Friday, July 13, 2007

Bastille Day Writing Exercise

The task was to contribute to a story based on this plot: Two farmboys delivering milk to Marie Antoinette's charming cottage are mistaken for courtiers and thrown in the Bastille, where they share a cell with a butcher, a baker, and Marie Antoinette's hairdresser. Also, a shapeshifting zombie who is the nexus of time travel itself.

and given these character traits:

Farmboy 1 (Dirk Reblochon)
is the spitting image of Robespierre/ eats only cheese, and only cheese made from the milk of a cow named LaRue/ Hard of hearing, he tends to yell a lot/ Is able to read cloud formations to predict natural disasters/ is missing half the little finger on his right hand/ Never tells the truth/ has halitosis and Tourette's syndrome

Farmboy 2 (Aligot Chevre)
is gay/ is a mute/ has soft, porcelain like skin/ was formerly Farmgirl/ has no sense of smell.

The Hairdresser (Armand)
is gay/ is bald/ always speaks his mind, and usually regrets it immediately/ has panic attacks/ Is worshipped as a healer, then later persecuted as a witch

The Baker (Jean val Jean)
is actually the Scarlet Pimpernel/ specialty is the Croissanwich/ Lies fifty percent of the time/ Is the richest merchant in town

The Butcher (Edouard)
female/ has managed to smuggle in several chef's knives and cleavers/ specialized in sweetmeats and game birds, partridges, squab, and pheasants/ Sells weaponry on the side

The Zombie (Olivie)
female/ Guards the town's collection of scrolls and ancient books/ eats the brains only of those who insult him/ wears a toupee/ loses parts of himself at indiscreet times/ died of terminal flatulence/ favors shapeshifting during sex/ favors time travel when the man or woman he finds himself involved with gets too serious/ To protect herself from the lecherous necrophiliac jailer, she has used her shape-shifting abilities to make herself look like the butcher. This gives rise to many spirited and hilarious arguments between Olivie and Edouard, as they both try to convince the others that they are the real Edouard, while the other is a flesh-eating zombie.


The cell door swung open with a shrill screech. The guard shoved Dirk in, Aligot right behind him. "Ow," Dirk said. "Shit! Bastard!"

"Rot with the rest of 'em," the guard told him.

"My God, it's Robespierre!" Armand said, and immediately regretted it.

"I'm not Robespierre," Dirk replied. "FUCK! I'm a simple farmboy."

"Right," Edouard said. "And I'm Buttercup."

"I only look like Robespierre," Dirk said. "This is my twin brother, Aligot. Interestingly, he looks nothing like Robespierre."

"That guy's not your twin brother," Jean declared. "Who is he?"

"Why . . . he's . . . Cocksucker! also a farmboy. Yeah, that's it. He's farmboy too. Asshole!"

"Watch your language. If Olivie over there thinks you're talking about her, she'll eat your brains."

"I'm not sure this guy has a brain," Armand said, and immediately regretted it. "And why doesn't Aligot speak for himself?"

"He's a mute."

"I don't care what religion he is, he ought to speak for himself." (EE)

“Damnit! I have many friends, or rather members of my fraternity, who believe in Kiss my ass, Liberty. Surely we can distract that Fucking imbecile of a jailer, Merde! long enough for one of us to escape. Mon Dieu! Let us vote!” said Dirk.

Aligot, who had been hiding behind Edouard, now attempted to disappear beneath her skirts. Unfortunately for him, the skirts belonged to the shapeshifting Olivie at that particular moment, and she quickly exposed him for the cowering milktoast that he was. “Get your fingers out of there, this minute!” demanded Edouard, who was now the real Edouard.

“I nominate Aligot. His porcelain skin will be irresistible to that loutish jailer,” said Olivie. She was eager to return to Edouard’s skirts and had no interest in the mute’s brains. She preferred to hear the anguished screams of her victims and that was unlikely to occur with the mute.

A show, sonofabitch, of hands then,” said Dirk.

Four hands shot into the air. Armand’s beefy digits and Aligot’s delicate fingers remained at their sides. But the will of the majority prevailed and within moments the small group began a clamorous chorus of “Gendarme!” (ME)

But their cries went unheard, drowned out by the strains of "La Marseilleuse" emanating from his iPod, a gift brought to him from the future by the zombie. (EE)

The day is long, the night, longer. Aligot sits in a corner, his smiling face incapable of showing emotion. He passes time playing syncopated blues on a recorder. Sleepless, they pretend a deck of cards and play.

"Cornhole! I got two pair of spots," said Dirk.

"On your manhood, foulmouth," Edouard wipes one oily hand on her apron. She holds her pretend card against her bosom.

"I'd like to bet a haircomb against your coxcomb, you piggy-eyed bastard," the hairdresser regretted his words.

"I'll have yee sweetmeats for breakfast. Jacks, I have. Jack's are wild." Edouard waved her cleaver at the hairdresser.

"Quit bickering, Anus. It's so annoying to listen to your constant... Needledick! Needeldick!" Dirk's mouth snapped shut and he held his breath.

"I wish I had a single dead king. I could use a bit of brain right now." Olivie the zombie couldn't hold the imaginary cards, nor could she imagine them with her lack of brains.

"Butter me buns with Stilton, your breath befouls the air and your death was abomination to scullery maids," the baker said. Olivie shifted to the form of Marie Antoinette.

"But my sweet baker, you always remind me beauty is only skin deep." Olivie sighed. Her breath curled the ends of her black toupee. The group threw their hands up and waved the air trying to move the stench out of the cell. Dirk coughed up something vile and spat it on the floor.

"Bugfucker! If there be any certainty of God giving meaning to a cold, dead and heartless existence as ours, FUCK! That life better surpass your cheap beauties in attractiveness or your ability to behave badly with impunity. Ass!"

"What?" several voices sounded together.

"Blow it out your ass, SIDEWAYS!" Dirk yelled back.

"I did." Olivie answered. "I died." (Dave)

It was hard to remember who was who and why they were here, thought the usually elusive Pimpernel. He looked at the damaged men surrounding him in this cell; at the reprehensible, excitable and foul women. He’d made a big mistake, a big mistake indeed, going to ground as a baker. And now, here he was. He had to find a way out of this, or face an untold amount of time with foul stench and even fouler mouths. He had to have some quiet in order to think; this cell was a madhouse.

First order of business – kill the most damaged of them all, the farm boy Dirk, and do it without lifting a finger. “Ah,” he said to himself, watching Dirk and Olivie. Perhaps that was the way.

One more outburst from Dirk, and Olivie would be enjoying his brains for breakfast. One down.

Then, with his legendary skills with women, he could, perhaps, convince the time traveler, Olivie, to bind herself tightly to him as she moved out of this time.

The baker turned to Olivie and smiled. He backed away slightly as he did so, trying his best to avoid her breath.

“Ah, but you’re right, my dear, dear Olivie,” the baker said. “Physical beauty is only skin deep. But this man, this scoundrel, this Dirk, with his foul breath, his foul mouth, and his foul temper, there’s no hope for him is there? He’s despicable, my dear, and so hard to be around.” The baker smiled. Ingratiating. He’d had to do it before.

“Fuckin asswipe cocksuck…..” were the last words Dirk uttered. His skull was split open with one swift cleaving motion.

One down, indeed. (Robin S.)

By day, Dirk peered up through the barred windows, head-height in the cell but ground-height outside. He gazed up at the guillotine, its bones frozen in silhouette against the sky, a dark sky girt in cloud solid as metal and refusing to reveal any cloud patterns that might enable him to foresee the future of the world, if not himself.

Around the guillotine sat its constant companions, the ladies, knitting constantly. There was one, younger than the others, blonde curls escaping her hood, who would glance down sometimes at the window, as if she saw him.

So the day the cell door opened to reveal her standing there, he pushed aside Aligot and Edouard, who immediately revealed herself as Olivie with a massive fart, and moved to stand before her.

"Monsieur," she said. "I hear you are a connoisseur of cheese. My . . . camembert is ripe and my husband is unable to . . . " She indicated behind her, where a small, shrivelled man stood, peering through the darkness.

"I have an arrangement with one of the guards," she said. "A private cell could be found. If you wished to test my camembert . . ."

He tested her camembert, filled his hands with her ripe pommes, but when it was all over and his foie gras satisfied, he lay back on the straw of the cell and wept for the lost LaRue and the bleak future his guillotine-friend had just offered him.

A future where he would act as the stunt double of Robespierre and bathe in front of the servants, so that Robespierre himself might wallow in the dirt he loved so, while all the while his household thought him as perfumed as the king. A future in which Dirk would have life, while Aligot hung, but a future in which he would never see La Rue again, or taste the wondrous fruit of her milk. (McKoala)

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