Genre Bending Challenge

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Is Anything Out of Place...?
Laundromat Z
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Post February 17, 2020, 04:52:10 AM

Genre Bending Challenge

Two misplaced tales to choose from
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Post February 17, 2020, 04:53:28 AM

Is Anything Out of Place...?

Is Anything Out of Place...?

By Sergio Palumbo

The man took a deep breath, once he had exhaled the smoke that he had held inside his mouth a moment before. Then he raised his eyes and stared at the two short figures that sat in front of him.

“So, please, would you tell me again why I’m here, and how you brought me to this place, wherever it is?”

“You’re the best detective in the world, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, which answers why you’re here…” said the voice of the first of the two. The voice itself was a bit mechanical, as if it was generated by a device he had between his lips, if it was a ‘him’. Given the appearance – short height, gray color, hairless, thin and long arms and legs, and no visible sign of the gender, the man thought it might be more of a him than of a her…But, how could anyone tell? And why did it wear such an unusual gray suit?

“I thank you for appreciating my renown, but I must repeat the question that I asked as soon as I woke up and saw you two: Who are you?” Sherlock uttered.

“Our name and the name of the planet we are from is not important: you may call us simply ‘The Grays”, and yes, we abducted you, while you were asleep, and brought you here, for good reason…” the first strange individual replied.

‘The Grays…’, a surprised Sherlock told himself while eyeing both individuals. “So, you confess you abducted me. And, where is this place?”

“A space vessel orbiting Earth, but again, that is not important…” the second said.

“Whatever!” the detective cried out as he tried to understand because, so far, not much of his situation was understandable. ”So, you said you need me for…”

“Yes, yes… We need you for your great ability to read the meaning of things, to investigate and discover the truth.”

“Oh, I see. Well, I can’t say I appreciate the way you do things, or this abduction of yours, anyway…”

“Please, Mr. Holmes, try to overlook that, it’s of no use at present. Just tell us what you find in this room that is not correct, according to your experience,” the shortest alien said.

“So, is that why you brought me here? By the way, if this is an airship, orbiting Earth, as you told me, I must say that I don’t see any sign of movement, not even a single tremble in the metal structure…” the man admitted.

“Good, good, Mr. Holmes…so, please, continue your evaluation of this setting…” the second Gray told him.

Sherlock looked around the room, studying the furnishings and everything else very closely. It was a typical late Victorian decor, characterized by ornate designs, painted and gilded dark woods along with a large stone fireplace. There were beautiful colors and skilled fakery intending to make the home a welcoming place, according to the current tradition in England. Some typically intricate treatments had been placed around a faux window. “I think this is a good example of a medium house in London. You spent a lot to decorate it, I admit, though I couldn’t say why you put a room like this aboard an airship…” the man replied eventually.

“Actually, Mr. Holmes, you’ve done us a great service. We wouldn’t expect anything less from you…” the first alien told him.

“You see, Mr. Holmes…” the second added, “We’re just on the brink of testing our new drug that is meant to keep humans sedated while we do our examinations of their bodies and minds, which is why we chose you. Given your great knowledge, your abilities and your extraordinary mind, you can give us info about the drug’s effects, and how to improve it so that humans can’t understand what is really going on, and how to prevent them from rebelling against our tests…”

“What…? You don’t want humans to understand about your…? What do you mean? I know I’m here in this room.” Sherlock looked at the two in a curious way.

“Of course, Mr. Holmes. The fact is that you are still asleep now, even as we speak, but your inquisitive mind is still at work. Despite our drug your skills haven’t lessened…” the first Gray made it clear.

“So, you see, if your powerful mind is at work while you are asleep, and you can’t detect anything out of place in this recreated environment, it means that no other human will certainly ever discover the truth. We did a great job when we chose the furnishings and the overall appearance of this room. This place really looks like a room from the 1800s, which is exactly what we wanted. Not even you, the greatest detective on Earth, can see any difference in the furnishings or your surroundings. We have achieved the result we need for our next steps.”

“What the hell…! What are you saying…?” Sherlock cried out.

“No reason to be upset, Mr. Holmes. Now we can increase the amount of the drug and you’ll fall completely unconscious at once. Then we’ll take you back to your home and you’ll wake up in a few minutes without remembering anything about what happened on this vessel…Do I make myself clear?”

“I continue to have problems in comprehending some of the terms you use…” Sherlock said before falling asleep a moment later.

When he woke up, the rays of the sun were filtering through the glass of the window in his bedroom. He got up off his bed and headed downstairs to the sitting room where he found a well-known face. “Watson, you’re not going to believe what I dreamed last night!”

“You should stop taking drugs, my dear Sherlock. I hope that one day you’ll take my advice and stop or eventually you might get both of us into trouble, you might even set our flat on fire,” the doctor retorted with a cold expression.
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Post February 17, 2020, 04:54:17 AM

Laundromat Z

Laundromat Z

By Michele Dutcher

The redheaded plastic doll sat naked in front of the washing machine watching his overalls and striped shirt go round and round. At least I have my eyes back so I can watch, he thought, remembering the long painful weeks he had been forced to endure growing his head back when he had first arrived. He had positioned himself next to the blank white wall at the end of the infinite appliances, because, well you never knew who would show up next – so it was best to be the first to know.

As if in sync with the spin cycle, the beige wall began to spin, its center becoming a liquid portal. Before the doll could even retrieve his clothing and throw it into a dryer, the clown laid on the speckled floor in front of the now solid wall.

“Well it looks like balloons float but I don’t,” said the clown, disgusted with himself while getting to his feet. “Dang those blasted kids!” He looked down the infinity row of chrome appliances before seeing the naked plastic doll sitting on a white plastic and metal chair. “Well, what are you looking at?” he sneered.

“Nothing,” replied the doll trying to be casual. “Just doing my laundry – which explains my nakedness. You might want to wash your clothes as well. I am afraid you reek.”

The clown began to get angry before noticing the large wooden knife in the dolls hand. So the clown shrugged his shoulders instead. “You’re probably right. I do stink.”

“You’ll find a small collection of quarters in your right pocket to use in the machines. The washers are preset to get out all kinds of nasty stains: blood stains, sewage stains, dragon bile…we’ve all been there. Nice to get cleaned up after a journey.”

There was a loud BEEP and the doll jumped off the chair, walking in front of the clown, getting his damp clothes out of the washer.

“Talking about journeys…where am I anyway?”

“We’ll have to walk and talk. I need to throw these in a dryer and those are all the way down there.” The doll began to walk away, going as fast as he could on his tiny naked legs, before he had an idea. “Would you mind carrying me? It will save us both a lot of time.”

The clown picked the doll up and began walking past hundreds of washing machines, heading towards a far wall that seemed to get further and further away with each step. “Okay, so talk,” demanded the clown. “Where are we?”

“Oh that. Well we all come here through that wall you fell through. It’s what happens when the ‘good guys’ send us into the outer reaches or the phantom region or through an ice wall. We think it started when priests kept sending demons to ‘the outer darkness from which you came’…at least that is the last words many demons hear before falling out here. I mean, everybody has to be somewhere – we don’t just poof out of existence. But here is not so bad – we have vending machines.”

“That’s a plus for sure,” nodded the clown. “It’s been a while since I had a sponge cake treat.”

“You’re in luck then! We have many fun-sized cakes in the vending machines. There are coins in your left pocket to buy them with. And once you use the coins, they magically reappear.”

The clown was still walking, carrying the doll who was holding his clothes, when he finally viewed a row of dryers and was able to put the doll down.

Before throwing his clothes in the dryer, the doll reached into the right pocket of his overalls, taking out a large quarter, which he showed to the clown. “Do you mind?” he asked, indicating that the coin slot was too high for him to reach comfortably. So the clown inserted the quarter and the appliance started spinning immediately.

“You keep saying ‘we’,” said the clown looking around as the doll took a seat on a bench across from the dryer. “I don’t see anyone else.”

“Right, right, right. They’re in the pinball and video room around the corner. But just remember when you finally meet everyone else that I’m a good guy and I’m your friend till the end.”

“That’s good to know, Hidey-Ho!” replied the super-natural creature, taking off the ruffle around his neck before pulling off his pants.

“What are you doing?” shrieked the doll, hiding his eyes.

“Washing my clothes before I meet the rest of the gang.”

“Those machines are way down there by the rotating wall, remember?”

Fifteen minutes later, according to the bland clock on the wall, the clown was sitting naked in a white plastic and metal chair in front of a washing machine when the wall beside him began to shimmer and then churn. A ring flew out the vortex onto the floor with a loud 'ching'. The clown watched it roll around until it settled at his feet. He reached down, picked it up, noticed a inscription inside that he couldn't quite understand. "My precious!" he whispered, putting it on the little finger of his right hand.

Suddenly the portal shimmered again and a demon with six eyes and four legs dropped to floor, as if pushed by a powerful force. “And a ‘to the outer darkness’ with you as well!” it shouted as the wall returned to a flat beige.

Looking over at the naked clown in the chair, the newest visitor to Laundromat Z exclaimed, “I don’t know what kind of party this is…but Count Me In!”
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Post February 18, 2020, 12:06:51 AM

Re: Genre Bending Challenge

I'm the first to get my vote in, I see.

I really wanted to get an entry in this one. I was thinking of some kind of meetup between the crews of _Chanur's Legacy_ and _Serenity_, and I also wanted to include some kind of romantic angle to coincide with Valentine's Day. Just couldn't bring it together.

Might have been fun having Zoe caving in to romantic overtures from a kif. They'd certainly appreciate her. And of course, Jayne would be in his bunk.
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Post February 18, 2020, 04:11:52 AM

Re: Genre Bending Challenge

My vote is in,,eh :D
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Post February 19, 2020, 11:44:37 PM

Re: Genre Bending Challenge

These entries are fun. Shame there are just two of them. This challenge idea was better than just two stories. It would have been difficult to come up with something however. My vote is in.
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Post February 21, 2020, 01:08:53 PM

Re: Genre Bending Challenge

Got my vote in!
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