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Summer Short Story Contest! (2013)

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Conserative Morality
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Summer Short Story Contest! (2013)

Postby Conserative Morality » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:14 am

Well, after a season's hiatus due to the winter contest dragging on far too long... Open to all who can write fast enough to reach the deadline!

Rules:
Writing Deadline July 25th (Subject to change)
7500 word limit
No fanfic, public domain characters are fine
Stay within the site's rules
Must be a new/original story (IE one not posted on another site before this)

More info will come as we figure out more.

Judges:

Costa Alegria
CM
Esternial

Scoring rubric is as follows:

Code: Select all
[b]Characters[/b] - /25

[b]Plot[/b] - /25

[b]Setting[/b] - /15

[b]Creativity[/b] - /15

[b]Style[/b] - /15

[b]Grammar/spelling[/b] - /5

[b]Overall[/b] - /100


Nazi Flower Power's Story

Occupied Deutschland's Story

Bodobol's Story

Xoriet's Story

Pinkville's Story

Jello Biafra's Story

Page's Story

Mkuki's Story

Unitaristic Regions' Story

Forsher's Story
Last edited by Conserative Morality on Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:48 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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North Wiedna
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Postby North Wiedna » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:08 am

Conserative Morality wrote:Open to all who can write fast enough to reach the deadline!

Rules:
Writing Deadline February 15th (Subject to change)

Uhh

I'm glad this is back, I'll definitely try to enter.
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Conserative Morality
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Postby Conserative Morality » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:04 am

North Wiedna wrote:Uhh

I'm glad this is back, I'll definitely try to enter.

Late night laziness, what can I say?
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Bodobol
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Postby Bodobol » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:33 pm

I might join once I can think of an idea or two.
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The Tiger Kingdom
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Postby The Tiger Kingdom » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:55 am

Here's a question:
Would using characters/situations from an RP of our own creation be OK?
Because I'm pretty sure I could do this in a matter of days if so.
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Conserative Morality
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Postby Conserative Morality » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:58 am

The Tiger Kingdom wrote:Here's a question:
Would using characters/situations from an RP of our own creation be OK?
Because I'm pretty sure I could do this in a matter of days if so.

So long as the story itself is new.
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The Tiger Kingdom
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Postby The Tiger Kingdom » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:58 am

Conserative Morality wrote:
The Tiger Kingdom wrote:Here's a question:
Would using characters/situations from an RP of our own creation be OK?
Because I'm pretty sure I could do this in a matter of days if so.

So long as the story itself is new.

Excellent. Count me the hell in.
When the war is over
Got to start again
Try to hold a trace of what it was back then
You and I we sent each other stories
Just a page I'm lost in all its glory
How can I go home and not get blown away

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Mojave
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Postby Mojave » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:04 pm

Okay, I'll do it. I had an idea for a Doctor Who oneshot, but IF YOU SAY!
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Bodobol
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Postby Bodobol » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:43 pm

Mojave wrote:Okay, I'll do it. I had an idea for a Doctor Who oneshot, but IF YOU SAY!


No fanfics allowed. Read the rules.
Last.fm - Founder of Nesapo, est. 2013
Impaled Nazarene wrote:Just learn to accept Bod like i did

Impaled Nazarene wrote:I take your cold hard facts and shove them up Scott Ian's receding asshair. I make up shit as I go which is why i established a protestant church because that's what they do.
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Mojave
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Postby Mojave » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:05 pm

Bodobol wrote:
Mojave wrote:Okay, I'll do it. I had an idea for a Doctor Who oneshot, but IF YOU SAY!


No fanfics allowed. Read the rules.

I know, smartypants. I already have another idea.
"All warfare is based on deception." -Sun Tzu
Proud member and WA Delegate for Nesapo!
My political compass:
Economic Left/Right: -6.00. Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.74.
1. It's all over
2. Being Invaded
[3]. Military Decimated
4. Losing Slightly
5. Winning/Steady
6. Peacetime

"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do." - Number 7

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Bodobol
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Postby Bodobol » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:38 pm

Mojave wrote:
Bodobol wrote:
No fanfics allowed. Read the rules.

I know, smartypants. I already have another idea.


Oh, okay.
Last.fm - Founder of Nesapo, est. 2013
Impaled Nazarene wrote:Just learn to accept Bod like i did

Impaled Nazarene wrote:I take your cold hard facts and shove them up Scott Ian's receding asshair. I make up shit as I go which is why i established a protestant church because that's what they do.
Trever wrote:Bodo, even if you are a fenda, your hatred of anime makes me like you.

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Nazi Flower Power
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Postby Nazi Flower Power » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:10 pm

I will try to write something for this.

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Wisconsin9
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Postby Wisconsin9 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:26 pm

I have a couple short stories I have to write for my finals. Is it alright if I submit those?
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Occupied Deutschland
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Postby Occupied Deutschland » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:51 am

I'll drop something in here sometime. Now I face the worst of choices though. Take the time to write something new or edit something I've done already *ominous lightning*.

Yeah, new will spare me much gnashing of teeth I think...
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Norstal
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Postby Norstal » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:05 am

I guess I'll try to write for this one. No guarantees though.

This thing will need to be stickied or something.
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Manahakatouki
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Postby Manahakatouki » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:25 pm

Possibly...

We'll see what I'm doing soon...
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Tlik
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Postby Tlik » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:55 am

I'm lazy and I already have too many projects for this summer. Of course I'll give it a go.

And if I've got nothing by the deadline, I'm also happy to judge.

EDIT: I shall put something forward, or die trying.
Last edited by Tlik on Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Costa Alegria
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Postby Costa Alegria » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:00 am

I'm marking my territory so I can remember where this is.
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Nazi Flower Power
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Postby Nazi Flower Power » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:48 pm

This is one of the silliest things I've ever written, but here goes...

Senator John Braxton pawed frantically through his luggage, the sheets and blankets on the bed, and every drawer in his hotel; but he didn't find what he was looking for. He looked behind the couch, then under the couch, but still no luck. "Where is that thing?" he said desperately to no one in particular. There was no one else in the room. He felt himself breaking into a sweat, and he yanked open the window to let in the cool spring air. Thank God the weather in New England was friendlier than the political climate. "Where the fuck is it?" he muttered under his breath as he searched the closet for the third time. He thought about prying open the heating vents in the wall to look in the ventilation ducts, but he didn't have a screwdriver and he didn't want to make a mess. "Fuck!"

He took a deep breath, wiped the sweat from his brow, straightened his clothes, and retraced his steps back to his car; but it was no use. He searched the car, but that was no use either. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and called his campaign manager. "Hey, have you seen Gerry?" he asked.

"Your lizard?" the campaign manager said.

"Yeah," Braxton said impatiently. "Have you seen it?"

"Not since this morning."

"Damn!"

"Did it get out of its cage or something?" the campaign manager asked.

"Yeah," said Braxton. "I need to find it."

"You need to get some rest," said the campaign manager. "I'll tell the hotel manager and our people to keep an eye out for Gerry. I'm sure he'll turn up. I mean, he's gotta be somewhere in the hotel, and I think someone would notice if they've got a six-foot lizard in their room."

"Okay," said Braxton. The campaign manager had a good point. It couldn't be that hard to find a shiny six-foot long lizard. Surely, Gerry would turn up. Braxton went back into the hotel and asked the clerk at the front desk if he had seen a lizard anywhere. The clerk looked confused, and Braxton explained that he had lost his pet lizard.

"I haven't seen it," said the clerk. "I'll let you know if it turns up."

"Okay, thanks," said Braxton. He looked under all the furniture in the lobby and up at the chandelier, but the lizard wasn't there. He went into the darkened and deserted dining room, but it wasn't there either, so he returned to his room empty-handed. He sat on the side of his disheveled bed and stared blankly at the wall. This was bad.

Then he noticed that the window was still open and realized that he ought to close it to prevent Gerry from climbing out if the lizard was still was lurking somewhere in the room. He couldn't think of anything else useful to do, so he took a can of Coke from the mini-fridge and what was left of the bottle of rum that he had ordered earlier from room service, and he poured himself a drink to calm his nerves.

***

Marlee Norden and her parents lived in an old wooden house on a quiet street in Bangor, Maine. Marlee was helping her mother straighten up the front yard when she pushed aside the drooping branch of a pine tree and found a pair of big golden eyes staring back at her. Lying there on the cool needle-covered ground was the biggest lizard she had ever seen in her life, including the ones at the zoo. It had a big ruff around its neck, and its back was covered with an intricate pattern of shimmering green and blue and gold scales. "Whoa!" she exclaimed. "It's a lizard!" Marlee had never been outside New England, and this was the first time in her life she had ever seen a lizard in the wild.

Mrs. Norden had been to New York once, but she had lived in Maine her entire life, and this was the first time she had ever heard of anyone finding a lizard in their yard. "What?" she said.

"Look!" said Marlee.

Mrs. Norden looked and she could hardly believe her eyes. "Holy shit! What is that?"

"It's a lizard!" Marlee blurted excitedly. "Hi, Mr. Lizard!" She stepped forward and reached out to pet the lizard.

"Hey, don't touch it!" her mother warned her, but Marlee was already running her hand over the shiny scales of the lizard's back. The lizard slithered out from under her hands, but it didn't seem terribly scared and it didn't go very far. It stopped in the grass a couple of steps away and sat there, looking around like it wasn't sure where to go next. "Don't touch it," Mrs. Norden said again. "What if it's poisonous?"

"It didn't bite me," said Marlee.

"Yeah, but leave it alone," said her mother. "Come on." She took Marlee's hand and pulled her back to a safe distance. They stood there for a minute or two, just staring at the lizard, trying to figure out what kind it was and how it had gotten into their yard.

"It's pretty," Marlee said.

"Yeah," said her mother. "I've never seen a lizard like that before."

"Me neither." The lizard was still sitting in the grass, leisurely surveying its surroundings.

"It must be someone's pet," said Mrs. Norden.

"I don't think it's poisonous," said Marlee. "If it was poisonous, then nobody would want it for a pet." Before her mother could stop her, she reached for the lizard again and scooped it up in her arms. It squirmed to get into a more comfortable position, but it didn't try to escape. "Can we keep it until we find out whose it is?" she asked.

"No! Put it down!" her mother said.

"Why?" said Marlee. The lizard grabbed at her arm, trying to pull itself up onto her shoulder, and she squealed in surprise at the feel of its claws scraping against her sleave. They weren't very sharp, but it still felt weird to have the huge lizard scrabbling up her arm.

"I don't want it in the house," said Mrs. Norden.

"We can keep it in the garage," said Marlee. "I'll take care of it myself. You don't have to do anything! It won't be any work."

Mrs. Norden sighed. She had to admit the lizard was cool, but she still didn't want it in the house or the garage. There was no telling what it would do or what kind of mess it would make.

"Pleeeeease!" Marlee begged. By now the lizard had succeeded into climbing onto her shoulder and draping its head down her back. Its long whiplike tail curled gracefully around her feet. "Please, mom, please!"

"You can hold onto it while I go talk to the neighbors to find out whose it is."

"But what if nobody knows whose it is?"

"We'll talk about it when your dad gets home if nobody knows whose it is. I'm sure it just escaped from somebody's house."

Mrs. Norden brushed off the dirt that'd she'd gotten on her clothes while she was gardening and started up the street toward the house next door. She rang the doorbell of every house on the street and asked all her neighbors about the lizard, but none of them knew anything about it. A couple of the neighbors wanted to see the lizard for themselves because they couldn't believe that he had really found such a thing prowling their peaceful little street.

***

John Braxton picked up the remote and turned on the TV to see what the evening news had to say about his speech that day. His staff was gathered around him, perching on every available chair and on the side of the bed. Their briefcases, papers, laptops, and cellphones were scattered haphazardly around the room. The dresser and breakfast table were piled with pizza boxes, soda bottles, and disposable cups and plates.

On the news, a woman with puffy brown hair and way too much make-up was babbling in reporter-speak. Something about a bombing in Palestine was scrolling across the ticker at the bottom of the screen. Above that, in big blue letters on a bar of white, was the headline, "Braxton comments racist?"

"Oh, hell," said Braxton. He rubbed at his eyes wearily. He didn't need this. He had no idea what he had said that was supposed to be racist. He certainly hadn't intended to say anything racist.

"What the hell are they talking about?" his speech-writer said indignantly. "That speech wasn't racist!"

"Typical liberal media," his personal stylist said bitterly.

The woman on the TV was now consulting some sort of political expert with slick gray hair and a neatly pressed navy blue suit. Apparently, they thought Braxton's stance on national security was racist against people of Middle Eastern descent.

And Gerry was still missing. Braxton needed to find Gerry. He was convinced that Gerry was the key to his political success, and that this racism controversy wouldn't be happening if Gerry hadn't disappeared. His staff couldn't possibly understand how important the lizard was to him. If he tried explaining it, they'd think he'd lost his mind.

***

John Braxton was originally from Oakland, California. As young man, he had moved to Seattle and become involved in the Republican Party. One day, he volunteered to go door to door to talk to voters, and he found himself working together with an old woman from Massachusetts. In the car, on the way to the neighborhood where they were assigned to canvas, they talked about the campaign. The woman seemed very impressed with him, and she said she could help him if he was interested in running for office. "Really?" he asked.

"Yes," said the woman. "America needs more people like you." She said she had something at her house that would help him to run for office. If he drove her home at the end of the day, he could come over for dinner and she would show him what she was talking about. Braxton was skeptical, but he was also curious. The woman seemed to genuinely like him and share his ideals, so he decided to give her a chance.

She lived in a boring little house in the suburbs. There were shrubs and flower beds in the front yard, bland images of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard on the living room wall. She reminded him to wipe his feet on the doormat when he came in, and she put both their jackets neatly away in the closet by the front door. Then they went down to the basement, and Braxton found himself looking at a huge cage that took up half the room. Inside the cage, there was a large piece of driftwood set up on a bed of sawdust. One huge lizard was sprawled on the piece of wood, another was clinging to the roof of their cage, and two more were lying in the sawdust on the ground. They stared at Braxton with big golden eyes. He stared back at them and tried to make sense of the scene. The lizards looked very out of place in the midst of so much old-fashioned suburban blandness. "You have pet lizards?" he said to the woman.

"Yes," she said. "That's what I wanted to show you."

Braxton was confused. "What?" he said.

"They're called gerrymanders," the woman said. "I brought them with me when I moved here from Massachusetts. I've been breeding them for years."

"A gerrymander isn't a real animal," Braxton protested. "Gerrymandering is called that because of the name of the first guy that did it."

"If a gerrymander isn't a real animal, then what are those?" the woman asked.

"Lizards," said Braxton.

"They're gerrymanders," said the woman. "They're indigenous to Massachusetts. That's why there have been so many successful political movements that started in Massachusetts -- everything from the American Revolution to the abolitionists. If you keep a gerrymander as a pet, you'll always do well in politics. That's their magic."

"So why aren't you some kind of politician?" said Braxton. "I mean, you've got a whole basement full of these things..."

"I never wanted the stress," said the woman, "and I couldn't let my husband use them! He was a Democrat! But you... You can use them to put this country back on the right path."

"You were married to a Democrat?" Braxton asked.

"Yes," said the woman. A smile flickered across her face as she thought of her husband. "He was so handsome, and so nice to me. I never even asked him about politics until after we were married."

"He sounds like a good guy," said Braxton.

"He was," the woman said. "I miss him every day."

For a moment, they just stood in silence, side by side. Then Braxton decided to bring the conversation back to the gerrymanders. "Are they friendly?" he asked.

"Oh, sure," said the woman. "Let me show you." She opened the cage and pulled out one of the gerrymanders. It scrabbled onto her shoulders and settled there, wrapped around the back of the old woman's neck. She stroked the lizard's head gently and invited Braxton to pet it himself. He ran his hand over the slick scales of the gerrymander's head and the wiry ruff on its neck. He had to admit the gerrymander was cool. He didn't believe anything the woman had said about its political magic, but he still thought it would be awesome to have one as a pet.

So he let her give him the gerrymander, and that was when his political career took off. Ten years later he was elected to represent Washington State in the U.S. Senate. And now he was running for president. He was doing well in the polls, and everything had been going smoothly -- until Gerry disappeared.

He needed to get the gerrymander back, but how could he explain that to his staff? How could he make them understand? Now that he was in New England, where people pretty much always voted Democrat, he needed Gerry more than ever. He needed to talk to the New Englanders and make a good impression so he could gloat later in the campaign about how he was listening to all of America.

***

John Braxton stood on the stage and stared out at the rows of empty seats. It was after midnight, and Braxton was exhausted. Here and there a janitor picked his or her way across the auditorium, sweeping up the trash that littered the floor. He felt tears welling up in eyes. He fought them back, but after everything that he had been through over the last six months, it was hard to hold them in. He had never found Gerry, and his presidential campaign had imploded spectacularly. He had put his foot in his mouth several times during the televised debates. The media had hounded him non-stop with accusations of racism, sexism, elitism, and pretty much every other unpopular -ism you can think of except for communism. His campaign manager had been hospitalized with breast cancer, and the doctors were not sure if she would survive. Her replacement had a hard time handling the fast pace of the campaign. The governor of Oklahoma, who Braxton had chosen as his vice presidential candidate, was caught in bed with a fourteen year-old boy. Braxton had done his best to stay the course and give the appearance of having the situation under control, but behind closed doors he had been an emotional wreck. He had disassociated himself from the governor of Oklahoma and chosen a new running mate, but the scandal was still all over the news. It was no surprise then that Braxton had lost the election. He was furious with the governor of Oklahoma, and with the Democrats, who he suspected of kidnapping Gerry; but there was nothing he could do about it. This was the end for him -- not only the end of the election, but also the end of his political career. A Democrat had been elected to fill his seat in the Senate, and Braxton was sure he would never win it back.

His wife stepped up beside him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "It's all right," she said.

Without warning, Braxton lost control of himself and burst into tears. The anxiety and rage and despair that he'd kept bottled up for the last six months came pouring out all at once. He grabbed his wife, buried his face in her jacket, and sobbed uncontrollably. Between sobs he mumbled incoherently, asking why things had to go so wrong. His wife had no answers, so she just told him not to worry about it. It would be all right. They still had each other. She held him until the sobs subsided and then led him out to their limo, which was waiting by the curb outside the auditorium.

The Braxtons returned to their home in Seattle, and distracted themselves from politics by becoming obsessively involved with their church. They started a charity program to help single mothers and a Christian summer camp for disadvantaged children. They adopted a daughter from a woman who they had talked out of having an abortion. The woman later died of a cocaine overdose, but apart from that life was good.

Braxton's original campaign manager recovered from her breast cancer and tried to talk him into getting back into politics, but he said he wasn't interested.

***

CNN was reporting on the presidential election, speculating about who Alan Schiller, the Democratic candidate, would choose as his running mate. One of their political experts said he thought Schiller would choose Marlee Holloway, the governor of Vermont. They put a picture on the screen of an attractive middle-aged woman with bright blue eyes and long blonde hair. She was sitting on the front porch of an old wooden house, dressed in a flannel shirt and surrounded by her pets. Holloway had made a name for herself as an environmentalist and animal rights advocate, and she had already introduced her pets to the news networks. She had a golden retriever named Antonio, a Maine coon cat named Shylock, a couple of parakeets named Romeo and Juliet, a horse named Desdemona, and a lizard named Sparkles. In the picture on the TV, she had Sparkles wrapped around her shoulders, her hand resting on the big ruff at the lizard's neck. Antonio was sitting at Holloway's feet and looking into the camera with his tongue lolling out of his mouth; and Desdemona peered over a wooden railing in the background.

John Braxton sat bolt upright on his couch. The CNN pundit was babbling about how the moderate Schiller needed the left-wing Holloway to generate enthusiasm among liberal voters, but Braxton wasn't listening to any of that. He was too distracted by the picture of Holloway and her pets. He hadn't paid much attention the first time he saw Holloway talking about her pets in an interview. He knew it was just a campaign tactic to connect with voters and show them that she had a personality. Now that he saw her with Sparkles, he realized the lizard was more than just an ordinary pet. Old memories forced their way into his consciousness and fell into place one by one like the pieces of a puzzle. It was a puzzle he had been trying to solve for years. The Democrats had stolen Gerry, and now Holloway was using the gerrymander's powers for her own liberal agenda! Braxton's anger and disappointment about the collapse of his presidential campaign, which he had suppressed for so many years, poured back into his mind like a tsunami. He pushed himself to his feet and tottered over to his desk as fast as he could in his poor physical condition. He was an old man, and he wasn't very steady on his feet anymore. He turned on his iPad and began frantically scouring the internet for information about Holloway's background to confirm his theory that her "Sparkles" was actually his Gerry. His hands shook with excitement and anger as he read the bio on some political site. Holloway was from Bangor, Maine, the same town where he had lost Gerry. It couldn't be a coincidence! She had led environmentalist groups at her high school, Northeastern University, and Harvard; then moved to Vermont, where she had an illustrious career as a lawyer and left-wing activist. She married a successful architect named William Tecumseh Holloway, and eventually she was elected governor.

Braxton had promised himself that he wouldn't ever get back into politics. He knew Gerry had taken his political career further than it had any right to go. It was greedy to expect more. For years he had told himself he should be grateful for his successes and not dwell on his failures. To some extent, it had worked. Now that he saw Gerry again, all that was forgotten. Holloway was cheating, and he couldn't let her get away with it! He had to tell the world what she was doing.

So he took to the internet to spread the word. He contacted the local newpapers and TV networks, but nobody took him seriously. People told him he had dementia, and he should talk to his doctor about it. When the doctors at the retirement home where Braxton lived found out what he was doing, they thought it was dementia too. "It's not dementia!" he insisted. "I know what I'm talking about! This is serious!" But he couldn't get anyone to believe him. Eventually the story got out, not because people believed him, but because liberals wanted to poke fun at him.

***

Marlee Holloway stared at Sparkles. She was sitting in a recliner with Shylock, her cat, snoozing peacefully in her lap. Sparkles stared back at her from the top of a bookshelf on the other side of the room. After all these years she still hadn't managed to train him not to climb on the shelves. She thought of the day she had found Sparkles in the yard of her parent's house in Bangor. Her parents had said she could keep him until they found out who he belonged to. They had spent months trying to find out who the lizard belonged to, but with no luck. So now, thirty-seven years later, Holloway still had the lizard. And now someone finally wanted to claim it.

Holloway didn't believe anything John Braxton said about gerrymanders and political magic. She had worked hard to get elected governor of Vermont. The job hadn't been handed to her by dumb luck or magic lizards; but Braxton might still be the lizard's original owner. She had found Sparkles around the same time that he ran for president. That was the first election where she had followed the news coverage and understood what it was all about. He could have brought the lizard to Maine and lost it like he said. It seemed farfetched, but it was still possible. Even if Braxton was superstitious and demented, there had to be a reason why he was so fixated on Sparkles. It wasn't a campaign tactic by the Republicans. Braxton's claims were too bizarre for that. In fact, the Republican Party had disowned him and dismissed his claims as the senseless gibbering of a senile fool. And Braxton wasn't lying. Holloway was sure that he sincerely believed every word he said about the gerrymander. He would never embarrass himself by saying something so nonsensical if he didn't really believe it.

In her gut, Holloway felt that she ought to return the lizard. It didn't rightfully belong to her. But it was hard to let go after so long. She could barely even remember a time when Sparkles wasn't a part of her life. It was hard to imagine life without him. She ran her fingers through Shylock's fluffy gray fur and sighed. Even if she gave Sparkles back, she'd still have her family, her other pets, her house, her money, her career. She felt silly for being so attached to a lizard.

She had to at least talk to Braxton. She knew he must be miserable watching the way the media ridiculed him.

***

The phone rang and Braxton answered it. It was the receptionist at the front desk of his building. "Someone's here to see you," she said.

"Really?" said Braxton. "Who is it?"

"I think you should come down and see for yourself," the receptionist said.
Braxton could tell by the tone of her voice that this visit was something special. He tried to guess who the visitor might be and what special occasion might have prompted their visit, but he couldn't think of anything. He hobbled down to the lobby, and when he got there he couldn't believe his eyes. There in the lobby was Marlee Holloway with Sparkles perched on her shoulders. She was surrounded by her staff and a couple of cameramen.

Braxton's mouth fell open and his eyes went wide as saucers. "What's going on?" he mumbled weakly.

"I came to return your pet lizard," said Holloway. She lifted the gerrymander off her shoulders, and it squirmed in her arms, clawing at the cloth of her jacket. She carefully tried to pry the cloth out of its claws, but every time she let go of one of the gerrymander's claws, it would dig back into her jacket. "Hey, stop it!" she said as she tried for the third time to peel the stubborn lizard's right claw away from her shoulder. Eventually, she managed to pry the gerrymander loose and hold it out for Braxton to take.

Braxton was still too stunned to believe what was happening. "You're serious?" he asked.

Since he hadn't made any move to take the gerrymander from her, she set it down on the back of a nearby chair. "I know he belongs to you," she said. "When I found him, my mother said I could keep him until we found out who he belonged to." She looked wistfully at the gerrymander, and Braxton could tell she didn't really want to give it back. He couldn't understand why she was giving it back. Didn't she need it for the election? Then he registered what she had said: Her mother had said she could keep the gerrymander. Only a child would have to ask her mother's permission.

"You've had him since you were a kid?" Braxton asked.

"Yeah," said Holloway. "I found him in my yard."

"Nobody gave him to you?" said Braxton.

"No, I just found him."

Braxton suddenly felt like a complete asshole. All this time he had been accusing the Democrats of stealing the gerrymander for their political gain, but politics had never had anything to do with it. It was all just a big misunderstanding. Holloway had never had any idea what the gerrymander was. "You didn't know about his powers?" Braxton said.

"He doesn't have any powers," said Holloway. "I worked hard to get where I am, and nothing is going to change just because I'm giving you back your pet lizard. I built my reputation by doing the right thing for the right reason. That's why I'm giving back the lizard."

Braxton studied Holloway's face, looking for some clue that would tell him if she was being dishonest. She really didn't believe in the gerrymander's powers, even now, after hearing his side of the story. To her, Sparkles was just her beloved pet and he was just a nut. She didn't understand the political implications of what she was doing. She just wanted to do something nice to comfort a pathetic old man. Braxton thought of all the misery and unbearable stress he had gone through when his presidential campaign fell apart. He wouldn't wish that on anyone, not even on a liberal fanatic like Holloway. He saw the sadness in her eyes when she looked at the gerrymander. This was hard for her, he could tell. He looked at the floor and fidgeted with embarrassment.

"You don't have to give him back," Braxton said.

"But you've been making such a big deal about it," said Holloway. "It's obvious that he means a lot to you." She looked confused, and her staff looked even more bewildered. They obviously had no idea what was going on.

"You've had him for so long," said Braxton. "It wouldn't be right to make you give him back. I only complained because I thought you stole him for his powers."

"You're sure you don't want him back?" said Holloway. "I mean I came all the way out here just to give him back because you were so upset."

"No, it's all right," said Braxton. "You can keep him. I think he likes you better anyway."

"Well, all right," Holloway said. Her face lit up with a huge smile as she reached out to pick up her beloved Sparkles. Sparkles climbed back onto Holloway's shoulders, and she stepped forward to take Braxton's hand. "Thank you," she said. "I really mean it. Sparkles means a lot to me, and it was a hard decision to come down here like this."

"I know," said Braxton. "That's why I'm letting you keep him. Trust me, it's not because I want you or Schiller in the White House!"

Holloway laughed and let go of Braxton's hand. "I guess there are some things we're just not going to agree on," she said.

"It's still nice to see my Gerry again," said Braxton. He reached up to pet the gerrymander. "When you get to D.C.," he said to Holloway, "try not to be too much of a socialist."

"You think I'm going to D.C.?" said Holloway.

"I know it," said Braxton.

User avatar
Esternial
P2TM RP Mentor
 
Posts: 51826
Founded: May 09, 2009
Democratic Socialists

Postby Esternial » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:38 am

I don't think I'll have enough time to write a new story this year, but maybe I can participate in another way?

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Madda
Diplomat
 
Posts: 507
Founded: May 28, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Madda » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:17 pm

I have two questions.

1) Where do we post the stories, just on this thread?
2) About writing a new or original story, what does that extend to? Does that mean that the story has to be written specifically for this? Or does that mean we're completely banned from using an older story?
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Tlik
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1253
Founded: Jan 31, 2009
Ex-Nation

Postby Tlik » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:47 am

Madda wrote:I have two questions.

1) Where do we post the stories, just on this thread?
2) About writing a new or original story, what does that extend to? Does that mean that the story has to be written specifically for this? Or does that mean we're completely banned from using an older story?

1) The process is normally to post things in this thread, and as far as I know that hasn't changed at all. Remember to spoiler the thing, otherwise it gets dreadfully hard to scroll the page.

2) It just needs to be something never posted online/published before. Old stuff you've left in a drawer somewhere can be (and has been) submitted. Essentially, will it pass an academic plagiarisn filter?

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Ublia
Senator
 
Posts: 4624
Founded: Jun 04, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Ublia » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:48 am

Hmmm I'm interested.
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Quiet-Riot
Attaché
 
Posts: 67
Founded: Jun 01, 2013
Ex-Nation

Postby Quiet-Riot » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:54 am

I'll try and write one

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Old Tyrannia
Game Moderator
 
Posts: 15372
Founded: Aug 11, 2009
Father Knows Best State

Postby Old Tyrannia » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:57 am

Registering my interest. Whether or not I actually submit something, of course, is dependant on whether I manage to complete a half-decent entry by the deadline.
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