Thursday, June 16, 2005


Jonah: Thomas I want to write but I don't much feel like working on one of my stories. I need a prompt.
Thomas: You're lost in Northern Iresland
Thomas: A man wearing all red approaches you
Thomas: go from there

I guess I probably should never have gone to Ireland in the first place. I don't know what I expected to find. Little green men hiding their pots of gold behind rainbows? Well, yes. That was what I was hoping for I admit. But any insight into the origin of the mysterious fellow who'd turned up in my pantry last St. Patrick's Day would have been helpful.
The fact is that I did go to Ireland, and now I was lost. Not just "which way do I turn?" lost but "am I actually still in Ireland?" lost. I'd been walking through the hills all day and though they were very picturesque I was getting hungry and tired and desperately hoping for some sign of civilization.
That was when he found me. A man approached me, dressed in the garb of an 19th century gentleman in a full vest and tails (but without the top hat) all in varying (but complimentary) colors of red. He was tall and lanky and had straight black hair, with a clean shaven face and round ears.
"Hello, sir," he said in a rich British accent, "You look to be a tad lost."
"More than a tad," I admitted greatfully, "Could you perhaps tell me how to get home?"
"I could indeed, dear sir, but nothing in this world is without a price. I myself have run into a spot of trouble around here and need a far away place to stay for a spell. Since you look to be a foreigner (an American I daresay) I wonder if you might offer your home?"
Well that certianly was not the fee I had expected, but in many ways I was gratified. After all, I had an extra room since Amelia left, and I wouldn't mind having a guest to take my mind off things. And of course, I thought, he might be some help with the Leprechaun problem. So I agreed.
The man (who introduced himself as Lord John Godfry) showed me that I was not, in fact, very far from a small Irish town where we stayed the night, agreeing to head to the airport in the morning. Oddly enough, this proved unneccessary as I woke up the next morning in my own bed. Confused, I walked downstairs to my kitchen where I discovered Lord Godfry still dressed as before and eating a bowl of Captian Crunch.
"I hope you don't mind," he said between bites, "But I'm not terribly fond of those airplanes so I got us home in my own way, which was after all a tad faster."
"But," I asked incredulously, "How did you -"
"Well, I suppose I should fess up. There are some things I kept from you before my boy. I have a few slgihtly unnormal abilities on account of being, as they say, one of the Yriaf folk."
"The Yriaf folk?"
"Yes, Yriafs, Fles, Ixips, Emongs, and, like myself, the Nuahcerpels."
I was very confused of course. I had never heard of any of these things, so I said so.
"I thought that might be the case," he replied, "Well, have you heard of the Fairy folk?"
"A little bit. Elves and that sort of thing?"
"Exactly. We are the counterbalancing force to the fairy folk - we're just as magical, but we're as different as night and day, and we tend to be on not-very-good terms with them. My people, for instance are the sworn enemies of the leprechauns. That's why I needed to hide out here. There certianly won't be any leprechauns around here. Anyway, it's only for a few days."
Having finished his cereal, he got up to put the box back in the pantry. I stood up.
"Let me get that for you," I said, "You are my guest after all." Taking the Captian Crunch back to the pantry, I found inside the one creature I had least hoped to encounter.
"That's a decent cereal, m'lad, but are ya sure don't want to try some Lucky Charms?"
"If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times. I don't like Lucky Charms. Now I need to talk to you. You really need to leave my house."
"You jist want me to leave so ye can follow me to me pot o' gold, but I won't be havin' with it. I'm stayin'."
"I have already removed all the beer and Lucky Charms from the house; I know you're here, and you've ceased to be anything more than an annoyance. Why are you still here?"
At that point, as I knew he would, he smiled mischieviously and disappeared. It was just then that Lord Godfry appeared behind me.
"Whoever were you talking to in here?" he asked.
"I talk to myself, when I'm trying to decide on breakfast," I lied quickly, "It's an old habit."
"I see. Well, I'm going to go check out the sights of the city, I'll likely be back around 11 for tea."
"Can't say I have tea."
"Well, I'll pick some of that up too then. Ta-ta."
And he was off. I supposed he was going to get the money out of the box of silver at the begining of the, of the, whatever the opposite of a rainbow is. It didn't matter. The fact was that I had a problem. Two sworn enemies living in my house, one whom I was honor-bound to harbor and the other that I simply couldn't get rid of. I would have to take care of this somehow. At least work thought I was still in Ireland so I had a few days off. I went to the library and, not surprisingly, found no information about Nuahcerpels. I did do some more research on leprechauns and found nothing especially helpful. At 11:30 I decided to head home.

I definitely promised myself I wouldn't start anything new, so I'm terribly sorry about this. It just sort of happened and I'm not ready to finish it yet.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

TNT: Ch. 52

I'm sure I look truly pathetic to all of you right now, raving about my new resolve and then forgetting it after one post. There is in fact a good explanation, which most of you already know. If not, I'll probably write a post about it on WKoL sooner or later. The other reason is that I've actually had the draft of this chapter on my computer for several days, but a plot point I've been trying to work has failed to come together. I had planned to reveal that Ming was not in fact a legal immigrant, and that the FBI had discovered this while searching for Vlad. Ultimately I dismissed this for two reasons: (A) I don't know enough about immigration laws to write it believably and (B) It would be introducing a very serious plotline to my two comic relief characters and I didn't want to do that. So I've rewritten the end of this chapter and I will accomplish what I sought to accomplish with the immigration plotline a bit differently. This is a breakthrough for me as I almost never rewrite in this story; I let it go where it will and try to make it work later.

Sure enough, Eric awoke at 5:45 the next morning, but he wasn't sure whether to wake Gina. He hated the idea of her waking up to find no one there, but he wanted to get into town and get the paper quickly and didn't think it would be kind to wake her. Ultimately he decided to leave her out there while he went in to get the bike.
Erivc thought about the previous night as he walked back to the garage. Gina had certianly seemed less guarded then normal; more feminine. He wondered if this was a residual affect of the drug or if she was just breaking down. He hoped she wasn't breaking down.
But then, her concerns were realistic enough, he thought, getting on the bike and donning the helmet. She was a person without a place now, with her old home now in the dubious hands of her slimy brother. That was one place Eric intended to steer clear of.
The bike handled well on grass and dirt, so Eric thought he'd swing by Gina in case she'd woken up. Sure enough, she was sitting up beneath her blanket.
"Where're you going?" she yawned.
"Into town to get that paper. I'm anxious to know where we're going next."
"Good plan. I'm going inside to take a shower."
"Alright, see you in an hour or two." He started to head for the road.
"Wait!" said Gina suddenly, "About last night. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get so... emotional on you."
"It's alright," he replied, "You've had a tough week."
"But still, thanks for being there."
"Any time."
And he was off.

Meanwhile, inside the house, Vlad and Ming were waking up.
"So Ming," Vlad asked, "Who is covering for you at work?"
"The temp I hired was working very very well," she said, "So I hired him full time. I figured with the extra staff I could take the time off when Velma called me about the reunion."
"Does this mean I no longer have a job?"
"It means you have, I'll call it, extended sabbatical. Since you are using that man's credit card on your quest, you no need pay anyhow."
Vlad thought about this for a minute. All things considered it was fair enough. Though he wondered how much credit Master Lin had actually given them.
"How long you staying here?" Ming asked.
"Well, we don't know where we're going next, but I think I'm going to stay with the family a while if Eric doesn't mind. As much as I care about the quest, we've always said 'Family First.' Why back when we first came to this country, Elvis and I would always pick each other first in the dodgeball games, even though we did not play dodgeball well, because family is important to us. Why I remember one game where It was just Elvis and I left on opposite teams, me on my side and he on his, and we both got ourselves out so the other one could win. Of course, we both lost in the end, or else both won - nobody really knew so I guess it worked out ok."
At that point, Vlad noticed that Ming was no longer in the room and went off to put some pant on and head downstairs.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

TNT: Ch. 51

Eric discovered before he went to bed that, as he suspected, the newspaper did not actually deliver to Elvis's homestead. This was not surprising, given the situation with the national park. Nonetheless, Eric secured permission to borrow Elvis's bike and resolved to go on a nice early morning bike ride into town to get a paper, and be back with the clue when everyone else got up. He was exhausted, but he'd been getting up at the crack of dawn to farm for the last 3 days anyway and his body wasn't likely to be able to sleep late anyway.
In fact he wasn't able to sleep at all. He knew that Vlad sang opera in his sleep, so it was not entirely unexpected when the family Berljottsen turned out to be like the New York Metropolitan Opera when the lights went out. That didn't make it any less frustrating. Apparently it ran in the family. Finally Eric got up, restless, and went downstairs to the Ringo to get the sleeping bag he had packed back in Indy. When he got to the car, he found an unfamiliar bundle in the back seat. It turned out to be Gina.
"Couldn't sleep either?" she asked, raising her voice to get over the four different Arias and chorus numbers drifting out from the house.
"How could anyone?"
"I thought it would be better out here, but it isn't. What do you say we go out and sleep under the stars?"
"Sounds great," replied Eric.
"I wonder about Andrew and Ming," asked Gina, as they distanced themselves from the house, "How do they adapt to that? I mean could you do that?"
"I suppose you can get used to a lot of things, if you're in love," Eric pointed out, "Let's stop here. It's close enough that we're not likely to get eaten, but you can see the stars and you can barely hear the opera."
"Mmk," she replied, laying out her blanket.
Eric layed his sleeping bag out a few feet away. It was at that point he realized he'd forgotten his pillow. He shared this fact with Gina, who tossed him hers.
"No, I didn't mean- I'll just go back inside and-"
"It's fine," she said, "I slept in a shipping crate on my way out of the complex. I'm tough. Plus it's the least I can do for you. Without you I'd be spending tonight in Rob's bed, and enjoying it."
Eric blushed. He didn't know what to say to that, and for a while they were both silent, listening to the sounds of the night, the chirping of the crickets, the wind in the trees, and just the faintest hint of Verdi's Anvil Chorus.
"The stars are pretty tonight," Gina pointed out.
Another silence followed, and Gina decided finally to say what was on her mind.
"Eric, what happens when this is all over?"
"I mean, sooner or later we'll collect all these pieces, and Master Lin will build a toaster, and then what? I mean, you and Vlad have your jobs to get back to, so it's easy enough to say, 'That was fun now back to my life,' but I don't have anything else." She was fighting back tears now. "I don't have a home, or a family, or any marketable skills. I mean I could go back and try to make it on Broadway, but I've never really sung or acted before except in my dad's religious plays and I don't think he cast me for any reason other than that I was his daughter, and oh, I just don't know what to do anymore!"
Eric tossed her the pillow back as she broke down. She seemed to need the comfort more than he did.
"It'll be alright, Gina. Just think what would have happened if you hadn't found me and Vlad. You'd either be struggling in New York or Rob would have caught you. But you found us, and then when you did get taken back we followed you and we stopped your dad from exploiting all those people! This whole thing is prophesied, and there's something bigger than toasters happening here, and you have to believe it's gonna work out! I mean, I'm in the same boat as you. I haven't been in to work since I left on this quest, and when I called them they gave me one last chance and I didn't show. I'm out of a job, too. Yet I can't help but feel like it's gonna work out. Things are gonna be okay."
Gina seemed unconvinced. She was crying now. Eric tried a different line as he went over to comfort her.
"If we can make a good, just toaster that makes good toast all the time, we can do anything. And no matter how this whole quest works out, we'll always have each other. I'm not going to just go back to work and leave you in the dust, and neither will Vlad or Master Lin. We'll take care of you until you get back on your feet. We're a team now. We take care of each other."
Gina looked up at Eric, on whose shoulder she'd just been crying.
"It's a big pillow," she said, "Let's share it."
So they spent the night side by side under the stars. In truth Eric was as worried as Gina about the future, but he had hit on one thing that he knew was true. From here on out, they would have each other.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

TNT Recap Continued

Maybe I will try to finish this tonight, so I can provide new content tomorrow.
Ch. 26: We meet Vlad's manager, Ming, who is also his wife. Vlad argues his way into time off without losing his job.

Ch. 27: Gina does some thinking, while hog-tied in the back of a pick-up truck. She resolves to play along in the hopes of helping the guys gain entrance into the cult complex.

Ch. 28: Eric and Vlad are killed by a mysterious man and Gina is sold into slavery. The End.

Ch. 28 (Really): April Fools! Disregard the last chapter 28. Eric and Vlad discover Gina's absence, and Vlad leaves his home to pick up Eric. Master Lin is unhelpful.

Ch. 29: Eric and Vlad track the Ringo Harrison to the gas station using the cell phone.

Ch. 30: Eric and Vlad encounter the cops and realize how complicated their predicament is from a legal standpoint.

Ch. 31: Eric and Vlad explain their story to Chief Jack Silverstien, a helpful cop, who also tells them that FBI agents are coming to investigate and that they should leave before they get there since they'll probably be dumb.

Ch. 32: Gina is rescued from her kidnappers by Rob and her brother, who are regrettably taking her home anyway. It turns out her kidnapper was an enemy of her father's, a mysterious man with a big black moustache who probably would not have taken her home.

Ch. 33: Everyone sleeps except the Berljottsen's neighbor and captain Silverstien, who is talking to the FBI agents. They decide that the best thing to do is take Eric and Vlad into custody.

Ch. 34: Eric wakes Vlad with Ming's help and they head to the police station, where they discover the FBI agents' plan and decide to leave before they get the chance to enact it.

Ch. 35: Eric and Vlad leave in the Ringo Harrison for the hotel parking lot in Ohio in pursuit of Gina.

Ch. 36: (Posted one year ago today) Eric and Vlad, following the lobster's lead, make it to the cult complex in Maine.

Ch. 37: Eric leaves all his possessions with Vlad and goes in posing as a recruit. He claims to have found the Whey through a vision. It seems to work, as he is taken to see a "very special man."

Ch. 38: Vlad gets lost in the forest and calls Master Lin, who gives him advice that is not relevant. We discover that even masters make mistakes sometimes.

Ch. 39: Eric meets Gina's father, as well as a changed Gina, who now appears brainwashed by the cult. Eric also drinks some tea, and is invited to Gina's wedding in four days.

Ch. 40: Fleeing cult members, Vlad hurls the lobster in the direction of the complex, hops in the car, and drives off.

Ch. 41: Eric meets Kyle, Gina's brother, who tells him about the mind control drug that keeps the place running. They agree to work together to rescue Gina.

Ch. 42: Vlad encounters the FBI agents in a hotel lobby.

Ch. 43: Eric rendevous with Kyle and is informed of his part in the plan: to stand up and make an objection at the wedding. He is also given an antidote for the mind-control drug.

Ch. 44: Eric rendevous with Kyle, picks up the lobster, and shows up at Gina's wedding.

Ch. 45: The wedding happens, sort of. It's interrupted by Vlad, FBI in tow and then by an unruly mob of suddenly undrugged cultists. Eventually the Feds take Gina's father, Milton, away. Gina, meanwhile, still insists she loves Rob and not Eric, tells him she hates him and runs off. Kyle than reveals that this was his sick plan all along and now that he's in charge they can take the artifact (but not Gina) and go.

Ch. 46: This chapter contains a lot of great speeches and a recap wouldn't so it justice, plus this thing's getting hella long. Suffice it to say Eric gets Gina back and the artifact. She also kisses him.

Ch. 47: The final resolution of the cult plotline is Rob's forgiveness of Eric and letting go of Gina. It's very touching.

Ch. 48: A call to Master Lin reveals that a clue will be in tomorrow's news. In the mean time, they agree to stay at Vlad's friend's house to save money.

Ch. 49: Eric, Gina, and Vlad turn into a state park and learn about Vlad's brother Elvis.

Ch. 50: Eric and Gina meet Vlad's entire family and resolve to get away from it ASAP

And then for a long time, nothing happened. Inspiration failed to strike. I totally abandoned this story for 3 months in favor of other things. Good things, but other things nonetheless. And then I decided to write this recap and rediscovered this wonderful story. I'd invite you all to reread it too, but the important thing is that tomorrow, or perhaps even tonight, I'm going t0 write an update. And after that, I'm going to pick up the biweekly update schedule I had so long ago. Perhaps not Toaster every time. Some Mortimer I'm sure, and I may have to run the sci-fi story as filler, but I will update twice weekly this summer. And into the school year with any luck.

House Cleaning

Ok, it's time to straighten this place up. First off: reports on Stories

Do I Dare Remember?: Consider Nate's update canon. Or don't. Bottom line: I have no plans to finish the story at this time. I had no ending in mind, no ending came to mind, and unless a mind-bogglingly good one comes up, I will not be finishing this story.

Mortimer: I will be finishing this one, and I hope to make it shorter than Toaster significantly.

The New Toaster: It's been so long, even I don't remember things and I'm sure you all don't. So I'm going to spend today recapping and begin updating in earnest after that.

Sci-Fi Story: Last November, I participated in NaNoWriMo and created an unfinished 22,000 word sci-fi story. I can start posting it here in chunks, or not, but I'd like to know what you (my readers if I still have any) want.

Stand Alone Stories: Expect to see more of these, as brevity is a skill I'm currently trying to hone.

Poetry: Someone told me today that I'm good at poetry. Would you like to find out? I've always wanted to write a sonnet or an epic.

So, now, the TNT recap (or as far as I get into it):

Ch. Prologue: We are introduced to Eric Smellick, and the fact that he's buying a new toaster, because his old toaster had exploded. Eric first rants about a just, kind toaster.

Ch. 1: Eric asks Vlad to find him a good, just toaster, and Vlad says that none exist. Eric's fiery wrath draws Vlad into his quest and they leave, Vlad telling Jack to cover for him.

Ch. 2: We learn of Vlad's verbacious nature and his Norwegian background. We also learn why he's called Vlad despite being Norwegian. Eric realizes he needs a place to go and turns in desperation to the box his old toaster came in, and they head to Wheatsfield.

Ch. 3: Vlad and Eric pick up a cute hitchiker on the way to Wheatsfield, and Eric, not wanting too much alone time with Vlad, convinces her to come to Wheatsfield instead of Broadway. Her name is Annette, but you (and Eric and Vlad) can call her Gina.

Intermezzo: Jonah tries to cover up for a glitch resulting from his complete lack of story planning, while nothing important happens.

Ch. 4: Eric has an epiphany and, to quote CJ, a "sudden arboreal stop." (That is to say, he crashes everyone into a tree. What was I thinking?)

Ch. 5: Gina and Vlad arrive in Wheatsfield via Ambulance. Gina decides to stay with Vlad, even though she doesn't need to.

Ch. 6: Eric's insurance companies are realistically unhelpful, so the car just gets towed to a junkyard. Eric rides along and, while in the junkyard, has a schizophrenic confrontation with his old toaster, which he ultimately drop kicks into the air. He heads off to the hospital, while Hank and Jeb make snide remarks.

Ch. 7: Gina pretends to be Vlad's fiance so she can sleep in his room and thus gain free lodging. She slips her ring onto his finger.

Ch. 8: Eric arrives at the hospital and starts to rant, but Gina shushes him and storms out. He starts ranting again and Vlad wakes up. Eric runs after Gina.

Ch. 9: The toaster Eric dropkicked two chapters ago knocks out Rob Bluntz, a cult member with a pet Sacred Lobster. He's using the lobster to locate something or someone and it has brought him to Wheatsfield. When Rob falls, the lobster scuttles off.

Ch. 10: Eric finds Gina and convinces her to come with him to the factory in the morning. They spend the night at a stranger's house. (Not together - it's not that kind of story.)

Ch. 11: Vlad wakes up to find the lobster on his finger and discovers a mysterious ring (the one Gina slipped on him.) Vlad, the ring, and the lobster check out of the hospital.

Ch. 12: The whole team meets up, Vlad discovers that the ring came from Gina, and we learn two interesting things about the lobster- that Gina is irrationally freaked out by it and that it follows Vlad like a loyal puppy.

Ch. 13: The whole party enters the Imini complex and makes an appointment with Ti Wao Lin, a toaster developer Vlad knows of. He says something mysterious.

Ch. 14: One of my favorite chapters; the historic meeting with Master Lin. The party encounters the old man teaching a class, and then he speaks to each of them by name, tells them their coming was foretold, and asks them what their quest is. When Eric tells him, he informs them that he can forge the toaster if they can bring these pieces (remember them; they're imporant): the Golden Handle of Grace, the Iron Springs of Life, the Heating Element of the Eternal Flame, and the Casing of a Lost Soul. They agree to go on the quest.

Ch. 15: Gina and Eric go for Starbucks and she refuses to tell him about her past. He tells about his, but it's chronically boring. Just then, Rob arrives at the Starbucks and Gina flees through the back door, setting off the fire alarm and getting seperated from Eric.

Ch. 16: Hijinx occur with Rob and Vlad. They result in Rob discovering that Vlad has Gina's ring and the lobster, but getting neither; and the readers discovering that Rob is out to marry Gina (whose name is Annette) and that he wears an identical ring. This is a particularly funny chapter, if you don't mind my saying so.

Ch. 17: The mad hijinx involving the coffee shop continue. Gina goes looking for Eric, who went to the coffee shop looking for Vlad, who just finished talking to Rob, who's off looking for Gina. Vlad deduces that Eric is in love with GIna and gives the infamous cod analogy, before revealing that Rob is engaged to Gina.

Ch. 18: Everyone meets up, Gina reveals the truth: Her father is a cult leader, she ran away, and Rob (and the lobster) were sent to bring her home. They all meet up with Master Lin, as well as with Hank and Jeb. After Eric settles his score with the latter, the former reveals his gift to the travelers: The RIngo Harrison, a car assembled from two Beetles. So equipped, they set off.

Ch. 19: The party tries to decide where they might find these pieces, and Vlad tells a story. I'm not going to recap it, but I'll give you a link. The story will become important rather soon, but I'll recap it within the story.

Ch. 20: Gina tells her story, which explains some valuable background about the cult and about her. But it's really not that important at this point, except that they decide to go back to her home to retrieve the Bristol Ip or the Red Snake, which is most likely the Heating Element of the Eternal Flame.

Ch. 21: Not a whole lot happens. Questions are raised about the supernaturalness of the lobster.

Ch. 22: Bed Hijinx occur, introducing us to Vlad's pension for nocturnal opera and Eric's infatuation with Gina.

Ch. 23: They decide to stop in Indy for a night and come up with a bunch of crappy plans for stealing the artifact.

Ch. 24: Gina drops Eric and Vlad off at their respective homes, then goes to the gas station, where she runs into Rob and is then kidnapped by a mysterious man in her back seat.

Ch. 25: With help from Master Lin, Eric quits his job.

And this brings us halfway through the story so far. Tomorrow, the other half, and after that the continuation wil begin.