Words, words, words, art.

The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

100 Words: Duck Burger

September2

Doyle leaned against the counter and wiped his forehead on his arm, which didn’t help because his forehead was wet with sweat and his arm was wet with sweat, so nothing got absorbed. It just got moved around. Redistributed. Kory tossed him a paper towel and he dabbed at himself while Alma busied herself with drinking Gatorade.

“So I guess we’re done for now. Everything’s moved in, the bed’s set up, boxes are all in their right rooms… wanna get a pizza?”

“Pizza gives me heartburn,” Kory put in.

“What? No. What are you, an old man?”

Kory laughed, shaking his head. “It’s the tomato sauce, man! I guess I could get a white pizza or something…” he leaned over and opened the fridge, taking out a coke. He held it against the back of his neck for a moment before popping it open and taking a drink, then held it against his forehead. “We could go to Duck Burger.”

“Ah, no!” Doyle laughed, shaking his head.

“Duck Burger?” Alma looked up, curious. “What’s that?”

Doyle held up a hand.

“It’s just a burger place, nothing special.”

“But why’s it called Duck Burger? Is that just like… a family name or nickname? Do they use duck fat for the fries or something?”

Kory started laughing so hard he almost dropped his soda.

“No… no! It’s just… it’s just burgers and fries. Just a burger place. It’s not even really called Duck Burger, that’s just like a joke name Kory calls it. It’s really called McNally’s on account of it’s owned by a dude named Jim McNally.”

“Well, are they like… shitty burgers?”

“Nah, well, not shitty. They’re ok.”

“I could really go for a burger, actually.”

Kory started laughing again.

“What? What’s so funny, Kor?”

“Don’t even ask him. He’s twelve. Y’hear that, Kory? You’re immature!”

Kory wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.

“Whew. Well. Let’s clean up and go. They keep the air on real low, it’s nice there when it’s hot.”

The three of them cleaned up, and went to Duck Burger. As Kory said, the air was real low. The cool air felt good after a long day of lugging furniture and boxes and cleaning. The burgers were good, the fries a little mushy, the cole slaw fantastic. They lingered a bit over cake and coffee, tired to the bone, overly full, not ready to move yet. And then they got up, paid, and parted ways. Kory went home and Doyle and Alma headed back to their new place. They watched a little tv while unpacking a few boxes, and then turned in to bed. As they lay there, cuddled up between clean sheets, getting used to the new space and its shadows, Alma felt a pressure in her lower abdomen.

And then she heard it.

Quaaaaaack.

Quaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

“Scuse,” said Doyle.

And then she smelled it.

“JESUS GOD,” she said, clapping a hand over her nose, and Doyle started laughing and then she started laughing and then it was her turn to fart, long and sustained.

Quaaaaaaaaaaack.

“Oh Goddddd I get it now. You guys are so nasty!”

“Hey, it could be worse,” he said. “We could call it–”

“Don’t say Fart Burger. Don’t. Do not.”

He started laughing again, and she did too, comfortable together.

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Another sleepless night.

July13

I’m tired but can’t get to sleep.

I hate having insomnia.

I did, however, seize this chance to write a new Secret Chicago piece, so check it out.

I’m also working on an essay for a contest. It’s 1500 words, completing the thought “I never thought I’d…”

My first thought was “I never thought I’d utter the words “Don’t eat that, it’s no longer food!” ” and then talk about being a parent of a toddler. Then I thought that might be too trite and not inspiring enough, so I’m going to write about how I never thought I’d enjoy math but I had a (female) teacher who didn’t assume I couldn’t do math because I have a vagina, and who encouraged me to tutor other students in Geometry, and now I’m an adult and am tutoring other adult women in basic math so they can get their GEDs, go to college, improve their lives, etc and for the first time in their lives they feel that they CAN do math, they CAN understand it, they CAN use it… that they are smart and can get math things done even though they are lady-types and lady-types suck at math. Math is beautiful and elegant and I wish teachers had SHOWED ME that as a kid.

I might write the “no longer food” essay anyway and post it online someplace.

posted under crazybrain, insomnia, life, secret chicago, writing | Comments Off on Another sleepless night.

Questions about sexual presentation in fiction.

July12

Let’s say that you are reading a piece of fiction that is well written and enjoyable. It’s got what you like in it: good characters, good world building, action, romance, happy little elves, sparkling vampires, hard bitten cynics with hearts of gold, whatever.

Let’s say that there’s a character who is one gender, but presents as another. FOR INSTANCE: you have a biological female who dresses in male clothing, uses a male or gender neutral name or nick name, and doesn’t correct people who use male pronouns.

Do you assume this character is transgendered?

If you find, via the story, that the character presents this way for social reasons rather than identity reasons, do you feel let down? Like, the character doesn’t really identify as male, but gets less crap from people/is taken more seriously when wearing pants and short hair, but has no problem having a vagina/ovaries/menstruating/etc?

If a character IS transgendered and presents/lives/identifies as female, but is a sex worker, is that offensive because it’s a stereotype? What if the character is fully accepted by the group she lives/works with, and her clients? What if the character is a minor character who is well fleshed out and realized but ultimately is a support character only (“magical transperson”)?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please feel free to email me (brigidkeely at gmail .com) if you don’t want to post publicly.

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FICTION

June9

I’m a little peeved because I’ve had a story kicking around in my head for awhile now about 3 young women who all find out about their supernatural abilities. One of them is the daughter of Manannan mac Lir. And now I’ve seen the first (I’m assuming there’ll be more) Percy Jackson movie and I’m worried that 1) that will inform my narrative and 2) that people will assume that informed my narrative. I kind of want to read the books, but now I’m fretting about influences and… yeah. Whatever. (One of the other young women is a werewolf, although she’s always known that, and the other is a Phoenix-like supernatural creature.)

WHATEVER I WILL START WRITING IT ANY WAY.

posted under fiction, writing | 1 Comment »

~blog silence~

February3

I’ve been working on some fiction stuff and also drawing again, PLUS I have a child who’s discovering the joys of bipedal locomotion, so I haven’t been posting much of anything lately. I also haven’t been reading blogs.

Is anyone familiar with small press or independent publishers in Chicago who focus on fiction and short fiction? The much vaunted Twilight Tales is on hiatus.

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Faerie World Building: Cat Sidhe

January2

The Cat Sìth (Scottish Gaelic: [k?aht? ??i?]) or Cat Sídhe (Irish: [kat?? ??i?]) is a fairy creature from Scottish mythology, said to resemble a large black cat with a white spot on its breast. Legend has it that the spectral cat haunts the Scottish Highlands. Some common folklore suggested that the Cat Sìth was not a fairy, but a transformed witch.

The myths surrounding this creature are more common in Scottish Folklore, but a few myths occur in Irish folklore as well.

From Wikipedia.

The Cat Sidhe, in Faerie, has two forms: a stocky, powerful, bipedal fur-covered form with large teeth, claws, and tail; and a large stocky mountain cat type form. Cat Sidhe are skilled trackers, hunters, and guards who live in the Winter Court. Like most Fey in the Winter Court, they are more reserved than the Summer Court. Unlike most Fey, the Cat Sidhe are not immortal. They have long life spans, but they still age and die. Further, Ice Trolls (which do not live in Faerie) prize their pelts and hunt and kill them when they can.

When Cat Sidhe cross Iron Side, they are consigned to either a fully human looking form (bipedal, no fur, no fangs, no claws, no tail) or fully cat. They tend to prefer the cat form, as the human form leaves them feeling naked and defenseless. The longer they spend Iron Side, the more likely they are to be stuck in that form. As a human shaped Cat Sidhe cannot cross back into Faerie, this poses a problem.

Cat Sidhe do not tend to take part in political intrigue. Although intelligent, they are not devious or overly secretive (any more than any other feline influenced race).

Cat Sidhe, with their limited life span, do experience pregnancy– which is rare among Faerie. Females have 1-3 litters in their life time, of 3-7 kits. Generally, more males than females are born and survive. Cat Sidhe are able to interbreed with other fertile Fey creatures and humans, although it’s unlikely. Their offspring generally take after the non Cat Sidhe parent, although this is not always true, and are usually sterile.

036 Black Cat

December17

There’s a small elementary school not far from Balmoral Race Track, in the distant South Suburbs of Chicago, not far from Indiana. Near that school was an abandoned church, which was torn down in the late 1990s after a series of disturbing events.

During the late 1980s and very early 1990s, locals were very disturbed to find cats nailed to the door of the church on what seemed to be random dates. Concerned parents set themselves up in deer blinds to try and catch the perpetrator or perpetrators, however no one was ever caught in the act. Further, nobody in the vicinity ever reported their pets going missing, leading some to deduce that the perpetrators were either using barn cats or feral cats (tricky animals to catch), or else importing cats from miles away.

Parents and teachers admonished local children about witchcraft and satanism, warned them to stay away from grave yards and strangers, and chalked the proceedings up as an unsolved mystery.

One bright autumn morning in 1991, two teens walking through the woods found a wallet. Opening it, they found no ID or credit cards, but they did find money and condom still in its wrapper. One of the pair took out the money and then pocketed the wallet, resolving to turn it in to the cops after their walk– a walk that was interrupted by them tripping over what turned out to be the nude, half-eaten corpse of a young man. Most of his face was gone, as were his hands, making indentifcation difficult. The forensic examiner determined that the majority of bite marks on him were feline in nature, but was unable to determine cause of death. No more cats were found nailed to the church door, and it stood abandoned until it began listing to one side, under the effects of winter and neglect.

It took a while to resolve ownership of the building, but it was condemned and torn down. The small cemetery attached to it remains, and continues to be a local hang out for teens escaping parental supervision.

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035 Organ

December15

The stretch of houses on St. Louis between Lawrence and the River is primarily brick two and three flats. One of these, a dark red brick two flat with the front porch converted to an enclosed sun room, and blown roses leaning limply against the iron fence, is frequently host to odd music. Passers by notice this music at random hours of the day and early evening, rarely at night. It sounds like a polka played one and a half times normal speed, on an organ. Nobody in the neighborhood plays the organ, and although pedestrians and neighbors pinpoint the music’s location consistently as being this particular house, those within the house claim never to hear it while indoors.

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Secret Chicago/Fiction updates

December15

I’m cutting back Secret Chicago updates to twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I just couldn’t maintain an every day schedule… the ideas clogged up in my brain arteries. The habit of writing at least 100 words every day was a good one, though, and one that I need to continue.

Does anyone have suggestions for short story publications, especially horror, that I can submit actual short stories to? I’ve been doing research on my own, but do you have a favorite magazine or webzine that you read or submit to? If so, please comment with links/info.

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034 Zebra Mussels

December4

In 1988, a Russian vessel mistakenly emptied its bilge into Lake St. Claire. The living contents of that bilge water migrated through the great lakes, some of it ending up in Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

Every few summers since then, residents of Chicago notice that the water, which comes from the Lake, tastes odd. Some describe it as “greenish” tasting, or “almost grassy.” The City issues bulletins and news casters make announcements. The water is safe to drink, the water is perfectly fine. There is simply an overgrowth of zebra mussels, which affects the water’s taste but nothing more.

While zebra mussels are an invasive species that have fundamentally changed the nature of the lake, and while they do have life cycles that rise and fall, it is not the zebra mussels that change the taste of the water.

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