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I've been tied up on other projects recently so I haven't had a lot of time to spend on Red Girl Reads a Story. However, I've reworked my schedule so expect to see some changes to this blog soon.

Thanks for your patience.


A Short Story from the Writers Blog Alliance

July 19, 2006
Carnival Entry: How Not to Write
Posted by The Harbour Master @ 1:10 pm

Fiona marched into their home office yelling behind her, “You never spend any time with us! Fine, then I’m using the PC tonight. Where’s Grand Theft Auto?” She slammed the door behind her, continuing to disparage her husband with inaudible invective.

Ben rolled his eyes and mocked, “Honey, you don’t even like computer games.”

She barked out something about cops and prostitutes in strong language that sounded disturbingly unnatural coming from her mouth.

“Well, I’m not giving in,” he said aloud. He would, of course, later recant this and pretty much knew it too. Nonetheless, he had an alternative to the PC, a last resort; he dug out the unused typewriter bought for him by his ever-supportive parents after confessing that he wanted to be a big-time writer. He sighed, dreaming of the laptop he had actually been trying to suggest them into buying for six months. Subtlety is for losers.

Fiona spent the next hour cruising around the mercenary streets of an imaginary yet brutal city in which she was the crime kingpin, or perhaps crime queenpin. Ben spent the same hour setting up the typewriter, losing the tip of a fingernail and a spot of blood to its vicious metal maw.

Once the euphoria of mastering the archaic machine was behind him, he was able to produce ten sheets of completed prose that resembled a teenager’s face covered in white-out blotches and mistype acne before he ran out of paper. He zipped out to get more fuel for his literary fire.

On his return, he was bemused to find that a roll of toilet paper had been fed into the typewriter. It was most definitely an elegant, heartfelt message from a loved one. Subtlety is for losers. However, there was something else much more concerning. The ten sheets he had laboured over had disappeared.

He spied his son Kamen playing with some paper aeroplanes in the garden.

Ben spent just 3.82 seconds coming to a horrifying conclusion and charged towards Kamen, shouting, pleading and waving his arms like a panic-stricken air traffic controller. Too late. His son launched the last of ten aeroplanes, expertly designed for maximum lift, that carried a special delivery: chapter one (draft four) where amateur writer Brad expresses his undying love for his wife Fen. Ben’s work drifted leisurely into the river behind the house. Ben’s work then sailed lazily downstream. Brad’s undying love for Fen drowned.

Realising all was not right in his father’s world, Kamen offered, “Mom… said it was… okay?”

For draft five, Ben considered an alternate plot where hero Brad might murder evil wife Fen, bludgeoning her to bloody death with a dusty old typewriter and cashing in her life insurance for a laptop. Ben shook himself out of his self-indulgent stupor and decided it was time to repent. Ben was as brave as Brad, but not quite as fictitious.

He slouched towards the closed door of the office, a portcullis for the castle his wife had occupied. He knocked feebly and said in resignation, “Honey, you’re right. We should spend more time together.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, you win.

The castle was silent. No gunshots. No screams. It was eerie. Sinister, even.

Ben saw the new opening of his novel: “In a domestic disagreement, a man should accept defeat with both grace and humility before a petty squabble escalates into global thermonuclear war. A man will always lose regardless of the clarity of his argument or his capacity for endurance.”

Heart in his mouth, he asked his queenpin, “You… don’t know how to format a hard drive, do you?”


More of my words can be found at my blog, Hammerport.


THE BRAVE TIN SOLDIER very closely follows the original story by the Brothers Grimm. A one-legged tin soldier is cruelly mocked by other toys because of his deformity. The soldier falls in love with a toy ballerina who is desired by the toy king. The king exercises his military power to get the girl for himself. The tale ends tragically, with a surprisingly graphic execution by firing squad. This is probably too violent and weird for little kids. The cartoon itself is very nicely animated, perhaps even moreso than the other Ub Iwerks fairy tales. There are some celebrity caricature toys, including a Groucho Marx jack-in-the-box.The video transfer of The Brave Tin Soldier is not as good as those of many other Iwerks cartoons, but it's watchable. There are places which appear to have bleed-through from something previously recorded on the same video tape from which the cartoon was transferred.

Director: UB IWERKS
Producer: UB IWERKS

Creative Commons license: Public Domain

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