The Author returned to her computer at the appointed time to find a curious scene in her Green Room: the sofa and all but three of the chairs had been rearranged around the television, and every seat was occupied by an engrossed man in uniform.  Caroline, Eleanor and Elizabeth, looking bored out of their minds, occupied the few remaining chairs and were facing away from the TV.  Elizabeth looked up at The Author’s entrance.

            “Good Lord.  I can’t believe they expect us to think the ship’s leaving that kind of a wake when the sails are completely slack.  It’s not like it’s heeling…”  grumbled James, pointing at the screen.

            “Please.. we’re begging you..”  said Elizabeth.

            “Well, what do you expect?  They were trying to use an octant as a sextant in that other scene…” replied Andrew.

            Seething at this interruption, Elizabeth looked back at The Author and continued.  “PLEASE take “Master and Commander” out of the DVD collection.  This is the third time today.”

            Ah.  I hadn’t thought of that… they haven’t found the Hornblower series yet, have they?

            “The WHAT?” asked Caroline.

            Em.  Never mind.  Look… said The Author, I’ll give you some counter-ammunition.  And three DVD sets appeared in Elizabeth’s lap.

            “’Pride and Prejudice?’  ‘Sense and Sensibility?’  ‘Little Women?’”  Elizabeth gave The Author a skeptical stare.

            Try them out tomorrow.  Trust me on this.


Theo and Caroline vs.  The Entertainment System

“I just don’t get it!” Caroline exclaimed.

            “These shiny circles supposedly have the “moving pictures” on them, but I don’t see how…”  complained Theo.

            “Or how they go into that box!  It makes no sense.” she grumbled.

            James came in and took his hat off.  “Terribly sorry to be late…”

            “No, it’s all right… She started with Beckett’s scene…” Theo tried pressing random buttons again.

            “What are you two doing?”

            “She said that if we were bored we could see a dramatic production on that grey thing there, but we’ve no idea how to make it work…”

            James gave Caroline and Theo a slightly exasperated look.  He picked up the remote and pressed a sequence of buttons.  The TV, DVD player and surround sound system all came on, and the drawer on the DVD player opened.  He put the disc in.

            As the opening credits to “Much Ado About Nothing” rolled up the screen, he met two amazed gazes. “How did you…?”

He pointed to the stack of manuals on the shelf.  “I read the instructions.  Didn’t you?”

Scene: The Green Room

 
          
               The Author arrived at the appointed hour to find her cast of Navy and EITC sailors already assembled, but looking aggrieved.  Is everything all right?

James spoke up.  “Good day to you, my lady.  Now, while we do appreciate the accommodations here, I’m afraid there’s been grumblings about the food.”

            What?  It’s sushi!  I ordered from the best place in town!

            “It’s bait!” shouted a voice from the back.

            James turned to shout at that anonymous voice.  “I SAID, I would HANDLE this.”  He turned back to the backside of the monitor glass.  “Madam, you have seen to our creature comforts excellently well, but we do feel that, in this particular case, there has been an oversight.  This fish is a bit undercooked.”

            It’s raw.  It’s sashimi.  It’s Japanese, and it’s supposed to be that way.

            There was a general outcry at this response.

            James tried to be conciliatory.  “Ah.  Now, I realize that, to you Americans, the rest of the world is, in fact, one multi-colored blur, but we are English, not Japanese.”

            There was a pause.  You’d prefer blood pudding, I suppose.

            James beamed, as if some accord had been reached.  “Yes, exactly.”

            Or haggis?

            “A bit Hibernian, but that would do nicely.”

            You know, I’ve never been really clear as to what goes into a Spotted Dick…

            James looked affronted.  “It’s a PUDDING, with CURRANTS.”

            “Now gentlemen…” sneered the voice of Cutler Beckett, as he entered the room with Caroline on his arm.  “We do not wish to seem provincial before the American…”

            “Really, you ought to try it.  It was quite good.”  Caroline tried to mend the breach.

            “You can’t possibly be serious…” started James.

AAAAAAAAAGH, cried The Author.  Fine.  Japanese is off the list.  I’ll get Indian, next time.  OK?   

            Caroline again tried to intervene.  “We really do appreciate the effort you’ve made…”

            PLACES, everyone, or so help me God this turns into a “Desperate Housewives” crossover fic.

            There was no more discussion.

This is a trick a friend of mine turned me on to ages ago. The theory is that, when you're blocked, take the characters and write something, anything with them, just to get yourself started. It worked pretty well on the story I was writing at the time, so I'm introducing the conceit here, just for fun. :)

The Green Room. It’s an elegantly-appointed virtual space on ConcertiGrossi’s computer. There’s an extensive library, a full kitchen and bar, and an entertainment center with a very nice flat-screen TV. A schedule is posted on the door, detailing when The Author expects to be working on which scenes, and which characters she’ll need to be present for each session. Currently, the couch and chair are occupied by Admiral Norrington and Lady Chalfont. Caroline is unconsciously humming, but not quietly enough.

“Please stop. I can’t bear that song one more time.” grumbled James.
“It’s not my fault! I can’t get it out of my head!”
“I warned you about the modern music. Of all the horrible, off-key caterwauling I’ve ever heard…”
Theo came in. “Is everything all right?”
“I have a song stuck in my ear, and it’s driving James up the wall.”
Theo grinned. “Is it... Ma-ia-hii..?”
She grinned right back. “Ma-ia-huu…”
They started singing together. “Ma-ia-haa… Ma-ia-HAHA!”
James put his head in his hands as Caroline and Theo got up and started dancing enthusiastically.

“Vrei sa pleci dar nu ma, nu ma iei,
Nu ma, nu ma iei, nu ma, nu ma, nu ma iei.
Chipul tau si dragostea din tei,
Mi-amintesc de ochii tai!”

“You two look spastic, dancing to that, I hope you realize….”

(If you don't know the song, go to YouTube and search for Navy Numa Numa. Watch it twice. Now just try to get the tune out of your head, I dare you.)

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April 2013

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