Sunday, March 26, 2017

Stealing Ideas

“I say we go for Sci-Fi,” said Benny, scratching at his stubble. He looked tired, eyes drooping, shirt collar wilting.  Even his voice sounded as though it had been up all night and was surviving on coffee and despair. “There’s literally no limit but the imagination. We could empty out the good stuff, bring it back and spend the rest of our lives drinking Romulan ale while wearing a jetpack. The cops couldn’t touch us.”

Rusty shook his head. “First thing is, it’s SF or Science Fiction. Man, you call it sci-fi everyone’s gonna spot you as an imposter. You’d stick out like a donkey in a pig farm. Second, sure, we steal the stuff out of SF and it could be anything, literally impossible to put a price on. But it’s the same story with the protection. You wanna go up against an artificial super-intelligence with an army of cyborg hyenas guarding a vault hidden beneath the sands of Mars, be my guest. Count me out buddy.” Sweat gleamed on his dark skin, the menace of his giant form denying any argument.

Chastity McKitten put her feet up on the table and stretched her long, stocking-clad legs. She ran her fingers through her wavy blonde hair. “You know boys, I said I wanted to do something other than shake my hips and distract the man in charge at the vital moment with my feminine wiles. But I’ve heard that in sci-fi – sorry Science Fiction – even queens and princesses have to shoot, climb, run about the place. Just doesn’t seem right. Not lady-like at all.” She plucked a cigarette from a pack and chose a flame from amongst the forest of offered lighters.

“Gentlemen,” said Flash John, standing up from the far end of the table to show off his immaculately cut suit. His hair was plastered to his narrow skull and a thin moustache graced his upper lip. “Miss McKitten. Entertaining as this discussion is we must make a decision.” He pointed to a chalkboard with a list of names, some crossed out. “Dead-eye Bill has vetoed Horror,” the black-clad, pallid skinned man gave no response, “after his previous experiences. I think we can all agree that Non-Fiction is a non-starter.”

“Aye, the things they get away with there. No one would believe it in a proper crime story,” rasped Scotty from the corner by the drinks table.

“I’m personally opposed to attempting to steal from Comedy as I think that too many of us run the risk of becoming mere two-dimensional parodies of ourselves. Westerns are, if anything, too closely related; we remain ourselves, still holding up banks and robbing trains, with more dust and wider hats.”

“Poetry,” said Rusty. “No one would expect us to steal from them.”

McKitten blew out a cloud of smoke that everyone watched crawl up towards the ceiling. “That’s because you can’t make any money out of it. No point in stealing what no one is willing to pay for.”

“Just so.” Flash John crossed it off.”We have rejected Religious Fiction for obvious reasons and unless we eliminate everything else as impossible I suggest we steer clear of Children’s Fiction. So from the remainder I propose we attempt to steal from this one.” He pointed at the name. “I have no doubt that it will widen our appeal and make us significantly more valuable commodities.”

The dim smoky room filled with murmurs and the scrape of chairs. It seemed that no one would voice an objection.

“Yes gentlemen and Miss McKitten, I think this should be the target of our heist. Romance.” He smiled at them. “After all, how hard can it be to steal a heart?”

This is a piece for the Thanet Creative Writers Writers Writing Competition, in response to the theme "Why I write in my genre," the actual answer being "If not mine, whose genre would I write in?"


kentishrambler said...

Chastity McKitten - what an excellent name. And description - she definitely deserves a novel to herself, if not a whole series. Clever idea - great last line.

Jess joy said...

Brilliant. Fantastic names. Wonderful feel of Noir fiction to it. Some excellent, evocative descriptions of characters.

ProfBenj said...

A really great idea, with a cast of well-drawn characters. The piece had me smiling throughout, and the last sentence was an inspiration.

Matthew Brown said...

I like the way you make your point. And the idea of characters sitting around trying o figure out what type of story to be in appeals to me. Very meta.