Saturday, July 12, 2008

New Beginning 527

"You took MetalCrack again." Colby sat up on the bed and pointed to the metal computer connector over Skylar's solar plexus. Skylar hid the metal with his hands and avoided eye contact.

"No I didn't. This connector's an artifact, a dream."

"Dream my ass, Sky. Connectors mean active nanomachines." He pulled Skylar's hand away from the connector. "You found a junky with a rig and spent the night racing cops again. Didn't you?" Skylar mumbled, began to invent a lie. He looked into Colby's eyes and sat next to Colby. He slumped over, too tired to argue.

"I couldn't stop myself. Bit-Boy rigged up a little tiny dirt bike out in the desert. No roads. No cops to chase me down. Nothin' but trails an' sand."

"Cops aren't the only danger. Spending hours wired up while nanomachines convert your nerves to metal is dangerous. We know how MetalCrank addiction ends; the driver crashes and dies." Colby held Skylar's head to his chest.

“You’re over-reacting. It’s just computers.” Skylar coughed. “This stuff’s been around for years; I can ha ha ha ha ha handle it.”

“What?” Colby pushed his friend away. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing. I’m fi fi fi fi fi fi fine.”

“You didn’t? Skylar, you idiot, tell me you didn’t--”

Skylar coughed again; his face went blank and his eyes rolled back into his head.

“Jesus, Skylar! I’ve seen this before! I-- You--”

Skylar belched loudly. His lips turned bright blue and he keeled over backwards, dead.

“You idiot.” Colby shook his head. “I can’t believe you used MentalCrank for Windows.”

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: anon.


Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuations:

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

His wife was the first to succumb. She listened to the advertising and longed for more. He told her he loved her just like she was, but she wouldn't listen.

Abs Of Steel

Buns Of Steel

Nerves Of Steel

Then, one day, she was walking past the wrecking yard with her perfect body, reveling in the wolf whistles and appreciative stares. The electro-magnet swung by to pick up a crushed auto and it got her body of steel instead.

He thought he threw all those damned tapes away, but Sky found a way to indulge in the same addiction that had demolished his mother.

--Julie Weathers

Skylar's eyes fluttered playfully. "Now that being said, a man walks into a bar with a duck under his arm and says - I can fart the National Anthem."

--Dave F.


This is what Metalcrank can do to a loved one. If you or someone you know is addicted to Metalcrank, please get help. Call 1-888-DONT-DIE now, before it's too late. Because having nerves of steel isn't all it's cranked up to be.


A leer spread across Skylar's deeply scarred face. Then his pupils started to shimmer and bob as if on a breezy body of water.

Quietly,and directed inward-- as if reassuring himself that what he'd done was alright within the confines of his own values, his own ideations--he began to sing...

"Metalcrack porn, and I don't care... Metalcrack porn and I don't care..."

...continuing on into oblivion.

--Scott from Oregon

Man, thought Skylar, the GameAnon guys were tougher than he'd expected.


"What am I going to do with you, boy?" Colby stroked Skylar's hair. "You want to end up like me? Hardwired? Metal nerves are hell. Oh sure, you might pick up free satellite radio through your rectum, but what good is that when you're a walking lightning rod?"

Skylar looked up at Colby. "What?"

"You heard me. That's the life you have to look forward to if you don't crash and burn. Always wondering when the next storm will roll through; always on edge around microwave ovens. And don't get me started on airport security."

--Gordon C.

Skylar rolled his eyes, glad Colby couldn't see his face. Colby was a walking ABC Afterschool Special—bright eyes, shining, clean face, and a 4.0 GPA. And he thought he knew everything.

But Skylar kept his head against Colby's chest. He didn't want to screw this up. He needed cash.


Skylar wrapped his arms around Colby's head while a nanomachine robot force entered Colby's ear and attacked his nervous system.

"Welcome to the collective, Dad," said Skylar.

--Bill H.

There had to be some way out of here, some way out of this hell. Colby gently rocked Skylar to sleep.

A loud, insistent beeping startled them both. COLBY, a sign said.

He lurched to his feet, resigned. Maybe this time he'd be able to get away before being shot. He'd be dead soon, no doubt.

Why did the god Wii torment them?


"Doesn't have to end that way," Skylar mumbled, his breath warm against Colby's ribs.

Colby felt a twinge of hope that was almost painful. "You'll give it up, Sky?" He stroked Skylar's tangled hair.

"Not what I meant." Skylar grunted, and his body shook the bed. "See, the nanomachines are smart. They want to keep on living, reproducing."

Colby's chest hurt with grief. "But the nanos won't keep you alive."

"Sure they will. They just need more fuel. Like a fresh body."

Colby realized that he was only holding Skylar's head. The rest of Sky's body was a silvery, mercurial mass liquifying over the bed and pooling around Colby's feet. Colby's chest hurt because Sky's head was merging into it.

The head kept talking. "Relax, Colby. We'll be together this way, an artifact, a dream."


Evil Editor said...

Spending hours wired up while nanomachines convert your nerves to metal is dangerous. We know how MetalCrank addiction ends; the driver crashes and dies."

If we know it, there's no need to say it. Unless the reader doesn't know it.

Also, it's spelled MetalCrack the first time and MetalCrank the second. (And MentalCrank the third.)

Anonymous said...

This probably represents yet another genre of which I'm sadly unaware, but I liked it. If it's not a known genre (something like Urban Metal), then I'd call it Dave Genre. You never know what you'll get in Dave Genre, but it's always fun.

Julie's continuation was great.

--Bill H.

writtenwyrdd said...

Love that continuation!

I like this a lot, author. Very inventive twist on being cybernetically wired. I think it's got enough there for me to know what's going on, but I strongly suggest you slow it down a touch and add more description of the scene into that opening.

Sarah Laurenson said...

This is fun and interesting. EE pointed out my nit. I'd read on.

Dave F. said...

The Friday nightmare - how many continuations would there be, one, a thousand or forty two.

The continuations are all good. It'l take me a day or two to think about all of them. Deep Freudian analysis.

EE - We know how MetalCrank addiction ends; the driver crashes and dies. - This was always an awkward sentence in my mind. But, I need to establish the action of the drug. I think the solution is to change a chunk of the story. There is another ending for these two -- find a way to do the drug legally and suffer the consequences with his friend/lover.

Metalcrack, metalcrank -- ooops. Sorry about that.

Bill, thanks.

WrittenWord -- It's just a plain bedroom. But it does deserve a half dozen words. thanks.

Kiersten said...

I remember this passage from a while ago. It seems much improved to me this time around--good job.

Scott from Oregon said...

I'm still singing metal crack porn, and I don't care, meal crack porn, and I don't care...

and it is your fault Dave!

Dave F. said...

I told EE just to use that line from your continuation. It's funny.

Dave F. said...

I had to revise this anyway.

The noise of Skylar's entry woke Colby. He sat up on the lone bare mattress in the cheap apartment and pointed to the metal computer connector over Skylar's solar plexus. "You took MetalCrack again." Skylar hid the connector with his hands and avoided eye contact.

"No, the connector's an artifact, a dream figment." Skylar looked around the one-room apartment for a glass. He filled it with tapwater and drank, twice.

"Dream my ass, Sky." He pulled Skylar's hand away from the connector. "You found a junky with a rig. I listened to it the scanner. The cops nearly caught you. Didn't they?" Skylar mumbled, began to speak, then looked into Colby's eyes and slumped over next to him, too tired to argue, too tired to lie.

"I couldn't stop. It's speed, raw horsepower, steel..."

"Until you crash and I get to identify the pieces." Colby held Skylar's head to his chest. He felt flushed and dry, dehydrated. His heart raced. Bad signs. Colby pulled him closer.

"Aw Col, it's not like I'm riding a big hog in the city. The nanomachines don't kill; they just make the body feel good. It's just a dirt bike, a thousand nanos. The metallization is controllable." Skylar shivered. Colby ran his finger around the connector. Skylar gasped at its sensitivity and then drew away in shame.

"You stole everything." Colby pushed him away. "...And you have the balls to come into our bed with the nanomachines still active."

"I'm losing it Col. Can't stop. The pushers know me. They got big bikes I can't resist. Don't turn away from me, please Col. You don’t understand. You don't know how it feels, can't know..." He lay against Colby. "Don't turn your back on me. You're my only hope. Come ride wit' me tomorrow night. If you do, I'll make it my last ride." Skylar sobbed himself to sleep. Colby remained still until he Skylar's breathing slowed and his heartbeat slowed to normal. He looked at Skylar's eyes as they darted in REM sleep.

"I know a man, Sky. His name is Bit-Boy. He needs men for the bikes. He ain't got roads. No cop chases. He's got a rig out there. All the Metalcrack and nanomachines you need. I'm nothing without you. I'll do what it takes to keep us together... I've been too afraid... We'll do it... tomorrow... in the desert... " A tear ran down Colby's cheek. Afraid of the outcome, he'd put this off too long. He almost lost Skylar tonight. Skylar slept in his arms, dreaming of motorcycles, wheelies, races and speed, above all, the power of speed. Colby didn't sleep. The very thought of what he had to do gave him nightmares.

There's the context of the opening. It's been sitting in my "revision" folder and waiting. Posting it like this forces me too look at it in different typeface with odd spacing. That's a technique for seeing faults and errors.

Then I think, how can I relate to the reader Colby's regrets in one sentence? Where does that fit -- here or later? Do the two characters fit the rest of the story or have I changed their temperament and maybe their dialog?

Writing is a pain in the ass, ain't it.

batgirl said...

I followed this pretty well except for the connector (reminiscent of the sockets in Delany's Nova) being called a figment. Does that mean Skylar is claiming that Colby's hallucinating?

Dave F. said...

Gotcha, thanks Batgirl.