“Got an order for some cyberpunk, a swords and sorcery epic, as well as some modern-day satire! This one’s all you, Kent!” I holler back: “On it!” I’m currently working as a conceptual short-order chef in Semiotic Savories, an astral short-order cafe where I prep story ideas and premises and serve them up to the writers’ and artists’ subconscious. Right now there’s a big, thick slab of Theme sizzling on the grill. My lips lift into a grin. This is gonna be a good one. I wait a few seconds to let the dialogue caramelize, then throw in a mess of subtext (it cooks faster so you gotta apply it a bit later than your main ingredients). A hot blaze of color erupts from the grill, and I pop two slices of fresh-baked dichotomy and metaphor into the toaster, each heavily slathered with Victorian Era setting and a bit of irony. My slab of Theme looks almost ready. I grab a shaker of diced poetry and carefully—CAREFULLY—sprinkle some onto my Theme, then use my psionic spatula to mix it all up into the dialogue. The odors blend together and a magnificent scent arises from the grill. YUM! The shift buzzer sounds, and I give it a momentary glance. Yeah my work day might be up, but I’m gonna finish cooking this; it’s coming together too well for me to just let it be. My replacement, Orfog, walks into the kitchen, tying his apron behind him. He looks at what I’m doing, then says, “You need to add some more poetry, Kent. I’ll take it from here.” I look briefly at him, then go back to stirring the subtext around the theme. “I’ve got this Orfog. It has just the right amount of poetry. You don’t need to add more.” In an irritable voice he says, “No that’s not enough. Gimme that spatula.” He reaches out and tries to grab my spatula. I shove him and level a finger at his face. “BACK OFF. I’m trying to be nice here. No one likes your stuff, okay? People want good pacing and mental lyricism, not that emo bullshit that comes dribbling out of your unsophisticated thought processes. All your stuff is undercooked and overseasoned.” He rips off his apron and screams, “That is IT! You’re done here, Kent! DONE! I’m sick of your hotshot attitude! This is a place of business, not some fancy high-end restaurant! Get off the goddamn grill!” Without taking my eyes off my Theme, I just tersely reply: “Make me.” I don’t see it, but I can imagine Orfog’s eyes bulging with rage. He screams and bum-rushes me. Crapskies! As we tumble across the kitchen tile, all I can think about is the fact that my ideas are almost done, and they’re gonna burn on the grill if I don’t get ‘em on a platter. Orfog’s cursing and swearing, on top of my chest, trying to strangle me. I look desperately around, and I see that we’ve got a perfectly aged, super-expensive bottle of a rare and wondrous story named “Echo.” I reach out to it, grab the neck with one hand, and slap the cork off with the other. Magic flash. Suddenly, I’m holding a can of emo poetry in my hand, and I waste no time jamming it down Orc Fucker’s throat (that’s right; I chose the name Orfog just so I could make fun of it). Orfog’s eyes widen in surprise, then he begins coughing and clawing at his neck. “AH CHRIST! *COUGH* *COUGH* SO MUCH EMO!” He rolls around on the floor, hacking and crying, and I see that he’s about to go into psychogenic shock from ingesting too much poetry. I jump up and see that my ideas are done. Voila! I flip em onto a plate and slide em onto the serving counter so that the waiters can send them off to where they belong. Orfog, now ODing on Emo, is simultaneously crying and pooping himself. I wait a few seconds, reveling in his discomfort, then call for a medic. Serves him right for trying to piss all over perfectly good ideas!
Suffer no fools when you’re cooking your stories. They should be the tastiest damn bits of imagination that you can rustle up. Right now I’m in the middle of reworking Echo 1, trying to get all my noob mistakes out. If you refrain from buying it due to my amateurish writing style, a product of my first ventures into fiction, then I totally understand, and I’ll announce when I re-upload an updated version. If you buy it anyways, then many thanks! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle