What

My Creative Writing Experience

Nunna Noe

Due June 1st, 2016

Creative Writing

Katherine Penley

Table of Contents:


  1. Journal Entries
  2. Writer's Observations
  3. StorySLAM
  4. Poems
  5. Flash Fiction
  6. Short Story
  7. Screenplay
  8. Extra Piece
  9. Revision
  10. Course Reflection

Journal Entries

"Liking the Unlikable"

Ah, the smell of freshly turned dirt and grass. The way the silvery moonlight bounces off the stately headstone and onto my shovel, the only source of sound in an otherwise silent place, as it pounds the ground, and metal finally strikes wood. I especially love the way the earrings and the necklaces and the cuff links all jingle together in the sack, a little reminder that perhaps I won't have to starve this month, or maybe the cold will not be quite as biting. It's the little things that make life worth living. Not that this particular "thing" is all that little. I prod the especially corpulent corpse with my shovel. This sucker must be real fresh to have this much meat on his bones. Let me tell you, it's utterly fascinating, getting to see all the different states of rot and ruin and decay. First, the internal organs go, then the skin and hair, and eventually you just have bones, which will sink into the ground and remain there for years on end. But make no mistake, those'll breakdown too. It's not a matter of "if," it's a matter of "when," but lucky for me, gold and silver don't break down. It's not like these people'll need any of it. All they need is the dirt and the worms. I, on the other hand, could benefit from it and do. I even keep one or two trinkets for myself, for what is beauty if no one living is around to appreciate it?


"We Get Along Swimmingly"

He never saw it coming.

Just a flash of white, blinding light as sun hit scale, and, suddenly, a slimy, slippery thirty-pound carp was slamming into his picturesque face. It was kind of a glorious sight, the way that fish flew through the sky, like an eagle taking wing or something, free from its watery confines and me and my fishing buddy's wildly grasping hands. Like an eagle, I tell you.

I still felt pretty bad about the whole thing, so I went to visit him in the hospital (the guy, not the fish). He models in a number of advertisements for different things, usually for JCPennys sales events, but he might be out of work for a while, what with the forty-five-or-so stitches holding the right side of his face together. The left side looks fantastic though.

Despite the kibosh on his modeling career, he's taking it all pretty well. No anger or anything. Accidents happen, he said. He's completely welcoming when I come to visit him, and I think he genuinely enjoys my company. He'd probably make a good fishing buddy. I'm a bit worried though; that carp must've scrambled his brains a little, because all he does is make fish puns.


"Characters Meet"

There's no noise any more. No heat. Arnold uncurls himself on the floor and stands up to find himself in the apartment building's elevator. The rickety box shudders and creaks as it sways, as if pushed by a breeze, and the little lights on the panel by the door indicate it is steadily ascending.

What happened? Arnold thinks to himself. The building was coming down and I... How did I get here?

Another thought flashes in his mind and jolts him fully awake:

Where's Angie? Did she make it out okay?

He goes to frantically push the buttons on the panel, to make it go down, so he can check and see, make sure she's alright, before he remembers she wasn't there. She as gone before he came into the apartment. Hell, she was long gone before this day ever happened.

Is it still even the same day?

He sinks to the floor and buries his face in his knees. He's slowly losing his grasp on time and reality, on who he or Angie or anyone ever was, is, or will be. It could've been five minutes, an hour, centuries, or just a second for all Arnold knew, but eventually the elevator stops with a ding, opens with a hiss, and in steps an impeccably dressed man.


"Desert"

You know, the Arctic is a type of desert too. I've read somewhere that the Arctic Desert is the second-largest desert in the world, only behind the Antarctic Desert. It's classified as desert because there is little rainfall here, believe it or not. The frigid air is not able to hold much moisture, and it is rarely warm enough to lift or cool the air to make snow (it has to be at least just below freezing). The snow that does fall here doesn't melt. Imagine... being surrounded by water, lots and lots of fresh water... and not being able to drink a drop of it.

That little tidbit is all I really remember. That and the sensation of ripping my eyelids open to peer through the snow and ice shards that are being whipped into my face by the razor-sharp winds, to find an overturned sled a little ways off in the gloom.

Like my brain, my heart stops at the sight. I feel numb, except for a warm feeling trickling from the back of my head down to my neck. I reach behind me to touch it, and when I pull my hand back, it is stained crimson, a stark contrast to the pure white that surrounds me from all sides. The blood is frozen to my hands in a matter of seconds. The cold staunches the blood flowing from the back of my head as well, but it also feels like the wind is whistling right through me. I feel like no more than a speck of ice myself, about to be buried under yet more ice.


"Picture With Words"

My run-down converse sneakers idly scuff the gray gravel that runs up and down the length of the track. There's practically no traction on them, having been worn off months before. I can feel the gravel's heat through the thin canvas material of my shoes; it's like walking on a bed of white-hot coals. I inhale deeply the scent of baked iron, intermingled with the sweat of my palms and faint traces of oil. There's honeysuckle too-- twisting around the chain link fence that separates the decrepit rail yard from a stretch of woods. I shift my arm to wipe the perspiration from my brow and wince at the stinging pain that follows. I look down and see my arm has turned an angry shade if pink, like that of a cooked ham. I'm caught by surprise at the sight of it; I hadn't even realized I'd been burning. I hadn't noticed I'd been in pain for a while now, and it must've been for a while because it's a deep cotton-candy pink that stands out against my milky pale skin. It almost covers up my scars, my own miniature railroad tracks. They've mostly faded, but... it's still hard sometimes. I hear a whistle sounding and look off into the distance, where the tracks and trees waver in the heat. Moving aside, I head towards the hole in the fence I had entered through, tapping my arm the entire way.

Writer's Observations

2/2/16, 8:00 P.M>

SAKE Japanese Steak House

I told my mom the dumbest pick up line ever: "If you were any part of the finger, you'd be the CUTE-icle!" Yes, I thought of that myself. Yes, I'm ashamed.


2/28/16, 7:26 P.M.

Wal-Mart, Check out line

The lady at the check-out line proceeded to ring us up, and I noticed she had on these fake, brightly-colored nails under her plastic gloves. They were this pepto bismol pink and turquoise green on alternating fingers, and boy, were they sharp. Wickedly so. It's a wonder they didn't break through the gloves. She was a real nice lady, courteous and diligent in her job. It just stood out to me and made me think of an alliteration: "candy-coated claws." I'll have to use that one day.


3/18/16, 5:29 P.M.

Railroad tracks near the Mebane Lumber Building Supply Company

I cried because of a flag.


4/7/16, 10:33 P.M.

My house, Living room

"Burnt toffee" sounds somewhat poetic to me. So, I put it in a haiku:

Intoxicating

is the taste of burnt toffee.

Lingers in the mouth.


5/4/16, 4:20 P.M.

My living room, My house

I just got off the bus, and while I was on the bus, I came up with the best pun for this guy's name. I was to chicken to tell him it, but I swear, it was great. This guy, Terri, and his guy friends were joking in the usual fashion that guys do, with boisterous talk and assertions, and he was saying something about how his friends wanted to keep him contained or else he'd probably destroy the world (I'm paraphrasing obviously). And I thought to myself, "Yeah, that would be TERRI-ble!" I WAS proud of that pun, but I didn't get to tell him it unfortunately.

StorySLAM

That Time I Forsook My Friend for Freshly Made Funnel Cake


I’m an oblivious person. Not gonna lie. My head is always going off somewhere where it’s not supposed to be at the moment, or certain things that I should think about do not occur to me when they should. Most of the time, it hardly matters, just causes me to make harmless blunders, like running into doors or ignoring the teacher in class because I’m nose-deep in a book. But sometimes -- sometimes -- it causes me to make grave mistakes that not only affect me, but the people around me as well.

For example, that time my friends and I went to Woods of Terror, the nationally acclaimed haunted maze out near Greensboro. It was a cast party of sorts, since our theatre department was going to perform A Christmas Carol in November, and people had wanted to go for a while, especially our theatre teacher, Mr. Taylor, who had been before and said it was amazingly well-done and worth the money. It wasn’t an official field trip or anything; we just met up at McDonald’s and caravanned, and you were supposed to bring your own money for your ticket, which is why we went the cheapest night (just a day or two after Halloween). After dinner at McDonalds, my mom gave me and two other friends a ride over.

We arrived an hour later, and then we had to wait about two hours to actually get into the attraction. I didn’t really mind though. I was with friends, there was other stuff to do, and, I mean, I have no life. I’ve got nothing better to do, so what’s wrong with waiting? Another thing about me: I don’t get scared easily. The only really scary part for me was when we first came into the maze and that guy with the chainsaw comes a-runnin’ and I’m terrified because I wasn’t close to any of my friends, and it looks like a real chainsaw. It felt real there. Otherwise, I was fine, and I mostly derived my pleasure from the fear of those around me, including the one friend I had caravanned with. She got frightened really easily, and bless her heart, somebody popped out at her at one point on the trail and scared her so bad, she turned to run away and ran face-first into a piece of metal sticking out on the set. Face-first. With her nose. Of course it started bleeding real bad, and she couldn’t finish the maze. The medics brought her to the starting point to treat her, and we went on, ‘cause hey, we had to do it for her now!

Now, if you go to the Woods of Terror website, there’s this “history” that talks about how Woods of Terror came to be. As the legend goes, spirits who had died during the Great Depression were filled with anger and resentment, and consequently, they haunted the city of Greensboro until a local priest exorcised them and confined them to a plot of land twelve miles outside the city limits. He passed the plot of land down to his great great grandson, who also learned to control spirits and demons. Eventually though, taxes on the land got expensive, so he rented it out as a salvage yard, and the spirits rearranged the junk to suit their purposes. And that, dear children, is why Woods of Terror exists today, and I guess one of those strange spirits possessed me or something because I had the strongest urge to get funnel cake.

Funnel cake. It’s funny because I had only previously tried funnel cake earlier that month. I had gone to Carowinds with my mom and her school’s Key Club, and it was there that I finally got to try the deep-fried confection. It wasn’t the best cooked funnel cake --I mean, it’s Carowinds for crying out loud-- but it was topped with ice cream and rainbow sprinkles and crap, so it was a-okay. I suppose it made an impression on me, because I really wanted it now. Wanted it so much, in fact, that I completely forgot about my friend, who had just received serious medical attention, and who was no doubt tired and waiting for me back at the car. In my desire of deep-fried dough, I forgot, and therefore escaped, the obligations of a good friend. I made her wait for thirty minutes for freshly made funnel cake. Thirty minutes… for funnel cake. I was there to watch the entire process. The vendor, removing the dough from a package and putting it in the fryer. His cooking of it until it turned a nice, crispy golden-brown, and the light dusting of powdered sugar over it (not ice cream, but still fantastic). Excited is an understatement. I couldn’t wait to get back to the car and enjoy my treat. I might’ve also stopped to take a picture of the guy who walks around with the boa constrictor, but that’s beside the point.

It wasn’t until I got back to the car that I fully realized what I exactly had done. Literally everyone was waiting on me. And my poor friend… you could tell she was feeling like hell. I felt so bad. So bad. I did the only thing I could think to do, (and, God, it’s so pathetic), and that was to offer her some funnel cake. It goes without saying, she didn’t want any. But I kept pushing it. I offered her some at least three times that night, and every time, she said she didn’t want any. I guess I thought that if she accepted some funnel cake, it would validate my actions and I wouldn’t feel so bad. Sort of like, Hey! You see? This was for both me and you, not just me! When in actuality, it really was just for me because I was the one who had wanted that funnel cake.

Imagine this: you are in a car, and it is pitch black outside. It’s practically morning. The only sounds that fill the car are the heavy breathing of the person on your left, whose nose is nearly closed off, and your own wet chewing sounds. You feel awkward, but you don’t stop chewing because the funnel cake is too good for that. You just sheepishly offer the plate to the person to your left, and they just shake their head. You offer the plate to the person on the right. They also say no thanks. Everyone was pretty tired and just wanted to get home.

So, we drop off my two friends, and when we get the one friend home safely, we also tell her mother what had happened, and she was taken to the doctor the next morning. Luckily her nose wasn’t broken, but she had to have a giant bandage over it for a while. We’re still pretty good friends, and I think if I were to bring up that incident, she’d just laugh. I’m probably the only one that still feels really bad about that episode. I get the worst case of second-hand embarassment when I think about it, and I kind of want to hide in a hole for a thousand years. I guess you can say I aspire to pay more attention and be a better friend.
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Poems

"Flowers"

I love and hate getting flowers from you.

Their bright colors and lovely fragrances

can lighten any gloom I may possess

in that particular moment passing.


But then, in other occupied moments,

their splendor goes largely unnoticed, neglected

by the person who was happy at their

presentation, so flattered by your love.


Not much of one for romanticism,

my mind turns to the world at large and its

many tedious tasks, so demanding.

I've never been one to garden either.


The flowers droop with the weight of the world

and its many tedious tasks, browning

their bright colors and dulling their fragrance.

Crystal vase magnifies long, brittle stems.


I see the dry petals on the counter,

dirt brown, strewn across the pristine surface.

My lips are pulled thin in disappointment.

I should have done better this time around.


"Whilst I Walk"

On a sunny spring day, whilst I walk by the river, which was swollen with sweet spring rain from the innumerable thunderstorms that seemed to be occurring more frequently, as it was a particularly heavy wet year, what with El Nino flipping the Western seaboard on its head and all, I happen to see him standing there...


...See him standing there with his back to the bridge, the bridge that they erected a few years back for that blasted mayor, whose name I can never remember and don't really care to, with his shoulders hunched and his willowy figure engulfed by the enormity of his jacket and the sadness on his face, as if it were I who hurt him, me the aggressor, him the victim, and it burns, oh, how it burns, but I swallow back the rage and go up to him...


...Go up to him and give him my greetings, my insincere banter, while he gives me wounded looks that speak volumes, twitching eyebrows betraying his intent, and, suddenly, I know what he's going to say, and I don't want to hear it, not a bit, no sirree, and he's opening his mouth, and --SPLASH-- I'm in the river with the cool water embracing me, relieved that sound travels differently underwater.


"Hate"

Winged Hate falls from down below,

beating furiously,

farther into dark recesses.

Inky, endless night,

and the flitting thought

plunges into a plane

that is peculiar and strange,

yet all too familiar.


A brief moment of drifting

on the snapping breeze,

a moment of glory and exhilaration on the wind,

before it is grounded,

returning to the cold, barren earth.


Heavy objects weren’t meant to fly.


But Hate still heaves its cumbersome body,

hopping, dropping,

dropping, hopping.

It flops down,

exhausted and panting

short, gasping breaths.


It begins crawling,

limping,

doing whatever it can

to get away from the dark hole it came from,

where the abyss is calling, pulling.


It wants to see the light;

So it crawls and limps

and limps and crawls,

but the pull is strong,

and it has already lost a lot of energy in the mad flight.


--Shudder--


THWUMP!

It falls into the dirt

and begins sliding backwards, with its

claws frantically scrabbling for purchase.

Ah, but its own weight works against it,

and the descent is fast and smooth.


A sharp squeal,

and the echo is swallowed by darkness.


"Noise"

Laying in bed with eyes closed and

ears open, a soft blanket of

silence floats down all around and

she snuggles into its embrace.


Suddenly, silence is seized.

Pots and pans push and pound as they

rattle off their racks, wielded by

an oblivious obstacle to her precarious peace of mind.


Goshfrickin'darnitcan'tIjustforoneinstanthavealittlejustalittlepeaceandquietaroundthisgoshdarnhouseI'msotiredofthisfrickin'crapIoughttotearthosekidsanewone...


The T.V. turns in with a POP!

of electricity, and the

volume ratchets up, ear-splitting.

Perfect timing, it covers the

sound of the thunderous jet that is passing overhead right then.


She sits and trembles all over,

anger and exhaustion and

the sudden realization that

there is always noise, constant noise,

just at the edge, in the background.


The hum emitted by the fridge.

The tick-tock of her alarm clock.

The chatter of crickets outside,

their chirps and creaks and crics blending

with the sound of wood against wood,

scraping as small feet move about

and poor flakes into a small chipped

porcelain bowl. Five star dinner.


Even she is making noise now;

Her soft groans and whimpers escape

like steam out of a tea kettle,

and she swears she can hear her

own blood rushing through her own veins.


Maybe if she puts her ear to her chest, she'll hear the frickin' ocean.

She slams her hand hand on the bureau,

rooting around for the headphones.

She finds them and takes silence back.


"Love Knows No Bounds"

Love knows no bounds.

Love nose no bounds...

Can't see past one's own nose,

can't see the wood for the trees.

Go out and shake someone else's leaves,

but don't expect money

because that doesn't grow on trees.

But enough beating around the bush,

let's get to the heart of the matter.

A heavy purse makes for a light heart,

unless that heart is made of gold,

but fool's gold gets pretty old after a while,

and you better quit while the going is good.

Because when the going gets tough,

the tough get going,

and tough love is sometimes the only way,

and it's a labor of love,

and if we fell in love,

then we certainly would have our falling out,

because love sometimes causes us to do things out-of-bounds.

Flash Fiction

Breakfast


Pancakes. Bacon. Coffee.


An egg, sunny-side up, impaled by my fork.


Its sunshine drivel slips out onto the white plate, like those pristine cloths at church that we stained with our “sins,” just so Jesus could wash them away again. Good as new.


I used to love Denny’s.


Mom sits in the sagging booth across from me and picks at her limp fruit salad.


“How’s school been going?”

“Fine.”

“Any new guys you’re interested in?”

“Not really.”


A minute or two of half-hearted chewing.


“Sweetie, I’ve been meaning to tell you for awhile. You know how tense it’s been lately between me and your father.”


I spread the sunshine drivel across the plate. Sunshine, sunshine, everywhere.


“You know we both love you very much, and that isn’t going to change. It’s not your fault. These things happen when you grow up. I just meant for you to find out in a different way.”


I construct a pancake house. Really, waffles are the better building materials, but I’ll take what I can get.


“Anyway, she’s not a bad person. I’ve talked to her once or twice. She agrees with me that your father should be involved in your lives, and she’s not going to try to butt in. I thought that was very mature of her.”


The bacon pieces can be the family. That’s fun. I also move the pancake house to the other plate, so they can be in the sunshine.


“Will you quit playing with your damn food? You’re sixteen, for Christ’s sake!”


Oooh, it’s bad to take the Lord’s name in vain, Mom. But then again, so’s lying and infidelity.


I knock down the pancake house anyway. To make her happy. I guess I still want them to be happy. I know I want to be.




Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds


Blue jays are the worst. You don’t quite expect it since they look so pretty, but if a flock of them happens to find you, it’s over. You might as well kiss each individual part of your body good-bye because every part will be flying in different directions, painting the sky a nice cardinal-red.


I think it’s something about blue jays being a part of the crow family.


Corvids. Intelligent birds. Their brain-to-body ratio is only slightly lower than a human’s.


Vicious birds. Most of them eat meat.


Yeah, blue jays are bad. But it’s sadder when the swans attack.
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Short Story

The Ring


Arnold Benjamin Wallace III had just had the crappiest day. If staining his favorite tie with coffee that morning had not been a clear enough indicator that it was going to be a crappy day, perhaps the fires of anarchy raging around him right now was a better one. A fresh blood stain next to the old coffee one, his tie flapped in the breeze as he ran down the avenue and away from his flaming office building, dodging inert bodies and wrecked cars, breathing in the smoke, grit, and ash, and listening to their wild calls, as they made merry mayhem. It seems these “insurgents” were somewhat displeased by the world’s state of affairs. Something like that.

He hears the sound of breaking glass to his left, and flame blossoms from a car, the heat searing his face and singing his clothes. Is this what a steak feels like? He feels pretty well-done. For a moment, he is at the center of a supernova, and only flame fills his vision, the heat his thoughts.

He remembers another searing heat. Her hand caressing his cheek, the warmth of her lips melding with his, inbetween content little laughs and murmurs. Where the hell did that go? He didn’t know when it went away, or why even, but she certainly expected him to figure that out on his own. He’d ask, and she’d reply that she already told him, and if he couldn’t remember, then he should be able to work it out. That was about two weeks ago, he remembers distinctly, and she was leaning against the kitchen sink with her lips pursed tight, looking at him intensely and trying to communicate with her eyes. Well, subtle hints and implicit meanings were never his strong suit. If you asked his mother, she would tell you that he’s always been oblivious to the people and events around him. He’d stick to his own little world and the numbers that filled it, and anything else was like a hazy, gray, no-man’s land. But he didn’t see the point in bringing this up or starting a fight with her; he went over to her and kissed her goodbye before departing for his job in accounting, leaving the words: “I’ll try.” Two weeks, and he was still mulling it over.

He snaps back into the present and picks up his pace.

He was starting to think it was not one thing that was getting in the way of their happiness, but more like a number of things. You’d think for a guy as good at numbers as him, he’d be able to figure out the number of reasons fairly quickly, but they still eluded him, much like memories after a night of heavy drinking. Was it his job? Was she not happy with his prospective promotion? If he landed the job, sure, they’d have to move, but the benefits would be totally worth it. She could probably find a place to do her art thing, too, wherever they moved, that is. Or did he forget something? Anniversary? Birthday? One of her galas? He was pretty sure he’d been to most of those, despite the fact that he wasn’t too crazy about them. Hadn’t he been supportive? What, exactly, was wrong?

He makes it to his apartment building without further incident and quietly creeps in through the back, hesitant to alert anyone to his presence. Up the stairs, jimmies his key into the lock, and he’s in. The apartment is dead silent. The quiet is like a choking vine, creeping up his legs and torso and down into his throat. This is so wrong. He shakes it off and tentatively calls out, “Angie?”

No response.

He begins to worry. She should be here. She’s always here. Hell, it’s where her makeshift studio is. It’s like her chapel, her sanctuary. The one place to which she can escape and, as she puts it, “find release.” He runs from room to room, passing the vibrant watercolors and somber charcoal sketches hanging from makeshift lines made with rope attached to walls and whatever sturdy objects are available, passing the dozen or so glossy oil paintings she’s been working on or decided to keep, passing the multitudinous art supplies she wields on a regular basis, some of which he knows not their purpose or even their names. He calls louder and louder as he searches the shabby apartment. “Angie? Angela, where are you?” Only silence greets him. He is alone. She is nowhere to be found. He is falling into a deep, black hole, and he can’t see, he can’t breathe, he can’t-- a glinting from the kitchen table catches his eye.

He snaps out of his despair long enough to shuffle towards the kitchen table, the item winking at him from the mound of bills and rough outlines strewn across the surface. He pauses once he realizes what it is; a wave of cold dread washes over him, paralyzing. Trembling, his fingers reach out to grasp the object, and still trembling, raise it to his face. There he stands for a while. Stands and turns it over and over, watching how Angela’s engagement ring catches and plays with the last rays of the evening sun that dribble in through the window overhead.

The world is crashing down around him. It starts with a tiny tremor, and it grows and grows, swells until everything in the apartment is quivering in sync with the shuddering of the earth, and he himself is racked with spasms, sinking to the floor as noise crashes over him, a cacophony so raucous, it drowns out all thoughts and senses, except for the overarching feeling of loss. A lone wail pierces the din, and he doesn’t know where it’s coming from, it feels so far away, but it sounds familiar, kind of like his own voice, and then all noise fades into one big buzzing sound, and then even that eventually disappears. It’s hot too; it feels like he’s falling straight to Hell. Maybe he is. Tongues of fire devour the apartment, and in their frantic chewing, they send the charred remains of art and life flying all over the place, little burnt specks that dust over him like powdered sugar, but after a while, he doesn’t feel it. Doesn’t feel anything at all.


The sun has slipped lower in the sky, teetering on the horizon, and the city is bathed in an eerie red light. Tendrils of inky black smoke climb into the air from various locales, and they will continue to climb for days. An insurgent pushes his shades further up the bridge of his nose, to protect himself from the glare of the fire burning across the street. He nods to one of his associates, and they jog to the next building to start the rigging process. The insurgent takes one last cursory glance down the street, with its decrepit storefronts and garbage piled on the curbs, and heads for the first building they downed, now just pile of sticks and stones. He doesn’t do it for any specific reason; he just felt like it. He can now do a lot of things he feels like. He gazes out over their handiwork, and a glinting from the rubble catches his eyes. He picks his way over to it and finds tightly grasped in the fingers of a burnt corpse, a gold-plated diamond engagement ring.
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Screenplay

SCENE TWO- THE DEN OF IRRATIONAL NUMBERS


FADE IN


EXT. SLEAZY BAR- NIGHT


THIRTEEN and TWELVE stand outside a BAR. The SIGN over it reads, “The Den of Irrational Numbers” in a cursive font. It flickers weakly against the graph paper background of the building. In fact, everything on the street is made of graph paper. The buildings. The road. The sidewalk. Even the garbage cans and cars. A lot of it is covered in messy math scrawls, depicting half-done mathematical equations. It’s the rougher side of town.


OS. of THIRTEEN and TWELVE, staring at the BAR and the gaudy sign.


TWELVE

...You sure this is the right place?


THIRTEEN

I’m positive. This is where the leads point to.


TWELVE

...Well, alrighty then…


THIRTEEN and TWELVE enter the bar.


Cut to INT. of the BAR


MUSIC FADE IN


The inside of the BAR is drastically different from the outside. No graph paper. The place is a dump. Glass bottles and cups everywhere; bright colored lights pulse to a disorienting effect. Through the smoky haze, black silhouettes of numbers can be seen milling around and dancing to raucous swing music. They are irrational numbers. White numbers wrap around their bodies. Everything is complete chaos. Shouting and screaming can be heard, along with the sound of laughter, over the music. Fights sporadically occur and disperse. TWELVE watches in awe, while THIRTEEN looks on in disgust. He looks to the darkest part of the joint and sees PI’S outline sitting at a table. Thirteen starts towards PI. He’s found what he’s been looking for…


FOLLOW MOVEMENT


THIRTEEN

So, this where you’ve been hiding out, eh?


PI

Who’s hiding?


THIRTEEN

Apparently you. For a number so easily found in nature, you’re hard to track.


PI

Well, I admit I do get around, but that’s hardly hiding.


THIRTEEN

Oh, yeah?


PI

Yeah. I just like to keep people going in circles, ya know?


THIRTEEN

Very funny. Now there’s something we’d like to discuss with you.


THIRTEEN pulls up a CHAIR, turns it backwards, and sits.


THIRTEEN

We got a tip you know something pertaining to the murder that recently happened in the upper-part of the quad.


PI

(snickers)

Hmmmm, you mean with ol’ “Serendipitous Seven?” I know something like this was bound to happen.


THIRTEEN

How so?


PI

Well, things were just going too well for the guy, right? Eventually your luck will run out, and the more luck you have, the harder the fall. And he had a lot of luck.


THIRTEEN

Don’t talk to me about luck.


PI

Oh, yeah, you’re Thirteen, right? I guess you’re an exception to the rule. Haven’t solved a case in years. Gotten close, but there always seems to be something in the way. You start to wonder if it’s really luck or just bumbling incompetence.


(Off of Thirteen’s clenched jaw and iron stare)


I’m real sorry to hear about your wife, by the way. Twenty-Two? Nice gal. It’s a shame what happened to her. Didn’t it happen in your line of duty? Truly an unlucky turn of events…


CUT to THIRTEEN


THIRTEEN jumps forward from the chair and bangs his hands on the table, while TWELVE tries to frantically restrain him.


THIRTEEN

(Infuriated)

YOU’VE CROSSED THE LINE!!!


CUT to PI


PI

(Calmly)

No, you’ve crossed the line.


PI points towards the floor.


FOLLOW MOVEMENT of THIRTEEN’s gaze to the floor, where there is a literal line painted on the floor, labeled “asymptote.”


THIRTEEN

Oh.


THIRTEEN steps back over the line.


FOLLOW MOVEMENT


TWELVE

Now, come on guys, let’s be rational.


(Off of PI’S pointed look)


Uh, sorry. But, surely there must be something you know. Can’t you tell us what it is? There’s a maniac running free, and who knows what he could do next? Innocent people are liable to get hurt.


PI

(Irked)

Look, pal. I don’t care about those other people. I’m just looking out for number one.


OC. NUMBER ONE


ONE

(Yelling)

Thanks, pal!


PI

(Yelling back)

Your welcome, buddy!

(To TWELVE and THIRTEEN)

Besides him, I prioritize my own safety.


THIRTEEN

You saying you’re in an unsafe position?


PI

(Suddenly very serious)

You don’t know what you’re dealing with. It’s not like anything you’ve seen before. You don’t know this guy-


THIRTEEN

-So, you know who it is then?


PI

Not personally.

(Far off, brooding)

But I’ve heard stories. Terrible stories… numbers say or do something that displeases him, and they end up undefined. He knows anything there is to know...

(Suddenly terrified)

He probably knows I’m talking to you right now! I gotta get out of here before-


PI goes to leave, but THIRTEEN stops him.


THIRTEEN

At least give us a clue who he is or where he is!


PI

(Hesitant)

...Follow the tracks of the beast. That’s all I can say.


PI hightails it to a back door and slips out the bar. TWELVE and THIRTEEN look after him. They exit the BAR.


FADE OUT MUSIC


Cut to EXT. of the BAR


TWELVE

...Follow the beast?


THIRTEEN

(Pensive)

The Beast… where have I heard that before?


TWELVE

I’ve never heard of him. Must be new.


CUT to THIRTEEN


THIRTEEN

No… that’s not it

(Snapping back to the present)

Anyway, we’ve got a lead. “Follow the tracks of the beast.” He probably means from the scene of the crime. Twelve, I need you to head back to headquarters and dig up some information on past cases of undefined numbers. I’ll head to the old abacus store and investigate there. We’ll divide and conquer.


CUT to TWELVE


TWELVE

Right.


TWELVE starts heading back to headquarters, but stops and looks back at THIRTEEN.


TWELVE

Be careful!


CUT to THIRTEEN


THIRTEEN looks at TWELVE in surprise. He then smiles ruefully and chuckles.


THIRTEEN

Yeah, yeah.


THIRTEEN leaves TWELVE and heads in the opposite direction. TWELVE stares for a little while afterwards and then turns and leaves.


FADE OUT


END OF SCENE TWO


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Extra Piece

"Short End of the Stick (A Shrek Short)"



Lord Farquaad reclines on his leather pillows and sips his champagne cosmopolitan after giving it a few dignified swirls. His fur lined comforter is draped casually across his legs, one hairy foot sticking out, and he twists beneath the comforter as he searches for something good on the mirror. Drats. Nothing’s on. This displeases him. He wants to watch something, take his mind off of things. The last thing he want to be is stuck with his own thoughts. He melodramatically sighs and downs the rest of his cosmopolitan in one gulp. He rings a little silver bell that rests on a dainty silver tray by his bedside and calls:

“Jeeves! Another one with champagne!”

Within three minutes, Jeeves appears at the door with Farquaad’s drink. Jeeves wears the usual butler uniform, save for the short sleeves of his jacket and his baggy, low-waisted trousers. Lord Farquaad prefers that all of his staff take extra measures to look shorter, and poor Jeeves has to go to extremes when creating optical illusions for his especially tall stature. He allows himself a moment to sign internally before saying, “Your drink, sire.”

“Thank you, Jeeves,” Lord Farquaad says, uncharacteristically tender. It looks like he has something on his mind. Lord Farquaad gets lonely quite easily, and he tends to open up at night when he has unwound with a few drinks. He is silent for a minute or two as he nurses the cosmopolitan. “Jeeves, have I ever told you about my childhood?” he eventually asks. Jeeves’ stone-faced reply: “Yes. You might’ve mentioned it once or twice.”

Lord Farquaad looks crestfallen. “Oh. Well, yes, I see.” He dejectedly twiddles his thumbs. Jeeves internally sighs once more and resigns himself to his fate. “But, please. Continue, sire,” he intones, detachedly.

“Well, as you know,” Lord Farquaad begins, “my father was a giant. Seven-foot-five, give or take. I guess I feel like I never measured up to his expectations. Literally and figuratively. I always tried my best, and yet I always fell short… I mean, things never quite worked out. And then those kids. God, they were horrible! They always called me ‘Lord Fart-Wad.’ Not the most clever line, I know, but it was quite popular in the sixth grade, what with children’s more tawdry sense of humor. They would chant it in the middle of potions. That’s probably why I hate magical creatures. They think they’re so superior! Right?”

By this time, Jeeves has sunk into a nearby armchair, dozing. He is alert enough to pull himself up into an upright position and mumble a “Right, sire.”

Lord Farquaad does not look at Jeeves. He continues to stare off into the distance, not really seeing anything. “You know Jeeves, I think you’re the only one to truly understand me. Promise you’ll keep my little secret?”

Jeeves is full blown asleep now. “Mmhmmm.”

A single tear leaks from Lord Farquaad’s eye. He whispers, “Thank you, Jeeves.”


Jeeves returns to his cottage on the West end of the village at approximately 2 A.M. He drags his weary feet through the front door and finds his wife knitting by the fire.

“What took you so long?” she asks.

“Oh. I had to listen to Lord Fart-Wad’s stories again.”
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Revision

I’m not particularly happy with my poem “Noise.” Some parts are fine, other parts I want to change. I think what I’d like to do is to change the mother’s internal thoughts to sound more mature. What I have right now is just a confusing jumble of words that don’t really fit into the poem at all, and they don’t create the mood I’m going for here. I would like the poem to come across as more serious, but the mother’s inner monologue sways it into a more immature, silly direction. Specifically, what I’ll do is delete the one line in the last verse of the poem, which is “Maybe if she puts her ear to her chest, she’ll hear the frickin’ ocean.” I could possibly move it to the end of the previous verse and remove the “frickin’.” That would sound better and still have the interesting mental picture. I’m still debating. And then the third verse… that long string of continuous words… I’m going to have to clean that up because that is a mess. I think I can delete it all and just put a more ambiguous line like: Really? Not even for a little while? That sounds more like an adult woman and an exasperated mother. It gives more background too, I feel like. Other than that, there’s not a lot I’d do with the poem. Everything else sounds alright and follows a rhythmic pattern, so I don’t want to mess with that. It sort of reminds me of The Salad.

Course Reflection

1. What did you find most useful about this course?

It gave me confidence. Sure, some things don't come out the way I intended, but they're still not that bad. Before this course I would have ideas but never act on them because I thought it would be too hard and I couldn't do it. Now, I know I can write those ideas if I wanted to, and because of this course, I got the chance to write one of them (albeit how weird it was). I now know how to go back and revise my material and make it better. All in all, this course has made me a better writer, and, hopefully, a more creative individual.

2. If you could add one more thing to this course, what would it be?

I would perhaps add a section where we could compare scripts for movies and scripts for theatrical plays. This could just be a small section, maybe a day or two.

3. What did you learn about yourself as a writer this semester?

I'm a slow writer. There's some people that can bang out three pages in fifteen minutes, whereas I need fifteen minutes to write a paragraph. I just have to think a lot. I also tend to work in ambiguity. In what I write, I usually leave a lot for the reader to interpret because that is what I admire in reading others' work. I feel like that leads to more creativity.

4. What was your favorite reading of the semester? Why?

My favorite reading of the semester was It's a Good Life by Jerome Bixby. I think I like it because it leans to my predilection for the weird. It was really well written, giving just enough for readers to come to their own conclusions and piece together the puzzle pieces. Plus, it never says what happens to the characters after, so the audience has to think, which could lead to someone coming up with their own story. It's an intelligent mixture of science fiction and horror that I can get behind.

5. What plans do you have for your writing career?

I don't really have any plans for my writing career at the moment, but that could always change. In addition, you can always write, no matter what your profession is.

6. Where do you find your inspiration to write?

I like writing based on certain feelings and moods. I also like to write based on ideas I'v seen in other people's works. I don't want to plagiarize or anything; I just want to see what would happen if their story/idea went in another direction. You see this a lot in Sci-Fi apocalyptic writing because everybody thinks the world will end in a different way.

7. What prompts/ideas do you have that you'd still like to write? Project ideas?

I have an idea for a project/short story. It might be silly though. I'm thinking of writing a story about a smart, preppy, upper-middle class girl who becomes the kingpin of her school's drug operation. It could be called Angel Dust, and the main character is ruthless, analytical, and out for all she can get. She would never touch the stuff herself, but she'll willingly sell it to others. No one would suspect her.