comma splicing
This prompt call has now been CLOSED.

A New Coat of Paint on an Old Saw


The theme I've chosen for my premiere prompt call is "A New Coat of Paint on an Old Saw", meaning I want prompts in the form of idioms, saws, and proverbs. A prompt like "The grass is always greener on the other side" is great! Please keep in mind that I am not a native English speaker, and while my English is good I may not be familiar with all idiomatic expressions out there, so a link or brief explanation to the meaning and/or origin of your expression would be great if it's at all unusual — this is also a way for me to expand my knowledge in preparation for hopefully getting into the local uni's translator program this fall!

I may choose to play it straight, writing, for the example prompt, a story about someone who always wants what zie doesn't have.
I may choose to take the prompt more literally, writing about, oh, a horse in a dusty field longing for the green acres beyond the fence.
I may choose to give the screw another turn, and do a looser, more abstract interpretation along either of the above two lines.

So here's the deal:
I will write a piece of flash fiction (max 1000 words) based on one of your prompts. If you have an LJ account, you will receive a copy by PM. (Anonymous comments should be enabled on this post, and anonymous users are welcome to leave prompts, but I obviously cannot send you a copy.) The fics will then be posted publicly on my storyblog "Vixenscratch" each Friday, in order of completion, until I run out. Meanwhile, title, word count and a super-short summary will be available here, and I'll work out a fair "sponsorship" deal to get stories posted early.

I will write most things, though I have a tendency to fall back on established characters of mine, so if you don't want that, or have a particular set of established characters of mine you'd like me to use, please include this with your prompt (also, if you're okay with me pushing ratings upwards, please tell me that as well so I can avoid going that direction for people who don't want it). Also please do leave at least one extra prompt so I have some elbow room in working out what to write — knowing me I may just as well end up incorporating several of them!

The call for prompts will be open until June 19th, and I will edit this post to clearly state that it's closed when I close it.

Completed prompts:
* The Star-Spangled Colt - "Out of the blue" prompted by ankewehner
A rancher finds an unexpected addition to his horse herd, and bonds quite closely to this very special foal. 779 words.
* Killer in the Closet - "Too much stuff" prompted by beetiger
A member of law enforcement cases the apartment of a crazy cat lady, trying to figure out what happened to her. 752 words.
* Always Prepared - "Eze mbe si na ihe ya ji-achiri ihe egwu ya aga njem bu maka ya ezu ndiegwu" prompted by ysabetwordsmith
Rob's girlfriend Millie can't leave the house without being prepared for the zombie apocalypse, but some rituals are just best not argued with. 718 words, to be posted July 6th - sponsor immediate posting for $1.60
* Cat's New Gown - "Procrastination is the thief of time" prompted by zamdor
A fable about how Cat learned that putting things off to the last minute means she has no time to do nice things for herself. 1000 words, to be posted July 13th - sponsor immediate posting for $2
* Prize Plumage - "Don't count your eggs before they're laid"/"A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush" prompted by shurhaian
Rik's debut at the gryphon equivalent of Crufts doesn't earn his animal the Grand Champion title, but that's alright. 994 words, to be posted July 20th - sponsor immediate posting for $2

Donations:
While in no way obligatory, I am accepting donations/tips if you would care to leave them. Please do not let an inability to chip in at this time discourage you from leaving a prompt! As long as you're leaving me a prompt and are willing to thank me for my effort once your story is done, that is plenty for me (and if you'll also help spread the word, that's extra bonus)! For those of you who do want to donate, just click the PayPal button!

At least 50% of donations will go towards supporting creativity (donating to other prompt calls, commissioning hobby/fandom artists, etc) or charity (Kiva.org loans). More likely, this number will be significantly closer to 100%.



Incentives:
Collective:
$25 total - I will write a flashfic to go with the prompt illustration.
$50 total - Woo I can make a Kiva loan!
$80 total - I will complete an extra prompt for everyone! (This is in addition to the extra prompts donors get.)
$100 - Another Kiva loan! Yay! I'm sure we can see the pattern here by now.

Individual:
Any donation - I will complete an extra prompt for you!
$10 - I will illustrate a prompt from this call of your choice
$25 - I will complete another extra prompt for you!
$50 - I will illustrate another two prompts of your choice from this call, or I will illustrate one story of yours (or that you have permission from the writer to have illustrated - please link to stated permission if this is the case)

(By "illustrate" above I mean "draw one illustration", just to be clear on this.)

All I.C.Q. fics will be illustrated regardless of funding. No limit on how many illustrations can be done for one flashfic, within reason. (There's only so many interesting scenes in a 1000-word fic and drawing the same thing a bazillion times would make me cranky.)

Writer's Block: Pigs or Peas?

Gief pie bitch!

Vegetarian or 'meat-a-tarian' -- which describes you best, or do you fall mostly in the middle? Regardless of what end of the scale you're on, share with us a favorite recipe or recipe site.

View 79 Answers



I love my meat, but there's also a lot of vegetarian food I like. I couldn't be vegetarian, because I have texture issues with most beans, so there's no way I'd be able to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet, and I would especially not be able to do so on my current food budget. The one thing I have outright issues with is meat substitution - I like things like soy sausage, quorn and veggie patties, don't get me wrong, but as soon as you start getting into "meat-free meat sauce" I frown. To me there's not much point in vegetarian dishes if they're not "naturally" meat-free.

The main staple of my diet is bolognese sauce (relatively easy and low-maintenance to make, though not quick the way I make it), which, did you know, gets some really interesting (and delicious!) flavors if you toss in a generous spoonful of peanut butter.

One of my go-to sites for recipes is Tasteline, and tomorrow I'll be making a chicken recipe from there for a Mother's Day celebration with my family, my grandma, and my uncle's family.

Signal Boost: Free Flash Fiction

brighteyed_mungo
So that there shurhaian currently has an open call for writing prompts on a theme of "Equinox". You should head on over there and leave him prompts so he can write you some excellent flash fic.

Because he writes only excellent flash fic.

I admit to bias but maintain that it'd be awesome even if I wasn't biased. ^_~

This time around the prompt call is limited to a maximum of 30 chunks of 500 words, so if you're unlucky dallying too long could mean you miss the chance.

Please help spread the word, yes?

Writer's Block: Meow vs. Arf

ragdoll

Cats or dogs-- which do you prefer, and why?

View 864 Answers


I'd guess my preference lies somewhere in between the two — I'm not overly fond of the stereotypical classical cat that is so fiercely independent you might as well not have a pet, beyond a general fondness for animals. The breeds I tend to fall for are ones described as being cat-like or dog-like, whichever isn't in line for the species.

One of my ragdoll cats plays fetch and walks to heel on a leash. Both of them try to stick around me as much as they can for most of the day; while they may wander off into another room for a nap, most of the time they'll follow me if I go into a room, and they're practically always waiting as close to the door as they can get when I get home.

I do like the ability of cats to take care of themselves — no fuss if I need to be gone overnight or all day — though I also like that these cats let me interact with them and show that they like my company. If I put a smidgeon of work into it I could probably teach them tricks nearly as well as a dog would learn. (Well, at least one of them. The other one is not as treat-motivated.)

My favorite breed of dog is the Chinese Crested, which is described as cat-like in personality (aside from being absolutely adorable). They're also small enough to be picked up and moved aside if they're in the way; I'm not terribly fond of any dog too big for me to conveniently lift. I've cared for labradors and if one of those things plonks down in a way that blocks something you need to get to, you're stuck either dragging it across the floor or trying to coax it to move on its own.

What I want, I guess, is enough independence to have a mind of its own, but enough attachment to seek my company and want to please me to some extent. Because to me, a pet is supposed to be a friend, and a good friend is neither someone who comes and goes as they please with no regard for you, nor someone who blindly does anything you tell them with no ideas of their own. (Or no ideas beyond stealing food, as with some dogs...)

Writer's Block: ONTD Games Giveaway

gaming_mungo

Which video game character would you like to have as your real-life BFF?

One random response will win a $60 Amazon gift card! [Full contest rules here.]

Don't forget to share your favorite gamer moments on ontdgames at 3 p.m. PST for Free For All Friday (FFAF).

View 1535 Answers



Jennifer Tate from Primal comes to mind. She's pretty awesome, has a reasonably snarky wit, and in general I quite liked her character, as I recall.

I would say GLADoS, but I don't fancy a nightcap of deadly neurotoxin.

Are You Reading What I Am Reading?

comma splicing
pshaw_raven posted herself one of these babies, and I'm following suit because I'm a lemming. ;) Not a very long poll, as I only did read 24 books last year. Still. Fill it out and let's see what we have in common! (Original title has been used for books that I've read in translation.)

Poll goes hereCollapse )

Writer's Block: B.Y.O.B. Holidays

working_mungo

If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be?

One random answer will win a $50 Amazon gift card. [Details here]

View 813 Answers



I think unemployment.

I'm pretty sure that'd solve like 90% of the rest of it, at least, anyway. As well as being a completely self-serving answer.

Writer's Block: B.Y.O.B. Holidays

holiday_mungo

What is on your holiday wish list this year?

One random answer will win a $50 Amazon gift card. [Details here]

View 1452 Answers


In general, I'm a firm believer in fun gifts. Unless something else is specifically asked for, Christmas gifts (and birthday gifts) should be things that the recipient wouldn't just have gone out and purchased for him/herself. I'm not very keen on gifts like clothes or kitchen appliances, unless there's a special thought behind them, like a hand-knit sweater or a neat gadget picked up somewhere the recipient couldn't have gotten it him/herself. (My brother got a Hello Kitty toaster from me for Christmas one year. He'd jokingly asked for it, and seriously, an engineer with Hello Kitty faces on his toast is hilarious!)

I hadn't planned on posting anything from the Holiday Wishlist meme this year, but I'll make an exception. ;)

Holiday wishlist meme goes hereCollapse )

LJ Idol Week 5: Inconceivable

I.C.Q.: Sarah
Written for Season 8 of therealljidol. Please visit the topic to see what others have written on the subject of Inconceivable.

This entry is based on the webcomic I.C.Q., of which I am one of the co-creators, together with shurhaian. This week's host is Sarah; you can read an introduction to her in my Introduction entry from last season. Comments can be addressed to either myself or Sarah. She'll answer unless doing so would spoil the comic.


I don't remember much about Uncle Gregor.

He's actually Mother's uncle, and I think I met him a few times when I was little, but it was long enough ago I don't remember much about it. What little I remember is pretty positive, I think he was probably a fairly fun uncle. Like Mother, he's a rabbit; everyone on the Woolf side of the family is, save for maybe a few cousins or uncles or what have you through marriage. I can't really remember there being anything particularly odd about him, and the old photos I've seen of Grandfather Woolf and his siblings haven't shown anything outstanding about the way he looks. His face is about the same as his siblings', and his height, and his ears, and his weight.

I don't think anyone else on the Woolf side of the family really minds Uncle Gregor, but Mother can be... really persuasive. And really stubborn.

I couldn't have been more than eight years old when she made it clear that she was not going to come to any family function where Uncle Gregor would be present. Grandfather and Grandmother Woolf weren't happy about it, I don't think, but I guess it was easier for them to not invite a sibling than to have a child of theirs decline an invitation.

All this because after his first wife left him, he had the audacity to remarry a bird. A gryphon, I think, but I'm pretty sure I never met Uncle Gregor's second wife, and if I saw any marriage photos it was only briefly before Mother disposed of or hid them. This, in Mother's world, cannot stand.

Mother would disown me if I ever dated one of the following:
1. A bird or reptile
2. A girl
3. A boy who couldn't or didn't want to have children

And that's why Mother has an ongoing campaign to get Uncle Gregor struck off the family tree.

LJ Idol Week 3: Coprolite

I.C.Q.: Blake
Written for Season 8 of therealljidol. Please visit the topic to see what others have written on the subject of Coprolite.

This entry is based on the webcomic I.C.Q., of which I am one of the co-creators, together with shurhaian. This week's host is Blake; you can read an introduction to him in my Introduction entry from last season. Comments can be addressed to either myself or Blake. He'll answer unless doing so would spoil the comic.


I think all kids have their treasures, growing up. It's a part of childhood, finding things that you assign some special meaning to for one reason or another, and stubbornly hold on to even when some part of you starts to realize that they're really not as special as you once thought they were. I had a bunch of them — some were my and Charlie's shared secrets, some were my own special finds.

At one point, I was maybe six, seven years old or so, my parents took me to the beach. I was in the dinosaur phase of growing up, right then. That stage of development that especially little boys seem to go through, where dinosaurs are pretty much the coolest thing ever, and 'fossil' is more or less synonymous with 'dinosaur'. The water was cold, so after splashing around until my teeth were hacking hard enough to be heard up to the parking lot, I was pretty glad to put on my terrycloth robe (with pterodactyls on it!) and let Dad show me how to look for amber on the foreshore.

Amber was definitely better than shells, which would've been unthinkably girlish to collect for a six-or-seven-year-old boy. Amber, to my little-boy mind, was valuable, and I envisioned myself getting rich from the small nodules (half of which were probably glass shards tumbled smooth by the surf) I stuck into my pockets. As I was wandering along the waterline, getting the hem of my robe wet when I didn't get out of the way of the waves quite soon enough, eyes glued on the wet sand beneath my feet, I discovered what would be the greatest treasure of my childhood.

A real, honest-to-God fossil! I was, of course, excited to find what was practically my own pet dinosaur, and was quick to slip it into the pocket I hadn't been putting my amber into, to make it my very own secret. When it was time to go home, Dad gave me a nickel for each piece of amber I'd collected (I honestly have no clue what he did with the stuff after — it's not as though any of what I got there was big enough to actually be worth anything), and I sat in the back seat of the car with my hand in my pocket, running my fingers over my secret treasure all the way home.

When I got older, I realized that little ammonites are basically more common than dirt, and that my "pet dinosaur" was pretty worthless.

But when I was seven, that crap fossil still made me the only kid on the block (that I knew of — some other kid might have had one he was keeping quiet about, too) who had something that was practically a dinosaur in a shoe box under his bed.

LJ Idol Week 2: Three Little Words

I.C.Q.: Blake
Written for Season 8 of therealljidol. Please visit the topic to see what others have written on the subject of Three Little Words.

This entry is based on the webcomic I.C.Q., of which I am one of the co-creators, together with shurhaian. This week's host is Blake; you can read an introduction to him in my Introduction entry from last season. Comments can be addressed to either myself or Blake. He'll answer unless doing so would spoil the comic.


This entry contains some references to violence akin to high school bullying. If such bothers you, proceed with caution.

Maybe it's because my mother has more balls than Dad, my supposed male role model, does. Maybe it's because I'm a herbivore. Maybe it's good manners. Whatever the reason, I'm not violent by nature. (And actually, the herbivore thing is utterly daft and discredited, but that doesn't stop the wingnuts from claiming all kinds of crazy shit. Like how people patterned after carnivorous animals would be more violent than those patterned after animals that don't hunt for their sustenance. Totally absofuckinglutely bogus.) I'm certainly big enough to throw a punch, but I've never felt much motivation to do so.

And then there was that once.

A guy I'd trusted hurt my best friend. I mean, normally, Charlie can more than hold his own; he's a skinny bitch compared to me but he's got a tongue that'll cut your ears off and he's not out of shape or anything. But when Charlie shows up at my doorstep virtually in pieces, shaking and looking like he's going to break into tears at any moment, something's more than wrong. And I'm not going to stand for that shit. Nobody does that to Charlie.

I mean, I wouldn't have had to do anything after Mom and I saw Charlie to the police, but hell if that wouldn't have made me feel like a jerk. I mean, I introduced Oscar to Charlie. If I'd never done so, the whole mess would probably never had happened.

So after all, I have to admit, it was really satisfying to grab the bastard and shove him up against a row of lockers. He obviously hadn't expected that from me, and was all the more scared for it, which was just as well. I'm not sure he'd have gotten the point if he hadn't been so terrified of what I was going to do next.

I grabbed his jaw, very nearly hard enough to bruise, and looked him in the eye, ears flat and teeth bared.

"Stay off Charlie."

He was smart enough to take that piece of advice, at least, to heart.

He was also smart enough not to mention it to anyone.
I.C.Q.: Toni
Written for Season 8 of therealljidol. Please visit the topic to see what others have written on the subject of When you pray, move your feet.

This entry is based on the webcomic I.C.Q., of which I am one of the co-creators, together with shurhaian. This week's host is Toni; you can read an introduction to her in my Introduction entry from last season. Comments can be addressed to either myself or Toni. She'll answer unless doing so would spoil the comic.


I went to Sunday service in church once, back when I was a kid. It was after my parents' divorce; I guess one of Dad's attempts to shoehorn what was left of the family into an outdated proper-family mold. I can't recall how come he even had me that weekend, though it might've had to do with Grandma Prince's birthday or something like that.

To be honest, the whole experience was kind of a disaster. Dad and I got into an argument about what clothes I could take, and how I should wear my hair, all those little things that probably mattered more to me at the time as signs of independence but little else. I wasn't old enough to have the patience to sit through the sermon, and even less so for not really being raised with religion. It was pretty alien to me, at the time, and if he'd honestly wanted me to find religion he wouldn't have taken me when the preacher was due to talk about Sodom, Gomorrah, and hellfire.

I didn't get the praying, either. Sitting still with your fingers intertwined, listening to someone else talk in monotone and waiting for the right point to say 'amen' wasn't exactly a recipe for converting an agnostic ten-year-old-or-so.

What turned my first and only church visit (aside from things like weddings and funerals) around was the organ. Where I couldn't see how the collective prayer did much for anyone, it was much easier to believe in the spirituality of the organ music. When service was over, I begged Dad to let me have a closer look at it, and I was no less impressed for seeing the number of keys, both for hands and feet. It was like the organist used the instrument to make a prayer with his whole body.

If I ever find religion, I think I'm going to learn to play the organ.

Statement of Intent

lj idol
Ohaithar. I figured full-time university studies plus quarter-time high-school-level History plus a webcomic and a roleplaying forum and World of Warcraft and NaNoWriMo and fuck knows what else simply wasn't enough on my plate.

So I'm going to play therealljidol again.

I blame peer pressure. ;)

Tags:

Art Dump!

artsy_mungo

I think we know the drill by now. I go into things with the best of intentions and suddenly it's been like half a year since my last art dump. I'm trying! ;_; I won't bother including the LJI illustrations, as they were already posted publicly on here anyway.

Exchange Art!
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September 2010 mrcaex art for beccastareyes

October 2010 mrcaex art for kabaryu
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November 2010 mrcaex art for momentsdrift
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December 2010 mrcaex art for shinmaxwell

January 2011 CAEx art for wyatt1048
Personal & Gift Art!

Art I doodled up for a sign for our bathroom when my roommates wouldn't remember to close the toilet lid.

Gift art for my kid brother and his girlfriend for their first anniversary.
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Little silly critters I drew up in Flash based on my pets, for a school project.

Gift art for shurhaian, in the form of an illustration for his story series Stripes. Which is brilliant and you should go read it.
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Freaking bizarre little (animated) Flash image featuring a lap unicorn, the idea for which jumped into my head after reading this blog post.

An old character of mine, de-hybridized (originally she was a cheetah/Norwegian fjord horse hybrid). Background is from a photo I took in Feb '10.

A random geeky donkey I drew. Background is from a photo I took I think this past fall, of my TV/game/DVD shelf.

"Normalized" version of Josie. It's weird to draw her with an almost-normal chest. Background from a photo of my hollyhock that I took summer of '10.

Imitating the style of the Bamse children's comic, drew this up after I dislocated my shoulder like a fucking dumbass around Christmas.
WARNINGS: f/m, oral

Gift art for shurhaian, because I'm a terrible woman who wants his man-meats. ;)
I.C.Q. Extra Material
I.C.Q. is a webcomic project drawn by me and co-written by me and userinfoshurhaian. Aside from comic pages, extra writing and art periodically gets posted to icq_comic and/or the comic's FA account.

I.C.Q. updates on the main site with 1-3 pages every weekend (defined as 12 noon Friday to 11:59 pm Sunday Stockholm time) and every other day starting Tuesday the following week on FA, as long as the weekend's pages last.
WARNINGS: m/solo, autofellatio

Uncropped illustration/thumbnail art for shurhaian's story Three Strikes.

"Fabian Springvale", a side character from the I.C.Q. setting. Background is a photo I took of my tomato plant summer of '10.
WARNINGS: m/solo, masturbation

Uncropped illustration/thumbnail art for shurhaian's story Still Got Privacy.

Uncropped illustration/thumbnail for my Customer Satisfaction.

Halloween/watcher incentive art of Sarah.

Halloween art of Blake.

ACEO of Brooke, who also works with Toni at Lovers' Lagoon.

A shameless rip of/reference to/poke at this QC page. TONI IS THE PRETTIEST PRINCESS and don't you forget it!

Because I wanted to draw Toni's mother with the right eye color.

Bethany, a minor character who'll appear in future I.C.Q. pages, probably only for a single storyline.
WARNINGS: m/m, anal

Uncropped thumbnail/illustration for my The Kind of Thing That Happens to Other People.

Charlie gets up to ridiculous shenanigans with a snowman. Blake's probably somewhere nearby goading him on. Troublemakers!

Watcher incentive illustration of Sarah
WARNINGS: explicit nudity (m+f), bondage

Christmas art; I intend to get a second color version of this done at some point (hopefully soon).

Uncropped thumbnail/illustration for my Rat Bastard.

Watcher incentive image of Sarah

Uncropped thumbnail/illustration for my Chicken Soup for a Little Boy's Cold
WARNINGS: m/solo, masturbation

Picture of an I.C.Q. side character, Judas Lakewood, which also ended up as the illustration for Deluge

Year of the Rabbit pin-up of Sarah's mother.
Writing!
  • If Lost or Stolen This Pokédex Cannot Be Replaced
    Continuing my huge-ass ongoing Pokémon fanfic, apparently. Still not much of an end in sight. Darn long plot.
  • Kiss and Make Up
    Raek and Kerin have a misunderstanding to untangle, and some hurt feelings and ruffled feathers to smooth down, due to action taken with all the best intentions.
  • Customer Satisfaction WARNINGS: f/m handwork, public sex
    Caesar Young, junior cashier at Lovers' Lagoon, finds it difficult to maintain a professional distance from a customer who is his type in more ways than one.
  • Chicken Soup for a Little Boy's Cold
    Blake Masterson tries in vain to convince his mother that he's not at all too sick to play outside. Just this once.
  • Fall Maples
    Rita Prince takes a walk through the park, thinking of the spring days of the marriage she's about to leave behind. Currently under revision.
  • The Kind of Thing That Happens to Other People WARNINGS: m/m, anal, public sex, dubious consent
    Richard Slade is a good, Christian, straight boy. So how did he end up with a twink of a rat reaching into his pants in one of the side rooms of a very gay-friendly night club? Richard sure doesn't know.
  • A Rat Bastard WARNINGS: allusions to m/m
    Nathaniel Johnson, a master of casual sex, finds he can't get the raccoon he met at the club the other night out of his mind. Sequel to The Kind of Thing....
  • Would Have Been Superheroes
    2010's NaNoWriMo novel ended up being the continuation of the 2009 novel. It is the novel that would not end!
  • Deluge WARNINGS: m/solo, masturbation, public sex
    Judas Lakewood enjoys listening to his roommate singing in the shower. Maybe a bit too much.
  • The Fall of Judas
    A series of shorts, arranged in chronological order but not necessarily following each other back-to-back, detailing some of Judas's... extracurricular activities... during his first few months at university.
    • Lust WARNINGS: m/solo, masturbation, possibly exhibitionist overtones
      In which Judas sneaks a wank behind his roommate's back. Literally.
    • Vanity WARNINGS: m/solo, masturbation, webcam show
      In which Judas borrows his roommate's computer to make a quick, much-needed buck.

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LJ Idol Week 10: Icarus

I.C.Q.: Blake
All my entries this season are based on the webcomic I.C.Q., of which I am one of the co-creators, together with shurhaian. This week's host is Blake; you can read an introduction to him in my Introduction entry. Comments can be addressed to either myself or Blake. He'll answer unless doing so would spoil the comic.


Blake ready to jump from the garage roof
A view from the ground up towards Blake and Charlie on top of a garage roof. Blake is closest to the edge, cardboard wings taped to his arms with gray tape, and he is wearing a red shirt. Charlie, an anthropomorphic caracal, is further in on the roof. Behind the garage is a large birch tree.


I never said I was a smart kid. But then, how many kids are, really?

There was this one time, especially, when I was really fucking dumb. I think both Mom, Charlie and I took some valuable lessons out of that one. At the time, I was in first grade, or just about to start it, and Charlie and I had discovered that it was possible to get onto the garage roof from the tree next to it if you just showed an adequate level of disregard for your own safety by climbing a little further out the branches reaching out above the garage than they could easily hold. Of course, we were kids and therefore immortal, so what was a bowing tree branch?

It wasn't enough that we could get "on top of the house", though. At some point we got the idea that starting off that high, if we only had a flying machine... Maybe it was from some nature show talking about mother birds knocking their fledgelings out of the nest to teach them to fly.

The theory was sound, to a pair of six-year-olds. I was a little better at throwing paper airplanes than Charlie, but if I stood on the ground by the garage and threw one, and he stood on the roof and threw one, his went further. Sometimes, at least, when it wasn't caught by a gust of wind that sent it crashing in any direction other than where he'd thrown it. So, with that experience in mind, we set to figuring out how we might be able to fly, ourselves.

Halloween wings wouldn't do, of course. Any kid knows that wings on your back doesn't make you any more capable of flying, just look at all the birds (as in people) out there! But if your arms are wings, like in birds (as in animals) and bats (again, the animals), well... Clearly we were onto something, there. So we dug through the garage and found an old cardboard box, one that some appliance or other had come in.

"Mom, can Charlie and I cut up that empty cardboard box out in the garage?" I asked. "It was empty."

"Sure," Mom said, because she generally let us have our fun and she probably figured we were going to use it to build a club house or something. "You'll only use scissors, right?"

"Mooom, I can't even reach the box cutter!" I protested at the utterly unfair implied accusation. Nevermind we'd probably been planning on dragging a chair over to get the box cutter down from its place on the pegboard.

So Charlie and I split the box open and unfolded it, then drew a pair of awesome wings on it. I mean, they were probably asymmetrical as all fuck, but I remember them as being awesome. And just to be sure we drew lightning bolts on them. Lightning bolts and flames make all machines work better, but fire is really hard to draw when you're six years old.

And we cut them out, and headed out to get them onto the garage roof. On the way out, I stopped by the kitchen, where Mom had something mechanical and disassembled spread out on newsprint all over the table, to inform her of the great leap childkind was just about to take thanks to Charlie and me.

"Mom, we made a flying machine and it's great and we're gonna go outside and test it now!"

"That's nice, dear," Mom replied, and scratched her eyebrow so she got oil from the machinery in her fur.

So Charlie and I went outside, and somehow managed to get both the wings and a roll of duct tape onto the garage roof without mishaps. This was Mom's duct tape, I'll note, which is nothing like the budget crap some people get. Once in place, Charlie and I (mostly Charlie, for obvious reasons) used about half the roll of tape to tape the maybe-if-you-squint-a-lot wing shaped pieces of cardboard to my arms.

And then I, full of faith, jumped off the roof, trying to hold my arms as stiff as I could.

From this, I learned a few things:
First, breaking your arm fucking hurts.
Second, jumping off the garage roof is never a good idea. No matter how many lightning bolts you drew on your awesome home-made flying machine.
Third, pulling duct tape off of fur hurts like a fucking bitch even with a broken arm.

And Mom?

Well, she learned to pay more attention to what I was telling her before calling anything I said "nice" or a "good idea" again. Which was a shame, because Charlie and I used to get away with a lot of really cool stuff that way.

Also, she cut down the tree next to the garage as soon as we got back from the hospital. Damn it.


Written for the "Home Game" of Season 7 of therealljidol. Please visit the topic to see what the current contestants have written on the subject of Icarus.