Story I just Wrote (in Off-topic)
October 5 2006 3:11 PM EDT
I just wrote this, and CB is as good an archive as any. *grin* Enjoy.
Never Trust A Carnie
I always liked jugglers. Such jocularity was second-to-none when I would foray to circuses, fairs, and festivals. Consummate entertainers, jugglers.
So then, it was no surprise that upon arriving at the circus on that fateful day, I sought out juggling acts immediately. There were fire twirlers, chainsaws, bowling balls, team juggling, and simpler feats of bean-bag dexterity throughout the venue.
Deeper into the carnival atmosphere, the acts grew less conventional: three men were juggling with each other while riding a merry-go-round, a particularly stoned-looking teenager was keeping all sorts of drug paraphenalia airborne, and an apparent shyster was having crowd members juggle for him while still taking their money. Heh.
Deeper still I went, craving the ultimate juggular experience. And eerier still the acts became. I saw a man tossing puppies. Four women were actually juggling _each other_. And I discovered a man who, instead of juggling five balls with two hands, was juggling two balls with five hands. Strange.
The hour was growing late, and I had reached the darkest depths of the carnival grounds. The crowd was thin. I hadn't seen anyone who wasn't part of the show for several minutes, in fact. An ominous feeling crept over me, but still I craved the ultimate juggling act.
That's when I saw him.
The man was eight-and-a-half feet tall if he was an inch. His height gave him an alien appearance as well as an ethereal quality. He almost seemed translucent, and he was juggling items so quickly that it looked as if a massive propellor was spinning over and around his head and torso. Despite twirling his items at such an incredible speed, he was staring forward, through the wind and shadows created by his wall of generated motion. And he was staring at me.
"You seek the ultimate performance?" he asked.
"Yes, I absolutely do," I said. I felt as if in a trance as the velocity of his skill combined with the drone of his voice transfixed me.
"You would give anything to view your ultimate dream?" he asked.
"Yes...yes, I absolutely would." I replied.
"Then confirm your desire one final time by saying the word 'continue'," he said.
"Continue," I said.
The man began slowing his movements. He kept all of his items in the air, but reduced the overall ferocity of flinging so that the items became visible as actual objects instead of flashing arcs of uncertain vectors. I saw that he was hurtling six items of various sizes.
"Behold what is before you!" his voice boomed as he slowed his juggling further.
I could begin to see that four of the objects were cylinders, two long, two shorter. One of the objects was shaped like a barrel. The final object looked like a normal ball, a sphere roughly the size of a bowling ball.
He slowed further.
The objects all moved in arcs similar to the ones they traversed when moving at high speed. Somehow the man was keeping the juggling pattern the same even though his wrists and arms were now moving much, much slower than when I had first seen him. He was maintaining the act, but wanted me to clearly see what he was juggling.
He slowed further, and my body froze.
The man was juggling body parts. The cylinders were two arms and two legs. The barrel, a torso. And the bowling ball was a human head, it's face becoming clear to me as the man slowed even more.
"This is the price you have paid to view that with which you are OBSESSED!!!" the man screamed. With that, he slowed all of the parts to an absolute stillness, waited a moment, and then resumed full speed, the body parts once again forming a dervish around him.
In that moment of stillness, I was able to see the price I had paid. I saw that the body parts were my own.
"How did you get the parts of my body?" I asked the man quietly.
"Easy. I have a saw," he said. He was speaking to me calmly even as his act was growing even faster and more impressive. His hands were a blur as his juggling formed an almost-opaque tornado with the man at the base of the vortex. Only his face was still, it's eyes firmly upon me. I looked into those eyes and swallowed before asking my next question.
"I mean, how can you be juggling pieces of me when I am standing right here?"
"Easy. I also have a time machine."
I nodded, satisfied with the explanation. I watched the man for several hours, a show so amazing that I didn't care about how much it had cost me, and I didn't care about when the bill would be due.
October 5 2006 3:17 PM EDT
cue eerie fairground organ music......
Like it!! A lot. I'm reminded of Ray Bradbury's darker stuff. That's probably the carnival element though....Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of my favourite stories of all time. If you haven't read it go forth and investigate.
More please! :)
October 5 2006 3:26 PM EDT
I don't have ideas like that (that I finish) very often... Yes, it was very reminiscent of 70s/80s sci-fi style stuff I rmemeber reading as a child, and my themes more often than not end up circular (paradoxes, time travel, people generating their own demise, etc.) So, I could probably rattle off something like this once a day, it would just be kind of samey, I think. *smile* (yes, that is me making excuses instead of writing every day like I should...)
October 5 2006 3:35 PM EDT
Get back on that horse then...Time to write!!!
October 5 2006 3:44 PM EDT
Oh, I never got off the horse, the horse is just walking rather slowly...
I usually am a pretty hard reader to satisfy...
..but this was excellent. The eeriness (if that is a word) of the whole event is exquisite.
Thank you for a five minutes well spent. You are talented.
(whereas I am not really, so I hope this post makes any sense)
You should become a writer for Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. I'm sure you could do the exaggerations of the truth as well as the fiction better than they can even now!
October 5 2006 4:26 PM EDT
Oh, I am blushing now... Glad to have pleased and to be considered for being a "spin" artist. Perhaps I should write for something that can combat the President's Republican campaign of fear! Oops, politics alert!
Ash, give it a spin, show us your writing! Let it flow, revise, release!
Wow good stuff, you sold anything?
October 5 2006 5:19 PM EDT
So, is this 'Story What I Wrote' going to be a regular feature?
Heh, I would be glad to return the favor and maybe entertain you a bit, Sutekh, but I'm used to writing in French...:(
October 5 2006 5:33 PM EDT
No, I have not sold anything. Hard to sell when you are too lazy to really ever finish anything and too lazy to submit anything. I keep saying "someday" and days keep passing. I mainly write to create stories for other people via e-mail etc. This story was written in an e-mail today just because I wanted to show off, and I knew the recipient likes my writing decently enough...
It should be regular, and I have written off and on ever since CB1 days, but then I get lazy again... :\
October 5 2006 5:41 PM EDT
Then I should learn French, Ash! At least you can write in two languages, my hat's off to you!
October 5 2006 5:42 PM EDT
If you would write stories more often, perhaps have them hosted all together on a cb fansite? ;)
wow i got to say i was expecting an average but entertaining story but that was ace!!
the only part in the whole bit i re read on the first read through was team juggling (not a clue why) but that was the only part that spoiled the flow for me ... i just wish it had been longer!
seriously that was an ace story as good as any of the ones ive read recently! loved the bit where he/she realised it was there own body, great little twist
get more carrots for your horses if your writing is normally that good!
In fact, a forum dedicated to story telling would be nice, IMO.
October 5 2006 5:54 PM EDT
There was a time I was spewing enough stuff and had more ideas on CB1 that I asked for a forum. Jonathan wisely said "no", since as quickly as the muse had struck me, it dissipated and the forum would have been left empty. *smile*
"carrots for my horses"...I love it. Yeah, the story could be a bunch better after revision (and I appreciate the constructive criticism!)... That was about an hour's worth of writing with only my patented insta-revision goggles on. I am a BAD (read: non-existent) revisionist. By the time I become distant enough from a story to re-read it effectively, I re-read it and am convinced it is crap and decide not to work on it any more. Such a literary baby am I...
lol i hear you on the revisionist bit .. hence no collage and uni for me when i left school but that imo (not that it really counts for much writing wise lol) it was an ace story all that good middle ending stuff with a nice twist etc and the use of language and desriptive words ... if a full book was written like that it would be one of those books that i couldnt put down until id read it from cover to cover (i hate those books though as even a few hours sleep is nice)
at the v least thanks for posting it up even if no one else had liked it it would have still hit all the right spots for a good story for me.
October 5 2006 7:18 PM EDT
Nice. Only one criticism. In a environment that you have created as somewhat magical, the "I have a time machine" jars as a literal deus et machina cliche. Perhaps "I am not bounded by time" or something similar.
Nice point Steven but whats that saying ?"Any tech thats highly advanced will seem like magic" Thats paraphrased of course ,too lazy to google it.
Excelent! Reminds me of a Stephen King short. ;)
Would fit well into a book like 'Skeleton Crew'.
If you haven't read that, 'Survivor Type' is a brilliant little short.
It's a diary entry style of a Medical Doctor smuggling cocaine on a liner, when it sinks and he is the only survivor. He finds himself on a deserted desert island, and after breaking his ankle while trying to catch a bird to eat, decides to use his skills, toolbag and cocaine to amputate his ruined foot and eat it (he was chasing the bird as he was starving).
"Don't let the left hand know what the right hand is going to do..."
"They taste just like lady's fingers..."
October 6 2006 9:57 AM EDT
Yeah, pretty much ripped off King, and was even thinking of imagery from Skeleton Crew when I pictured the man at the end. Just trying to make him...creepy.
Arthur C Clarke said the tech/magic quote, but Stephen's point is pretty good. Basically, the whole thing needs to be fleshed out more, as with most one-offs:
-- why is the narrator SO obsessed with juggling?
-- need to spend more time developing the creepy atmosphere, as that makes the whole story.
-- extend the ending, soaking the last juggler more -- he's the core. Use even more descriptions of the juggling act to define how awesome and yet demented it truly is.
-- maybe leave out the whole time travel part, or make it more mystical, as Stephen's point illustrates. Twists are nice, but this was a bit cheeky, methinks.
In any case, glad folks liked it! Happy Friday!
Whatever you do, If you do, please show us the revised version ;)
October 6 2006 10:26 AM EDT
Personally I liked the time machine part, but then I'm a sucker for mixing and matching when it comes to fantasy/science fiction/horror. And the idea of a time travelling juggling psychopath....love that.
I'm out of practice where writing is concerned, only a few tiny pieces in CB contests over the past few years, but the one thing that I go by, the one thing I go by is that anything goes, so long as it is believable/acceptable within the context of the story. If you can create a believable world where a a time travelling juggling psychopath can exist then he can exist. The thought that there is a machine responsible for the paradox rather than some kind of mystical ocurrence satisfies my creep radar anyway!
But in the end, you've got to go with what feels right to you...
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