Sunday, May 31, 2009

All Pretty Things Must Go to Hell

Every few months, I go over Blogger's administration area to see if there are any stray or incomplete posts that I can fix up. Normally I'm able to squeeze out a few more entries this way; sometimes a single idle thought can provide fodder for further insight on this little corner of the web.

Earlier tonight, I noted that I had an occasional trail of unfinished posts that went all the way back to late last year. And then, in the middle of my casual search, I noticed the following:

In case you can't pick out the title from the cacophony of articles, I've blown it up for you here:

Only three words were appropriate for me at that moment of discovery: What. the. Hell?

I know that I've written some strange titles before, but I'm fairly certain that I would have remembered writing this one. As it stands, however... I don't. That clearly makes this another one of my "lost works" — stuff that I put together at some point in the past, only for me to set them aside and forget about them in the face of additional projects. (There are probably five or six more of these things crawling around in the bowels of my CD archives somewhere.)

That said, it's a heck of a title, and I wondered what I must have been drinking to have written it. Whatever it was, it probably involved an unwholesome mixture of Mountain Dew, peach syrup, blue Gatorade, and gummi bears.

By this time I was extremely curious as to what the story was supposedly about, how long it ran until I decided not to finish it, and what it had done to deserve such a title. The first thing I noticed was that it was extremely short — perhaps only about 350 words or so — and certainly not enough for me to discern the original plot. The second thing I noticed was that it included descriptions like this:

Skin parted like water before stainless steel. There was a scraping sound as she reached the upper part of the chest where both halves of the ribcage met; she grunted once, and then pulled to sever the stubborn strands of muscle there. The tip of the blade would have punctured the heart by now; she shut her eyes, expecting the blood to start flowing any second.

Don't worry — the victim lives. To be quite honest, it looks like he's supposed to live — the next few paragraphs have him outwardly wondering why his female companion would do such a thing. It gets even more cryptic towards the end, with the male character revealing a set of wings and the female character expressing her thoughts through a ceramic mask... I can only conclude that I must have been really drunk the night I wrote this.

The weird part is that I'm not sure if I can salvage this. Normally I only retain those works that have a clear vision in mind, something like a visible thread that connects a beginning and an end to the story. This one feels as though I started somewhere in the middle, and I can't for the life of me remember what this story's original targets were. Under normal circumstances, I would probably cannibalize a few good lines, and then throw the rest of the article into the recycle bin.

But this has such an interesting title, darn it. You just can't lay eyes on that title and not wonder what the story's about.

That said, I laid eyes on the three hundred words in the story as well, and I'm still wondering what it's about.

I'll probably keep it, of course. If anything, it's at least earned its way into my personal slush pile by virtue of its strange title. Maybe someday I'll remember what it was that I was had in mind when I wrote, and maybe then I'll actually go much farther than three hundred words.

I suspect, however, that such a day will not come until I find a way to recreate that foreign mixture of iced tea, strained carrots, Egyptian honey, tonic water and motor oil.

Man, that must have been one rough night.

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