How do these short fiction pieces work?
A backer will give me three pieces of data: a noun, a time of day, and a color or texture. Then I’ll write a complete 1-3 page story inspired by those.
Here’s an example:
Noun – rifle
Time of day – 7 am
Color – violet
Texture* – satin-slick
* Yes, this example has a color and a texture. This piece was written as part of an event with the Ladies of the Write critique group.
Coyote Is a Terrible Roommate
The oil turned my rifle barrel satin-slick. It gleamed in all its “Hello, Kitty” glory. Purple and plastic-edged in the early Los Angeles sun.
Out our window, helicopters swarmed the Hollywood sign. The Federal government had cordoned off the entirety of Los Angeles—the county, not just the city—the night before. Those of us who’d been around for the riots (any LA riots) were prepared.
Well, mostly. I had my rifle and twenty boxes of pasta. But a few more gallons of water would have been nice. I’d have asked my roommate to get/make some, but the local gods are notorious for giving nothing but advice. Usually bad advice.
“D’you need anything?” asked Coyote, like he’d heard me thinking about him. He lounged on the “Hello, Kitty” cushions that peppered our sectional couch, flipping through the TV channels. He stopped on a bad SyFy movie.
“How about some clean water for the kitchen, just in case?” It didn’t hurt to ask.
He muted a commercial for an Indian casino in The Valley. “They’ve probably got some in the meth labs downstairs.”
We shared an apartment on the twelfth floor of a classic Miracle Mile building. The seventh floor was populated by meth professionals who also liked the amenities and location. Dishwashers in every apartment! How could they resist?
I chambered a round with an indelicate ch-click. In my best Governator accent, I spoke the famous words. “I’ll be back.”
The halls were empty. Even in a supposed national crisis, people needed to sleep in after a long night’s networking. My footsteps echoed in the stairwell like shotgun shells.
7C’s door opened, and I had six rifles shoved in my face. I knew I shouldn’t have listened to Coyote’s advice. He’d steered me wrong about those shoes last week too. Pink sequins were great on Kitty-chan pillows, but not so good on my feet.
“What do you want?”
“Water?” I hate when I make questions out of statements, but hey. California girl.
The lead man brandished his not-purple 22 caliber. “Get outta here.” With the door halfway closed, he added, “And bring us your ammunition.”
Uh, no? I saw no situation in which that was a good idea. And they didn’t know my address. I hoped.
Coyote appeared behind me. I don’t know if he walked or teleported, but half the weapons shifted from me to him with a sudden rustle.
Far less worried than I, he ambled into the apartment. The barrels followed him, but did not fire. Jammed? Curious owners?
Coyote ran a finger through a trough, and one of the rifles did click then.
“Hands off the merchandise.” This guy had learned English from ’80s action films, I supposed.
Coyote picked up a tub, a great plastic thing in bright orange. It would clash with my purple “Hello, Kitty” accessories, but you make sacrifices for domestic bliss when you have a roommate.
“Hey!” said the action-film idiot. And then his safety clicked off, and he squeezed the trigger.
Sulfur and lead. Brimstone and heat.
The men and women of 7C all fell to the ground, unconscious.
Coyote whistled an old tune as he sauntered out the door with that orange plastic monstrosity.
Since they were already unconscious and knew who I was, I hit up their laminate kitchen for a few gallons of purified water. And, hey!, a box of Power Bars. Score.
I shouldered my “Hello, Kitty” accessory, piled my arms to breast height, and started the ascent to floor twelve.
I had a date with the Hollywood sign.