Piss Off! Working :)

“I hate writing, I love having written.”

-Dorothy Parker

Before any of my relatives who read this get too excited, I am still a stay-at-home, exercise bike riding, painting, writer. That being said I said, can I say said twice so shortly in one sentence? I guess if I am quoting myself and I am, shit need the quote marks, “I will write when I have something of interest to write about.” Or something like that and likely better in the original Klingon…let’s see…

qapumchu’meH HeghDI’ vay’ Daj ghItlh umqu’ ghot jIH

-Finally Klingon for every word 🙂

See that was better. The gist of the story and my “absence” (the quotes indicate that the word absence is not what I truly meant, just a handy tip from me to…well probably me) is that I am hard at work redoing Puddles and Whiskers. Yes, I know how many times can one person work or one reader read the same stuff? The answer for me at least is, UNTIL I GET IT WRITE! See what I did there?

As a writer or as this writer, I am very happy with my writing until I am not, typically this happens while reviewing (my new word for editing in an attempt to make editing more palatable like adding ketchup or pepper to shitty food, which by the way, if you add ketchup or pepper to food I make for you the first thing I think is “They think my food taste bad”) my writing, something I do a lot with Puddles and Whiskers. However, this time the act of attempting to write a follow-up got me in a state of unhappiness with the writing.

So I pondered and pondered out loud on Puddles and Whiskers and of all things while watching Silicon Valley hit on the idea of a pivot point. This pivot point, instead of wedging Puddles and Whiskers into Stroud why not alter Stroud to fit them? Thus over the past few…however long since I posted DICTATIONSHIP, I have been working on turning Stroud into Menagerie.

Our girl’s Puddles and Whiskers art, by the way. There is more art on Puddles and Whiskers. 🙂

Menagerie for everyone who is not a long time reader, is a serial story I started with animals in space. Space is science fiction, Stroud is a science fiction cyberpunkish setting, thus one plus one equals a lot of work for me. I wasn’t sure how the story would work out, but had to try because I was stuck.

The result, in my opinion, a hell of a lot better. While altering the characters into animals, I found story elements that needed to change or alter, resulting in a stronger story with less “AH HA” moments or “What the Fuck, where did that come from” moments than before. Now, I am not finished, but I am further along that I thought I would get. Oh yeah, for those who want to see a sample of what I am talking about, here you go (yes a link I like the pretty colors.)

So like I said, less bullshit here and more substance. Finding a better story within a story I already enjoyed is something of substance for myself, those who enjoy Puddles and Whiskers, and fellow writers who find themselves stuck…sometimes making a pivot point is the best way to get unstuck.

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”

-George R.R. Martin

 

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Puddles and Whiskers, All About The Case

Previously.

“His case?”

“Yes, his brief case,” stated Beverly Amson.

Puddles shook her head. She must be hearing things or there was a miscommunication. Puddles watched Beverly take another long sip of coffee; she did not appear upset or even concerned over her husband’s death. Composed, rational, unemotional and wearing on one hand Puddles income for an entire year, Beverly’s only concern was a brief case.

“Just so we are clear, you want to know what happened to his brief case?”

“That is correct.”

Puddles was thankful Beverly could not see her tail slashing away as her irritation with Beverly rose. Setting her paws in front of her, trying to control her urge to drum her claws, Puddles looked into Bevely Amson’s eyes hoping to see any sign of humanity. Nothing.

Sighing Puddles began, “Your husband’s brief case was carried off by the man who killed him.” Puddles paused looking for some reaction. “Whiskers chased the man with the puppet until the man jumped into a waiting taxi and escaped.”

“Did the man have the case when he jumped into the taxi.”

“I…I will check with Whiskers.” Puddles sent a text to Whiskers. “Another cup of coffee while we wait?”

Beverly looked at the cup of coffee with more emotion than Puddles had seen all meeting and then looked up at her, “No thank you.”

Whiskers replied promptly. “According to Whiskers the man had the brief case when he jumped into the taxi.”

Beverly thought for a few moments, “I need you and your associates to retreive the case for me.”

“What?”

“The job I hired your firm for is not complete.”

“Your husband is dead,” Puddles snapped back, “our case was to follow him and catch him in the act with another woman.”

“No.”

“No,” Puddles hissed.

“I hired your firm to follow Mr. Amson, gathering information on where he went and who he interacted with. You inferred I wanted to know about another woman,” Beverly shot back enunciating each word. “Thus, your job is not finished. Mr. Amson interacted with the man who killed him. That man took something that belonged to Mr. Amson. You need to find that man and the brief case.” She stood up and headed for the door, stopping as she headed out, “I expect results and updates.”

Puddles dug her claws into her side of the desk, let her tail slash through the air freely, and took a moment before cursing Beverly Amson out. Whiskers would be proud she thought, this time the client was not in the office.

[We have an issue.] Puddles texted to Whiskers and Chuck.

Puddles and Whiskers, Not NiHo’s

Previously.

With a groan, Whiskers stood up and approached Officer Chu. A brief conversation and Whiskers signaled Puddles and Chuck time to leave. Walking along the elevated walkway wageslaves avoided the three of them.

“We don’t belong here,” Chuck sighed his tail slowly waving.

“What?” Puddles snapped her tail slashed causing a passing wageslave to jump.

Pointing at another group of wageslaves walking past them, “Look they avoid us like we have something.”

“Why do you care what they do?”

Chuck thought for a moment, “I don’t.”

Puddles shook her head in disbelief. Deep in thought Whiskers missed the exchange, focusing on the details of the encounter, “He was wired,” he said out loud.

“Who was wired?” Chuck asked.

“What?” Puddles said

Snapping out of his thoughts, “The man with the puppet, he outran me like I was a kitten. He must have some augmentation.”

“It’s possible,” Puddles said thoughtfully. “What’s our next move? The client is dead.”

“That puppet was interesting,” Chuck absently said.

“That damn puppet almost killed all of us,” Puddles snapped.

Chuck glared at Puddles for a moment, “I know. That doesn’t change the fact that the puppet was interesting.”

“Whatever.”

“Give it a rest,” Whiskers ordered. “I need some food and coffee before I decide what we do next.”

Not NiHo’s

“It’s not NiHo’s that’s for sure,” Chuck commented as he looked around the noodle shop.

“No it’s not,” Puddles responded. “Look at this menu, where is the spicy ham?”

With a wave through the holo-menu, closing the menu and a sigh Whiskers sat back in the padded chair, “Definitely not NiHo’s.” Whiskers set down his cup of tea.

“Something wrong with the tea?” Puddles asked.

“It’s not coffee,” Chuck replied with a smile.

“Chuck is right,” Whiskers answered pointing at the tea, “this is not coffee. Not much is going our way this morning.”

“Whiskers, I’ll contact the client,” Chuck said.

“What will you tell her?”

Chuck paused, “That her…”

“That is where I am stuck. Her husband is dead. However, that is not our concern other than offering our condolences.” Whisker picked up the cup of tea, began to take a sip, thought better and set the cup down.

“He’s dead. Our case is dead. Isn’t it?” Chuck asked.

“Sometimes,” Puddles replied. “She may want to know. That means we need to follow up until we get her answers.”

Chuck shook his head in disbelief. “What about the man with the puppet?”

Puddles sat forward, “I’d like to find him and give him his puppet back,” she finished with a devilish smile, all fang.”

“I too would like to know more about him,” Whiskers said. “However, he is not our concern.”

“After food, I’ll contact the client and set up a meeting,” Puddles said. “By the time we meet she should have the news of her husband from the SCPD.”

A shiny Serv-O droid quietly rolled to the table, depositing bowls of noodles and spoons in front of each of them. Puddles picked up a spoon with two claw tipped digits, “Definitely not NiHos.”

Puddles and Whiskers, Not Any Puppet II

Previously.

Chuck rolled Puddles over, quickly running his paws over her body looking for wounds. She slapped his hands away, “I’m fine.”

“Oh Lovey, you served me well,” the man said tossing the remains of the robopuppet to the ground as he accelerated down the thoroughfare scattering wageslaves.

“Check Amson,” Puddles commanded as she sat up. “Damn that was close.”

Chuck looked over at Amson, “He’s definitely gone.”

“Shit. Where’s Whiskers?”

“He took off after the puppet man.”

“He’s fast,” Whiskers said breathing heavy over comms.

Whiskers ducked underneath the arms of an overburdened wageslave, keeping an eye on the puppet man. Three wageslaves tumbled to the ground in front of Whiskers. With a leap, he cleared all three landing hard, slipping, and falling on his rump.

“Damnit!”

“Where are you at?” Chuck asked.

“Near the taxi pads,” Whiskers replied resuming the chase.

Puppet man swung the case in a low arc taking the legs out from two wageslaves who were too busy with their electronic devices. Both of them tumbled into Whiskers path who used the nearest wall, to wall ran past the wageslaves. Puppet man rounded a corner to the taxi pads, Whiskers heard screams and watched as wageslaves ran away from the taxi pad in a panic. Sliding around the corner, he remembered he left his katana at the office. No need to worry, Puppet man dove into a taxi that immediately flew into traffic.

“He is gone.”

“Gone?” Puddles asked.

“Jumped into a taxi.”

“Damnit.”

“Police are here,” Puddles flatly reported.

“I will be there in a few minutes.”

Out of breath Whiskers jogged back avoiding the knots of wageslaves rubbernecking the scene. Standing over Amson’s body, the SCPD Officer spoke into his com while recording the scene on his tablet. Puddles and Chuck sat to one side waiting. Whiskers sat next to them with a thud.

“What the hell was that all about?” he asked.

“No clue,” Chuck replied. “Officer Chu doesn’t know anything either.”

“No surprise,” Puddles said. “He showed up after the fact. I got his ID so we can get any information the SCPD may find.”

“Great, does he need anything from me?” Whiskers asked between big breaths.

“Not that we know of. He asked us what happened, took our information, and that was that. We only sat here to wait for you.”

With a groan Whiskers stood up and approached Officer Chu. A brief conversation and Whiskers signaled Puddles and Chuck time to leave.

Puddles and Whiskers, Not Any Puppet

Previously.

Not Any Puppet

Leaning against the window of Wake Me Up, Puddles watched wageslaves walk past their eyes downcast. Through the glass of the walkway, she watched mid-morning traffic fly past, more wageslaves onto their jobs. She listened to Chuck place his order through their shared comsystem, chuckling to herself when the coffee dispensing wageslave announced his name as, “Chunk!”

“I thought you said no more chasing cheating spouses,” she said over comms.

“Somethings cannot be helped,” Whiskers replied.

Puddles casually looked around the elevated walkway intersection spotting Whiskers sitting on a observation bench sipping his coffee and reading his ever present tablet. Out of the corner of her vision she spotted Chuck exiting Wake Me Up and heading the opposite direction. Glancing at her skin watch, almost time.

“Anyone spot our target?”

“Not yet,” Whiskers responded quickly.

“I just got into position,” Chuck replied. “I don’t see him.”

“Keep an eye out Chunk,” Puddles teased.

“How hard is their job,” Chuck mumbled.

Chuck wearing his latest wageslave disguise, a tan overall with an accounting firm’s shoulder and breast meme-badge sat down at a table with an excellent view of foot traffic. Pulling out a tablet Chuck shopped while drinking his coffee and keeping an eye out for their target. Instead of their target, Chuck spotted a man erratically walking down the sidewalk, bumping into garbage stations, chairs, and the occasional wageslave causing a commotion as wageslaves attempted to adjust to the disruption.

“Isn’t it a bit early to be drunk?” he asked over comms.

“What?” both Puddles and Whiskers responded.

“There’s this guy…”Chuck trailed off. “What the an’jal is this guy?”

“Something wrong?” Whisker asked.

“No, this drunk is cradling a hand puppet of a bird, talking to it, and bumping into anything that gets in his path. Which seems to be everything.”

“I spotted Amson,” Whiskers cut in. “He is walking towards me wearing a blue suit carrying a black case.”

“I see him,” Puddles responded. Tossing her coffee cup into the trash she started towards Whiskers when she collided with someone. “What the…”

The man who collided with her bounced off her across the walkway scattering wageslaves. His disheveled and mismatched outfit wageslave outfit did not stand out as much as the robopuppet that his left hand was inside.

“Heading your way,” Chuck said.

“Are you okay?” the man asked.

“I’m…”

“Not you!” the man screeched. “Are you okay Lovey?” He asked the robopuppet in a cooing voice that caused Puddles stomach to heave.

Puddles decided the best course was to ignore the man and attempted to walk past to intercept Amson who was crossing the elevated walkway towards her with Whiskers following.

“What’s wrong Lovey?” he asked the robopuppet as it began to screech and caw loudly. Wageslaves avoided the scene with alarming speed. “Did this feline hurt you? What’s that?”

Puddles turned to see what the man was going on about.

“Puddles down he’s got a…”

BOOM BOOM BOOM

On the ground, bits of plastic and metal showered Puddles. Amson, their target fell over his chest and face, what remained of his face, covered in blood. Whiskers dove for cover. Chuck flew overhead, arms outstretched. The man, his left hand in the remains of a robopuppet, stepped over Puddles, grabbed the briefcase and ran past Whiskers.

Puddles and Whiskers, Reality Check

Previously.

Reality Check

“How much longer?” Whiskers asked.

“As long as it takes!” Puddles yelled.

Picking up his coffee mug, Whiskers walked to his side of the desk and sat on a corner, “That is not good for our business. You saw the vid, you heard what the doctor said to Eth’s gangers, and we are over our heads. Time to cut our losses.”

Clenching her fists, tail slashing like Whisker’s katana, eyes narrowed, Puddles rounded on Whiskers, “Cut our losses!” She hissed each word.

“Yes,” Whiskers replied coolly.

Puddles slammed her cup of coffee onto her side of the desk splashing coffee everywhere. She kicked her chair out of her way before leaning against the edge. Her anger counter to the calm demeanor of Whiskers who waited for her anger to pass.

She took two deep calming breaths, not that her body language said calming down at all, “We got played into killing some gangers for someone else and we did not get paid at all for it. Someone else sent us data leading towards discovering who did it. We are closing in on them.”

“Are we?”

“What!” Puddles shouted all pretense of calming down vanished. “Yes, we are closing in on them. With Eth’s gangers we can get behind the doctors and get some payback.”

Whiskers took a long drink of coffee, setting his cup down, “Who is they?” Holding up a paw to stall her instant response, “I want you to think about this before responding. We do not know who hired us in the first place, correct?”

Puddles nodded.

“We do not know who sent us the data, correct?”

Puddles nodded a second time.

“We do know that based on the information the gangers learned that our case will involve action against the doctors and possibly whoever is backing them?”

“Hell yeah it will.”

“Great, who are they then? Other than the doctor looking for gangers to experiment on, we know nothing. Are you prepared, seriously prepared, to take on Titan or some other corporation? I am not and I am not ready to sacrifice our agency either.”

Picking up her coffee, taking a long drink, her tail relaxed slowing down to what Whiskers thought of as her “thoughtful look.” As she set her cup down, “You may have a point.”

“I know we did not get paid and we did get played. Unfortunately…”

“Unfortunately,” Puddles interrupted, “we don’t know a damn thing for sure.” Holding up her paw to stop Whiskers response, “And the longer we continue to investigate on our own the more we risk,” she finished with a toothy smirk.

“Sadly true.”

With her foot, she pulled her chair over and sat down, “What now?”

“We move onto paying cases. We do not let this go. Instead of blindly following everything sent our way, we do what we do best; we investigate and find our own path.”

“No more chasing cheating spouse cases, please.”

“Fine with me. We need to put Chuck on the payroll; he did a lot of work for us for no pay.”

Shaking her head with amusement, “Agreed, but he doesn’t get his own desk in here.”

“You make that call and I will contact Eth to let him know his gangers are off the hook.”

Puddles and Whiskers, Initial Consult

New Puddles and Whiskers. I can also say with some certainty that I will not be showing my editing process again, unless there is a demand. So enjoy the start of some new Puddles and Whiskers. 🙂

Previously.

Initial Consult

“John called yesterday,” Whiskers said.

Puddles looked up from her work, “And?”

Taking a long sip from his coffee Whiskers made Puddles wait, “They took down Red Twist.”

“About damn time. Any word on our gangers?”

“Nothing from Eth. Have you heard anything?”

“Not a thing, but I don’t expect him to come through for us.”

Whiskers shook his head.

“Don’t hand me that. You’re thinking it too.”

“I have more faith in Eth than you do.”

“Whatever,” Puddles retorted with a snort as she returned to her work.

A few minutes later the front door swung open, Chuck sauntered through followed by two gangers. Red and black faux leather jackets, typical ganger “don’t fuck with me” attitude, the only detail separating them one had a chromed arm and the other sported a data jack.

“Look what I found outside the office,” Chuck said with a smile and wave towards the gangers.

“Eth sent you?” Puddles asked, pushing back from her side of the desk.

Data-jack nodded, “He told us you need a simple job done.”

“Sounds about right.”

“What’s the job?” Data-jack asked while chromed arm looked around the office.

“Chuck,” Whisker began pointing at Chuck, “is going to take you to a doctor’s office. You two will enter together and find out what services they offer. Then return to Chuck who will bring you back here for a debrief.”

“That’s it?” Chromed Arm asked.

“That is all we need from you, at the moment.”

“Well…” Chuck started.

“What?” Data-jack impatiently asked.

“We need to hook you up with cameras,” Chuck carefully informed them.

“Just him,” Data-jack replied. Pointing at his left eye, “I already have a camera and you can have the feed when we are done.”

“Even better,” Chuck said excitedly.

An hour and some minutes later Chuck landed in a downtown hover port and watched as the two gangers headed to the Medical Offices of Tablix and Aslan. His windshield display had two open windows, lower right corner Puddles and Whiskers stared at him from their office, and upper right live feed of the gangers moving through wageslaves like a hot knife through butter.

“I hope this works,” he said to Puddles and Whiskers.

Watching the feed Chuck got a better view of the waiting room and behind the receptionist’s desk. The receptionist waved them through the door where a nurse waited. She led them down a hallway lined with examination rooms. From the glimpses when Chromed Arm turned Chuck could tell only the most basic of medical equipment was in each room. At the second to last pair of doors, the nurse stopped and gestured for them to enter the room.

Inside the room, two chairs in front of a small, clean desk. Sitting behind the desk Doctor Aslan. Data-jack and Chromed Arm sat down. For five minutes the Doctor asked them questions, nothing out of the ordinary at least nothing that stood out to Chuck, and at the end handed them holo-cards with the office logo and a date, three days from now.

A few minutes later they returned to the car. Data-jack turned to Chuck before he could say anything, “We’re going to be needed more than just today.”