Day 222: You are Frankenstein. Write a letter to Mary Shelley thanking her for making your story known.

pexels-photo-211291.jpeg

Ms Shelley,

Congratulations are in order, I believe. I understand that your novel has been received by the public favourably, even if the critics cannot understand good storytelling. You have captured my woe perfectly.

I trust that you followed my instructions and burnt my original notes? They must be destroyed. I thank you for changing the process so that misguided souls will not follow into my tortured footsteps. I would not wish this upon anybody.

Mary, in our correspondence you begged to know what was missing. I cannot tell you, because I do not know. I attempted the creation again, to make an Eve to my Adam. No, I am not referring to the misguided attempts in the Orkneys that you chronicled so well. I gave into my pride once more, in Greenland.

They have a creature in their mythos, an unpronounceable name that prowls through the graveyards and steals freshly interred bodies. A perfect place for an abhorrent creature like myself. I became the creature, stealing through their graveyards and claiming those bodies.

I was also fortunate. With my limited medical knowledge, the townspeople came to me with their injuries. Blood for my second creature I could collect. Limbs from logging accidents also, a staple in this small town. The Mayor set me up at an abandoned farm on the outskirts, somewhere I could work in privacy.

It all came together. My work was complete, I had renewed my serum and yet when I applied the electricity there was nothing. No spark, no life. Just a collection of dead pieces. Should you ever write a sequel to my misadventures, you can rest assured that I am not just withholding the secret from you and your readers. I am withholding it from myself.

The creature remains at large, Mary. You must remember that he devoured Paradise Lost and seeing my name in print may seek to enrage him. I fear that the tragedy surrounding your husband Percy may be the result of his ire. You must get away and take your children with you.

I can only apologise for bringing this trouble into your lives. With hope, I shall find the creature. I only wish that my trip to the Arctic had been more successful. Soon though, soon I shall be with my dear Elizabeth, poor Clerval and my father by her side waiting for me. I only hope that they see it to forgive me, as do I hope that you do.

Perhaps my search in the wilds of Peru will help. The tall tales of the giant that San Martin has assisting him may lead to the truth.

I beg of you though, let people believe me dead. As time passes, my creature and I shall pass into myth and story. I believe it would be better for it to remain that way, to prevent the follies of those who follow. Even if I cannot find the secret once more, perhaps they would be able to.

With all my kindest wishes and deepest regrets,

Doctor Victor Frankenstein, Esq.

P.S. You were too kind to listen to my story. I fear that I shall not survive Peru and as such my last will and testament names you as my sole beneficiary. It is not much, but hopefully it shall serve you well.

This one was really quite fun. I even did some research (by which I mean I looked at Wikipedia) but I think that most of it makes sense and occurs at roughly the same time. It’s been years since I read Frankenstein so this became quite a challenge. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 221: Your favourite book

woman-notebook-working-girl.jpg

We all know where we were when we first read it.

For most of us, it was in school. A slim exercise book, hidden behind the others in the library. Rachinov wanted to spread the word, but only to the inquisitive. A blue exercise book that for most people would be covered in scribbles or swirls, titled Physics or Maths. Not this one though.

This one was clean, looking brand new in fact but completely full. Every page filled with cursive script, words flowing one into he next like waves crashing upon a beach. As with waves, every so often there came a tsunami of emotion. It was a call to arms, my own thoughts appearing on the page before me but in the voice of another.

All the front page said was “Freedom lies within.” No author name, or signature. No cover art. Just three words, but it was enough to pull me in.

“The path to freedom lies within. Follow these words and seek the truth. Truth is freedom and freedom is happiness. I know you. I know what you’re like. You found this book in a library, calling to you from behind the shelves. You heard it whispering when you woke up this morning, feeding on your desire to break the status quo and leave the humdrum behind for the fantastic. This book can take you there. Are you ready?”

“I am.” I whispered, my eyes frantically scanning the page for more information on the author, this creator who could speak directly to me in the neat, swirling words. THe blackness of the ink pulled me in as I read on, my eyes swimming into the pools of words that grew and grew around me until I was enveloped in the dark.

“Excellent. Now that we are alone, we can speak.” There was a figure strolling towards me through the darkness, confident strides that caused his crimson coat to swirl around him. “I’ve been rather excited to meet you, Callahan. It is Callahan? Or do you prefer a different name?” He reached up to his face to pull on the jet black goatee. “Callie? Cal? Mr Douglas?” He was bearing closer, easily six feet tall but graceful, as if he were dancing instead of walking.

“C-Cal. Please,” I stammered, forcing the words from my throat, “where am I?”

“Welcome to Dreamland, Cal. This is my home.” Perfect teeth, regimented into rank and file beamed at me as he came close enough to reach for my hand. “A place where you get to be what you want. Free.” He gestured out into the darkness and it was as if thick curtains were being drawn back. The darkness shrunk from this man revealing a cityscape, rolling fields, a tavern. “Yes, Cal. I’ve chosen you. You can be free, but it comes at a price. Those who choose to be free are free to think. Those who are free to think are free to rebel.” His dark eyes burned with colour and intensity, boring into my soul.

“Rebel?”

“Rebel. The book is your pathway and you passport. Read it, then return when you’ve made up your mind.”

I was back in the library, head swimming as I tried to make sense of what had just happened. I screwed my eyes tight shut, then opened them again to no avail. I looked down at the exercise book in my hands and saw that it had changed. No longer did it say Freedom Lies Within, no. Now, there was just one word.

Dreamland.

A book is a way to escape. Whether you’re escaping the humdrum of your life or the pain and perils of your reality, a book is a way to escape. In this case, it’s literal. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 220: Tell the story of a time you lost an argument

wall-animal-dog-pet.jpg

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to meet Chester. He’s a Golden Labrador, weighs in at about 75 pounds if he’s stayed out of the food bag and I swore blind before I got him that I didn’t want him.

I told Sarah, my wife, that we were not getting a dog. We actually had a blazing row about it, I’m talking the whole nine yards. I told her that it was a stupid idea, we could barely afford to keep ourselves and the flat at the time, let alone a living breathing creature that would eat its bodyweight in food. What would we do while we were at work, I asked.

She told me she was planning on quitting her job and focusing on her art. I hit the roof. This was the first I’d heard about this plan and I thought it was ridiculous. Art? Art? Art was for those losers who smoked pot throughout college while we were doing proper work. Don’t get me wrong, I support her and I thought it was a great hobby. But to do it as a career?

I actually stormed out. I remember, it was absolutely pissing it down with rain that night. Dark and stormy to say the least, but definitely not as enjoyable as the cocktail. I must have walked for a mile before I realised how stupid I was being. I planned out my arguments, reasonably and sensibly. I thought about how I’d have to look for a better paid job in order to pay for us both until she made it.

I got back and she’d already poured me a glass of wine. She told me that all we had to do was go and look at the dogs. Then we talked, for hours. I knew she’d been unhappy at work for a while, but I didn’t realise quite how bad it was. She told me she hoped it would push me as well, seeing as I was wasted on an entry level position.

It was the most we’d talked in months and it felt so much better to get it off our chests.

We made an appointment to go to the dogs home on Saturday. I swore to myself that we’d not get a dog. We had a small spat about it on the way there.

We came to a compromise in the end.

We got Chester.

So, this is similar to a conversation I had earlier today, but I’m the one who desperately wants the dog. Unfortunately, with my job and my life how they are at the moment, there will be no adorable animals in my near future. But soon enough, mwahahahahaha. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 219: Describe a person you see every day

pexels-photo-54377.jpeg

Dark circles surround his sunken eyes as he stares at the screen. He raises a hand with prominent veins marshalled by the tendons and places it against his marginally stubbly chin. The stubble is the result of three days of saying “I can shave in the morning” but then getting up a full hour after his alarm goes off. He pushes his chin slowly to one side, easing it across until he hears the loud crack that means his neck will feel less stiff for ninety seconds.

His shoulders drop in relief. He moves the hand that was on his chin through his untidy brown hair, pulling it out on the top before leaving it in its untidy state. His eyes shift to the corner of the screen where 01:39 stares accusingly at him. He yawns as it does, apologising to himself that he once again hasn’t got that early night.

He reaches forward with a hand, meaning to close the laptop, when inspiration strikes. All aches and pains are forgotten and his eyes burn with intensity that he hasn’t seen in days. His fingers, long and slender as if meant for a wholly different kind of keyboard, begin to fly across the keys, words forming on the blank page before him. He writes and he writes and he writes, pausing only to accuse his muse of sleeping on the job but thanking her for reappearing when he needed her most.

He lifts a hand to his mouth, running dirty fingernails across his chapped lips. A deep sniff, then he leans back to observe his handiwork.

He speaks, with a low tenor voice. “That’s shit.”

I should know this person well. I see him in the mirror every day. 

I didn’t skip a day! Please, check out Day 218 because it is there, it just got posted late. Oops. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 218: What could have happened to you in high school that would have altered the course of your life?

pexels-photo-168872.jpeg

A taxi, driven by the strongly opinionated Mr Paul Reuben,  chooses to head right at the corner of Richmond and Cartwright as opposed to left.. At this time of night, the differences between the times that that it would take to get from here to Ingleton is negligible, so when he sees the hazard lights begin to flare, Reuben announces to his passenger that he isn’t going to be messing around with some nonsense like this and the he’ll just nip down Ellesmere Road. His passenger just sighs and continues his conversation, advising his wife that he was more than likely going to be late home, but that he has the present right there in the cab.

His wife, Alison Mackervoy, is cooking dinner as her husband ends the call. She has left the pasta to cook while she enjoys a glass of shiraz on the sofa. The television is hurling out sound over the noise of the builders working on the extension, making the shouting matches of her favourite soap opera all the more intense. She looks across at the pictures of her children on the dresser, one finger curling her long blonde hair as she dials in her best friends number. She stares at the picture of her youngest and smiles at his huge grin, complete with the gap after he’d taken a flying leap at a lamppost. She should probably go and call him in, but he’s no doubt having a lot of fun.

On the estates, William Mackervoy is playing football with his friends on his eleventh birthday. They have the customary piles of school jumpers set up to represent the goalposts at either end of a quiet street, the kind that nobody ever drives down. He smiles as he receives the ball with his right foot, spinning around past his friends and driving the ball home between the blue jumpers either side of Callum. As he smiles, he pushes his tongue out through where his missing tooth should be. His blue eyes flash as he yells for Callum to kick the ball back to him. Callum, having been placed in goal for being truly hideous at football, kicks the ball wildly. It goes flying over the assembled heads and bounces down towards the road. William just runs down the street after it, followed by a sheepish Callum. After all, nobody drives around here.

Paul Reuben is driving his cab and is hopelessly lost. He’s got another three hours until he clocks off and his daughter’s play starts in three and a half. If he can get enough done in those hours, perhaps he can get in early. Marissa, his girlfriend, has been badgering him for months about this recital and that he has to be there. He presses his foot against the accelerator in the hope of getting this guy on his phone out of the cab as soon as possible. The needle peeks up to forty miles per hour as his SatNav bleeps, telling him it is out of battery. He swears, checking the mirror for the disapproving look he already knows is in the eyes of the man in the back seat. He sees it and fumbles around for the cable he has let fall into the passenger foot well. It’s just out of reach beneath his questing fingers and Paul glances away.

The ball rolls into Ellesmere Road. Callum and William are in a friendly race by this point, trying to reach it to be the one to bring it back to the group. William stops at the side of the road and Callum charges past, oblivious to all danger, scooping up the ball triumphantly as he does so. He holds it high above his head as he does, shouting that he is the champion. William is shouting too, though not about the ball.

There is the squeal of brakes and a screech of tires.

The ball drops to the floor and begins its merry journey down Ellesmere road. The cab doors slam as Paul and his passenger dive from the car and run to the boy who lies on the floor. The other child stands motionless, watching the scene unfold in front of him. His life will never be the same after this day.

Argh! So, I started writing this last night and most of it was there but when I woke up this morning already late for the plans I had made, I found that I hadn’t pressed publish and had in fact fallen asleep on the space bar. I have no idea how long these blog posts are allowed to be. but I must have been pushing it with the spaces… 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 217: Imagine yourself at age eighty. What would you tell yourself?

wood-pattern-ground-parquet-floor.jpg

I opened my eyes and blinked. I could feel last night’s whiskey screaming in my brain, pushing against my skull like a particularly irritated swarm of bees. It felt like I’d been sleeping under a rock for a few days, a particularly heavy one. You know, the type that are in the weird formations and look like they should fall over any second. I curled my toes, hearing them click one by one, before moving up to my fingers, flexing then curling them, trying to ease the aches. My head rolled to the left, drooping over my chin before rolling over to the right with a violent crack.

The harsh light of day, during its violent attack, revealed my surroundings. Wasn’t anywhere I recognised. A lot of oak panelling. Much more than I’d expect to see kicking around student digs. Last thing I remember was shots of Bell’s with a chaser of Jack in… Spoons? Tiger? One of those places with the cheap drinks and the low syllable names that are easiest to say when you’re hammered.

I’m getting too old for this.

There are pictures on the wall, the classic graduation shots of kids at uni. One or two family photos. Where the hell have I woken up? Please tell me I didn’t pull another mum…

My arms feel like they’re made of lead and string simultaneously as I try to heave myself up off the floor. Whoever I did go home with clearly didn’t think very highly of me, seeing as I’m lying on the laminate without a blanket or a pillow in sight. No wonder my neck feels like it’s about to snap.

“Hey! Who the fuck are you?” I looked up to see an elderly man holding a shotgun. It’s far more terrifying than it seems. You’d think an old guy would be endearing, maybe even cuddly. This guy wasn’t.

He was six foot tall, maybe, with a shock of white hair. His arms were clearly visible through the fabric of the military t-shirt he was wearing, still strong even at the age he was. Somewhere between sixty-five and practically dead was my guess. Still, that shotgun wasn’t moving an inch.

“I said, who the fuck are you?” He moved toward me with strong steps. Shouldn’t old people be shuffling around hospital wards with sticks?

“Look, man. Please put the gun away. I’ve got a full bladder and no idea how I got here. My head’s pounding and I’m liable to make a mess of your nice wooden floor if you keep pointing a deadly thing at me.” I said with perfect eloquence. In my head.

In real life, things played out a little differently. I got as far as the word please, then proceeded to vomit all over this guys floor. I heard him say some expletives followed by calloused hands on my shoulders, then I passed out.

As it turns out, it’s a pretty standard meeting between you and your eighty year old self. The easiest way to travel is when you don’t know where you’re going.

Fun times today. I think it would be fun for your first words between you and yourself at eighty to be “Who the fuck are you?”

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 216: A man giving a speech to a crowd of thousands is suddenly caught in a barefaced lie.

pexels-photo-131178.jpeg

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys, girls, everybody watching at home. I come before you today with a vision made real, a true testament to this nation’s great future!” Owens stood on the stage and beamed out at his captive audience. “Together, we can make this nation what it once was, we can rebuild it from the ground up. Now, I’m not talking with invasions, like some former leaders, looking at you, Polkiss. No, I mean by rebuilding infrastructure, industry. Moving funds from the military and into the cities and towns that make this country what it is!” He pulled his black leather gloves tight against his hands and flexed his fingers, then reached up and adjusted his microphone.

A man dressed head to toe in black crossed to him, handing him a manila folder and leaned in to whisper in his ear. Owens pushed him away and handed him a microphone. “Uh, sir?”

“There will be no secrets in this place. Everybody here today will bear witness to what happens. The building blocks of our new land will be transparency, openness. There will be no secrets and there will be no more blood.”

“Are you sure, sir?” The man in black looked shiftily around. “It, uh, well, it uh…”

“Spit it out, man! The nation is waiting.”

Owens would regret those words. As for the man in black, he’d forever be known as the architect of turmoil and strife. He shook his sandy blonde hair and spoke the words that would be remembered forever, captured on a million video feeds and in a million people’s minds.

“The Goropalli opened fire on the protest in Trinity Square. All of the protesters are dead.”

Dangerous business, peaceful takeover of a nation. Less so when you’re going to turn out to be a tyrannical despot anyway. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 215: Describe your favourite part of a man’s body using only verbs

person-human-male-man.jpg

Gnashing, grinding,
Chomping and chewing,
Licking, smacking,
Sucking and slurping,
Clicking, clacking,
Clucking and ticking,
Munching, biting,
Grawping and griping.

“Phil, can you please not narrate while I eat? It’s kinda weird.”

“Sorry. Pass the ketchup?”

So, this was definitely one of the more difficult challenges that was cropping up. And at some point I have to do the same for my favourite part of a woman’s body! 

On a different note, I have now completed a third of my challenges! Just 427 days to go!

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 214: Put your iPod on shuffle. Write down the lyrics of the first song that comes on, and use it as an opening line.

lost-places-old-decay-ruin-162389.jpeg

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.”

“Oh, if you only knew what we’d been up to.” Major Blackthorn lifted Herbert’s chin, looking down into his bloodshot eyes. “But you don’t, do you? You’ve got no idea how far this goes.”

The giant screen behind him showed the baying crowd, having just watched Marlowe take a swan dive from the Wessler building. People were screaming that it was a trick. He had dived off and nothing happened,no falling, no screaming. He just stayed there, floating high above the plaza.

Blackthorn threw back his head and laughed, long and loud. “See! All Marlowe wanted was to be loved. To be special. That’s what we gave him!” He drew a remote from his pocket. Two buttons sitting next to each other above a small keyboard. “Yes, Herbert. We made him special. And look at him, adored and wonderful!” Herbert shifted against the flexicuffs around his wrists, but he couldn’t find any give. “Mr McCoy, we made Marlowe. Didn’t intend for him to go quite so public yet, seeing as we’re still in the beta testing stages.” Blackthorn removed his cap and threw it expertly onto the hatstand, pausing for breath and to scratch his thinning grey hair. “We got enough of the freaks together to work out how they ticked. There was a little bit of collateral, but this is a war after all. It was a real shame about your brother but… Such is life.”

Herbert lurched forward, dragging the heavy metal table forward a couple of inches in his rage. Blackthorn leapt back a foot, landing silently. “Haddock. Don’t respond directly, just tell Blackthorn he’s an ass if you can hear me.”

“You’re an ass, you know that?” Haddock said, jerking his body to try and snap the cuffs again to no avail.”What the hell are you doing?”

“Right now? I’m detracting attention. After all, Marlowe’s playing the role of a magician. Wouldn’t it be a shame if one of his tricks were to tragically fail. He dies in a trick gone wrong and all the talk of powers dissipates until we’re ready to release it. To the chosen ones, of course.”

“You mean you and your bunch of racists?” Haddock said out loud, screaming internally for the mysterious voice to come back, for  Marlowe to give in. He hoped he could distract Blackthorn long enough for the show to be over, or at least for Marlowe to get low enough so he wouldn’t die if Blackthorn hit the kill switch.

Blackthorn spluttered. “Racists! No, Mr Haddock, we are patriots.” He launched into a diatribe against Haddock and his Boatmen.

“Thank God for that. I thought he was never going to do his evil villain rant. Now then, Haddock, you need to listen closely. And take the stupid look of your face before Major Disaster over there realises we’re in your head. We’ve lost Marlowe. He’s not surviving the day, so that’s out. You’ve got to get to that remote, Haddock. Then, you need to bring it to us here. Don’t ask where here is, you already know.” The voice laughed. “It’s all in your head! Now, get a bloody grip of those cuffs, will you? He’s going to be distracted when he pushes the button. That’s your moment. East door, up to level two and into the hangar bay. I’ll talk to you again then. Back to Blackthorn now, there’s a good chap.” It wasn’t a Boatman talking to him, that was for sure. He knew them all. He’d been the one to recruit each and every one.

“There Marlowe goes, gearing up for his big finale. He’s going to fly higher than he’s gone before and then I get to push the button.” Blackthorn spoke with glee, staying transfixed to the drama unfolding on the screen. “Yes, he’s all keyed in, our good old 24601. Look at him go!” Blackthorn raised the remote as Marlowe reached the peak of his climb then pressed the right hand button. Haddock watched as Marlowe’s flight turned into a fall, his face twisting even as he yanked apart his bonds. Blackthorn didn’t even notice as he made his way through the east door.

Haddock slammed through into an empty corridor. It was only a matter of time before the Bastards arrived. The voice had said the hangar was on level two, which would be great if he had any idea about…

The luminous green sign on the wall screamed that level two was to his right and up some stairs. He tipped his head and sped off.

Meet Herbert ‘Haddock’ McCoy, my new protagonist. Who are the Bastards and the Boatmen? Not entirely sure yet but stick around and hopefully we’ll find out.

The song from which this entry’s prompt was taken is Vegas Lights by Panic! at the Disco. Thoroughly recommend it. 

If I can find an appropriate entry, I may look at writing this from Marlowe’s point of view. Recipient of amazing powers and he uses them to be a celebrity? Sounds like my kind of guy. Any questions or thoughts, drop me a comment! 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 213: Write for ten minutes about what is running through a husband-to-be’s head while his wife-to-be is walking down the aisle to the altar where he stands.

pexels-photo-132759.jpeg

Oh my god. This is actually happening. I’m actually getting married to Marissa Bates. She is right outside that door, it’s going to happen. She’s going to walk down this aisle with her dad who’s going to be glaring at me as he shuffles up leaning on that stick because he’s a war hero and he thinks I’m a waste of space because I’m just an accountant but he doesn’t realise I’m an accountant for Annalise McMannon’s crime syndicate and my job is just as dangerous.

Probably a good thing now that I think about it, I don’t think he’d be letting me marry her if he knew.

Holy shit, the door’s opening. Holy shit, I just thought holy shit in church. Wait, I did it again. Okay, concentrate, concentrate. It’s the wedding march.

She looks incredible. She convinced her mum to let her have the wedding dress. It’s so beautiful.

She’s so beautiful. That black hair that falls down to the small of her back, the understated jewellery, nothing gaudy or attention-seeking, just complimentary, enhancing. My god, she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

There he is, there he is glaring at me. Go away, you shuffly old man and let me stare at my very soon to be wife without being distracted by an angry old guy with a limp.

She’s here. He’s giving her away. She’s about to be my wife.

I’m never going to smile this hard again.

I wanted this one to read stream of consciousness as opposed to a regulated story. I hope it works?

The Idiot in Tin Foil