Category Archives: Writing 101

Xenophobia vs. Fantasy

I used to play a lot of World of Warcraft, back in my Gamer days (as millions of people did). And I’ve always read a lot of Fantasy, including classic High Fantasy (i.e. Tolkien-esque) with Dwarves, Elves, Dragons, and so on. Lord of the Rings; you’ve seen the movies.

One thing that’s always struck me as a little odd, both in video games and literature. In all of these formats, we have lots of intelligent species, living in the same settings, on the same planets. In the case of Warcraft, it is literally hundreds of intelligent species, all sharing the same world and striving and competing for land area, resources, dominance.

In World of Warcraft, these species are at war (at least a cool, ongoing-skirmish sort of war), grouped into Factions. Alliance and Horde, specifically, but just two generally large groups of five major species, and another hundred unaligned individual species.

In Tolkien-esque High Fantasy, it’s generally a Dark Lord of some sort controlling one power sphere (Orcs, Trolls, etc.), and the Humans, Elves, Dwarves and Others in a second power group. Surprise, they don’t like each other very much. Generally a huge battle takes place, the Dark Lord loses and everyone goes home.

But I look around at America, and I just don’t see this kind of outcome as particularly likely. We are one species, and we separate ourselves into nations and races and cultures. We rattle our swords at each other until somebody starts something. Our border is closed, immigrants must asked us nicely to be included pretty please (or risk being criminals). We just can’t get along, at all. And that’s just within a single species, other Humans.

Given that level of Xenophobia the Homo Sapiens constantly displays, I would expect a world of several hundred separate species to be at War every single day, a bloody and full-on genocidal war of extinction, until only a single species remained. As we would expect evolutionary imperative to direct, right Mr. Darwin?

Or is every other race less paranoid and less frightened of Others, and more accepting of cultural differences than we are? If that is the case, we can expect Humans to be wiped out by the combined might of every other species combined, right? They’d group up to protect themselves from us, in self defense?

A lot of high fantasy just doesn’t work on this basis; it soft-sells the likely Nastiness of the conflicts. Even the Dark Lord is less dangerous, in general terms, than those nasty and aggressive humans and their little elf buddies. (Why would Elves have any reason to tolerate us, anyway? We’re the rude and low-class neighbors, scum on the boots.)

Where I would expect bloody, full-on, non-stop attrition war of genocide to be taking place, we’re picking up our Nerf-bat swords and playing by the rules. Humans are never portrayed a tenth as rotten in Fantasy lit as humans are, demonstrably.

And all of those other races, even the “mean” old Orcs and Trolls, play by the rules too (except when they have a Dark Lord to stir things up for a while).

The problem is only multiplied by the sheer number of species contestants in a Warcraft-style setting. All of those murlocs and furbolgs and what have you…the more species you put into competition for supremacy, the more likely an outbreak of the Final War becomes, right?

Thank goodness that game designers exhibit a little restraint, because internecine warfare probably wouldn’t be a very fun game to play. At least not for very long.

There’s probably something important we should learn from that.

RecDave Seal

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

 

Ask not for whom the croc ticks

With a bow and a flourish, I invited Hook to pick up his sword again. He leapt to it instantly, of course, but he was never my match with sword.

Hook ventured all-or-nothing thrusts, but I turned each aside with ease again and again. He sought to close and catch me with that wicked iron hook, but I ducked beneath.

He executed a stop-thrust and jumped back, panting heavily, waving his cutlass before my eyes. He held the wicked hook pointed at my chest, but paused for just a moment, using it to gesture in my direction.

“Pan, who and what art thou?”, he gasped.

I ventured some nonsense, because (of course) I knew not in the least.

“I’m youth, I’m joy,” I shouted in triumph. “A baby bird that has broken out of the egg.”

His eyes widened, for a brief moment.

Then with a sharp report, the small single-shot pistol concealed in the ornate hook burned a line of fire into my chest. As I collapsed onto the deck, James Hook leaned over and sank the tip of his cutlass deep into my belly.

“I am age, and I’m treachery,” he said quietly, and the lights faded for the very last time.

RecDave Seal

Craft a story from the perspective of a twelve-year-old observing it all. For your twist, focus on specific character qualities, drawing from elements we’ve worked on in this course, like voice and dialogue.

Yep, I watched a live Peter Pan broadcast earlier this evening. The connection to the prompt was an obvious one.

Apologies to the JM Barrie estate, I had to lift Pan’s “I am youth” line nearly verbatim. It is rather iconic. But then again, I also killed off his lead and wrecked his entire happy ending…a much larger offense, surely.

Swamp Boogie

“Look, you really don’t need to go along,” Sandy said, as she peered into the darkness of the swamp just in front of them.

“Yes ma’am, I do.” Corporal Sikes gripped his assault rifle nervously, eyes darting back and forth in the gloom.

“I assure you, Corporal, that I’m an experienced traveler in the swamplands. I grew up on the bayou in Louisiana, for heaven’s sakes.”

“Yes’m.”

“Look, whatever this–thing we’re looking for is, it’s got to be miles away by now. You saw how fast it was moving, right?”

Corporal Sikes checked his magazine, again. “Yep. I sure did.”

Sandy’s eyes rolled up to the heavens, and she shifted her pack to the other shoulder. “So just why do you believe an escort is required here, Corporal?”

“Well ma’am,” he said, never taking his eyes from the trees. “Do you like horror films?”

She blinked at him. “Horror films?”

“I’ve seen thousands and thousands of horror movies, miss. I love them and I’ve seen all kinds, from zombie flicks to alien abductions to demon summoning bloodbaths to crazy inbred machete hacker hicks.”

“What’s your point, Corporal?”

“There are places to avoid, and things you just don’t do,” said the Corporal. “At the top of that list are “Creepy Southern Backwood Swamps After Dark”. If you go alone into the woods you can kiss your ass goodbye.”

“That’s Hollywood! You know that’s fiction, right?”

“Well, sure. I also know that you don’t leave ladies unescorted–not in the town where I grew up, and certainly not alone in a swamp after dark. Guys just don’t do that.”

“Your sense of chivalry died out about a century ago, Corporal. I’ll make much better time alone, I can assure you.” She plucked his out-of-place flak vest and pointed at his heavy combat boots. “Particularly when you’re dressed like that.”

“Yes’m.” Sikes shifted his weight and looked stubborn.

Any further objections she may have had we interrupted by a booming, deep-throated wail. Something unnatural–a much larger animal than was normally ever found in this swamp. Almost a lion’s roar in volume, but higher and oddly syncopated. CHaaRAP-ACK-AP-ACHchchch.

Sandy’s wide eyes locked on Sikes’. She was far more pale than just moments before.

“I—believe I would appreciate your company after all, Corporal Sikes,” she faltered.

Sikes hefted his assault rifle and switched off the safety with an audible *click*.

“Yes ma’am.”

RecDave Seal

This particular piece was inspired by the Jun 24 Writing 101 prompt:

What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears. If you’re up for a twist, write this post in a style that’s different from your own.

No, my fear isn’t swamps. My fear is (currently) scenes with a lot of dialog.

Corporal Sikes isn’t too different from me (I use a lot of ‘ma’ams’ too, with strangers, because I was a Kid From The South). Maybe not quite that many, but it’s still a  first-reaction.

But Sandy’s a little much more stilted and formal, at least initially. I’d need a longer piece to emphasize that more. She’s just getting all set to turn concescending-professor on his ass–until The Creature bellows out of the swamp…

This post should be back-dated to June (like the rest of the Writing 101 prompts are), but I got tired of maintaining that.

Muse’s Curse

“The apparition paused, sighed deeply, and then resumed in a tone of still greater menace:”

(—Alexandre Dumas, from “Edmund Dantes”, p. 29)

Dearest Mother:

I’ve written to you before of Edmundo and I, how we attended college together, and how we became fast friends. But so much has happened since, that I’ve been remiss in the details.

Edmundo and I were often in our cups together, often carousing the city streets at night in our intemperance. This sort of life you do not write home to Mother about, the sort of life that you hide and keep private; how many students have the taverns and pubs of London devoured whole to their family’s dismay?

But it is not the demon drink to which I owe my fate; it is to Terpsichore, the fair Muse of Dance. For one evening Edmund and I, wandering the streets in search of entertainment (as we so often did between examination days) stumbled by merest chance upon a run-down, disreputable dance hall called The Broken Wheel.

It was not at all the sort of establishment known for its expensive liqueurs and fancy dandies. The only beverages served were the low beers and the very cheapest rum. The tables each tucked away in the darkest corners, and the unsavory business and characters that frequented each nightly are best left unimagined. The dancers were the lowest of women, overly painted and under-garbed. I’m told that most, if not all, were ladies of negotiable affection–if you will please excuse my crassness.

All save one.

Salome was her name, and when she took the stage a hush always fell over the generally noisy, boisterous tables. Glasses stopped clinking. Even the barmaids stopped peddling–for whenever Salome was on the stage, no one was buying.

She was swarthy and exotic, some said Gypsy, others said Turkish, I’ve even heard pronounced the she hailed from far-off India. But whenever she lifted the hem of her skirts and began to dance, time itself hesitated. Her dance built slowly, gracefully from something ballet-like in its quiet grace. Whirling and twirling as her skirts swayed in counterpoint to her pirouette series of spins.

As the dance progressed it would quicken, grow more bold. She attacked the stage, using the entire floor. Passion flashing in her eyes as she crossed the floor with explosive, expansive leaps.

Only to stop—falling into her skirts, forehead to the floor. Chest heaving from exertion and eyes closed–and the crowd suddenly rediscovers its voice with an explosive roar! The walls of the small and shabby Broken Wheel shook to the cheers and stomping feet of the patrons, and the bartender would typically sell an hour’s worth of drinks in the next ten minutes.

None cheered more loudly or more enthusiastically than Edmundo and I. Nor did we fail to shower silver on the barmaids like all the rest. Over the coming weeks and months, we returned to the Wheel again and again. Captivated and captured by our Terpsichore.

If only I could see and warn Edmundo of what was to come.

Dearest Mother, I do hope you can understand, if not condone, the actions of two young gentlemen so captured within the orbit of Venus. Salome was beautiful, mysterious and an entrancing dancer. And Edmundo launched a clever scheme whereby the two of us could be smuggled backstage and finally meet this vision. And meet her we did.

Do you know of the tradition where patrons and paramours can cause roses to be delivered to a prima ballerina’s dressing room? Edmundo provided the wit, and I provided the funds. And for a solid week we had flowers, wine, candies delivered anonymously each evening. And on the seventh evening, we had ourselves delivered as well.

Personally, I was dumbstruck upon first being physically in Salome’s presence. Edmundo carried the day, while I contributed little more than a handshake and shy smile. The two of them became fast friends, laughing together and talking of dance, theater, culture, even politics. I was just content to gaze on Salome, enjoying each of her smiles, and dazzled when her smiles began to fall upon me as well as my friend.

Over the coming days and weeks, we called on Salome several more times. First in the Broken Wheel, later in the summer sunny streets of London town. The three of us became almost inseparable, and Salome gradually drew me out of my quiet and into the Dance we enjoyed together.

And I could feel Edmundo advancing his cause, and I was content; for he was my dearest friend and I bore them nothing but respect and genuine best wishes, both. From time to time my funds financed our excursions, and other times we went ‘on the cheap’, and picked amusements that cost little or nothing. Walks along the riverbank, painting the sunsets, trips to the zoo.

And as the weeks turned into months, I began to be cognizant of Edmundo and Salome’s relationship changing.

Little things at first; Edmundo would present her with a gift, a scarf or a pair of gloves, and insist that she wear them. Soon, he was directing her outfits. He dressed her more modestly, adding lace to her decolletage or lengthening her gowns. He would often correct flaws in her diction or in her posture.

All of these things Salome accepted without complaint, for she was just as enraptured with Edmundo as he with her. The news of their engagement was both inevitable and expected. Our society demands that young men may only dally with young ladies for a brief time, without making their intentions serious and known to all. And I approved–two people whom I loved, only natural that they should be together.

But a darkness began to gather around Edmundo, and the clouds grew more threatening as the year turned to Winter.

Edmundo began to object whenever he found Salome smiling at another. His brow would furrow, and his words grow tight and controlled. He particularly didn’t like other men gazing upon his bride-to-be.

You’ll recall Salome was a dancer, Mother. And an enormously popular one, popular with the low crowd that frequented the Broken Wheel. Edmundo had much to object to, and many eyes gazing upon Salome to fuel his rage.

He and Salome began to fight frequently. Edmundo would flare jealously at one Wheel patron or another, and even start brawls. And Salome kept trying to keep his rage under control, explaining that he was her one and only, and the bar’s patrons innocent of any wrongdoing.

And I? I began withdrawing swiftly from our à trois, distancing myself from the affianced couple lest Edmundo feel any jealousy for me.

But eventually, that night came; the fateful last night I ever saw Salome dance.

Mother, imagine if you will: Edmundo and I watched, from our small table in the Wheel that evening. On our table was one of the cheap rum bottles, quite unusual, but Edmundo had began drinking early and heavily on this particular night. His eyes flashed from customer to customer, an each time his brows furrowed. I placed a hand on his forearm, about to advise him to slow down the drinking, and his eyes glinted in anger at me!

But at that moment Salome’s music began, and she took the stage. Her usual dance and the usual audience response, we were one and all familiar; yet still enraptured by it. Except tonight, as she dance, her eyes would pass over our table and Edmundo’s furious gaze would lock on hers each time. And eventually, perhaps inevitably, her timing slipped and Salome stumbled.

The audience gasped audibly. And Edmundo surged to his feet, and locked his hand around her elbow. Before we could react, Edmundo had drug her from offstage, a hasty and involuntary exit stage right.

What else could I do but follow?

They were arguing audibly; she screamed for him to stop, he was hurting her. He was calling her filthy names, demanding she stop dancing at this place, in a blind rage, demanding control. In the short, dark corridor between the stage and dressing rooms, the other dancers were scattering. As I arrived behind the pair, an audible click froze my blood.

Edmundo, still grasping her elbow, buried the muzzle of the pistol in her ribs.

Mother, I tried to stop him, I swear it. I leaped at Edmundo and fought with him over the weapon. Salome shrieked and battered him about the head and shoulders with her free hand. And–the pistol went off.

Salome sighed once and collapsed on the floor. Edmundo pistol-whipped me and I knew no more.


 

I never saw Edmundo alive again. According the the police, he took his own life that every evening, and hung himself in his chambers. The owner and most of the patrons of the Broken Wheel and I attended Solome’s funeral later the same week.


 

Now, mother, I am oft visited in my dreams by his wrathful spirit. He blames me, for the death of our Salome, for her escape of his control. This school year has been lost to me, and our Muse is gone forever. I am returning home, and should arrive on the Wednesday train.


 

The original Writing 101 prompt:

Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What jumps out at you? Start there, and try a twist: write in the form of a letter.

I departed from Edmund Dantes (save for that single line), but attempted to preserve the original tone; may be more Edwardian than intended.

 

RecDave Seal

Post-Script:

I hadn’t intended the “letter home” to be nearly so long, it tops 1500 words.

But today’s Daily Prompt was:

Today, publish a post based on unused material from a previous piece –a paragraph you nixed, a link you didn’t include, a photo you decided not to use. Let your leftovers shine!

And I was sitting on this unfinished writing 101 prompt from earlier in the week, so…I finished it. Not entirely pleased with the ending, but you know, two birds, one stone.

Skip a two-for-one assignment? No way!

Home of the Yellowjackets!

Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.

The home I lived in when I was twelve…all right, near as I can figure, counting on my fingers, that means sixth grade plus or minus a year? ’74, probably. And sixth grade was Mississippi. So dad was still finishing up at Keesler AFB, and we were living off-base east of Biloxi (Ocean Springs? D’Iberville? Some place in Jackson county, anyway, the exact borders of a lot of those little townships were unincorporated at the time. Ask Mom.) Don’t argue with me, spell-checker, D’Iberville is spelled correctly.

Anyway, we were close enough to I-10 that I considered it ‘right in my backyard’, though is was probably closer to a half-mile away, or a couple of minutes for kids on bikes. On the both sides of I-10, pine woods. Streams, creeks (one creek literally pushing the property line in our backyard). Dad raised rabbits at the time; we had rabbit hutches and an Irish Setter. My friends kept turtles, frogs, toads, snakes and pretty much any other living animal we could catch. We spent a lot of time terrorizing the local wildlife.

Enormous humidity, heat. Lots and lots of swampland in a ten mile radius. Skeeters from hell.

Sixth grade would be the Year of the Smart-ass. Miss Pleasance and St. Martin. You see, coming out of a military grade school (quite good) and going to a southern MS middle school (really, really bad)…my first year at St. Martin had me a) competing for valedictorian (finished second, barely) and b) winning the science fair. Effortlessly.

My fifth grade math teacher, Mr. Watanabe, had been feeding me on HS algebra books. Sixth grade students at St. Martin were probably operating around fourth grade level equivalent to anywhere else in America. MS schools were not good.

Miss Pleasance was nice enough, as I recall she was very supportive. Maybe too much so?

I coasted through sixth, seventh and eighth grades. I didn’t crack a book again until college. And if I have any tendency toward egomania, know-it-all-ness; it was born of sixth grade. Imagine I was a pretty damned annoying brat, at that age. Did I ever grow out of it?

Anyway, we’re living in the past, again. If these projects have any serious shortcoming, it’s how often they focus on retrospectives.

RecDave Seal

We wish you a merry oopsmas?

One of my favorite meals growing up actually began as a mistake. My mother was fond of spaghetti (quick, easy, cheap–who wasn’t?) as one of our comes-around-in-the-rotation-frequently meals. This was back before the big explosion in jarred sauces (Ragu et al), so it was common practice to add tomato paste, water, and dry sauce mixes to make the the quick-and-dirty spaghetti sauces. I seem to remember McCormick as being a big player in the dry sauce mixes, but it may have been some other brand (not important).

Anyway, mom made a fairly simple mistake; reached into the cabinet for a packet of sauce mix and nabbed Taco mix (instead of spaghetti). Mixed it up as usual without noticing and served over spaghetti noodles…and you know, that taco-ghetti bastard hybrid was go-oood!

It’s odd how events like taco-ghetti, char-broiled cat, and burned taco shell last meal for the convict in solitary confinement, stick in the brain when so much else gets lost.

Thanks Mom, for making it all so much fun. Even better for the “oops” moments.

RecDave Seal

The answer is blowin’ in the wind

P1000164John walked slowly, enjoying Sara’s presence at his side and the warmth of her hand in his. Everything just seemed so perfect, from the light breeze carrying the scent of fresh-cut grass to the sunlight highlighting Sara’s golden hair.

A pair of joggers ran past, very attractive young ladies. But John’s eyes didn’t follow, just this once. John was admiring the trees, and a pair of red squirrels chasing each other, chattering. “This is just perfect,” John breathed.

He paused for a moment while Sara sneezed, then wrapped one arm around her waist and squeezed gently.

John smiled as he and Sara passed a park bench, where an elderly lady was knitting a small, red sweater. As they proceeded several steps beyond the bench, the wind shifted and John suddenly found himself helplessly choking back laughter, tears running down his face.

That old woman…oh god, what had she been eating? Oh man that is foul!


Sara was in misery. Poor John, he seemed so eager to make a walk in the park into the perfect date. As they strode together, hand in hand, Sara tried to concentrate on something, anything but the pounding in her head.

Her sinuses were filled, grass and mold and pollen were apparently everywhere in the park today, she could barely breathe as she clutched John’s hand more tightly.

A pair of joggers ran past, looking like tramps in their little tight jogging shorts, and they could both use much better sports bras. Sara missed her twenties, and the perfect tight little body she’d had then, but even in her prime she’d never had boobs to match those. She closed her eyes against the brightness of the sun.

“This is just perfect,” Sara heard John say, and just wanted to punch him hard; bastard was probably looking over those bimbos. A pair of squirrels were fighting, chattering angrily at each other, headed for a brawl in the trees, no doubt.

Sara sneezed and wished for a fresh Kleenex, damn allergies. To her dismay, John decided to side-hug her just as she felt the warning signs of an impending nose drip. God, not now.

As they strode past an old woman on a park bench, Sara tried to force a smile. Don’t think that was very successful, she thought, I’m just too miserable right now.

Sara blinked through allergy-teared eyes as John suddenly broke into a laugh, bent over and…crying? What in the hell?


Lucille calmly knitted the sweater for Timmy, her newest grandson. Counting calmly to herself, her mind drifted away from the knitting as she looked about at the park scenery.

The usual squirrels, trees and joggers. Lucille was a regular; this bench and she were old friends, familiar and comfortable with each other.

The buzz of the lawnmower over the next hill was soothing, another familiar sound of the  park. Lucille like the way the park smelled after the lawn was mowed.

Lucille nodded as two young co-eds from the local college jogged past. Familiar regulars, pretty things, believe they ran through here yesterday.

Another pair of lovers walked toward the bench, Lucille looked them over. Smiling young man, looked happy. But the young lady was frowning, trouble in paradise? Her young squire not treating her right?

Lucille frowned at the young man, her silent appraisal falling several chilly points down into ‘disapproval’. The young lady sneezed violently. And it looked like the uncouth youth copped a feel, and the young lady grimaced in Lucille’s direction as they passed the bench! The poor dear.

Just when Lucille couldn’t have a much lower opinion of this young creep, he glanced at Lucille and suddenly began crying with mirth.

“Well, I never!” she thought, as she furiously began gathering up her knitting.

RecDave Seal

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

Death to Adverbs

Writing 101, Day Eight: Death to Adverbs

Go to a public location and make a detailed report of what you see. The twist of the day? Write the post without adverbs.

Placeholder. It’s ubercold, and I may not be able to get out into “public locations” until springtime (I’m in November, even if the calendar for this post says June) rolls around again.

I’ll do it if/when I can get outside without freezing and remember to, give this post a good solid Round Tuit. I’ll get around too it.

Round Tuit Seal

Engagement and Procrastination, the faceoff

Focus today’s post on the contrast between two things. The twist? Write the post in the form of a dialogue.

“All right, you know that we should be writing something right now, don’t you?”

(unintelligible grunt)

“Aw come on, we like doing this stuff, you’ve said so a dozen times, and even when we’re not actively doing any writing, we’re thinking about it.”

“Don’t wanna.”

“What does that mean, why don’t we want to write for a bit tonight?”

“Hungry.”

“Hmm. Well, that’s a fair point, it’s been a long time since I ate. Let me fix a little something just to take the edge off.” <yum!> “There, tummy rumble has been suppressed with snackage, can we start now?”

“Nuh uh.”

“Oh come on, what’s wrong now?”

“Tired.”

“I suppose that’s a fair point, it has been a pretty long day… Hey! Are you just trying to lazy your way out of this? Not going to let you do that; we need to get started on this assignment, it’s good for us; learning and practicing and stuff.”

“Tomorrow.”

“No, now come on, you know it’s not even bed time yet. What the hell else are you gonna do, couch potato?”

“Yes.”

“No, we’ve wasted enough of our life leaving a dent in the couch, get our fanny perpendicular…how do you spell ‘perpendicular?’ again…oh yeah, there it goes–stop stalling and write!”

“Can’t.”

“Well why not, for heaven’s sakes?”

“Done.”

“Oh. Yeah, I guess we are. Did you do the logo-thing and all the category and tags and whatnot? Facebooky share thang?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Oh for….never mind, I’ll do them myself. Loser!”

(unintelligible grunt)

RecDave Seal

The Drudges of the Meat World

Names may have been changed to protect the innocent.

Wayne is the youngest of the crew, but the boss. You get the feeling he might be advancing up the corporate ladder if not for a highly visible (unmistakable, in fact) tattoo. The one that covers his entire neck (!) He laughs easily and doesn’t flex the boss muscles too often. More importantly, he braves the deepest of colds in the darkest of freezers to retrieve that odd, unsellable case of boar snouts or chicken knuckles (or whatever oddity the clients are asking about) that’s been buried in the deepest freeze since last Spring. And his health sometimes suffers from all of that freezer time; all of the Meat Heads can have that affliction.

Anka (Anglicized  to sound like “Anka”, that is–not many can pronounce the full Polish name properly, and certainly can’t spell it!) is the only lady of the group. She gets teased for her cleaning, when she can resemble the archetypal old polish cleaning woman. She’s…well…busty and hippy, Reubenesque–but not unattractive. If you like your girls really curvy, and you favor Sir Mixalot’s famous prescription for non-Cosmo girls, this could be the lady! She had to move her nametag to keep the customers’ eyes out of her cleavage…mostly, anyway.

Murray is the oldest, but not 65 yet. He works only part-time (as much as his pension allows). He’s large, and dark, and keeps his hair clipped really short (quarter inch, maybe?) It’s greying all around anyway, frosting on the grizzle. He has a big, easy smile, though, and all of the older lady customers seem to like flirting with him (which he denies, of course). The church-going man of the group, he sometimes seems uncomfortable when the humor of the others gets a little too risque.

Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

RecDave Seal