One of the ways that writing reminds me a lot of thinking about mathematics or science, is that you are forever playing with different ways to arrange dynamically-related ideas (characters) – but you always have to provide some credible way-into their relationship, within the reader’s system of reasoning – or else they won’t believe (or enjoy) whatever developments and conclusions you suggest from there.
The funny thing about that of course, is that our ideas of what humans are and are capable of, change expand and evolve throughout our lives – and the more you look around you – and especially listen, the more you realize the scope of understandings (right and wrong) and motivations (fair and foul) is actually vast – demographers and their models be thrice-damned! (I’d go higher, but even I have to admit that sacred hyperbole loses its poetry, past a certain point).
All of which is why pretty much everyone eventually tries the experiment of building a ‘plausible’ caper, out of personalities that they know well. Stuck for ideas? Try making the power dynamics of a Thanksgiving dinner gone horribly wrong, into the negotiations over division of power, between interstellar empires (fits, easily – so close to total peace – and the whole thing went to hell at the last minute over the issue of giblets!)
Misfit capers, with endearingly frail and frazzled characters may be the most fun variety of all – and we certainly all know a few of those (don’t laugh – or at least don’t point AND laugh – pick one). Incidentally, this is also an excellent art-exercise for getting rid of excessive feelings of unexpressed anger – just imagine that your most currently-irritating person, is stuck as the roommate of the second most irritating person you know – perhaps even the whiny cellmate – after the failed caper which their interlocking neurosis convinced them was not only within their ability, but also no more than their due reward!
Silly rambling improv-fiction follows, to accompany photos of visually-fascinating urban night-places which are in no way to be construed as associated in any way thereto in implication, suggestion or even by faintest telepathic residue (tested and lizard-people certified).
Knock three times on the second door in (top photo)
“I thought you said you knew the guy, so come on – go ahead.”
“Well like, I’m pretty sure it was three times on the second door, but it’s a tiny bit possible that it was actually knock twice on the third. Suppose it makes a huge difference?”
“One of them is the fence we want, and as far as I heard, the other is an S and M dungeon.”
“Good point, maybe I’ll just call him and ask again.”
“Don’t call him again, he was furious when you called him last time.”
“So you go knock then.”
“What was his number?”
Loquation loquation loquation
Meanwhile, at the upscale offices of one of Gotham’s finest legal minds…
“The pigeons are in the coop, you say? So the acquisition is in-progress? Delightful, I will notify the Marquis at once. We are operating with the usual conditions, commissions, bonuses and penalties, I assume? Excellent! Well-done – and don’t think this won’t be reflected in your own considerations.”
Stately King Eddy
Glorious hotel of song and story – home of eccentrics, trust-fund urban culture-fiends, and this evening – the beneficiaries of a plot worthy of the greats. The guys are planning to pull off the old double-back double-cross – on their very own plot! Instant celebrity-virtue! Write their own ticket.
Or wait – for these two old Canucks, should that really more properly be called the quadruple lacrosse?
They’re already waiting for you upstairs
“They’re all waiting upstairs for you, you can go straight up now. Listen though, do me a big favour? Try not to over-excite Sir Wolfram, will you? – It’s just that he’s a little hard to calm-down again, once he really gets going. He’ll have half the staff going nuts chasing ’round for him ’till three AM again, I just know-it.”
Meanwhile – in the very heart of established and dependable wealth.
“Twenty-million worth, from right under our noses? How could they pull this off?”
“We don’t even know which sort of they this is yet, sir.”
“Whatever are you going-on about, Smithers? Explain yourself – at once!”
SFX DING (elevator arrives)
The belle of the beasts
“Well sir, you see, we’ve had a small team of top people working on just this problem, trying to compile a list of suspects, starting with who has a particularly big grudge against investment institutions these days. Problem is, outside of actual shareholders, that list includes just about everyone there is – and if I may be frank, we’re really not even always entirely sure about the shareholders.”
The Marine and Sportsmen’s
Interior upstairs office – private detective Rance Spotwell listens (harrumphingly) to the rumpled, fidgety, bushy-eyebrowed altogether unpromising potential new clients, as his partner, Braithewaite Applebutter, takes his usual careful notes. When they finish laying-out their dilemma, Rance steeples his fingers – which turns out to be a foolish idea, since this causes his lit stogie to escape his loose grasp and slide neatly straight-up his sleeve – fire-end first, starting a small arm-hair inferno in it’s wake, with effects so sharply odious as to be noticeable even above the powerfully caustic note of the cigar itself. All of which may safely be taken to have influenced the tone of his response – but only a tiny bit.
“So – you-two know exactly where the loot went? Who took-it and how? And now you want us to help you – advise you how to safely pass-on this information to the victims, so that you can be the big heroes of the day and then collect the no-doubt handsome reward?”
His ouburst of follow-on laughter – sudden, sharp and scornful, is not only profoundly and precipitously disheartening to the protagonists – but also loud enough to knock the champion (and very busy) mouser-cat off his favourite rusty metal shelf, in the disused restaurant below.
Applebutter explains for his partner, whose diplomacy has clearly failed him. “I am truly sorry about this, fellows. You both seem very nice – and I’m sure that’s the sort of helpful impulse that would have been wonderfully rewarded, not so long ago. But you’re a little late in this case – they’ve decided they just want to hush it up, so that no one else is inspired to do something similar. Wrote-down their losses completely on the contingency-schedule, and their solicitors have already given general backchannel notice to everyone who counts – they simply do not want to hear or say another word about it.”
“Wait a minute though,” says ‘the brains’ – “our whole cut was going to be the reward.”
Rance can’t resist, “Didn’t even get a taste when you set it all up? Man, you guys really are freakin’ idjits, eh?”