Again with Potentially Unlikable Characters

Author’s Note: I was going to post more of this sooner, but I kept getting busy or being sick. That is my life anymore, it seems I’m almost always sick.

Anyway, here is a bit more of the same story as before, with the characters I don’t know if anyone but me will like.


First Day on the Job

The pounding on the door matched the pounding in her head. She groaned and forced herself up from the bed, frowning as she looked around the room. This was not her house. This was not her clinic, either. Her hip throbbed, and she swore as she sat up, cursing the government with everything she could think of and all she couldn’t, her anger building as she rose from the bed.
She was still clothed, no one seemed to have violated her in that sense, but since they’d put something in her body that could control her Talent and tracked her every movement, they’d done plenty.

She crossed to the door and opened it, almost surprised she could.

The figure on the other side of it wasn’t that much of a surprise, though she wouldn’t say she was glad to see him. “You again. More paperwork, is it? I really don’t need more documentation on how the government had stolen my life from me.”

“I’ve come to collect you for training,” he informed her with the same flat tone to his voice. “You will receive it in progress as we work. There is no class or manual. You need to dress and leave now or there will be consequences.”

“So you’ll punish me?”

He shook his head, his eyes dropping to her leg before going back to her face. “I don’t have to. They will. That is your life now.”

She swallowed, having little choice but to mouth the words and hope she got some kind of response from this rock in front of her. They can hear everything I say and do, too, is that it?

He gave her a curt nod, almost as if he didn’t want to be seen reacting to her words. She choked on her fury, feeling invaded in more ways than she could voice.

“You should change. We don’t have much time.”

“The day just started. How can we possibly be late for anything?”

“We investigate crimes. Those don’t happen on regular schedules. And while you may have just woken, it is actually quite late in the day. Come. We need to leave.” He turned toward the door, and she sighed. She supposed she had no real choice, did she? If they were watching, and she refused—he’d warned her they would punish her, and did she really want to know what that was like?

She already felt like crap, and she didn’t figure she was up to running, even if she wanted to get far away from here.

If they were watching her, this place might be full of cameras. Great. Well, that actually gave her an incentive to leave, even if it was with the soulless paper-pushing bastard who was waiting outside her door.

Fine. She could do that. She’d go with him and find a way to escape later.


“Does the soulless one have a name?” She asked as she struggled to keep pace with him. Tall as he was, whether he meant to or not, he was out pacing her easily just walking normally, and it was annoying as hell. She still felt a bit drugged and lagging, and she didn’t want to walk all over the place. If they were some kind of special investigative force, why didn’t they have some kind of vehicle?

“Several, actually, if you are referring to me,” he said, and she folded her arms over her chest. He wasn’t going to tell her? Really? She wanted to hit him. She wasn’t sure she cared how she might get punished over this. He deserved a smack for being such a jerk. He didn’t have to be like this. Shouldn’t she know his name? Or was he really just the messenger? He only came to tell her that she had to work, and that was it?

“I can’t imagine it’s some kind of state secret. Or are you just giving me information again? This time it’s safe to transport me without sedation, so where’s the form? Should I get it in triplicate?”

He shook his head. “No. I will be training you.”

“So I should get to know your name, then. Because if you get any idea about me calling you ‘master’ or ‘boss’ or—”

“Those aren’t applicable to someone in our position,” he said. “Though there is some hierarchy, we are all still subject to the main authority that comes from the government.”

“Slaves, basically.”

He seemed to tense, but he didn’t deny it. “The one the government uses for me is Vershon.”

She stopped. “The government changed your name?”

He looked over his shoulder at her, frowning slightly. “That surprises you? It shouldn’t. Though… Yours hasn’t been altered, if that is your next question.”

“So you’re going to call me—”

“The government designated you by your birth name, not the one you were using when you were arrested. You will be known as Iris Marcey so long as you are with the organization.”

She sighed. “Do I look like a flowery type of girl to you?”

“You look like an irritant, and if I had any choice in the matter, I would not be escorting you now,” he answered, and she balled her fists, tempted again to hit him. “You should have attacked me at your apartment. At least then when you made yourself useless, I wouldn’t have to carry you back and have wasted all the time it has taken us to go this far and also the trip back. There is too much to do to be bothering with this.”

“Well, if I could just leave—”

“You can. You will likely lose your leg if nothing else, but that is still an option.”

“Not much of one.”

“No,” he agreed, stopping in front of another door and opening it. He stood and waited, and she frowned as she stepped inside. He could be leading her to her death for all he claimed he was here to train her, and yet she had no real choice but to go with him, did she? “This way.”

“More walking?”

“It is not much farther, though you should probably appreciate that the office is not near your residence.”

“I don’t appreciate anything about this situation.”

He didn’t say anything to that, walking away and leaving her no choice but to follow again.

Introduction to a New Story

Author’s Note: I ended up starting something new, much as I’ve been trying to finish things, and this is the most recent concept I’ve come up with. I wanted a detective story with people who had special abilities. I actually don’t know how well it’s going or if the characters are even… likeable.

This is the opening section/prologue. Feel free to tell me what you think.


Arrest and Condemnation

“You don’t have to look at me like that, you know,” she said, leaning back in her chair and glaring back at the suit across from her. “I didn’t do it.”

He adjusted his glasses, opening a file. “A man is dead. He died in your care.”

“Well, they don’t issue malpractice insurance to doctors who don’t work for the government,” she said, shrugging. She didn’t get the feeling this one, who clearly lacked personality as well as a sense of humor, would find it funny. Not that it was. The government controlled everything—or they tried. And he was just another cog in the government machine. “I was in the middle of a surgery. I was interrupted. He died. Did you happen to find the jerk who shot me? Or am I seriously the only one you consider a criminal in this whole mess?”

“Practicing medicine without a license is a crime. That man’s death is a crime.”

“So I am the only criminal you see here,” she shook her head, frustration getting the better of her again. “The government takes everything from us, all of us, and we can’t do anything about it, but you as a good little lackey, you’re going to help them and arrest me.”

“You’re already under arrest. I didn’t take you into custody, nor did I have to. I am not here for that. I am here because you are a registered Talent.”

She tensed. How the hell had they found that out? She’d buried that part of her past deep, no one knew about her reason for dropping out of medical school. That name, that identity, it was all someone else’s, not hers, not anymore. She’d heard the rumors about genetic marking and them monitoring suspected Talents, but she’d never seen any signs of it before. She got caught now, sure, but by accident, not because they’d been watching her or knew where she was all along. They would have arrested her a long time ago if that were true.

“Section eleven of the fourteenth article stipulates that any known Talent must be gainfully employed and monitored by the government,” he said, passing a copy of the exact section he quoted to her for her to look at. “You are not, therefore you are in violation.”

She glared at him. “I was training to be a doctor. I wasn’t about to throw that away.”

“Those with a Talent cannot work where they choose.”

“I know that. Do you even have an ounce of humanity in you, or did the government drain it out of you?” She demanded, leaning forward to get in his face. “Why would anyone accept this as what it is? Why do you follow their orders like a robot?”

“People who have a Talent do not have a choice.”

“You really are soulless, aren’t you?”

He took another paper out of the folder and passed it to her. “This is to inform you of your official placement. From now on, you are employed by the Special Investigation, Logistics, and Tactics Division. Some call it SILT. Whether or not you do does not matter. You will reside within the barracks designated for their use, and you will be monitored at all times as well as fitted with the standard Talent restraint.”

“They already did that. I’m not an idiot. I know my own body. I didn’t have this scar before and now I do,” she said, lifting up her skirt to show off the one on her hip. He didn’t look over at her, and she rolled her eyes. This one really was dead inside, wasn’t he?

“I am required by the existing laws to inform you of all these matters. The disclosure has been given.”

“That’s it? They sent you here to deliver paperwork? That’s all you’re here for?”

“You have been designated a flight risk and as such will not be moved while conscious. This is your disclosure for that decision.”

She crumpled the paper in her fist. “I wish my Talent involved fire. I’d burn this place to the ground and you with it.”

“You might try,” he said as he rose from the table, and as he turned to the side, she saw a similar scar on his neck. Her throat went dry.

He didn’t just have the standard Talent restraint. His was wired directly to his brain and would kill him in an instant. Whatever he could do terrified them.

Digital Care Package

A while back, I came up with the idea for what I called a “digital care package.”

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a care package, it is this: “a parcel of food, money, or luxury items sent to a loved one who is away.” (Dictionary.com) Often these are associated with the military, with families sending things to soldiers fighting overseas. Apparently, it gets its name from an organization known as CARE, Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere. I didn’t know that until I did a search to find an explanation of one. I’ve just always sort of known about them, probably from television.

Care packages are also sent to students off at school away from home and relatives that live far away.

When I came up with this concept, I used the idea of sending it to a sick person, and took as my basis a list I found here.

I didn’t use all of these prompts, but I did use several.

A digital care package is a great thing for a writer (especially a broke one, as I frequently am) because it’s a way of showing one’s care without spending money. It’s about time, about taking the time to think of each prompt for the right fic and characters and song and quote/picture for each one and the recipient.

When I did this, I compiled some unconnected short fics with the prompts, a song, and a picture/quote, but later I started a second one that was just one story and set of characters.

As an example, part of the second digital care package I did is this song and this fic and picture for blanket.

The idea of doing a digital care package with most of us in quarantine or under stay at home orders and unable to see people and even send some of these items in the care package seems rather apropos, so I decided to post the information again.

I can’t say as I had any success with it, not really, but maybe someone else will.

Things in the Works

So I have been rather quiet of late. It’s been hard sometimes even just to keep up with posting prompts, and I went through a rough patch writing wise.

I did manage my 50,000 words for NanoWrimo this past year. That story has, unfortunately, been shelved pending edits. It led me to a couple of others that are still in progress, though.

I’m cautiously optimistic about my progress on the sequel to Forgotten Legacy, currently titled In the Wreckage. Carson and Mackenna have a new car to work on, a new mystery, and have made a few new friends (Smith) and (Sennet) to help them with the mystery.

I’m going to post something with their new friends. They’re a fun addition to things, and I’m looking forward to when Carson’s brothers and these two interact.

I’ll also be trying again to catch up the lists for the prompts I’ve posted. I’m also hoping to get to where I’m posting a new serialized novel. I have one in mind. I just don’t know if it will be feasible. I’d also like to finish one of my album challenges. I’ll be looking at them again, too.

I have had a lot of health issues this past fall and winter. I’m still working my way back from that.

The Forensics Expert

Author’s Note: And here we have the appearance of the other new character. He’s kind of essential to this mystery, but he’s also fun to write and see interacting with the others.


The Forensics Expert

She smiled, reaching up to touch his cheek. The sound of a car driving over the gravel made them turn, though she had to admit it made her uneasy. She had expected the Airstream. This was very much not an Airstream, though she could appreciate it for what it was.

After all, it wasn’t like a Pontiac Catalina was something to sniff at, not from the sound of that V8 engine. She thought it was a sixty-four, and damned if the convertible didn’t make her drool a little. Now she was jealous, but for an entirely different reason.

The car stopped short of them, and a man got out, frowning as he did. His dark jacket caught the breeze, and he looked almost like he belonged in an advertisement for a Bond movie or something, he just had that air of don’t mess with me, from the clothes to the sunglasses hiding his eyes and his glower. She didn’t recognize him, and someone with a car like that would be known to most car club members, at least around here.

“Oh, hell,” Carson said, and she frowned as she turned to him. He knew this guy? This… had nothing to do with his bad job interview, right?

“Is Mrs. Brendt here?”

Mackenna nodded. “She is. Somewhere. She wandered off to make a phone call, and I haven’t seen her for a bit. Can I help you?”

He shook his head. “Unlikely.”

“Um…”

“You so haven’t changed, have you?” Carson asked, and the man looked over at him. “I… Okay, maybe your glare is even more intimidating than it was in high school. You haven’t lost that, that’s for sure. Still the same you idiots are not worth my time look you used to give all us farm boys.”

“Am I supposed to know you?”

“Unless I’ve mistaken you for someone else and you’re not Sennet Landry, but you were kind of hard to forget. Maybe I am, though. Of course, you were actually in Nick’s grade, I think, but you were kind of memorable. A genius lost in a bunch of hicks… you hated it there, and we all knew it. Um… That is… Hi. I’m Carson Koslow. This is my wife, Mackenna. You’re on her family’s land.”

Carson held out his hand, but the other man made no move to shake it.

“Koslow. The one who had the cadaver dogs. Yes. That should have been more memorable.”

Mackenna blinked. Wow. This guy was something. Everything Smith had implied and a bit more. She hadn’t expected Carson to know him, but that just made it worse, didn’t it?

“Sennie, there you are!” Dorie called out as she came back into sight, rushing over with Smith having stopped as soon as she got near. “Oh, I knew today was a good day to call.”

“Not particularly.”

Dorie seemed to ignore that, though it wasn’t the only thing she was ignoring. Mackenna could tell her face was red and puffy, like she’d been crying, which would explain why the other two women had disappeared for as long as they had.

She clapped her hands together, still keeping up her excited act. “We really do need your expertise, Sennie, as usual.”

“How many times must I ask you not to call me that, Mrs. Brendt?”

“At least as many times as I have to ask you not to call me ‘Mrs. Brendt.’ I’ve told you it’s Dorie. Or Dorinda if you must be formal. And I swear, if I never hear the name Brendt again, it will be too soon. Stupid cradle robbing bastard. I… Where did I put that box now? Oh, goodness. I think I left it over in the field. Excuse me.”

“Wait, isn’t this it?” Carson asked, reaching for what Smith was holding. She pulled it back out of reach, and he frowned at her. “It is, so why is—”

“Her ex-husband’s new girlfriend is pregnant, so he’s trying to get out of paying Dorie alimony. She… didn’t take that news very well, and I wouldn’t say anything except… well, she is acting weird, so I… Some explanation was necessary.” Smith took a breath and walked over to the Catalina. “Here. This is what she thinks we need your help with, though I don’t think we actually do.”

He took it, holding it up and turning it around in his hand. “I can see why you have your doubts. This seems like an ordinary trinket box to me. I’d estimate it’s at least fifty years old, but beyond that, why is it of any interest?”

“We found it in a car no one can explain. Or, rather… Mackenna and her husband did. Dorie brought the car here to assess for restoration while I’m still trying to track down who owned it. And you know Dorie. She gets excited about any small find. It really didn’t need you.”

“Likely not,” he agreed. “Still, I can run the usual tests.”

“You’re not going to open it?” Mackenna asked, and he turned to her. She found that look unsettling, especially with the glasses. “Okay, so we were all kind of curious about it. I think it may even have been hidden in the door panel before the soft part was eaten away by mice, which does make it more interesting than you think. If we weren’t afraid we’d damage whatever was in there when we opened it, we would probably have already done it.”

“Dorie did say you might want samples from where they found it.”

He nodded. “That would be best, and any further assessment of the vehicle would contaminate any findings, so it would be better to get them now if it proves necessary. Here, Strawberry. Hold this.”

Smith flushed as red as the name he just gave her, looking like she wanted to curl up and die on the spot. He didn’t even see it as he went around to his trunk and opened it up, taking out a metal case that looked almost like a tacklebox.

He carried it over to the front of his car. “Which door?”

The History Expert

Author’s Note: This is a part of the introduction to one of the new characters. They’ve shown some interesting lights on Mackenna and Carson as well as helping with the mystery.


The History Expert

“Dorie said she’d be right over,” Mackenna reported, watching Carson as he frowned at her. She tried to force a smile. She’d been hoping for a bit more time to look at the box, but it seemed like Dorie might be here at any second.

“I guess I can get the box out. Do you have the pictures ready? Not that I want to show everyone the ones where I fall over like an idiot—don’t smirk at me, you knew exactly what would happen when you insisted on me opening the door—but they’ll want to see where it was and how it fell.”

Mackenna reached up to touch his cheek. “Don’t think I didn’t appreciate what you did in opening the door for me. And I think that if we hadn’t done it how we did, we might not have found that box until the interior was being restored, and since I don’t even know that I’m getting the job yet, not for sure, that could have been a long time from now. Or even… not at all considering that they might have chosen just to junk the car instead of looking into restoring it.”

Carson nodded. “Yes, and that would have been a true shame. It’s hard to see so much history abandoned because of a little difficulty.”

She tilted her head and studied him. “Is this really the same man who drove into my yard with a rare antique and thought it might be best as scrap metal?”

“That’s not fair. I had no idea what it was worth then, but I do now. And I have a much better appreciation for history than I did before, too,” Carson said, and she tried to hold back laughter at his pout. She knew it wasn’t fair to tease—he had no way of knowing how precious Phantom was when he first came, but now that he did, he treasured it and all he’d learned in the time he spent with her. She knew that—and she loved him for it.

“I know,” she told him, pulling him close for a kiss. A horn interrupted them, and she frowned. Could Dorie already be here? She’d said she wouldn’t be long, but that was no time at all.

“If that’s her, you’d better greet her,” Carson told her. “I’ll be along in a minute with the box.”

Mackenna nodded, heading to the door. She wasn’t happy about being interrupted or at losing her chance to look at the box again, but she’d live. She didn’t have to see the box—so long as she got a promise out of Dorie to tell her what was in it.

“Hello, again!” Dorie called, in a much better mood today than she’d been yesterday, though yesterday Mackenna had stumbled onto the mine-field of the other woman’s divorce, so it wasn’t that unexpected. “I’ve brought a bit of an expert with me today. I hope you don’t mind.”

“An expert?”

“Don’t exaggerate, Dorie. That’s not what I am,” another woman said, coming around the car. Mackenna forced herself not to react too strongly. Strangers were seldom welcome, not around her at least, not after those years with her aunt, but this one seemed harmless enough, a rather dainty girl in comparison to both her and Dorie, wearing a dress that somehow mixed business with cute. Her hair shifted from light brown to a near pink red in the sunlight.

She was pretty, delicate in ways Mackenna had never been and never would be, and there was a small, irrational part of her that tensed up over it, not sure how Carson would react to seeing this woman. Would she be more attractive to him than Mackenna was?

She hated herself for thinking it, but then she’d never really been in a position to be jealous of him, whereas he’d already fretted over losing her to his older brother or someone else. She supposed it might be her turn, and better to get it out of the way quickly rather than let it drag on and fester, right?

Carson touched her arm as he joined her outside. “I’ve got the box and—Oh. We really do have company.”

“Mackenna, Carson, this is—”

“I’d rather you didn’t give them my name, thank you.”

Mackenna blinked in surprise, aware that Carson looked equally confused at the newcomer’s abruptness. She wasn’t sure what to think of this woman at all. Mackenna might not be the best with people, but somehow got the sense this woman didn’t mean to upset them and was more awkward socially than either she or Carson was. She seemed kind, and maybe being rude was unintentional.

Blushing, she winced. “I’m sorry. It’s just… my parents gave me one of those ‘cutesy’ names, and everyone goes on and on about how it is cute and how it fits me because I’m cute—that’s my younger brother, but that’s not the point—I don’t like people using it, but Dorie goes and tells everyone what it is and I can’t get any work done because people are either snickering or asking me how I got that name and I really would rather they used my last name or none at all.”

That both explained it and didn’t at the same time. “I sometimes go by ‘Mac’ instead Mackenna, but that’s not quite the same. And Carson’s not always fond of being Carson because his brothers teased him and gave him all the die cast cars, but that’s still not on your level.”

“I know. And I know saying what I did just makes you more curious about my name, but please… just call me Smith.”

Mackenna stared. Wasn’t that supposedly the most popular last name in the country? That was what she’d rather be known as? “Really?”

Dorie smiled. “I’ve been trying to get her to use Moneypenny as a nickname, but she keeps refusing.”

She might be pouting a little. “I am a records clerk, not a secretary, and there is definitely no James Bond around here.”

“Maybe a Q.”

“Don’t even start.” Smith shuddered, which made Dorie smile and left Mackenna wondering just what that in-joke was about, though neither woman offered an explanation.

“This is an odd little box,” Dorie said, accepting it from Carson’s hand. “Smith doesn’t recognize it in the research she’s done, and I haven’t seen one like it. We might need to get some analysis done on it. Did you open it?”

“No, though it was tempting,” Mackenna said. “Carson reminded me how that could damage anything inside it, so all I did was take pictures of it—I have some when it fell out on him and where we think it must have been in the car, but we’re not sure why anyone would have hidden it in the door panel.”

Dorie turned it over in her hands and finally held it out to Smith. “Any thoughts?”

Smith shook her head. “I don’t recognize it. There’s not any mention of the car or this box in anything I’ve seen, not in photographs or the documents that exist. We also didn’t find anyone that remembers, but most of the ones who would know of that time are already dead or their fate is unknown. I’ve done as much research into the car as I can, but between his dementia and the split in the family and all that was lost because of that, it’s hard to be sure.”

“Split?” Mackenna asked, not sure what Smith was talking about, though Dorie hadn’t given her much information about the car, so she was curious.

Smith nodded. “Um… It… It’s kind of complicated.”

Dialogue Prompts 51-75

51. “I used to say no one’s that stupid. Then I met you.”

52. “Tell me the truth.”
“I can’t talk to you.”
“You can’t just say that and ignore me.”
“You want the truth? The truth is… I can’t talk to you.”

53. “It’s just a thing. Let it go.”
“You just don’t get it. It’s not just a thing. It’s a memory. It’s a thousand feelings held in one small object. And those can’t be replaced.”

54. “That is so not a ritual prayer dance.”
“Yes, it is. I danced it praying they wouldn’t kill me. And now it’s a ritual because I do it every year.”

55. “Sometimes you give your heart away for nothing. For someone or something that can’t or won’t let love you back.”
“Is that what you think you did?”
“You never cared about me at all. Of course it is.”

56. “You know, when most people want to quit their job, they find another one first and then give notice. You, on the other hand…”
“Yeah, believe me, that did not go as planned.”

57. “I didn’t realize we were playing a game.”
“Oh, we were. The rules are simple. It’s a contest to see who can screw up their life more.”
“I take it you won?”

58. “What is this?” 
“I’m sending it to reassure everyone.”
“I’m only going to say this once: no one was ever reassured by a form letter.”

59. “This isn’t what I ordered.”
“So? It’s what you need.”

60. “I was all set to be profound, but my mind’s completely blank.”

61. “They gave me a ribbon.”
“For participation.”
“It’s still more than you got.”

62. “I just got asked the most dreaded question in the world.”
“Oh? What exactly is that?”
“Why aren’t you married yet?”

63. “No one can own the darkness. It owns them.”

64. “Every time you tell me to do something, I have the overwhelming urge to do the exact opposite.”
“Fine, then. Don’t kiss me.”
“I’m not that stupid.”

65. “I love this time of year.”
“Well, that cinches it. You are an idiot.”

66. “They said you’d be here.”
“And you still came? You’re either braver than I thought or…”
“Or?”
“Stupider.”

67. “Quit singing.”
“I’m not singing. I’m humming.”
“Quit humming, then.”
“Fine.” *starts singing*

68. “I’ve tried, but no matter what I do, it doesn’t make sense.”
“Life, you mean? It is pretty complicated.”
“Oh, I’m nowhere near figuring out life. I can’t even make this coffee pot work.”

69. “When I said that I missed you…”
“You really missed me?”
“No, more like…”
“You didn’t miss me at all?”
“Yeah. Like that.”

70. “Your cat tried to get in the computer bag. He must think it’s some kind of toy.”
“Maybe he just wanted to play with the mouse.”
*groans*

71. “Have you done anything today besides play video games?”
“I got out of bed.”

72. “I gave you a gift.”
“I never asked for one.”
“You don’t have to, not with gifts.”

73. “Here’s to another bad financial decision.”
“You’ve been shopping online again, haven’t you?”

74. “My creativity is null and void.”

75. “I really don’t like this.”
“Come on, this is tame compared to some of the things I’ve asked you to do in the past.”
“Which is why I know it will go horribly wrong.”

Dialogue Prompts 26 – 50

26. “I need a job where I can keep working despite the fact that I’m a complete psycho.”
“Have you considered being a writer?”

27. “I’m scared, Mommy.”
“There are no monsters under my bed.”
“No, because they’re in my head.”

28. “You want to go do something?”
“No, I’m going to stay here under my blanket, buried in my misery.”

29. “They keep saying happiness comes from the inside. That is why I am going to die in misery.”

30. “This is why I don’t use social media. I just got a friend request from a creep.”
“Really? I just sent you a request—Oh.”

31. “Mommy, [sibling’s name] is distracting me!”

32. “Where are you? Get your watusi over here.”
“My watusi is on its way.”
(Actual dialogue from a gaming couple bickering over an instance.)

33. “You can’t rush genius.”
“Which is why you’ve done exactly nothing for the past decade.”

34. “You realize there’s more to life than video games, right?”
“Yeah, it’s called fandom.”

35. “Have you ever noticed how people say, ‘you have to believe me’ when they’re lying?”
“I did notice that was one of your favorite phrases, yes.”

36. “We’re lost again, aren’t we?”
“Whatever gave you that idea?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the dark, scary forest in front of us?”

37. “One of these days, your browsing history will get you in real trouble.”
“I’m not actually planning on taking over the world.”
“Then why do you need plans for a weapon of mass destruction?”
“I’m a writer?”

38. “You know, when you light a fire under someone, it’s not supposed to be a literal fire.”

39. “Call me crazy, but I don’t think there’s anything sexy about a love triangle. I don’t want two people fighting over me. I just want that one person that loves me for who I am, unconditionally, and that I can love wholeheartedly in return.”

40. “Why are you holding a thesaurus?”
“I need another way to say stupid.”
“You do realize that given the intelligence of the person of the person you’re trying to insult, it’s likely they won’t understand any of those words.”
“…”

41. “You realize how unhealthy that is, don’t you?”
“Do I criticize your coping mechanisms?”

42. “So, to sum it up, you’ve accomplished nothing with your life.”
“Well, I wouldn’t put it exactly like that.”
“How would you put it?”
“I’m a work in progress.”

43. “You are such a coward.”
“That’s not true. I take plenty of risks.”
“Refusing to pass on chain letters is not taking a risk.”
“Are you kidding? Have you seen what they threaten you with if you don’t? I’m putting my life on the line everyday.”

44. “Accepting hep is not a sign of weakness. We all need it sometimes.”
“That’s true, but… you just accepted help from your lifelong enemy. Don’t you think that is a little more than a sign of weakness?”

45. “You just spent the last twenty minutes defending a fictional character.”
“I’d defend you the same way… if you were worth defending.”

46. “You’re free to say that. You’ve never had to get your hands dirty. You can hold onto your ideals and your innocence, but that luxury doesn’t belong to everyone.”
“No, that’s your excuse. You threw away your morality the first chance you got. Don’t pretend it was life that did this to you. You chose it.”
“Do you realize what you’re choosing now with those words?”
“I am not so innocent as to think that you won’t try to kill me. I knew that before I came. My ideals didn’t change. I considered you a friend and came to offer you one last chance. If you’re so far gone that all you can do is kill me, you’re welcome to try.”

47. “The thing is, you carved yourself a place in my life, a hole only you can fill, and that would be fine if you were ever around, but you’re not. You cut way a piece of me, you hollowed out and emptied me so you’d have a place to belong… and then you threw it away and left me.”

48. “What is this list?”
“A disclaimer.”
“Of fifty reasons why I shouldn’t date you. Why did you give me this?”
“I… did you want to go out tonight?”

49. “You knew I was in love with you. You didn’t have to love me back. You weren’t obligated to. But what you did instead… that’s unforgivable.”

50. “You’re throwing this away?”
“Yes.”
“But I gave that to you.”
“It, like you, is something I don’t need in my life.”

Dialogue Prompts 1 – 25

1. “Love is supposed to make you a better person.”
“Exactly my point. What we had wasn’t love.”

2. “Go and do awesome things.”

3. “Why didn’t they just do it like this? It would make so much more sense.”
(Heavy sigh or amused, bitter laughter, if you like.)
“Have you forgotten who you work for?”
“Right, forget I asked.”

4. “You’re so soft and squishy in the morning.”
“And we welcome yet another morning where I wonder why I married you.”

5. “You said ‘please.’ That negates your whole argument.”

6. “Okay, I have to ask… why did you name your kid ‘Myway?'”
“Well, I’d claim it was deep and profound, like I never wanted to be someone who strayed from their path, that my child was what kept me going, but honestly? I just wanted to be able to walk up to someone and say, ‘I’ve lost Myway.'”

7. “I don’t get it. People… like me.”
“You’re not that annoying. Why is it so surprising that they’d find something to like in you?”
“You don’t think maybe it’s a virus? Something went around and made the whole town crazy?”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Was it you? Tell me you did not poison the whole town so they’d like me.”

8. “I consider you the child of my heart.”
“That’s funny. I never considered you as someone having a heart.”

9. “I wanted to come up with something great and legendary that would leave a lasting impact on people and change things. I obsessed for weeks, I tried so many different ideas, and none of them worked. In the end, I turned in a blank canvas.”
“So you failed.”
“Some idiot called it art, said it was profound, and now I’m worth millions because of a blank page.”

10. “My body is falling apart.”
“You’re too young for that. Wait ’til you’re my age.”
“At this rate, I’m not so sure I’ll make it that long.”

11. “I’m an expert at self-sabotage. Really. You have no idea the depth of my ability to ruin my own life.”

12. “They say pride goes before a fall.”
“What pride? You’re a klutz.”

13. “I need a drink.”
“At this hour? I’m starting to think you’re an alcoholic.”
“No, just visiting family.”

14. “You just pissed them off. Again.”
“I know.”
“Don’t sound so proud of yourself. It’s not like it takes much.”

15. “You have to stop falling in love with fictional characters.”
“Why? It’s still a better relationship than I’ve had with anyone real in my life.”

16. “It’s cold.”
“Is that a hint?”
“Yes.”
“If you insist.”
“Wait, no, I was just saying you could turn on the heat. No one said anything about hugging. Get off of me.”

17. “I don’t know why I listen to you. You’re a compulsive liar.”
“I’m a writer. I’m setting the narrative. There’s a difference.”
This is real life, not your novel.”
“How do you know? You’re just a character.”

18. “Do you ever feel the need to re-evaluate your life choices?”
“Only every day since I met you.”

19. “Please excuse me while I have a complete breakdown.”

20. “Sometimes I think life is overly complicated by computers.”
“Dude, how old are you?”
“Shut up. I’m in my thirties.”

21. “This is a lifelong bond.”
“You know, the more you say that about trivial things, the less meaning it has.”
“No, it just means I’m really loyal. I’ll stick to you to the end because we have the same favorite color.”
Heavy sigh.

22. “If that was you being inspirational, I’d hate to see what you’re like when you’re angry.”
“Fear is a valid motivational force.”
“Yeah, I’m not so sure ‘fear’ is what you just inspired.”

23. “What did you just say?”
“You told me to give you a nickname.”
“You call that a nickname?”

24. “The older I get, the more I realize I was never meant to be an adult.”

25. “Have you ever noticed that people apologize for being depressed? Like no one has to apologize for being sarcastic, and some don’t apologize for being rude or mean, but oh, boy, if you’re sad and dragging people down, you better start groveling now?”
“I’m sorry I’m not more fun.”
“See? That’s exactly my point.”

Yet Another State of the Kabobbles

I keep meaning to update the website, and then I get bogged down by health issues and the other logistics of the updates I want to do falling through. I’ve been meaning to release something else as a serial for a while now, but I’m missing a few things for that.

I’ve gone through several attempts at fixing the cover for Whim to release it in paperback, but it hasn’t worked yet. It looks fine until it comes back from the printer. When it does… there’s always some annoying flaw that I can’t stand, mostly owing to the spine not getting aligned right no matter how much space we give it according to their guidelines.

It’s been an ordeal, and I think I actually threw the last copy of the book across the room I was so mad.

I haven’t touched it in months as I don’t know that there’s any way to make what I want and what the printer gives me align at all.

In the meantime, my migraines have taken a turn for the worse and now come accompanied by painful earaches. This is especially bad in the cold and means I can’t go outside or even sit around the house at times without having them covered, they’re just too sensitive.

So I am working on managing that as best I can, but the ear pain can be debilitating enough to keep me from leaving the house or moving out of bed even more so than the migraines were before. I don’t drive with them, and sometimes I just want to curl up in a ball and cry.

I have been working on writing when I can, but it’s been a few false starts and not much progress.

I’m still hoping to do a cover and get a serial running.

I’ve also been hard at work on a semi-self-improvement project… I’m trying to reshape the space I’m in to better help manage things, and I’ll probably talk more about that later.

I just figured it was about time for one of those “no, I’m not dead” messages, though if anyone’s been keeping up with the prompts I do on tumblr, they know I’m not. I just haven’t managed anything else lately, and for that, I apologize.

I will hopefully be up to more, especially if the weather gets nicer.