Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Being a ballpoint pen somewhat limits your abilities of communication

I don't know why, but it's about a thousand degrees hot in the Room-of-Requirement-Open-Browser-Computer-Lab here in the Romney building, which is where I am right now. I can feel the hydration being sucked out of me. The origonal plan was to go to the Mac Lab in the Spori to work on the NYC video, but there's a class in there right now, so I'm here writing a blog. But not just any blog. Here in this blog, I plan to present you with a short story.
Here's the deal. I started a short story this summer, but I can't quite decide what happens next. All of you are creative, spontaneous and talented writers, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to let you show what you're made of and help to write an ending. I've posted what I've written, and you send me your endings! I'll post your alternate endings here on the blog, and from there, we'll decide which one is the most liked. E-mail me your endings at my new blogger e-mail address, dinoblogger@yahoo.com. (BTW, please only use this address for things involving this blog.) And thus begins our story...

Once upon a time, ther was a ballpoint pen named Frederick. Of course, not many people knew his name was Frederick, as being a ballpoint pen, his abilities of communicating with human beings was rather limited.
This particular limitation, in fact, is at the very heart of our story's conflict.
Frederick's adventures began late on spring night, as he laid on the desk of Mr. Anthony Dowd of Dowd, Dowd, and Dowd Associates. The office was quiet, and a sort of calm serenity had descended upon Frederick, separating him from the well-lit street outside. He did not suspect for a moment that his peace was about to be shattered for quite some time.

In the infinite, swirling galaxies above Frederick, someone was leaning forward in his chair, staring intently at the screen in front of him. The image on the screen was, in fact, of a ballpoint pen, sitting on the desk of an earthman named Anthony Dowd.
The man in front of the screen glanced around him anxiously. The room was busy and crowded with people pushing buttons, unplugging wires, and looking at important numbers. No one took any notice of the man, which was precisely what he wanted.
He took a deep breath and pulled a small wire toward his mouth.
"This is Ex-Charlie Gamma-Spectre 40," he spoke into the wire.
"Ex-Charlie Gamma-Spectre 40 recognized," a robotic voice replied.
"Okay, listen, this is urgent," the man whispered. "I've got to send a message pod, but it's sort of...top secret. Can you deliver it without anybody knowing about it?"
"Affirmative," the robot voice said.
The man smiled. He decided it was unnecessary to mention the fact that the message was completely unauthorized. It was actually quite illegal.
"Open file Gamma-Spectre Planet Message."
"Retrieving file...opening file..."
"Wait!" he cried. "Don't open it! Just send it to Dowd, quadrants X-23, Y-47.18, Planet Charlie."
"Sending message pod...message delivered."
The man smiled again. He leaned back in his chair and was promptly hit over the head with a club and killed instantly.

Lightyears away, Anthony Dowd slept peacefully in his bed, his thoughts and dreams far from his only brother, who had run away from home when they were teenagers. he was completely unaware that his only brother had just been violently extinguished by a club to the head, in a spaceship in orbit several galaxies away. Fortunately, the hero of this story is neither Anthony Dowd nor his late brother.
Frederick the ballpoint pen gave a frightened start. This was a perfectly appropriate thing for him to do, as a metal cylinder had just blasted through the roof and landed on a nearby desk.
Before Frederick had time to recover from this first shock, he received a second. The metal cylinder had unfolded itself and began inflating something from within itself. After a moment, Frederick was able to recognize the inflating something as an old-timey phonograph. It was soon full-size, and within another moment, the inflatable needle had begun to move along the inflatable record, and a voice began speaking robotically.
"File Gamma-Spectre Planet Message: From Ex-Charlie Gamma-Spectre 40 to Anthony Dowd, quadrants X-23, Y-47.18 of Planet Charlie. Message commencing...please stand by..."
After a moment of static, Frederick heard a more human voice begin to speak.
"Anthony? Is this thing on? I can't tell. Well, let's say it is. Tony, hi, this is Andrew. Well, nowadays, they call me Ex-Charlie Gamma blah blah blah, but that's not the point. I haven't got much time, and neither do you for that matter. I've been up in space for a few years now...um, it's a long story, it involves a gerbil cage and a drastic misjudgement of character, but it all worked out and things are all right up here. Listen, I work in the Interstellar Communications Office, and I came across a message the other day that had your name on it. Apparently, someone wants to bring you up here for something, I'm not sure what, but they said something about killing you afterwards and then destroying the earth. Sorry to break a stony silence between kin this way, unpleasant news and all, but I thought I should warn you. This message is actually completely illegal, so if you could find some way to warn the people of earth that someone up here wants to destroy them, without telling them about getting a message from outer space, that'd be great. And hey, if you make it up here, look me up, I'd love to chat."
The phonograph collapsed into itself, and it and the metal cylinder disintegrated into dust and disappeared.
The only evidence remaining that anything had been there was the large hole in the ceiling.
A stunned silence filled the room. It was much different from the calm serenity that had been there a few minutes before.
Frederick laid in his place on the desk.
And thought.
And laid.
And thought.
This circular process continued until the wee small hours of the morning, and all the way until the dawn. Frederick was still laying and thinking when Anthony Dowd opened the door to his office and swore confusedly at the large hole in his ceiling. After a moment or two of inspection, Anthony Dowd started shuffling through papers, making phone calls, and pacing importantly. Frederick observed all of this wearily. It seemed to him that Anthony Dowd spent a lot of his time doing pointless things that only looked important.
Suddenly, Frederick's mind was hit with a startling thought. Having spent most of the night thinking, he was surprised that it did not occur to him before. The thought that occured to him was this:
"Good gracious. The fate on the entire planet rests in my hands alone."
Of course, this might not have been entirely true, as in the first place, he couldn't be sure that no one else had been warned, and in the second place, he didn't have hands.
But these are trifling matters when one thinks about the several billion lives ending if you gamble on assumptions.
Unfortunately for our hero, Frederick's realization caused him a great deal of distress. He was quite possibly the only individual on the planet who was aware of its impending destruction, and he was certainly unequipped to communicate this important fact. Nor was he properly equipped to warn Anthony Dowd of his soon-to-come abduction.
What was he to do? How could he warn the people of earth?

AND YOU DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! Send me your endings before the world is destroyed!

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