Posts Tagged ‘story’

Essays by Carl Nelson

February 20, 2016

It's a Small World2

It’s a Small World

(when it’s Fascist)

 

Every story takes place in a country where the character must be sacrificed for the good of the whole and the author is the sole authority.  There is a “greater good” to be achieved.   “Kill your darlings”, is the much quoted classroom tutorial phrase which comes to mind.  In a story there is no Constitution, no Bill of Rights, no questions of debt or expense – because stories are about conflict.  That is, they take place on a war footing.  A great problem is afoot, great things are at risk, strong leadership is required, new thinking is required.  Quibblers need not apply.  Basically a story is a country with a ‘strong man’ ruler where the author owns all means of production.

Even in the Land of the Free we are not so hostile to this moral fascism of the “greater good”.  We honor our military veterans, our fallen, our departed leaders, our selfless citizens who sacrificed for their children, their town, their school, the fire department, the police and all those who are self-supporting, pay their taxes and honor the law.  And as humans everywhere, we think in narrative.

But in our published narratives we demand a little more and peer a little further.  We do an autopsy.  We lift that curtain on the ‘soul’, take the character to task for their choices, dig and scratch right down to bedrock where we assay a true nature and a truth, and decide whether or not they are useful to the greater purpose.  Should the character be obliterated from history or enshrined in the canon?

If you are of the progressive turn of mind and worship at the altar of progressive change, you might want to extend an uplifting book into realms as yet unwitnessed.  Life is indeed better in some stories.  Why shouldn’t this narrative be extended?  Why shouldn’t what reads well, play well?   Why shouldn’t we fight for justice as the hero does in our book?  Why shouldn’t we change the town to run more like it runs in the uplifting story?  Why shouldn’t we demand more of human character?!  And why shouldn’t we enact laws to help shape and sustain these efforts?  Especially, if a particular story has caused a terrific outpouring of popular sentiment?  Who would be so cynical as to not want a better world?

Indeed.  Who doesn’t love Disneyland, where our positive narratives have been infinitely extended.  The characters entertain.  The workers sing and smile.  They arrive and leave through tunnels and back hallways behind false walls and eat and shit somewhere else.   And you don’t have to pay them.  Just one flat fee and it’s all handled.  No one panhandles.  No one protests (except perhaps the long lines).

One afternoon, while at Orlando, we got caught in a stalled attraction.  We were jammed in this dark, echoing tunnel among numbers of other boaters, while children’s voices of diversity – from all over the world – chirruped loudly through overhead speakers, “It’s a Small World”.  Over and over.  A constant barrage of melodic uplift.

 

I felt as if I might lose my mind.

 

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Young Fiction

December 16, 2012

Editor’s Note:  Yeah, we chase the youth demographic, just like everybody else.

The author with his dog, Max.

The author with his dog, Max.

The Diamond Hunter

by Tin Tin Nelson

© Copyright 2012

 

I wake up the day before Christmas Eve and it is snowing. Everybody is going outside and having fun in snow. No one is home.   Mom, dad, my little brother and my little sister are went shopping for Christmas. Mom left two big waffle and a big sausage. It is pretty good. Mom is gonna be back about 3:30 because I have basketball practice today at 4:30-6:00.

Back from practice it is already 7:30. So I go to my room and lay on my bed. The next day I wake up and , “ It’s Christmas Eve”, I say to myself on the bed. That day is one of my favorite days because I get to go snowboarding with my best friend.  Then, after I come back it is already 8:30.

Mom says, “ Steve, go to bed! And no facebook, twitter, instagram. Okay?

Okay, “I say.

The next morning, I hear something that sounds like a puppy, and it sounds like something that comes from under my bed.  It is a dog.  I yell from upstairs, “Mom!! Whose dog is this?”

She says, “You didn’t fill out Christmas list.  So I had to get something. It’s yours!”

“Mom, I don’t want this.”

“You better get it. That’s what I got for you.” Mom says, “It’ll be alright sweetie.  Don’t worry.”

I’m like, “Okay. I’ll try.”

“What kind of dog is this?” I ask.

“Mom says, “I don’t know.”

“How the heck you don’t know what kind of dog is this?”

I try to be friendly with the dog because he is mine and I have to take care of him.  I name him Max.

The next morning I wake up at about 5:30.  Max is barking and makes me wake up.  He wants me to go walking with him. But I’m still pretty sleepy.  “I can’t go,” I say.  But I have to go because Max will get upset.

Two weeks later after winter break, I am walking to school and I leave Max outside.  Max tries to go after me.  School is about a five minute walk.  It is sunny and about 78 degrees.  It’s pretty weird that it is 78 degrees in winter.

Back from school, I find Max isn’t at home  I look around the house.  “There you are.”  He is in my parent’s bedroom.  The jewelry box is messed up.  But it seems like everything is fine in the house.  Mom is home.

“Hi honey.”  I run downstairs.  “How was school?” She asks.

“Pretty good.  Max tried to run after me.”

“Well.  Not good.”

“Yep.  Hey!  Can I take Max for a walk?”

“Yes.  You have done your homework.”

“Alright, thank you.”

I feed him a piece of baloney before I take him for a walk.  Dad just gets back, and it seems like he got a different car, that he told me he was going to get.  “What kind of car do you have?”

“A black and yellow Ford Mustang GT BOSS 302.  I like it better than Mom’s white Porsche.”

He got it from Pittsburg, the same town Wiz Khalifa is from!

About a month after Christmas the news is that three people are killed in town each day.  The police find out that it’s Aliens.  But one day, a lady isn’t killed, because she wears so much jewelry.  So I go back home every day after school and I go on my computer and research about it.  But it says Aliens are not real.  No one has ever seen an Alien before.

I research about it for 10 months and stop.  Also, I just find out my dog is a dachshund.  Because he has gotten very long!

Every day I go walk with Max.  It seems like he always wants to go under the bridge.  I don’t know why.  Maybe a dead animal’s body is there?  I don’t know why Max is upset about wanting to go there.  But I say, “No, you can’t go there.  It’s too dangerous, okay?  Alright we gotta go home now, okay?”

I go to school the next morning, and I feel ready to study.  Third period comes up and it’s Mr. Thompson’s class.  It’s science and I eat lunch afterwards every day.  But it seems like Mr. Thompson never goes to lunch.  It’s pretty weird that he is not eating his lunch.

One time I am at the grocery store and I see him getting tons of meat.  And I ask him, “What are you doing with all that meat?”

“To give to the zoo animals,” he says.

“That’s nice,” I say.

Back from school, Max is barking.  And I don’t know why.  And it is annoying me. I ask him, “Why?  What is the matter?”

Max says, “We  need to go under the bridge now, because the diamond is deposited under the bridge.  Before the aliens are all over town in 3 days.”

“You can talk,” I say.

“We need to get moving,” Max says.

“What should we do first?” I ask.

“Well, first go get a rope, knife, and dynamite.  We need to borrow your dad’s car.”

So I ask dad and he says, “Yes, but don’t go over 180.  Okay?”

“Okay,” we say.

The car can go about 220 mph anyway.  I get in the car with Max and we drive to the bridge.  In one minute I am already there!  Max tells me where to put the dynamite and where to attach it.  The dynamite explodes, leaving a very big hole!  Max and I look down the hole.  The hole is sloped at 45 degrees.  It is pretty shiny.  After that, Max is in first.  He asks me to follow.  I unroll the rope so I can use the rope to go faster.  “There is the diamond!” I exclaim.

Max is the only one who can read the instructions, which are in a different language.  “It says that you need to get gold.  That’s it!  And mix it up with the diamond.”

The next day is Saturday.  I wake up and get as much gold as fast as I can.  I have just enough gold to mix with the diamond.  And we’re ready.  “Which Alien are we to kill,” I ask Max.

“Mr. Thompson, because he is the boss of all the Aliens,” says Max.

“No way,” I say.

“Way,” Max insists.

“Let’s go,” Max says.

That night there are no more Aliens around.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress

August 29, 2012

Editor’s Note:  We are starting a new column here, Murders in Progress, by serialized murder writer, Eldon Cene

Gravel road with two pickups.

            A grisly murder had occurred just down the road from where Joe worked afternoons as cashier at the Mini Mart.  And then, just yesterday, the severed head had been found in a field just a quarter of a mile from the path Joe walked home alone after work in the late afternoon.  The rumor was that the head had been severed with a large hunting knife, at least that was what the coroner was rumored to have said.  So of course all of the hunters in the area were put on watch. 

            And since the head was that of a (formerly) comely woman, it was presumed the perpetrator was a man.  And when two different makes of tire treads but just one brand of beer can were found at the scene, (plus cigarette butts which had been used to burn out the  eyes – and then planted, ‘arranged’ actually, on the burns), everybody was looking for smokers who drove pickups, liked to hunt, and who drank beer.

            This narrowed it to just about everybody in the area who had testicles… and several who didn’t.

            Joe sighed and inhaled deeply, as he set off down the narrow gravel strip of road which was part of the route between the Mini Mart and his home.

Photo by Carl Nelson

The Midnight Mystery Theater

March 27, 2010
The Midnight Mystery Players
The Midnight Mystery Players

The Midnight Mystery Theater is over 20 years old and currently  happens once a month at the Odd Duck Theater.  It’s an old fashioned radio show with sound effects and audience participation and a thousand voices and wild plots.  Written and produced and emceed by John Ruoff, this show has showcased a lot of local talent.   For seven dollars (current price) it’s a bargain.

Photo by Carl Nelson


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