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Posts Tagged ‘exquisite corpse

Mood: Still filled with the beaverishness
Music: Sunn O))-Cursed Realms (of the Winterdemons)


Dear Fiction Lovers,

As promised, moments ago, here is the second part (Part 1 can be found here) of our thrilling, though as-yet unnamed collaborative novel on downsizing, outsourcing, and the cruelty of youth.  I hope you like it.

Sincerely, your biggest fan, etc.


Anna

—————————————————————————————-

Allison automatically flopped out of bed at half-past seven in the morning.  She stumbled and weaved her way through a field of dirty clothes to the bathroom toilet and threw up.  She recounted the story of last night in the tea leaves of the toilet. Date. Brad. Señor Verde’s. Chile rellenos. Margaritas.  Small talk. Jobs.  What are we doing? Cry. Cab. Wine. Sex. Cry. Hangover.

“Fuck.” Allison unfurled a wad of toilet paper from the roll and blew her nose into it.  “Maybe I’m getting too old for this?”

She stood, gracelessly, and walked over to the sink.  The bathroom mirror reflected a red-eyed, pale, hung-over, but pretty brunette in her late 20’s.

“I don’t know.  Is 32 old?”  She asked the sobering drunk in the mirror who kept pulling at and stretching her face.  “You don’t look 32.  You could still pass for…”  She squinted her eyes tight and cocked her head to the side.  “…28?”  She slapped the underside of her chin a couple of times and practiced saying her assumed age.  “Twenty eight… I am 28…TWENty eight …Twunee ATE…TwenTEE ATE-ee…maybe even 27?”

She smiled and playfully, arched her left eyebrow, and pointed a finger gun at the mirror.  “Yeah, that’s right…you’re Allison Fucking Haley and you’re young, popular and sex-.“

Allison Fucking Haley took one last, pitying look at the pretty drunk girl in the mirror before retching the last of last night into the sink.

A glassful of Anti-throwupy Seltzer whatever (Allison had a rare, but powerful immunity to branding) and a super-hot shower later, she was busy playing Fashion Show.

Fashion Show was Allison’s term for her borderline psychotic trying-on of everything in her closet (and on her floor).  It usually only manifested itself on the bad days, when she felt nervous or hated the sight of the girl in the mirror.  Most women try on a few outfits before leaving the house.  The smart ones plan out their outfits for the week on Sunday night.  Allison wasn’t a plan-ahead sort of girl, but she rarely had a problem with deciding what to wear.  If she hadn’t decided on something within the first fifteen or twenty minutes, she was playing Fashion Show.

Allison had been playing Fashion Show a lot lately.  She’d already been at it for 45 minutes and was in the middle of taking off a flouncy, long, gray blouse, blood red cardigan, black tights, and knee high boots combination she liked to call Bohemian Rhapsody #3 on good days.  Today she called it, “too Bohemian.”

“I’m going to get fired.  I’m going to get fired. I’m going to get fired.”

The blouse Allison had been pulling over her head suddenly snagged on something and stopped moving, trapping her inside.  “And then I’ll be homeless…” She pulled at the back of the blouse with both hands and heard a faint, ripping sound.  “…and I’ll have to sell drugs.” She unhooked her favorite black bra from outside of the shirt, freed the blouse, pulled it and the blouse over her head, “…and give out hand jobs for hobo chili”, and threw both of them on the ground.”

Ugh, forget this.”  She slipped a pair of midnight blue, skinny jeans from one of the closet hangers and pulled them on.

“Yassmen is going to walk into the art department today and fire people on sight.”  Allison did her best impression of Yeseam Yassmen’s icy-weird, snobby Southern drawl for the empty bedroom. “You there, young man with the glasses…and you, weird girl…”  Allison plucked a baby blue, Mates of State t-shirt from the floor and put it on.  “…please collect your sad things and bric-a-brac and take them outside.”

She grabbed a vintage, green angora cardigan from the back of her desk chair and stepped into a pair of pewter-colored, metallic flats.  She walked to the full-length mirror in the corner of her bedroom and took a last, quick look before walking into the kitchen.

The clock on the microwave was a welcome sight.  “8:45. Ok, not bad.  I’m going to be late, but not late late.”  She put on her sunglasses and a scarf, put her keys into her mini-messenger bag, and walked out into the stairway of her building.

Allison speed-dialed Jacob the moment she stepped out of the apartment building.

“Good morning, sexy”

“Why Allison Haley, it’s been ages since last night.  How are you?”

“Hung over, a little sad, stressed out.”

Jacob made that annoying tut-tut sound.  “Sorry to hear that, dear.  Are you calling in sick?”

Allison snorted, “Are you kidding?  That’s like begging to get laid off.  I’d rather leave Clearwater the old fashioned way…through random, brutal downsizing.  No, but I’m going to be a teensy bit late.  Would you be my favorite boy in the world and cover for me if anything should, you know, come up?”  She crossed the street to the coffee cart near the downtown bus stop and gestured her way through a large coffee purchase while Jacob spoke.

“Dangit Allison, I can’t.  I have a meeting at 9:30 and you’d better be here before it’s over.  You know how it’s been around here lately…like the Great Purge but without all the nice Stalin.”

“Crap.”  Allison added a large amount of half and half and brown sugar to her coffee and stirred it.  She leafed through her mental employee directory for another patsy.  No one else came up.  “You know Alan got fired, right?”

Jacob repeated the name a couple of times out loud as if that alone would transfer Alan from forgotten to remembered. “Alan…Alan.  Who’s Alan again?”

She made her way to the line of commuters at the bus stop.  “Alan Lambert…from Accounting?  Nice guy…big chin…he helped you move last summer.”

“No way!  The Chin got fired?  He seemed like a lifer.”

“I know, right?  He’d been there for 15 years.  It’s like the worst lottery ever.”

“Totally.”

“Wanna know the really fucked up part?

“Go on…”

The downtown bus stopped at the curb.  Allison stepped on, showed the driver her Eco-Pass, and found a seat.  “Yassmen didn’t even have a meeting with him or bring HR down.  Someone called his house and left a message…”

“Nuh-unh, really?”

“…with his seven year-old daughter!”  In a deeper voice, she joked, “…and when your Daddy gets home, tell him he doesn’t have a job any more.”

“Wow, that’s some evil shit right there.  I’m pretty sure Yassmen is the Devil, Allison.  She’s gotta be.  It’s like she runs on human misery.”

Allison drained the last of her coffee.  “Yup.”

“Wait, how do you know so much about The Chin’s home life?”

“Jen told me.  She’s keeping track of them all…like a modern Domesday book for corporate deaths.  You should check out her scrapbook.  It’s sick, but kind of…beautiful, in a way.  She’s doing a website too.”

“You two are weird.”

“Oh,and you’re not?  I’ve seen your apartment, Jacob.  The Sailor Moon is getting to be a bit, how do you say, creep-a-roo?”

“Hey, manga and anime are very well respected-“

Allison cut him off.  “I don’t have time for your nerd babble, Jacob.  I’m already late for work and I’ve already heard this, numerous times.”

She sighed and watched the passing buildings of downtown KC, her adopted home.  It was early autumn, her favorite time of year, but the street trees still thought it was summer.  It had been three autumns since she left art school and she hadn’t yet gotten the hang of the whole day job, “career” thing.  It had been getting better, but the layoffs and constant threat of downsizing had a way of arresting her development.  She’d spent three months of Saturdays looking for another job in a publishing house art department.  There didn’t seem to be any jobs like that left in the city.  Unfortunately, the drama at Clearwater was being played out on stages all over town.

Jacob was talking again. “What’s that?”

“I said, don’t be hurtful, Allison.”

“Ugh!  Are you coming to my show tonight, or what?”

“What’s this now?  What show?”

“Don’t even.  I told you about this, weeks ago.  The collective’s semi-annual…tonight…at Le Space…my pictures…remember?  You said you’d come!”

“Oh, right…that adorable little hobby of yours.  Are you showing the photos with the little kittens and the ice cream in the bathtub…”

“No, head trauma…” an elderly woman turned toward Allison and frowned disapprovingly.  Allison frowned back then turned the other way in her seat.  “…that was last time, and it was called, Kitten Me Softly.  This is the new one…with the bathroom graffiti?”

In a bad, French accent, Jacob answered. “Oui, but of course I vill be zer, Mees Arbus.”  Jacob dropped it.  “I’ll even wear a jacket.”

Allison tried a sultry purr, “Mmm, you know just what I like, don’t you Daddy?” and then it was gone.  “Oh!   And come early.  And bring some wine.  Do you have any raw meat?”

“What?!  No.  Why?”

“Violet Strange is doing a show next door at midnight.  It’s new…something about her father, the Moon, and menstrual cycles.  She said she needed more raw meat.”  Allison signaled for her stop.

“Gross. I hate performance art.  And no, I don’t have any raw meat to spare…for that.”

“Oh, don’t be that way.  I like Violet and I’m just trying to help her out.  K, sooo…you, Le Space, seven o’clock, sexy jacket, cheap wine,…”  Allison flashed back to the dream publishing job she used to love and the grim warzone her workplace had become.  “Oh, and try not to get fired today, ok?  Kisses!”

The bus pulled up to the curb two blocks east of 3M (or Mini Monkey Monolith on account of it looks just like a squatter version of the featureless, obsidian, ape magnet in 2001: A Space Odyssey) or, as it was more commonly known, Clearwater Publishing Plaza.

Jacob replied, “you’re one to talk Latey McLately.  See you soon.”, then hung up.

Allison put away her phone and hurried the rest of the way from the bus stop to her cubicle.

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –>

Allison automatically flopped out of bed at half-past seven in the morning.  She stumbled and weaved her way through a field of dirty clothes to the bathroom toilet and threw up.  She recounted the story of last night in the tea leaves of the toilet. Date. Brad. Señor Verde’s. Chile rellenos. Margaritas.  Small talk. Jobs.  What are we doing? Cry. Cab. Wine. Sex. Cry. Hangover.

“Fuck.” Allison unfurled a wad of toilet paper from the roll and blew her nose into it.  “Maybe I’m getting too old for this?”

She stood, gracelessly, and walked over to the sink.  The bathroom mirror reflected a red-eyed, pale, hung-over, but pretty brunette in her late 20’s.

“I don’t know.  Is 32 old?”  She asked the sobering drunk in the mirror who kept pulling at and stretching her face.  “You don’t look 32.  You could still pass for…”  She squinted her eyes tight and cocked her head to the side.  “…28?”  She slapped the underside of her chin a couple of times and practiced saying her assumed age.  “Twenty eight… I am 28…TWENty eight …Twunee ATE…TwenTEE ATE-ee…maybe even 27?”

She smiled and playfully, arched her left eyebrow, and pointed a finger gun at the mirror.  “Yeah, that’s right…you’re Allison Fucking Haley and you’re young, popular and sex-.“

Allison Fucking Haley took one last, pitying look at the pretty drunk girl in the mirror before retching the last of last night into the sink.

A glassful of Anti-throwupy Seltzer whatever (Allison had a rare, but powerful immunity to branding) and a super-hot shower later, she was busy playing Fashion Show.

Fashion Show was Allison’s term for her borderline psychotic trying-on of everything in her closet (and on her floor).  It usually only manifested itself on the bad days, when she felt nervous or hated the sight of the girl in the mirror.  Most women try on a few outfits before leaving the house.  The smart ones plan out their outfits for the week on Sunday night.  Allison wasn’t a plan-ahead sort of girl, but she rarely had a problem with deciding what to wear.  If she hadn’t decided on something within the first fifteen or twenty minutes, she was playing Fashion Show.

Allison had been playing Fashion Show a lot lately.  She’d already been at it for 45 minutes and was in the middle of taking off a flouncy, long, gray blouse, blood red cardigan, black tights, and knee high boots combination she liked to call Bohemian Rhapsody #3 on good days.  Today she called it, “too Bohemian.”

“I’m going to get fired.  I’m going to get fired. I’m going to get fired.”

The blouse Allison had been pulling over her head suddenly snagged on something and stopped moving, trapping her inside.  “And then I’ll be homeless…” She pulled at the back of the blouse with both hands and heard a faint, ripping sound.  “…and I’ll have to sell drugs.” She unhooked her favorite black bra from outside of the shirt, freed the blouse, pulled it and the blouse over her head, “…and give out hand jobs for hobo chili”, and threw both of them on the ground.”

Ugh, forget this.”  She grabbed a pair of midnight blue, skinny jeans from one of the closet hangers and pulled them on.

“Yassmen is going to walk into the art department today and fire people on sight.”  Allison did her best impression of Yeseam Yassmen’s icy, faux-British drawl for the empty bedroom. “You there, young man with the glasses…and you, weird girl…”  Allison plucked a baby blue, Mates of State t-shirt from the floor and put it on.  “Please collect your sad things and bric-a-brac and take them outside.”

She grabbed a vintage, green angora cardigan from the back of her desk chair and stepped into a pair of pewter-colored, metallic flats.  She walked to the full-length mirror in the corner of her bedroom and took a last, quick look before walking into the kitchen.

The clock on the microwave was welcome sight.  “8:45. Ok, not bad.  I’m going to be late, but not late late.”  She put on her sunglasses and a scarf, put her keys into her mini-messenger bag, and walked out into the stairway of her building.

Allison speed-dialed Jacob the moment she stepped out of the apartment building.

“Good morning, sexy”

“Why Allison Haley, it’s been ages since last night.  How the hell are you?”

“Hung over, a little sad, stressed out.”

Jacob made that annoying tut-tut sound.  “Sorry to hear that.  Are you calling in sick?”

Allison snorted, “Are you kidding?  That’s like begging to get laid off.  I’d rather leave Clearwater the old fashioned way…through random, brutal downsizing.  No, but I’m going to be a teensy bit late.  Would you be my favorite boy in the world and cover for me if anything should, you know, come up?”  She crossed the street to the coffee cart near the downtown bus stop and gestured her way through a large coffee transaction while Jacob spoke.

“Dangit Allison, I can’t.  I have a meeting at 9:30 and you’d better be here before it’s over.  You know how it’s been around here lately…like the Great Purge but without all the nice Stalin.”

“Crap.”  Allison added a large amount of half and half and brown sugar to her coffee and stirred it.  She leafed through her mental employee directory for another patsy.  No one else came up.  “You know Alan got fired, right?”

Jacob repeated the name a couple of times out loud as if that alone would transfer Alan from forgotten to remembered. “Alan…Alan.  Who’s Alan again?”

She made her way to the line of commuters at the bus stop.  “Alan Lambert…from Accounting?  Nice guy…big chin…he helped you move last summer.”

“No way!  The Chin got fired?  He seemed like a lifer.”

“I know, right?  He’d been there for 15 years.  It’s like the worst lottery ever.”

“Totally.”

“You know the really fucked up part?

“Go on…”

The downtown bus stopped at the curb.  Allison stepped on, showed the driver her Eco-Pass, and found a seat.  “Yassmen didn’t even have a meeting with him or bring HR down.  Someone called his house and left a message…”

“Nuh-unh, really?”

“…with his seven year-old daughter!”

“Wow, that’s some evil shit right there.  I’m pretty sure Yassmen is the Devil, Allison.  She’s gotta be.  It’s like she runs on human misery.”

Allison drained the last of her coffee.  “Yup.”

“Wait, how do you know so much about The Chin’s home life?”

“Jen told me.  She’s keeping track of them all…like a modern Domesday book for corporate deaths.  You should check out her scrapbook.  It’s sick, but kind of…beautiful, in a way.  She’s doing a website too.”

“You two are weird.”

“Oh,and you’re not?  I’ve seen your apartment, Jacob.  The Sailor Moon is getting to be a bit, how do you say, creep-a-roo?”

“Hey, manga and anime are very well respected-“

Allison cut him off.  “I don’t have time for your nerd babble, Jacob.  I’m already late for work and I’ve already heard this, numerous times.”

She sighed and watched the passing buildings of the city she loved.  It was early autumn, her favorite time of year, but the street trees still thought it was summer.  It had been three autumns since she left art school and she hadn’t yet gotten the hang of the whole day job, “career” thing.  It had been getting better, but the layoffs and constant threat of downsizing had a way of arresting her development.  She’d spent three months of Saturdays looking for another job in a publishing house art department.  There didn’t seem to be any jobs like that left in the city.  Unfortunately, the drama at Clearwater was being played out on stages all over town.

Jacob was talking again. “What’s that?”

“I said, don’t be hurtful, Allison.”

“Ugh!  Are you coming to my show tonight, or what?”

“What’s this now?  What show?”

“Don’t even.  I told you about this, weeks ago.  The Loose Knit Collective is having its semi-annual show at Le Space.  I’m showing my photographs tonight.  You said you’d go.”

“Oh, right!  That adorable little hobby of yours with the little kittens and the ice cream in the bathtub…”

“No, head trauma…” an elderly woman turned toward Allison and frowned disapprovingly.  Allison frowned back and turned the other way.  “…that was last time and it was called, Kitten Me Softly.  This is the new one…with the bathroom graffiti.”

In a bad, French accent, Jacob answered. “Oui, but of course I vill be zer, Mees Arbus.”  Jacob dropped it.  “I’ll even wear a jacket.”

Allison tried a sultry purr, “Mmm, you know just what I like, don’t you Daddy?” and then it was gone.  “Oh!   And come early.  And bring some wine.  Do you have any raw meat?”

“What?  No.  Why?”

“Violet Strange is performing at midnight.  It’s a new show…something about her father, the Moon, and menstrual cycles.  She said she needed more raw meat.”  Allison signaled for her stop.

“Gross. I hate performance art.  And no, I don’t have any raw meat to spare…for that.”

“Oh, don’t be that way.  I like Violet and I’m just trying to help her out.  K, so…you, Le Space, seven o’clock, sexy jacket, cheap wine,…”  Allison flashed back to the dream publishing job she used to love and the grim warzone it had become.  “Oh, and try not to get fired today, ok?  Kisses!”

The bus pulled up to the curb two blocks east of Monkey Monolith (on account of it looks just like the featureless, obsidian, ape magnet in 2001: A Space Odyssey) or, as it was more commonly known, Clearwater Publishing Plaza.

Jacob replied, “you’re one to talk Latey McLatelate.  See you soon.”, and hung up.

Allison put away her phone and hurried the rest of the way from the bus stop to her cubicle.

Mood: Filled with a beaver-esque industriousness
Music: Björk-Frosti


Dear Fiction Lovers,

Holy crap.  I know I said we’d start this NaNoWriMo project near the beginning of the month and here it is the 10th already.  Still, better late than never, right? Right?

We’ve already had some problems.  Two people dropped off the team and I’ve had a hard time finishing my first part.  The lovely Miss Rebecca Ruhlman put up her part a while ago, but it’s going to be a little bit harder for us to finish since there are only two of us.  Don’t worry Internets, we’ll make it work.

As I said before, the as-yet unnamed story is about young, media types dealing with downsizing and outsourcing at a large publishing company.  Part 1 can be found here. Come back in a few minutes for my part, Part 2.  Oh, and since this is the first sort of collab novel I’ve ever done, go easy on us, ok?  I appreciate constructive criticism, but it might take us a few iterations to work out the continuity issues and plot bugs.  Bear with us, but feel free to comment.

Love,

Anna

Mood: I’m going to start cleaning the house any second now…really.
Music: America’s Test Kitchen-“Pork on the Grill”


To commemorate NaNoWriMo, me and my new, competitive novel-writing team/crafting guild/crime-fighting society/comedy posse, Kittens of Infamy (rowwr!), is going to be dropping our first project on you like a white-hot hairball, any day now. So, consider yourself warned…and invited…to read.

The idea is simple.  There are four of us at the mo, and we’ll each be contributing ~1000 words to a novel every four days in a serial fashion, and posting the results and linking to the previous installments on each other’s blogs…like a more structured exquisite corpse.  At the end of the month (or thereabouts), we’ll have a new, award-winning novel and will start setting appointments to appear on Oprah, The Colbert Report, and Fox and Friends…or something.

Yes, this may, in fact, be the project that kills me (along with work busy-ness, the culmination of my grad school class, dating, regular blogging, and the rest of life), but so what.   I’m happy to be more busy and I kind of thrive on nausea-inducing, artificial pressure.

So, join us, won’t you?  Here are some inspirational team graphic kittens to tide you over.

Kittens+of+Infamy+team+graphic


an introduction





Hi, I'm Anna and I love cheese!

This blog is a chronicle of my life and a catalog of happy ephemera. The About page has a little bit more information, but, remember, none of this is really me...it's just a supplement, a thumbnail sketch, a mostly anonymous Intarwebs placeholder. I'm way better/less wordy in person. :-)

Oh, and if I wrote something about you and you thought it was mean or hurtful, I'm sorry. It's how I felt at the time, but probably isn't how I feel now. Chances are, I love you and I think you're awesome.

copyright

All content on Blog, Sweet Blog is copyrighted by me, Anna Hell. Unless otherwise noted, all photos, words, and content on this site are mine, created by me, and should not be used without my permission (or at least attributed and linked back). I try to embed links or quote original source material if I use another person's work.

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