I’ve been sitting on this one for a while waiting for Jeff over at GreatHites to get it in the podcast.  Now that it’s in, I can post it here.  1984 meets clockwork orange is the tale I’ve written.  Complete with my own butchered accents if you listen to it.   Enjoy.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed or put GiveBlood and Thanks in your iTunes.

Reconstruction

(about 1500 words)

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[audio:dannygh59.mp3]

“Eh, where you at mate?” Logan snapped his fingers.  “Didn’t you hear me?”

“Hear you when?” I said.

“Just now? Here you are, off on some distant planet.  Here I am,
spillin’ me bloody guts out about me mum.  All the while your off
rodgerin’ in some dream world with lord only knows what.”

“Sorry mate.  Just kinda spaced out ya’ know?” I wasn’t that sorry.
Whenever Logan was drunk, the first, second, third, and last subject
he ever talked about was his ruddy mother.  He would go on about how
she secretly wished for the Reconstruction to fail, or how she wasn’t
treatin’ his dad fair, an gettin’ round to the other toms on the
block.  She was a right fair git don’t get me wrong, but a bloke can
only be told the same tale so many times.  Besides, if Logan knew what
I knew through me dad, about the Reconstruction, he’d join his ruddy
ole mum and burn flags.

“Eh, you’re hopeless mate ya’ know that?” Logan said brushing the
golden shoulder length hair from his eyes.

I spaced out again.  It’s getting time to head to our  respective
lofts over on third street anyway.  We both live in the same men’s
dorm.  I’m not sure he’s going quietly or if he can even walk.  He
isn’t that much bigger than me, but we are both fairly short stout
blokes.  I’m fortunate to be a little more firm in the sinew than he
is though, so I can muscle him about if it comes to it.

It came to it only once before it did.  Some tom gets spouting off
about how the lass Logan was seeing is getting round.  Naturally this
strikes a chord with my hot tempered friend and he sees fit to break a
beer bottle on the bar.  Grabs the bloke by his arm and starts slicing
at his chest, all barbarian like.  I nearly broke his arm myself
getting him out of there.  Of course I took a slice to the arm while
trying to save him from arrest.  Bloody F5 Agents are crawling the
streets these days just looking for a good reason to send a young
bloke to a labor camp.  He looked alright tonight though.  As long as
we don’t run into any rebel Chavs looking to challenge her royal
Majesty’s new glorious way of living, we should be just fine.  Those
Chavs got it right if you ask me.

“But ya’ aren’t askin’ me, are ya’ mate?” I said to Logan.

“Ashkin’ you wha’? Logan slurred.

“That’s all I needed, let’s go mate.  Your mum’ll be expectin’ a call
that we got to the dorm safe.”

“Aye, Darren, so ish’ be.  Le’sh get on with it.”  Logan stood up and
started for the door.  He’s walking straight tonight.  This is a good
sign.  We should make it back without incident.  He stopped at the
door before opening it, wiggled his arms behind himself and into his
blue jumpsuit.  He zipped up the front, covering the yellow work shirt
and puffing out his chest to expose the embroidered image of her
Majesty on his left breast.  Bound for a warm room and a soft bed, we
set off into the icy night air.

Three blocks is all we had to make it.  Three bloody blocks, but no.
Logan catches a glint of something gold in the only eye he has managed
to keep open.  Turns out the gold glint is the toggle on the vest of
some Chav.  A Chav spray painting a big ol’ red X on the Queens vide
in the middle of some off shoot alleyway.  There she sits, smiling in
all her glory, and some Freedom Fighting Chav comes along to tag her
like a game of political bingo.  This strikes a chord with my hot
tempered friend.  He decides it’s time to teach this Chav a lesson.

“I’ma crush his vide in with my royal lovin’ boot Darren I am.  You’s
watch this.”

The idea of fighting seemed to sober him up right quick.  I’ll stay
out of it because I know just as well as that Chav does, it is illegal
to deface an image of her Majesty, caught by the wrong people and you
will pay the price.  She has worked so hard in the Reconstruction.
Bared so much of the burden, she is our personal Jesus she is.

Logan seemed right sober on the physical like, but in the head – he
is drunk enough to send me to the F5 Court himself for showin’
sympathy to a Chav, or even acknowledging that he might not be as well
pissin’ in her royal soup as to raise that spray can.  Like it
mattered, we were all headed somewhere if the F5 caught wind of the
disturbance.  Either way, I had to say something.

“Go easy on em’, eh? He’s just a young tom not knowin’ what he really
thinks.  Bloody parents are probably activists.”  This struck a chord
with my hot tempered friend on account of his mum.

“Bullocks Darren,” he glared at me and that was that.

Logan started off down the alley.  The gas lamps behind him created a
ten meter shadow monster moving toward this Chav, but the Chav stands
there smiling, vide to vide with Logan.  Like he isn’t scared.  Two
paces out and Logan has stopped.  He is eyeing the Chav deciding the
best way to make him understand how important it is to never shat on
her Majesty’s image.  Four more Chavs emerge from the shadows and
charge at Logan pouncing in the air.  Their boot heels point at his
chest.  He is quick to the reflex and grabs a Chav in mid air like.
The lad’s body is deflected straight into the bricks, he hits his vide
and lights out.  One Chav down, four to go, or maybe three.  The
original grinning bloke still stands in the back.  Hasn’t moved an
inch he hasn’t.  Just what is he playing at?

The other three set to work on Logan getting him on the ground.
Boots are busting him in the ribs, about the vide, and pulling at his
queer inviting hair.

Looks like he might have the upper hand now.  You see, Logan isn’t
feeling any pain, just throwing punches.  Every time he lands one and
hears a Chav yelp he is renewed in spirit.  Looks like he’s holding
his own, I’ll keep watch for the F5.  Fights are good for wearing
blokes out right quick like.

I look out the alley entrance in both directions, and see nothing but
steaming drains.  I hear the growl of Logan but with a high pitched
flavor.  I look back and the original Chav has got himself a broken
steel pipe he has.  He’s getting to work on Logan’s vide and I see my
mates blood start to stain the street – he goes limp.  I start running
toward them.

The main Chav takes the jaggy end of his steel and puts it to Logan’s
throat.  Prepared to shiv him in the neck and send him to Charon.

“Eh, easy mate,” I said, stopping and holding out my hands.

“You don’t want to be doing that.”

“Oh aye, I think I do.  You two toms can lick the royal Queen’s bum
all ya’ want.  Tis a bad day in the Isles when a young bloke can’t
stand up for what he thinks is good an decent.  Not without getting
the Queen’s blind hounds trying to stomp him and his mates,” he said.

“Look mate, I know where ya’ comin’ from, but I tell ya’ this just
isn’t the way.  He’s drunk and just got a temper is all.  Now let’s
just part ways, you drag your mate and I’ll drag mine, before we all
end up in the F5’s mitts,” I pleaded.

This Chav is ready to make this his defining moment in the
resistance.  He was going to make my mate a martyr, and himself a
legend, I could see it in his eyes.  There was nothing I could do.

He raised his arms and the jaggy steel cast a claw like shadow on
Logan’s swollen vide.  Light flooded the alley from both ends.

“Bleeding Christ it’s F5,” the Chav shouted.  He dropped the steel
and the four ran toward the alley exit closest; hoping for an opening
to give the Agents the slip.

An Agent stepped into the light wearing a black jumpsuit.  His chest
puffed out and the Queen’s embroidered vide on his breast displayed
his allegiance.  He gripped the chrome metal baton firmly in his hand,
which according to him, was just an extension of her Majesty’s own
arm.  The Chavs sprinted at him and split off in pairs, as to rush
past on either side.

“Evening lads,” he shouted.

In a right quick automatic reflex, he turned that baton all
horizontal like.  The ends extended and anchored into the brick walls
of the alley.  The Chavs all ran into it, hitting in the vide or the
throat, knocking them to the street.

“Four rebel Chavs walk into her Majesty’s bar,” he laughs.

As they lay gasping or clutching their vide with blood inking through
their fingers, he goes to work on them with the retracted baton.  An
Agent takes my arm from behind.

“Lets go, worker,” he says to me.  I move toward Logan and his grip tightens.

“…but my mate, what about my mate?…Logan,” says I.

I struggle and turn back to look at the Agent.  I see the reflection
of my own vide.  The eyes stare back at me.  In that split second I
remember everything.  Everything that led to this moment.  How they
came to power, how it all happened: the Queen, her Agents, the
Reconstruction, the dorms, the Rebel Chavs, the work camps, and my
father.

Lights out.

July 1st, 2009

Posted In: Short Stories, zEverything

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I try to keep things pretty much the same here.  The process is simple: write story -> edit story -> record story -> post story to website.  That is pretty much what composes dannymachal.com.  Keeps it from getting personal, and keeps me from contributing “nothing” to the blog universe; you see that so many other places.  So keeping that in mind I feel this is important.  Part of becoming a writer is respecting the people you look up to and becoming part of a team.  A team that encourages each other and helps spread the word for each other.  So let’s talk about the thrill ride that my hopefully future teammate JC Hutchins authored: Personal Effects – Dark Art.

Hutchins’s book is about a man suspected in 12 murders.  He is currently being held at Brinkvale Psychiatric Hospital and his name is Martin Grace.  Martin Grace isn’t your average killer/crazy person, for he is also, blind.  Now, Personal Effects – Dark Art is told through the eyes of hipster art therapist Zach Taylor.  Zach helps the insane by letting them express themselves through art work, painting, quilting, etc.  He gets assigned to the Grace case and has a week to determine if Grace is sane enough to go to trial.

Personal Effects – Dark Art takes you into the mind of a complete mad man.  Martin Grace claims there is a force that rules him, he talks about, the “Dark Man.”  Even Zach isn’t immune to the Dark Man’s infectious evil and finds himself slowly being sucked into his own psychosis as he unravels the dark details of not only himself, but also Mr. Grace.  Things are not what they seem with Brinkvale’s newest resident, and Zach must learn that.  He must discover it all, even dipping into his own personal darkness.

This is more than a story you just read and walk away from.  Look at these pictures I took.

See all that?  Those are the photos, birth certificates, death certificates, identification cards, scribbled notes, forgotten letters, ancient accommodations and other important documents that are all part of the Personal Effects – Dark Art universe.  Go to My Flickr! page to get the big versions.  It isn’t just a bunch of paper and plastic, no, there are websites and contact numbers.  That is MY cell phone with Zach Taylor’s phone number.  Call it, I dare you!  Zach isn’t the only number in my phone, there are other numbers I discovered as I read through the book.

When I first got the book I spread out all the stuff that comes with it (as you see) and started to take notes and organize myself.  That is the notebook you see there.  I was glad I did, there is SO much extra stuff beyond these written pages I can’t even begin to tell you.  Well I could, but Zach Taylor does a better job.  I got it on Thursday of last week and I stayed up until 3 a.m.  I finished reading all the text but then I spent two days just exploring the rest of the Personal Effects – Dark Art world.  It is truly the evolution of story telling.  No movie, no game, and no television program will ever get you as involved in a story as Hutchins’s revolutionary method.  Get yourself a copy and check it out!

Click here to get it!

If this isn’t enough – Hutchins has started releasing the prequel novella to Personal Effects – Dark Art.  It is called Sword of Blood and if you ask me, it is way more bat shit crazy than Personal Effects.  Sword of  Blood also started me on a personal quest, a secret quest.  shhhhhhhhhh

p.s. The story hasn’t ended for me, I don’t know that it ever will.  I tore out page 179 and I carry it with me now.  You were wrong Hutch, it does mean something, and I will figure out what.

June 17th, 2009

Posted In: Personal, The Craft of Writing, zEverything

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All students of imagination have the same reaction when they see something new and amazing within the scope of their craft, “Where did they get that idea?” Well, in actuality it can go two ways, the first involves stomping up and down screaming, “it’s not fair, I thought of that way before that guy.”  The second being the complete dumbstruck awe and depression that you’ll never come up with anything worth a damn.  Fear not my dreamers, for all ideas come from the same places, you just have to know where to look.  I’m going to make a statement here and list the top 5 places (in no particular order) new concepts and ideas are born.

1.  The what if? contemplation – alone
2.  The what if? contemplation – collaborative
3.  Dreams
4.  Raw Experience
5.  Environment


Exhibit A. – What if? (alone, usually in the shower or before bed)

‘I should really expand on my idea about killer sports equipment.  What if footballs all turned to kamikaze explosives?  Tennis racquets and bats beating the hell out of people would be AWESOME too!’

‘What if there was this vampire kid that fell in love with a human girl?  Like they could be in high school and stuff.  There would be werewolves too, but not like Lycan werewolves, they are slobbery and gross.  My wolves would be sexy, way sexy.’ … ‘Nah, that will never work.  Good Night.’


Exhibit B. – What if? (collaborative)

Mr. Idea:  “What if Robots came down from outer space?  What if they wanted to plunder all our secret caches of blow-up sex dolls?”

Mr. Idea’s Buddy: “We have secret caches of blow up dolls? Why?”

Mr. Idea:  “Because that is what powers their fuel cells!”

Mr. Idea’s Buddy:  “That’s not what I asked…”

Mr. Idea:  “Dude I don’t know.  Maybe because like the women are all going extinct.”

Mr. Idea’s Buddy:  “You have my attention.  Perhaps there should be killer tomatoes for good measure?”

Mr. Idea:  “HELL YA! This is why I have you around man.”


The what if? is effective done alone, but can be deadly powerful in groups.  Bringing minds together and bouncing ideas off of a peer group has lead to many successful collaborative efforts.  This has also lead to many dismayed parents seeing the family car turned into a cardboard pirate ship.  We see these efforts in cinema a lot, and even with novelists who work together to write great books, musicians as well.

As we can see from exhibits A and B, the what if? question is a tool for entertaining all sorts of ideas.  From the outlandish to the very serious marketable ones.  You are no doubt asking yourself, “Damnit Danny, where do the what if? questions come from?”

The what if? question is designed to help you flush out an idea that you only catch a fleeting glimpse of.  The seed of an idea if you will.  An abandoned car on the side of the road, for example, can lead to all sorts of what if? questions:

What if that car had the president in disguise inside it and he is hitchhiking cross country?
What if that car belonged to a criminal on the run?
What if that criminal was wanted for…?

Abandoned buildings, a piece of trash, a fragmented grocery list found on the ground, the two seconds you remember from your dream last night, new paths for other ideas ex. “What if Vader was gay? How would Star Wars be different?”, are all examples of where a what if? question can be used.  The possibilities are endless.  A solid 90% of all successful ideas and concepts are based on what if?.  The lucky ones (Twilight anyone?) well have a successful idea in a dream.

Dreams are good places to pull ideas from for a number of reasons: it’s easy, your brain power is more efficiently used on expanding instead of idea seed creation, reflects a part of your inner self so you can identify with it, how else are you going to imagine getting chased by an eight legged spider with the head of your Dad while you run naked through a field of wheat?

Personally, I keep a dream journal.  It sounds silly but going back and reading dreams that I’ve forgotten has lead me to some good creative juice.  I highly recommend getting a note pad next to your bed.  If it is a long dream just make short notes about the sequence of events and go back later to expand on it.  Your brain remembers it all, you just have to jump start it to pull it up front.

Lets get away from the dreams and imagination for just a minute and talk about, “raw experience.”  Besides sounding like the title of a Monster Truck Rally, “raw experience” is the most effective and credible means for any creative person to paint a picture or tell a tale.  A person who has been to prison is going to capture it’s true essence better than a researching book worm.  The guy who climbs mountains is going to describe the feelings of his protagonist mountain climber better than the writer who watches Cliffhanger 100 times.  They say, “Write what you know.” What you know is from getting your ass out of the chair on the weekends and having adventures.  Experiencing life and trying new things is the only way to make yourself a more dynamic individual with expanded creative horizons.  Which brings us to the number five, environment.

The environment a creator of any medium finds themselves in is going to influence what comes out of his idea pot.  People who live in Southern California don’t churn out many songs about rainy depressing days and the Beach Boys didn’t write “Surfin’ USA” in the middle of a corn field in Iowa.  What you surround yourself with is going to influence your thought processes.  If not noticeably on a conscious level you are certainly finding yourself subconsciously influenced.

If you have a lot of friends named Sean, it is quite the coincidence that the first name for any character you create starts with an S. Weird.  If you walk to work everyday passing a certain Cafe it is just a matter of time before you imagine a) two people falling in love who meet there, or b) a hostage situation (whatever side of the spectrum your morality falls on isn’t my place to judge, so whatever floats your boat).  Environment I find plays more of a major factor in little details of my creativity.  A character name, or a new way interactions between people take place.  I’ve even gone so far as to snoop on conversations of strangers.  The world around you is a mountain of ideas for characters, their interactions, settings, and what if? questions.  Pay attention.

In conclusion dear reader, creativity is fueled by imagination grown from planted idea seeds.

Those seeds are EVERYWHERE!

May 6th, 2009

Posted In: The Craft of Writing, zEverything

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Give-Blood-and-Thanks

Give Blood and Thanks: Chapter 1 – Can I get fries with that? – Download PDF

Chapter One:  Can I get fries with that?

The Police tape outside Emily Snoogin’s home held back the hoard of media.  Flashing cameras blinded Detective Arthur Martian as he ducked under the plastic yellow barrier.  Apparently some sicko decided to terrorize little Miss Emily.  The CNN news ticker would later read:

‘Elderly woman tortured to the point of heart failure in her own home.’
(more…)

April 26th, 2009

Posted In: Give Blood and Thanks, zEverything

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Hello World!

I have missed you all, oh so dearly.  Life struck me the last couple weeks and I have had to move into a new apartment, which I am loving very very much.  I was also pretty sick for a few days but my immune system is winning on that battlefront.  Finally, I’m back into the swing of things and into the normal routines.  So I can write write write again, and get back to the gym.  I’m very much looking forward to hitting the Backpacking Trails in the spring and that requires more endurance training.

I’m working on some GREAT story ideas right now, so look for at least one of those this week.  Also this post wouldn’t be complete without a video tour of the new pad…. 3 – 2 – 1 .. ACTION!

March 23rd, 2009

Posted In: Personal, zEverything

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