Monday, March 31, 2008

A New Story of Sorts

Another story, folks. Up for it? "Big Fishing" was emailed with a subject line that said, Reject this Tail. Go figure. Below as a prologue is the author's warning, followed by the story, which refuses to put periods inside closed quotes and surely loves the comma, but otherwise here it is.....(with apologies to those who hate the rejected story corner feature of this blog):

Caution from the author: "Big Fishing" is a fiery tale or exaggerated proportions. It should not be read while under the influence of alcohol. The character Qfwfq is dedicated to Italo Calvino a genius of the highest magnitude and one of my literary heroes. Any resemblance of any other character to personages living or dead, should be highly suspected and perused in court.

Big Fishing

"I just don't now about these boys, Cap'n" Old Qfwfq mused as he stroked his wispy silver gray beard, some of the finely thin strands reaching almost to his protruding collarbone. The Captain, engrossed, as usually, in his one of fishing videos, merely nodded approval, without turning around, missing not a single line of digital feed, on his newly purchased, Extreme Definition, Super Duper, StadiumSurroundSound ©, Smell-O-Vision, Dvd Player and portable toaster oven.

"Times have changed an awful lot." Qfwfq continued, not sure if he had an audience or not. "Now before I came down with all this Rheumatism and Whooping cough and, before the Cap'n went off and got married"

"You don't have Whooping cough", Jameson quickly snapped," Whooping Cough is an actual disease and not an adjective, Qfwfq”.

Jameson, feeling quite snugged in his retort, adjusted his tie and turned back around to view, Interior Cam-C. He lightly scratched his perpetually present five o’clock shadow growth of beard.

Just that moment he caught sight of a disruption in the fluctuation of wave patterns on the Electro-Static Distortion Meter. That particular meter happened to be sitting a top, of a jury-rigged, non- departmental issued, Tracking Spy-Cam, to which a curious Station-Watch Commander Jameson turned to next, for more intensive review.

"Well, when I coughs, I whoops and I when I whoop, I whoops it up for a damn long time; so if that's not Whooping cough, then I don’t know what is? Qfwfq shot back, a slight tinge of attitude lingering in his voice. "Anyway! as I was saying, we, The Cap'n and I, really knew how to live life to the fullest back in those days, not like you college boys" accused Qfwfq. Thrown off track, by the correction amended to his self appraised medical condition, Qfwfq took a moment refill his pipe. After composing himself, stuffing his pipe and nitpicking up a few vagrant shreds of tobacco along, with any glimmer of credibility left, Qfwfq continued.” Looks like all you boys are concerned with is what IRA plan will eventually net you the best false teeth. Qfwfq felt as though he had regained his confidence.

“Now there was a time when, once the young ladies had exited the Beauty, Botox and Hair Salons, they were given flyers with the Captain's and I's pictures on it; advising them, now that they were all prettied up and such, they aught to beware of smooth talking, fancy dressers such as, the Captain and I. The flyers went on to explain to them some of the finer points as to how one should conduct themselves now that they had obtained certain degree desirability. It was a pity but those girls really needed some lessons on womanhood.

"They only gave them the flyers after, they came out". The Captain chimed in. "The Christian groups particularly, they knew, that we knew, most of those girls were a real mess beforehand, they were safe for the time being, certifiably exempt. Whuuu! those girls were a real mess, fashion and hair nightmare, upon arrival." The Captain shook his head, earnestly, in mild disgust.

"Kodai! I think we just may have a Burner wandering around on level C." Gasped an elated Jameson. The distortion field was registering unauthorized frequencies and the X-ray scope function on the Spy-Cam did suggest some sort of internal electronic devices in the lower regions.

Nowadays, with all the electronic gadgets, that people are surrounded by, have on them or, are wirelessly and skinjacked hooked up to, electro-fires, incapability surges and the likes were almost an everyday occurrence, even spontaneous combustion, due to our own natural internal electrical activity interacting haphazardly with external forces had been cited in a few cases.

For liability purposes, The El Grande Shoppo Mall, like most mega-malls, has on-site, their own Mini-Fire and Emergency Rescue Station. Mini-stations usually have crews of five to ten fire fighters and various medical and technical personnel. Most days, they need only to respond to the usual, minor e-shocks, slips and falls an occasional heart attack, interestingly, usually by husband, once presented with the shopping receipts collected by his wife or teen daughter.

Then there was the occasional puffer-upper to attend to, down in the Food-Pharma court, with a slice of lime or popcorn shrimp caught between the larynx and the pharynx.

But a Burner, that was a nasty deal. Here is someone, that has illegally downloaded operational software and up-linked a 3Љ hummer-bass woofer rod up his a-hole. All of this, mostly for the mere pleasure of being able to rattle his can like a 63 Chevy Impala low rider, to the squeals and delights of some sweet, easily amused, doe eyed twirliept.

Now on his own and down in the barrio, homeboy, would’ve have faced nothing more discomforting than an occasional hemorrhoid or two, by having the aforementioned gizmos fitted him where the Lord splitted him. But accompanied by accessories, like the new sleek EdeKron 4 googlebyte hard drive and dual Czechoslovakian made: banned in the US, Flesh Permeating, Sound-SurroundSpeakers, and; who knows, what manner of chop-shop hydraulics and inflatable implants, shoved in and around butt, the stakes for injury had demonstrably increased.

The crew had been lucky, not to have had, any such incursions go down on their watch since the fad had started. Not much was known as to what the youths were up to in their underground worlds of Rattleling and Can-Band but word on the street was that the technology as well as the hydraulics had amped considerably. Back in the day, a member of the Rattler’s or the Can- Band’er’s cru carried a fire extinguisher along to a dance off, to blow out an occasional flame or flare up that might have been caused in the event a dancer happened to produce a rather gaseous and ignitable fart doing his routine, be it planned or accidental. Any burns or afflictions incurred by the dancer back then was more or less superficial and even, sometimes touted about like a badge of honor by the daring performer.

But with all the rivalry now generated between the cru-s and with the escalation of hydraulics and technology, emergency rooms have reported more serious admissions. There is even a rumor going around that there is an underground video title’ Butts Gone Wild Fire’ circulating amongst more extremist elements in certain hardcore groups.

"What happened to just shaking your booty, ala naturale? Now you got all this funk in da trunk nonsense.” The Captain mumbled, just barely audible, as he reached for the Smell-O- Nozzle of the Dvd player. He wanted to get a good whiff of the trout that had just been hauled on board by the fishing party expedition featured the video.

"Maybe I should go and arrest him, for possession of illegal contraband?” Kodai said with an anticipatory smile. Even sitting Fire Officer Kodai stood taller than most men, his Russian accent enunciating each word with coldly precession. The Captain and Old Qfwfq had come to the conclusion that sitting on the wad of money, he always carried in his over-sized wallet added at least another two inches or so to his frame. He was second in command of the Mini substation, the Captain’s title being ceremonious, based on years in service rather than rank.

"No we can’t." Interjected Jameson. “I can see it now, invasion of privacy, profiling, my Spy-Cam confiscated and no way! am I going up the butt to manually pull it out. Let just keep an eye on him for now, Kodai run a frequency spotter, he got to have at least 2 cells on him, we can probably shut them down without him knowing. That aught to cut down on some of the discharge static; pull a equalizer ring field around him, that should keep him from picking up passerbyer’s static and that should keep him, and them, safe for now”.

Just then, Technoman 2nd Stat Tony Murphy slid on a dolly from under a utility rack, tools in hand, spooking both Jameson and Kodai. He had been under there for so long they forgotten he was there. Technoman 2nd Stat Tony Murphy was the youngest member of the group. He had earned the nickname ‘Two-shift’ because it appeared that he was always there, at work, at the mini-station. Legend has it that no one had ever seen him arrive to work and, for that matter, no one had ever seen him leave. It was even discussed amongst the other members of the team if maybe they should call him ‘Three-shift-Tony’.

"I heard once that some kid was ratteling , his dance-off, his pants, already half hanging off his butt, he decided to go for the Full Monty moon as a closing move, when a horde of woodpeckers flew directly at’ em. Went straight for the tushee, one of them possibly penetrating." Tony said enthusiastically, yet with all the seriousness and profession delivery of a News Reporter on assignment. The other members of the crew nodded but, more in sarcasm than agreement.

The Captain however took serious consideration to what had been said and muttered under his breath “Damn Woodpeckers ruined, My Water-King 350 Skip Jack".

Meanwhile, Jamison had rebuffed Two-shift for spending too! much on the internet’s ‘Die Space’ site. “You know that most of the stuff they report is never substantiated by any other credible news source" Jameson counseled.

“Look it was a Woodpecker that stopped the launch of shuttle mission and the Russians say one had stowed-away and they caught it on the Space Station. That’s ‘Revelations’ for you. They said it's…

Two-shift’s rebuttal was abruptly interrupted by the Captain, now irritated, due to the fond memories of his ruined craft the discussion had generated.

"So, are you guys going fishing with me next month or not?” The Captain barked, "I can’t hold reservations on that Rent a Boat forever you know".

“What's the weather gonna be like”? Quizzed Qfwfq "You know my bones reek with the rheumatism in all that cold…and wet weather".

"I might have to go to a real estate seminar that week-end." Confirmed Kodai, there’s a Shanty town, sitting on some valuable real estate down by the border, the government is going to bulldoze it soon and I want a piece that action just as soon as they do.”

"Not now, Captain" Rebuffed Jameson, "looks like our guy may be headed in the direction of Radio Hut and OK Buy, way too! much electromagnetic static down there, not to mention, the gadget goons going to shop in that area are probably top heavy with pocketops and cells. Not good, not good, Jameson reported, franticly trying to get density readout from the Static Sampler machine. “Prepare to Engage,” He announced.

Reluctant to completely surrender hold of the nozzle to the Smell-O-Vision, The Captain, using his free hand, adjusted the Fire-Stat Band to Condition: Preparatory Orange, thus allowing a noiseless drawer in the StaticGard cabinet to mechanically slide open revealing two briefcase size Electro-Trays.

“Qfwfq,” Summoned the Captain, “Do an equipment check-list count and go in the back and see if you can find or at least rig up some sort of a Proctorooter, in case we have to go in, better put on an Electro-Suit for precaution, report to Level C and be on stand-by.

"Damn E-suit”, Grunted Qfwfq, “That thing takes all day to put on and it’s hot as Hell". Qfwfq continued to complain as he hobbled back to the equipment room. “I just hope I don’t get a coughing spell once am sealed up in that suffocating thing”.

"Oh! Not now!” Shrieked Jameson. Just as luck would have it, while taking a quick survey scan of the entire C-Level. Who should he see but Old Man Nancy patronizing the Food-Pharma Court. He quickly switched over to the Spy -Cam. Jameson reported to the crew that she was sitting at a table chowing down on what looked liked Prozac Stew and washing it down with a creamy Thorazine Strawberry Shake.

“Soooo”, that why she is always so calm." Deduced Kodai.

Old Man Nancy was not some sort of Transvestite, Hermaphrodite, Trans-gender or Super Freak. Old Man Nancy was in fact not a man. Neither was Old Man Nancy old. The truth be told she was even younger than Two-shift Tony. Old Man Nancy was called that (never to her face, of course), for a couple or reasons. One, she was in charge of the whole South-West Quadrant which truly made her Da'Man. And in a case of sheer irony, Vice Commander Nancy Youngmei Wong was in fact so petite and so feminine that she was as far away as one could get from being a man without completely changing into another species. Many folks had doubts about such a seemingly gentle and feminine being even working at fire-station yet alone, being a Regional Commander. Even members within her own family thought it was all just a hoax. They concluded her she had been cleverly crafted by the Public Relations department and charged with the mission to increase female enrollment to the Fire Department.

“Damn, damn, damn". Exclaimed Jameson. “I hope she is just down there enjoying herself and not her for a surprise inspection".

“Well she is not wearing a uniform.”Kodai confirmed as he hunched over to view the display.

"In civilian clothes." Perked in”, Two-shift “Is she hot? Let me have a look at her"

Meanwhile Jameson had gone back to monitoring the Burner on the Interior Cam, or shall we say at this point, the potential Burner. In the second of time that it took Kodai to turn the Spy-cam monitor in the direction of Two-shift, she was gone from view and a disappointed Tony failed to get a look-see. "How does she do that"? Marveled Kodai.

“Hey who left the door open?" Barked Jameson, aware of changes in the quality of air. “We’re letting all the pura-Air out, you guys want to breath conventional or what? He went back to monitoring. “We are in luck guys, looks like our boy is actually headed towards the Food-Pharma Court, let’s see, he is looking around. Bingo! I think he’s going to have something to eat.

“That aught to by us some time to come up with a plan” concurred. Kodai.

From the back room the team could hear Qfwfq chatting. "Who the Hell is Old Qfwfq talking to” Puzzled the Captain”. I never-ever.. seen him as much talk on a cell phone.

"People are starting to crack, nowadays, the institutions are filling up at record numbers." Warned an easily sensationalized Two-shift, “Its all the waves of information and disinformation osmosising through the atmosphere, vexating and tribulation, interfering with and disrupting our own natural neurotransmitters, it’s a chaotic thing, I tell ya”.

“Qfwfq”! Who the Hell are you talking to?" The Captain blasted out, not wishing to descend any further into what he was sure to become another one of Two-shift’s dissertations on Chaos and the breakdown of the Human Species and, the second coming of the Mayans and, on and on and,… on.

“Old Man, I mean.. Ahw! Man, Commander Nancy is back here helping me rig up this damn E-suit” the disembodied voice of Qfwfq echoed from some place far in the back.

Moment later, clumsily out walked Old Qfwfq looking like a cross between the mummy and one of the astronauts from SpaceBoy, the popular anime character of the day. He was followed by Commander Wong now suddenly arrayed in a sleekly clad, crisp, midnight black uniform. The crew was dumbfounded. “Damn. That's why, at the other station houses, they call her The Ninja." Marveled the Captain, in an amazed whisper.

"Why is Fireman Qfwfq, the only one suiting up?" inquired Commander Nancy. “And exactly what is he suited up for? I don’t hear any sirens, see any lights a flashing” She puffed.

Whatever brand of anti-perspiration gel Station Watch Commander Jameson had put on that morning, now buckled like a Louisiana levee, under the penetrating stare of the Commander Wong. A multitude of little rivers of sweat broke free, instantly streaking his finely pressed Oxford shirt.

Kodai intervened by offering up the first explanation, citing that he was in the process of calibrating an Equalizer ring to be spun around a potential Electrocidal shopper. However, when the Commander ventured over to the monitor all she saw was Flat Rings, impotent, resting on the bottom of the visual display field. Now caught in the first spun fibers of an early web of deceit, Kodai advanced entanglement by attempted to explain why the Flat Rings were off-line and, how he was going to reconfigured the command codes and rectify the problem. At this juncture, out of Commander’s Wong’s view, without saying a word, by just pantomiming a few gestures, effectively using his hands and tools, to get the point across, Two-shift Tony was able to convey that trouble with the E-ring Emitter was the reason he had been under the utility rack in the first place. After the extraordinary performance of mime, Kodai's explanation trailed off to a whisper of high-tech jibber jabber.

While her attention was still focused on, the now barely audible, Kodai, The Captain had carefully managed to discreetly turn off the fishing video and now stood in front of a defuser circuit board. He was in the process of strapping on a Corinthian leather gun belt, with two customized, Mother of Pearl and silver handle, AED- difibber-guns as if, it had been his intention all along.

Jameson, now looked more like a man who had just ejected from a crowded subway car with a broken air conditioner on a hot August day, than he did as Station Watch Commander in a plush, state of the art, Pura-air cooled Techno-Control Room. Thinking fast, Jameson raced towards the Commander with an Operation and Procedure Book in hand. "Commander Wong" Jameson nervously approached," We got a situation here that is too! recent in scope, to be properly addressed in the manual. And I was being innovated, trying...trying to act in advance of…

Finally, Two-shift saved the day by blurting out “Commander Wong, do you know what a Burner is?”

The other mega- malls under Commander Wong’s jurisdiction were in such affluent areas and, with this rattleling craze being relatively a new phenomena confined to the hoods, barrios and inner-cities; she had no clue as to what a Burner was.

Although having saved the crew much embarrassment and possible demerits and demotions, Jameson, sensing that Two-shift may not be prone to exercising the greatest diplomacy in explaining the virtues of rattleling to a lady, even if she was a Area Commander, reasserted his charge and went on to give Commander Wong a more technical if not censored version, of the definition of a Burner. He then, very delicately, proceeded to explain how he had ascertained that presently a certain mall attending youth may in fact be a Burner.

“Is our boy ordering yet?" Changing gears, Jameson queried.

“Look like he’s is getting the number 12 at the Wimpy Burger. “ Acknowledged Kodai getting a closer, more detailed look on the Spy-Cam.

“Great!” Interjected Two-shift, that’s the Real American Burger Special, that aught to hold him for awhile, Two, quarter pound burgers, one beef, one pork, smothered in three cheeses of your choosing, toped with mayonnaise, guacamole, special sauce, additional three bacon strips on the beef burger, and your choice of complimentary toppings, a large order of sugar fried fries and a minibucket of a refreshing beverage. Man talk about good eating, I had a number 12 for breakfast this morning.

“Well then, what are we going to do, since according to Mr. Jameson, we don’t even supposed to know that he has all this hardware and software on himm, I mean in him, unless we had somehow already illegally scanned him thus invading his civil right to privacy, which, by the way,We Did.” Pronounced Commander Wong.

The Captain had seen and heard many things during his many years at the department and in service out in the field but this was the first time ever, he had ever to witness a single drop of sweat lift-off from a persons body and land to the floor with an audible’ plop!’ Jameson looked, at that moment, as if he would be in more in need the of the crew’s services than the suspected, alleged, profiled and potential Burner.

“Let’s just go grab the guy, diffuse the hardware and send him home limping”, voiced Kodai,” let the courts decide whether or not we violated his rights, in the process of possibly saving his life, or at least, his butt”

“Yavol herr kommandant”, mocked Old Qfwfq his voice muffled and at times muted from being held hostage under the canary yellow colored, hood mask with dimmer blue face shield. “We gots no rights as to what’s up that boy’s behind, If he’s fool enough to stuff it up there, then he’s fool enough to deal with the consequences but, I don’t think we can just go all up in there and trash it or, without a warrant, remove the boy’s equipment”.

“I would like to give a shoot out to the youth”, beamed in Two-Shift. “I mean like sooner
or later we’re all gonna be somehow skinjacked to this port here, getting our, whatever on. Then we be skinjacked to some port there just because it required by the law or because the
government says it's good for us. So the young folks are just upping the ante, staying ahead of
the game by becoming the source rather than be sourced or being forced to seek out the source.

“Wait a minute guys”, advised Jameson, whatever we do, let’s make sure we get this guy
into an isolated area. The last thing we need right now is someone…

“Spying on us?” Chirped Commander Nancy.

“How do you catch fish?” The Captain broke in, he had been silent and not engaged in the discussion up to this point. He touched the brim of his, non –issued, yachting captain’s cap with a two finger salute, indicating experience.

“By using good bait” Old Qfwfq spouted off, eager to be the first one in with a response.
The Captain wisely nodded and confirmed Qfwfq’s correct answer. Qfwfq, concealed behind the
opaque mask, unable to properly beam for the benefit of his fellow crew members, simply settled for ceremoniously adjusting his, no need to be adjusted E-suit, for effect.

“And what do we use for good bait?” Intoned Commander Wong, growing a bit unnerved by what she perceived were suggestive glances in her direction. The Captain took a pause and then advanced himself to the center of the group.” May I be so bold as to elaborate?” The Captain began. “No disrespect for gender or rank, Commander Wong, but since the beginning of time, for the male, the best lure of attraction has always been the charisma of a well attended to female”.

“So, you’re suggesting that I just waltz up to him and ask him to follow me to some secluded corner?” Commander Nancy asked, masking a certain degree of offense.

“No that would be crude and insulting to you, even if it did work.” The Captain assured.
“We’re talking something more refined here, something much more cultured. Don’t just assume a man is to be given in to the allures of a woman simply because she is woman?”

“Might work on him though.” Two-shift postulated in the foreground.

“Good once we get him cornered, I’ll tackle him to the ground.”Chimed Kodai.

“No, no, no.” The Captain continued, trying to get the focus back to his sermon.” What attracts a man to a woman is her sense of elegance, refinement, a mysteriously concealed sensuality…” The Captain…

“Sophistication, maturity and a nice do.” Old Qfwfq raced in, at 186.000 miles a second.

The Captain went on to explain how with the right amount or attitude and demeanor with just a hint of provocation, how she could get him to do whatever she wished without being crude, lewd or cheapish. “I suggest that you bestow upon this misdirected youth…”

“Well! Whatever she is going to bestow, she better start bestowing quick.” Interjected Two-shift bursting the melodramatic bubble.” Our boy has laid to rest the pork burger and has a firm hold on the beef. And by the way Captain, this ain’t da club.”

“Let’s get to then.” Asserted the Captain, no time to change into your civvies but could you sex up the uniform just a bit.” Reluctantly, Vice Commander, Nancy Youngmei Wong, compiled. It was decided that Commander Wong should attempt to persuade the B-boy to accompany her to Level G. Level G would have the least amount of vehicles parked on lot in the parking structure. The shops on Level G were mostly Book stores, Vintage Record shops, a Wild Bran Market and gym that catered to children. That level had very sparse foot traffic and the lot was always half deserted.

“The bun is OK by my standards but you might want to lose it for the youth.” Pitched in a faceless Qfwfq. Commander Wong sneered and set off about her mission.

Foreseeing that whatever action they decided to take may one day be added to the Fire Departments Operation and Procedures Manual, Fire Officer Jameson took the precaution of
hauling a tripod and digiCam up to Level G. He also had the presence of mind and ambition to change into another crispy pressed oxford shirt and tie for the occasion. The other crew members had brought and were in the process of assembling and laying out all the equipment and materials they thought they may possibly have to use. Along with the standard emergency medical and fire equipment, Fire Officer Kodai decided to bring a stun gun, truncheon and Tq4 professional police baton just in case, as he hoped, thing got out of hand. Qfwfq, now
having the outdoors to contend with, complained bitterly about the humidity factor he was now imagined himself to be experiencing inside the E-suit. Nevertheless he professionally went about laying out the equipment from the EletroTray in neat orderly columns. Now wishing to be outgunned by the Captain, he had also strapped on his own customized defibber gun, awkwardly, to the bulky E-suit. From outward appearance his guns looked liked standard issue but Qfwfq had fashioned a smiley face on their surface plates that would indelibly be stenciled on the chest of a deserving recipient. Technoman Murphy had gotten all his tools and gadgets set up fairly quickly and being a card carrying member of the ADD generation had already grown bored with the wait and was deeply engaged in video games and virtual simulations his PS2∞.

“Hey! Pondered Old Qfwfq, no friend to technology, himself. “Can you program into that thing, a virtual simulation as to how an Eletro-fire in the butt could come about and what the results would look like? Man oh! man, talk about your fire in the hole.” Old Qfwfq grimaced.

Two-shift Tony received the request with a great amount of consideration, then evaluation and followed by (due to the earlier ingested #12) flatulence-ation. Two-shift deem that it just might be possible and set straight forth to achieving such.

We’ll never know what charms Commander Nancy used to get the B-boy to walk her up to Level G but their effects delivered the goods. Not even the fact that she was in uniform, albeit a now sexed up uniform, could dissuade the youth from escorting her. He had even planned to treat her to a little demonstration of his musical man-humps. Sadly for him, these plans came to an abrupt end once he stepped out of the stairwell on Level G. Terror griped the lad as he saw rushing towards him, flashing badges, like two G-men from a badly produced Roaring 20’s serial; Fire Officer Jameson and Goliath-like Officer Kodai. Panicking, the youth made a run for it, his low swung trousers, impeding a quality chase. Taking a blind corner around a parking attendant’s shed, the youth collided, full force into Old Qfwfq, sending Qfwfq, much like his Diver Dan forbearer look- a - like, over the side of the guardrail and into the great abyss.

The youth, knocked out cold, had somehow triggered his play operational function to GO before his lights went out. A horrified Commander Wong, unsure as to what she could do in face of such a bizarre spectacle, looked on, frozen in her tracks.

Jameson and Kodai rushed to the aid of Fireman Qfwfq who was now suspended over seven stories by the utility belt being used to harness his diffiber guns. In the fall, the belt had become caught on a mooring post on the rail. Nevertheless, doom was still being debated by threads of government issued cloth which at that point were stretched to the breaking point; Old Qfwfq took the liberty to notify Elizabeth of his soon to be arrival into the hereafter. The fact that there was no one in Qfwfq’s life named Elizabeth was mote at that point and Qfwfq didn’t feel the need to challenge his rational mind over the issue. However Qfwfq rescue was only seconds away.

Two-shift took careful note how the sight of seeing Jameson and Kodai haul Fireman Qfwfq back from over the rail an unto the parking lot surface, looked remarkable similar to the segment had had seen earlier on the Captain’s fishing video of the fishing party hauling the caught trout on board the boat. He made an entry into his PS2∞.This bared further examination at a later time.

The Captain was the last to arrive on the scene; he had been in the portatoily, taking care of nature’s business unaware of the happenings going about outside. What he saw caused him to shout out in disgust and point a condemning finger. “That’s an abomination.” He watched the seemingly lifeless body of Francisco Javier Lopez, propelled by his technological enhanced hindquarters, rhythmically bounce up and down and to and fro, on the El Grande Shoppo Mall tarmac, to the tune of MC Hammer’s ‘Can’t Touch This,’ like a Mexican Jumping Bean two days away from its birthday.

Thank God for both the Captain’s and Commander’s Nancy sake, the tune was in its last chorus and no song had been cued up for next play. The song now played out and emotions abated, the crew set about their next course of action, all for except Qfwfq. He still lay on the tarmac, exactly where they had pulled over to and, taking full advantage of his reclined position,
decided to get himself a happy nap. He had just been through a traumatic event and thought the rest would do him good. And anyway, he wanted no parts of what he still believed to be an invasion of the youth’s civil liberties.

The youth exhibited a brief amount of dazed consciousness. Commander Nancy, gently by his side tried to offer reassuring words, just before slamming him up with full dose of Dormazine.
Jameson let go a resounding snap of the cuff of an examination glove he had just dawned. He carefully surveyed the array of surgical tools that lay before him. Jameson summarized that the collision of the youth with Qfwfq had actually been in their favor. They could report that they just wanted to question the youth on an unrelated matter. Some of their equipment was missing from the, impromptu, training demonstration they had decided to conduct. They would assert that they thought he may have been involved. They could further imply that in the aftermath of the pursuit and collision that the boy’s equipment started to dangerously malfunction thus directing the crew to investigate the conditions surrounding his behind. Seeing the imminent danger, we had no choice but to go in and remove the equipment, concluded the Station Watch Commander.

Kodai rived up the whirling proctorooter that Qfwfq had managed to rig up from various parts of other equipment. The dental drill whirl of the device caused Qfwfq to abandon his happy nap. Kodai proceeded to order the Captain to get the KY jell and prepare for entry. An empathic Commander Wong asked if the procedure would cause the youth much pain. Commander Nancy was unaware that she was absentmindedly rubbing his Francisco’s back with tender care as she look expectantly, back and forth one officer to another searching for some reassuring answer. She found none.

The Captain respectfully saluted then began to draw down the boys oversized boxers shorts. Commander Nancy, hand held to her mouth and turned away. Staff Officer Kodai revved up the proctorooter one more time, sending it through it various gears, like a Harley in heat.

“My God,” gasped Old Qfwfq from his sedentary post. He now felt a surge of guilt from having rigged up the apparatus.” Do we really have to go up the kid’s butt with that thing?”

“Its either that or possibly this” piped up Technoman 2nd Stat Murphy. Two-shift had just at that moment received the benefits of his labors. The information and various codes he had loaded into his PS2∞ finally posted. He could now run a simulation of an electric butt fire due to either malfunctioning components or shoddy workmanship. The crew temporarily abandoned their roles to view the rather life like graphics displayed on Tony’s PS2∞. Jameson complimented Two-shift on the quality of the program and suggested he upload it to the Digicam for further evidence on the hazardousness of the dangerous new fad.

“Hey! Yelled Qfwfq,” He was now quite comfortable speaking from a prone position. He had also concluded that the E-suit wasn’t really that bad so long as you didn’t have to walk or work in it. Its heavily padded insulation panels offered it nest like quality. It made, for Qfwfq, a rather nice sleeping bag. “Why don’t we just bring the boy out of nacreous, show him the program Commander Nancy take the boy off privately and personally explain to him the dangers of such lifestyle?”

And bring that thing over here so I can have a look. Also I am on break now; I’ll be out here awhile.

Many years later, as Tony Murphy leaned over port side of the Captain’s new and, paid for, RiverQueen Deluxe, Twin Board with the optional, anti-Woodpecker undercoat, He reminisced.

“Cap’n who would have thought it?

The Captain, already sensing where Tony was headed. Shook his head, to indicate, not him.

“Doctor Francisco Javier Lopez, Designer and President of a fortune 500 company, designing sound systems used to restore hearing capacities to the deaf and hearing impaired.”

“That freeloading Jameson and Kodai got rich just by buying up all that stock in his company.”

“And how about that Mrs. Lopez”

“I wonder if she still has her old uniform”

“You ever hear from Old Qfwfq?”

“No he kind of disappeared, years ago, last I heard he we headed somewhere up North, in the wilderness.”

“Not the hiking suit that doubles as a suspendable sleeping bag idea?”


“Cap’n, who in their right mind would want to hang from a tree in an over puffed suit?”

“At least he’ll have one customer.”

“Hey! remember the stupid jingle idea he had as sales promotion?”

“To the Bears 1.2.3. CAN’T TOUCH THIS!”
“To the Bears 1.2.3. CAN’T TOUCH THIS!”

“Hey I think I got a bite”



Anonymous said...

mah 2pence on yr rejected story corner:

1. need to know more about the story and its histry. feel like last few were dumped on us, but need to know where when an how they were rejected before in order too commint. i take it theece are not new stories but ones rejected by many?

2. also need some kind of followup in the commints if this corner is to be a worthwhile activitee. whut i mean is if we're here to lookit work that's bein mistreated or ignored, we shld be discussing the who what where when and the why. who has ignored it and why could that be. and most of all ware: i mean where a piece might be placed.

so finally,

3. any piece of writing can be published sum-where, ough yes. thre are thousands of zines and mags. the question then shld not be 'is it publishable' because the answer to that is always yes; the question shld be 'ware' i mean where? where? where?

we never get to no this. but that makes the corner a good time for awl.

Writer, Rejected said...

I post what I know, what I am given by the anonymous author. I often follow up with questions, but I don't always get answers.

Anonymous said...

This is an April Fool's joke, one collaborated on by two or three MFA grads. They had a great time doing it. It's a sick, ugly joke, but what else would you expect?
It also serves to say, Look at what utter crap these losers at LROD write. But the other three rejected stories you ran were legitimate and deserved serious consideration.
Don't take the putrid bait on this story, folks. It's for bottom-feeders.
(By the way, I think the first post is by one of the authors; why else would s/he intentionally write like an idiot?)

Anonymous said...

I thought MFA grads were too busy ruining literature and eating babies to perpetrate something like this.

Oh yeah, MFAs are the new illegal-immigrants.

The new Commies.

MFA grads stole your husband/wife.

MFA grads created Paris Hilton.

Anonymous said...

I had to stop reading this after the third paragraph. I hope that this was a joke, because if I received something like this on my desk I would reject it outright.

Before you submit anything to a journal, agent or publisher, please edit your work and if you are unable to do so, please seek help from a professional. There is not excuse for such terrible grammar. There are misplaced commas, words incorrectly used and TYPOS. The grammar is so bad, in fact, the story looks as if it wasn't written by an author who speaks english as a first language. So, to the author: if english is your second language, hire a copyeditor and read more text in english. If english is your first language, hire a copyeditor and gosh, I don't know what to say.

In regards to content, there is far too much technical babble and exposition. So much of it that it is impossible to get to the root of the story, and this is only after reading a few paragraphs. Also, where in the world does this take place? Are we on a boat or in a security room at the mall. Quite confusing.

I'm sorry, I'd read more and offer other comments but I just can't do it.

Writer, Rejected said...

Boy there's some hostility running wild on this blog. I hope it's a joke, too. But my policy is not to judge (or correct errors), just to post. This isn't a lit magazine, just a discussion about rejections.

I don't think it was a joke, but I've been wrong before.

Anonymous said...

April Fools? MFA? WTF?

Lobster Face said...

I laughed. That much I'll say.

Anonymous said...

FWIW: Interzone, Clarkesworld, Heliotrope. HTH.

Anonymous said...

I think you were duped, Rejected. Did you read the story before running it? Did you find it worthy of appearing on your blog? Or can ANY story appear at LROD, no matter how bad?
As for its being written by "two or three MFA grads," I discounted that -- at first. There is a logical train of thought that can lead you there. This blog is anti-establishment. The establishment is MFA-heavy. They don't like to be criticized. So...
Do people who post comments at LROD show an abysmal ignorance of grammar? Do you, Rejected, write at the level of this fish story? I think this is faux-illiteracy. And the content of the story is juvenile and offensive. It doesn't deserve serious consideration, and it isn't getting it.
This story has left a bad taste in my mouth. It's insulting to rejected writers who do good work -- and that's what it was meant to be: insulting. it will also, I suspect, mark the end of the your running stories. So, mission accomplished on both counts! And you were complicit.
Is there a way to trace this story to its source? Now there's a potential coup.

Writer, Rejected said...

Sad to say, but I've been fooled by bigger fools than this.

Anonymous said...

What was the purpose of this story experiment? To showcase REJECTED stories. In the anonymous author(s)'s letter no reference is made to the story being rejected. That's because it was written solely for LROD.
And how about the reference to Calvino? Who reads him but academics?
If the FBI traced the e-mail you got to its source, my hunch is that they'd find it was from a computer at a university. One with an MFA program.
Yes, you were fooled by fools.

Anonymous said...

thanks, detective. we'll all sleep easier now.

Anonymous said...

"thanks, detective. we'll all sleep easier now."

A bit nervous that W,R is going to do some sleuthing, are we?

Imagine for a moment, in some English department, offended by LROD, this experiment was hatched.

Imagine if the name of the perpetrator got out.

Anonymous said...

the point of my "detective" comment was that no one here gives a shit about your conspiracy theory. i guess my sarcasm doesn't translate. no wonder i can't get published. :)

Writer, Rejected said...

Anon Above: Your sarcasm is coming in loud and clear. I laughed out loud at your earlier comment. So, no troubles there. (p.s. It's the publishing world, not you.)

Anonymous said...

there you go, shifting responsibility again. blame it all on the publishing world. not on the fact that you're not giving them what they want.

Writer, Rejected said...'s my basic blogging premise here. Something you can count on recurring consistently at LROD. No surprises, right?

Anonymous said...

This isn't a sensible discourse; it's a Punch and Judy show.
None of the questions in the former comment (which begins with "I think you were duped, Rejected") were answered by you. I'd be interested to see your answers.
And if the logic in that post (and one that follows) is faulty, show where.
Of course, all is supposition (which can be labeled "conspiracy theory"). But supposition (or a theory) in the face of something questionable is a good thing and shouldn't be shunted aside. After all, it was you who ran the putrid story.
I suppose we'll never know who wrote it (the author knows, for one). Do you know, w.r?

Writer, Rejected said...

Okay, answers:
1) Anyone can post here: I do not put myself in a position to reject others willingly. So I'll put anything up that I think is offered sincerely or with some purpose, even if I don't agree with the purpose. So, yes, anyone can post pretty much anything on this blog.
2) Yes, I read the story.
3) No, I do not think this was a conspiracy, but what do I know?
4) In my opinions, most people who post here have very good grammar skills.
5) I myself, personally, do not write at the level of the fish story. I consider myself an accomplished writer, who cares about craft, style, punctuation, and grammar.
6) I do not aim to insult anyone of my readers, particularly other rejected writers, but there is a major opposing argument out there that says we are all just whiners and hacks. I'm not really in for censorship of ideas, even those I vehemently oppose.
7) There may be a way to trace the story to its source, but I believe in the anonymity of the people who comment here.

Anonymous said...

You "read the story." Wow! After the beginning, I skimmed and skipped. Judging from the comments, none of which give the story serious consideration, I wonder how many people did even that.
You believed it to be offered "sincerely and with some purpose." You did? Really?
"Most people who post here have very good grammar skills," yet this story lacks them -- conspicuously so.
You "do not write at the level of the fish story." Rather, you consider yourself to be an "acomplished writer, who cares about craft, style, punctuation and grammar." Yet you publish a story far below your standards.
"There is a major opposing argument out there that says that (rejected writers) are all just whiners and hacks."
In other words, we (you and I) write stuff like "Big Fishing."
You provided fodder to support their argument by publishing something that should be rejected by any respectable publication.
I think the story had a purpose, and that it achieved it.
I also think there was a shooter on the grassy knoll, but what do I know.
Thanks for the answers!

Writer, Rejected said...


What's with you?

I'm not a literary magazine. I'm not "publishing" the thing; if I were, I would have corrected the grammar and punctuation and made comments and spent time with the writer to get the story in better shape. That's not my purpose here.

And by the way, I do believe it when many editors and agents say that they often get materials from people wanting to be writers that are unbelievably unformed...and maybe just plain bad. I think that is a real experience of many editors/agents in the world.

This story came from a real person, who has a real name, and a real email address. I believe this person aims to be a writer (may even be published).
This person sent it in, I posted it. What's wrong with that? Does it detract from the argument that there are some of us on this blog who are writers of merit, deserving to be published? I don't think so. Even if it's somebody's idea of a joke. If it is, then I laugh at myself. But maybe "Big Fish" appeals to someone. Maybe when cleaned up, it's brilliant. I don't know.

Really, I got no beef with you. And I don't see why you have one with me, other than you didn't like me posting a so-called "bad" story because it somehow makes you look bad as a writer who can't get published. I think it just reflects some truth about some writers and some stories out there in the world.

I don't feel diminished by it. I have my own publications and my own record that reflects my journey. I assume you do too. So, why not be cool?

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows there are many "writers" out there who submit stuff that is beyond bad. But I thought your blog was concerned with people like you and me, who write well and still get rejected.
There has to be a recognition of what is marvellous, very good, good, OK, bad and atrocious. Without that, all is futile.
Anyway, I tried to make a point, and am now officially done with it.
What should get scrutiny is the stuff in Best American that's bad. Oh, the prose itself is immaculate, but the content -- characters and plot -- fall flat. That persistent lack should be exposed (I have a link, if you want it, where that is done).
I adamantly refuse to be cool. Not if it involves using the word "dude."

Writer, Rejected said...

Okay, friend: I get your point. I just feel that this is a blog for anyone who gets rejected. We can be lumped together as rejected writers, good and bad, and still make the point that many, many, many good writers are getting rejected due to bad business practices, or at least unfortunate ones. Thanks for coming around and sharing your opinion, which is very fruitful to all of us here. Sorry to have called you dude.....dude. Peace.

Anonymous said...

"Dude's" insistence on stratifying "Big Fish" as bad (as though that's what you do with stories: arrange them into piles of relative worth based on one's own subjective taste...though I'm sure "dude" would call it objective or at least informed and intelligent) kind of proves the point about rejection that this blog makes. Rejection is inevitable not just because of the numbers of submissions but because of the crazy "dudes" who receive and judge them. What we need is more democracy, not less.

And as per the whole Best American series, well, hell, should you like all those stories? And what makes you think that it's the stories fault--maybe it's yours for not being a more sophisticated reader. I think of the Simic poem: "The stone is a mirror which works poorly. Nothing in it but dimness. It's dimness or your dimness, who's to say?"

Anonymous said...

No, what's good and bad is not about subjective taste. THAT is the problem with literary journals and with publishing today. Nobody knows how to know! And no, more "democracy" will not make things better. It will make things worse. The writing world is very democratic now. Every journal is a committee. Writing is made by committee. It's all made to be inoffensive. Let's bring back some autocracy.

As for that Best American link, anon, let's see it.

Anonymous said...

I think your post speaks for itself.

1. You know better than everybody else.

2. You feel no compulsion about using massive generalizations: "the writing world"; "every journal"; "it's all made to be...."

No wonder you're in favor of an autocracy. Are you by any chance a white male? Not that I myself would generalize, of course. And not that I would write something offensive. :)

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm "dude."
People constantly make judgements on everything! A performance in a movie, someone's behavior, someone's nose, a brand of coffee.
You seem, anonymous-who-referred-to-me-as-dude, to be advocating a literary world without standards. Why make a judgement? Something could be bad, something could be good, who's to say? Of course, this is nonsense, when judgements are constantly being made by editors and agents.
I do consider myself "informed and intelligent" and to be a "sophisticated reader."
Do you consider yourself to have those qualities?
Do you make judgements on the quality of fiction?
Did you read "Big Fishing"?
(Did you write "Big Fishing"?)
As for the line from the Simic poem, did Simic consider it to be a good piece of writing? And when he's given an award, does he consider the judges to be sophisticated readers, informed and intelligent?
I offered the Best American link to w,r, but he wasn't, apparently, interested in pursuing that. Which is his choice. I'm not going to give it here, where no one will see it. Except a precious few.
The question the article asks is this: can a story can make it all the way to Best (all those positive judgements!) and be downright bad?
There are various forms of dimness. Sometimes I think dimwits are making decisions.

Anonymous said...

To me the mark of intelligence is the ability to see from different perspectives. Which I think is part of the point of the Simic poem, regardless whether or not he thinks it's good or bad.

In some ways, isn't a story's goodness or badness irrelevant? Good and bad are such blunt tools for the work of evaluating and understanding what a piece of fiction is saying, or what a piece of fiction means.

I read about half a sentence of "Big Fishing" and spit the hook out of my mouth. Not for me. Does that mean that it can't be for anyone?

I'm not arguing for a literary world without standards. Not at all. It's just that my standards would preclude the kind of black and white, good and bad, false dichotomies that ultimately stifle real creativity by propagating the myth that there is some objective standard by which to judge the literary arts. Which is also to say: I don't give a flip about what editors and agents want. The only person I have to convince of the worth of what I'm working on is myself, and I'm one damn tough critic of my own work.

If publishing success is the result of my work, so be it. I'm thrilled. But I refuse to write for "the man" and therefore refuse to give editors and agents the power of being standard bearers.

Anonymous said...

You spit out the hook. The bait tasted bad.
Whoops! Not bad; you didn't really give it enough time to understand what the bait was saying to you, what the bait meant. Some fish might like the bait; so who can say if it was bad?
When I read a feeling developes, takes definite shape. I am engaged or I want to spit out the hook.
I take another step: I try to understand what there is that makes a book succeed for me, or not succeed.
I respect you for refusing to give editors and agents power over your writing. Keep to your own standards!
So many "successes" write what their professors/peers in the seminar room will approve of, and they do this for many of their formative years. This can't be a good thing.
I was in a writers' discussion group, where we critiqued each other's work. It soon occurred to me that I didn't give a flip what these people thought (what the hell did they know?), so I quit. I can imagine the pressures in an MFA program, where young people are trying to make important contacts that will help their careers. Plus, their parents are paying big bucks in tuition.
I believe in passion, conviction: take a stand. If you think something is wonderful, rave about it! If something is terrible, castigate it. But always, always give reasons.
This attitude applies not only to writing but to world affairs.

Anonymous said...

Are you telling me there's never been a book you didn't like the taste of but could recognize as valuable?

Anonymous said...

If it's valuable I like the taste of it. It's like eating jalepenos or Brie. One burns and the other stinks, but they're good in their way.
In perusing this Rejected Stories section, I came across a comment about "Deus Ex Machina." The person "loved it." Loved??? The word doesn't fit. That was an unlovable story -- grim, with no attractive characters. But it succeeded, for what it set out to do.
Evan Connell's Diary of a Rapist was a novel worthy of respect (I wrote him a letter about it). But it sure wasn't pleasant being in that protagonist's mind.
There are books I refuse to read, such as Naked Lunch or Last Exit to Brooklyn. I gave them a look and knew they weren't for me.
But Lolita and Tropic of Cancer? -- yes!
I'm going on too long. Who cares what I think?

Anonymous said...

Evan Connell was pretty underrated, that's for sure.