Drabblecast 050 - Trifecta II

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Mr. Tweedy
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Drabblecast 050 - Trifecta II

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:44 pm

Chi
by Greg van Eekhout

Headroom
by Tom Williams

Performance Anxiety
by Weldon Burge

Adam is the winner of the Nigerian Scam Spam Email Contest!

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Post by bolddeceiver » Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:14 am

Oh, what a pun! I am a great lover of puns, and that one slaughtered me.

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:12 am

I heard a story once about a boy who was born with the rare and debilitating condition know as acoprusalia. He had no body, just a head. As he grew up, he became quite despondent. The worst thing for him was seeing the normal children running and playing game in the park across the street from his house. In the afternoons he would ask his mother to set him on the windowsill and he would watch them enjoying the arms and legs they took for granted.

Then one day he was visited by an angel.

"You plight has been seen," the angel said. "And since you've been such a very good little boy, I have been sent to grant you one wish, any wish you want."

Without hesitation, the boy said "A body! I want a body like the other boys and girls!"

POOF! His wish was granted. He jumped up and down for joy, savoring the feeling of his new muscles. Then he did what he had dreamed of doing for so many years: He ran outside to join the other children in the park that was just across the street and *SPLAT!*

He was crushed flat by a cement truck.

So remember children, quit while you're a head.
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Post by strawman » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:04 pm

I had heard the head joke too. No matter how funny a joke is, it can't be written well enough to succeed as flash fiction.
Here, I'll prove it to you:

A guy visits his grandmother at a nursing home. The most popular activity is joke time. A man stands up and says,"64!" Everybody laughs uproariously. Another one stands and says "27!" Again, everyone laughs.
The visitor says,"I don't get it. Why are people laughing?" He is told that everyone has been here so long that they know all the jokes. So to save time, they numbered them." This caused the visitor to try one of his own. He stood up and said, "15!" No one laughed.
He asked his friend why no one had laughed, and was told, "Some people just don't know how to tell a joke."

Performance Anxiety, on the other hand, was a well-told drabble. I don't know if I would have liked it much if I had read it. Hard to tell. But with Norm's Barry White impression and background mood jazz, it was hilarious. And I notice that the editors have thereby snuck in yet another story fulfilling their butt fetishes and Oedipal complexes, but this time with great good taste and humor.

It makes all the difference.

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:33 pm

None of these really grabbed me.

"Chi" was strange and somewhat disturbing, but it didn't really make enough sense or have enough subtext to cross that line from being merely strange to being surreal. It's cool to have mystery in a story, but it's a bit much to reveal that there is a secret chamber full of monks under New York City who collectively constitute a "chi engine" and just leave it at that. Wha?

"Headroom" was an amusing joke, but (unlike bolddeceiver) I thought it was an awful lot of buildup for such a simple pun.

"Performance Anxiety" was by far the best of the lot. The production was so perfect that I was actually embarrassed by the beginning. "Oh man," I thought, "do I really want to have this in my iTune at work? We all share our libraries. Do I even want to be listening to this?" And then the revelation comes, and what a revelation it is! It simultaneously makes the whole thing both unsettling and innocent, which is a feat. I insisted that my wife listen to it in my presence so that I could see her expression and I was rewarded with a wonderful grimace. "That is so Freudian" was her only comment.

Sadly, nothing of the caliber of "Witness" from last time's trifecta.
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Post by jalan1 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:24 am

My favorite was also the last story, although I really liked "Chi" also. Chi might as well be magic, so to me it didn't really need explaining, it just worked in a mystical sort of way- powering the Earth. Neat to think of mystics or magicians as batteries.
Headroom was great but I think would have worked fine or better evenwithout the punchline. The premise was neat enough- I bet it could have had several neat and different resolutions that said something about what really makes us human and was also cheeky.

Uhoh, looks like another competition is already brewing based on one-liner punchline fiction....?

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Post by jalan1 » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:25 am

Also, I really liked that Scam Email- funny!

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Post by AynSavoy » Sat Feb 09, 2008 2:15 am

All in all, the stories in this trifecta just weren't as strong as the last one.

For me, the first and third stories in Trifecta I were exactly the length they needed to be whereas "Chi" felt like it was short because the author didn't know where to go with it. I needed to find out more.

"Headroom" was entertaining, but I was really enjoying how the story was going when the punchline jumped in there...the set up was more fun than the joke.

I enjoyed "Performance Anxiety" and the production was great. It was obvious that a twist was coming, which diminished the surprise a little but, but I do admit that I didn't guess the end before "Good boy!"
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Post by strawman » Sat Feb 09, 2008 6:08 pm

I agree the first Trifecta scored a bit higher than this one, but that's because Wiggam's General Store was so good. I hate to admit, but still haven't figured out Steak-eye. The other story, about a murder from the perspective of a vacuum cleaner, wins the prize for hardest concept to pull off.

Which reminds me about the problem with the voting for best episode of the year. Clearly, there is an unavoidable prejudice favoring more recent episodes. Plus, in asking us to judge only the story, and not the reading or production, what happens to the Jelly Park Song? In fact, how can you discount the readings? Can you also mentally subtract the "Adieu" part? (That would be the portion that precedes "without further adieu...")
And how about the haiku's, or the original Nigerian Scam Spam drabble? Not to mention the Trifectas which, due to their brevity or number, don't seem to get as much attention.

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Post by normsherman » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:18 pm

Well that's more of a subject for debate in the nomination thread, but I think Jelly Park stands on it's own as a great story sanz musical score.
We could do a Drabble contest in the future- need more submitted though!
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Post by Derm » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:03 pm

I saw the Headroom punchline coming early on because I had also heard the joke in the form of a paraplegic olympic swimming race scenario.
I liked performance anxiety but I think it was mercifully short - couldn't really have stomached much more of that one.
However, out of the three I liked Chi the best because of the amusing savagery of the occurence part way through and the perplexing oddness of the whole thing. There was no telling where it would lead and there was a slow fizzle-away ending, the like of which is quite rare these days.

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Post by G. E. Lee » Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:34 pm

Headroom was OK, if forgettable.
Performance Anxiety. I figured out about half way in what was going on. I'll agree with Derm on this one: Just about as much as I could handle of that. The build-up was just a bit heavy.

Chi- Wow, great story! The imagery was really powerful.
I had to re-listen to this one immediatley. I love the getting the feeling from a story that we've been given a little peek behind the scenes at something enormous (and vaguely disturbing) that underlies our everyday reality.
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Post by tbaker2500 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:05 pm

Not as good as the first trifecta, but Performance Anxiety was great. And a wonderful conclusion to the scam spam contest. Good work!

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Post by DKT » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:27 pm

I did love the original trifecta and I hope we hear more of them. But for the most part, this batch left me groaning.

Headroom -- Puns and Punchlines rarely ever make Flash Fiction enjoyable for me. This one, unfortunately, wasn't much different.

Performance Anxiety -- It was all about the punchline/twist again, wasn't it? All based on tricky reveal that seemed out of touch POV wise. Slightly more entertaining than Headroom, but really not something I hope to remember Drabblecast for.

Chi -- Liked this one a lot, actually. It stayed in character all the way through, consistently weird, and out of the three, this is the one I will try and remember. I'm a sucker for Greg Van Eekhout, though. His stuff is so bizarre in general, it's hard for me not to love it.

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Post by Kevin Anderson » Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:59 pm

Performance Anxiety was just great. I'm currently potty training my son and now, every time I look at him on his plastic commode I can't help but wonder what he is thinking.

"Good Boy."

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Post by weldonburge » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:12 am

When I wrote Performance Anxiety, I had Stewie Griffin in mind. It was great fun to write, but really could only work as a flash piece--not what I normally write, so it was something of an experiment for me. I was very pleased with Norm's performance!

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Re: Drabblecast 50 - Trifecta 2

Post by Unblinking » Fri May 20, 2011 3:00 pm

"Performance Anxiety" was hilarious! I figured there was a twist coming, but I couldn't figure out what. Then when the reveal finally came, it was fun to replay what I'd heard in the story through my head to cast it in this new light.

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Re: Drabblecast 050 - Trifecta II

Post by sandrilde » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:07 am

Fun, light stuff.

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