Liz's Looming Lunacy

An author trying to find her place in the world.

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Location: Bayport, New York, United States

Swain's world (The Cosmic Unicorn #1); A Day in the Life (Alternate Hilarities #3); The Lawnmower that Ate Manhattan (NIEKAS, I forget the issue); Spring Cleaning (Sound Waves); Shadow Play (The Parasitorium II: Parasitic Sands, 2007); Crow's Feat (Free Fall (February, 2007) Oh, and Obligatory Holly Lisle Affiliate Link for writing workshops and stuff.


30-09-2005 Haiku Again


Haiku 3-5-3


Random Thoughts on the True Nature of Life, The Universe, and Everything

     I received a compliment for my tee shirt today (an extraterrestrial with a mug of beer and a "beer mustache" parody image of the "got milk?" commercials, only the caption on it says "Got Beer?"); and I passed on the compliment to someone else who was wearing a very nice looking Policemen's Benevolent Tee shirt.
     I used to collect tee shirts. One that I always wished I could have gotten was one which portrayed a standing fan (you know the ones with the mechanism allowing them to swing back and forth in a semi-arc to circulate the air) in space around starships with the caption "Science Fiction Fan, but I never ran across the artist in any dealer's room that had been making and selling them.
     For the longest time, I had a tee shirt that Nina Bogin gave me, a Revenge of the Jedi tee shirt (that was a beta until they figured that a Jedi does not revenge get), but with many things that happened, many things I treasured over the years became lost or fell apart.
     Well, at least I have my memories, and what little sanity that I have always possessed through the years. ♥
     Such is life.


Conversation/Dialogue With A Muse

Well you don't [b]have[/b] yo have a msue, or even a conversation with one, but it would still be kind of funny...

WRITER: Oh, I have nothing to write.

MUSE: coffee?

WRITER: Woe is me.

MUSE: /grumbles and gets up/ I'll get my own cup then, shall I?

WRITER: /head on desk, fist slams surface/ Where am I going to find my NaNo idea?

MUSE: /from kitchen/ Ah, where do you keep the cups in this palce? I can't find them.

WRITER: Woe is me...

MUSE: Just write then. Yuo know that msot of the persiration comes before the inspiration.

WRITER: Maybe I should jsut give up.

MUSE: Would you just give up and write already? Yeesh.

WRITER /lightbulb  goes off over head/ Ah! I know! A cup of coffee writes its first novel!

MUSE: .....


Spring cleaning (revised)

        So long as I'm posting early, early stuff:
        Here is a story I revised (the first version appeared in Sound Waves, the literary magazine at the Eastern Campus of Suffolk County Community College. There's a VP shift at one part (I can see that now, years later) and I really made an as (way too many of them in this story) but it's still a cute idea. I've written several outlines for a new, more professinoal fic, loosely based on the same characters but it still sleeps for now.
        Too bad I can't show you something really Cringeworthy, like The Lawnmower that Ate Manhattan. I do have a superior rewrite of it, all that's really missing is the dialogue (and some footnotes to back up one premise of the story) and it's ostensibly science fiction with a touch of horror instead of fantasy horror with a touch of whimsy now, but I still have to write the dialogue for it.
        *sigh* I want a banana...



by Elizabeth Anne Ensley

        Fran searched the sky for tell-tale meteoric streaks. She forsook New Orleans' Carnival to watch the Carnival of Lights in the night sky. The well-lit, reveler-filled streets of New Orleans's French Quarter didn't give her a good view. Everyone finally left Mosca's at midnight, so she was alone in the parking lot.
        At two in the morning, Fran saw the spaceship hover above Waggoman Pond. It looked like an amalgam of an original flying saucer and a space shuttle, its lines smooth and even.
        The payload compartment opened; a man climbed out, his chestnut hair swaying in the breeze generated by the ship. His silvery suit seemed incongruous in the night's damp chill.
        "That' for the tourist board, hey?"
        He turned around, "Hello. We hoped we could get here unseen."
        "If I hadn't wanted to watch the meteor shower tonight, you would have. I almost didn't get here because of the crowds."
        "Crowds?" He looked around the near-empty parking lot.
        "Back in New Orleans for Mardi Gras."
        "Oh." He looked around again, chagrined, "How far is New Orleans from here?"
        "About 15 miles," She paused. "What brings you to Earth, anyway? Are you an advance scout for alien invaders?"
        "No, I'm here to study Mardi Gras for students from the Interstellar University at Eos."
         Fran put her hands over her ears, unsure she'd heard him correctly. "Would you mind running that by me again?"
        "I did not run."
        "I mean, would you repeat what you just said? I'm not sure I understood you."
        "Of course; I'm here to study Mardi Gras for--"
        Fran stopped him, "I thought that's what you said. Why study Mardi Gras for a bunch of kids?"
        "Kids? I do not study for young goats. Just for young sentients of various races in the nterstellar community."
        Fran groaned, burying her face in her hands, "Kids; you know, youngsters, students, young people...I don't believe I'm arguing semantics with some guy who just got off a spaceship."
        "The University shuttle? I guess you could call it that. It's really more of a sub-orbital transfer unit."
        "Whatever. Need a lift?"
        "Do you really think you could support my mass?"
        After a moment's confusion, Fran laughed as she realized what he thought she meant. "A ride into town, silly. What's your name?"
        "I am an Information Securing and Analysis Construct--'Isaac' is an acceptable acronym."
        "Uh, sure." Fran pressed on anyway. "I'm Fran Waters. Need a ride into New Orleans?"
        "Are you going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras?"
        "No, I'm going into New Orleans because I live there. Oh, now you've got me doing it!"
        "I would like to go to New Orleans."
        Fran climbed into her car and popped open the door on the passenger side. "Get in the car."
        After a moments' hesitation, Isaac literally took a few short hops, but paused at the car door. "I don't think I can really hop into the car."
        "Why not just climb in, then?"
        Isaac paused a moment, "Are you sure it's okay? I'm not familiar with your customs."
        Groaning, Fran buried her face in her hands. "I wonder if this is what Mom meant when she warned me about picking up strange men."
        By chance or purpose, Isaac chose not to respond. He asked instead, "What is your vocation?"
        "Vocation? Oh, you mean, what do I do for a living?" At his nod, she continued, "I do mail order for a small press. It's not much, but it helps pay the bills. And you?"
        "How could your job help pay me?"
        She started the cars' motor, gunning it in a fit of pique. "My job does not pay you, it pays me. I asked what you did for a living. When you're not doing research for college kids."
        "I am a research construct, though I have other functions as well."
        "You mean you're a robot. Android. Self-willed machine."
        He nodded.
        She spared him a glance, "You sure don't look like a robot."
        "That would interfere with my programmed task. Research is an improbable proposition for an obvious machine. Your world as yet does not have what one author called 'humaniform' robots."
        Fran laughed so hard, she almost lost control of the car. "It figures--"
        She stopped the car for a minute and looked at him, "Isaac, you've just said that you're basically a humaniform robot--you figure it out."
        It finally dawned on him. "Yes, but it's only a fluke."
        "I wonder..."

~ # ~

        "I hate renting off Canal Street this time of year," Fran grumbled as they drove through streets still congested with revelers at four o'clock Sunday morning.
        "Because of all the people?"
        "Yes," Fran agreed as she parked in front of an aging, nondescript brownstone, "Oh, no--" She ducked -- too late. "Oh, no--they've seen us!"
        Isaac looked out the car window to see what caused Fran such great dismay.
        "Hey, Fanny-Franny, who's your boyfriend?"
        The young man's leftover New Year's hat just managed to hide his shock of dark hair. He had one arm around the waist of a very pretty, slender redhead who had plainly had too much wine. His other arm held a case of beer. He clearly enjoyed fondling both equally.
        "Hey, Fanny-Franny, our lady with the butt that's big as Alabammy, who's your new boyfriend? You holdin' out on us?"
        "Grow up, Bacchus," Fran fairly snarled as she shut off the car's ignition. "Lock the door when you get out, Isaac."
        "Eye-sack? This guy ain't got no fuckin' eye-sacks, Fanny! S'matter fact, he's kinda cute!" The redhead leered at Isaac as he followed Fran into the building.
        "Get a life, Calliope." Fran slammed the door. "They've got some nerve!"
        "You have -- unusual friends, Fran."
She jumped, "Oh, I forgot about you, Isaac. They're not my friends, really--just some kids I knew in high school back on Long Island ."
        "They seemed rather hostile."
        "Is that why you kept quiet? You're more perceptive than I thought." Fran buried her face in her hands, "While you're here, I guess you need a place to crash, right? C'mon."
        Fran climbed the long, narrow staircase. "What is 'crash space?'" He followed her up the stairs.
        They stopped at a door in the corridor. "Please excuse the mess, Isaac. It's only a studio apartment, and I don't usually have company."
        A large red poster greeted Isaac's eyes. It proclaimed, in glaring neon letters:


        After that, he noticed both the neat stacks of boxed books, and the bookshelves lined with a variety of paperback books. He went to the latter. Choosing a book at random, he skimmed the pages. "Interesting--even if I don't quite
understand it."
        "Well, some of these books use puns extensively."
        "Puns? Ah, a play on words."
        "Correct--the man wins a No-Prize! -Are you hungry?"
        "Now that you mention it, my energy levels are low."
        "Okay -- wait, what does an android eat, anyway?"
        "Anything small enough to ingest."
        "Sticks and stones may break my bones..." Isaac gave her a puzzled glance, so Fran quickly explained, "It's an old nursery rhyme. Anyway, I thought androids didn't need to eat. You know, that they had small atomic batteries, or something."
        Isaac smiled, "Many of the newer, more advanced models have batteries like those. However, consumption of local produce is both energy-efficient for long surveys and also allows me to blend into the background on worlds like yours. Otherwise, natives become either violently conscious of this or, a less desirable end, worship you as a deity."
        "Then I hope you don't mind leftover Cajun." Smiling, she went to her kitchenette.

~ # ~

        On Sunday afternoon, they watched Mid-City Krewe parade down Canal Street.
        "Why do they throw things at people?" Isaac asked as the twenty-eighth truck rolled past. "Don't they want anyone to watch the parade?"
        "They're not throwing things at us. They're throwing things to us." At Isaac's puzzled glance, she quickly added, "Throws are souvenirs for the crowd. I can show you the encyclopedia entry at the library tomorrow."
        "I'd really like to see that entry today. Can't we go to the library now?"
        "It's closed on Sunday."
        He caught a throw, a white plastic bead with the Krewe logo emblazoned on it. "Would you like a souvenir?"
        "Why, thank you!"        Fran blushed, unused to this sort of gesture.
        Isaac caught another throw. "Can you please hang on to this for me? I'm afraid I don't have any pockets." He ruefully looked down at the silvery jumper he'd worn since landing.
        "Sure. Hey, let's visit the Starvation Army tomorrow and get you some new clothes."
        "Interesting. It's closed now, right?"
        "Why yes, but how did you know?"
        "It's Sunday. After this parade, do you have any Cajun left? I'm hungry."
        Fran found it harder to think of him as a robot.

~ # ~

        They went to the Proteus parade on Monday evening.
        "You should have told me. The suit wasn't a permanent part of you, Isaac. I could have bought some underwear, too!" As the Proteus Kings' float passed by with its seahorses and huge coral shell, Fran buried her face in her hands to hide her blush.
        "To what purpose?        I am wearing clothes, so no one knows that I'm not wearing it."
        "I do."
        "Don't worry." He slightly squeezed her shoulder, both in reassurance and as a warning. "By the way, don't look now, but I think the hostiles have seen us."
        "The--oh no, not them again."
        As the crowd thinned after the parade, Bacchus and Calliope saw them and decided to bait Fran some more.
        "Hey, Fanny-Franny, I see you and your boyfriend decided to take a break from making whoopie and see the parade." Calliope smirked, sidling up to Isaac for a better look. "Hey Fanny, where d'ya find him?? He is so cute!" She drunkenly threw her arms around his neck. "Kiss me, sweet thing!"
        Bacchus jealously glared at them as Isaac gently but firmly removed Calliope's arms from around his neck.
        "Sorry, Calliope, but you're not my type."
        She drunkenly swayed over to Bacchus, who possessively clutched at her. "She's mine, Bag-eyes!!" He tossed his beer at Isaac, and disappeared with Calliope into the throng.
        Isaac's clothes wetly hung on him. "I'd better clean up -- what a mess!"
        Fran giggled, "And you smell like a brewery, too. C'mon, I'll run you a bath!"
        "All right. I'm supposedly water-tight, after all."

~ # ~

        "Isaac--are you all right? Answer me!" Fran begged him to say something--anything: but he remained silent. As he climbed into the bathtub, there had been a crackling noise and sparks, then nothing. No stimulus could reach him.
        Fran buried her face in her hands. "If I knew this would happen, I'd have given you a sponge-bath!" Taking care not to touch the water with her bare hands, she pulled the plug; she watched as the swirling water made its way down the drain.
        "I lose more dates this way."

~ # ~

        Oh, and before you ask: yes, this is my poor attempt at an homage to Isaac Asimov, who gave us things like self-willed machines and the Three Laws of Robotics.