Archive for February, 2013

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – One Hundred Spiders

February 28, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

Enjoy the latest fairy tale:

One Hundred Spiders

(Containing the dreadful tale of King John the Cute’s strange hallucinations.)

 

This is a story that happened on the fourth night of King John the Cute’s reign.

The day had been a busy one, and King John the Cute went to sleep in the bed that belonged only to kings. As usual, his personal bodyguard, Colonel Stone, stood at the doorway, ready for any attacker.

King John the Cute closed his eyes, and then he opened them. The room was gone. The palace was gone. Colonel Stone was gone. Instead, King John the Cute found himself in a cave. In front of him were a hundred man-sized attack spiders. Behind him and to the sides were only the walls of the cave. In his hand, he discovered that he held a lethal sword.

With all his might, King John the Cute battled the monsters. He slew ten giant spiders, and there were still ninety left. The task seemed impossible.

He slew forty more giant spiders without a bruise to himself, but there were still fifty left. The task still seemed impossible.

Slowly, he worked his way through the spiders, disbelieving his own skill and luck.

King John the Cute grew tired after an hour of fighting. But now, at least, there were only three giant spiders left.

Now there were two giant spiders left.

Now there was one giant spider left.

But by this time, King John the Cute had no strength left to raise his sword. The giant spider attacked, biting King John the Cute with its venomous fangs.

King John the Cute screamed.

He looked around, and saw that he was back in the palace. The cave, the ninety-nine dead spiders, and the live spider were gone. Colonel Stone stood over him.

“My liege,” said Colonel Stone. “What happened?”

King John the Cute told him what had occurred.

“I do not understand,” said Colonel Stone. “I had been here the entire time. There was no cave, no giant spiders, and I saw with my own eyes that you were asleep!”

King John the Cute felt the place on his arm where the spider had bitten him, and saw that he was not wounded.

Perhaps some magic was involved? King John the Cute summoned all his advisors. None could help, until Minister Vazir spoke.

“Your highness,” he said. “I know of no magical spells or powers that can transport you to a cave while keeping you in the bedroom. There is, however, a rare record of something else, something called a ‘dream’.”

“What do you mean by a ‘dream’?” asked John the Cute. “I only know that it is my dream to save the Land of All Legends.”

“It is the same word, your highness,” answered Minister Vazir, “but the dreams I refer to are something else entirely. A dream is supposed to be a magical event that occurs when you are asleep. In that dream, you hallucinate something that is not happening to you, but feels just as real as real life. And yet, you always wake up in your bed, completely safe, and nothing is changed.”

“Yes,” King John the Cute exclaimed. “That is exactly what I had! What does it mean? Why am I dreaming? Why am I seeing spiders?”

“I have no idea, your highness,” Minister Vazir answered the first question. “I have no idea, your highness,” he answered the second question. “I have no idea, your highness,” he answered the third and last question.

“Tell me the tales of other that have had dreams,” ordered King John the Cute.

“I am afraid I cannot. Dreams have been nothing more than rumors for the last thousand years. No one has seen someone who dreams. There are no recorded tales of who dreamed and what they dreamed of. Dreams are thought to be legend. No one dreams.”

“Except me,” said King John the Cute sadly.

“Except you.”

“What does that say about me? Why is this happening suddenly? Is there some hidden meaning to my dream?”

“I do not know, your highness. I do not know, your highness. I do not know, your highness.”

King John the Cute mulled things over in his head. King Charming the Fourth had said that King John the Cute was not who he thought he was. If everyone else does not dream while he does, then maybe he is different from everyone else?

There was no way to know at present, he thought.

“Am I dreaming because I’m different?” he asked. “Did I begin to dream now because of the heavy responsibility that weighs upon me? Or is it a sign, an omen, of things to come?”

“I do not know, your highness. I do not know, your highness. I do not know, your highness.”

King John the Cute thought this over, and decided that this was another mystery that required solving in order to save the Land of All Legends. He dismissed everyone, and sent them to sleep. And yet, in his own mind, thoughts and question spiraled endlessly.

He did not know at the time that he would have the same dream, every night, until his death.

This has been the dreamy story of King John the Cute’s mysterious dream.

(To be continued on Sunday…)

The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

The Emoticon Generation

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‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Secret at the Deepest Crevice

February 26, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

Enjoy the latest fairy tale:

The Secret at the Deepest Crevice

(Containing the shadowy tale of how a secret becomes too big to contain.)

Seven hours after King Charming the Fourth died, a messenger came to the town of Bambooville. The messenger rode in on his winged horse and landed outside the house of Kate the Tigress.

“The king is dead,” the messenger told Kate the Tigress. “Long live the king.”

The messenger explained to Kate the Tigress that King Charming the Fourth had died seven hours and seven minutes ago, and that her son, John the Cute, was now king. The new king had invited her to the palace, to attend the coronation of the new king and to stay in the palace for as long as she wanted.

Kate the Tigress left the yellow flowers with orange streaks on top of her bed and in the garden where she had planted them. Kate the Tigress climbed aboard the flying horse, and allowed the horse to take her and the messenger to CapitalCity.

On the first day of King John the Cute’s reign, Kate the Tigress thought the celebrations were magnificent, especially the butterfly show. But a worry gnawed at her. Her son’s face had changed. It now showed worry and fret, and no longer showed great cuteness. Already, his adventures have had a toll on him, and if the prophecy was correct, he would die in two years.

On the second day of King John the Cute’s reign, he showed her the Fairy Tale Tree, and told her its meaning. Later, alone in her room, Kate the Tigress’s worries grew even greater. Only she knew of the last two lines in the prophecy, the lines that described what would happen after the death of John the Cute. These last two lines indicated that her son would suffer greatly in the Afterdeath because of deeds he would perform while king. These last two lines indicated that he would suffer until the end of time.

On the third day of King John the Cute’s reign, King John the Cute told his mother how his race with Death had begun. He told her that Death had told him that John the Cute had raced Death before and lost.

“Do you know what Death was speaking of, mother?”

“No, I do not,” she shook her head. And it was true, she did not. But another worry was added to her list of worries.

King John the Cute continued to tell her of his race with Death and how King Charming the Fourth died. He told her that King Charming the Fourth had said that John the Cute was not who he thought he was.

“What did he mean, mother?” asked King John the Cute.

Kate the Tigress found this very strange. “I do not know.”

“Am I adopted? Are you my stepmother?”

“No, my dear child,” answered Kate the Tigress. “I carried you in my stomach for nine months, until you were ready you came out to the world. You are definitely my son.”

“Then maybe Frank the Frank is not my father?”

“No, my dear child,” answered Kate the Tigress. “You are definitely the son of Frank the Frank. You look – well, you looked – so much like him. Frank the Frank is your father.”

“Then what did the king mean?”

“I do not know, my dear child. I do not know.”

And it was true that she did not know what the king had meant. But it was also true that she feared the last two lines of the poem agreed with the king’s statement, for they said John the Cute was other than what he seemed.

Kate the Tigress’ secret was growing inside her, and it was too much to bear in her small room. She left the castle and walked around for five hours, and the largeness of the secret haunted her.

On the fourth day of King John the Cute’s reign, Kate the Tigress heard that King John the Cute had promised to solve the problem of Colonel Stone and the mystery of Minister Vazir’s parents. She had known her son was kind, but fear and fury filled her heart. The more her son wanted to solve the mysteries of the land, the more she was afraid that awful things that would befall him. Kate the Tigress walked around the entirety of CapitalCity for ten hours, as even more fear and fury fuelled her heart further and grew too large to contain.

On the fifth day of King John the Cute’s reign, Kate the Tigress learned that the king had released Prince Charming the Fifth. Then she learned that the prince had vowed vengeance on King John the Cute and had now gone to create an army to defeat the king. The prophecy was becoming true, and it was too much for her to bear.

Kate the Tigress came to the king and said that he was a magnificent king. She said that she was proud of him. She said that she was worried, and that her worries grew with every day at the palace. She said that she needed to go home, far away from CapitalCity. She hugged and kissed her son and asked him to visit often.

On the way back home, she stopped at the Deepest Crevice. The Deepest Crevice was a hole in the land so deep and so wide that anything that fell inside never landed. Making sure she was completely alone, she shouted her secret into the Deepest Crevice. So great was the secret that she could not help but release it.

Then, feeling slightly better, she climbed back upon the flying horse, and flew back home to the yellow flowers with orange streaks.

But behind her, in the crevices of the Deepest Crevice, something was happening. The secret, finally released, filled with clouds of frustration and swirling mists of fury swirled and twirled, twisted and twined, and slowly gathered into shadowy clouds. Then the shadowy clouds swirled closer and closer together. After two days, the clouds, filled with fury, frustration, and secrets, bonded into the form of a human being. It was a human being made out of a dark cloud of secrets and fury and frustration.

Two days after Kate the Tigress had left, a dark human cloud climbed out of the Deepest Crevice. The dark human cloud called himself Shadowy Secret.

Shadowy Secret began to roam the Land of All Legends, knowing the secret future and the secret past of King John the Cute. And he, unlike Kate the Tigress, understood the meaning of the prophecy.

This has been the shadowy tale of how the evil-looking Shadowy Secret was born.

(To be continued on Thursday…)

The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

The Emoticon Generation

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Prince Who Wanted Responsibility

February 24, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

Enjoy the latest fairy tale:

The Prince Who Wanted Responsibility

(Containing the fateful meeting of King John the Cute and Prince Charming the Fifth.)

 

On the first three days of his reign, King John the Cute had been afraid to meet Prince Charming the Fifth. Firstly, he was afraid because he was certain the prince would think King John the Cute had stolen his crown and throne. Secondly, he was afraid because of the prophecy his mother had told him:

Prince Charming’s sword will pierce his heart

Two years after his reign will start.

On the fourth day of his reign, King John the Cute gathered his courage and went to the prince’s bath. There he saw Prince Charming the Fifth bathe in black and dirty waters.

King John the Cute could not stand the sight of it.

“Clear the bath!” he ordered the servants. “Take out the water! Bring no more water for the prince’s bath!”

Once the bath was cleared of water, the prince looked around. “Who are you?” he asked King John the Cute.

“My name is John the Cute,” said King John the Cute.

“Pfah! That is a stupid name! You look more like John the Ugly!”

The king ignored that statement and continued, “You have been in this bath for three years.”

“What! Outrageous!” the prince shouted.

“You are now twenty years old.”

“What! Ridiculous! I am seventeen!”

“Look at yourself. You are now twenty and grown. Your father, the king, asked to bathe you in stale water so that you would want to remain in the bath until your old age.”

“What! Outrageous!” the prince shouted. “Take me to see my father!”

“Your father,” King John the Cute said as calmly as he could, “died a few days ago.”

“What! Impossible!”

“I am sorry for your loss, but it is true. Many things have happened while you bathed. Upon his deathbed, he named me as his successor. I am now King John the Cute.”

“What! Outrageous! Outrageous! Outrageous!” Now the prince began to stomp his foot. “I want to be king! I want to be king! I want to be king!”

“It is not what your father wished.”

For the first time, Prince Charming the Fifth looked at King John the Cute and saw him for what he was. The prince squinted and hate filled his eyes. “You are responsible for this! You poisoned my father against me! You had him put me in a bath for three years!”

“That is not true. I freed you from the bath.”

“Liar! Liar! Liar! Make me king! Make me king! Make me king!”

King John the Cute knew this would happen. But he also knew that the prince was spoiled and had never behaved responsibly in his life. Therefore, he had a plan that took this into account.

“Being king is a big responsibility,” King John the Cute said. “Prove to me that you are responsible, and I will make you king. There is a family on the outskirts of Capital City that needs a babysitter for their two-year-old. If you babysit the child responsibly for seven days, I will make you king.”

“Really?” Prince Charming the Fifth was astounded. “You would make me king?”

King John the Cute nodded. “Be responsible for a child for seven days and I will make you king.”

Prince Charming the Fifth knew that taking care of children was easy, so he agreed. But during the first hour, the child wanted to eat and the child needed to be cleaned and the child wanted to drink and the child did not care at all about what Prince Charming the Fifth wanted.

After one hour, Prince Charming the Fifth returned to the king. “Being a babysitter is stupid. I want to be a king, not a babysitter. Make me king! Make me king! Make me king!”

King John the Cute thought about this and said, “Being a king means being in charge of a lot more than a baby. In the middle of Capital City there is a restaurant. I will put you in charge of that restaurant for a week. Be in charge of a restaurant for a week, and I will make you king and put you in charge of the land.”

“Really?”

King John the Cute nodded.

Prince Charming the Fifth knew that taking care of a restaurant was easy, so he agreed. But during the first hour, the customers complained, the chef demanded more pay, the food was bad, the plates were dirty, and everybody wanted something from the prince and no one cared about what the prince wanted.

After exactly one hour, the prince returned to the king. “Running a restaurant is for children! I am not a child. I deserve to be king. Make me king! Make me king! Make me king!”

King John the Cute thought about this and said, “Being a king means being in charge of many many people. I will make you in charge of Capital City. If you can be mayor for seven days, I will make you king of the Land of All Legends.”

Prince Charming the Fifth felt that being in charge of a city was something he could easily do. He also felt that King John the Cute was sincere in his offer, and that all he would have to do was to try for seven days.

And so he went and became mayor of Capital City. But then people complained about potholes in the street, they wanted permissions to park their dragons, they asked not to pay their taxes, and wrote in asking for greener trees. Everyone wanted something from the prince and no one even asked how he was feeling.

After fifteen minutes, the prince returned to the king. “Running a city is stupid. A city is not a country. I want to be in charge of the country! Make me king! Make me king! Make me king!”

King John the Cute thought about this request. Then he said, “I will tell you what. Since I am king, I will let you tell me what do for seven days. If you behave responsibly during seven days and make good decisions, I will step down and make you king.”

Prince Charming the Fifth thought about this and thought it was a trap.

“No! Being in charge of the land is stupid! I want to be king! Make me king! Make me king! Make me king!”

“Behave responsibly for a week, and I will make you king. I promise.”

“No! Make me king, and I will behave responsibly.”

“Behave responsibly for a week, and I will make you king.”

“Make me king, and I will behave responsibly.”

This argument continued for thirty minutes until the prince has had enough. “All right, then!” he shouted at King John the Cute. “You asked for it. I will leave now, and I will gather an army, and I will come back and I will kill you and take back my throne!”

With that, he turned around and stormed off.

King John the Cute watched Prince Charming the Fifth storm off.

The king was fearful for his own future. And yet he was certain that his decision to release the prince from the prison his father had put him in was the right choice. King John the Cute also knew that only time will tell how wise his decision had been.

This has been fateful tale of how Prince Charming the Fifth began his quest to destroy King John the Cute.

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

The Emoticon Generation

New Review for ‘The Emoticon Generation’

February 23, 2013

The Little Red Reviewer has just posted a review of my latest book, The Emoticon Generation.

Here are a few a few quotes:

His [last] collection Secret Thoughts was about how people deal with naturally ocurring telepathy, and his newest collection, The Emoticon Generation, is about the intersection of people and technology. I should have expected it would be weirder and more dangerous than the intersection of people and telepathy!

and

What makes this new collection so compelling is that with today’s technology we’re only a few years away from many of these stories becoming non-fiction.

and

These are character driven stories, and it’s  nice to see characters who demand to know what’s happening and take steps to find out, instead of passively allowing things to happen to them.  The truth might set us free, but sometimes it shatters us first.

 

Read Little Red Reviewer’s full review.

The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

The Emoticon Generation at Amazon

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Prince and the Bath

February 21, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

Enjoy the latest fairy tale:

The Prince and the Bath

(Containing the ill-fated story of Prince Charming the Fifth’s childhood.)

Once upon a time, when John the Cute was still a child, King Charming the Fourth came back to the palace from his journey to the farthest corner of the farthest shire in the farthest land of the Land of All Legends: Bambooville.

He had traveled there, disguised as a blue and noble bird, and learned the true and noble nature of John the Cute. The king returned, certain that John the Cute was a king more fitting than his own son. Now he was certain that the prophecy he had heard so many years ago had been right, and that John the Cute would be the only man to save the Land of All Legends from the terrible ailments that plague it.

King Charming the Fourth decided that his son, Prince Charming the Fifth, must never become king.

Prince Charming the Fifth was a spoiled child. Whenever he wanted something, he would shout and stomp his foot and his wish would be granted.

Prince Charming the Fifth liked to yell and shout. So when his wish was fulfilled, he would shout and stomp his foot and say that he wanted something else.

Nothing was ever good enough for the prince. He would shout and stomp his feet from the first moment he woke up in the morning until he fell asleep from exhaustion at night.

King Charming the Fourth came up with an idea that would give Prince Charming the Fifth what he wanted but also keep him away from the throne.

The prince liked to take baths. Since standing water in the Land of All Legends creates a magical need to stay in the water, the prince would always scream and shout while bathing for more fresh water. And so stale water was taken out by servants and fresh water from the river was brought in.

The king ordered that the servants carrying the buckets of water taken out of the prince’s bath would take a trip around the castle. Once back from the trip, they would pour the stale water back in, as if it was fresh water, washing the prince with it.

The prince’s bath was as big as a pool, and water was constantly taken out from one side and put in from another.

The day came, and the prince began to take a bath, not aware of the king’s orders. The more Prince Charming the Fifth bathed, the more he wanted to bath. Although he constantly shouted “More fresh water! Bring me more fresh water!” he never noticed that the water had turned brown.

And so Prince Charming the Fifth spent years and years in the bath, never realizing he was swimming in the same water.

This has been the sad tale of Prince Charming the Fifth’s childhood, in which we learned that even kings who are good at their job are not always good parents.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)

The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

The Emoticon Generation

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Scientist and the Box

February 19, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

Enjoy the latest fairy tale:

The Scientist and the Box

(Containing the fearless story of the King’s scientist.)

 

Once it happened that on the third day of the reign of King John the Cute, the new King came to the room of Minister Vazir, the king’s Minister of Science.

“What kind of science do you do?” asked King John the Cute.

“I try to understand the world, my liege,” answered Minister Vazir. “I try to understand the secrets of the universe, and the physical forces behind it.”

“You mean magic?”

“Yes, my liege. I try to understand magic so I can have a better understanding of the universe.”

“What is ‘universe’? What does that word mean?”

“It means the entirety of the Land of All Legends, my liege.”

King John the Cute nodded.

“I am the first scientist in more than 300 hundred years. There hasn’t been one in the Land of All Legends, since… Well, it is a long and embarrassing story.”

“Tell it to me another day, then,” King John the Cute said. “But today, tell me your story, Minister Vazir.”

A long, long time ago, Minister Vazir began, I was born. But no one knows exactly when or who my parents were. There is nothing of my childhood that I remember. My memory begins at around the age of five, when I was standing in the middle of the road, in the town of Checkers and Chess.

No one knew who I was. No one had seen this child before. Everyone was certain that my parents for some reason had believed they cannot raise me, and so they had left me there in order to be quickly found. There I stood, with no memory of anything that had happened before.

I was an orphan. As an orphan, two loving parents adopted me and I grew to have a great childhood. But my lost childhood always haunted me. I felt a deep need, to know who my parents were and why they abandoned me. I decided to never give up on finding my parents.

But I was afraid. I was afraid of what I would find. I was afraid that the reason my parents abandoned me would hurt me. I was afraid the truth would be too awful for me to bear. Nonetheless, I had to find the truth.

And so, I put all my fears in a special silver box, which I have stored in a special place. Then, without fears, I have dedicated years to learn the truth about myself, my parents, and where I come from.

But in all the years that have passed, in spite of all my research, in spite of all my investigations, there has never been any clue, never been a single sign of my heritage. No one has ever known them or seen them.

However, the years of seeking the truth without fear of finding out the results have made me into a great scientist. I can solve great mysteries. I can seek out truth. And I never fear what I may find, because my fears are hidden in a silver box.

“Why do you think seeking the truth is scary?” asked King John the Cute.

“Simple, my liege. In seeking the truth, you may find out you have been lied to. You may find out you have believed in something false. You may discover an ugly fact about yourself. Discovering the truth behind things brings instability to your life. I do not fear instability. I do not fear uncertainty. I do not even fear Death. And so I am a great scientist.”

King John the Cute nodded wisely. “Minister Vazir, to serve me I require you to take your emotions out of the silver box and wear them again.”

Suddenly, even though it was impossible, Minister Vazir seemed afraid. “But how will I be able to learn the truth then? How will I be able to serve you, my liege?”

“You will be able to find the truth, even though you are afraid of it. That is my truth. Now, once you wear the full coat of your emotions again, we will seek out your parents and do our best to find them.”

“But how? There is no clue.”

“You are wrong. There is one clue that we do have.”

Minister Vazir was surprised. “What is it?”

“A great scientist has sought them out for years and has not been able to find any evidence that they have ever existed. That is very strange. And by itself, it tells us that extraordinary circumstances are afoot. Shall we explore this mystery? Will you put your fear back on?”

“But I have things more important to do, my liege. I have great mysteries to solve. A thousand different magics to learn that will serve you well.”

“In my youth I have learned that truth is important, that seeking out truth is good. King Charming the Fourth has put me here to solve a big mystery. I have vowed to solve not just that mystery, but all the mysteries I will find in the Land of All Legends.”

Minister Vazir looked at his king with respect.

“Speaking of mysteries and things that have no trace,” King John the Cute thought of something new. “Have you ever heard of a radio?”

“No. What is that?”

“It is a special kind of seashell.”

“A special seashell?”

“You put it to your ear and touch it and it makes a strange and interesting noise.”

“I have never heard of it.”

“I have seen it once in the fixit shop of Al the Average in my hometown of Bambooville, but I have never been able to glimpse it again. Could you research it for me? And perhaps find this seashell and where it comes from?”

“Of course, my king,” Minister Vazir was all too eager to help.

This has been the methodical tale of Minister Vazir, the king’s Minister of Science.

(To be continued on Thursday…)

Do you like the stories? Share with your friends.

Secret Thoughts

Secret Thoughts, by Guy Hasson

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Soldier and the Box

February 17, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

Enjoy the latest fairy tale:

The Soldier and the Box

(Containing the heroic tale of Colonel Stone.)

On the second day of his reign, once the celebrations had ended, King John the Cute came to Colonel Stone’s room. Colonel Stone had been King Charming the Fourth’s chief advisor, best friend, and personal bodyguard. He was the only one who had seen King Charming the Fourth pass his crown to John the Cute, and only through his reliable eyewitness testimony did John the Cute become king instead of Prince Charming the Fifth.

Colonel Stone had heard King Charming the Fourth tell the tale of the Fairy Tale Tree, and he knew that the future of the Land of All Legends rested on the shoulders of King John the Cute. Therefore, the colonel had sworn to serve the new king as well as he had the old king

“Colonel Stone,” King John the Cute said.

“Your highness,” Colonel Stone immediately stood at attention and saluted.

“There is no need for that,” King John the Cute waved at him. Colonel Stone stood at ease. “Tell me your story, Colonel Stone.”

Once upon a time, Colonel Stone told the new King, I had joined the king’s army. I had been seventeen and lied about my age.

You may not know this, but when you are accepted to the army, you are given a uniform, a gun, and a small, silver box. All soldiers carried their silver boxes with them, in their sacks or around their necks or in their pockets.

When I asked other soldiers what the empty silver box was for, the answer was always the same: “You’ll find out.”

One soldier even said, “You’ll find out. Or you’ll die in battle.”

I did not understand what they meant, but it seemed they all knew the answer to the secret and only I did not. In the same way, it also seemed that they knew the secret to being good soldiers. I was not a good soldier at that time, while everyone around me was. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I practiced with the gun, I could not be as good as the worst of my fellow soldiers.

One day, our platoon was ordered to attack a group of evil witches that had reportedly taken over a village called Panache. At the end of a terrible fight, our platoon was gone. I was the only survivor, and I had been taken prisoner by the evil witches of Panache.

They put me in a bamboo prison and planned on cooking me and making a potion of my remains. They said it would be a potion of great potency.

I had a few hours until sunset to live. It was during those few hours that I understood what the silver box was for. I understood that my emotions were getting in the way of me being a good soldier. I cared too much. I cared too much for the family I had left at home. I cared too much for the girl I loved. I cared too much for my own life. I cared too much for my future. I even cared too much for my enemies and did not want to hurt them too badly.

And so I put all my emotions in the silver box, and closed it tight. Now suddenly I had become a good soldier.

When the evil witches let me out of the cell to lead me to their cauldron, I attacked. I was ruthless and powerful. I was fearless and brave. Nothing would stop me except death.

I killed all but three of the witches there and used the respite in battle to run away with my life and report to my king. The problem, if you want to call it that, was that in the battle I had lost my silver box. To this day, if it hasn’t been moved, it lies right outside the village.

In the years that followed, I have tried to return to the village. But it does not appear on any map. And even though many have heard of it, I have met no one who knows where it can be found.

I have never recovered the box. I have never recovered my emotions.

And that, Colonel Stone said, is the story of how I became a heroic soldier and how I remain brave to this very day.

“Have you visited your family since?” King John the Cute asked.

“No. I have not had emotions that led me to do so.”

“Well, then, we must find the silver box and restore your emotions.”

“But your highness,” Colonel Stone protested. “I am a good soldier. I will serve you best without emotions.”

“The day you visit your family, the day you get your emotions back, you will become a person even better than you are now. And that will serve me well. Make it one of your tasks, Colonel, to find Panache…” For a second King John the Cute trailed off. He realized now that he had heard of Panache before. But as hard as he tried to remember where he had come across it, he could not. Eventually, he continued, “Colonel, find Panache. Together, we will retrieve your emotions.”

Colonel Stone discovered that the stunted, undersized emotions he had left were quite emotional at the King’s gesture.

“Thank you,” he bowed to his King.

The King smiled and returned to his chamber, to study the Fairy Tale Tree.

This has been the heroic story of Colonel Stone.

(To be continued on Tuesday…)

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Secret Thoughts

Secret Thoughts, by Guy Hasson

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Man with Less than No Friends

February 14, 2013

I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Here’s the story so far.

Enjoy the latest fairy tale:

The Man with Less than No Friends

(Containing the inexplicable story of Minister Azriel Jones.)

On the first day of his reign, King John the Cute came to Minister Azriel Jones’s room in the palace. “Tell me your story,” the king said.

Minister Azriel Jones, King Charming the Fourth’s Minister of Celebrations and now King John the Cute’s Minister of Celebrations, explained his situation, “I am a man with no friends. In fact, I am a man with minus four friends.”

“Minus four?” King John the Cute did not understand.

“Yes. Negative four friends.”

“I do not know what that means,” King John the Cute said. And so Minister Azriel Jones told his tale.

During childhood, Minister Azriel Jones began, I had many friends. But I was always fearful that my friends would leave me. I began to convince myself how one friend was talking about me behind his back, how another friend was telling lies about me, and so on.

Whenever I became convinced the story I had told myself was true, I confronted the friend and would not stop asking questions. At a certain point, my friends would always have enough of my questions and suspicions and stop being my friends. I would then always belatedly realize that the friend had no intentions to stop being my friend until I questioned him as if he was criminal.

But at the time I could not stop myself from behaving this way.

Friend after friend, I developed suspicions. Friend after friend, I approached and questioned. Friend after friend left me because of my behavior. And yet I could not stop myself.

By the time I had become a grown man, I had been left with no friends at all.

“This I understand,” King John the Cute said. “But how could you have less than zero friends?”

“Ah,” Minister Azriel Jones said. “That is because I began to see a psychologist.”

The psychologist explained, Minister Azriel Jones continued his tale, that the road to healing is a process, and that I must begin this process until it is finished. The process will take years, the psychologist explained. During those years, people will approach me and become my friends. But the process would not yet be done, and so I will lose those friends as I have all other friends in the past.

In the psychologist’s estimation I will lose four friends until this process is complete. Then and only then will I be able to keep real friends.

“And so you see,” Minister Azriel Jones told King John the Cute, “I now need to gain four friends to have zero friends. This means that I have minus four friends. I must lose four friends, even though I have none, before I have a real friend.”

“I will be your real friend,” King John the Cute offered.

“Then I will lose you. It is part of the process.”

“The process will eventually end. I will be your friend now, and I will be your friend after. I can wait.”

Minister Azriel Jones found it hard to believe his king, but he desperately wanted to.

“Thank you,” he bowed to his king.

The king smiled and returned to his chamber, to study the Fairy Tale Tree.

This has been the inexplicable story of Minister Azriel Jones, a man who had less than no friends.

 

(To be continued on Sunday…)
 
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Secret Thoughts

Secret Thoughts, by Guy Hasson

The Indestructibles Film Journal #7: Inventing Something New

February 13, 2013

Has Everything Been Done?

The question I keep asking myself as I plan the shots for the film is: Is there a new cinematic language to be invented?

I have a problem with the old cinematic language. It’s built for budgets. Everything we see falls under the scale that has Hollywood on one side, goes through almost-Hollywood, down the scale to not-even-close-to-Hollywood which is only a step above just-pure-piss.

As you recall, The Indestructibles was born out of the fact that these days I have the technology to create film. There’s no need to beg for big budgets or to kowtow notes from executives who know nothing about story or art. I have a writer, director, and cameraman at home (me), I have a camera, and I know great actors who would be willing to participate. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to create new, original SF films at home! In fact, there’s no reason not to create epic SF films with absolutely no budget… if you know what you’re doing.

The Indestructibles is an epic SF film about superheroes, designed to be created with everyday means. In this film journal, I’ve talked about how I created the story in a way designed to give the full SF epic experience, about how I got rid of the editor by shooting in one-shots (editors are expensive and the budget is zero), choosing the actors, the rehearsals, and about the different choices I had to make along the way.

But one thing still haunted me. I didn’t want to make the mistake I saw repeated around me.

What Are Others Doing?

Look around at the absolutely best web series that exist today. Some use ordinary shots and look homemade. I don’t want to be that. Others try to create a look that’s as sleek as a Hollywood movie, trying to hide the fact that they had a budget that’s only in the thousands of dollars or, if they’re lucky, in the tens of thousands of dollars.

What you get then is a shot that’s taken out of a professionally sleek Hollywood film, followed by a shot that’s trying to be, but clearly didn’t have the budget for it. The switch from one to the other is bad for the film. It takes the viewers out of the film and magnifies the not-Hollywood issue rather than hides it.

So the question that keeps haunting me is this: Is there a way to create entirely new language that is completely different from what the viewers have ever seen? Something that tells you how much it cost and at the same time looks artistic and professional? Something that when you watch it doesn’t feel like it tried to be something it couldn’t be? Something that is so authentic it doesn’t get you thinking about how cheaply it was done?

Has everything been done or can I find something new?

The Solution

It starts with the credits.

Credits are something we’re so used to seeing, we never really think about them. Today, almost any editing program gives you a way to show the credits in a way that seems to be taken out of a Hollywood film. They give you the same fonts, the same effects of the credits in the beginning of the movie appearing and disappearing. The goal is to look professional. You know, like Hollywood.

But, as I said above, I don’t want to create even a whiff of Hollywood so as not to create a dissonance with the rest of the film. The credits had to be different, too. Could I find an alternative to the credits that fits all the criteria I’ve mentioned above?

The Indestructibles, as you recall, is about superheroes, but also about superheroes that are brain-dead but just can’t die. One of the characters is, somewhere during the story, just such a female superhero (played by Nathalie klein Selle, whom you’ve seen in the poster below). Part of the film is about how these ‘almost-dead’ superheroes are abused by regular people, and their bodies treated like trash.

The Indestructibles

The Indestructibles

Here’s my solution for The Indestructibles. I’m going to write the credits, in handwriting, on Nathalie’s (the ‘dead’ superheroine’s) body. So you’re going to have a shot of her foot with the text ‘Old Man Productions Presents’, then you’re going to have a shot of her bare legs with the name of the film ‘The Indestructibles’. You’re going to have her name written on her face, as she plays a vegetable with eyes open. You get the idea. (I’ll do my best to avoid it looking sexy, since the film isn’t about that, and make it about the credits and the body-is-garbage theme.)

It’s not something you’ve seen before. It’s inexpensive but doesn’t appear to be created from a lack of budget. It’s jarring. It’s emotional. It’s not Hollywood, but it doesn’t make you think: These people couldn’t do Hollywood.

That’s the new language I’m trying to create.

In planning the shots for the film, I’m trying to create the same effect. I won’t reveal any more than I have now, but I will say that the point is to make something that was shot by an unprofessional (a character in the film) and to suddenly fall into great moments of art without meaning to, then to snap back to the regular composition.

Will it work? That’s for you to say.

Speaking of which, the film will be released on the web, but at first it won’t be released publicly. It will only be released to a small audience. If you want to be part of that audience and you want to see it before everyone else does, please email sfonweb@gmail.com with the subject line, The Indestructibles. You’ll immediately be added to the list.

 

‘Tickling Butterflies’ – The Butterfly Whisperer

February 12, 2013

I’m serializing the fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. 128 separate fairy tales come together to create one epic fantasy fairy tale.

A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

Enjoy the latest fairy tale:

The Butterfly Whisperer

(Containing the pleasing tale of the Butterfly Whisperer.)

 

Once upon a time there was a little pig who liked to tickle butterflies.

Butterflies loved the little pig from the time he was a very young little pig.

Whenever he played outside in the field, a butterfly would land on the little pig’s snot, and the little pig would tickle the butterfly. The butterfly would laugh and laugh and then, with a friendly wave of his wings, fly off.

The rumor of the little pig’s abilities spread among the butterflies of the Land of All Legends. Butterflies from the farthest reaches of the farthest lands flocked to him, to be tickled by him, or to just watch as the little pig tickle other butterflies.

Butterflies of all colors and shapes and sizes flocked to the young little pig.

One day, the townspeople noticed a butterfly as big as a dragon land outside the little pig’s farm. From that day on, townspeople began to pay attention to the little pig and to the thousands of butterflies that flocked to him daily. The townspeople noticed that through tickling butterflies, the young little pig could talk to the butterflies and convince them to fly around in a way the townspeople found pleasing.

This brought the little pig to the attention of townspeople from other towns. Now they came, as well, to see the little pig tickle butterflies and have them perform tricks.

The little pig came to be known as the Butterfly Whisperer.

Then, one day, the little pig’s parents came to him and told him that “Now you are a grown-up, and you can’t spend your life tickling butterflies.” They demanded that he leave behind him all silly things and begin to take on the serious task of being a grown-up. His parents gave the Butterfly Whisperer two tasks, in this order: a) Abandon the butterflies because tickling them is silly, and b) find a job.

The young little pig tried to abandon his friends the butterflies, but wherever he went and whatever he did, hundreds of butterflies of all shapes and sizes surrounded him.

No one would give the Butterfly Whisperer a job, because they felt the butterflies were a distraction to both him and the customers.

Sad and disappointed, the little pig spent his days in the field, tickling butterflies. It was the only thing that made him happy.

Then, one day, King Charming the Fourth died, and the celebrations for the coronation ceremonies of King John the Cute were about to begin. Minister Azriel Jones, the king’s Minister of Celebrations, had heard of the Butterfly Whisperer. He had summoned the Butterfly Whisperer to the palace and said he would pay him handsomely to organize a beautiful butterfly show during the coronation of King John the Cute.

And, indeed, the show consisted of tens of thousands of butterflies of all colors and shapes, of all sizes and wings. The butterflies flew in the air and created beautiful shapes, marvelous words that hung in the air, striking images and colorful acrobatics. The show was magnificent and breathtaking, lovelier than all the fireworks displays that had ever been seen by any man, woman, or creature.

The coronation ceremony was most magnificent. When it was over, King John the Cute called the Butterfly Whisperer and told him how amazing his show had been. Immediately following the ceremony, the Butterfly Whisperer began to receive an endless array of requests for his butterfly show.

And so, the Butterfly Whisperer had found that he did have a serious job: tickling butterflies.

This has been the pleasing tale of the Butterfly Whisperer.

 

(To be continued on Thursday…)
 
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The Emoticon Generation by Guy Hasson

The Emoticon Generation