The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (A Fanfiction Screenplay Part 3)

The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (2015)

The Avengers: Caribbean Cruise Adventure (2015)

Act Two: Perceptions

Scene One – A Map

Interior – Cruise ship corridor, main control deck, lounge

Two cruise ship personnel in uniform come out of a door.  Both of the crew members are shorter. Tony and Steve are waiting for them in the hall.  Steve and Tony make quick work of knocking out their opponents. They drag the unconscious bodies back into the room from which they came. Tony and Steve then exit the same room now wearing the personnel uniforms. Tony’s uniform fits perfectly, but Steve’s pants are way too small for him. There’s a good 4 inches of leg showing between his socks and pants   He walks with an odd gate.

Tony: You alright, Captain?

Steve (tugging near his crotch): Yeah. I’ll be fine…in a minute.

Tony: That’s what you get for being tall and handsome.

Steve: I don’t understand. Clothes always fit in the movies.

Tony: Just hide behind me if someone comes. No one wants to see that.

Steve:  Shut up!  I’m sick of…

Steve grabs Tony by the throat and shoves him against the wall.

Steve:  Shut your damn mouth now.  If you mess up this mission…Let’s just say I don’t care what punishments Fury can come up with, but if this virus escapes…If you’re the one that screws it up, I will deal with you myself.

He releases Tony who shrugs him away.  Steve and Tony reach a locked door labeled “Control Room.”  There’s a card scanner to the side of the door. Tony searches his pockets and pulls out the personnel’s identity card. Looks at it.

Tony: Thank you…Wallis Becker.

He slides the card in the reader. A green light flashes on and Steve opens the door a crack.

Steve: There’s just one guy in there.

Tony: I’ll go in. Hopefully he won’t notice that I’m not Wallis. You wait out here and keep watch, Skinny Britches. Crow if someone’s coming.

Steve: Crow?

Tony puts on the crew members hat and walks inside. The door closes and Steve looks back and forth down the corridor.

Inside, Tony nods at the man at the control panel who looks up at his entrance.

Tony: How’s it goin’?

The man turns back to his work and Tony starts rifling through different things. He opens different cupboards and drawers.

Tony: Hey, do you know where I could find a…

Three large men walk in from another adjoining room.

Man: You’re not Wallis.

Tony: A map!

Tony yanks open one last compartment which is filled with blueprints. He grabs all of them.

In the hallway, Steve hears a number of bangs and shouts. He looks concerned, but doesn’t try to open the door. Tony emerges from the room into the corridor where Steve is standing. His hat is missing, his hair is mussed, and he has blood on his face. He still clutches the blueprints under one arm.

Tony: Crow!

The two men start running through the ship. The ship’s crew pursues them. They keep running. They knock things over as they go to trip up their followers. One of them goes down. Tony tears open a door which blocks the hallway behind them. The personnel run straight into it and one of them is knocked out. Tony and Steve rush into the ship’s bar and lounge which is full of people. They hide in the crowd and try to catch their breaths.

Steve: I think we got ‘em. Did you still have the maps?

Tony (whacking Steve with the blueprints): Yeah.

Steve: Let’s try to blend in.

Steve picks up an empty glass from a table just for appearances. Tony does the same. They move through the lounge. Nodding and smiling at the people they encounter. By the bar, they knock into Violet who is wearing a little black dress now. She looks at the cut on Tony’s head and then Steve’s too short pants.

Violet: Whoa.

Steve: They shrunk in the wash, ma’am.

Tony: Don’t mind him. He’s had one too many.

Violet: That’s okay. Laundry can be tricky. I turned all my clothes pink once. You never know. You might start a new fashion trend. You gentleman like some new drinks?

She grins at Steve.

Steve: No. Thank you, miss. We would love to, but we have other duties that we should get back to.

Tony: I might take you up on that later though. Tomorrow? Same time, same place?

Steve pulls Tony away toward the door when something stops them.

Scene Two – Fight

Interior – Lounge

Sly is at the bar getting a drink. Loki approaches him from behind and rips him away from his stool.

Loki: Who are you and why are you watching me?

Sly: I don’t know what you mean. I don’t know you. Security!

Flashback:  Sly and his wife are having lunch at a restaurant in New York City.  They are sitting at a table outside with a green umbrella over them.  They lean in close to each other, laughing and talking.  Sly feeds her a bit of his lunch from a fork.  The next moment, people around them are screaming.    Strange alien beast fly over their heads shooting at people as they scatter.  Sly grabs his wife’s hand and pulls her toward the restaurant.  A crushed car comes rolling at them from off-screen.  The car hits Sly’s wife and she is pinned underneath it.  She’s still alive.  He cries out to her and goes towards her.  Above them Loki and Thor are fighting at the top of Stark Tower.  The giant “K” gets blasted off of the building and falls.  The “K” lands between Sly and his wife, wreckage blocking his way to her.  Sly has to watch his wife die from a distance.  Another hover craft zooms over him.  On it is not an alien, but Loki.The-Avengers-Climax-Loki-the-avengers-34726348-1920-1080

Back on the cruise ship Loki punches Sly.  Sly falls to the ground and Loki pulls him back up again. Loki squeezes his throat. People around him yelp.

Loki: Do that again and I will make you wish you’d never seen this ship.  My brother’s friends will find you conveniently unconscious on the floor.

Sly:  And they would just let you go in the process?  How fast can you run?  How strong are you against Captain American and Ironman?  How clever do you need to be without your magic powers?

Loki presses in closer to Sly.

Loki:  What do you know?  How do you know I don’t want to be caught?

Sly:  You don’t.  I took your powers.  You don’t want to be caught until you get them back.  Not now.  You’ll wait until the right time.  And you won’t kill me until you know how to get them back.  Here they come.  So what now, Loki?

From across the lounge: Steve and Tony watch the two men’s encounter.

Steve: Is that…?

Tony: I think it is.

Steve: Loki.

Tony lunges forward at Sly and Loki.  Hearing his name, Loki looks over at Steve, loosening his hold on Sly. Sly twists out of Loki’s grasps.

Steve:  Tony!

Steve tries to stop his friend from attacking, but is too late.  Tony hits Loki with the empty glass he’s carrying.  Sly steps back, rubbing his throat.

Sly:  This man attacked me for no reason!  He should be locked up and taken off the ship!

Loki, Steve, and Tony continue to fight.

Violet:  Wait!  Stop!  Security is on the way.  Argh, men.  Stop hurting each other!

Violet throws her drink into the middle of the group.  Glass shatters onto all three of them.  Loki breaks free from the group and escapes through the crowd.  Security guards arrive and put handcuffs on Steve and Tony.

Scene Three – Speculations

Interior – Bruce’s cabin

Thor watches as Bruce conducts an experiment at a table that involves a Bunsen burner, beakers, a stop watch, and data sheets on a laptop.

Thor:  Is any of your memory coming back?

Bruce:  Do I remember that if something ticks me off I’ll turn into what Tony refers to as “a big, green rage monster”?  I still don’t remember how we got here on this ship though.  You?

Thor:  I come from a different planet.

Thor looks over Bruce’s shoulder.

Bruce:  Yes.  And shouldn’t you be planning sieges to unite your realms or something?

Thor:  Sorry.

Thor steps back.

Thor:  I do not blame you for misjudging me.  My people are great warriors, yes.  But we also value knowledge.  My father gave up his own eye for it.  I respect your profession.  Jane –

Bruce:  I appreciate your interest, but let’s just stop right there.  If you must know, I’ve taken the information from the files we were given on the zombie virus and I’m trying to figure some things out about how the virus might have been developed.  Now, I need to concentrate.

Bruce drips a liquid into the beaker with a pipette.

Tony and Steve enter Bruce’s cabin. They have lost the uniforms they’d been wearing.  Tony flops the blueprints out onto the table covering Bruce’s own papers.  Bruce flinches, squeezing all the liquid from the pipette into the beaker all at once.  He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath to try to calm himself.

Tony: We got plans of the ship.

Bruce: I see that.

Steve: What’re you working on, Dr. Frankenstein?

Tony: Hey, don’t talk to him like that.

Steve: Why shouldn’t I? You would do it.

Bruce: Ok, guys. Let’s just sit and talk.

Steve: No. I want to know why it’s okay for him to be an asshole to everyone, but as soon as anyone else tries to give him shit, he’s all righteous.

Tony: I can’t help that I’m such an awesome badass. But you shouldn’t take out your jealous rage on the doc here.

Bruce: Stop. Just stop it. You don’t want to make me angry.

Steve sits down and the others follow suit.

Bruce: What happened? What’s this really about?

Steve: We got the blueprints, but were pursued. We ended up at the lounge and lost our tail. Then Mr. Badass thinks it’s a good idea to start a fight. Security kicked us out of the bar. The guards have been given our id’s and photos in case we ever decide to go back there again.

Bruce: You got banished?

He looks at Tony.

Bruce: From the ship’s bar?

Steve: And now, thanks to Tony, our targets have access to a part of the ship we don’t. An extra advantage for the enemy. Plus our identities have gotten out to the ship’s security. They’ll be on to us for the rest of this trip.

Tony (to Bruce): If you saw what I’d seen, you would’ve done the same thing. It wasn’t just a fight, anyhow. It was Loki.

There’s silence while the men in the room look at Thor.

Bruce: What’d you mean? Loki’s floating around somewhere in the back alleys of the cosmos making connections with alien crime lords and who knows what else. But he certainly isn’t going on a family vacation cruise liner.

Thor: Where is he now? 

Steve: It was him. You don’t mistake someone’s identity when you’ve seen them do what Loki’s done. He was with some other guy too. They both got away.

Thor: Who was this other man?

Tony: We don’t know.  He said that Loki just attacked him for no reason.  They didn’t look like they were friends.

Steve: Loki doesn’t have friends.

Bruce: So the real question is: Is the enemy of Loki our friend? Is this mystery guy Zhivkov’s friend? Or the thief we’re looking for?

Steve: You think Loki and Zhivkov are connected? Maybe Loki is the thief?

Thor:  No matter if Loki and Zhivkov are allies, this man Loki attacked is important.  The man lied to you.  Loki does not attack for no reason.  If we find out who the man is, we will be able to find out why my brother is on this ship.

Steve: I think that it’s safe to say that an enemy of Loki is, unless we have evidence otherwise, our friend. We need to divide the ship into sections so we can split up and do a search for Zhivkov and our new mystery man.

Steve spreads out the blueprints.

Steve:  Thor, you take the ballroom/dining room and this surrounding area.  Bruce, you can have the lower decks in the bow area and the smaller auditorium here.  Tony, gets the stern lower decks…excluding the lounge.  I’ll take the upper decks and outdoor areas.

He looks around for confirmations or challenges.

Scene Four – Karaoke

Interior – Ship’s lounge – Three days before virus outbreak

Violet is on a stage singing karaoke. She has picked the song I’m the Only One by Melissa Etheridge. She is a little out of tune, but the passion for the song is there.

Violet (singing): Please baby can’t you see, I’m trying to explain. I’ve been here before and I’m locking the door and I’m not going back again. Her eyes and arms and skin won’t make it go away. You’ll wake up tomorrow and wrestle the sorrow that holds you down today.

View expands to include the bar where Tony is sitting in a disguise. He is wearing a fedora and sunglasses. He takes a drink and glances over towards Violet.

Violet (singing): But I’m the only one who’ll walk across the fire for you.

She points randomly at no one into the crowd of drunken listeners and dancers. A man hoots thinking that he’s been specifically chosen. Loki is there, eyeing Tony.   He glances behind himself when Violet points, and raises an eyebrow.

Violet (singing): I’m the only one who’ll drown in my desire for you. It’s only fear that makes you run, the demons that you’re hiding from, when all your promises are gone. I’m the only one.

She finishes the song. Tony takes another drink. She joins him at the bar.

Tony: Nice Singing.

Violet: Thanks. Do I know you?

Tony: Maybe.

Violet: You were here the other night in uniform. I saw what happened. You’re lucky you didn’t get your nose busted up or something. I always wondered what that would be like. What would I look like with a broken nose?

She turns towards him, waiting for an answer.

Tony: Like yourself. I don’t think I am who you think I am.

Violet: Yes you are. You wanted to have a drink with me tonight, so let’s have a drink. Same time, same place, remember?

Tony looks at the bar tender who is busy at the other end of the bar.

Tony: Don’t say anything.  I’m here against orders, but somebody has to do the dirty work.  And what you said…drinks.  Maybe you can help. I’m looking for this guy. Have you seen him?

He slides a picture of Zhivkov across the counter to her.

Violet: Ooo. Are you a detective? FBI? Undercover.

Tony: Yeah. You could say that.

Violet: I haven’t seen him, but I’ll keep an eye out. He’s got nice hair. What should I do if I see him?

Tony: Call me.

He gives her his calling card. She reads it, flips it over and reads the back.

Violet: Stark Industries. Ironman. Okay. Let’s drink. My dad always said I was good at making friends, but he never wanted to be mine. So, Ironman, let’s be friends. To fathers.

Tony: To fathers.

They clink their glasses together. There’s a time-lapse in which they are drinking and the two of them appear somewhat drunker. Violet isn’t as drunk as Tony. She’s been conserving her drinks.

Tony: How are you still sober?

Violet: Practice. Hey, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we sing a song together and while we’re at it, we can both search the crowd for your guy?

Tony: I don’t think that’s the best idea for me. I’m a wanted man.

Violet: Oh, come on.  You seem like such a confident man.  Or maybe that’s the problem?…  Besides, what are they gonna do if someone recognizes you? Clap you in handcuffs and make you walk the plank? You disobey orders, but you won’t sing a little song?  You’re scared.

Tony (jokingly): No. I’m not scared. I just want people to like me. And they wouldn’t like me if I got up and sang at them. The ‘O captain, my captain’ guy I was with the other night would really not like that. I don’t want anyone to know who I am, right now. That’s all. And karaoke is…kinda girly.

Violet: It’s not girly at all.

Tony: You’re a girl. A damn pretty one.

Violet: You’re just saying that.  Who cares if they like you or not? You say you’re not afraid, but here you are hiding your identity behind a costume. If people shoot you down, you have all the more reason to stand up strong for who you really are.

Silence then drunken ramblings.

Tony: You’re not the only one with daddy issues. If this boat had a daddy, it would have issues. You know, I remember something now. Drink is helpful. (To his whiskey) Thank you. I came here on a time machine from the future. Fury said I couldn’t have my suit. It’s not right, SHIELD. I don’t like it. I just want to make it right. So many things my daddy did. How can I make it right, if I don’t have my superhero suit?

Violet: You’re from the future. What’s it like? Wait. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know what kind of alien takes over the world. Surprises are better. Ironman. That’s you’re superhero name. (She looks at Tony’s card again.) If your dad did so many bad things, how are you going to put it right if no one knows who you are? If you operate under an alias, does it matter if you put things right? An apology doesn’t mean anything, if people don’t know who it comes from.

Tony: They do know who I am. See the card. Both names.

Violet: And yet there’s this.

She reaches up to take Tony’s hat off. He grabs the hat and secures it against his head.

Violet: So what. You started a fight in here. You’re human even if you don’t want to be. You can’t change anything – people can’t like you for who you are – if you’re hiding. But see here, we’re friends. I like you anyway. Costume on or costume off.

She takes his fedora and this time he lets her. She stands up and tosses it over the crowd. A young man catches it and puts it on his head. Violet takes Tony’s sunglasses and sticks them on top of her own head.

Violet:   Now, come on. What song do you want to sing?

Tony: Ladies choice.

Cut to: Tony and Violet on stage together with microphones singing Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash.

Tony: It’s always tease, tease, tease. You’re happy when I’m on my knees. One day is fine, and next is black. So if you want me off your back, come on and let me know. Should I stay or should I go?

He sings more tentatively as he is busy skimming the crowd. He keeps singing as the camera focuses in on Sly who was spying on them for Fury. Sly is worming his way closer to Loki, but Tony doesn’t spot Loki.

Tony (whispers): I think I know that guy. SHIELD. (To Violet) This is girly. Why’d we pick this song?

Violet (to Tony): You didn’t want to pick it.

Violet: Should I stay or should I go, now? Should I stay or should I go, now? If I go there will be trouble. And if I stay there will be double. So come on and let me know.

Loki is scowling at Violet and Tony as they dance together while they sing. Violet is wearing his sunglasses now and they face each other on stage.

Tony and Violet: Split!

Scene Five – Let’s Dance

Interior – The ship’s huge ballroom – Two days before virus outbreak

There is live music and the place is full of people dancing. Violet dances enthusiastically by herself at the edge of the crowd. People clear a space for her so that she stands alone. Thor makes his way through the dancers, looking at each person to see if they are Zhivkov or Sly. He is not even pretending to dance or blend in as he moves past Violet. He examines her from a distance and she sees him staring at her.

Violet: Hey! Would you like to dance with me?

He puts up a hand to decline and then changes his mind. He goes over to her and begins swaying back and forth. Thor tries to copy the moves of another guy nearby. He looks at the guy instead of at Violet.

Violet (laughs): You’re good!

He looks at her questioningly.

Violet: I mean it!

Thor: In my…country we dance only at certain festivities. Weddings and rituals for our ancestors. But our dances are much different from yours. They are a bit more…orderly.

Violet: Oh, where are you from? No, let me guess. Finland? Netherlands? Australia? Greenland? Germany? Antarctica?

He shakes his head after each question as they continue to dance.

Thor: No, no. It is a place far away that I do not think you would know. Have you by any chance seen these men?

He shows her a picture of Zhivkov and one of Sly. She points at Sly.

Violet: He was at the bar while I singing karaoke. But he wasn’t doing anything. Just hanging around. You must know the hiding man.  I mean Ironman.

Thor: He is my friend. My name is Thor.  The man in this picture, Sly, works for the same …company – I think is the word – that I work for.  But he was not asked to come on this mission with us.  We believe he is a double agent.  If he speaks to you, you should not believe what he says.

Violet: I’ll watch out for him.  You know I had dinner the other night with a man who was also named after a Norse god.

Thor:  Loki.  He ate dinner with you?

Violet:  How did you know who I was talking about?

Thor:  He is my brother, but the last time I saw him, he was imprisoned in our dungeons.

Violet steps away from him.

Violet: Your family keeps your brother in their own personal jail?

Thor: It is not what you think. His cell is as finely furnished as any chamber on this ship. Loki is immeasurably evil and feels no remorse for any of his actions. He is cruel, treacherous, and holds childish grudges.

Violet: Perhaps because you lock him in his bedroom as if he were a naughty child you are ashamed of.

Thor: You do not know him as I do. He is in the dungeon not only to keep him from causing trouble, but also because I wish to protect him from himself and from the world.

Violet: First of all, no, I don’t know him well. He’s different, cold and distant, yes, but I tend to judge people by my own experiences. Not by what the world wants me to think of them. Secondly, how does what you just said make you any less sadistic than your brother? You’re like an evil stepmother and it doesn’t suit you.

Thor: That is the problem.  I do not want to be his mother.

Violet: Then treat Loki like an equal and not like a princess locked in a tower. You say you love him, but here you are on vacation with him – in the same space as this boat – and yet he is completely alone and you are off running around with your other friends. You say he is cruel and hateful and yet you take no responsibility for your own actions towards him.  No wonder he hates women, when you treat him like one and act like it’s your righteous privilege.  Do you ever think about what it would be like to be outcast by your own family?

Thor: He deserves what he has gotten. He turned on us.

Violet: I don’t doubt that. But it still doesn’t mean that it’s right to pretend like nothing’s happened when you’ve hurt someone’s feelings. You could tell him you’re sorry for what’s happened, even if you can’t change it.

Thor: He would not listen.

Violet: Not to you maybe. I’m an outside party, and perhaps you need mediator.

Thor: Why would you do that?

Violet: I know what it’s like to have family conflict. I judge fairly. I have emotions beyond happy and macho. And I do what I want.

Thor nods.

Thor: I must leave you now.

Exit Thor. Violet goes back to dancing and jumping around on her own. She whoops when the band finishes the song they’re playing, clapping her hands above her head.  Loki watches his brother walk away.  The song Believe by Mumford & Sons plays.

Say something, say something,

Something like you love me

Less you wanna move away

From the noise of this place.

Enter Loki. Violet sees him and he approaches her.  He nods once at her.

Violet: Hello. You have a striking face, you know. It stands out in a crowd. I mean that in a good way.

Loki: I can’t believe you enjoy this.

He gestures to the crowd.

Violet: Why wouldn’t I?  It’s freedom.  Anonymity.  I can be whoever I want to be in a dancing crowd and nobody cares because we’re all people having fun.  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be someone else?  Here’s your chance.

He looks at his hands which have been drained of their magical powers to disguise him.

Loki: No. Be one of these idiots?

Violet: I will take your initial disbelief that I would be here as a compliment, since it means you don’t include me with “these idiots.” Thank you, Loki. You’re very kind.

He snorts and looks around.

Loki: They don’t think, they just do whatever they’ve been told to do.

Violet: And of course there’s never been a time in your life when you’ve wanted not to think.  To just do something, strangle someone or laugh out loud.  Absolutely not. You could have never wanted that freedom before either.

Loki: You mock me. My brother has made you his friend and turned you against me.

Violet: Your brother…is an acquaintance of mine who I think has good intentions towards you. They’ve just been put into practice in unfortunate ways. He seems like he can be quick to anger, and yet there is an innocent charm to him that perhaps makes him more dangerous to women like me.

Loki: He’s nothing but a stupid, human-loving oaf.

Violet: Maybe. But like I told him, I tend to use my own experiences when judging people instead of thinking whatever I’ve been told to think.

They stand in silence.

Violet: I believe Thor would like to get along with you, but I don’t think he’s done a very good job at showing it. Perhaps he doesn’t know how to treat you. Perhaps he needs your help. I’d like to help you.

Loki: Then you’re wasting your time. Thor has made his choice. I’ve made mine.

Violet: I’m getting tired of this crap. Let’s dance.

Loki: No.

Violet: Okay.

She disappears into the mass of dancers.  For once more in his life, Loki is left alone.

Scene Six – Attention Seeker

Interior – Ballroom

Loki tears through the crowd, ripping men from their dance partners.  He punches one man in the face and his date screams.  People start looking at him and paying attention to what he’s doing.  He drags the yelling woman out of his way by her hair.  Then he knees another man in crotch before kicking him to the floor.  He knocks another woman’s legs out from underneath her.  She shrieks.  He realizes a good portion of the room is now looking at him.  His lips part in a satisfied smile as he glances around at the fear in the room around him, wondering if Violet is watching.  Hoping that she is looking and is terrified by him.

He doesn’t see Sly come up from behind him.  Sly injects something into the back of Loki’s neck.  Loki drops to the ground unconscious.

Sly:  Security.  I’m security.  Everyone stay calm.  Is everyone okay? 

No one responds.  The disheveled and bleeding crowd stares back at him like he must be joking.

Sly:  This man will be taken into secure confinement and released to authorities when we make the next port.

He drags Loki from the room.

Scene Seven – Prisoner

Interior – Storeroom

Sly pulls Loki into a storeroom and ties him up with a cord.  There’s a cargo container inside.  Sly opens the lid of the container and shoves Loki inside.  The container is small enough that Loki is stuck in the fetal position with his knees pressed against his chest.

Sly:  That injection should knock you out until tomorrow.  Then I’ll pay your little girlfriend a visit.

Scene Eight – Brain Magic

Interior – Magic show in small auditorium – One day before virus outbreak

The magician produces a wind blowing throughout the room.  A small sailboat is carried through the air on the breeze, returning a woman’s gold earrings to her which she never knew were missing.  She removes them from the boat with a gasp.

Violet:  You’ve got to be kidding me.

She walks around trying to get back to her seat with a new long island ice tea in her hand.  The liquid splashes out onto Bruce Banner’s sleeve.  He brushes at the wet spot with a napkin.

Bruce:  You’re tellin’ me.

Violet:  I’m sorry.  I feel like I’ve been running into people ever since I got on this boat.  Must have balance issues…Sea legs.

Bruce:  Why don’t you sit here?

Violet:  Oh, thank you.

She takes the empty seat at his table.  He doesn’t clap as the magician bows and the crowd cheers.

Violet:  I take it you don’t like magic?

Bruce:  It’s kind of against my beliefs.  If you have any scrap of logic in your brain, you can figure how the tricks are done.  It’s not magic to me.  It’s a puzzle. 

He looks around the room.

Violet:  And you’re looking for someone.  Are you friends with Thor and Ironman?  What’s your name?  The Puzzler?

Bruce:  I like it, but no.  You can call me Bruce.

The magician appears to be walking on the ceiling.

Violet:  Do you think he feels like he’s in The Poseidon Adventure?  What if he’s the right way and we’re wrong?

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, film (1979)

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, film (1979)

Bruce: Yup.  Magic is all about perspective.  Are you looking in the right direction at the right time?  Everything is about perspective really.  Ever heard the phrase, “It’s all in your head”?

Violet: Do you think I’ve lived in a barrel my whole life?

Bruce:  Sorry.  You never know.

Violet:  Are you suggesting that if you could change your mind, you could convince yourself that magic was real?

Bruce:  Why would I want to do that?

Violet:  Could I change my self-identity like the white lady who told everyone she was African-American and then believed it was true?  What about other abstract things like love, hate, or anger?  Could you can convince yourself that you love someone?

Bruce:  You could, but it would be difficult and possibly take years for the feeling or lack of the feeling to be genuine.  You would have to have a very strong will.  Theoretically, if you tried hard enough you could control all your emotions with your head.

Violet:  That seems like magic to me.  Also, if you still haven’t found this guy, don’t you think you’ve been looking in all the wrong places?  If I wanted to hide on a cruise ship, I wouldn’t go to a magic show or a bar.  I would stay in my room as much as I could. 

Bruce:  But then we wouldn’t be able to do all these fun things on our vacation.  You can’t be vigilant all the time.

 Scene Nine – Intruder

Interior – Corridor, Violet’s cabin

Sly picks the lock on the door to Violet’s cabin.  He goes inside.  The door slides open and Sly’s form is outlined by the lights outside the room.  Inside is darkness.  He moves further into the room.  There’s a bed where Violet is fast asleep.  He watches her for a minute to see how soundly she sleeps.

Sly (aside):  The zombie virus is within my grasp.  I just have to waiting for the right time.  At the last minute, I’ll switch out the machine’s cartridge containing the virus with a harmless one.  Then I will steal the real cartridge and bring it back to SHIELD.

He approaches Violet as she sleeps.  He starts to reach out to brush her hair off her forehead, but then stops.  Instead he kneels down at the head of the bed so that their faces are level.  He scoots her nightstand away from the wall, revealing an electrical outlet where Violet’s phone is charging up.  He takes out a screwdriver and removes the outlet cover.

Sly (to Violet)I’ve seen you with Loki.  Are you helping him?  But you were also with Tony, Bruce, and Steve. Could you possibly be another double agent?

He rises and then does run his hand down the side of her face.

Sly (aside): Not while I’m around.  There’s only room for one villain in this story.  If she’s not a double agent, then she’s Loki’s friend.  Loki killed my wife in New York, anyone who calls herself his friend deserves to die.

He takes a small device from his coat and acts like he showing it to the sleeping Violet.

Sly (to Violet):  See this?  It contains just enough of the virus to infect a single person.  I’ve chosen you to be the first host.  It’s an honor!  I’ll just leave it for you when you unplug your phone in the morning.  Then you will go around infecting all of your new little Avenger friends.  But Loki is mine, of course. 

He snatches the device away.

Sly (aside): Fury can have the virus if he wants it, but not until it’s done its work here.

He turns back to install the device into Violet’s outlet.  Sly leaves as quietly as he came.  When Violet’s door clicks shut, she jumps out of bed and tip-toes to the hallway.  She peers down the corridor and glimpses Sly turning the corner.  She follows Sly to the storage room where Loki is being kept.

Thank you to Marvel, Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, and all the other writers, directors, and creative minds/hands involved in producing such a large number of enjoyable films.  And of course the actors: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hiddleston, and Chris Hemsworth.

“Once More Unto The Breach, Dear Friends”: Shakespeare’s Power To Create Equality

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The Past Catches Me

While going through my possessions and trying to decide what to take to grad school, I came across a pile of old ticket stubs and playbills. These priceless pieces of paper contain my memories from a short period of four weeks in 2009 when I was lucky enough to be studying theater in London. When I was there, everything seemed like a blur to me; taking classes, completing assignments all over the city, and going to one show after another. I lived it one moment at a time. If I understood the magnitude of my experiences then like I do now, I would have been overwhelmed.

Discoveries After Reflections

The playbills represent only one snapshot from my life, but what I realize now is that those four weeks – the productions that I saw – will always represent my piece of the London theater community. It is a piece of documented history that will always be my own. And yet it also belongs to so many other people – the other audience members, the actors, the theater spaces, the lines of dialogue, the costume designers, the set builders, and the city of London itself. I am part of their history and they are part of mine.

One of the things that I have truly come to love about theater and more specifically, Shakespeare, is that they are a powerful force for creating equality within a community. As I and many others have probably said before, Shakespeare’s plays endure because they are filled with universal human experiences. He tells stories that are beautiful in a sense that they are about what most everyone understands to be love, hurt, friendship, family, loss, vulnerability, and the joys to be had in simply living. Under the right conditions, an African woman who is a mother, and a white, male American CEO could go to see Romeo and Juliet.  They come from two very different places. However, the woman is moved because she’s a mother and the man is moved because Juliet might remind him of his wife.  For the span of 2-3 hours, the distances or breaches between both their life experiences don’t matter anymore because they are just two human beings enjoying Shakespeare. They might not have interpreted the story in the same way, but now they are equals in one respect: they have shared the experience of being moved by the same play.  Shakespeare emphasizes the fact that as humans we all have things in common and it is those universal emotions that can create equality.  Relational gaps or breaches made between us by differences in privilege, race, gender, and sexuality might be filled when suddenly we are moved at the same time by the same story.

I have found that one of Shakespeare’s plays in particular represents the idea that shared experiences can bind people together despite their differences.  The play is Henry V.  Henry has the challenge of uniting the men of England to a single cause which is winning back English lands from the French.  He must bring his men together and yet he also faces the questions: How can England be one united country when I am a privileged king standing above everyone else?  How can I be a leader amongst my men instead of a leader over them?  Henry V solves the problem as Shakespeare’s plays have done, by showing his followers that they have things in common.  First of all, that they are all human.  Second of all, that their shared experience of feeling passionate for their cause has made them all equal to the king.  Before battle Henry states, “For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother (Shakespeare, Henry V 4.3.61-2).”  Despite the differences and breaches between us we are the same in the sense that we are all human and we all bleed.  Shakespeare creates complete equality amongst every man through the the fact that the history of England rests in all their hands.

I think the King is but a man, as I am. The violet smells to him as it doth to me; the element shows to him as it doth to me; all his senses have but human conditions. His ceremonies laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man […] Therefore when he sees reason of fears, as we do, his fears, out of doubt, be of the same relish as ours are (Shakespeare, Henry V, 4.1.102-10).

A Perfect Theater Community

Perhaps the best example of how an (ideally) accessible theater community can create equality among people would be my own experiences in London. (Plus, there is a tiny bit of me that wants to brag.)  This is what I did.  I went to performances in the theater district.  I saw Judi Dench in Madame De Sade at the Donmar Warehouse – the same place where Jude Law would perform in Hamlet a day after I left, where Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Hiddleston performed Othello the year before, and where five years into the future Mark Gatiss and Tom Hiddleston would perform in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.  I saw Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in a play called Waiting for Godot and James McAvoy in Three Days of Rain.  I went to the madly popular productions of Wicked and Les Miserables.  I saw Romeo and Juliet performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. I also went to tiny community theaters on the outskirts of London where actors (possibly driven by nothing but their own passions) performed in upper levels of cafes and spaces small enough to seat less than 100 people.  The cafe had bragging rights to the fact that some of the above mentioned celebrities had eaten their food and attended their performances.  I went to shows at the National Theater on the Thames where War Horse (to become a blockbuster film 3 years later that would feature Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston) was performed.  I spent multiple evenings listening to free musical concerts in the lobby of the same theater.

In addition, there are some things that I found out (I admit to being somewhat of a stalker) that relate to my experiences.  I have talked about the documentary Muse of Fire in previous posts.  It is a film  about the universal nature of Shakespeare.  I have come to conclude that the documentary was being made at or around the same time that I spent in London.  The movie features interviews with Jude Law about his experiences in Hamlet – the production that I would miss seeing by a day or two.  In an interview, Alan Rickman talks about how wonderful the same production of Romeo and Juliet that I had seen was for him.  In other interviews not related to Muse of Fire, Tom Hiddleston has talked about seeing War Horse at the National Theater, possibly within the same time and within the same space where I experienced London theater and those fantastic free concerts in the lobby.

The point of telling you all this is to show that the London theater community is varied, concentrated within a geographic area, and incredibly accessible to everyone involved within it.  I am not a wealthy person.  I’m from small-town Indiana – farm country – and yet I was able to go to the same theaters, to the same shows to which Alan Rickman and Tom Hiddleston were going to.  Indeed, the fact that the musical performances were free (though not of the same quality of Les Miserables) meant that anyone off the street could come in and enjoy entertainment in the same space in which the rich and famous have.  At the same time, celebrity actors I was seeing on stage were going to small theater performances that would be the common fare in my tiny hometown.  It seems like a long shot even still, but in terms of the theater community, could I not say that during my four weeks in London, I was an equal to Alan Rickman, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Tom Hiddleston, Pattrick Stewart, and James McAvoy?  We have the shared human experiences of enjoying Romeo & Juliet, of sharing the same stories within the same spaces.  Are we not all humans feeling the same emotions together?  Has theater and Shakespeare been a force that has closed the breaches in gender, nationality, and social classes between us?

And its not just about me now because there were also tons of school children watching Romeo & Juliet at The Globe.  There were old people and young people.  People from different countries who knew different languages.  Now they are also all equals under the understanding that they have all experienced universal human emotions through the same Shakespearean play.

I wonder now if a community like this one exists anywhere else in the world.  Could it exist in the United States?  London seems to be a unique situation and still not completely an ideal one.  In order for a theater community to work perfectly in order to create equality, it would have to be even more accessible to everyone both financially and intellectually.  And it would have to be highly promoted to everyone.  The random person on the street would have to want to see Shakespeare just as much Kenneth Branagh would want to.

In Today’s World

In June 2015, nine African Americans died after being shot by a white male during a Bible study inside of their own church in Charleston, South Carolina.  This tragedy has led the U.S. to a current struggle over the question of whether or not the Confederate Flag should be removed from certain government facilities.  To many people the flag is a representation of racial segregation and slavery.  To many others it is a symbol of historical and cultural identity that should be valued in honor of the men who died during the Civil War.

In Shakespeare’s play Henry V, King Henry V’s goal was to bring his countrymen together as one united force.  The king had to make himself an equal to any man who stood beneath him in order to gain victory for his entire country.  His is a mission of true patriotism.  The king declared that every single one of his men where equals in all ways because they had the universal experience of fighting for their country.

The Hollow Crown: Henry V film, 2012.  Henry V by William Shakespeare (4.3.61-2)

The Hollow Crown: Henry V film, 2012. Henry V by William Shakespeare (4.3.61-2)

During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s goal was to bring his countrymen together as a single united nation.

Henry V achieved this goal through valuing universal human experiences.

Today we are still divided by different perspectives of which no one wants to let go.  It is difficult to make progress in resolving a conflict when everyone is pushed apart by their differences and refuses to see commonalities between themselves and others.

Different races, cultures, religions, and perspectives all exist together in the United States.  That is one thing that makes living here so wonderful.  I can write what I want to on a blog and people have the right to disagree with what I say.  Everyone has equal right to be different.  But sometimes it is also beneficial to remember that we are all the same in other ways – we all live in the same country, have families and friends here, know what it is to love and hate each other.  It is these human similarities which the freedom and equality in our country sought to honor.  Our shared experiences should not be forgotten because they are what have allowed us beautiful differences.

I would hope that in the end, we can say that we are all humans.  No matter what we look like, what we believe in, and where we come from, we still all feel the same emotions and have the same organs.  Because if it is true, think about how important it would be to our world.  What could we gain from Shakespeare and theater in a world where countrymen kill each other over skin color and argue about the symbolism of a flag?

Women And Fiction: A Fangirl’s Promise

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Imagination is encouraged in children and I was lucky enough to be a little girl who had a good one.  Turning my backyard into a place where horses and cats could talk to each other and treasures could be found in flowers, became a way for me explore reality while opening my mind to greater possibilities.  When I was about ten years old, I found that I could put this imagination into a page of words.  Writing solidified and extended worlds for me, taking them from fantasy and making them more real.  I knew I was different then because the other kids told me I was weird to want to spend so much of my time writing stories.  Fiction writing is something that has always made me special and I cherish it for that reason.

But as I grew older, my imagination became a concern to me.  I read too many books about sad women who would go home by themselves and alone indulge in an Austen novel, passively wishing that the fantasy they read would become real.  Being a writer with a love of the imagination, I have feared that I will become one of these sad women who only have a fantasy to hold on to.  It becomes a worry when I spend more time with the characters I create then with my real friends.  I should have a job that doesn’t involve reckless creativity.  I need to pursue a professional career that will tie down my passion for words and things that are just “stories.”  For an adult woman, imagination is dangerous when we are supposed to excel towards being a man’s equal in fields like entrepreneurship, politics, sciences, and criminal justice.  I have grown to fear my ability to imagine just as much as I have grown to love it.

latestIn the past, it seems like women have always been criticized for being fanciful, for reading too many novels, and for having dreams in their heads.  Novels and fiction make women senseless.  They allow us too much indulgence into our emotions causing us to be unruly, rebellious; or worse, hysterical.  Women today are still captivated and obsessed with stories that we like – it is only a natural, human response that comes from having a brain.  We have become what are called “fans” with lists and lists of unreal things we shower with admiration.

However, with the advent of the Internet, our interests and passions have become more obvious because we have the ability to share them instantly with the world.  So the “fangirl” has been born – a woman who indulges in her imagination.  But if only that were the sole definition for “fangirl.”  She is not just someone who embraces the things that she likes.  Look at urbandictionary.com and you will see that, for having these feelings, a fangirl is less than human.  She is a “rabid breed of female.”  Which sounds kind of like a description of a dog to me.  She’s ugly and unattractive.  We are victims of an “epidemic” like we don’t choose for ourselves what moves us.  We are obsessed stalkers – emotionally unstable – who act like idiots.  And the whole of our interests are made up of objectifying men and making our favorite characters have sex with each other.  We are stuck in the belittlement of forever remaining a “girl” when there are plenty of us who are the age of respected adults.  This is how the world see us and this is the stereotype we have been assigned.

psychopathfangirl

Despite the negativity included in the fangirl stereotype, I believe that my own fear of my imagination, my fictions, my stories, and my fantasies is not unfounded.  If one becomes too consumed with fiction, we become detached from the real world that we explored as children, which I believe is harmful to women.  We become passive, hoping that our goals and dreams will come to us, instead of us reaching out to them.  We have unreal expectations for ourselves – waiting for a man who looks like Colin Firth in Pride & Prejudice – when the man sitting next to you in class, at work, or at the cafe is more handsome due to the fact that you can actually receive love and equality from him in a relationship.  Being overwhelmed with fatasy allows us to stop thinking for ourselves.  We let the fiction start to tell us what is right and wrong about who we are instead of own heads and hearts.  There really is damage that can be done by having too active of an imagination and by spending too much time with fantasy.  An imbalance of fiction and reality exists and an imbalance is rarely good.  There is truth in every stereoptype, and this is what scares me.

As a woman who writes fiction, who writes fan fiction for fun, and who considers herself to be a fangirl, how do I find that balance?  How do I maintain a level of imagination that expands my world of reality without losing myself with the fangirl stereotype?  How do I know when escapism has taken over?

How do I be a fan and a fiction writer in a way that is responsible and respectful to my identity as a woman?

In order to answer that question and maintain that responsibility/respect for my identity, I have decided to make some promise to myself.  This promise will hopefully give me peace of mind on the matter and also help to fight the negative stereotypes/truths of being a fangirl.

1) I promise to use fiction as not only a way of escaping from reality, but as a way of reflecting on my own reality.

Fiction is based in reality even if that fiction belongs in the science fiction or fantasy genre.  When I write fiction or fan fiction, I promise to think about what I’m writing about.  I will look for the reality within the fiction.  I will apply it to my own life and ask myself why it is significant to me.  I will use my own mind and my own heart to determine why I care about the things I admire and the things I write about.  I will ask myself:  How does this story change or contribute to how I see my own experiences?  Can I apply what I have learned from it to my future life?

2)  I promise to be respectful and responsible toward the identities of the individuals I Loki-Fangirls-loki-thor-2011-27649223-900-1371choose to admire and use that admiration to create something new for myself.

I believe that part of being a fangirl who respects her own identity, is showing respect for what I choose to admire.  I promise to think about why I am a fan of someone or something.  Do I have reasons beyond superficial appearance for admiring celebrities?  If I do like someone just for their looks, what specific things do I like about them?  How does this physical admiration empower, contain, or define my own sexuality?

Another thing that personally concerns me about being a part of the fangirl stereotype are the actions/reactions fangirls supposedly exhibit when in contact with the person they admire – being a stalker or excessively emotional.  I will think about what is the correct way to express my admirations.  I will ask myself: Are my actions as a fan related to my own self-affirmation/importance or am I using the experience interacting with a celebrity to genuinely compliment them?  Is the interaction respectful or annoying and intrusive?  Is the interaction based on who they are, what they have done, or your possible common interests?  When is it the right time to go bat s**t crazy because I’ve just met him?!

I promise not to alter or portray the sexual identity of the person I admire.  How would I feel if someone took my body image and against my will, put that image into sexual situations that do not describe me?  What if someone I never met took an image of me and made that image having sexual relations with someone I’ve never wanted to have sex with?   It is an assault of an individual’s sexual identity.  It doesn’t matter to me if the celebrity sees it that way or not.  It doesn’t matter if it never hurts their feelings or if they never see it/think about it.  As a woman, I would personally like to have my own body image respected, so I promise never to be disrespectful to the body/sexual image of anyone else.

3)  I promise not to fear my passions, but to embrace them in order to see what new reality they will lead me towards.

It is never wrong to feel, no matter what the emotion is or to what it is connected.  Having fantasies, dreaming, and spending time with fiction is completely normal.  I promise to never stop imagining new things.  I promise never to turn my back on that child who wanted to explore the world.  I promise to never fear what I have freely chosen as a passion.  I promise that writing fiction will not keep me from real happiness or success.

A Personal Reflection on Pusuing Graduate Studies in Creative Writing

Choosing to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing has been both an emotionally dizzying and somewhat chaotic experience.  There is no question that it has been a journey.   After graduating in 2011 with my BA in English, I decided not to apply to grad schools because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my life and I was reluctant to make the mistake of spending money on more education that I didn’t need or want.  Honestly, I don’t really know now what I was thinking back then.  Upon receiving my college diploma, anything seemed possible to me.  My life seemed like it could go any direction.  The paths were wide, welcoming, and numerous.  I lived on a dream cloud kept afloat by my achievement of completing a college education. I would get some kind of professional-like job related to writing or books – at a library or an office or publisher.  I would start publishing more of my writing in magazines and other places.  At a time when jobs were in short supply and while living in rural Idaho and in rural Indiana?    It took me a year to find a job and that job ended up being at Target.  But there were still possibilities.  Target would just be a small job to make some money while I looked for something that paid better and related to my field of study.  I wouldn’t stay there long.

I worked at Target for a month and two years before I decided that things needed to change.  My job description at Target was fairly simple, but it was also safe.  Living with my parents, the job provided all the money that I needed.  I would tell myself that Target was okay.  I was just happy to have a job after spending so much time hoping and hoping for the perfect job and then not finding one at all.  At least I had a job.  Those possibilities I’d wanted earlier would come to me when it was time.  My aunt sent me a card with a quote by Gilda Radner on it: “Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.  Delicious ambiguity.”  This quote has given me comfort on many occasions.  It’s a very good quote.  However, the problem with ambiguity is that it’s ambiguous.  How long do you make the best of it?  The possibilities of life are wonderful, but in order to enjoy one, you have to make a decision.  You have to pick one and follow it, and not wait in a world of ambiguity. At Target I became too accustomed to living in that wonderful state of ignorance to what I was doing or not doing.  The possibilities were still there, I just didn’t care anymore.  I got bogged down in the comfort of working there and suddenly the idea of pursuing dreams became all the more frightening.  What would happen if I kept looking and looking for a better job and I wasn’t good enough to get one?  It was better to stay where I was.

It was a single moment of ridiculousness that inspired me to want to change my life.  You can laugh at me if you want, but it seems to me as I get older that most major changes in life are sparked by a small piece of ridiculousness.  One day I was at home before work watching a Youtube video of a celebrity that I admired.  This celebrity was being interviewed by the school where they got their post-grad training in theater.  They said that choosing to go to this particular school was an acknowledgement to themselves of what they wanted to devote their life to.  Up to that point, they hadn’t made that realization and they had been somewhat doubtful and indecisive about the whole situation.  They also expressed the fact that being successful at this school had better work for them because it was their dream and nothing else would have made them happy.  After that, I said, “Hey, perhaps the only thing that is keeping me from doing what I really want to do, is the fact that I have to decide to do it.”  And all my attitudes toward my current life changed.

Working in a creative field like acting or writing can be difficult because a successful career isn’t necessarily based on talent or hard work, but the fact that your talent and hard work is recognized.  You have to balance reality with the dream of becoming a financially successful writer or actor.  I want to shoot high and try to achieve whatever I can, yet I need to realize that writing might also just be something that I do at home after coming back from a full-time job.  But maybe, I thought, because this celebrity made success possible for themself coming from the same situation on deciding to go to school than I could maybe make myself successful as well.  I probably won’t be a celebrity, but I was able to see again a path that might lead me closer to doing what I wanted with my life.

I started out with a list of 80 possible graduate creative writing programs.  I narrowed that down to about 30, narrowed that down to about 15, and narrowed that down the 8 schools at which I’m applying.  Even at this reduced amount, the application process seems overwhelming.  I created a binder with a divided section for every school.  Then for each school, I’ve written down deadlines and made checklists for the individual requirements for admission.  Each school requires that you fill out an online application, send in transcripts, have 2-3 letters of recommendation, and a sample of writing that is about 20-25 pages long.  Some schools ask for a resumé, and also other essays on your background on writing.  Then there are the fellowships to apply for and financial aid.  All of this didn’t seem to bad to me, even though it is a lot.  The thing that is overwhelming is that every school is a little different.  For example, I just can’t ask my old writing professors to make 8 copies of the same letter of recommendation and mail one to each place.   For some schools you have to submit the letters electronically, some you can only send by mail, others only by email, and one had a form that both myself and my recommender have to fill out.  It is the same way with the essays and writing samples.  Each school has their own specific requirements for every aspect of the application process.  So, to help I’ve made spreadsheet for each requirement – letters of recommendation has its own spreadsheet, transcripts has its own spreadsheet, and writing sample has its own spreadsheet – with a column for the school and a column for what they are asking for.  I also made a more detailed checklist for every online application telling me exactly what information I need for each section of the application.  These organization methods have been helpful, but it seems like that’s all I’ve been able to get done.  The process seems like it is going slow without very many visible results.  However, I think it will go much faster after I have finished my first application.

So far I’ve figured out how to get my transcripts sent and have finished all the basic personal information on each application.  Today I’m emailing my old professors to ask them to recommend me.  This part has made me nervous due to the fact that it has been over three years since I’ve had classes with any of them.  Will they remember me?  Will they have time to do the recommendations for someone who is no longer their student?  It also helps to just get the doubts out of my head.  I’m sure it will all be okay.  Anyway, that’s how I stand on the school situation.  We’ll see how it goes.  And I send out my best thoughts for anyone else who might be going through the same process.  Just think that it will all be over soon and we will hear acceptance from our favorite schools.

Reaching My Word Count Goal

I’d like to do something fun on this blog that will help me reach my daily word count goal for the piece I’m working on.  On my days off from work, my goal is 1000 words, and on days that I have to work, 700 words.  Starting tomorrow, everyday that I meet my goal, I’ll post something fun and literature/writing related like this:

Are you working on writing a paper for school or maybe a speech? Maybe you’ve written something already and want to have a little fun.  Maybe you want to write something right now.   In any case, try putting some writing into this BlaBlaMeter and see what it has to say.

http://www.blablameter.com/

If I don’t reach my word count goal, I’ll have to make up a story about why I didn’t.  Like this:

I started working on my story when my cat threw up on my dad’s $5,000 dollar suit that he’d left out to take to the dry cleaner.  I washed it up as well as I could, but there was still a nasty stain right on the front of the jacket.  I had to do something before my dad got home from work, so I got in my car.  I drove to the store to buy stain remover.  On the way to Wal-Mart, the police were chasing down a criminal driving a Corvette.  The villain had escaped from prison and hijacked the governor’s car.  The Corvette came right at me.  I couldn’t let the convict get away.  Swerving in front of his car, I helped the cops block his route.  The thief slammed into my car and crushed the passenger side, but I was a hero.  They wanted to interview me on the local news station.  How could refuse that?  I had to stay at the scene of the car wreck until the media arrived.  Then the governor promised to get me a new car just like my old one.  For now, he gave me an entourage to escort me back to Wal-Mart in a limo.  I bought the stain remover and fixed up the suit when I got home.  In the meantime, the governor had my new car dropped off at my house.  I had just enough time to sit down and write before my parents got home.  But then somehow I found this video that I had to watch:

You get the idea.  Starting tomorrow, I’ll do one kind of post or the other.  Hope you have fun reading them!