Drabblecast 082 - Overgrown Clump of Narcissists

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Mr. Tweedy
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Drabblecast 082 - Overgrown Clump of Narcissists

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:28 pm

Image

I like the gun. I especially liked its cold, heavy presence lying in my lap while I sprawled on the couch. At least it was something solid to hold onto... For a laugh, I started talking to the gun. If it was going to help me blow my brains out, I figured I might as well get to know it a little.

Drabble - My Cat Was Killed By Fairies by Abbie Hilton

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Post by hellostephanie » Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:33 pm

Talk about dark humor! :twisted:

I actually really enjoyed this story. It was strange, emotional, and I didn't see that ending coming. . I'm not sure what I expected for the ending, but it wasn't that. I wonder who's idea it was to pull that off, the narrator's or Niner's . . .

I think this story had the perfect balance of darkness and humor.

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Mr. Tweedy
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:00 pm

Me no like. Second least favorite Drabblecast.

Parts of it were funny. It was well written, to be sure, and I enjoyed all the pop culture references sprinkled throughout it. But the story of a man who goes insane with grief and murders half his family at a Christmas party is few touches too bitter for me take it as good fun. To bitter and too plausible: The narrator's plight isn't especially rare and I'm sure anyone in his position would be seriously tempted by revenge. To my little brain, plausible + horrible != funny, even if the writing is really good.

More than that, though, I'm a bit offended by the idea that the gun is the catalyst that makes the narrator go nuts. He's pretty much harmless, until he gets a gun. The gun convinces him to become a murderer. Again, the idea might be used for humor if it weren't so completely plausible. There are lots and lots of people (like the mayor of Chicago, for instance) who believe that weapons cause people to be violent. This silly belief and the hysterical rhetoric that accompanies it are the cause of much needless fear and some ridiculous regulations in the United States. As a gun owner and 2nd Amendment purist, it's hard for me to laugh at the absurdity of a gun coaxing a man to kill when that idea isn't far from what many people actually think.
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Post by strawman » Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:07 pm

I don't know, Tweedy. I woulda probably been a democrat, except the flag at my polling place kept begging me to vote republican.

Actually, give credit where due: the gun talked him out of suicide. In fact, the scary part of this story may be that Niner's was the voice of reason. Indeed, statistics show that 99.9% of all guns convince their mass murderers to finish off their mayhem by killing themselves. Niner, in contrast, let's his friend live to experience the satisfaction of justice.

I say very good story. Especially enjoyed the bit about Rachel Ray. What is it that makes these cooking show reference devices so effective? Whole nother story...
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Post by RG » Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:33 pm

I read the comments here before I listened to the story, so the surprise ending was spoiled, but I had to smile at the Bam.

I don't think guns cause people to be violent, but it sure is easier to be violent when you have one handy. That's why those old West poker players didn't solve their disputes with arm wrestling. If a guy won more than two hands in a row, it was just easier to shoot him across the table. Also, when you're going through road rage, why just give someone the finger when there's a gun in the glove compartment.

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i can dig it

Post by StalinSays » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:37 am

Am I a bad person for really liking this story? Probably...

I didn't blink at the magical talking gun - clearly the narrator suffered a schizophrenic break in his post gun purchase period of despair. The voice was his voice, the gun a conduit, the end. I didn't denote underlying second amendment sentiment of either political leaning coloring the story. If anything of Mr. Thompson the individual is to be divined from the events of 'Overgrown Clump of Narcissist' it's antipathy towards day-time TV. I'm with him 100%. Bamm!

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Post by Chivalrybean » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:42 am

I saw the ending coming before he was going to off himself, then thought I was wrong, then found out I was actually right.

I'd say I kinda enjoyed the story. Not great, not bad, bits were funny.

As the guy in UHF said: "Guns don't kill people, I do."

Or as some real person said "A well armed nation is a polite nation."

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Post by Richmazzer » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:17 am

Wow. Ya, I didn't see that coming. This story filled me with ambivalence- it was well written and also disturbing. I'm not sure I was ready to be disturbed that way. It was almost cheap how the end shot in there- like, let's write a poignant story and then drop in this terrible twist for the sake of freaking people out.
At the same time, wow, it affected me. So in a sense, it was a really good something. I mean, it's one thing to enjoy a story about a mutant badger eating a chick, it's another thing to be coming fresh off a story about a badger eating a chick and then encountering this. Maybe that's the genius of the Drabblecast.
Either way, I both didn't like the story but also appreciated it. It connected. I think it accomplished what it was trying to do.

Norm's narration/production directed it in all thr right ways, as usual.

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Post by cammoblammo » Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:48 am

Chivalrybean wrote:I saw the ending coming before he was going to off himself, then thought I was wrong, then found out I was actually right.
I had the same reaction---when the gun said that the guy wasn't at fault, so he shouldn't be the one toi get shot I figured what was going to happen. When he said he was going to bring something to Christmas dinner I thought I'd picked it, then he offered the green bean casserole.

I was right after all!
Chivalrybean wrote: As the guy in UHF said: "Guns don't kill people, I do."
I hear Mr Tweedy's point, but I saw Chivalrybean's comment come out. When the guy first started talking to the gun, his reasoning was that if the 'gun was going to help me blow my brains out, I might as well get to know it a little.' I expected to hear 'If the gun was going to blow my brains out...'

He took full responsibility for what he was about to do. The only world in which we can blame guns for violence is a world in which guns speak, and is thus unrelated to our world. Or at least, Australia. Do guns really speak in the US?

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Post by strawman » Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:44 pm

Nah, Niner is really just Sizzle's ventriloquist act.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Post by andyd273 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:30 pm

I'm trying to figure out how this was supposed to be a surprise ending for people. It may just be that I'm a bit twisted, or maybe I listen to too many of this type of story, but I figured him killing everyone was a foregone conclusion, and was waiting till the end to see if there would be a real surprise ending. I think poison in the green bean casserole would have been a real unexpected twist...

I really hope that it's just a fluke and not a sign that the Drabblecast is becoming predicable. :)

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Post by tbaker2500 » Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:11 am

Awesome drabble! Top notch. Keep them coming!

I quite enjoyed the main story. It was very well written. Turning the box into a trapezoid was too funny. And yes, the ending was pretty predictable.

Appreciation of dark humor depends greatly on where you are in life. No getting around it. And many people will never appreciate dark humor. I happened to be in a pretty good mood when listening to this episode. And while I have been in tough times and could relate to the character, I'm not now and am doing well. So I could enjoy the intellectual exercise of the story without feeling the emotional impact.

I don't know if it's possible to label the tenor of a story ahead of time without ruining it, like Norm was afraid of.

re: Production- Great production again Norm. I can't wait to hear the next "Malish" or "Apologies all Around".
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Post by normsherman » Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:47 am

tbaker2500 wrote:

I don't know if it's possible to label the tenor of a story ahead of time without ruining it, like Norm was afraidd of
true, it's hard to tell. I read this story on print and was disturbed/surprised by the end. But in the slushpile you never know what to expect. More often than not I bet people are expecting a twist in a Drabblecast story, it's easier to write flash fiction that tricks people rather than engages them throughout.

On the other hand, I think even if I saw the twist beforehand here I would have still enjoyed the story.
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bang, bang

Post by guitardel » Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:32 am

Bang, Bang, Maxwell Silver's hammer came down. . .

Weird but well written. Good production too Norm.

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Post by Kevin Anderson » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:29 am

I really enjoyed this episode, and really liked how the author crafted a tale with a surprise ending, in which the story ended immediately after the reveal. Without any need for a few cool down or explanatory paragraphs, the author really heightened the impact of the ending, leaving the audience, for the most part, stunned.

And this episode quelled the one complaint I have about the drabblecast. I’ve always thought this podcast could use more gunfire.

I did fine it odd that they ran this story in September. It’s clearly a holiday story and would have played great about mid-December. Oh well, it got me into the holiday spirit. I'm ready to put up the Halloween tree, Carve the Tofu Thanksgiving Turkey, and set out a few bear traps for St. Nick.
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Post by Igwiz » Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:05 pm

Norm: AWESOME job on the production. I couldn't be happier about how this turned out. You certainly did my story justice, and your range of voices captured all the tongue-in-cheek humor that was supposed to be in there, as well as the simmering pathos and anger and frustration.

Also, thanks to everybody who commented. I understand that this has several... "touchy" topics in it. Of those topics, gun control was furthest from my mind (sorry it came across that way to you, Tweedy). Last fall, a friend of mine at an online writing forum was tossing out triggers :lol: and one of them was, "Write a story about a talking gun." Since it was the week after Thanksgiving, the rest of plot just sorta fell together.

As to the predictability of the story's conclusion... I hadn't tried to write a trick ending. I actually thought that the scene before the end, when Jack calls his brother and asks to come to Christmas dinner, would be the most chilling and sinister for people.

I had intended for that to come across as slightly less sane. Norm played it "straighter" than I expected, which still worked out great, but I figured that after the conversation Jack just finished with Niner, everybody would be thinking (in a high, whiny, Bill Paxton from Aliens kind of voice), "Holy crap, Hank, can't you hear the crazy in there?!? Don't invite him over, man!"

Anyway... glad most enjoyed it, and I appreciate all the comments.

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Post by strawman » Tue Sep 30, 2008 3:29 pm

I've already commented that I enjoyed the story. But I have a lingering question about the title. The flower reference would correctly be to an overgrown clump of Narcissus. I can't tell what the reason is behind the change to Narcissists, so I wonder if it is unintentional, which is bothersome. Excessive love or admiration of oneself is not really elemental to the story. So I think Narcissus is better for the title.
Never judge anyone until you have biopsied their brain.

"Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
Known Some Call Is Air Am
Spoiler:
Non sum qualis eram = "I am not who I will be"

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Post by Igwiz » Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:32 pm

Good question, Stawman.

The title was intentional, and I did mean it to be Narcissists. But there is a difference between the Narcissus myth (self-love, or self-centeredness) and the clinical designation of Narcissism. In this story, I lean more towards the key criteria of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
"NPD is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. They believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism." http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/narcis ... er/DS00652
In this story, I tried to embody each of the characters (except the child Sam) with some form of NPD. Hank and Sherri were social climbing posers, with Hank willing to "kiss ass and laugh all the way to the bank," and Sherri wanting to be the "next Rachel Ray, but without the gray hair or felony record."

Jack's sister Jenna evinced narcissism through her need to continually talk about her pregnancy, tying every potential opportunity for self-admiration and group admiration back to the foundation of her self-esteem.

And Jack, the fragile, vulnerable anti-protagonist, who was so self-centered that, instead of ponying up the stones to blow his own brains out, imagined / hallucinated a talking gun that "convinced" him to restablish his ultra-confidence (shown in the next-to-last scene as he intentionally misleads his brother), and turn the gun on others instead of himself.

So, in that sense, I thought that the title was appropriate. The fact that I was able to use the metaphor of "thinning the clump" through the gardening show was a bonus.

At least, that was my thought process in writing and naming the story.
"The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done.'" ~ George Carlin

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Post by normsherman » Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:43 pm

yay, I love it when authors comment in forums. I saw the gun as the narcissistic element- Jack's insane mind bolstering his selfworth. I didn't pick up on the fact that each character had it
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Post by tbaker2500 » Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:51 pm

I had picked up on everyone but Jack's narcissism. But I do now see that.

Good job.
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