#AtoZChallenge: Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil

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skull icecream colorized yellow pinkNOTE: This series started as an A to Z Blogging Challenge post (V for Villain) last year, and morphed into an entire saga! Catch the rest of the posts here. They start from the bottom.

Couldn’t resist bringing Jane to you for J!

You can’t have a story without conflict. I mean, I guess you could, but I’m not sure how far it would go or how interesting it would be. Let’s try it:

Jane went to the store. Jane dug an ice cream cone out of the deepest corner of the chest freezer, loosening the ice around it to pry it out. Jane paid for the ice cream cone, got in her car, and drove home.

Whew. I don’t know about you, but that had me on the edge of my seat. So how do you get conflict?

Add a villain:

Jane went to the store. Jane dug an ice cream cone out of the deepest corner of the freezer, loosening the ice around it to pry it out.

“How dare you disturb my frozen rest!” the ice cream cone bellowed, shooting a barrage of sprinkles at Jane. She felt herself growing cold. “I curse you, I curse you, Jane Storegoer, and all of your descendants. My expiration date, long since past, earned me eternal freezitude, and you have defrosted it.”

Jane tried to loosen her grip on the cone, but like a tongue on a cold fence pole, her hand stayed put. The shelves around her wavered and dissolved into a crystal white, extending far beyond her sight and high above her. The ice cream cone grew and grew until it towered, glaring down at her with its peanut eyes. Walled in on all sides, ice clumped like boulders along the vertical expanse, she felt a smooth surface beneath her feet. It gave slightly.

“Where are we?” she said. She bent, brushing the fallen ice beneath her shoes. Was that…an Amy’s frozen Breakfast Scramble box? “Is this the freezer? Am I in the freezer?”

“Mwaahhh haaaa haaa,” laughed the ice cream cone evilly.

“But if I’m in the freezer, how can you curse my descendants? I don’t have any, unless you count my parakeet. You wouldn’t count a parakeet, would you? I think there’s something wrong with this plan here.”

“Mwaahhh haaaa haaa,” said the ice cream cone again, mainly for emphasis.

***

So I think we can all agree I’m having a weird morning (Update: Still true. I must have a lot of weird mornings). That aside, without an antagonist, your protagonist has nothing to do. Enter the villain. In this case, an ice cream cone. And here’s the thing about villains: they need to have their own agendas.

Villains need to be as complex as heroes. They need to have a why; that they’re just plain evil is as unsatisfying in fiction as it is in life. Our ice cream cone just wants to rest.

Or does it?

 

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

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And Now the Exciting Conclusion of Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil!

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freezer(Jane parts 1-12; and now the exciting conclusion!)

Like approaching thunder, the noise grew from both sides. Iris looked from one horizon to the other, and gave Jane a curt nod.

“Go,” she said.

“But don’t you need some help?”

“Barry and I have this.” Iris cast her pimento eyes in Barry’s direction.

“What? Don’t look at me, I’m just an ice cream cone.”

“And the cause of this whole problem.”

‘I can’t be held responsible,” Barry said, “I’m low-fat.”

The Meatniks chanted as they came closer, the sound rhythmic and harsh. Primal. The Tofuratti raised their asparagus spears.

“It’s now or never, Jane,” Iris said.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course. You don’t belong here. Next time you buy a vegetarian frozen dinner, think a fond thought of me.”

“I think I’m done with tofu,” said Jane. “And meat. And ice cream.”

“You can work out your diet later. Go!”

Iris was right, if she was going to make it to the drain, she would have to go now. Barry shuffled in the snow on the tip of its cone. “Bye Jane.”

“Whatever, Barry.”

“You have to admit this was more fun than going home and sitting in front of the TV and eating…well…me.”

The Meatniks crested the hill, all of them solid muscle, their march even and determined. The Tofuratti let out a battle cry.

“In the name of Soy!” they yelled together.

Giving Iris one final smile and Barry the finger, Jane wound herself up, and then sprinted, head down, through the soft, loose snow drifts. The yelling continued behind her as she ran toward the wall.

The drainage hole was higher than she thought. She eyed the ice covering it, tested an outcrop with a hand. It would hold.

Like scaling a freezing rock face, she made her way up slowly, right hand, left hand, right foot, left foot.

“Look out!” she heard and ducked instinctively as an asparagus spear splotched wetly against the wall. The crystal under her left foot gave way with her shifted weight, and she slid, the ice rough against her skin, but she caught herself.

She took a peek over her shoulder and saw a chunk of meat, hunkered and determined, heading in her direction. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and propelled herself upward.

Her hands landed inside the rounded bottom of the drainage hole and, using all the upper body strength she had — while wishing she’d done more pull-ups — she managed to get herself up and over the edge.

There was a screen. She curled up in the hole, trying to catch her breath, and caught sight of Iris mowing down and entire row of Meatniks, one bonking into the other and into the other.

Iris was probably going to be OK.

Barry was horizontal, trying to make itself as small as possible in the valley of two snowdrifts. Typical.

She rammed her shoulder into the screen. Nothing. She tried again. Nope. Turning, she gripped the edge of the drainage hole with both hands and boat-posed like she’d never boat-posed before, then kicked her legs as hard as she could. The screen fell.

And fell. And fell.

She hunched over, looking at the drop. She didn’t have a choice. She closed her eyes and jumped.

***

“You OK over there?” said Tim, the store’s owner.

“Huh?” said Jane. She was in a superhero kneeling position on the convenience store floor. She stood quickly, brushing off the dirt. The warm air prickled her numb skin. “Oh, I, um, dropped…something.”

“Find what you wanted in the freezer?” Tim stepped down from the rise behind the counter, and joined her over the clear case, where ice cream and frozen meat and frozen vegetarian meals lay willy-nilly. “Every time I turn around, this thing is a mess,” he said.

“Yeah,” said Jane, still dazed, vacillating between wondering if Iris made it or if she was crazy. Staring down into the freezer, she could have sworn she  saw a pimento wink.

It didn’t answer her question.

“I, uh, I don’t think I want anything,” she said, heading for the door.

“I understand,” said Tim. “That seems to be happening a lot lately.”

“Sorry,” said Jane, giving him a wave as she gave the door’s handle yank.

“Why are you sorry? I blame Barry,” Tim said.

***

I hope you’ve enjoyed your adventure with Jane! Moral of the story: always read the ingredients.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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The Continuing Adventures of Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil: Part 12

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freezerI ate some ice cream before I wrote this installment. You know. For inspiration and, uh, research. Parts 1-11.

***

Something Linda said stayed firm in Jane’s mind. Drain pan, thought Jane. Drain pan. A way out. And far off in the distance, she could see it, an indentation in the ice wall. She was getting out of here.

With a rhythmic rumble, the ground shook. “What now?” said Jane, her eyes on the path ahead, the path, she was sure lead to a freezer drain.

And her freedom.

Iris shook her blobby head. “Meatniks,” she said. “Damn Meatniks.”

“Meat–”

“Niks,” said Linda, “And you want to stay clear. Come along children,” she said to the twins, hopping back in the direction that they came. The twins laughed.

“Let’s race!” they said, waddling from stick to stick, getting some distance ahead of Linda. Linda stopped, and tracing a bare spot in the snow with its stick, turned back.

“If you had any sense, you’d do the same.” And then they were gone, the twins giggles growing fainter.

“Linda’s not wrong,” Iris said. “And not to pile on or anything, but things don’t look so great in the other direction either.”

While the solid beat of the coming Meatniks grew heavier, there was a definite squelching coming from the direction they had been. Jane couldn’t bear to look, and yet she couldn’t stop herself.

Yep. There they were. The Tofuratti.

“You know, there was a time when you splatted a piece of tofu and it stayed splatted,” said Iris. “But these days, with all the additives…you wouldn’t believe what they call ‘organic.'”

“You’re being awfully quiet, Barry. Nothing to say right now?” Barry swiveled on its cone, front and back and front again.

“Not really,” said Barry.

“Want to maybe zap me out of here?” Jane said. She could now see the gleam of the plastic packaging surrounding the Meatniks. They looked pretty solid. And mean.

From the other way, the Tofuratti bounced onward, scarred and lumpy and scrambled in parts. No question about it. They were trapped.

***

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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The Continuing Adventures of Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil: Part 11

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freezer(Jane, parts 1-10, bottom up.)

“Hang on, hang on,” said Jane. “If you are both gender-neutral–”

“We are!” said Linda and Barry in unison. They then glared at one another.

“Then how did you end up with…creamsicles?”

“Us, us, she means us!” said the twins. They giggled madly to one another.

“You see,” said Barry, glancing at the orange pair, who were hopping from stick to stick in a circle, “When an ice cream cone loves a popsicle–”

“Oh cut the cutesy,” said Linda, “We had a long, cold night together. We were both the last ones in our boxes, and it gets lonely in the freezer.”

“Right,” said Iris. “I think the the question, though, is a little more technical. If there’s no gender…”

“Can you people get your minds out of the drain pan for one second?” Linda blocked Barry’s path, shifting right as Barry shifted left; left as Barry shifted right. “All I know is I have two extra little ones to keep an eye on, and Barry gets to go galvanizing around, miniaturizing people again.”

Jane had made it a far distance down the path, but she stopped. “You’ve done this before?”

“Barry’s done EVERYTHING before,” Linda said. “Quite the full-fat lifestyle, if you ask me.”

“And what happened to them?”

“You want to tell them, Barry?”

“Tell them! Tell them! Them tell!” sing-songed the twins.

“It’s OK,” said Barry.

“Did you get them out of the freezer or what?” Jane stood very, very still.

“In a way.” Barry kept its eyes on the ground.

“In a way?” Jane said. “In a WAY?”

“This part of the freezer is weird,” said Iris. “Maybe I should go back and test my luck with the Tofuratti.”

“Uh-uh,” said Jane. “I need your help. I’m getting out of this place, no matter what it takes to do it.”

***

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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The Continuing Adventures of Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil: Part 10

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freezer(Jane’s story up until now)

“Hello, Linda,” said Barry, mustering all of the cold dignity he could with a lopsided head. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Didn’t you?” Linda tilted on its wooden stick, a sneer of berry parts in its facial area. “Barry didn’t think it would see us here,” Linda called over its rounded shoulder to the small orange pair behind it, the two of them joined down the middle and hopping from stick to stick, giggling manically.

“HA HA HA,” said the one on the right.

“HEE HEE HEE,” said the one on the left.

“What the hell?” said Iris, her pimento eyes glowing under furrowed brows.

“My thoughts exactly,” Jane said. “Going to introduce us to your friends, Barry?”

“They’re not my friends.” Shooting a look as sharp as icicles, Barry hopped its way down the snow-covered path. The popsicles followed, Linda skating on the edge of its stick, right, then left, then right again; the connected pair wobbling from stick to stick.

“We’re not his friends,” the twins mocked in unison.

“What is your deal?” said Iris.

“I don’t care. I just want to get out of this place and back home.” Jane headed down the path behind them, the snow, in drifts, coming up nearly to her knees. It was soft, though, and light, lighter than any snow she’d seen before.

“Our deal?” Linda said. “Want to tell them our deal?”

“Not really,” Barry said, its attempt at ignoring them not working very well.

“Are you embarrassed of your little creamsicles?”

Everyone stopped exactly where they were, except for Barry, who, hop as he might, couldn’t get much distance.

“Your what?” said Jane.

***

 

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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The Continuing Adventures of Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil: Part 9

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freezer(Jane’s story so far.)

With the soggy sounds of fighting behind her, Jane tried to process what her eyes were seeing.

It was beautiful.

There before her icy crystals heaped in their glistening glory, large enough to show off every intricate line. Forming mounds and then hills, and then finally peaks in the distance, they gave off a scent of fresh chill, like a cold morning before winter truly settles in.

Far beyond, in a white backdrop, a sheer wall of sparkling white stretched far up beyond where Jane could see.

“Sheesh,” said Barry. “You’d think you’d never seen the inside of a freezer before.” Its head was somewhat squashed and lopsided from its recent up-ending.

“What?” Jane tried to snap back from her wonder.

“It’s just the inside of a freezer,” it said, “and this isn’t my neighborhood, so I suggest we get–”

“Anyone miss me?” said Iris, her tofu gouged and nicked in a few spots, but no worse for the wear. She was holding the flap closed, the sound of wet splotches hitting the other side.

“Iris!” said Jane. “You fought them all off?”

“Extra firm my off-white behind,” she said. “Huh. This is pretty.” She nodded in the direction of the landscape.

“See?” said Jane.

“ONE MORE SPLAT AND I WILL MEAT UP THE JOINT,” Iris yelled through the cardboard.

The noise on the other side stopped.

She stood up, and brushed her wobbly hands against one another. “That’s what I thought. So, what’s the plan?”

“I’d like to get out of here and back to normal size,” Jane said. “Or nearly normal size, I wouldn’t mind dropping a pound or two.”

“And yet you tried to buy me to eat me,” said Barry.

“Hey!” Jane and Iris glared at Barry in unison.

“Seriously, let’s go, I don’t like it around here.” Barry hopped onward, determinedly, the tip of its cone sinking into the snow. But not fast enough.

“Well, well well. If it isn’t Barry, same old floppy-coned Barry,” came from a short distance away.

***

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

 

 

The Continuing Adventures of Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil: Part 8

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freezer

(Jane’s story so far.)

Looking over the right angle of her shoulder, Iris used an asparagus spear to prop open the flap.

“Go go go,” she said, watching as the Grand Fermenter finally glopped enough of himself back together to get back on his bottom tofu square.

She sent Barry skittering, cone first, through the rectangular opening, ice cream scraping off top and bottom.

“Hey! Easy,” said Barry as it disappeared through the flap.

“Now you,” Iris told Jane as the Grand Fermenter and the other Tofurati lurched toward them like tofu zombies, leaving wet crumbs in their wake.

Jane eyed the opening and then Iris, whose pimentos were looking a lot less menacing. “What about you?”

“Don’t worry about me,” she said. “I’ll be fine. You may not be.”

Jane dropped onto her front side, pushing herself through the slot. Halfway through, she stopped. “Thanks,” she said, as the Fermenter closed in on Iris. “Watch out!”

“Don’t mention it,” said Iris, and keeping those pimentos exactly where they were, she slammed a soggy elbow into the area on the Grand Fermenter that is commonly a nose.

Slithering through, and now adding some melted ice cream to her coating of stickiness, Jane pushed herself out of the box and into the light beyond.

It took a moment for her eyes to adjust, and when they did, she gasped.

***

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!