Short story: Flagship Character

The Anchorite's writing assignment for me today was to write something about his character Claire. She's a very deep character, a pivotal player in a dark fantasy epic. She is a lesbian who breaks all the fan service conventions. Her characterization explores love and pain and loss in unexpected ways. So, of course, this had to be a comedy piece.

Flagship Character

"Oh, no--" Claire clutched her stomach as a string of noisy eruptions choked off her words and she vomited a half liter of clear broth. In the zero gravity of space, it formed a small galaxy of floating globules. 
Twitch slid out out his lounging area. It was a shelf padded with goose-down and upholstered in silk. Stretchy netting covered the pad, allowing a cat to snuggle in and be held against it, creating a comforting illusion of gravity. Mr. Kitten invented it.
Twitch pushed off against the pad and floated to Claire. He used his claws to hold onto her flight suit and sniffed at a sphere. He licked it tentatively. "You're kinda sick," he said sympathetically and gave Claire his version of a kiss, which was to push his nose and mouse against her eye. Claire wiped a droplet of broth from her eyelash.

"You shouldn't have let go of the handhold," he advised as he turned his body around until his butt was up against Claire's face. "Now you're stranded, just like your barf bubbles, because you don't have anything to push off against." 

A vomit globe burst against the back of Claire's head as Twitch used his back legs to push off against her neck and face. The cat's motion moved Claire with an equal and opposite amount of force, but because of Twitch's much smaller mass, the movement did not get her near a handhold. It merely made her slowly rotate.

Twitch landed back at his lounge and winked at Mr. Kitten. "Did you know William Shakepeare invented the word puking?" 

Claire turned a little more green. "Don't talk to me about Shakespeare," Mr. Kitten said, turning away. Claire let out a breath.

Kitten cocked his head and turned back. "Actually, that's interesting. Did you know Chaucer was the first to use the words digestion and laxative?" 

Claire swallowed.

Twitch shrugged out of his lounge again and bounced over to Mr. Kitten's, taking a circuitous and sickening route that Claire followed with watery eyes. 

"That's quite a hotchpotch collection of words, Mr. Kitten."

"He invented the word hotchpotch too."

"Seriously?" Twitch asked. 

"Actually, Chaucer--" Kitten stopped and high-fived Twitch. Chaucer also invented the word seriously.

Because of the spin introduced by Twitch's movement, Claire was now looking at the cats upside down. Kitten blinked at her impassively for a moment, then he said, "Chaucer also invented poop and fart." 

Claire threw up again.
Heather rushed in from the other module. "Oh, sweetheart, I just saw you on the monitor. Why didn't you call me? Poor thing." Heather looked at the spheres. They were all perfectly round now and the ship's lights illuminated each golden globe with a holiday effect. Heather deftly gathered all of them into a plastic bag for disposal, biting her lip and trying to suppress her joy of moving in space.

"I'm so sorry, honey. I never knew you got motion sickness like this."

Claire closed her eyes. "It's space sickness. And since I'm a character in a sword and sorcery dark fantasy novel, I really never had occassion to learn I was subject to it."

Heather nodded. "I was meaning to ask you why we're in a spaceship."

Claire pressed her lips together. "My author, the Anchorite, suggested that Chris Hugh write a story with me in it."


"And he called me his flagship character and Chris misread flagship as spaceship."

Twitch tumbled out of his lounge crying "Shakespeare!" rather than the more traditional Geronimo! and began springing around the chamber. "That Chris! She's such a beldam brainsick duchess!"

Kitten rocketed out in pursuit of Twitch. "Not he's not! He's a burly-boned clown and a bolting hutch of beastliness!"

Twitch laughed. "And you're a shag-haired crafty kern!" 

"You're a swollen parcel of dropsies!" 

The cats bounced around the ship, shouting Shakespearean insults and trying to catch each other.

Heather helped Claire into a sleeping bag. Now that Claire's stomach was empty she felt better.
Heather stroked her cheek. "I'm sorry the Anchorite keeps having Chris Hugh write you. You always end up the butt of that crazy writer's sick jokes."

As Claire kissed Heather's cheek, she caught a glimpse of the cats. They were trying to fight, but because of the zero gravity, they just bounced off each other. 

"I'm glad Anchorite had Chris write me," Claire said. "If he hadn't, I never would have met you." She looked at the cats and laughed as one of them called the other the son and heir of a mongrel she-dog. "And I wouldn't have met them."

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Anton Fitzgibbons

As faithful readers know, Anton Fitzgibbons is the uptight Chaircat of the Internets. Here's a story with him.

The Interview

"In five years?" The woman smiled a practiced smile. "Well, in five years I see myself further along in my career. I'll probably be married by then..."

Anton's face darkened.

"...and I'll be starting a fam--"

"Thank you," Anton said, looking pointedly at the door. The applicant sat in the stiff-backed chair, her smile faltering. Anton stared at her as he pressed the intercom button. "Send in the next applicant please, Mr. Johnson."

* * *

"How do I define success?" The next applicant plucked a soft gray cat hair from her immaculate black business suit. "Well, as the CEO of a major software company, I'd want to create a mission statement to address that question. What was that? Why I spend a great deal of time at home." She pulled out her iPhone and brought up a calendering app. "10.8 hours per day, in fact, which is longer than it seems because I only sleep 4.2 hours per night, yielding a total home/awake time of 6.6 hours. Yes, I don't let the grass doesn't grow under my feet."

She also did not let the door hit her on the way out.

* * *

The third applicant answered every question quickly and well and was rejected.


"In five years, I see myself sitting in a chair, petting you."

Anton make a checkmark on his notepad.

"I guess I'm not much of a success." The fourth applicant smiled. "I have a temp job and I'm unemployed a lot. I guess success will be when I can work from home."

Anton made another check mark.

The applicant struggled over the final question. "Counters are okay. My couches are old anyway..." She finally gave up. "I'm sorry. I can't think of any rules that cats have to obey." Anton raised an eyebrow, but she was already chuckling.

Anton lrolled on the floor as the woman giggled over the idea of a cat "obeying."

"You're clearly an ideal candidate." Anton said. He started to straighten his tie, then shrugged and took it off. He jumped into her lap. "You may adopt me."
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Who Invented Puking?

Who Invented Puking?

Shakespeare did! He invented the word "puking" and like 1700 other words we use today. Check out this fascinating site.

That Shakespeare, he was like the Joss Whedon of the Middle Ages.

Huh? Who is Joss Whedon?

He is the super genius behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How many words has Joss Whedon invented?

Kissage  = kissing
I made a funny = I made a joke

a bazzilion others....

Joss Whedon. He was talking like a LOLcat before there were LOLcats...
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Guest story: Whazzup

I was on Reddit and came across this great story. Parts of it made me literally laugh out loud. I asked permission to post it here and Steve Evert graciously granted it. He actually posted the story asking for critiques, so perhaps it's not finished and polished yet, but I think parts of it are pure gold.

by Steve Evert

“Mr. Thomas I presume?” The boy said matter-of-factly. He was dressed strangely for a ten year old boy, in what I could only describe as business casual, briefcase in hand.

“May I help you?” I asked, watching the boy take assertive steps along the adjacent wall, studying the classroom posters.

“Well I’d sure hope so.” He flipped his briefcase on a desk. “Real nice digs you got here.” He cracked open his briefcase and retrieved a manila folder, thrusting it directly into my hands.

“Ok?” I said, as his staunch gaze studied my every movement. I began to read the contents of the folder and it appeared this boy, one Jonathan F. Croyle was a transfer student from downstate, who sure enough was enrolled my 5th grade class.

“Well, welcome --“

“Thank you sir, I believe you’ll find my being here to be a wonderful addition to the team!” he extended his hand. Reluctantly I shook it.

“Right, well class doesn’t start for another hour so-“

“No problem, fine by me, just grand, I’ll take a seat over here.” He spoke faster than I could comprehend.

I shrugged and started back to grading essays, John took the seat where his briefcase was and began to just openly stare at me, and I mean really stare, shooting daggers into the side of my head. I couldn’t focus and finally sort of snapped.

“Hey John.” I said

“It’s Mr. Croyle.” He corrected.

“No John, in my classroom I’m the only Mister. Got it?”

“Fine. You’re the boss.”

“Look John, why don’t you do an essay I assigned the kids last week.”

He crossed his arms. “It’s Jonathan.”

“Fine, Jonathan. Write a page describing your earliest memory. You think you can do that?”

“Very well master,” he muttered.

“Mr. Thomas will be just fine.”

Jonathan clicked open his briefcase and retrieved a gold fountain pen and satin-bound notebook. Diligently, he wrote away and by the time I was done grading the final essay he flipped his onto the table, chuckling maliciously as he walked back to his seat.

His essay was entitled, “The Escape”…

The earliest memory I have begins with darkness. I am a captive. Black bounding walls constrain me. I’m suffocating, yet breathing, all is moist. I hear muffled yelling, it’s frantic, other voices cry abound. Confusion begins to set in, beyond my conscious thought. I know not who I am, but rather that I am. Alas! A blinding light separates from now what I know to be my mother’s vaginal walls. I am thrust into the open vacancy of oxygen, of life, and into my mother’s arms. She softly looks me in the eyes and I give out a large, voluptuous, “WHAZZ UP!!!” Next thing I know everyone’s high-fiving- 
I stopped reading at that point, but I kid you not there were two more pages of material. I swiftly wrote and circled a red “F” at the top of the paper and looked up to John.

“WHAZZ UP!!!” he yelled just as I imagined he did in his story. He began a wicked laughter and I waited for him to regain composure before walking over.

“Is it as funny now?” I said stone-faced, handing back his essay with a failing grade. He quickly rendered a drab poker face and began to study me as I retreated back to my desk.

“Hey Mr. Thomas I got some good news for you!” He chirped.

“Is that so?”

“If you give me just ten minutes to redo my essay, that’s right just ten minutes! I’ll whip you up the grandest, Disney-land bullshit essay you’ve only read in your dreams! No really!”

“Sorry kid, you only get one shot with me.”

“What if I told you for just five minutes, I’d give you a free notebook?!”

“Sorry, you’ll just have to make it up on the next one.”

“But wait! You qualified for the super-double-notebook-bonus!”

“No. That’s final.”

John began shaking his head slowly, tisking. “Some people,” he said rhetorically to his invisible peers behind him, “They’re just afraid of taking chances,” he scoffed, “You offer a guy the opportunity of a lifetime and wouldn’t you know it; his pride is his tragic flaw.”

I was becoming irate, “Five minutes. Go.”

“See I knew you’d see things my way,” he gleamed, I almost retracted the five minutes, but he had torn into the essay so I just let him go. -

“Five minutes is up, “I said, he pulled out a pocket watch and clicked it open, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1. No, my time is up now.” This damn kid lived to get in the last word on everything, “Here’s the glorious refined essay you yearned for and by the way you actually didn’t qualify for the double notebook bonus, sorry.”

I kept silent and began reading the refined essay. A few students were beginning to show up now and I could hear Jonathan making formal introductions, “Jonathan Coyle, how do you do?” He’d shake hands, “Care for a business card?”

The new essay was entitled, “The Dream Job”…

There I was, a slender chap, the tender age of three. The silver spoon of my birth had been thrust into the archives of my mind and in this particular scene I accompany my birth-giver, my mother.
She and I are standing in a line, wavering in the dense viscosity of the August air, waiting to update mother’s government issued identification. I watch as the ever-expanding queue increases with the protruding misery of each and every customer. The evil employees are snickering evil hyena-like laughter. Basking in the apparent anguish, taking their time to suckle at every last shroud of dismay, and refusing driver’s licenses for each and every minor flawed detail.
Seven hours pass and mother finally reaches the front desk, “Sorry were closed for the lunch hour,” a man says through his rat bastard smile, howling like a madman. Tears welter from mother face, but I simply stand as the assailant, along for the ride. Mother walks away, pulls me aside, and says, “The only worse people in the world, than the ones working in there, are teachers. More specifically, fifth grade teachers, probably named Mr. Thomas.”
I wasn’t sure if I agreed with mother back then, but now I am certain she was correct, if anything, understating the fact.

P.S WHAZZ UP!!! I looked up from the essay and could see Jonathan in the midst of a sales pitch, showing Rebecca Smith a large collection of watches that hung from his briefcase. Slowly he coaxed her and slid his arm around her waist, then he smiled his wicked smile, looking right at me, “WHAZZ UP!” he said.

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