held up his feet. Only one foot had a sock on it. The other was bare and substantially wetter.

Both the survivor and the captain frowned at his feet.

"Only have time to put one of them on?"

"Oh crap! I..." The survivor smacked his face. "You wouldn't believe it."

"I saw you burst out of the cargo hold and float to the surface on a case of pink chew toys. I'll believe about you." The captain looked at the sinking ship. The case of pink chew toys still bobbed near the starboard, heavy box held aloft by bright plastic inflatables.

"Listen, I thought I was drowning," said the survivor.

"That's fine, son. Nothing to be embarrassed about."

"But I recorded a goodbye to my wife and tied it in the other sock!"

"That's a bit romantic."

"I sounded so dumb, though! I was babbling about plants and Old Yeller. Oh my God. If anybody ever finds that..."

The captain narrowed him with a hard gaze. "Son, I just lost my ship. A little perspective will keep you from getting kicked out of the lifeboat tonight."

The survivor sunk in his seat, resting a cheek in his palm.

"Man, what did I even say?"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Computer Education at Every Day Fiction

Today's Bathroom Monologue is over at Every Day Fiction.

The story is "Computer Education." It follows a class of newly-manufactured units through a museum of computer history. Something vital is missing from that history. Only one little unit has an inkling as to what.

Feel free to leave comments here or on the Every Day Fiction site. All thoughts and feedback are welcome.

You can read John Wiswell's Computer Education by clicking on any of the underlined text here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: From Below, with Love

Hey honey. If you get this, I drowned. Or, I guess I could make it out of here, and then somebody’ll find the wreckage and return the tape recorder to us. In which case, way to go, future me. I really thought I was going to die in here.

If there is no future me, then I drowned. I’m stuck in the cargo hold. Not sure why. The whole place lurched and the door wrenched shut. Can’t budge it, and now water is flooding in. I assume we’re going down. Because of that, I have some things I want to tell you.

Firstly, the waterproof socks you bought me are amazing. Like, they really work. I’m only in a couple inches of water right now, but I am bone dry. I’m going to tie the tape recorder in one so it will survive for you. That’s the only way you could listen to this, so why bother with hypotheticals other than these are really damned good waterproof socks?

Um. Other things. Let’s see.

Clearly you insisting I take this job was a bad idea. I told you I’d rather just collect unemployment for a while and watch basketball. I’m not blaming you, though. I’m just drowning.

Because I’ve drowned by when you listen to this, please remember to water plants every three days with the green dispenser. It gives the water essential nutrients and its filter is good for another six months. Ask Ted where to buy new filters.

Say hey to Ted for me, too.

God, what else?

Don’t let the kids watch the end of Old Yeller. They’ll cry.

Don’t tell them Santa is dead until they’re at least eight.

You have my full blessing to exploit any death benefits in the tax code. I have no idea about that stuff. Maybe a lawyer can help.

Do not sleep with any lawyers, at least until the kids are eight.

I… I don’t know. I’m really not ready for this, and now my ankles are wet. Dammit. I wish there was a do-over. Ah, Hell with it. Love you honey. Got to go.
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