Author Topic: The Deceiver  (Read 1923 times)

Nephew Twiddleton

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The Deceiver
« on: September 02, 2010, 07:11:53 pm »
This is my thread in Literate Chaotic for the Jack of All Forums Challenge

It's a short story that I had an idea for while waiting to see the Frost Heaves last night. It starts off as a horror story. It might suck, so bear with me. I don't have a lot of recent experience writing a short story and might be kinda rusty. It will come in installments.


It was Thursday night. Rashid was waiting for the bus to get home. He was a waiter at a new restaurant. This of course was not something that he particularly felt like doing. It certainly wasn't his life goal. He came from Morocco to go to school in Boston and get a career in the US, but then the economy tanked and jobs were hard to come by. He was stuck bringing people food, but it at least paid the bills, and the tips were usually pretty good.

He was a Muslim, sort of. Not particularly devout. He prayed 5 times once a day to get it out of the way, more out of habit than anything else. He abstained from pork of course, but he was also a vegetarian anyway. He didn't drink, but that was more because all the good booze was expensive and he didn't feel like wasting the money, or lowering himself to drinking cheap beer. He didn't really go to mosque unless there was some sort of special occasion. He never undertook the Hajj, and he generally ignored the bums around him. He was just like everyone else otherwise, going about his day to day affairs in a haze where he didn't take much stock of his surroundings, lost in his own thoughts, making money so that he could have a good life but so entrenched in it that he never really did anything other than eat, shit, work, sleep and sit at home. Sometimes there would be a woman over and he'd have his way with her, or she'd have her way with him, and that would continue for maybe a couple of weeks and one of them would get bored and move on. He was just as American as the rest of us.

A noise broke him temporarily out of his trance. He looked to his left, to see a fellow commuter waiting for the bus light up a cigarette. He was well dressed. Suit, tie, even a hat. Looked like someone out of an old movie. The hat hid most of his features. Rashid wouldn't have noticed them anyway. Aside from the old fashioned clothes, there was nothing particularly remarkable about the smoker. When the bus came and both men got on, the well dressed man went straight to the back, and sat in the middle seat. No one else was on the bus. Rashid took one of the ones towards the front, about halfway back. There was a CD on the seat next to him. It said "Play me. Make 5 copies and distribute." There were some crude drawings on it- a cockroach, an apple with the letter k inscribed on it, a few others. It struck him as odd but then forgot about it as he slunk back into his thoughts. As his stop approached, he saw the CD again, and figured that he would listen to it. He thought it was an interesting way to promote music, and assumed the group was called Play Me. He grabbed the CD, hit the yellow stripe to signal for a stop, and went on autopilot back to his apartment. He didn't take notice that the man in the suit had gotten off at the same stop and was heading in the same direction as him, until Rashid put the key into the lock. He looked at the man, suddenly on guard until he noticed that the man was also on autopilot and kept walking without looking back at him.

Rashid went up to his apartment, put the Play Me demo on the kitchen table, ate some old pizza and went to bed.
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Nephew Twiddleton

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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 07:40:15 pm »
In this first installment, I'm tying in two parts of the Jack of all Forums Challenge- Rashid finds the final product of CDGASM, as well as going through his life in a similar way to the How was your day? rant (Which I'm submitting to CDGASM when sufficiently edited). Comments on writing style? Suggestions?
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Don Coyote

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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 09:04:51 pm »
You should also include the completed story on the CDGASM cd, if possible. Might make things more surreal for the people who find the cds if there is a story about someone who found a cd just like the one they just put in their CD-ROM.
Once knew a man who shat himself to death eating too much citrus.

Nephew Twiddleton

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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2010, 09:29:04 pm »
Awesome, I'll put the link to this thread in CDGASM
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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 09:32:56 pm »
You should also include the completed story on the CDGASM cd, if possible. Might make things more surreal for the people who find the cds if there is a story about someone who found a cd just like the one they just put in their CD-ROM.

I find this to be a kick-ass idea.
Weevil-Infested Badfun Wrongsex Referee From The 9th Earth
Slick and Deranged Wombat of Manhood Questioning
Hulking Dormouse of Lust and DESPAIRô
Gatling Geyser of Rainbow AIDS

"The only way we can ever change anything is to look in the mirror and find no enemy." - Akala  'Find No Enemy'.

Nephew Twiddleton

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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2010, 06:00:50 am »
Two weeks later. Thursday morning. Rashid woke up to his alarm. He rolled over and saw Evelyn. He met her last week. Stunning redhead, and blue eyes to boot. She was another immigrant, from County Limerick, Ireland. He only remembered which county because it was Limerick. He even came up with a limerick for her, based on what she told him.

There once was a girl from Stab City
But dear Lord was she so pretty
She drifted down there
Without slightest care
Would have blown it on just a mere titty

He was wondering who would get bored first. He snuggled up to her, and kissed her on the neck, letting her know that it was time for her to go. She had an office job to get to. As for himself, he had a lot of time to work with, since he was on night shift every Thursday. She stirred, returned his kiss and went to take her shower. After she had left, he noticed the CD he got on the bus a two weeks ago. He still hasn't listened to it. He's just shifted it from place to place, telling himself he would get to it eventually, because at the moment he was busy with nothing.

He surfed the net for a while, going from news source to wiki to youtube. He wasn't paying a whole lot of attention, but managed to get the occasional chuckle out. He looked at the clock. Fuck, time to get ready. He took his shower, took the bus to Davis Square and got on the Red Line. He switched over at Downtown Crossing to get the Orange Line to Jamaica Plain, got off at Roxbury Crossing and walked to Centre Street. When he was on Centre Street, he noticed the same man again. The same man from a couple of weeks ago, the same man that he saw last Thursday at night too. Now he was seeing him in the morning too. Always dressed the same. Always smoking. Never a good look at his face. He was a few yards behind.

He tried to get his mind off of him, and he found his salvation: There was a flyer taped up to a post. It was an odd one. It had a picture of a woman, but said at the top, "MISSING CAT."  It then went on to some weird stuff about said cat. Apparently it had been approved by the Lesser Boston Erisian Cabal. He got a chuckle out of it. Leave it to the hippies of Jamaica Plain. When he looked around, he saw that the well dressed man had gone, and went off to work.
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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 06:11:59 am »
In this new installment, I'm anticipating something that I might post in Multimedia Menace. I'm probably going to need someone's help for it, an experienced poster maker.
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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2010, 12:34:34 am »
This installment is out of order, and I am anticipating having other installments occuring prior to this one.

Rashid was becoming convinced that the man in the suit was stalking him. In order to avoid him he bought himself a bike. It would work rather well while the whether was warm, but not for winter. At that time he should be able to have sufficiently lost the man in the suit following him. He also changed his hours and days at the restaurant, in order to be less predictable.

It was Wednesday afternoon, and slow. He was returning some dishes to the kitchen when he heard Linda saying, "You can take a seat right over here and Rashid will be right with you." Linda came up to him and said, "Rashid, when you're ready, there's someone at table 5." He grabbed his pad and walked up to table 5, only to see the man in the suit, blankly gazing out the window. Rashid paused, but finally managed to get out, "Hi, my name is Rashid and I'll be your server. Is there anything I can get you to drink?" The man was silent, and continued to gaze. "Sir?" "Pomegranate liqueur and ginger ale cocktail." The man had a flat indescernible accent, and did not look at Rashid while ordering.

Rashid went up to the bar and had Linda mix the drink. "Linda, what do you make of that man over at table 5?" "I dunno. Probably some older guy, recently retired? Never seen him around here before." She handed him the cocktail. Bringing it back to the man and setting it down. "Have you decided what you would like for lunch or do you need more time?" "No." "Okay, what would you like for..." The man caught him off and looked at him, saying, "Nothing." Rashid got his first good look at him. He had curly hair, one of his eyes had a bad case of cataracts, and the other one seemed to bulge out. He kept his hat on, despite being inside. Perhaps he was bald on top. "Just be certain that when this gets close to empty to bring me the next one." Rashid's fear of the man was replaced by annoyance, and he gave him an insincere smile while taking the menu away." He then told himself that this odd man was probably having a bad day, and decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and dutifully refilled his cocktail when necessary, 4... 5.... 8 times. "Excuse me sir, I was wondering if you would like some food at this point. You've been here for sometime and I figured that you might be getting hungry." "No. Just the cocktails please," he said with the same flat accent, but without any hint of inebriation. 12... 13... "Pardon me sir, but our bartender has decided to cut you off. My apologies." "If you want to apologize you can get me another drink." "I... can't do that sir, I'm sorry." The man took out a wad of bills and put down $300. "That's okay, Rashid, I know you don't have any control over that. You can keep the change for yourself." "Sir, are you sure that you want to leave..." "Yes, take it." He got up and lifted his hat in valediction. When he did so, Rashid got a terrible shock. The man's hat was concealing a tattoo, boldly written in Arabic.

It said "kufr"--disbelief
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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2010, 03:39:24 am »
I think it's very good.

Two tentative suggestions;

ONe is really a personal thing; I don't like stories with religous messages. So if this was ending with a conversion to Discordia etc, that would be a pretty poor payoff for me (and also would limit the appeal; spreadability of the work). I'd love to see Rashid dealing with a daily situation (co-worker, rude customer etc) that is used to document his personal change; as he develops his ideas and personality, his way of dealing with the situation changes.

Also, open with a hook. The opening of the story should be the most engaging part, even if you need to start in the middle then backtrack.

Also nitpicking stuff;
I'd simplify the descriptions of everything. There's no need to have three pictures on the CD when one will do.

What's on the CD? Do we find out?

"some weird stuff about said cat"; Frustrating for the reader; we want to know what's said.

"As American as the rest of us" Your readers/narrator is American? Also I don't liek this bit because it sounds like the implication is Islam isn't really American. Even a cliche like 'American as apple pie' etc (or a subversion therof) would be good.

Put a paragraph for every new sentence.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

Nephew Twiddleton

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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2010, 12:07:58 am »
I think it's very good.

Two tentative suggestions;

ONe is really a personal thing; I don't like stories with religous messages. So if this was ending with a conversion to Discordia etc, that would be a pretty poor payoff for me (and also would limit the appeal; spreadability of the work). I'd love to see Rashid dealing with a daily situation (co-worker, rude customer etc) that is used to document his personal change; as he develops his ideas and personality, his way of dealing with the situation changes.

Also, open with a hook. The opening of the story should be the most engaging part, even if you need to start in the middle then backtrack.

Also nitpicking stuff;
I'd simplify the descriptions of everything. There's no need to have three pictures on the CD when one will do.

What's on the CD? Do we find out?

"some weird stuff about said cat"; Frustrating for the reader; we want to know what's said.

"As American as the rest of us" Your readers/narrator is American? Also I don't liek this bit because it sounds like the implication is Islam isn't really American. Even a cliche like 'American as apple pie' etc (or a subversion therof) would be good.

Put a paragraph for every new sentence.


I'm kinda just hashing it out as I go along, and not doing a particularly satisfying (for me) way to do it.
As far as the American/Islam thing, one of the ideas I'm playing with is religious zealotry and politics, and how they intersect. I have a vague idea of where I'm going with it, but again, somewhat ill defined. Discordianism itself is not mentioned in any sort of way that brings it any more attention to it in the story than say, Hinduism or Shinto. Rashid passes by some Discordian stuff, but they're really more there to illustrate that there is weird stuff out there if you look. Rashid remains a Muslim throughout the story, though, perhaps a very confused one.

Another reason why I'm illustrating Rashid being at least a cultural Muslim is because I like stories about the End Times and the Antichrist. I thought it would be interesting to try to tackle something involving the Islamic vision of the Antichrist.
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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2010, 04:37:46 am »
Nice.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

Don Coyote

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Re: The Deceiver
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2010, 04:57:58 am »
I like it, keep it up. Even more so since you plan on keeping Rashid Muslim.
Once knew a man who shat himself to death eating too much citrus.