Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Comfort is a Tricky Thing

Chishee wasn't comfortable with the staff's scheme. She hired succubae because of the cultural biases against them, not so they could eat the hotel's clientele for tips. The only reason she hid their covert buffet of debauchery was that, if exposed, she'd go to prison with them. The succubae rationalized to Chishee that they only took on suicidal clients, giving them the happy endings they all craved. They let her keep all the room fees, and when she still deliberated on turning them in, offered her a cut of their blood money. That, she flatly refused. Attendance rose from its prior flatness, though, so that she could barely keep rooms open, or the dumpsters out back empty. It was a moral quagmire for the intrepid hotel owner. Her reservations had truly grown.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Suspect

The story makes no sense if you look at the whole picture – the land lady's perfect bill of health, the suspect holding the knife, the ex-husband everyone thought would come after her. That stuff is distraction. If you had been in the car with me on the ride to the station, you'd know. Our suspect is something unreal.

Our suspect suffers from something weakly diagnosed as high-functioning autism. That he lived alone with such an acute condition was unfortunate, a failure of the system. His father should have been there, but he died in Iraq. His mother should have been there, but two years after her husband died, she had a catastrophic psychotic meltdown, seemingly out of nowhere. The suspect's sister took care of him for a year before she had a catastrophic psychotic meltdown, also seemingly out of nowhere. This family had no history of mental illness before the last decade. He got extremely close with these two people before they lost their minds.

It was the sister's apartment where the suspect was living, occasionally looked in on by the land lady. According to another tenant, she didn't want him to go homeless.

You need to take the week of March 3rd as Week One. That's probably when the land lady leaves a book in his apartment, or somehow he walks off with it. That is The Portable Jung. I've fingerprinted it, and he read this thing. He even tore some pages.

Week Two, he purchases four books on psychology. He can't talk or write, but apparently can read and browse for books. Tell me how that works. I'm going interview the bookseller tonight. Of these books he bought, it appears only three were ever opened. Passages were torn from their bindings, mostly relating to one subject that makes sense in Week Three.

Week Three: he purchases six books on neuroscience. He reads the first half of two of these, again tearing out sections, making the collage that covered up his bathroom mirror. It's all about brain chemistry.

Week Four: he buys eleven books on chemistry. He tears passages relating to cell structure from all of them and collages his shower walls.

Week Five: nine books on molecular physics. It's as though he read a couple of chapters out of four of them, but removes nothing. This is the same week his land lady has a psychotic episode, out of the blue, and kills herself. And he's in her apartment when she does it.

I'm not saying he stabbed her. That theory was always bunk, and the two tenants who discovered him say the knife he picked up, he was trying to turn on himself. That's what he says, too.

Driving him to the station, I heard him. I turned around at a stop light, and his lips weren't moving. The guy can't talk with his mouth, but he was crying inside my head, so loud that tears were spilling down my cheeks. He kept apologizing and begging me in this garbled nonsense, and I actually ditched the car for a few minutes just to get my bearings. I thought my head was going to burst. I had to radio another officer to take him the rest of the way, and when I call her, she hasn't answered any of my messages. I bet she had a wild ride.

Look. He started with Jung, then he went from psychology to what made up our brains and how, skimming the whole thing because none of it was new to him. He only needed missing bits/ He didn't have to read that much because he'd always intuited it. He cracked our code because he's desperate to talk to someone, but his voice is dangerous. I'm pretty sure what he kept asking was for help.

So either this is some kind of horrible telepathy case, or I've gone crazy. And given the history, if I've gone crazy being around him, that's just more evidence that he's the real deal, and he definitely needs someone's help.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bathroom List: 6 Unused Gun Arguments

1. Nobody ever ate so many handguns that he died of heart disease. Why don’t we ban McDonalds?

2. Nobody ever fell into a gun show and was bitten to death by AK-47s. How come we don’t ban zoos?

3. Nobody ever got too close to a bag of guns and found himself swarmed by pistols until he was stung to death. Why don’t we ban bees?

4. Nobody ever drowned in a pile of guns. How come we don’t ban oceans?

5. Nobody ever jumped off the top of a sniper rifle because his stock portfolio tanked. Why don’t we ban skyscrapers?

6. Nobody ever got skin cancer from a rocket launcher being too bright. Why don’t we ban the sun?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Interview with author Emma Newman

I've known Emma Newman for years through the Friday Flash group. Meeting her in person was one of my highlights of 2012's WorldCon. A busy lady, she's not only written copious flash fiction in her world, but thrust into a deep series of novels called The Split Worlds. The first, Between Two Thorns, is already out through Angry Robot Books. I'm very happy to have her over today.

John: What is the premise of Between Two Thorns? And where is the series headed?

Emma: I've previously described the book as "Urban fantasy - and a dash of noir - with feuding dynastic families, supernatural patrons, mad sorcerers, evil faeries and nice cups of tea." As the author, I feel like I'm the worst person to be asked what it's about – I just want to wave my arms and describe all of it.

Where is the series headed? I would tell you, but then I'd have to kill you, and that seems rather rude. I hate giving things away about future books, as I'm one of those people who wants to experience stories as the storyteller intended – it's why I avoid film trailers these days. I like to find out in the world, rather than hearing snippets out of context.

Oh dear, I'm not doing very well here, am I? Let's move on!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Mercy, Kind of Mind

"No, you go on. I'll wait here. I don’t mean to drag you down."

"You never do! Sometimes you remind me to slow up. I need that. Here."

"Thanks. I just get tired so easily. I hate it."

"I don’t. You’re comfy to lean on when we sit together. Like this."

"Ow. Hey, ow."

"Sorry, did that hurt?"

"I bruise too easily, too… And the acne? At my age? How do you even look at me?"

"Because those aren’t the things I stare at. Honey, I’ve never even noticed."

"People are always judging at me when we walk together. You have to notice that. It has to weigh on you."

"I haven’t noticed it weighing. But it bothers you?"

"Really. What would you change about me?"

"Well… Some of your anxieties could go."

"Only some? My bitching alone--"

"—could be scaled back. I couldn’t get rid of all the flaws altogether, though. Then you wouldn’t be you anymore."

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Djinn Deals

I run a very simple business, for I’m a very simple djinn. It’s how I’ve outlasted so much of my competition. I welcome anyone of any language and any creed. Rich? Poor? You can pay, and I can sell the world. I’ll change things in any way, great or small, to my suitor's desire.

Change the king.

Change the tides.

Add a moon.

Subtract a war.

I’ll draw the curtains and erase poverty. The world can be any way you want it to, and it will only cost yourself. You won’t see how things will change, for you’ll have been the change you wanted. That’s my method and my price; I’ll change the world to whatever you want, but you can’t be in it.

Some customers suffer pangs of selfishness at the terms, but think it over on your way to the door. You’ll turn around. You know there’s something worth no longer being for.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I Won Two More Liebsters!

So I've been bad about awards in the last couple of months, given all my health problems and family distractions. Last night I made a point of making good on at least two blogger goodies handed to me by very considerate people who didn't deserve to have me take this long. I've won a pair of Liebsters, which require you to answer eleven questions, reveal eleven personal facts, and tag eleven more bloggers. Given that I've won this at least three times before, I'm going to track down even more people. I will, however, give you the darned dirt.

The more recent came from Franny Stevenson, a buddy from the A-to-Z Challenge. She had these eleven questions for me:

1. Do you have a nickname?

People play around with my last name; "The Wiz," or Monica Marier calls me "Wisard," which I like. But mostly people just call me "John."

2. Who’s your favourite writer?
I don't have a singular favorite author; what inspires and entertains me changes so often. But some of my favorites are Homer, J.R.R. Tolkien, Shirley Jackson, Douglas Adams, Mark Twain, Dante Alighieri, Eudora Welty, Gail Simone, Akira Toriyama, Hiroaki Samura and Stephen King.

3. If you could switch life with someone who’d you choose? And why?
Counter est. March 2, 2008