Tag Archives: writing

Random character ideas

Owl, middle-aged, recently switched to contacts from eyeglasses and keeps trying to adjust his non-existent glasses. Photographer, specializing in nocturnal wildlife photography. Loves Mexican food, Hates the government. Had an extended engagement with a cute kangaroo female, but she ran off with another male, leaving him bitter and disillusioned when it comes to love. He has an abnormally high sex-drive, and owns a staggering amount of actual printed pornography. His siblings never let up on him about his unwillingness to try dating again, so he avoids them, much to the displeasure of his nieces and nephews who love him to pieces. Missing a toe on one foot from a mishap with a hunter during one of his forest photo-shoots.

Chubby impala college student, studying to be a chef and restaurant owner. Crushingly low self-esteem from a lifetime of being mocked by his extended family and peers. Pops anti-depressants, cooks for his dorm roomies, and puts on a cheerful face. Desperate to regain some of the herd belonging and safety he craves, he tends to fall easily for anyone who’s kind to him, male or female. This hasn’t landed him in any really rough spots yet, but his luck won’t hold out forever. Loves to dance, is quite superstitious, and has famously rotten recall. Has no car, and constantly bums rides off other students.

Somber femme coyote, middle-child and ignored by many throughout her life. Thanks to one observant high school teacher, she nabbed a huge scholarship and attended college for an art degree. Her work is unique and soon nets her money and fame, two things she’s totally unprepared for. She finds happiness in her work, but gets blocked easily. Very much a creature of habit, she practices several self-destructive behaviors/habits which no one has gotten close enough to her to notice. She eats almost nothing but pizza and drinks Kool-aid by the pitcher. Her entire back is a map of seared-in tattoos (one of the few ways the furred can have lasting ones) and she presently dresses to conceal them from all. Allergic to chocolate. Adores polka music. Drives a VW bus fitted with a few comforts more suitable to an RV.

Harriet scrubbed tears from her eyes with one hand and scrubbed plaster with the other, slowly wearing away the crayon marks zig-zagging along the wall at toddler height. She hated the way her hair felt on her cheeks, escaping the worn-out scrunchie. She hated the sea-scent in her nostrils from her crying. Why couldn’t a single day be easy?

At last she reached the end of the crayon-blazed trail, scrubbing out that last trace of waxy brown. Slumping, shoulder against the wall, the stink of Fantastik hanging around her, her eyes happened to follow the line of the baseboard to a spot behind the TV. A chocolate puddle glistened on the rug, the popsicle stick a bleached bone in the sticky crime scene.

Before she could even halfway process this fresh atrocity, she heard Paul’s car pull up in the driveway. It still made that awful squeaking like a cheap UFO, even after dumping all that money into it.

Harriet brought her shields back up, and pointedly did not think of Paul going straight to the kitchen after walking in. She did not think of how he’d pull out a chair from the dining room table and sit backwards on it to face her. She did not think how he would draw out the word “So,” before asking “What’s for dinner babe?”

Paul and the kids burst into the house, shedding clothes and accessories along their respective trajectories. He delivered his hi-honey to the plastic boot-cozy before walking through to the kitchen. She heard the fridge open. Heard the glass rattle of a dozen 1/8th-full condiment bottles. The kids had the TV on, and something was exploding. Something was always exploding when they were home.

A chair scraped along the linoleum floor, then creaked beneath Paul. His “Sooooooooo–” trailed off as Harriet straightened and stalked through the family room, putting a thin stained wall between them. Her bare feet made it harder to stomp up the stairs, but she managed it.

Stretching the writing muscles: Asteroid off the port bow.

My life and yours will be ended by a rock. Not just our lives either. A rock puts an end to human history. Last month, it was a faux news article stuck to the break room fridge by that joker Nelson. Today it’s a fact, an ugly sooty little fact that feels like a piece of popcorn stuck between my teeth. I worry and pick at it, but nothing I do budges it. Frustration, helplessness, everyone at the observatory ate these for every meal for a month.

Yesterday, the president informed the world of its fate. An asteroid the size of Australia was on its way, and no rushed nuclear solution had been launched. For two weeks, the rest of the nuclear club opposed the launch of any American vehicle carrying nuclear weapons. By the time we’d thrown enough charts at the politicians, it was too late.

The president’s speech was the best of his career, and as usual, people listened and took…some kind of hope from his words. There was panic, but not to the scale anyone expected. Maybe they realized the government could have chosen to remain silent, and let our nation pass away in the night, continent spinning off into the darkness with all the rest. Instead, he trusted us to do what should be done on the eve of apocalypse. Pray. Forgive. Make love.

Last night after the speech, my family collapsed onto the den rug to huddle together. The kids were old enough to accept the fact, but not the reality. They’d cried harder when I grounded them from TV for a month. Clair had known since I had, though every day she’d expected some intervention. Even that night, she didn’t lose it completely like I did. She lay in bed behind me now, a crumpled snowdrift of kleenex tumbling off the sheets.

I couldn’t see the rock now. It would hit on the other side of the world. Yesterday you could see it without a telescope. I was glad I couldn’t see, glad it wasn’t hanging in my sky, an obnoxious obviousness.

“The universe doesn’t keep score, and we are not waiting for points to be tallied as this round ends. We are a beautiful creation, painfully beautiful…and nothing but our eternal opponent could bring us together like this. For the first time we can see that we are a family, and together as a family, we are moving on to the next step.” God, he had a way with words. Belief shone from him; belief in his message and belief in us.

Music started up somewhere down the block. In the movie it would be a grand soaring orchestral number, raising goose flesh on your arms. Instead, it was “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls. It made me angry, that my last moments would be demeaned by this music. When I thought about protesting, the anger fell straight out through my feet. How silly could I be? In a way, the song was thumbing its nose at the universe. It wasn’t a dirge; it was just life, common and anchoring.

When I’d convinced myself I had no good reason for watching the sky, I slid back into bed and spooned up against Clair. She slept, arms curled around the kids, our big dumb dane stretched across the foot of the bed.

How many things would come through with us, to this ‘next step?’ Would religion weather the transition? Would wrong and right? My brain just wouldn’t shut up. Fantasizing about what was to come wasn’t helping. Nothing could help. I might as we—


So, I’ve discovered that as far as my writing drive is concerned, I can write from about 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. but now I’m working during those hours.

I have however taken my laptop to work, and gotten 30 minutes of writing done per lunchbreak. Current project: Finishing slug-girl story.

I almost expect my laptop to start oozing slime at this point.

Ignore it

I slammed the car door, and the side-view mirror rattled. A split-second of worry/regret spiked before I quashed it with gritted teeth.

He was saying something, then yelling it, but the roaring in my ears took care of that.

The streetlights drifted by overhead, once a week it seemed like, until I reached the corner. The world fell off from there. Blond weeds and rocks too pathetic to be called gravel, littered with fast food tatters and the glint of beer cans. There was nothing here.

I sucked air, drawing it past the burning knot in my throat, nostrils stinging and stupid water falling from my face. It was so hot I hardly felt the tears ’til that awful salt kissed the corners of my mouth.

Words I could use bubbled up, all in different colors and fonts. In between seconds I silently tried them all, but there were none that didn’t sound weak, the snarl of the gutter tramp this nothing-corner wanted me to be.

A hiccuping sob and a five second keen was all I managed. I crossed the weed ruptured concrete and a fat stripe of darkness to get to a phone. I wished never to appear on the other side of that shadow. This wasn’t a night of granted wishes.