May 24 2005

Fictionlet

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Brigid sighed. “You don’t bring me flowers any more.”

Greg blinked. “I’ve never brought you flowers. But I suppose I could start if you really want me to.”

“Actually, I don’t,” Brigid said. “I can’t stand flowers, the smell gives me a headache.”

“Then why did you bring it up?”

“I was baiting you.”

Greg nodded. “I thought as much.”

-The Gneech

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May 23 2005

Fictionlet

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Up until that point, the book club meeting had been a great night, but now Greg was struck with a sinking feeling in his stomach that things were just going to get worse.

“Uhhrr, yes,” said the gawky adolescent who’d been monopolizing the conversation all night. “By the end I just know they’re going to break up in a month. She’s so shrill, I figure he’s gotta come to his senses, right?”

After listening to this kid try to impress everybody with useless factoids and brow-beat them with his cleverness all night, Greg just couldn’t take it any more. “Did you actually read Retrograde Manueuvers?” he asked. “They break up well before the end.”

“Oh,” said the kid. “Um … well…”

“Why did you even come to this meeting, if you hadn’t read my book?”

“I did read it! Well, I read part of it. I read Chapter Six.”

Greg blinked. “Chapter Six? Just Chapter Six?”

“Well, um … I was flipping through the book and I happened on the word ‘breasts,’ and…”

“So you read the chapter with the sex scene and none of the rest of the book.”

“I was busy!”

“Er, yes,” said Greg. “All right. Well, I’m going to get another coffee, if you want to skip ahead to the end ’til I get back.”

-The Gneech

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May 20 2005

Fictionlet

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“You rotten bastard!” Greg said, tossing his mouse across the room. Or at least, attempting to toss it across the room — in fact, it quickly reached the end of its cord, snapped back, and landed right back where it had started with a loud clatter.

“What was that?” called Brigid from the other room.

“This bloody Mah-Jongg game!” Greg said, waving his hand at the monitor. “I’ve been playing it for weeks and I finally got to the point where I could win once or twice in a row, and it jacked up the difficulty level. Now every tile that would match, is under the exact same tile, so I can’t get to it!”

“The fiends!”

“Exactly so. They just hold out hope as a tantalizing dream, then snatch it away and laugh at my suffering!”

“I don’t suppose,” she hazarded, “that it could just be random generation?”

“Never!” Greg snapped back. “This game is malicious, and has it out for me. I can tell. But I’ll show them! I’m going to play Freecell instead!”

“Somewhere inside your computer, a person wearing an orange neon suit is now saying, ‘Curses, foiled again!'”

“Damn straight,” Greg said, turning his mouse back upright and closing the program with a smug air of victory.

-The Gneech

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May 18 2005

Fictionlet

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“So, how was the show?” Greg asked.

“Eh,” Brigid replied. “Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”

“That good, eh? I’m guessing Roger didn’t turn out to be the vessel of your hopes and dreams.”

“No, more like a VW with a bad transmission.”

“Oh, good response!” Greg pulled out his pad. “I’m writing that one down.”

“Well, it’s not like he’s a bad guy or anything, but his values in life are peace, love, and vitriolic rants against the right wing. I’ve heard enough one-note songs in my life, that I don’t have a lot of patience for them any more.” Brigid shrugged and started making her coffee. “He started out from the assumption that naturally I agreed with everything he said about politics. When I didn’t immediately join in and go rah-rah-rah, he then moved to the assumption that I must be a gay-hating creationist Bible-groupie who wanted to put him into a concentration camp for daring to have an opposing opinion.”

“Tsk. Alas, poor Roger,” said Greg. “Not one for nuances, eh? If only he knew what he was missing. I am intrigued by the gay-hating aspect in particular.”

Brigid smirked. “Yeah, I don’t hate gays any more than the normal hatred I have for straight people, men, women, dogs, cats, and everybody else.”

“Exactly,” said Greg. “Nobody who knows you would think you were anything but consistent on that score.”

-The Gneech

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May 16 2005

Fictionlet

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“Well, by a roundabout series of phone calls and vague threats of bodily harm, I eventually got the e-mail address of that reviewer,” Greg said. “And I sent him what I thought was a quite polite but firmly-worded missive to the effect that his review of Retrograde Maneuvers was the bunk.”

“Oh yes?” said Brigid, stifling a yawn. “And…?”

“Well, he wrote back and told me that I was being neurotic. Then he started talking about Steve Martin.”

Brigid chuckled. “I can see it,” she said.

-The Gneech

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May 09 2005

Fictionlet

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“Scintillating!” said Brigid.

“Eh?” said Greg, still trying without success to dislodge the tiny button on his shirt collar.

Brigid held up the “Culture” section of the newspaper she was reading, and said, “‘The words come flowing off the page in a scintillating rhythm that delights and energizes the reader. Some writers are a heady wine or an earthy ale, but this one is champagne, crisp and bubbly and intoxicating.'”

“Heh,” said Greg. “Reviewers. Would-be writers themselves, the lot of them. Still, it’s nice to hear one praising a book for a change instead of tearing it to shreds.”

“Not just any book,” Brigid said. “This reviewer’s talking about your book.”

Greg blinked. “Mine? Seriously?” He stood and came to look over her shoulder, eyes wide and read aloud. “‘One expects a light touch such as his in a comedy or summer romance novel, but Retrograde Maneuvers transcends its trappings of farce and becomes a deep and wry satire, akin to Arms and the Man, or perhaps more like My Man Godfrey. This is a powerful work.'” He shook his head. “Did this idiot read the same book I actually wrote?”

“What do you mean?” Brigid said. “He likes it! You should be happy.”

“I am happy he likes it,” Greg said. “But this is a little much. Retrograde Maneuvers is a decent enough book if I do say so myself, but it’s no George Bernard Shaw, not by a long mile. Nor, for that matter, is it any Eric Hatch.”

“Eric Hatch?”

“Wrote My Man Godfrey.”

“Oh.”

“Anyway, this will never do. I’m going to have to write to the editor about this.”

Brigid shook her head, as if trying to clear water out of her ears. “What?”

“I can’t have people writing these kinds of things about my work!”

“You aren’t seriously going to write and complain because you got a good review, are you?”

“I should say I am! This effusive praise is far beyond what that silly little book is worth. Deep and wry satire my ass!” He stormed off to his computer, leaving Brigid stunned in his wake.

-The Gneech

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