Building another site didn’t work out the way I wanted but I’ve reached the point where I don’t want to fight it anymore. Success?
Anyway, I am moving the Ela-stories and my occasional thoughts on whatever to https://rocketcat.productions/ and this site will no longer be updated. Sidenote if anyone wants to buy the elatheexpert domain name the price is $1.6 million or best offer. Any English Language Arts experts out there? Does anyone know Andromache?
I’ve posted a super secret sneak preview of the next chapter of the Ela-pocalypse on the new site site.
I’ll probably poke at it occasionally and try to make it better, but I doubt it will change much.
To anyone not making the jump thanks for reading, although probably you won’t see this either.
To all the bots, 01110011001101110111101 – LOL RIGHT?!
Years back I read a book about writing screenplays. It claimed that screenplays are usually 80-120 pages. Google agrees that around 100 pages is standard for a screenplay. When I had the idea to do the Grace in-universe wildly out of character screenplay that a fan wrote about her I figured 80 pages would be no problem.
The end product was only 60 pages. Obviously doesn’t matter since it’s just for fun, but it got me wondering about the actual process of writing a screenplay, specifically one with a lot of action. What I read is that a screenplay with a lot of action can be shorter, but I think that’s where the 80 pages comes in.
If we go by the loose rule that everyone agrees is not right, each page is about a minute. So I got a sixty minute movie? Even the Walking Tall remake was longer than that.
Side story – I was at a movie theater to see something else when people were getting out of Walking Tall and they were PISSED. Several people thought that there had to be a reel missing (movies used to be on reels you see). And here’s the thing, I’ve seen Walking Tall, and for what’s there it’s TOO long. It’s a 79 minute movie that somehow drags in the middle. It’s uncanny.
I think what happened there is that the Rock was sort of becoming a thing so they wanted to make this movie and then they were like “oh this dude can’t carry a movie yet” so they kept things short. REAL short.
Anyway, it got me to wondering how a real screenwriter figures out how much action there’s going to be. How long is the screenplay for Die Hard? How much time in an action movie is spent on action? I’ve seen tons of action movies and I have no idea. In a two hour movie is there an hour of punching and shooting and car chasing? Half an hour? Fifteen minutes? In Mad Max Fury road I feel like the action in most of it, and there’s like 15 pages of dialog.
And how do you know how much time action is going to take as you’re writing it?
I glossed over all the action stuff because I don’t like writing action stuff and I don’t think people like reading it either, and also because I’m lazy, but what I’ve read is that in a real screenplay you would do the same thing.
A REAL screenwriter told me that a big mistake people make with action screenplays is trying to detail out all the action. His example was to think about Saving Private Ryan, if you tried to write out everything that was going on in just the first scene you’d have hundreds of pages just on that. And it would be insane and unfilmable. The actual script is very much just some bullet points about what the scene should be, leave the rest to the stunt coordinators and the director and whatnot.
What I wonder is how does that look on the page? Do you put in some details about action scene 1 and then put how long it’s supposed to be? There has to be some guideline right? I don’t think you just start filming and see what happens.
The other thing I wonder is when you’re a real writer and your screenplay is too short what do you do? Because if there’s one thing I think I know about writing is that when you’re adding stuff just to have more stuff it’s always bad. I believe that whatever story you envision when you’re done that’s how long it is. Trying to make it longer is never going to work well.
Not exactly the same, but that’s a lesson I had to learn as a GM/DM/whatever with roleplaying games. Sometimes when a campaign was going really great and everyone was having fun I didn’t want it to end so I’d add more stuff before the end. And that’s always when the campaign started to suck. Because the story got derailed by other crap and things got muddied.
I listen to a Star Trek podcast hosted by two TV writers and I have learned (according to them) that 95% of the time when you see an episode where there’s a weird scene that makes no sense it’s because the episode was short X minutes so they had to write more stuff.
I’m really curious what a real screenwriter would do if they were 30 pages short. How can you approach that in a way that gives you a chance not to just bolt on something stupid?
Joke or not, I think the structure of A Pale Horse is what it’s supposed to be. Opening scene establishes who she is, magic lady who wails on people and saves the world. Then we have the problem, her friend is dead, a woman is missing, someone is up to no good. Then we have the end, where she finds out what’s up and wails on some chumps to save the world.
If we pretend this is a serious thing what should be added? I love interest? That’s not always part of an action movie, and if it is she usually dies without having done much so the hero can freak out. I will admit in the original draft, since the idea was that this was a screenplay written in-universe by one of Grace’s fans there was a sex scene. I took that out for you fine people that might actually read it. I suppose in a real movie you’d put that in.
The ending does seem a little abrupt maybe? Maybe what you would do is put in some scenes of the bad guys to show what evil stuff they’re up to. I wanted to keep it all focused on Grace, but maybe that’s what you’d do.
I did try writing a “real” screenplay years ago and I had the same issue, ended up too short. That’s why I never finished it, I thought the story was good and any time I tried to add anything I thought it made things worse.
I suppose in the world of movies and TV you just add more stuff anyway because you have time to fill even if it’s not going to be good.
The move to the new site was slow and boring but things were going well. UNTIL one of my uploads got screwed up and now everything is a mess. As an IT man I know it’s probably user error but I’m going to blame the DUMB machine anyway.
I’ve been going through trying to clean it all up, and then I want to give up because one is going to read those old posts anyway, but then I remember what my grandma told me when I got my first job at 14 sorting microfiche for an insurance company so they could transfer that data to this new fangled thing called a COM-PU-TOR
“Don’t quit, give it another day. And if you still hate it after tomorrow, give it one more day . And you just keep going like that. Forever. That’s what working is.”
It’s not quite as inspirational as “never give up, never surrender” but people of that generation were more no-nonsense.
In other news two years ago I started the Grace blog.
In other other news one year ago I started the Ela-pocalypse story. I had no idea that was so long. That probably means it’s great.
If only I had started the whole shebang in September, then I could have a triple anniversary.
Thanks for reading, or for skimming, or for pretending to read, or for being a bot. I appreciate you all very much.
I’ve been making slow and painful progress on One Site to Rule Them All – https://rocketcat.productions/ – as of now I have not moved/set-up my two active stories but I have posted Super Ela, Ela Halloween special, and random other stuff.
Very still much WIP – I know that probably lots of things don’t “work” but any feedback would be appreciated.
Note for whomever, I had a “secret” blog where I expressed feelings and opinions, that stuff is on there too. If you read it and decide you hate me that’s cool, you can just stop reading, we don’t need to talk about it.
One thing I learned is that because my girlfriend was an editor on my old blog(s) before she got overwhelmed by my deluge of CONTENT and rage quit WP thinks editor=author, so now there’s fun comments where it looks like I’m commenting on my own posts and than responding to those comments myself again like a loon.
The advice I got from my tech-friends was that WP sucks and I should use Square instead but I like WP because it’s got a weird kind of captive community of WP people. I think 100% of my readers, sometimes readers, and non-reader courtesy follows, are from me liking or commenting on their site, which I found via the WP randomly shows me stuff feature. If I just had a website floating free in the world I doubt I would “connect” with anyone.
The great debate is if I’m going to import the first Ela story, some of it is okay, but a lot of it is a slog because it was a procedurally generated solo RPG that went on for way too long.
In conclusion I find something very satisfying about tweeting out to my almost no followers about my wattpad story with one reader. I don’t mean that sarcastically, I sincerely find something comforting about it. It’s like telling your cat a secret, it’s technically meaningless but somehow it isn’t?
Funeral in the background. Grace walks through the rows of graves touching each headstone in turn. She moves to a tree and presses the backs of her hands to the trunk, followed by her forehead. Behind her slowly an indistinct form coalesces of mist and smoke. Dash’s face can almost be seen. Grace doesn’t turn to face the manifestation.
(voice hollow, far away)
In the movies it’s always raining during funerals, or overcast at the very least. There’s something wrong about a bright sunny day funeral.
This is LA, must happen all the time.
I suppose so. Dabbling in necromancy now are you Grace? I would have just lost a lot of money on a bet if I was still alive.
Good thing you’re dead then.
For sure, getting horribly murdered was really the best thing for me. You must be getting desperate if you’re resorting to this.
Well I have to avenge your death don’t I? The ax forgets the tree remembers, all that.
That’s cultural appropriation missy. We’ve talked about that. (beat) Are you okay?
(a few tears slide down her face)
It’s been three years. I watched an episode of Star Trek that really spoke to me about trauma and how moving on isn’t a betrayal of the memory of the person we lost but in fact a way to hold on them. So I’m good now.
Which episode was that?
Uh, the one where everyone is on heroin I think.
Yeah, that’s a good one, not as good as the one where everyone turns into a lizard but still. Well, you didn’t summon me from the great beyond just to shoot the shit did you? What knowledge from the land of the dead can I impart upon you my old friend?
Who killed you?
I can’t tell you that.
Who are the four horsemen and what are they doing?
I can’t tell you that either.
(grinding her forehead into the tree in frustration)
Why is necromancy so stupid?!
Stella would be very disappointed to hear you maligning her profession like that.
Good thing I got her killed then so she doesn’t have to hear it then.
For sure, getting horribly murdered was really the best thing that ever happened to her. You should have told me when we met that your friends have a bad habit of being horribly murdered. A heads up about that would have been nice.
I think I mentioned it, you might have been on your phone at the time and missed it. You know how I don’t like to repeat myself
Ah, you’re probably right, my bad. So you’ve come here for advice from the grateful dead, well here it is, what I would do is stake out the occult shop. You should be there right now actually, whoever is behind all that is likely to show up on account of you killing their minion. Follow them and then work your way up the pyramid. You know how these cultist types operate. Very hierarchical.
That sounds boring.
Oh yes, incredibly. But that’s what detective work is. Waiting, lots of waiting.
What if time is of the essence? What if their evil plan is already in motion? What if I need to take decisive action right now?
Then you probably shouldn’t be hanging around in a graveyard.
Have you . . . talked to Stella?
You know that’s not how it works.
Is it true? What they say about what happens to necromancers after they die?
Do you really want to know?
(after a pause)
I wish I could see you one last time.
Go ahead and turn around. I won’t vanish right away, you’ll get a look.
Grace straights and moves away from the tree, stepping backwards. After a moment she turns around, Dash’s ghost becomes distinct for a split second and then dissipates. Grace notices that a kid is standing there watching her.
What are you doing?
Talking to ghosts.
EXT. MYSTIC DOGS – DAY
Grace is sitting outside the hot dog stand at a table eating fries and drinking an ice cold Coca-Cola. Discarded foil wrappers lay scattered before her. She has her phone on speaker talking to Ranni.
I did some (sarcastic) hacking . . .
You don’t have to say it like that.
. . . the soccult tore is owned by Henry Sevensworth. He likes people to call him AC.
Because he’s a big Lakers fan?
No, because he’s a big Aleister Crowley fan.
Jesus, why does ever black magic fuck-O suck Aleister Crowley’s boney dead dick? That dude was the worst magician I ever saw. AC Green played in 1200 consecutive games! What did Aleister fucking Crowley ever do that was worth a shit?
According to people on the dark web he summoned the worm of sixty winters one time.
Yeah, by accident!
There’s magic stuff on the dark web?
Looks like, where else would it be?
I don’t really understand the dark web. Is it the cloud? I watched that movie Unfriended but I still don’t get it.
I’ll explain the internet to you later. The point is that Sevensworth is a big fan of Crowley and he’s probably the one that had me install the equipment at the occult shop. And had the other person install the . . . uh, other stuff.
You don’t know if he hired you?
No, that’s the whole point of cryptocurrency, to anonymize transactions.
Like bitcoin? How does that even work? How is that money if it’s just pixels?
Pixels? There’s no pixels, I’ll explain blockchain to you later too. Seventhworth loves Crowley so much that he lives in a mansion outside of town that was once owned by him.
That rancid pig molester had a mansion in California?
Apparently. Sevensworth and his three disciples live there and have all kinds or orgies to power their magic, which also generates a lot of noise complaints from their neighbors.
Oh, how original! Black magic assholes who love Crowley and have big fuckbeast parties all the damn time. They’re probably trying to open a portal to hell or some shit. It’s like these morons are all using the same tired old playbook from a century ago. Say what you want about esoterrorists but at least they’re trying new evil ways to ruin everything for everyone.
I don’t know what that means. Are you saying this guy can really do magic?
Probably. The two women at the store were throwing around all kinds of magic and these dark magician types are very power oriented, being the assholes that they are, so the people further up the chain should be more power. Anyway, I’ll find out soon enough, send the directions to the god damn Crowley mansion to my phone.
What? Like send you a link to google maps? Just look it up yourself.
In the movies the support girl with a pony-tail and a Dr. Who bobblehead on her desk always sends the information to the field agent.
Dash’s LA apartment is all windows and light, small but modern. It’s sparsely furnished and decorated, the kind of place that someone lives but isn’t a home. After some fumbling sounds the door swings open, Amazing Grace enters.
You better be dead you goat fucker. I waited for you for over an hour and there’s no reason . . .
Grace comes to a stop as she sees Dash dead on the floor. Think Brian Tyree Henry. Dash is sprawled out face-down on the floor and the room it splattered with blood, far more than you would expect from a run of the mill crime scene.
My Christ Dash, what did you get yourself mixed up in this time?
Grace checks out the bedroom to make sure no one else is there. Once back in the main room she peers around the room deliberately as if she’s looking for things unseen. Once she finishes her scan she moves closer, careful not to disturb anything. She squats for a moment and runs her eyes over the body.
Fuckers got you good didn’t they? Took some souvenirs off you looks like too. Fuckers.
Grace stands and closes her eyes, murmuring indistinctly with her hand held out, fist clenched. With a quick move she flips her hand over and opens it. Dash’s phone floats smoothly off the floor where it fell by his outflung hand. The phone stops and hovers above Grace’s palm. Grace flicks a finger towards it like she’s getting rid of a bug and the phone suddenly comes to life with a full battery. She waves her hand like swiping on Tinder and the phone unlocks.
She scrolls through the phone with her fingers a few inches away, manipulating the phone remotely, not touching the screen. She seehs a lot of calls and texts from someone listed as GOLD-DIGGER in regards to a case. She sees a calendar appointment at Obsidian Bar with INFORMANT at 8 PM. She taps her thumb and pinky together three times and the phone dials GOLD-DIGGER. It goes directly to voicemail without announcing who it is.
(in a deep masculine voice, VO from Dash)
This is Dashiel Flint ma’am, my sincerest apologies but I have being called out of town unexpectedly. In order to keep your case moving forward I am going to refer to you a colleague that will be picking up the investigation with you permission. I have the utmost confidence in her abilities but I understand that this is an unusual request and I assure you that that this is not how I like to do business. Unfortunately in this instance it’s unavoidable. If you’re not satisfied with your arrangement I can offer you a full refund of the retainer and any invoices already paid. But, as I said, I give you my assurance that this colleague will deliver results and I vouch for her with complete confidence. At your convenience please contact her at (number)
With another gesture the phone turns off and floats back to the exact spot it was on the floor next to Dash’s hand. Grace takes some deep breaths, stretches her shoulders and then floats lightly a few inches off the ground like the kids down in the sewer in IT. Her eyes slowly turn a bright shade of electric blue. After a few seconds she floats back down to the ground and her eyes change back.
Not going to make it easy for me huh?
(she speaks to Dash’s body)
Well we know one thing for sure, this is some magic shit right here. If this had something to do with me Dash I’m sorry. I’ll find out. I guess I’m sorry either way. You were a good dude Dash. Most of the time anyway.
Grace takes one final look around the room and then leaves.
EXT. BEVERLY HILLS MANSION – DAY
Outside the mansion gates Grace sits in the driver’s seat of a battered ‘64 Acadian Canso. The car has such things as claw-marks, acid-burns, and bullet-holes across the body. Grace is flipping through her phone learning about GIGI MUNSON, think Eli Jane or Jenae Altschwager. We learn that Gigi married a much older wealthy man, inherited $120 million when he died 2 years ago, and that she was once an outspoken member of CAN – the cult awareness network – but has since renounced the organization.
Grace tucks her phone away, exits the Canso and slips in through the gates while they swing open to hike a comically long distance to the front of the mansion.
INT. BEVERLY HILLS MANSION – DAY
Grace and Gigi are sitting in a finely appointed living room, Gigi poised on the couch like a queen and Grace perched awkwardly like a gargoyle on a funky modern art looking chair.
Can I get you something to drink?
Maker’s Mark and Code Red Mountain Dew if you have it, toss in some Skittles.
(polite but annoyed)
How about some ice tea?
(waving her off)
I’m good actually. I want to apologize again for Dash being called away so suddenly, he had an urgent family matter that he had to attend to, but I can assure you that I’ll be pursuing this case aggressively in his absence. I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to Dash before he left town so I thought it best that we speak in person, Dash gave me access to everything he had but he’s not big into record keeping, client confidentiality and all that. You never know who has access to your files right?
Do you know if Dash had any leads on the location of my step daughter?
Yes, I’m going to meet someone with some information later today, but could you start from the beginning please? I want to make sure I’m not missing anything. In these types of scenarios it’s not good to assume anything.
(takes a moment to compose herself)
Ela and I were never close but we had as good a relationship as we could have given the circumstances. I never tried to be her mother, that would be ridiculous since she’s three years older than me. But I didn’t pretend that we were friends either, I think she respected that. All I could do was I try to be there for her as much as I could. I knew the kind of problems that she was facing. After Hal died Ela and I started spending more time together, getting closer than we had before. Most people treat me like a gold-digging slut but Ela knew that I really loved her father.
(she wipes away a tear)
I was sick in love with Hal. Ela knew that and it was something that brought us together after he passed. A few months ago things between us were better than they had ever been but then her behavior became increasing erratic. She . . . has issues with drugs, but this seemed different. I struggled with the same thing for years, I know what that looks like, this was . . . something else.
(she takes a deep breath and then plunges in)
I was a 17 when I came to LA. I had already been using meth for two years. Everyone I met out here, man or woman, was looking to abuse me or hurt me or turn me out. LA is a city full of dreamers and that makes it a city full of predators as well. But some of the things I saw, or think I saw, were beyond . . . any sort of human exploitation. Some of it was play-acting, people making a show, wanting attention. But I saw, or think I saw, some things I can’t explain. I’ve worked with a dozen different therapists, specialists, memory recovery experts, all sorts of people. I still don’t know for sure what was real and what was in my head from those days.
I remember being at a party. There was a stripper there, and a gigolo I suppose, I remember several women I knew from the tennis club having sex with him while wearing hideous masks. I may have as a well. I can see him clearly in my mind. He’s lying on a low table made of white stone. He’s looking very satisfied with himself until his eyes widen when one of them slits his throat. The blood, I see the blood. They all come at him with knives and they hack at his body, ripping pieces of this flesh off and shoving them I their mouths. After he’s dead and they’re covered with blood and bits of muscle they were chanting and holding candles and things . . . happened. Things that don’t make sense. Other memories I question, other memories I have may or may not be true. But that . . . that one I am convinced is real.
That must sound insane to you.
Not at all. Trust me, I know reality is a lot more flexible than people like to think. I’ve seen shit that would make your pubes fall out. You must be bringing this up because you think your step-daughter is involved with something like what you saw?
I don’t know what she’s involved with. When she started acting oddly she would talk about the Apocalypse and Revelations and Judgement Day. At first I thought she was talking about the Bible, they really try to shove Jesus down your throat in some of those 12-step programs. It can be helpful . . . sometimes. She’s had a lot of sadness in her life. It seemed natural that she might turn to religion in some way.
But this wasn’t anything to do with religion, not any legitimate religion anyway. She would talk about aliens sometimes and a comet and some of that conspiracy crap about shapeshifters. She talked about this old occultist named Aleister Crowley like he was a god or some kind of messiah. She that she had made friends that were all about gaining power and how suffering was the natural human condition so it was okay to make othe people suffer for your own benefit. They were going to help her gain power and then no one would ever be able to hurt her again. She sent me all these links to bizarre subreddits and Youtube videos, some of which were advocating acts of violence.
What really concerned me is when she moved out of her apartment, I don’t know where she went. She’s not returning my texts or calls anymore and I don’t know how to get in touch with her. I would have assumed that she was backsliding, going on a bender, I know some old friends of hers were in town which is a trigger for people like us, but I went to this occult shop where I saw she was spending a lot of money at to see if they might know where she was.
I just got a bad feeling about that place. The woman behind the counter. Didn’t seem right to me. I didn’t speak to her I just turned around and left. I think I might have been followed by someone when I was coming home that day. It could just be paranoia but since that day some odd things have been happening. That’s when I contacted Mr. Flint.
What kind of odd things?
(Gigi holds up her phone and shows a video of crickets coming out of a water faucet when turned on)
Well, that certainly fits the bill.
I’m worried that Ela is in danger. I’m worried that anyone I send after her is in danger. The things I’ve seen . . . I’m thinking I should call this all off. I don’t want anyone else to be hurt.
(making an awkward gesture of comfort)
Don’t worry about that at all. I’m a professional. I know how to take care of myself so don’t give that notion a second thought. I’m going to do my level best to find out what’s happened to your step-daughter.
(wiping away another tear)
Thank you, you’ve been very helpful, and I apologize once again for you having to go over this all again. One last thing, can you verify the spelling of your step-daughter’s name? Dash probably ran her through all the usual databases but I have a few other sources I like to check out in situations like this.
Have you worked many cases like this?
Sadly yes. It’s amazing how blasé we are as a society about people disappearing. People throw around this platitude that when someone disappears because it’s because they don’t want to be found. To me that’s like coming across a dead body and assuming they killed themselves. It’s the easy way out intellectually, gets you off the hook. People like to pretend that when someone goes missing they just ditched and have a new life somewhere else, because the alternative, the truth maybe, is too ugly for them to think about.
(I thought it would be fun to write an in-universe screenplay for my other blog where a guy writes a story about the main character that is not representative of her personality, attitude, or magical abilities in any way. It was fun. Since I’m not doing anything here right now I thought I’d post it serialized for whatever enjoyment it may bring.
(Trigger/content warning – kinda gross)
INT. BROKE TO YOLKED MMA, BISHOP CALIFORNIA – DAY
The gym is wrecked. The bodies of defeated MMA dudes lay all around on the floor. AMAZING GRACE stands amidst the carnage choking out one of the last men standing. Think Mackenzie Davis in Terminator or Betty Gilpin in the Hunt. Maybe even Gwendoline Christie. Someone splitting the difference would be ideal. Grace throws the man she choked out to the ground and the last last man standing is there to confront her. Think Danny McBride or Walton Goggins.
We are the Heirs of Dim Mak!
Yeah, I’ve heard that like fifty times already.
The MMA dude goes into a precise martial arts kata, magic energy starts to dance across his body as he sways and moves. Grace steps forwards and knocks him on his ass with a straight headbutt. She holds out her hand and a discarded funky martial arts sword flies smoothly into her palm. She pokes MMA Dude in the inner tight with it and he scoots away desperately, hitting the wall as bloody spews from the wound.
(voice from pocket)
Set a reminder to start working the phrase “Don’t bring your dick to a machete fight” in conversation whenever possible.
How did you do that?!
Do you not have a smart phone? (she glances at the weapon on her hand) Oh, you mean this? Magic. But you know that you were just doing . . . oh, I see, how am I so damn good at it? (steps forward and presses the blade against his crotch) I don’t know how advanced you are in your training so this may come as a surprise to you, but all the theatrics? You don’t need them. They help, but you don’t need them. All the chanting and the hand movements and the singing and candles and shit, or in your case karate disco breakdancing, those things are like putting up the bumpers when you’re bowling.
Magic is like masturbation karateman. When you’re going to jerk off you dial up the Redtube or Pornhub or the camera you hid in your underage neighbors daughter’s room and you lube up your fleshlight and get your butt plug ready and your noose and everything and all that helps you get the job done. It makes things much easier. But you don’t need all that right? You could do the whole thing just with your mind. Crazy right?
When I was in the army there was a dude in my unit that could get hard and pop off without even touching himself, just by thinking about it. People would come from all over to watch him do it. The army is a weird place . Anyway I’m like that dude, only with magic. I cast spells most of the time because I like to make things easier for myself just as much as the next person, but in a pinch, shit happens just because I want it to. Fuckboy physical adepts like yourself probably shouldn’t mess with someone like that should they? You didn’t know though so I can’t hold that against you. What I can and will do is stab your dick off if you don’t tell me where it is.
Where what is?
Come on karate man, don’t be like that. We were having a nice friendly death battle here, don’t make things turn ugly with lies. I don’t want to neuter you but I will. Oh sure, when I was new to magic I went through a dick ripper phase. I was working through some stuff from my childhood. You know, you find a serial rapist, rip his dick off, and you feel good for a while. You feel like you’ve done something for the world. But I’ve outgrown that, you can’t go around being angry and dick ripping all your life right?
(stabs in other thigh with a bright arc of blood)
But here we are karateman, so tell me where it is right now.
(MMA dude points shakily to a staircase, Grace gestures with the weapon)
Thank you, lead the way.
MMD Dude walks nervously up the stairs with Grace at his back. They enter a small spare office with an old battered desk. Grace points with her weapon.
Stand in the corner.
MMA Dude moves to the corner as Grace sits behind the desk and starts looking through it.
(peeking over his shoulder)
What exactly is it anyway?
(she stops looking and puts the blade down on the desk)
There’s a place in Germany called Wurzburg, or at least there was in the 17th century, maybe it’s gone now. A girl lived in Wurzburg named Gobel Babelin and according to record she was a total knockout karateman. They put that on Wikipedia. She had all the stuff guys liked back in the 17th century, weird swan necks and pointy foreheads, who the hell knows what they were into. Because she was so pretty the Mayor of Wurzburg or whatever they had at the time wanted that pussy real bad. Real bad.
But Gobel Babelin wouldn’t give it up to him because that was when God was a big deal and He didn’t want anyone to have sex. Plus that was back before lady orgasms had been invented so what was in it for her anyway? As you probably know guys don’t like it when women won’t give up the puss. So the Mayor did the only reasonable thing he could do given the situation. He went to his priest and said that Gobel Babelin was a witch and she had enspelled him.
At that time God hated witches even more than He hated people having sex. So the Inquisition, which was a real thing as it turns out, grabbed Gobel Babelin. The Inquisition tortured the fuck out of her to see if she was a witch. They tortured her real good. She never said she was a witch though because probably she wasn’t and she knew God was watching. They cut her head off anyway just to be sure. I can only assume at that point the mayor got want he wanted with her headless body.
After they burned that headless body a passerby found an iron nail that she had in her pocket. I don’t know if you know this karateman but sometimes when someone experiences enough trauma and despair and horrible shit and then dies all that evil black magic mojo they release can turn something on them into a magic artifact. Crazy right? And that’s what happened to that nail. Somewhere along the line someone melted the nail down and turned it into a little blob, it’s supposed to be art I guess. It was safe in France for a long time with some magic people there but they’re all dead now and it was sold to a rich guy right here in the US. Then your master stole it. Now I’m here.
Yeah, oh. Not much else to say is there? Magic is fucked up sometimes.
(she opens a drawer and pulls out a dull grey metal blob)
And here we go.
What are you going to do with it?
But you said it has power.
Oh yes, a shit load of power. If your master had used this instead of sticking it in a drawer he could have knocked my tits off when I walked in the door instead of getting his ass kicked. Maybe he didn’t know how to use it. Or maybe he realized that it’s evil and didn’t use it on purpose, that would be nice if that was true. I don’t know what he’s been teaching you karateman but this is what you do with magic abilities. Destroy evil things like this. Ripping off drug dealers or whatever you chuckleheads are doing, that’s shenanigans. You have fucking magic! You have magic. You’re a superhero! You should be Batman, not a douche.
Batman doesn’t have any powers.
Yes, that’s the point I was driving at, thanks for paying attention. Get the fuck out of here.
MMA Dude scurries off. Grace takes a deep breath, closes her eyes and holds the blob in her fist out in front of her. She murmurs softly under her breath and after a moment there’s a bright flash of purple light. She opens her hand and the iron has been reduced to just a few flakes. Across the room a woman appears dressed in old German peasant clothing – think Milana Vayntrub or Carly Foulkes.
Wo bin ich?
Sorry, I don’t speak German.
The ghost fades away quickly, think Thanos dusting people in Infinity War
During the credits “I Enjoy Being a Girl” from Flower Drum Song (or a new cover?) plays over a montage of Grace in violent fights like the beginning of Deadpool 2. Mostly physical stuff but with a few magical flourishes. She dishes it out but this shows her taking a lot of punishment too.
I forgot how much breaking my routine discombobulates me. Yesterday I posted on the Grace blog instead of today, what a disaster! In order to make up for it (?) here’s a thing I wanted to write so I did. Back in the super Ela story I ripped off Deadpool 2 and had Ela interviewing new heroes. It wasn’t good but it was fun to write.
Meanwhile at the Halls of Justice Human Resources Department our dynamic duo faces their most challenging test to date!
Pete (tapping papers on the desk) – I don’t want to waste anyone’s time here so there’s one thing that I feel that I need to say up front, we already have a water person, Martialla. We didn’t want to deny you your chance to sell yourself but I don’t think there’s much chance that you’re going to be hired on honestly. If you want to continue we can but there’s just not a lot of call for more than one water person.
Sea Lion (examining a globe-shaped paperweight on the desk) – Is this real?
Pete (frowns slightly) – Uh, it’s a real paperweight if that’s what you mean. I’m not sure what you’re asking, real in what way? (he waits for a response but Seal Lion just sits back) So, uh, like I was saying we have the water thing covered pretty much so . . .
Seal (pointedly) – Do you though? The earth is mostly water. That 70% thing people say is just the surface area, by volume 98% of the livable area on earth is water. Is one person enough to cover tall that?
Pete – We do also have Leviathan as a reserve member. But people don’t really live in the ocean and most of our work involves, you know, people, people committing crimes, on land. So yeah we’re mostly a land based organization. And like I said we’re staffed up on water people.
Sea Lion (Seal starts to say something but Sea Lion talks over her) – Why do they call her Martialla the Super Mermaid? She’s not a mermaid, she has legs.
Pete – Uh, it’s just a name I guess, so did you want . . . uh . . .
Seal (leaning forward to draw attention) – It’s fine actually because we mostly do stuff on land anyway. We operate primarily on land, right Sea Lion? (she nods absently) We have super swimming powers but we don’t actually use them that much.
Peter (mildly surprised) – Oh really, what other powers do you have?
Seal (smiling) – Well we both have super strength of course, Sea Lion is stronger than I am, but we’re both very strong.
Pete (leaning back in his chair) – Is that so? Are seals strong?
Seal (nodding quickly) – Yeah, they’re strong, see the thing is most animals are stronger than humans by comparison. So almost everyone with animal powers has super strength. Like an 80 pound chimp is much stronger than a person right? Do you have a pet?
Pete (nodding happily) – I have birds.
Seal (face falling slightly) – Well birds aren’t, uh, a good example, but uh, have you ever tried to hold down a cat or a dog to give them a pill? They’re really strong for how small they are right? Animals are just comparatively stronger that people, something to do the muscle structure I think. So yeah, we have super-strength. Not like super super strength. You know?
Pete – Could you lift up a car?
Sea Lion (after Seal looks over at her) – Yeah I can lift a car. I threw my ex-boyfriends car into the river once.
Seal (leaning forward again quickly) – Because he was a bad guy! Not, not, you know, because of relationship stuff. I could lift up a little car maybe, like a compact, Sea Lion is the muscle in our duo, but we both also have super-agility.
Pete (dubiously) – From a seal?
Seal (nodding quickly) – Yeah, seals and sea lions are both very agile.
Pete (titling his head slightly) – I guess they are in the water, but not on land.
Seal – No, no, they’re still agile on land it’s not their environment right? Think about a gymnast in the water, they don’t lose their agility, it’s not just their natural habitat. Right? Seals and sea lions are both very agile and really flexible too. We’re basically like someone with cat powers in that sense. Do you have like an obstacle course or a gym or something? We could show you.
Sea Lion (after a moment of awkward silence) – We’re both trained combatants.
Seal (nodding again, eagerly) – Yes we’re both trained I hand to hand combat, judo, BJJ, I’m an expert in dirty boxing and I have claws.
Pete (making a face) – What? Seals don’t have claws.
Seal (smiling brightly) – They do actually, big claws on their flippers.
Peter (snorting) – Sure, technically dogs have claws.
Sea Lion – Those are nails.
Peter – What’s the difference?
Seal (holds her hand up and extends vicious 3 inch claws from her fingers) – See? Claws. Seal claws. Sea Lion doesn’t have claws but she’s stronger. And we both have a layer of protective blubber, which is what really gives us an advantage in a fight.
Peter (looking at them both in turn meaningfully) – What blubber? You both look like you’re a taco short of 80 pounds soaking wet.
Sea Lion (eyeing him) – I don’t think you’re allowed to comment on our bodies.
Seal (waving her hand frantically) – No, no, it’s in, it’s there under the skin. If you took a scan you’d see we have a thick layer of blubber. Like an x-ray or something.
Pete (confused) – And that protects you somehow?
Seal – Yeah, yeah, it’s like padding right? It’s like uh, ablative armor I think they call it. We’re almost immune to impacts. So punches and kicks and bullets can’t hurt us.
Pete (frowning) – Because of fat?
Seal Lion – It’s not fat, it’s blubber.
Peter – What’s the difference?
Seal (picking up a stapler off the desk) – Look, take this and hurl it at me as hard as you want, I won’t be hurt.
Peter (holding out a hand) – Oh, I don’t think that would be appropriate.
Seal (desperately) – Just launch it right at my face, you’ll see it won’t hurt me. Unless you get me in the eye, that’s not protected, but practically everything else . . .
Sea Lion – Or the butthole. (they both turn to stare at her) What? Our buttholes aren’t protected either. All our holes are vulnerable. It doesn’t come up much, but I’m just saying.
Seal (even more desperately) – That’s why we wear goggles when we’re on patrol, the eye thing isn’t an issue.
Pete – Bulletproof goggles?
Seal (after a moment) – I mean . . . no, not bullet . . . proof but they’re bullet resistant. I mean when’s the last time you heard of anyone getting shot in the eye?
Pete – Cylcopious got shot in the eye last week.
Seal (cringing slightly) – Well . . . yeah . . . but his eye is huge. Anyway, that’s where you guys could help us out. With some gear. You give us some body armor and some eye protection and maybe some . . .
Peter – Why would you need body armor?
Seal – Well . . . our blubber doesn’t protect us again blades or cutting attacks. It only works on blunt force impacts.
Sea Lion – Or heat.
Seal – Yeah, or heat. But that’s why I think we’d really be good for this because the issue with most body armor is . . .
Seal Lion – Or poison.
Seal (losing her temper for a moment) – No armor protects you against poison! (hands up) Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. We’re not unpowered right, we don’t need like a super-suit like Arsenal but we’re more like the super soldier level right? I think with our powers and some gadgets we could really be an asset to the New Justice Team. And you know if some water stuff does happen then Martialla and Leviathan could have us as back up. Or you know, they can go on vacation and we can fill in with the water stuff.
Pete (clicking his tongue) – Well you’ve made a better case than I expected. We aren’t really looking for a duo though, budget wise we can’t really afford two more salaries.
Seal (eagerly) – That’s fine, we can live with just one paycheck.
Sea Lion (taking out her phone) – We’re mostly just in need of the health insurance.
Pete (making some notes) – Well, it’s an interesting proposal for sure. How did you get your powers?
Seal – I was on a basketball trip for school and I got bit by a radioactive seal.
Pete (nodding absently as he writes) – Classic. How did the seal get to be radioactive?
Seal – I don’t know, it swam off after it bit me, no one studied it or anything.
Pete (looking up) – Then how do you know it was radioactive?
Seal (frowns for a moment) – I guess I just assumed . . . you know because I got seal powers . . . after.
Pete (looking to Sea Lion) – What about you?
Sea Lion (scrolling through her phone) – My mom is an ancient sea lion goddess or something. Some Native American thing.
Seal (hopefully) – Yeah, yeah, she’s totally half first nation, that’s good right? Like isn’t there a box we can check for that, like, uh, for a program or something?
Far more successful bloggers than I say that updates are important. One of these more successful bloggers is also doing a “no self-depreciation” challenge so I won’t say why I think they aren’t important.
Today’s post is going to be the last one in the main Elapocalypse story for a while. I’ve been running out of steam for a bit and I want to shake things up.
You see when I was a kid there used to be this thing called TV shows. They made loads of them and most of them didn’t survive. Like fish laying eggs. Sometimes when a show was not doing well they’d try to tweak it a little to save themselves. It never worked. I’ve always thought it would be neat if in that situation the show took a wild swing. If your sitcom about a married couple in Chicago isn’t working how about you inexplicably make it a supernatural drama about mummies?
If you’re going down why not go nuts?
I know why, they have to think about their careers, but the point is I’m going to do some flashbacks/background/prequels/whatever where things get funky. Why not? I’m just writing for my own amusement anyway.
Anyway, I’m probably going to take a few posts off before I start up with that. Or post about random stuff.
What kind of random stuff? Stuff like this – when I started out on WP I had three blogs. With my busy social calendar that was one blog two many. Now that I’m re-posting blog #2 on wattpad I’m getting into the same scenario. I’m doing a lot more new material on wattpad that I planned.
Sidenote, I found out that “wattpad boy” is slang for a dude who’s super-dreamy, which makes me more convinced than ever that it’s for 12-year old girls and maybe I shouldn’t be there.
The funny thing is I would prioritize wattpad first even though I only have 1 reader and I think it’s a terrible platform to attract readers. Maybe just because I’m exciting to be re-writing the Grace story.