from the OTHER archives: Socks, Part 4, Chapters 26-27

Currently, I’m in the middle of a huge music purge. What with the DDoS of Dyn of the previous month and the resulting outages, I’m a bit paranoid that everything I’ve stored in the cloud will suddenly just… disappear. Of course, I know that this fear is unfounded, being that not every single service I use uses Dyn and I’m working on a sizable list of IP addresses in case the DNS does go down. But even then, the paranoia goes away.

Sometimes it is justified. For example, it might keep me alive while working on this segment.

“I would like to call the first and probably only meeting of The Random People to order.”
Yasmin and Luna were staring at Emma in her room. All was silent for a couple of minutes until Luna spoke up in an impatient voice.

Luna, are you impatient to leave? Come here and watch us as their plans devolve into chaos and a failed book series. You’re among good friends now.

“Umm… Emma? Your friend really needs some help. I saw her in this room and she was in this diamond and her boyfriend was getting turned creepy and-”
“Wait- wait a minute,” Emma interrupted. “Slow down. One of my friends is in a diamond? And somebody’s getting turned creepy? I need details.”

Well, if you hadn’t interrupted her, dumbbutt, you might have gotten them. On the other hand, if Luna is as impatient as she seems, she might not have gone over all of the necessary details, in which case… good on you.

“Just find me when you’re sleeping.”
Out of nowhere, Yasmin interjected, “I have no freaking idea what’s going on here.”
“Good then; it’s none of your business,” Luna and Emma replied at the same time.

In all fairness, if Yasmin is here, you probably invited her. But that brings up a good point- how did they all get here? What were they doing before they went to Emma’s house? How did she summon them? G, why didn’t you give us any of these scenes? They might have been good opportunities for characterization. You’re going to write two more books with these people, remember? We might as well be able to tolerate them.

“Then why am I here? I’m just being a waste of good air. I think I’ll leave now.”
“Bye. I’ll miss you.”
“And I think I’ll hijack a bus while I’m at it.”

Why a bus? Why not a car? What are you even planning to do with the bus, anyways? You’re not about to steal something from another book, are you, G?

Riki and Abbey were trying to have a conversation in a back room that was in the laboratory. They both had mugs full of coffee.

No description of the back room? I recall that you placed this scene in a white-themed lounge with sofas trimmed with gold, G. Why didn’t you put that into the book?

“Good evening, Riki.”
“Good evening, Abbey.”
“I wanted to ask you a question.”
“What’s it about?”

You could have skipped this with the sentence “They greeted each other, running through the expected trivialties and greetings until Tomorrow cleared her throat to ask a question.” See how much more smoothly that flows?

Abbey took a deep breath, and then said, “It’s about how to control your children.”
“You have children?”
“Just one… Lily.”

Trying to completely control your child’s behavior? That’s not very libertarian of you.

“And what does this Lily look like? Maybe I’ve seen her before.”
“Lily’s on the shorter side. Her hair’s in a bob cut. She wears glasses and she insists on wearing dark clothes every day.”

Tomorrow, is that you?

“Is she that winged girl that was terrorizing an innocent adolescent boy yesterday and today? I thought her name was Tomorrow. And a couple of days ago, for no discernable reason, she fell down in the hallway and started shrieking, ‘Get out of my head, get out of my head!’”

Oh, joy, here comes the characterization cramming.

Abbey slapped her own face and then took a sip of her coffee. “I wish Lily hadn’t renamed herself. It makes no sense to name yourself a common word. Speaking of naming yourself, I should have named my niece too. I let her name herself and she chose a random country in the real world.”
“You have a niece?”

If I were held and raised in a pseudoscientific facility with no steady parental figures, I too would be aiming for the most unusual name to call myself. You really can’t blame her, Abbey. You didn’t do squat to raise her.

“Yes. It’s sort of a tragic story….

Here comes the obligatory protagonist sob story.

I used to have an only sister that was a couple of years older than me. She was pregnant and an alcoholic. One day she was in a car with me and a bunch of her friends. Everybody was drinking heavily except for me. One moment, everything was ok, except for the drinking and spilling everywhere, and the next minute we had collided head-on with another car. I was the only survivor. Everybody else had died instantly.”

Why were you the one who survived? How does the presence of alcohol, even a little bit, affect the survival rate? Because that’s what you’re implying here. Did you brace for impact and nobody else did? If the crash was so catastrophic that everybody else died instantly, why did you escape without a scratch?

“Then how do you have a niece? Your sister died before she could give birth.”
“That’s where the story gets tragic…

Oh, joy. Here we go.

The paramedics came minutes after the crash. They saw that my sister was pregnant, and they did the operation then and there…” Tears started running down Abbey’s face and she took a ragged breath before going on.

That goes against every single medical code of conduct and procedure that I’ve ever seen. The inside of a car is far from sterile. I highly doubt that they’d cut a corpse open there. And why weren’t they giving any medical attention to you, the supposed only survivor?

“They took the baby out and put it in one of their artificial development chambers… I don’t even know what to call them.” At this point the mere tears running down Abbey’s face had escalated into full-on crying. “They didn’t want anybody to know that the parents had died in a car crash, so when they were putting together the data sheet about the baby, they said that the parents had died from drinking too much alcohol at a party.

I’m about 200% sure that messing with death documents is illegal.

And that’s when they started tinkering with the baby, making it a hybrid. Just like the dirty bigots they are.

Somehow I don’t think that’s the definition of bigotry????

And the worst part of all that is I let them do all that.”
“Mmm… so what did you want to know about controlling children?”

“I want to know how to give children restrictions. Lily has far too few of them. Earlier this year, sometime in January, she decided that she was going to turn my niece creepy. I stopped her before she could do much, and I think that whatever Lily did to her wore off within a couple of weeks. Apparently Lily was so mad that I stopped her that she decided that she was going to fight my niece in a-”

Somehow I don’t think that there’s anything you can do about Lily, Abbey. You’ve lost control of her. Get out alive while you can. You never know when teenage angst is going to rear its ugly head and she’ll decide to target you next.

“Does your niece have a name?”
“Umm… she named herself Algeria, but we usually try to call her by her middle name, Maximilla. Someday I’m going to get around to legally changing her name.”

You can’t do that unless you’re her legal guardian, and even then, being that Algeria isn’t a legal resident of Soona Bris, you still couldn’t change it.

“Abbey, I have to go now. My daughter, Ellie, has been waiting all day for me to take her to a water park. We’ll have to talk later.”
“Bye, Riki. It’s been nice talking to somebody.”

That’s got to be up there in the Hall of Fame for Laziest Chapter Endings. How should I submit it? Where do I even sumbit it to? Should I start my own showcase of bad writing?


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