Wednesday February 15th, 2012

The exercise:

The first line prompt is one I don't use nearly enough. Consider this a step toward attempting to make up for that.

So take the opening line I've come up with for you and then go wherever it leads you. Here it is:

It's a strange thing, seeing my face on a poster beneath the words WANTED: Dead or Alive.


It's a strange thing, seeing my face on a poster beneath the words WANTED: Dead or Alive. Not that I don't deserve it. Of course I do. The things I've done... well, you can see for yourself. They're all listed right up there, under my picture.

The stuff they know about, at least.

Odd. That's what it is. To realize that this great country has sanctioned my death. Given permission to any yokel with a good eye and a steady hand to gun me down.

Seems to me a man could get his start like that. Enjoy that power a bit too much, crave the chance to wield it again. Might end up on one of these posters himself one day. It don't take much dirt to turn a white hat black.

Dangerous thing, that brand of justice. Bit like walking in circles, expecting to end up somewhere different next time around.

Ah, but what do I know? I'm a wanted man, but not for my company or cleverness. So I'll just be moving on, before anyone in this town tries to play hero.


Greg said...

Your opening line feels like something Ben might say, from How the Best was Won. It's a good one though!
There's a great little editorial slant to your piece as well, your wanted man is clearly a part-time philosopher. Hmmm. That brings me back to Ben again, doesn't it?

Wanted: Dead or Alive
It's a strange thing, seeing my face on a poster beneath the words WANTED: Dead or Alive. Stranger than you'd think as well: I'm a dog, and normally my face appears on posters beneath "Lost," "Missing," or once, "Eats children!" That last one was a bit hysterical though.
I jumped up at the tree and bit at the poster until I'd managed to pull most of it down. It wasn't quite the reputation I wanted to have.
Oh, the eats children thing? It was just the one child. And only a small one, nearly dead. It asked me to eat it, really it did.
I sniffed the base of the tree, but I didn't get much. Rubber, so the poster-poster was probably wearing gym shoes of some kind. Like too many people in the town. I was about to give up when I found another smell in there too, in little spots here and there. Cinnamon tobacco, and this nose is never wrong. Now that did narrow it down, a lot. I only knew two people who chewed cinnamon tobacco, and since they lived together, that made finding them that much easier.
Wanted huh? Let's see how they felt when they found me.

Cathryn Leigh said...

@Marc - ahhh the old western feel. it sort of inspired my version. More on that in a moment.

@Greg - he he a Dog, that's awesome. He wouldn't happen to be a Hell Hound would he? :}

And now as my entry would be marked Mature on P-tag I decided to post it as Mature on Protagonize, so marc doens't have to worry about having Mature stuff on his blog...

Anyway here's the link:

Krystin Scott said...

It's a strange thing, seeing my face on a poster beneath the words WANTED: Dead or Alive. Ya see I wanted out and they weren’t going to just let me go. So on that last job, I had an unfortunate accident, some would call it an untimely demise or so they thought. I’ve been working a ranch I purchased here on the outskirts Dunkirk since my “retirement.”

But eventually Mc Gregor put the pieces together; when he worked it all out he knew I wasn’t dead. Since he couldn’t find me on his own it looks as if he’s finally resorted to using the town’s crazies to smoke me out. People round here will do anything for money, now that the mine’s collapsed work’s hard to come by.

I don’t get a lot of visitors out at the ranch, somehow (snicker) they seemed to get the idea I like my privacy. Even still, enough people have seen me; it’s going to be a problem. Not for the three of us, we’re gonna be fine, (knowing smile) ya see there’s a reason why I was the best in the business, why I could seem to be everywhere and never turned down a job. That face you’re looking at on that their wanted poster, well…. it ain’t just mine. (laughter)

Iron Bess said...

It's a strange thing, seeing my face on a poster beneath the words WANTED: Dead or Alive. Kinda gives a person that weird feeling in the guts. Although I have to admit that I do look mighty fine in this particular picture, obviously when it was taken the light was just right, my eyes looked real bright, my smile was just barely there a little coquettish. Yup I look real fine, if I do say so myself.

I took a quick look around to make sure no one was watching and pulled the poster off the wall, this puppy was coming with me. I rolled it carefully and then put it in with some other sheets I had in my cylinder. I almost stepped on Max when I turned to go. “You’re pathetic,” he said.

“What?” I said, giving him a wide eyed innocent stare.

He just shook his head then took my hand and escorted me Platform C. “I got two one-way tickets to Reno.”

“Reno?” I know I was giving him that look like he had just started oozing green snot from his eyeballs. That look that he hates more than anything. But Reno! He was holding both hands up in front of himself and was shaking his head. “Don’t even go there,” I said. “The last time we went to Reno we got stuck there for two cycles. Two!” I was shouting now and every eye on the platform was looking at us but I didn’t give two shits about that. No way, no how am I going to get stuck there again.

“Kat,” he began in his most disarming voice. “Honey, just listen…”

“No Max not this time. We are not going back to that shit hole now, or ever. Do you hear me?” I looked up to see some smarmy arsed suit looking at me with a big wide grin on his green pocked face. I freakin hate Vegan’s. “What are you looking at toad-man?” Yeah I can be a real bitch some days. But come on, when your partner wants to drag you off to the remotest planet in the galaxy for another thousand years of mind numbingly boring art appreciation you’d be bitchy too.

Anonymous said...

I see you one and raise you one! ;)

It's a strange thing, seeing my face on a poster beneath the words WANTED: Dead or Alive.

What was a damned sight stranger than that was looking at the poster and knowing that I had been dead for over two weeks.

Anonymous said...

It's a strange thing, seeing my face on a poster beneath the words WANTED: Dead or Alive. I stared at it for what seemed a very long time, wondering how all the many crossroads of my life could possibly have converged onto this one point.

We had barely stumbled back out of the North Forest after three weeks of not bathing much, digging roots from the ground, and hunting crafty, little squirrels I felt certain were using us for their own depraved amusement. Three weeks, it was agreed amongst our group of 8, was long enough to ensure the whole, ahhh, misunderstanding with the council had passed over and been forgotten, as if it were nothing more than the dream of a sleeping butterfly. Leon, our self-proclaimed leader and a former council member himself, spent most of our exile repeating variations of this hope loudly and with as much pretension as he could muster, which was usually enough to send me back to the company of squirrels and firewood.

I knew better. Having spent countless hours the last 10 months inundated with intimate, if not typically banal, knowledge of the life and habits of 6 of the 11 council members, I had suspected this was next to impossible. These people did not forgive. They did not forget. And, let's be honest, the whole debacle had been a gale force shit storm. We were lost no matter how long we stayed away. However, I was currently the lowest class present so I kept my thoughts in my head and my hands in the dirt, unearthing another wild carrot.

I shouldn't have even been there that night. My inopportune arrival at the banquet hall was a simple mix up caused by a last minute errand I had been forced to run. Before I knew what was even happening, I had tripped over the remains of a 5 tier cake and into a life I felt would likely be spent doing manual labor in a prison camp. That suddenly didn't sound too bad compared to what I saw reflected in my own eyes and the 4 terrible words printed on this ordinary sheet of 8 1/2 by 11 printer paper, betrayed by one of the tools of my own trade. This shot, grainy but not enough, had obviously been captured by a security camera during our escape, my expression a sea of horror and disbelief made slightly ridiculous by a huge smear of blue frosting across one cheek.

"What happened to my life..." I muttered, turning back to the others, wearily ready to face the next phase of our dreadful fate.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I could easily see Ben in my piece :)

Nice twist on the prompt :D

Cathryn - appreciate the discretion, though I'm not sure it was needed. I generally keep my writing pretty PG, but I've never required or asked for it in the comments.

Regardless, I liked yours. Definitely not your usual style, but very well done.

Krystin - excellent character piece. I could easily see that expanding into a full fledged story :)

Iron Bess - neat world you've created there. And, well, yes, I'd be bitchy too :)

GZ - well played, sir. Well played :)

H.N. - speaking of bits that could easily be expanded into a story... :)

Great details and descriptions. Really brought the scenes to life.