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Gregory Lynn
17,780 followers -
I write stuff. Maybe you'll like it.
I write stuff. Maybe you'll like it.

17,780 followers
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I once literally won a game of this on the first move by remembering something from Huckleberry Finn.

It was a beautiful moment.

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Today’s scene comes from the third episode of my exclusive e-mail serial Oliver Black.

#SaturdayScenes #SaturdayScenesFantasy

“Hot roasted nuts, one copper a husk!” yelled one.

“Smoked fish, just outta the smoker!” shouted another.

“Meat-pies!” shouted a third, causing me to jump a little, and seek him out with with my eyes. He turned out to be a she—or at least a she-looking person. She was as tall as a pole-axe and looked to be made of nothing but straight lines and edges.

I dodged between two men in laborer’s garb to get away from her just in case. That’s when I heard another cry cut through the din. “Ignore the kababble, get a kabobble from Kabibble!”

I snorted a laugh, but couldn’t resist hunting out the source of the cry. When I found him, I stood agog. He was taller and darker than any man I’d ever seen and whenever he came to a pause in his hawking, his mouth curled up into a smile as if it were the natural resting point of his face.

“Sir,” I asked, straining to be heard, “what’s a kababble?”

He looked down at me, and if anything, his grin grew a bit wider. “What’s a kababble?” he asked, and spread his arms “All of this is a kababble. This magnificent, unrelenting horde of humanity is a kababble.”

I gave him a little hairy eyeball, convinced he was just playing games with the word “babble.”

“What’s a Kabibble, then?”

He pounded his chest with an open palm. “I am a Kabibble! It’s my name, see, Kevlar Kabibble at your service.” He bowed to me as he said this last part and I couldn’t help but smile back at him.

When he straightened up, he looked at me as if he were expecting another question, but I refused to ask it.
He laughed and answered it anyway. “This is a kabobble,” he said, picking up what appeared to be a stick with several chunks of cooked meat on it.

“Meat on a stick?” I asked, incredulous.

“Oh, not just meat on a stick, but the finest meat anywhere, slowly roasted with a secret recipe of the best herbs. I tell you truth now, nobody in the city eats better than those who eat Kabibble’s kabobbles. Not the Duke. Not the Archimandrite. Nobody!” and with this last part, he stood up straighter, and puffed out his chest proudly.

I gave in. “And how much would a poor orphan expect to pay for such a meal?” I asked.

He looked me up and down closely as if the price he would charge depended on what he thought I could pay. Then in a low voice he said, “Two coppers, young sir.”

I had to laugh. I knew what I looked like and as sure as peaches are poison, I couldn’t look like I had two coppers. Nevertheless, I reached down, took off my left shoe, removed the two coppers I’d hidden there the night before, and deposited them in the man’s hand.

He looked at them askance, though whether that was because he thought they might be counterfeit or because they had been in my shoe, I couldn’t tell. After a few heartbeats, he just laughed, put the coins in a pouch at his belt, and handed me some meat on a stick.

I shook my head looking at it, but took a bite and as I chewed, I lost whatever reservations I’d had about the man and his kabobble. I walked and chewed and chewed and walked, and by the time I’d chewed and swallowed the last bit, I decided that as far as I was concerned, every meal should be served on a stick.

I smiled, thinking that meat on a stick was why I’d left the orphanage—not that I’d known it existed, but the nuns would never have served meat on a stick. The High Mother wouldn’t have allowed it.

Allowed.

Merely thinking the word brought me back to the reality. If this boss of petty pilferers wouldn’t allow me to—but wait. The squarish man, what did she call him? Hench? He hadn’t said anything about begging or pilfering, merely begging or pilfering without permission. While the notion of getting permission to do something was antithetical to my entire nature, opening up a path to an income by trading a bit of freedom was a deal I felt worth making.

And with that, a plan formed in my head.
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When your learning how to write fiction, one of the things you're told to remember is that everyone is the hero of their own story. Your Big Bad Villain doesn't think he's doing evil. The waitress who drops off a cup of coffee isn't simply a tool to heighten tension by interjecting a pause in a conversation.

They're both real people with real histories and you should know them before you write.

I've been thinking of this off and on in relation to real life events for the past few years and the death of Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has put some focus on it.

Everyone who knows me knows that I love baseball in general, and the Boston Red Sox in particular. Everyone who knows anything about sports knows that much of the country thinks of the Patriots as villains. It's less known, but there's a sizable chunk of non-Yankee baseball fans who think the Sox are a villain in much the way the Yankees are. (Brief aside to those folks--if you say the Sox are just like the Yankees, you are lacking a sense of perspective and should ask the Great Lord Google to educate you about the competitive balance tax, who has paid it, and how much)

There is another sense in which the Red Sox are villains, and it concerns the 2013 season. In 2013 the Sox were coming off a last place finish that was presaged by a monumental collapse in the last month of 2011. The Tigers were coming off 0-4 loss in the World Series. Everyone knew that the Tigers were desperately trying to win a Series before Mike Ilitch died.

We know the story of the 2013 Red Sox. Most Red Sox fans who are old enough to have a sense of perspective will rate the 2013 World Series as the second most enjoyable World Series win in their lifetime. Some will rank it first. We know the story. Not much expected, a bunch of new additions that were good but not great. The bombing of the Boston Marathon.

The Red Sox and the Tigers were clearly the two best teams in the AL that season and the ALCS was epic. The Tigers won game 1 1-0 and they were leading 5-1 in the late innings of game 2 when David Ortiz had an iconic David Ortiz moment and tied the game. The Red Sox won game 3 1-0 and eventually the series, going on to win the World Series in an epic tilt against the Cardinals.

The Tigers lost the Division Series in 2014 and didn't make the post season in either 2015 or 2016. If the story you're writing is about The Tigers and their quest for their first World Series title since 1984 and the urgency of doing it before Mike Ilitch dies, well, the Sox are the villain the piece.

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Ashoka Tano is by far the most interesting character in Clone Wars and a movie about her story would make a gazillion dollars. Maybe two gazillion.

Plus, you know, it would be a great movie.

Rosario Dawson Down To Play Ahsoka Tano In a Star Wars Film

In the darkest times our nation has seen since 9/12 of not longer, we called out for Earth's greatest heroes and was answered by Teen Vogue, Merriam Webster, SNL, the National Park Service, and the ACLU.

Avengers Assemble indeed.

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One wonders what shape his head would have been in when he finished.

#TypoOfTheDay #AmEditing
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Maybe it's because I'm a guy and I haven't faced it my whole life, but the pure, smug condescension in this statement is disgusting, enraging, and probably a whole lot of other things I can't think of at the moment.

These guys don't simply think they are better than the rest of us, it's ingrained in their bones that they are the princes of the universe and whatever progress we've made towards an egalitarian society is directly the result of their benevolence.

We are unruly, wayward children to them and that is so desperately wrong it's I dunno, frightening, sobering, enraging, makes-me-want-to-punch-them-in-the-face-ing.

I think it's time they learned a lesson.

http://buff.ly/2k46qMH
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#SaturdayScenes My scene today is the first scene of the first episode of my new e-mail serial Oliver black. For this episode only, I’m posting the entire episode on my site—details below.

It was there—hanging on for dear life by my fingertips—that I looked down and immediately questioned every decision I had ever made in my life.

The decision to escape at all had to be a good one. If they don’t let you leave, escaping has to be a good idea, right?

The decision to do it by faking an illness also holds up. Mealtimes were the only times everyone came together and the only way to be excused was to be sick.

So far, I judged my logic impeccable. How then, did I get into a situation that was so very peccable?

Sigh…that’s a bit of a story. It begins with me sitting up in one of the beds in the orphanage’s infirmary eating broth
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I spooned the broth into my mouth much more slowly than I ever would have with any other food ever. For all she cared about us kids, Sister Agnes had a sharp eye for what she called shenanigans. She’d caught me faking before—once—but that was enough for her to give me the stink-eye every time I showed up. If I wasn’t bleeding, she was suspicious, so she watched me as I ate.

I didn’t dare do anything I wouldn’t do when I was really sleeping, so after I finished my broth, I curled up into a sleeping position and closed my eyes. If you’ve never tried to stay awake while curled up snug in a sleeping position with your eyes closed, allow me to assure you that it’s difficult. I managed it by listening intently to every noise the house could offer.

Sister Agnes picked up the bowl that had contained my broth, walked quietly to the door and went downstairs. I waited for a count of 100 once I heard her enter the dining room.

Then, moving as slowly as I could manage, I slid out of bed and slid my feet across the floor—risking splinters to avoid making a sound—until I got to the door.

I lifted the latch as carefully and slowly as has ever been done, and opened the door just enough so I could squeeze through and close the door as quietly as I had opened it.

I took a deep breath. “That’s the first step done,” I thought to myself.
The hallway was long and the stairway down to the first floor—where the rest of the house was busy getting fed—was directly across from the infirmary. Delaying here would have been a tremendous mistake, so as soon as I was sure the door was latched, I took three or four steps down the hall hugging the near wall to avoid creaky floorboards. Then, when I was out of view of anyone on the stairs, I crossed the hall in one big step to the opposite wall. It was a bit awkward, to be sure, but the floorboards squeaked if you set foot in the middle.

I paused for another moment to catch my breath and stepped carefully down the hall, hugging the wall the whole way. At the end of the hall was the linen closet, and I opened the door just as slowly and carefully as I had the infirmary door, slipped in, and closed it again.

We called it a linen closet, but in truth it must have originally been intended as a bedroom. There were two rows of shelving units four deep and just enough room between them and the walls for me to fit between if I kept my back to the wall and didn’t breath too deeply. I made my way around so slowly that I had to pause and listen carefully to convince myself the rest of the house was still at dinner.

At last I reached the window on the wall opposite the doorway. I collected the clothes I’d hidden the day before and changed into them without making a sound. I didn’t bother with the shoes. They’d only make noise. Then I paused, allowed myself to breathe, and tackled the window.

It was locked, of course, but it was intended to keep people out, not in, and as it was a second floor window, the lock wasn’t complicated. It squealed a tiny bit, though, and I thought—for the space of three rapid heartbeats—that everyone had heard, but no footsteps came my way so I slid the window up and tried to step through it.

Tried.

Either the window was higher than I had anticipated, or my legs were shorter than I thought. I could get one leg up to the height of the window ledge, but I needed a few more inches to get it through. I sighed and cursed my own idiocy while casting about for something to stand on.

When I heard the door open, I closed my eyes, pushed off with my feet, and let go. I can’t post the entire scene as I’m asleep and using a posting service. You can find the rest of this scene at http://buff.ly/2kyvcbR and the entirety of the first episode at http://buff.ly/2kyd41S.
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188. RFK: On the mindless menace of violence

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Oh if only there were a way books could be free and still support the author.
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