02-26-2007 08:57 PM - edited 02-26-2007 08:57 PM
I looked down and realized my bowl was nearly empty and I noticed, not for the first time, that the residue left behind from the chicken flavor turned my bowl a sort of radioactive yellow/green color. I thought of a funny story to go along with this. What if there was some radical “save the planet” person out there who poisoned chicken Cup of Noodles? Trying to get peoples attention of what we put into our bodies? Or trying to get back at that company? Maybe he worked there before and they fired him 20 years in?
My story’s main character will be the assistant to the “mad” activist, because all mad scientist’s need assistants don’t they? And good looking ones to boot! The assistant doesn’t know what her boss is doing; she just needed money and saw the Wanted Ad in the paper. She runs errands for him, getting strange ingredients that she has never heard of. The mad scientist needs someone else to go get these ingredients because he has a fear that he is being watched. Slowly she begins to realize what he is up to in this "lab", will she be able to help in time?
This story is going to be a short-short story, but I think it could be fun. I’ll write up this short story and post it later, but what do you guys think? Would it be fun to read? Or am I just out of it from that chicken flavored Cup of Noodles that I ate?
Oh and incase anyone doesn't know what Cup of Noodles are, they are those styrofoam cups (usually sold in grocery stores) that have the hard noodles in them and seasoning, you just add water and put it in the microwave and presto! You have hot, yummy noodles!
Message Edited by book_worm on 02-26-200706:08 PM
02-26-2007 09:17 PM
Hmmmm, instead maybe the assistant thinks that he is poisoning people but really he is just adding something good into it? Or testing his out his nifty new vitamin? I'm not sure.. I guess I will have to think more before I start writing about it.
Sorry drlaura, I didn't mean to give you the willies about what you eat
02-27-2007 01:09 AM
You should think about additional aspects of your ideas to come up with something interesting. Like what does the assistant do? What ingredients does she collect? Keep going until you come up with something.
Like what if the scientists goal is the eradication of mankind, but she/he makes cup-o-soup that cures cancer? Then makes a death ray that cures gum disease.
Or what if the story involves the mad scientist actually killing everyone and he goes through a midlife crisis and decides to bring everyone back?
02-27-2007 08:48 AM
02-27-2007 01:04 PM
02-27-2007 04:09 PM
It's a good starting idea. See where it takes you -- and don't be frightened of some black humor, if that's where the story is heading.
02-28-2007 11:20 AM
02-28-2007 02:48 PM
Also, did you know that the inventor of Cup Noodles just died a few weeks ago?
03-01-2007 11:12 AM
I love the idea! Between my chocolate and your cup noodle the whole board is going to be scared of what they eat!LOL! Seriously! great idea!!! =D
I'm glad you like the idea Talon By the way, can't wait to read more of your Chocolate Story!
03-01-2007 11:22 AM
Does your mad scientist have some reason to target college students? Because I'm sure they make up 99% of the customer base for ramen noodles.
Also, did you know that the inventor of Cup Noodles just died a few weeks ago?
Haha, I didn't even think of the college students angle! I didn't know that the inventor died a few weeks ago
Hmmm I wonder if I can put that into my story. Maybe the "mad scientist" is a relative that was passed over for the inheirtence fortune?
I'm still working on the story (the beginning), but I hope it is done soon so you guys can read it
03-01-2007 11:01 PM
03-02-2007 03:50 PM
03-03-2007 03:59 PM
I'm still working on it and it is coming along nicely but I'm having some trouble with my dialog in it. So when I post it tell me what I could do better to make the dialog more interesting, or if I did a good job on the dialog.
Thanks in advance!
03-05-2007 08:01 PM
This doesn't mean that you end up with a story that's all dialog -- that's a very hard thing to pull off successfully. But once you have played with the story in script form, you'll get a much better understanding of how dialog works and what makes it flow.
Another thing to do is read it aloud. The rule of thumb is, if you can't say it easily, readers can't read it easily. Like most writing rules of thumb, there are a zillion exceptions, but it's a good touchstone.
03-06-2007 12:51 AM
It was Sunday morning and Jane sat in her deliciously comfortable papasan chair, with the aroma of coffee clinging to the air, a red marker in her hand and the Heartfield’s Want Ads in her lap. Her dog Duke snoozing silently beside her, twitched his paws as he gave chase to some dream animal. Duke was sprawled on the carpet taking up as much room as he could and being a Great Dane he didn’t need to try. Jane shook her head as she looked at her dog; she needed to focus on the task at hand Jane reminded herself. She needed a real job; her dog walking job was barely bringing in enough money for her one bedroom loft let alone the heater that broke. Jane sighed and looked around her loft; she lucked out when she found it, the seller just wanting to get rid of it. Jane did the fixing up herself, which explains why a few things don’t work, or occasionally act up, but she loves this place, its home for her.
Jane looked back down at the newspaper in her lap, using her red marker as a pointer she went down the line of jobs for hire. “General Office – Act now! Hiring Today. No exp. Req’d. Will Train, Earn Up to $1725 per wk.”
“Humph! Yeah right.” Jane said as she rolled her eyes at the ad.
Skipping the scam ads she finally found one that sounded interesting. “General – Personal Assistant needed for errands. Some local travel.” Personal assistant didn’t sound too bad to Jane, Duke snorted his agreement, and at that Jane circled the ad with her red marker. Jane spent the next hour looking through the pages of Want Ads to find a suitable job. There were only a few red circled ads to Jane’s credit.
“Maybe I’m too picky?” Jane asked her dog, who was now awake and staring at her expectantly. “What? I already fed you this morning piggy.” Cooed Jane. At that Duke pawed her leg and nosed the portable phone that was lying on top of the messy pile of newspapers.
“Oh, don’t think I’ll call them, do you?” Challenged Jane. Duke barked his agreement with his tongue lolling out the side of his mouth. Jane smiled and rubbed Duke between his big, chocolate brown, floppy ears - the sweet spot, she likes to call it. She leaned down to grab the phone when Duke got to it first, putting it in his mouth he backed up and looked at her triumphantly as he wagged his tail. Jane groaned at having to leave her comfortable spot, but gave into Duke’s wishes to play.
A couple of minutes later she finally wrestled him to the ground after chasing him around her big loft. Jane took the now thoroughly slobbered phone, out of Duke’s mouth. Jane rubbed the wet phone onto her sweat pants when she heard voices coming from it. She quickly held the phone up to her ear and heard, “Hello? Bob’s Pizza Palace. Can you hold please?” Duke must have hit the redial button. “Sorry, wrong number.” Jane answered hastily.
Grabbing the Want Ads, Jane looked for the numbers to call. Starting with a secretary ad that she had circled, Jane pressed the numbers at the end of the ad into her phone. Jane had wandered into the kitchen and leaned against the counter listening to the ringing in her phone. Twelve rings later Jane gave up on that ad and moved onto the next.
“Why don’t people have voicemail in this day and age?” asked Jane. She looked at her dog for an answer but saw that he was busy playing with a stuffed animal toy that she had bought him and was paying no attention to her. Jane looked for another red circled ad and found a personal assistant one, then dialed the number that it provided.
Two rings in, and someone picked up.
“Hello?” said a man’s rough voice.
“Hi, my name is Jane Thompson and I’m calling about the ad in the paper, the personal assistant job. Is it still available?”
“Yes it is. Ms.–Thompson was it?” said the man.
“Yes, but please call me Jane.”
“Jane then, well my name is Charles White and I placed the ad. But I’d much rather meet you in person than do our interview over the phone. Over a coffee, maybe?”
“Oh, um sure. When is good for you?” said Jane.
“Tomorrow, in the morning preferably.” said Charles.
Jane wrote down the address of the coffee shop and the time they would meet, on her message pad, and then said her good bye. Duke padded up to her as she hung up the phone.
“That sounded promising.” Jane told Duke as she rubbed the sweet spot again and he licked her hand in response.
The next morning Jane was waiting at a table in a small coffee shop sipping at her coffee with caramel in it. A solid looking older man with graying hair walked up to her with a coffee cup in hand. “Jane?” he asked.
“Charles?” Jane said with a smile, putting out her hand to shake his.
“Yes, how do you do?” said Charles, returning the smile and shaking Jane’s hand.
“I’m doing well, thank you. How about you?” said Jane, inviting him to sit at her table.
“Fine, thanks. A bit cold” Charles said sitting down and gesturing to outside where snow flakes fell lazily to the already snow covered ground.
“Yeah it is cold out; I wonder when this snow is going to stop?” Jane asked.
“I hope soon, its getting tough to drive anywhere. Well then, let’s get down to business.” Charles said with a smile.
“Okay.”, said Jane.
“You are the first to answer my ad, I’m afraid I will need you to start rather soon, if you are still interested, that is.” said Charles.
“Well, what am I going to be doing? I’m not sure what ‘personal assistants’ do.” said Jane as she drank her coffee, feeling the warm liquid slide down her throat, warming her from the inside out.
“Well for starters, I’m a chemist of sorts. I work for the Noodle in a Cup company and am trying to invent a new flavor. And while I am in my ‘inventing mode’ I often forget appointments I have, and need someone to get my supplies for me to tinker with to make the new flavor and run a few miscellaneous errands as well.
“I’m afraid this is only a temporary job though, I’ll only need you as long as I’m developing the new flavor, a couple of weeks, a month at most. I’ll pay you seven-hundred a week. How does it sound so far?” Charles said, swirling the coffee that was left in his cup.
“It sounds good, but what would my hours be?” asked Jane.
“I don’t really have a strict schedule for you to go on, I was just hoping that if I needed to get some supplies for my lab that I could call you and you could go get them for me. So you would only work when I need you to run an errand for me. Sort of like being on call I suppose.” explained Charles.
“Okay that sounds reasonable, when do you need me to start?” asked Jane.
“I’d like you to start today, but if you can’t do that, tomorrow? I really want to start on the new flavor right away.” Charles said.
“Um, today is fine. Yeah, I can start today.” Jane said.
“Great! You’re hired.” Charles chuckled. “The other thing is that I work from home, my wife is very ill so my company is allowing me to work from home while I take care of her and invent the new flavor with the lab I have at home.”
“Oh, so I’ll be driving to your house everyday? Do you live close by?” asked Jane.
“I live in a small community, just at the base of the mountain.” Charles said. “If you want to follow me in your car, I’ll show you the way to my house so you don’t get lost.”
“OK, I’ll follow you.” Jane agreed.
“See you there then.” Charles said as he got up from the seat at the table, heading for the parking lot.
Jane finished her coffee with one last gulp and dutifully followed Charles out to the parking lot. He waved at Jane as he got to his car; she waved back and entered her own.
The drive was a scenic one; Charles lived at little past the base of the mountain that shadowed the busy city of Heartfield. The road was windy, making Jane think of Duke and how easily he got car sick on mountain roads. Duke also didn’t like heights Jane remembered as she turned a curve and saw over the edge of the road to the city she lived in, now tiny in scale. Jane noted which house Charles lived in as he slowed and pulled into the driveway, with Jane following him. He lived in a small housing development. Jane saw one of Charles’ neighbors shoveling snow from the walk way to their house. As Jane looked at Charles’s house she noticed the peeling paint on the old house, but thought it had a cozy appeal.
Jane put her scarf back on, guarding her neck against the biting cold, before she got out of her car. She hurried up to the porch of the house, leaving foot prints behind in the deep snow. Jane had her head down, protecting her eyes from the chill, and in doing so almost bumped into someone. Jane glanced up and was about to say her apologies until she saw that someone. Dressed in a night gown and slippers was an older lady just staring at the street. Jane saw that her arms were turning a blue color but before she could take off her coat and offer it to the lady Charles bounded out of the house.
“Martha! There you are sweetie. What did I say about going outside with out your coat on?” Charles said, as he put his arms around his wife and ushered her inside the house with an apologetic look to Jane.
Martha mumbled something incoherent about someone named Jake and missing lunch. Jane followed Charles and Martha inside their home, stomping the snow off her boots before entering. Jane stood uncomfortably to the side as Charles settled Martha on the couch with a hot cup of tea in her hand.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” Jane finally asked.
“No, she is fine now. It’s always a little worse in the afternoon.” Charles said and gave Jane a strained smile.
“What’s-” Jane hesitated.
“Wrong with her?” Charles finished.
“I’m sorry.” Jane said as she looked down, ashamed.
“Don’t be, I would be wondering too, if I were in your shoes.” Charles was interrupted by a hacking cough that came from Martha. When Martha stopped coughing she smiled dumbly at Charles and he rubbed her arm. “Medically…” Charles paused.
“It’s okay, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” Jane said quickly.
“No, you trusted me enough to follow me to my home and accept the job, I should give you the same respect. Medically she has cancer.” Charles explained.
“I’m so sorry.” Jane said, truly saddened.
“Mentally, we just lost our son a few months ago.” Charles looked at Martha while she sipped her tea happily oblivious to what was being said or going on. “She never quite got over it. It was just too much for her to bear.”
“I’m sorry.” Jane felt that saying sorry was inadequate.
Charles smiled at Jane weakly with wet eyes.
Jane was properly introduced to Martha and was given a tour of the house by Charles, but when they got to the basement he stopped. “My lab is down there, but it’s a bit messy and I don’t want you to hurt yourself so we’re going to skip that part of the tour.” Charles said light heartedly.
“Okay.” Jane said. “You have a beautiful home.”
“Thank you, so the first thing I need you to do for me is to pick up some orders that I made. You just have to go to the Post Office and pick them up.” Said Charles.
Jane wrote down Charles’s personal information that she would need in order to pick up the packages. As Jane was leaving the house Martha called to her from the living room couch that she was still sitting on.
“Jane dear, could you get me some grape jelly at the market so I can make Jake’s sandwich?” called Martha.
Jane turned around to see Charles standing behind her. He smiled and shook his head, giving Jane a silent sign not to get the jelly Martha asked for. Jane felt immense sadness for Martha and Charles. Nodding her understanding to Charles, Jane then turned and left the house to run the errand.
***Sorry the post would only let me write so much... so just keep going down to read the rest of the story! ***
03-06-2007 12:52 AM
Over the next few weeks Jane ran a number of errands for Charles, some complicated and others simple. As Jane was getting ready for a dinner that she was invited to by Charles and Martha she was thinking about how odd some of the errands were that he would send her on. He once sent her to the local drug store just to buy cheap sunglasses. Jane started to worry for his mental health, but he improved when he said he finished the new flavor of noodles. Jane was invited to be the first one to taste the new flavor he invented, she felt that it was important to Charles and accepted.
Jane got only mildly dressed up for the occasion, with wearing just a simple black dress. As Jane made the finishing touches to her appearance she went to her closet to get her heels, only to find one. She sighed and shouted for Duke but got no response. Jane padded bearfoot to the kitchen where she found a very solemn Duke.
“Have you seen my shoe?” Jane said with an arched eyebrow noticing the shoe that she was searching for in Duke’s mouth. Duke groaned and hid his snout and her shoe under his huge paws. “What’s wrong? I’ll only be gone for a little bit; I’ll even bring you a snack home if you give me that shoe back.”
Duke spat her shoe at her and then turned his back on her with a snort. “Fine no snack then.” Jane joked. Duke didn’t turn around though so Jane shrugged and put her shoes on and got her purse to leave.
“I’m leaving now!” Jane called out before she left; she got no response from Duke and sighed then closed and locked the door. It was snowing hard that night as she drove to Charles and Martha’s house.
Jane arrived on time and was greeted by Charles and a now-coherent Martha. Martha took her coat and Charles ushered Jane, into the kitchen, to the table. The noodles were already cooked and hot and waiting for her to devour them. Charles explained that Martha already ate earlier and wouldn’t be dining with them.
“It smells terrific Charles.” Jane said enthusiastically.
“Thank you. Eat up.” Charles said as he poured Jane a bowl of hot flavored noodles. “Don’t wait for me to try it, I have to go get my pills that I need to take before meals.”
Jane didn’t think this skimpy bowl of noodles considered a meal but smiled at him and ate a spoonful. Charles stared at her a moment as she ate, then left in search of his pills. Jane ate happily, slurping on the hot wet noodles.
“It’s delicious Charles, great job!” Jane called to him. She heard him rustle things around. “Try the coffee table, maybe they are there.” Jane said, trying to be helpful. Jane looked down and realized that her bowl was empty, her stomach growled for more. There was a residue left from the seasoning that turned her bowl a strange color.
Suddenly the phone in the kitchen rang, which was the only phone in the house. Jane waited a few rings and when no one came to the phone she got up from her chair and answered it.
“Hello? White residence.” Jane said into the phone.
“Hi this is Gary with Noodles in a Cup company. I’m sorry who am I talking to?” said the voice on the other end.
“My name is Jane, I’m Charles personal assistant. Can I help you?” said Jane.
“Crazy Chuck got a personal assistant, huh?” said Gary. “I’m surprised he can afford one, how much do you make, sweets?”
Jane was annoyed by this man’s arrogance and quickly said, “Is there something I can do for you Gary?” Jane rubbed her stomach, starting to feel sick. It’s probably just talking to this slime Jane thought.
“Oh yes, the reason I called. Could you tell Chuck that he left some things when we fired him and he needs to pick them up or we are going to throw them out.” Gary said.
“Wha-what? You fired Charles?” Jane stuttered, looking at the doorway to the living room that Charles went through when he left the kitchen. This is going to destroy him; they can’t do this to him after he worked so hard at that new flavor Jane thought.
“Yeah like five months ago, he became a recluse after his son Jake died. So if you could give him that message, thanks. Bye.” Gary said, hanging up, not waiting for her response.
Jane stood there still clutching the phone, her stomach was on fire by this time but she felt numb. “Five months ago?” Jane whispered to the phone.
“Did I hear the phone ring?” said Charles as he walked in. He saw her clutching the phone and her face white. Jane just stared at him, his face changed before her eyes; he went from caring-old-man to something else, something dreadful.
“Did you like the special flavoring?” he said with a malicious grin.
Jane finally got the feeling back in her hands and dropped the phone. The crash of it hitting the floor made her jump. Charles came at her still smiling that evil smile; she backed up against the wall feeling her adrenalin pump through her. Her mind screamed at her to do something. Jane ran. She went around the table and started to run into the hall when hands grabbed her. Jane screamed until she realized those hands belonged to Martha.
“Jane dear, have you seen Jake’s socks? He can’t find them.” Martha said, her eyes never quite focusing.
“Shut up Martha, stop saying his name!” Charles yelled from the kitchen. A string of obscenities directed at Martha spewed from his lips, making Jane’s mouth hang open at hearing these things come out of the mouth of a man who she thought was one of the sweetest, only earlier this night. Jane slid out of Martha’s grasp and stumbled down the hallway. In Jane’s rush to get away, she forgot that this hallway only led to Charles’s lab. Realizing her error she turned around and saw Martha cowering in the corner with Charles standing over her.
Jane clutched her stomach as she bent over, she felt like her stomach was going to explode. She grabbed the knob to Charles’s lab and flung her body in, closing the door behind her. She quickly looked for something to block the door with, and as she was searching the room she saw the walls, words of hate written all over them. As Jane’s eyes moved along the walls she saw something else. Dead rats. Dead rats in cages. Bewildered and the need to block the door forgotten; Jane, still bent over and clutching her stomach, stumbled toward the desk with the cages of dead rats on it.
The white rats were unmoving in their cages with their eyes fogged over. In their food bowl was the same color residue that was in her bowl of noodles, and looking closer Jane saw left over noodles in some of the bowls. Realization dawned on her as she fell to the floor, vomiting uncontrollably.
“Jane dear?” said Charles mocking voice from the hallway.
Remembering she still didn’t block the door, Jane crawled to it. She stopped half way as she rolled into the fetal position and vomited some more. Jane heard Charles’s foot steps and looked up into the face of her employer, her executioner. Jane had another more severe vomiting spasm and closed her eyes, never to open them again.
A week later Charles was sitting on his couch watching the news.
“-I’m here outside the Heartfield hospital where hundreds have flocked complaining of food poisoning. The food poisoning, called by many the Noodle Poisoning, was found to be caused by the new flavor that Noodle in a Cup company released to the public. The poisoning is thought to have been caused by a packaging error. Noodle in a Cup company is urging everyone not to buy their new flavor and for any one who has already eaten it to go to the hospital immediately.
“Heartfield is not the only city that has had this outbreak, all across the nation people are reporting food poisoning from these noodles. Hundreds have already died and thousands are being hospitalized, no cure has thus been found-“
The news reporter was interrupted by Charles’s phone ringing. He slowly got up, smiling devilishly at the T.V.
“Hello?” Charles said.
“Hello is this Charles White?” said an older woman’s voice.
“Yes.” Said Charles.
“Hi, my name is Sarah Weatherman.” Said the voice.
Charles ran the name through his brain, then remembering where he has heard it before. The Weatherman’s were an independently wealthy family that dabbled in every business – steel, oil and precious stones.
“What can I do for you Mrs. Weatherman?” said Charles, his interest peaked.
“I’m sure you’ve heard about the recent tragedy about the Noodle Poisoning?” said Sarah.
“Yes, such a tragedy.” Charles said, keeping the smile out of his voice.
“I’ve done my research Mr. White, and have found that you are the only one who can help me.” Sarah said.
“I’ll certainly do my best, but what can I do?” Charles asked, no longer interested in the news.
“My grandson William is one of the many who has had the Noodle Poisoning. I’ve called Noodle in a Cup company but no one will talk to me to tell me what they’ve put in their seasoning so that I can find a cure for my William. I then heard about you Mr. White, you were fired by them but I’ve heard that you were part of the team that created the new flavor and know the ingredients it included?
“I would like to contract you to work with my own team of scientists to make a cure for the Noodle Poisoning. Just think how much people would pay for this cure, you could make millions. I will of course pay you three million upfront for you to start working.” Sarah paused, waiting to hear what Charles had to say.
The malicious smile was back on his lips, “I will of course do anything in my power that will help these poor people who have been poisoned.”
“Thank you, it’s good to have you on the team. I will expect you to start working on the cure immediately. Time is of the essence, Mr. White.” Sarah said.
“Of course, I understand Mrs. Weatherman.” Said Charles, now grinning from ear to ear.
She told him where he would be working till he helps find the cure and a phone number to reach her assistant if he has any other questions or comments then hung up with Charles.
Charles went back to his couch to sit down and watch more news.
“-In other news, the great City of Heartfield has declared that it will build guard rails on Mountain View road after the recent accident of a young woman named Jane Thompson. Jane Thompson lost control of her car in the snow and veered off the side of the mountain where she plummeted to her death-” the newscaster reported.
Charles's grin, that he was wearing a lot lately, returned to his face as he grabbed the remote and turned the T.V. off.
What did you guys think?
03-06-2007 01:36 AM
The story concept works great, the noodle part actually gives an interesting color and the story of revenge/payback is solid. I see two things that need work first the character of Jane and second the layout of the later part of the story.
Jane's character seems off. You spend so much time with throw-away scenes with her dog. Time that would be better spent with Jane doing something story pertinent.
You have a really good building reveal at the end:
Jane knows He is fired -> Hand goes numb -> Runs into the room with the dead rats -> Audience thinks the guy is a lunatic -> but no he actually did it to get a job.
What you need to do is think about how to present the ending more coherently. Flowing from one scene to another.
This will be a very good short story, keep working on it.