Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Show


P   R   E   V   I   O   U   S   L   Y      I    N 
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A purple bus.

Purple!

As she watched, the bus lowered its suspension in an odd mechanical curtsy, and the war veteran in the wheelchair wheeled himself on board. His companion – nowhere to be seen – was presumably already inside. Steph’s phone buzzed in her pocket, and she glanced down to see Milo’s name emblazoned in blue letters on the display. Whatever Milo had to tell her, it could wait.
__________

    The interior of the bus was as surreal as it was spacious. Everything was yellow, a violent, stomach-churning shade of egg-yoke, that made Steph feel more than a little sick. And this was no London double decker. This transportation bore more resemblance to the kind American school children ride. So much so that Steph couldn't understand why she hadn't noted such an obvious detail before. There were two lines of seats, stretching the length of the interior, and perched on these seats, chattering contentedly, were some of the strangest people Steph had ever seen.

    Two female clowns were the first to catch Steph's eye; their lurid make-up smeared across their faces like all her childhood nightmares made flesh. Next to them sat a pair of twenty something girls, both white, both wearing turbans with matching purple capes. Located on the seats behind sat a rather rakish looking Goth. By his side lounged a middle aged woman in earth tone silks with sixties era flower patterns across her mini skirt.

Up front, stood a tall, curvaceous girl with dark skin and almond eyes, her body squeezed into a tight, pink body suit. She was holding hands with a bald man, about fifty, though perhaps older. His biker leathers screamed ‘mid-life crisis’. Over by a window, she saw a man in a giant furry panda costume locked in a heated debate with a short man with wiry Einstein-like hair. This cornucopia of surreal eye-candy had Steph checking the corners of her mouth for drool.

Once she reached the back of the bus, Steph sank into an empty seat and inspected the headrest in front of her. It had a number embroidered on to it, accompanied with a phrase. It could be you. She glanced up at the seat next to her, and the seats in front. All carried their own number, along with the same strange prophecy.

“Greetings.”

A croaking Scottish gentleman had shifted in the seat in front of Steph, turning round to stare into her soul with his emerald green, unblinking eyes. His elongated face was painted a deep red. He licked lips the colour of fire. He tipped his hat to her, and she noticed that his hands were also painted the same hue: the stunning tint of raw meat.
 
The red man’s hat and matching suit were grey, but a single red rose clung to the lapel of his jacket. He reminded Steph of a mobster from a black and white movie, apart from his eyes. Those eyes were more canine than human.

“You’ve never been here before.” It was a statement of fact, rather than a question, delivered in a lilting Scottish burr.

“Yes, it’s my first time. Erm, what part do you play?” asked Steph.

“A varying aspect of myself; often and into the deadliest of troubles.” He stared at her for a second, before throwing his head back and laughing raucously. His red goatee flapped manically against the burning rouge of his chin. Before Steph could reply, he stood up, tipped his hat politely, and strode to the head of the bus. The engine sprang into life.

Steph resolved to beware of the spontaneity of actors, especially ones involved in mobile interactive theatre. At least she knew where she stood now.

“Here we go!” shouted a clown girl, as the bus pulled away from the curb and out onto the road. Steph had to smile – she’d never been on an adventure before.

“Show or no show, I’m not for traveling anywhere near that boy.” 

An incredibly short man with a slicked comb over had shuffled out of his seat. He hobbled a short way down the aisle. His wife (who was even smaller than he was) followed him quite breathlessly.

“Why move, Richard?” The tiny woman asked, stopping behind him as he inspected the seats around Steph.

“They’ll do the switch soon any how.”

“Excuse me,” Steph asked. “Do you know where this bus is going?”

The man turned to investigate Steph, leaning over his much smaller companion. Steph smiled, nervously.

“You’re one o’ them, aren’t you?”

“For goodness sakes, Richard! Leave the poor lass alone! Don’t mind him dear, he’s paranoid. My name’s Sue.” The tiny woman offered a gloved hand for Steph to shake. “Is it your first time on the Blunderbus?"

“Yes. Erm, where do I pay?”

“Well, my my. You are new, aren’t you dear?” Richard answered.

“Yes.” Steph’s smile flickered.

“Well, if you’re sure you really are new? We’re not allowed talk about the show, are we Sue?”

Sue grinned, nodding at the roof and clapping enthusiastically.

“You’ll love it. It’s such a nice surprise!”

For all Steph knew, this magical mystery tour could be heading to France! Or worse, Croydon! She tried asking Sue again.

“Sorry dear, no can do. You wouldn’t want me to spoil it anyway.”

The girls with the purple turbans were similarly unhelpful.

“I wouldn’t want to mess with the director. Didn’t you get the rules in your application form?”

“I just got on board at the bus stop.”

“Woah! A freeloader?” The blonde one whispered conspiratorially. “I’d keep quiet about that, if I were you. Blunderbus don’t take kindly to that y’know.”

“Couldn’t you just tell me –“

A voice, a bellow of a monotone, boomed through the bus:

“Swiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch!”

The two girls looked at each other and giggled. Then, they both closed their eyes, pretending to be asleep while the other passengers jumped up and swapped seats. An American swilling a can of Budweiser beer shoved a man dressed as a troll out of his seat. That troll in turn ran to exchange places with a short bespectacled man with frizzy white hair,

    'Come on,' shouted the green faced troll, 'get on with it limey. It's switch time!'

    'Do you mind?' replied the small man, his Einstein-like hair shaking this way and that, 'I'm having a very important discussion with an endangered species!' he pointed to the passenger next to him. A person in a panda suit, the fur ripped, torn. The man with the Einstein hair went flying out of his seat care of the troll's pulling. The person in the Panda suit leaped up, rushing to the front of the bus. Steph watched the madness with a smile on her face.



In truth, Steph was actually enjoying the ride.

Thanks to Spiderfingers, the months of writers block seemed like a long distant nightmare. Steph had taken note of all the characters, filing away their appearances, the sights, sounds and even the smells, in her memory banks for use in later stories.

Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Steph yawned. Her seat was so comfortable and the interior of the bus was so warm. Despite the noise, she felt her eyelids getting heavy. She shook herself. She had to keep an eye on the old lady and the disabled gentleman. They were deep in conversation, the younger man gesticulating wildly, his expression fierce and forthright. Of course, the wheelchair man and his companion weren’t characters from ‘Invisible’. That was clear to Steph now. She’d simply been following two innocent people, on the strength of a hunch and a coincidence. She sighed. She would get off at the next stop. But that might not be for ages, she thought. I’ll just close my eyes – just for a minute. The babble of conversation faded to a gentle crashing, like distant waves. And, like anyone who has ever dreamt – Steph didn’t question the sudden change of scenario. She sat on a vibrant red sofa. It was dark, but through the window Steph could see large red fish gliding up against the glass, floating around in a huge body of water that lay beyond the pane. The room was dry, yet lay submerged somewhere; a nether-place, dark and deep. The blood beneath her feet did not frighten her, and though Steph saw the bodies, ripped and mangled among the broken furniture, she did not flinch. She was certain that the name “Vicky’, carved into the flesh of a small amputated arm, was some kind of message.



“Fancy a story?”

The shock of the voice, so close at hand, jolted Steph out of her dreaming. The red man sat in the seat next to her, his wolf eyes piercing into her face with their hungry glare.

“Inspirational? Scary? Shambolic?” The red man played with the red rose attached to his jacket. Steph stammered, still stuck in her confused post-sleeping state.

“Erm, I’m not sure. Surprise me.”

“Oh dear!” The red man shouted, and the bus fell silent. All eyes turned towards Steph.

“How about my fish story? Scream if you want it!”

The passengers screamed, and Steph joined in.

“FISH! FISH! FISH!”

“Ok,” the red man sat, cross-legged at the back of the bus. “Here we go…”

Idly, Steph wondered who was driving…

You Are A Fish

Beneath sea level and one hundred and forty miles North West of Brittany, a school of fish are terrified for the millionth time by the large monster with the square eyes.

Fish are fish. Don’t scoff at their eternal bafflement, struggling as they do with ten-second memories. They do their utmost to comprehend what most humans cannot – that the unblinking colossus belongs on land. Its dark eyes normally shut to keep prying peepers out rather than stop deep blue seawater from flooding in. This giant being squats static; a patient behemoth with a physiology as alien to you as it is gargantuan to its captivated gill crested audience. Be one of the swimming populace for a short while, bump your head against the brickwork, slide against the glass and peer inside.

Watch the man-god waiting within those walls. He’s being digested, slowly. You’re watching through the optics that never shut. You are a fish. You cannot understand this and soon you will forget everything save your need to survive. Very very soon, the monster will not have existed for you, and were you another creature – a human for example – you’d question how the devil you got here. But you were offered a fish eye view, so be off! Go! Eat! Shit! Procreate! Survive!

“SURVIVE! SURVIVE! SURVIVE!” chanted the other passengers, with Steph chanting along with them.

Wherever they were going, the destination didn’t seem to matter.

The show was in the journey, and the similarities between her own writing and the red man’s story didn’t faze Steph. Spiderfingers was a truly mainstream phenomenon, and she felt pleased that an amateur theatre troupe like this could take inspiration from it. Steph's occasional biopic fantasy starring Keira Knightley had never felt more possible.

Emboldened, she rose to her feet and cleared her throat, confident that the assembled crowd would recognise her name and adore her works.

“My name is Stephanie P Tent and I have a story. If you like it, you can read more at my website. I'm sure you all know it, right? O.K, so the working title is…”

“Swiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch!”


And once again the passengers scrabbled in their haste to change seats. The turban girls fell over themselves to reach into the aisle, grappling at headrests.

“Geronimo!”

Steph noted a nineteenth century strongman. His muscles were rippling tight under sky blue tunics and the size of his red boots were intimidating to say the least. Steph observed how the strongman hauled the passenger in the panda suit over his shoulder, lowering him carefully in the middle of the bus.

The Jehovah’s Witness came to sit beside Steph. Her large red-rimmed glasses reminded Steph of the back specialist from ‘Bradley the Boy Wonder’.

“First timer?” The old woman asked.

“Pleased to meet you, my name’s Jane. Sometimes.” 

She paused, then pointed up to the speakers in the ceiling. A male voice boomed out:

"A lot of our smaller citizens, toddlers still in nappies, they don’t know what fear is."

The invisible announcer was doing a Spiderfingers impression, and a bad one at that. Even so, Steph felt a surge of pride, knowing that she had made an impact on such a diverse group of people.

She rummaged in her pockets, desperate to prove her identity, and claim the praise she so richly deserved. But her purse, along with all its contents, was still at home on the kitchen table. She indulged in her dilemma. She imagined Keira Knightley looking through her coat for I.D instead of her.

“Who wrote this play?” whispered Steph.

“It’s not written…it’s improvised,' replied the woman sometimes known as Jane, 'Shhhh girlie.”

“Yeah!?” screamed the invisible announcer.

“Yeah!” replied all the passengers.

“Can I get a Hell yeah!?”

“Hell yeah!”

Steph found herself joining in.

I’m everybody’s friendly neighbourhood chaos god and I get to break and enter a logistical barrier or two on that lovely eve of the first day of the year. Yeah, I’m on the warm side of a house that doesn’t belong to me and you can just see it – it’s written on my face – how genuinely happy am I to be discovered by some boy running around with his ray gun."

Steph checked her pockets for a writing pad she knew she'd left at home. She continued listening in both frustration and growing alarm.

"So the kid points at my fiery hair. Boys like this can see through anything. He laughs and, were he a little older, he’d scream at what he’s seeing. He’s about eight or nine and he asks me what I am – not who – what. So I say “I’m Spiderfingers. Who the fuck’re you?”

“What are you doing in my house?” he asks me.

“I dunno,” I tell him, “Not made my mind up yet.”

'So the little boy asks, “Do you want to play a game with me?” I put a finger to my chin, a caricature of deep, deep thought. But you all know what I’m gunna say! Of course I wanna to play! It doesn’t matter that I’m tired and that too many moves are awaiting my counter attack, that so many enemies lurk with barely camouflaged bitchy attentiveness. I’m a cross between a senile uncle and a loud, undisciplined nephew you’re not allowed to smack. I’m all baffled and excited – have I passed go? Can I collect my two hundred? So, let’s give the kid a name. Seat Y13, name please. Introduce yourself to us.'

“My name is Stephanie Penny Tent.”

"Any achievements, Stephanie Penny Tent?"

"I'm the author of Spiderfingers."

"How topical! What else have you accomplished Stephanie?"

"I solved the algebra murders?"

"Solved?"

"Yep. Well, not quite."

"Any family, Stephanie...penitent?"

“Yes.”

"Any sons?"

“One.”

"Name?"

“Gideon.”

Her son's name slipped from Steph’s mouth before she had time to stop it, like a huge snake being charmed by the voice of the storyteller. The audience screamed and cheered, spelling out the name like cheerleaders chanting the name of a winning team.

“G! I! D! E! O! N!”

As the screaming rose to a crescendo, Steph felt white-hot panic rising in her throat. She crossed her fingers, praying to Allah and all the other gods – every deity she’d ever believed in – that this wasn’t some awful prank television show. She couldn't be seen on T.V. Not without her niqab and burka. She looked at Jane and then the rest of the bus.

"Do I want to play a game little Gideon? Oh yes, oh yes, oh goodie gum drops I do!"

“Next teller!” Screamed a voice. “Seat Y3!”

The war veteran spoke next, his voice sharp and flinty, like stones crashing against a sea shore.

"The boy wonder, Gideon, he’s looking me all up and down, and he starts counting down, from ten to one. And me? I’m the poor fool whose expecting a game of chase, so I’m more than a little surprised when Gideon extends his tiny leg and kicks me right in my godly balls!"

The passenger in the panda suit stirred, rose to his feet, and spoke, taking up the baton from the war veteran in the wheelchair. His was the best impersonation of Spiderfingers yet. The voice, the wild hand movements. He was even the right height.

"We’re sitting down after a run around, and I’ve still got his mother’s Dictaphone playing my voice back over and over and over, listening to my story. I’m a street orator, checking and double-checking my last draft as the boy whines in the background. He’s crying, coz I’m holding him back – stopping him from waking his mum, from rousing his Matryoshka. Hey, I tell the boy, I've an idea. Why don’t we play battleships in the sink?”

None of this was making any sense to Steph. This was all too surreal.

"I wonder if he’ll bury these early childhood recollections? Perhaps he’ll remember them, but only as half-lit dreams. Repression, Freud called it. And that man would know! He couldn’t get his head round my real name – Gideon, I mean, not Freud – so I told him to call me something else. Maybe it was my fire for hair that inspired the moniker Danger-Man. We destroyed the tapes in the sink, the Matryoshka’s Dictaphone sunk as if it were a Russian sub. But it was too late by then, wasn't it Steph? You already knew the words, didn't you? You'd already memorised the tune."

Steph began to concentrate on breathing naturally though really, she needed to scream…

"And afterwards, the boy loves me. He makes a play dough replica of yours truly and puts it near his Matryoshka’s bed. He made it for you, Steph. He made it to help you accept me, should the worst happen."

This wasn’t right. None of it was. She had to get off the bus.

Vision clouded by fear and embarrassment, Steph pushed her way to the front of the vehicle, pleading with her driver to let her out. From the drivers seat he - The red man - looked up at her, and whispered.

“We all take our turn, Storm Eyes. We all tell the story.”
N   E   X   T      T   I   M   E      I    N
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(N.B The comments posted below pertain to an extended version of this story, truncated due to issues of pace).
WARNING: THESE COMMENTS INCLUDE SPOILERS.

10 comments:

  1. A great piece this month John, particularly enjoyed the sense of 'otherness' that Steph experienced on the bus. Your chaotic and non-linear writing style really lends itself to this sense of confusion and rising panic apparent as Steph realises that Spiderfingers is somehow connected to the Blunderbuss. I also like the way that Steph rationalises the situation, assuming that the strange characters must be actors doing some interactive theatre. It is exactly how most people would react in this situation and the way you've left the interpretation open is unsettling in the extreme. What might make it more unsettling is if – when the characters on the bus start to talk about Gideon, they mention elements of Steph's home that they could not possibly know about. This would make the rising panic that Steph experiences more visceral.

    I love the nods to Alice in wonderland, especially in the way in which all the characters change seats, just as they might at the mad hatter's tea party. This is just the sort of reference that a theatre production might include in their work, and makes the origins of the bus and its passengers all the more ambiguous.

    I've said before that I really like the way you ground your narrative in time and place using pop culture references, and this is done to great effect with the references to Jonathan Ross and the biopic starring Keira Knightley. Steph's character is unfolding nicely, that ubiquitous mixture of bohemian narcissist and underachiever painfully constricted by her own insecurities. She's becoming a much more complex character, rather than a vessel for Spiderfingers' stories, and that is great. There is, however, a danger that her character might be too much of the clichéd struggling writer. However again, I get the impression that this particular cliché is a completely deliberate construct on your part, and that is absolutely fine with me. (She says, as if you need my permission!) Your work is an exercise in subversion, and I'm hoping that you will subvert the 'struggling writer' cliché at some stage along the line.

    This particular chapter feels much less episodic than some of your previous work, and I think it's because you've referenced a greater number of previous characters. I think that's great, but I wonder if these 'established characters' need to be sign-posted in quite such an obvious way? For example, the way you reference the original title of the story in which each established character was sighted. If the finished story arch is meant to be read in the same way one might read a novel, then I don't think such sign-posting is necessary. However, do let me know what you think about that, as I'm not feeling very well today, and I could be completely off the mark with that one.

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  2. Sorry to hear you're ill! I agree with your criticality on the subject of referencing older tales and the characters that have escaped from them (Ill or in well-being, your comments DO hit the mark.

    Ashley has agreed to handle editing all of this years stories for a more cohesive compact form - yeah Ash? Remember? That ought to get rid of the needless sign posting (I can't help but think of new readers coming in at this stage. I shouldn't bother with them at this late in the game - must be the greedy audience needy Steph in me)!

    I really wanna reveal more about the bus and how it works/where it came from/where it's final stop is. Maybe if/when another character boards it, they'll be eager to find that out for us.

    Oh and the magic word really and truly is SUBVERSION. Any idea as to what the killer is spelling out on peoples bodies? Anyone? I'll message you the synopsis of the finale of this years eleven story run as a prize! Actually, that would be cruel...

    Regrets: Wish I'd paid a little more attention to describing some of the more out there passengers on the bus. When I do I'll be sure to mention it (for example I HAVE to give the Goth a Sainsbury's shirt, long dark blue trench-coat and streak of red hair running through his jet black).

    Thank you for the liking and as Ashley will attest, I have been crapping my pants about this issue as it was largely in note form until Sunday late afternoon after Carla's party. I write very loosely when I'm still drunk and shaking away odd remembrances of diminutive soldier girls and their attacks of fake blood.

    Yum.

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  3. It's become obtrusive again: The naming of real roads and landmarks seems forced in their occurrence - one or two would be ok, but it feels unnatural for the character to be painfully aware enough of every road name to state them in her monologue. I know you like to give your pieces a real world basis but here, unfortunately, for me it detracts. Less is more, mate. Perhaps it's because it was counterpointed by the repeated mentioning of the J-Ross and Keira Knightley (which works for me, see below). Also, "But what, would Edgar Allen would say?" needs a slight grammatical re-work.

    I like how Steph is so wrapped up in the fantastic that even this stalking (which in itself is out of the norm for most to add an element of excitement) has to be built upon in her mind into a future movie celebrating her efforts. It shows both her disconnect from reality caused by her constant involvement in and recounting of Spiderfingers exploits, as well as her own inflated ego caused by trying to build herself up into a being capable of inspiring the same awe as he. Makes me wonder if she's being affected by her own form of faith/power run off or if theirs nefarious influence from the [name-escapes-me-but-the-ones-who-changed-the-stories-about-Boleraam-in-ancient-times]. Or if it is simply due to her own base humanity.

    Ok mate, I will give you the highest praise I can. I couldn't stop reading. The Blunderbus and onwards had me hooked that I didn't even make notes. 100% unfettered quality story telling, setting a bizarre situation we get to explore along with the protagonist, experiencing the twist (which with even my, I feel, still limited understanding of Steph's backstory, was artfully set up so you realised her fear and shared her trepidation) and then practical shouting in rage at the print out as you switched the scene away leaving the reader unfulfilled but begging for more.

    Of all the Spiderfingers pieces I've read of yours, this sequence stands out amongst them by a mile. If you have to write 18 pages of story for each piece, write 18 and I will gladly read them.
    I've sat on this allusion a long time, as it hasn't quite fit, but the reality shifting, sense of discovery of fantastical clashing with the norm of this piece, puts me in mind of Gaiman's Anansi Boys, an excellent work trying to put the powers of beings we cannot fathom into a world designed for own understanding.
    What else? I do think the strength of this is that you did the right thing and got Stephanie out of her house and actually put her into the story. She works much better as the reader's confidant and double if she's going through the same process as the reader. The juxtaposition of the opening, which I'm sorry to say didn't set my hopes too high, with the events that unfold aboard the Purple Bus, makes it ever more clear that whilst it's good to hear Steph's thoughts on things and her interpretation of Spiderfingers world, if that's all you hear then you feel stared for plot and character development. Which this has in droves.

    You answered my prayers mate. Stick with this style, more story, less commentary (both direct through Steph and social through your writing) and everything will be gold. If this is you drunk in chanrge of a word processor, well I'll gladly hand you the booze!

    I'll have to take the opposite track to Leanne, perhaps because I am reading this ad-hoc as they're presented, I needed the more obvious references to past characters hammered home. Whilst not particularly oblique I felt they weren't overtly showy, they just mirrored Steph's realisations.

    Really good one mate, A+.

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  4. I honestly don't know if you're right about the street naming or hideously wrong - I was on my way to move baggage from my old place in Archway and decided to walk the route Steph would make from her place in Tufnell Park. Maybe I should make each street more visible by lending their individual characters to the page and thus strengthening the description? I think I might just do that.

    Steph is one of those innocently pretentious writers who when speaking out loud to herself goes very Jane Austen; how can I re-do that sentence Sim AND keep that unnecessary aloofness intact? It's SO important that I show Steph's massive ego.

    The Blunderbus has appeared before (under a different name) in Man is the Meal and only Steph was on board. Why? To be continued...

    The twist of circumstance, the many stories and I hope some of the style I've revelled in here are big nods to Blackest Black and Man is the Meal - Self reverential time folks.

    Any comparisons to Anansi boys is pure coincidence though I think this story as well as Blackest Black and Man is the Meal owe a lot to Neverwhere which is one of my favourite Gaiman adventure books. I love finding out where you are isnt as safe as you might suspect and that those we think we can trust are in fact nemesis'.

    Steph has been a 'false protagonist' for sometime and I'm glad she's busy. Don't get emotionally attached to her though - if I can kill off the title character ANYONE is game.

    Glad you didn't mind the show rather than tell aspects of The Show. I see them all too clearly and will no doubt find them re-worked by A.Fox when she is handed the task of editing.

    Thanks for the A+ but I think I just about got a B-

    You're too kind x

    P.S Writing drunk is fun and though you get lost over and over again, I enjoyed rediscovering parts I thought were concrete. Hooray for liquor

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  5. I agree with Sim this for me is the best story so far. I preferred the narration and the pushing of the story to the previous stories and the way they seemed to plod along and not really tell me much, whereas this story was actually a pleasure to read.

    You do however need to read over it - there are a few grammatical mistakes - this may be becuase of your intake of alcohol or the fact that it needs a reread.

    I don't have much to say - the imagery was good and the explanation of the characters was alright - I got a bit confused when you were introducing a few of the characters (namely the red man) so I think you could make his introduction a bit clearer - more specific, so to speak.

    The ending had me confused - she (Steph) was kicked off the bus? Am I right? and her dragging down to the "house" is a reference to her speaking to Spiderfingers beforehand - when she fell asleep on the bus? So was her previous "dream" a prelude to what she was about to experience? Or is this mere coincidence?

    Overall a more enjoyable peice of writing. Keep to this style.

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  6. I like Steph in this chapter. She’s developing into a rounder character. I like the use of the burqa-less imagery used for Steph in the beginning - like she’s shedding who she used to be - unless it’s just her fickleness shinning through again. (And I could be really wrong on both accounts). I also really enjoyed the fact that she was IN the story instead of floating around at the side worrying about writing and shizz and being a tool for Spiderfingers. She was much more interesting this time around.

    How many characters did you say were in this, lol? I found it very easy to follow; who was who and who was saying what.

    This is by far the best chapter in the tale. The surreal like quality of the entire piece is just... wow. Yeah. How drunk were you when you wrote this? “Everyone started screaming fish, ‘Fish! Fish! Fish!’” Also, I found that the different texts you use have actually added to the randomness of this chapter. I know you do that is every chapter, but it just feels/felt more pronounced in this one. Maybe it’s just me?

    There are a few grammatical and spelling errors, but I think that’s already been touched on so I’ll say no more.

    Does Steph casting Keira Knightly as herself have anything to do with the fact that Keira Knightly is slightly annoying? Or am I the only person in the world who doesn’t like Knightly?

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  7. @ Rachel: Sorry past chapters haven't been entertaining enough. Glad you liked The Show.
    Steph got off the bus willingly. Wasn't it clear to you that she was freaking out and decided to jump off?
    I would be a terrible storyteller to answer your questions about the house and the dream. Not a courteous one anyway - you'll find out via the story sooner or later. Maybe. Ambiguity isn't my enemy.
    Glad you enjoyed the style and when I'm satisfied with it I'll move on to another style/exercise as always ;)

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  8. @ Carla
    Glad you found it easy to follow Carla! The Burqalessness was a last minute add to show her slow but visible transformation.

    I can't remember how many characters are in this though a good 90 percent of them will be big players for the beginning of VOLUME II of Spiderfingers (out next year).

    More texts in this chapter? Certainly more mini stories yeah. My fav is He Who Breaks which interestingly truly separates the fictional John Clay from myself. Take my word for it.

    I had a short list of media goddess that a monomaniacal female such as Steph would wish to play her in a biopic.

    Maybe in her winter years she might be thinking either Dame Dench or Mirren? Read on...

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  9. @ Carla - I too find Miss Knightly annoying. It's that bloody chin of hers.

    @John - I got that she wasn't on the bus anymore it just jumped very quickly from her being on the bus to her not being on the bus. I also realised my questions will go unheard until the next chapter which is fair enough!

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  10. Cheers for being understanding about the unanswered questions Rachel ;) Does it still seem that Steph got 'kicked off' the bus? Lemme know as I figured that I'd made it clear that she chose to disembark.

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