Archive for Strange

TURN THE STRANGE – An Excerpt

Posted in Blog, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2016 by Rathan Krueger

I’ve been pretty busy lately, and I wanted to show you a few pages of a script I finished recently. It’s about Emily, a woman guitarist who’s trying to start a Heavy Metal band with a handicap she won’t allow to get in her way. I had a lot of fun writing it, she’s a lot of fun, and I hope you have a lot of fun reading her.

FADE IN:
INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – MORNING
An old alarm clock goes off, glass absent from its face,
ringing its bells like a caffeinated woodpecker. The woman
it’s trying its best to win the attention of currently has
her head buried under a pillow. A feeble attempt to stop the
day. She eventually gives up and tosses the pillow at the
clamor. Or rather, tries to. She overestimates how far the
clock is by a few feet. She then lets out a defeated sigh
and sits up.
EMILY VERDA’S hair sticks up at all sorts of angles,
compliments of sleep. She sits on the edge of her bed, hands
on thighs, wearing a simple spaghetti-string top and pajama
pants. After slapping her legs rhythmically, she almost
immediately switches from being exhausted to being wide
awake, then turns off the alarm.

EMILY
You’re gonna get them today.

INT. EMILY’S BATHROOM – MOMENTS LATER

EMILY brushes her teeth while humming the same four notes
over and over. Faster, slower, higher, lower. The fingers on
her free hand, black nail polish chipped, rap upon the
mirror at the same tempo changes. Her eyes in the mirror are
unfocused, yet there’s still thought behind them.
She locks onto a particular tempo, repeating it twice, then
smirks before she spits into the sink.

INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – MOMENTS LATER

A proper view of the BEDROOM shows amazing organization
skills. Apart from the pillow slumped in the corner and the
messy bed, everything is exceptionally neat and tidy. Three
other stand-out features are the lack of closet doors, of an
entrance door, and of any mirror. Just outside the doorway
is an astroturf rug.

At the closet and in a terrycloth robe, EMILY chooses
something to wear for the day. Her hair is now combed flat,
and her lips are painted black. She quickly flicks through
hung shirts, pants, t-shirts, skirts, and dresses, giving
some a stroke or two before passing them up.

She goes to a window and opens it. She then licks a palm and
sticks into the world…

EMILY
Pants and a button-up.

…then gets what she needs while wiping her hand on her
robe.

INT. EMILY’S KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

EMILY sits on the counter, twixt the sink and toaster, as
she tosses the last bit of one waffle in her mouth. A laptop
sits on the table. She then snatches another waffle from the
toaster. She tears off pieces and eats them, avoiding her
lipstick. While this is going on, she hums the melody she
came up with in the BATHROOM while tapping her bootheels on
the cabinet.

Until she almost chokes on a waffle bit.

She tosses what’s left of the breakfast pastry in the
garbage, in a fit of betrayal, then briskly washes her hands
in the sink. Her boots make the plastic mat on the floor
click and pop.

INT. EMILY’S LIVING ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

Sliding on her armor, a well-loved frock coat, EMILY
prepares to leave her apartment. Next, she tucks a pocket
recorder and a flipphone inside the coat. By the door is a
beaten-up guitar case ready to be slung over her shoulder
like a sword. On a short bookcase is her helmet by way of a
top hat and sunglasses. Both are vertically-striped black
and white, with the hat having a bit more business. The
black stripes are felt, the white are like silk, and a ring
dangles from the brim. A finger can easily fit through it,
which she does as she positions the hat so that the ring
hangs over her left ear.

Ready to face the day, she grabs one last thing: her folding
cane.

EXT. STREETS – MOMENTS LATER

EMILY walks with a little pep in her step as her cane goes
TAK-TAK-TAK-TAK, making sure that she doesn’t bump into
anyone (while not really caring if she does).

She points a twirling finger in the camera’s general
direction as she taks and trots along.

EMILY
‘Ello, dear viewer. Emily’s my name
and I was put on this planet for
two reasons: shredding guitars and
bumping into furniture. If the cane
didn’t give the game away, I’m a
bit blind. Don’t feel sorry for me,
though. You’re the ones who have to
see the state the world’s in.

She takes her finger away and continues walking to…

INT. QUEST CAFE – MOMENTS LATER

The bell over the door DINGS as EMILY enters. After folding
her cane, she approaches the register while getting her credit card.
At the counter, a clerk waits with a mug full
of the hot stuff.

CLERK
Ms. Verda! We ran out of white
chocolate last night, but we have a
nice–

EMILY stops in her tracks, flicks straight her cane, and
doffs her hat.

EMILY
I bid thee good day.

CLERK
Just kidding, just kidding!

EMILY
Don’t toy with my heart today.

EMILY folds her cane and continues her morning routine
towards her white chocolate mocha topped with whipped cream
and coconut sprinkles.

CLERK
I’m a wage slave, I have to get as
much harmless fun as I can to pass
the 9-5.

EMILY
And normally, I’d understand. Nay,
I’d encourage. But I need all my
strength for later.

EMILY swipes her card and enters her PIN as the CLERK
extends the mug.

CLERK
Oh? Why? Oh yeah, you’re still
doing those auditions. How long
have you been holding them?

EMILY
Doesn’t matter.

EMILY takes the mug and her receipt.

EMILY
(cont’d)
I’m gonna get them today.

CLERK
How many are you meeting?

EMILY
Two, but two’s all I need. Thanks
for letting me post my ad here.
That’s how they found me.

CLERK
Ah, no problem.

EMILY
Kayley and Leslie. Gonna have a
chick band.

CLERK
You just be sure to play your
second gig here.

EMILY
“Second”?

CLERK
Who’s ever great their first time
out?

EMILY
Har har har. I was gonna leave a
tip, but now…

CLERK
You can’t tip plastic. Besides, you
already swiped your card.

EMILY
Maybe I was gonna get a few
macaroons.

CLERK
Were you?

EMILY starts to step away as she sips her coffee, then turns
back to the CLERK.

EMILY
Do you know Kayley and Leslie? All
I have are texts that my phone
reads aloud.

CLERK
I only know you because you’re a
creature of habit and this place is
lucky enough to be within sniffing
distance of your apartment.

EMILY
Heh, too true, too true.

EMILY continues to an empty booth, but not before…

CLERK
Good luck today, Emily. Really.

She gestures a salute with her mug, then sits. She then
takes a big gulp, points a circling finger towards the
camera, and sets her mug down with a big whipped cream
moustache on her face.

EMILY
I know what you’re thinking, but
chick bands rock. No, you’re
thinking that other thing and, yes,
I know it’s there. No, no, you’re
thinking that OTHER other thing,
and we’ll never know if Neo
would’ve knocked over that vase.
It’s best to just let it go, I’ve
lost far too much hair over that.
Roy Orbison and José Feliciano.
Drawing blanks? I’m drawing
circles. They’re two of the best
guitarists to have ever lived. They
also found that blindness didn’t
take away frets and chords. Herman
Li is a beast with a guitar THAT HE
PLAYS WITH THE WRONG HAND, just
like Hendrix! So my heritage has
that covered because we all come
from the same womb. Joan Jett,
Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Nancy
Wilson.

She brushes the dairy facial hair off with her finger, then
eats it with a grin.

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Daily Dialogue: Unexplainable Circumstances

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Forty minutes on this snowy day, I put two women together and write whatever randomness they have to say.

Tallulah
What’s that smell?

Lynn
I think something’s on fire.

Tallulah
Here? I don’t see any smoke.

Lynn
I think it’s coming from outside. Check the window.

Tallulah
A house is on fire… and another one… and another one.

Lynn
Are you serious?

Tallulah
Yeah, look.

Lynn
At least they’re way over… What the hell? Another house just caught fire.

Tallulah
Is it a house that’s closer?

Lynn
No, it’s farther away. Like something’s walking that way.

Tallulah
And setting things on fire. Weird.

Lynn
Shouldn’t we call the police?

Tallulah
Yeah… Wait, I see flashing lights.

Lynn
Police?

Tallulah
And a LOT of fire trucks. Another house is on fire!

Lynn
I think we should get away from here, just in case.

Tallulah
No, it’s safe. The fires are going away from us.

Lynn
I’m gonna check the news on my phone. Someone’s gotta have SOMETHING to say by now.

Tallulah
A bunch just went up in flames now. I think we’re up to ten houses.

Lynn
What the fuck… This is happening in other cities, too.

Tallulah
Are they random or–

Lynn
They all make a line, just like here.

Tallulah
Are they leading somewhere?

Lynn
Yeah, they’re all pointing towards a point, but the lines are too small to say anywhere specific.

Tallulah
Where’s the general area?

Lynn
The Midwest.

Tallulah
Weren’t tornadoes enough for them?

Lynn
Are the fires able to be put out?

Tallulah
Yeah, they’re taking water…

Lynn
But?

Tallulah
Every house that gets extinguished makes another one ignite. Keeping the pattern. What’s your phone saying?

Lynn
The same thing. I think we should get out of here.

Tallulah
And go where?

Lynn
Away from the flames?

Tallulah
They’re leading away from us.

Lynn
Yeah? What’s to say that they won’t start coming towards us? Or escalate and take out entire blocks? Or cities?

Tallulah
I think you’re overreacting.

Lynn
Houses spontaneously combusting across the country leading to the Midwest for no reason, and my reaction is too much?

Tallulah
Just the country?

Lynn
What do you mean?

Tallulah
This is just happening in America, right?

Lynn
I’ll check. Oh no.

Tallulah
What?

Lynn
It’s happening everywhere.

Tallulah
“Everywhere” as in–

Lynn
Earth. Houses are catching fire all over Earth in a pattern that’s leading to the Midwest. Can we leave now?

Tallulah
Just houses? Not apartments or stores?

Lynn
Just… Just houses. Why just houses?

Tallulah
Maybe terrorists?

Lynn
They would’ve been spotted by now.

Tallulah
Fuck!

Lynn
What?!

Tallulah
A streak of houses just went up and they’re going off into the distance.

Lynn
Ok, I’m really scared now. Can we please leave?

Tallulah
And go where?

Lynn
Anywhere! Just away from this!

Tallulah
I still think we’re ok.

Lynn
The fires are leading to Iowa. We live in fucking Iowa. We need to get away. Now!

Tallulah
Yeah, you’re right. Where are my keys?

Lynn
By the lamp.

Tallulah
No, they’re not.

Lynn
What do you mean? I put them there.

Tallulah
They’re not here. Where are your keys?

Lynn
In my purse… they’re gone.

Tallulah
Where’d they go?

Lynn
I don’t know! Just unlock the door!

Tallulah
And what, walk across state lines? We’re in the middle of Iowa!

Lynn
Fine! You can stay here and die, I’ll– Fuck!

Tallulah
What? What?!

Lynn
The handle! It’s hot!

Tallulah
Move outta the way.

Lynn
What’re you gonna do?

Tallulah
Smash a window. Are you serious?!

Lynn
Why isn’t the window breaking?!

Tallulah
I don’t know! Call the police and tell them we’re stuck!

Lynn
Ok! It’s… laughing.

Tallulah
What?

Lynn
The phone. It’s laughing.

Tallulah
Give it here. It’s really laughing. Why is it laughing? Who did you call?

Lynn
911! But the laughing started as soon as I pressed “Send.” I didn’t even get a dial tone.

Tallulah
Try calling again.

Lynn
It’s still laughing.

Tallulah
Try calling someone else. Anyone else.

Lynn
I called you and it’s laughing louder.

Tallulah
I can hear it.

Lynn
Where’s your phone?

Tallulah
It died earlier this morning. What’s the news on your phone saying?

Lynn
Everyone’s hearing laughing on their phones whenever they call someone, and the laughter gets louder after a while. And the flames…

Tallulah
What about them?

Lynn
More are starting in different neighborhoods. Like cracks. All houses.

Tallulah
Is there any satellite footage?

Lynn
Yeah, it– Oh no.

Tallulah
What?

Lynn
A smile. The flames are forming a smile and both ends are leading to Iowa.

Tallulah
What the fuck, why?! Why Iowa?! Who the fuck is doing this?!

Lynn
I don’t– Can you hear that?

Tallulah
Yeah. Laughter.

Lynn
It’s like it’s in the air!

Tallulah
I know, I know! I’m gonna look outside. Oh… no.

Lynn
What?!

Tallulah
The sky. It has eyes.

Daily Dialogue: A Special Kind of Heist, Part Two

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction, Heist with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Yesterday’s scene was too good to leave alone, so I’m gonna continue it. The same rules apply: 20 minutes of two women talking with no goal.

Jamie
Got everything?

Riley
Yeah… It’s not a shit plan, but it’s definitely a weird one.

Jamie
I thought you liked the weird ones.

Riley
I love the weird ones, but to stand in the face of SUCH a weird one… I’m not gonna back out, I just need a few minutes to process, I guess.

Jamie
Well, it has to be so fucking weird because we’re committing one of the weirder heists thieves ever participated in. Who steals a mob boss’ wife and newborn child, right?

Riley
Right! Ugh, right. How long do we have until we have to start setting up?

Jamie
An hour. Shift changes happen then.

Riley
And if we get caught–

Jamie
My urge for self-preservation won’t let that happen. I had my meltdown to clear my head, so we’re fine now.

Riley
This is just to keep myself focused. If we’re caught, either the mob or the police will catch us. If the police does, I doubt your captain friend’ll stand up for us so we’re looking at some HEAVY prison time. And if we ever get out, we’ll be treated like dogshit because we’re ex-cons and will probably end up living in a box under a bridge.

Jamie
Kurt Cobain led the way.

Riley
Still, that’s nothing compared to what the mob’ll do to us. Ok.

Jamie
You’re good now?

Riley
Yeah. You should tell the others. I’m gonna stay out here for a while.

Jamie
Alright. Join us in ten.

Riley
Hey, Ma. Hey, Pa. Your little girl’s finally doing something big for a change. I don’t think that’s what you had in mind when you made me, but I guess I’ll never really know. I doubt it because who wants their child to grow up to be a criminal, right? The problem with talking to the dead is that they’re selfishly silent. I think you both died in a hospital like this. Holding hands even after being pulled out of that car wreck. Did you… Did you know that my last memory of you two is the blood under your beds? Even that kinda came together in the end. Seventeen years and the only thing I can remember vividly is that red. I can’t remember what you or I were wearing… I can’t even remember why you two were driving. Or why this is all coming to me now. Maybe because death is kinda, sorta staring at me right now. But I can’t tell if it’s the death coming from the hospital, or some impending doom. All I know is that I’m fucking terrified and I need this money. Thanks for listening, Ma. Thanks for listening, Pa.

I’m a Published Author Now and This is Proof

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2012 by Rathan Krueger

My short story, “Blame Me”, was chosen to be in the short story anthology “Strange World” and now, you can buy an e-book edition.  Being an anthology, there’re other authors with short stories of their own waiting to be experienced by the world so you’d be helping out a lot.  Or you could complain about bad stories while sipping Schlitz and screaming at your cat (poor, Mr. Bojangles…).  But seriously, give “Strange World” a chance.  Thanks a bunch.

“Stranger Than You Imagine… Stranger Than You Can Imagine”

Posted in Fiction, Short Story with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2012 by Rathan Krueger

A brown car passes two gals sitting in an outdoor cafe.  Felicia moves her cherry-red tendrils from her face, compliments of the sudden gust of wind, as she goes back to her Jocelyn chat.  Cafe Anderson’s hanging sign settles along with Felicia’s hair as she brings up the time when they were kids chased by a rabid dog.  Giggling into her cappuccino, Felicia talks about the fields of fences and towers of stairs they had to escape through before the hound got bored.  Jocelyn ponders if it was an asthma attack, and they both laugh morbidly at the idea of their Cerberus reaching for its inhaler mid-maul.  Their waiter comes to their cackling table and asks if Felicia wants a refill.  As he takes her cup back to the DeLonghi, his boss taps him on his shoulder.  “…who’s the ginger been talking to?”

Jocelyn puts her inky hair in a ponytail as the wind picks up.  She notices a car passing that matches her cappuccino, then the two cats painted on the cafe’s sign overhead.  She stares for a while, then is snapped back along with Felicia’s fingers.  Jocelyn asks if Felicia remembers the guy in her Freshman gym class who kept kicking her.  Felicia nods as Jocelyn listlessly stirs her half-empty porcelain.  Jocelyn looks down at her old habit and isn’t sure whether to take the spoon out or not.  Felicia tells Jocelyn that she only brings him up if a guy has caught her passing fancy.  Jocelyn turns a familiar rouge as a child stares at her from another table.  “Mommy, Mommy!  That lady’s face matches the other one’s hair!  Why does she do that?”  But all Mommy can see is a woman blushing alone.

The title was originally supposed to be a chapter title of “Love! in Bedlam”.  I heard it in a commentary I was watching and thought it was too interesting to leave there.  I wasn’t sure how I was gonna use the title, but it was jotted in my notes so I could deal with that later.  Then, earlier today, I shared a few words with Rebecca of Lady or Not.  I said something along the lines of maybe two people were friendly because of a glitch in the Matrix and they were figments of each other’s imaginations.  The writer part of my brain said, “Oi!  That’s too good to let go!”  So I didn’t.  Then it stole the chapter title.  Next was just a matter of figuring out how exactly to portray that.  A nod or two exists to the reference that sparked the story.  I might use that idea again later.  We’ll see.