Tag Archives: writing

4 Dashes – A Springtime Story

4 Dashes – A Springtime Story

Earlier this evening, I wrote a silly short story for a friend (we’ll call him Buzz Killington) in a group chat. He was having some issues with his roommate (Buzz named him Captain Liar) paying the cable bill and his service had been interrupted. He was asking for advice, and the following exchange occurred between Buzz and another friend (we’ll call this friend Banner Bryce):

Buzz Killington: According to Captain Liar he called them just now and paid the bill with a card. That is promising, if it wasn’t for his super hero name….
Banner Bryce: “Services still aren’t working. Let me call and see if payment posted”
Buzz Killington: Now Banner said what he said in quotations, so I’m not sure if he said that or if he was implying that if Captain Liar was a good man or even human in general he would have said that in response to me telling him I’ve still got my dashes.

That’s been edited slightly to reflect name changes and to remove unrelated text. Buzz not knowing what Banner was trying to say inspired me to construct an elaborate explanation of it. Why? Why not? Its been a while since I wrote creatively and this seemed like a fun little exercise. Without further ado, I present to you my first piece of original short fiction in almost 20 years…

4 Dashes – A Springtime Story

It was a hot late spring day and Phteven was steamed. It wasn’t just this unseasonably warm heat that got his blood boiling though — oh no! It was also the fact that his rapacious roommate had once again forgotten to pay the cable bill. Likely he’d spent the money on cheap women and even cheaper booze, as was his way. Phteven tried not to get mad, as he’d always lived by a well intentioned, but ultimately misguided code to not beat the asses of those who deserved it.

Phteven had already talked to his roommate about paying that bill and the roommate swore up and down that he had just paid it with his credit card. Phteven was skeptical, as was right and just when it comes to claims made by his possibly mentally handicapped roommate. His skepticism was also justified because despite the claimed payment, he was still confronted with a lack of TV service as indicated by the dreaded 4 dashes displayed on his cable box, which somehow managed to be cheaper than both the women and booze favored by his ill-mannered roommate.

What to do? He’d already vented to his friends in the chat while asking about how his cable company’s non-payment process worked. They’d given him the information requested, although at least one of them wondered how it could be that Phteven didn’t know, given they’d both worked there at the same time. New knowledge or forgotten, the problem remained.

The 4 dashes.

They stared at him. Mocked him. They laughed at his roommate’s claimed payment.

Phteven was starting to get nervous. “What should I do,” he asked himself. He gazed across his room at the cable box, thinking wistfully of all the DVRed shows he could be watching right now. Looking out the window and seeing the beach that lay just a few blocks down in his mind’s eye, he thought, “Services still aren’t working. Let me call and see if payment posted.”

For a moment, Phteven had a sense of cognitive dissonance. He usually thought in complete sentences, following all the rules of grammar, but for a moment there he constructed that thought with the bare minimum required to be understood, leaving out prepositions, articles, and all his Grammar Good Guys, as he liked to call them. It was almost as if… as if it were someone else’s voice speaking in his mind…

But no, that couldn’t be! That sort of thing is relegated to the world of the comic books he enjoyed. Just then he noticed that the cable box was no longer displaying the 4 dashes! The time was now emblazoned upon it, for all the world to see! The oddly phrased thought forgotten, Phteven reached for the remote control and turned on the TV, bathing himself in the LCD glow of one of his favorite pastimes.

Who’d have thought his recklessly irresponsible roommate would have come through? An argument could be made that he should have paid the bill on time, but at least he didn’t have to cajole him into paying it over the course of several weeks like he had to do last time!

Even that thought fell away however, as Phteven made a selection from his DVR and hit play. He slipped into the fantasy world of his TV show and let himself be immersed. There was no unseasonable heat, no unruly roommate, no unexplainable thoughts… just pure, televised bliss. Phteven smiled and settled in to watch, unaware of the brush he had with the lurking horror creeping just beyond the veil of reality…

What’s Wrong With Me?

What’s Wrong With Me?

You know, some time ago, I changed my user name here to Captain Shenanigans for reasons that I don’t quite remember now. I think comedy? Who can say? I mention this for two reasons:

  1. I made this change well after the last time I made a post here.
  2. My poor posting history makes me think that I’ve earned this new moniker

This is the part where I’d sing that same tired old song about updating more frequently, but who am I really singing that song to? Let’s be real, its not like this is or ever was some high traffic hub of activity. I really write this stuff for myself more than anything. I don’t think I started out that way; I have vague recollections of having aspirations of being Internet famous back in the day (before it became equivalent with real life famous and all the terrifying things that come with that). In any event, that’s where I am now: writing for myself and not very good about keeping it up. I think it would have been really helpful over the past year if I’d been writing regularly. I know I certainly thought about it, but I never seemed to muster the motivation to do it. Instead I’d just waste time online browsing gaming forums or tech or science websites. When I think of the time wasted when I could have been writing or catching up on my Netflix queue or game backlog or book backlog… yeah, I need better time management skills. I don’t know why I keep not writing here and its very annoying!

I don’t want to make any promises to myself that I’m not going to keep, but I do want to write more. I’ve been doing a sort of OK job keeping Ask the Fatty going with beer reviews and I finally, FINALLY finished and posted those unpublished drafts of the two restaurant reviews I did like 4 or 5 years ago. I’ve been doing the review thing on Yelp and Google Maps (I’m a local guide now!), so I’m hoping that’ll get me in gear to write more both here and on Ask the Fatty.

I’m also thinking of a new domain name. I know this one isn’t all that old, but I fell out of love with it pretty quickly (and there’s another factor which I’ll discuss later). I’ve been trying to think of something new, but I’m running face first into a wall. I want something… I don’t know… evocative of tech or cyberpunk… I can’t quite describe what I want and that’s making the search for a new domain name even tougher. The few good names I’ve come up with were already taken, further compounding my frustration!

OK, not a promise, but a statement of intent. Not quite a New Year’s resolution, but more of a… New Year’s… thing that I’m casually gonna ease in to? I don’t know.

Tentative schedule:
Tomorrow – Recap last year’s epic shenanigans
Tuesday – Recap this year so far
At least every other day after that – Log my notable (to me, anyway) activities
Once a week – Backlog recap; what have I gotten through and what’s left?
Once a month – Drafting ideas for long form opinion pieces and/or fiction stuff that’s been rattling around my head for a while.

Let’s see how this goes. Oh, and Happy New Year! Here’s hoping its better than last year, or at the very least, filled with more writing.