Haven’t posted recently. Too many reasons to list here, but one of them involves an April-30 story deadline that I beat by a measly two hours. I would have beat it by more than that, but after writing half a story I realized it was crap and started out with an entirely new plot exploring the same theme. I’d finished a complete first draft of the second iteration before realizing, in the shower last Thursday morning, that it too was crap. Fortunately that same shower yielded a more workable scenario (and thanks to the BUG for input and inspiration so diffusely omnipresent that I can no longer draw a line between the point where my ideas end and hers begin — all I can say is, she happened to be there in the shower when the lightning struck).
This latest iteration is probably shit too. All I know is that it’s better than what’s gone before. And it begins thusly:
The first case of the day, Dora Skilette had learned, was often a bit tricky.
Here for example was Ryan Fletcher, igniting in front of his whole family while watching an after-dinner episode of Death Row Death Match on his recliner (which had, not atypically in these sorts of cases, survived the blaze relatively undamaged). He had lit up the single Benson-and-Hedges he permitted himself each day, brought it to his lips, and breathed a sudden surprising jet of fire into the room — “just like a dragon!”, as eight-year-old Sheldon Fletcher had put it to the police not twenty minutes later. That gout of flame had backwashed down Fletcher’s GI tract where the estimated two-and-a-half liters of dodecane that had accumulated over the previous three days was sloshing around with the usual mix of bile, methane, and prefecal lumps. The resulting explosion left cauterized bits of intestine stuck to the wall mirror at the end of the hall, a good five meters away.
Fletcher had had no professional connection with the biofuel industry. He had, however — according to the GPS log recovered from his Subaru — passed downwind of a GreenHex facility two weeks earlier, during the time when a gasket had failed on one of their bioreactors. Fortunately, no one would ever make that connection.
Instead, Dora decided, they would blame the Poles.
I have no idea whether this is going to fly. Still waiting to hear back from MIT. It’s a tougher gig than you might expect; you’d think that jokes about spontaneous human combustion would almost write themselves.