Saturday, June 28, 2008

If you have time to search the archives of Evil Editor's Blog for the writing exercise results, you'll find that each exercise produced many outstanding submissions. Here you'll find a few examples, some of my favorites. Coincidentally, many of my favorites were written by myself.
Inducted June, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night...

The task was to write a scene in which Evil Editor shows up at your door on a dark and stormy night.

I slogged through the muck and the torrents of sheets of rain like an ox plowing a Cambodian rice paddy, drawn to the only light I'd seen since I abandoned the DeLorean three miles back. Another half mile through a malodorous, mephitic hog farm and I was on the front porch, dripping like an ice sculpture in a sauna. I knocked.

The woman who answered seemed to recognize me, despite the fact that I looked like I'd just crawled through a cranberry bog. "Evil Editor!" she said. "I was just rereading your blog!"

"You have me at a loss," I told her.

"It's me! Your favorite minion!"


"No, silly. Anon. Now come in and dry off. The guest room is clean. I'll get out my manuscript; I wrote it following all your guidelines. It's lit fic with sharks and zombies in chapter 14."

I turned on my heel and headed back the way I'd come. One night sleeping in a fetid mud pit with 200 reeking hogs wasn't going to kill me.

--Evil Editor

Detective Story

The task was to write a scene in which a hard-boiled detective meets a client.

She burst through my door like a hurricane waiting to happen. The broad was definitely not my type. She looked like she was on the right end of twenty-five. I like my women middle-aged and desperate. Makes ‘em easier to please. I’m a sucker for dames in short skirts and high heels; this runty thing was wearing sweats and flip-flops. She coulda used the height, too; couldn’ta been more than five-nothin’.

And her accessories—a kid balanced on each hip. Judging by her belly, either she’d hit up Chang’s All You Can Eat Buffet one too many times, or there was another ankle-biter on the way. This girl was trouble.

Dodging around the smaller rugrat’s attempt to shove a car down her shirt, she fixed her glare on me. “You Malone?”

“Yeah,” I growled. I didn’t know why she was here, but I knew I wanted her business like I wanted another hole in my head. Her kids started screaming her name, and the scotch in my desk started screaming mine.

“I’m here to hire you. I’ve lost something.”

I chuckled to myself. “Clearly. Lemme guess: your mind?”

Faster than I could say “Cash in advance,” I was thrown out of my chair and pinned to the ground, her forearm slowly choking the life out of me. I’d never seen anyone move like that—and she was still holding one of the brats; the other was perched on my desk. It was my own stupid fault, too. The number one thing they teach you in PI school? Never underestimate the arm-strength of a woman with toddlers.


Evil Ads

The task was to create a print advertisement involving Evil Editor.

Evil Editor


Evil Jr.


Evil Editor


Evil Editor


Flight to Hell

The task was to write a scene in which you are seated next to Evil Editor on a long flight.

‘...and as for slicing straight across at an angle of ninety degrees oh no no I couldn’t bear to cut a sandwich like that has to be diagonally every time from the squarest corner and then all the way across but hey I’m a Virgo so whaddya expect has to be perfect for me boy I tell ya I went into this diner one time and the guy says what can I get you so I said how about a cheese and tomato with a dash of mayo on unsalted wholemeal bread and he says yeah sure so I watch him and he goes to cut at ninety degrees can you believe it and I’m like whoa man I can’t eat ‘em like that brings me out in a rash just thinking about it and another thing I can’t stand it when the bread ain’t buttered right up to the edge so like there’s bread with nothing on it pressed up close to your cheese or your ham or whatever so but never prawns or seafood oh no I just get this icky this horrible icky in my throat makes me wanna retch it’s like I can smell the water you know with all the salt like when I got drunk the first time on brandy and had to make myself sick you know where you mix up a little salt in a glass of water and gulp it down real fast I guess this whole sandwich thing goes back to my summer camp in ‘74 remember the camp I told ya about the guy with the blonde hair? Hey, mister? Mister? Jeez, somebody get a doctor. I think this guy’s dead.’


I was just settling into my seat when she tossed her backpack next to me and said, "Mind if I have the window? I'm claustrophobic."

"Sorry," I told her. "Emergency exit row. The last thing we need is a claustrophobe panicking and opening the door at 20,000 feet just because of minor turbulence."

"Bite the big one," she said, grabbing up her backpack and plopping next to me. She opened the pack and pulled out a laptop computer and started typing away.

You couldn't wait till we were airborne? I thought. What are you typing, your will? I glanced over; it looked like she was typing a novel or story. I caught sight of the first sentence: None of us were crazy about the idea, but someone had to kill Mendelbaum. Catchy opening.

"None of us was crazy," I said.

She looked at me. "What?"

"None of us was crazy. You typed None of us were crazy."

"Nosy bastard. Look out your precious window. Besides, it's "were."

"Madam, 'were' is a plural verb. Plural is more than one. Your subject is "none." Which can hardly be called more than one."

She turned to the man who'd taken the aisle seat and asked him to switch with her. He claimed his bladder problem forced him to use the rest room frequently, so he needed the aisle seat. She called him a jerkoff and returned to her typing.

I tried to stare straight ahead, but a compelling need to learn why Mendelbaum had to die drew my eyes to her screen. She was at the top of page 2, where I read: We were waiting on Murphy; he was bringing the cheese grater, which was the key to our freedom.

"Waiting for," I said.

She slowly turned toward me.

"Waiting 'on' would be if he was a customer in a restaurant," I explained.

She thanked me, but as she turned away she made a sudden leap across me and grabbed at the emergency exit handle. I fought her off until the flight attendant arrived and asked what the problem was.

"I suggest this woman be removed," I said. "If this flight takes off with her aboard, I predict none of us live to see tomorrow."

"Sir," the flight attendant replied, "I believe you meant to say, none of us lives to see tomorrow. I'm afraid you'll have to come with me."

As security dragged me down the aisle I yelled to the woman, "I must know . . . What happens to Mendelbaum?!"

She ignored me, typing busily away, in the window seat.

--Evil Editor

Out of breath and sweating, I slid into my seat as the doors were closed. “Just made it,” I said panting. The woman to my left, over whose delicate knees I’d just climbed, pretended to sleep; the man to the right of me hid behind his newspaper. I shrugged and staked my claim to both armrests: the God-given right of the middle-seater.

After the safety demonstration, I reached for my complimentary copy of “Plummet -- The In-flight Magazine of Wingan Prairie Airlines.” This month’s special feature was: Great People in Publishing. There was an interesting profile of Steve Guttenburg, the man who invented the printing press, and a retrospective of Marion Folsbream, inventor of both embossed foil lettering and those little round adhesive stickers. But it was the profile of Evil Editor -- the man who discovered literary humor -- that sent a shiver down my spine.

My neighbor, who had finished his newspaper and was now pretending to study the distant landscape through the plane window, was easily recognizable as the man in the story. I tugged at the velvet sleeve of his coat. “Excuse me. You’re Evil Editor!”

He sniffed. “Thank you for clearing that up. I was wondering.”

“Sorry, I mean, uh, I was just reading about you.” I pointed at the article. “This is so incredible!”

“I’m having trouble believing it myself,” he riposted.

“This is awesome,” I added. “You, uh, don’t mind me talking to you, do you?”

He sighed like a broken radiator and turned to face me. Facial hair quivered and pince-nez glinted beneath the reading light. “OK, let’s hear it...” He raised his eyebrows. “So, you’re a writer, then?”

“Uh, no. I’m in sales, actually. Industrial shredders.”

An enormous grin lit his face. “My man! Let me buy you a five dollar cocktail: We need to talk!”


Deus Ex Machina

The task was to write a scene with a deus ex machina ending--an utterly preposterous event that miraculously saves the day for the main character.

Sophie rolled closer and kissed me again.

‘Can’t believe I found you,’ she said, smiling.

We held each other for a while, watching the afternoon shimmer at the window like a slow beautiful film. Most days, I’m tense - all knotted round my neck and shoulders - but as we lay there talking, all my cares evaporated.

And that’s when I farted.

It was barely audible, like a bush baby clearing its throat, but the moment it crept from my crack, I felt its damp warmth ooze up my back, sucking goosebumps from my flesh and threatening to be a real stinker.

I edged backwards onto my hip, trying to work the amorphous shibboleth of its impending nasal assault back under the duvet, but Sophie took my impromptu spasms as a come-on and nuzzled her nose into my ear.

‘You smell real sexy,’ she whispered. ‘Come on. Let’s fuck.’

My eyelids flared like a pair of Hendrix’s pants.

Outside the window, a small cartoon buzzard hovered in the air looking serious. It wore a trim blue uniform with a slender aqualung affair strapped to its back, both emblazoned with a gold motif reading Fart Patrol. It gave me the thumbs up with the tip of its wing and began feeding a length of plastic hosepipe through the window and operating numerous levers on the aqualung.

Sophie straddled me playfully. She was hot stuff - but the localized suction stripping the hairs from my thighs was something else.


‘What was that?’

‘Static,’ I said, relieved. ‘C’mere.’

She bent down low to suck on my cock. Over her shoulder I saw the buzzard signal two hundred on a flash card as it dropped an invoice onto the carpet. Then it flew off, clutching its cell phone.


Valentine's Day

The task was to write a scene in which your romantic Valentine's Day dinner is interrupted by the arrival of Evil Editor at the next table.

I had the ring in my pocket; my plan was to pop the question over dessert--if I could wait that long. And the setting was as perfect as the joy in Helen's eyes . . . until he walked in.

270 pounds of flab in a suit that looked like he'd worn it every day for two years. Wheezing from his cab-to-front-door stroll like he'd just run a marathon. Hair like an abandoned bird's nest. In retrospect, I should have asked for a new table when he was seated next to us.

The staff was all over him like he was some hotshot movie star. Orson Wells, only bigger and more full of himself. "No menu," he said. "Bring me Scotch, a whole bottle. Tomato bisque. And a deep-fried leg of lamb." He moaned loudly as the waiter ran off. Then he looked at me and said, "What are you looking at, loser?" To Helen he said, "You can do a lot better than this fuck, honey."

Mercifully, his bottle of Scotch arrived, distracting him. He chugged a quarter of the bottle and then grunted like a rutting water buffalo. Helen was looking at him with pure disgust, like he was some mutant hog who'd just climbed out of a vat of raw sewage.

The gargantuan slob took another swig and howled like a wolf as his soup arrived. He groaned and fell face-forward into the tomato bisque and came up looking like the angry sunburned ass of a Hamadryas baboon. I glanced at Helen. She was heaving like a dog preparing to puke up the roadkill possum it ate two days ago.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a devastatingly handsome gentleman with muttonchops came up, forcibly escorted the bloated ox-creature out of the restaurant, and returned, taking his table. Then, as if I weren't even there, he turned to Helen and said, "I'm Evil Editor. I know of a more romantic place, if you'd care to join me?"

The nerve of the guy! And Helen went with him! I couldn't believe it. I sat there in a stupor, feeling angry and deceived and screwed . . . and yet at the same time, feeling wildly jealous . . . of Helen.


Write like Cassie Edwards

The task: Write a brief scene in any genre, and at some point during the scene, launch into an inexplicable nonfiction explanatory passage.

The bathroom smelt just like her. He surveyed the wrinkled Ikea shower curtain, the bottles and jars, the stain where the tap dripped. He looked at the underwear tossed in the basket, and the sight of it made him tremble; he wanted to touch it.

“You ready?” Kate’s voice came from just outside the door.

“Uh, yeah. Almost done.” He squeezed a dollop of Crest onto his finger and rubbed it over his teeth, then reached over and flushed the toilet.

She was on the bed when he emerged; a plain cotton sheet covered her lower half. His eyes fell straight to her breasts, full and firm, the nipples bigger and darker than he had expected.

Kate arched her eyebrows. He pulled off his T-shirt and shucked off his underpants.

“My, you are ready,” she said, and pulled the sheet away. He was transfixed for a moment by the dark shock between her legs. A brief wave of panic flicked at his stomach.

“I-- I don’t... Do you have, uh, protection?”

She gave him a look. “Sure, I always keep this baseball bat handy . . . ”

“No, I mean--”

“I know what you mean.” She reached into her side-table drawer. “Here.” She held the foil square between her thumb and forefinger. “America’s number one brand; four times the market share of Durex. You know, Trojans have been around since 1920 when they were first manufactured by Young’s Rubber, which later became Young’s Drug Products Corporation before being absorbed by Carter-Wallace Incorporated in 1985. Carter-Wallace sold their consumer products lines to Church and Dwight in 2001, putting Trojan alongside staples like Brillo, and Arm and Hammer. Then, in February 1987, Trojan-- Jesus! What did you--?”

“I-- I’m so sorry. I’m a bit of a history nut . . . I--”

“Here. Use this Kleenex -- a registered trademark of Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Incorporated . . . ”


Last Man Alive

Evil Editor has just discovered that he is the last person left alive on Earth. The planet was destroyed, but EE happened to be inside his personal force field at the time. He finds a tape recorder and decides to record his thoughts so that when aliens visit they'll have a record of what humans thought about.

So, I'm all that's left. I guess someone had to be the last, and it's only fitting that it be someone willing to tell it like it is.

Earth. It was the laughingstock of the solar system . . . until scientists discovered revolting noises coming from Uranus.

At the end there were six billion of us. And yet no one could make a decent cheese danish.

This resembles that Twilight Zone episode where the guy's the last man on Earth and all he wants to do is read books, and then he breaks his glasses. Resembles it in that all I want to do is get drunk on Dom Perignon, and I can't find a fucking corkscrew.

Anyway, if anyone should ever find this recording, know that when I die I will die with no regrets . . . except having lent twenty dollars to Kaczman last Tuesday.