Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer


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Post June 16, 2005, 11:40:52 PM

Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Another Sarah was nothing if it wasn't descriptive. Very graphic. Very vivid. I saw the tale as ninety percent description and ten percent story. The story itself was nothing more than a farmer killing chickens (while fantasizing that each chicken was his beloved Sarah) for his domineering wife to cook up for her relatives. <br><br>But grinding the chicken bones to make bread?? Shades of Jack and the Beanstalk!! Fee Fi Fo Fum!! <br><br>Seems I recall that Nate was a bit squeamish about how my Al squashed in that poor alien's head. Well, that was nothing compared to how Nate's Al sliced off the head of that poor chicken. I actually got a bit squeamish and felt sorry for the poor thing--and that can be considered a testimonial to the graphical descriptions Nate gives us in this story.<br><br>I half expected the story to end with Alan slicing off the head of his shrew of a wife. But he was apparently satisfied to fantasize about it.<br><br>I saw Another Sarah as short, sweet, and well written. And I did very much enjoy the story.<br><br>Donald<br><br> <br>
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Post June 17, 2005, 08:34:44 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

This was a diddy. And it essentially worked. Nate put into practice what he preached. Almost to a fault. Either I was hyperaware of it or Nate's efforts to provide description of everything dictated the rhythm of the writing. For me, the result was a sort of mechanical cadence that stole some of the story's impact; eg, "Her round face scowled at him under short, black hair. Over her brown, short-sleeved blouse she wore a wide, white apron..."<br><br>The story itself works. It is darkly amusing and also simply dark. In a short space, we learn a lot about Alan and his wife. That was well done, that was where the writing worked best. <br><br>I must say that, for me, the blurb under the title's link undercut the strength of the beginning's ambiguity. Not being told what Alan was up to before the story started would've made for a more effective double twist at the end. <br><br>Dan E.
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Post June 17, 2005, 09:35:01 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Nate!  They didn't get the joke!  They thought the "Sarahs" were actually chickens!<br><br>I dunno, maybe if Alan had actually SAID "Fee fi fo fum", Donald would have realized that the 'bone bread' reference wasn't accidental ...<br><br>(I'm assuming here that Don wasn't being too subtle for my wee editorial brain, and didn't QUITE catch what you were doing.)<br><br>I suspect that your reputation for copious description has sabotaged you here. You skirted around describing the Sarah in any detail, so the readers assumed that 'cluckers' must be chickens based on what little you did provide (all of which was ambiguous).  Now, if you'd remarked on the Sarah's tangled and filthy HAIR, maybe ...<br><br>Robert M.
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Post June 17, 2005, 09:42:07 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Nate!  They didn't get the joke!  They thought the "Sarahs" were actually chickens!
[snip]

I suspect that your reputation for copious description has sabotaged you here.  You skirted around describing the Sarah in any detail, so the readers assumed that 'cluckers' must be chickens based on what little you did provide (all of which was ambiguous).  Now, if you'd remarked on the Sarah's tangled and filthy HAIR, maybe ...

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<br>I was a bit surprised, but I don't want to ignore someone's input. Maybe the switch at the end wasn't as plain as it could have been.<br><br>At least this way, the next time he reads it, it can be a whole new story. :)<br><br>Nate<br>
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Post June 17, 2005, 09:54:09 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

For me, the result was a sort of mechanical cadence that stole some of the story's impact; eg, "Her round face scowled at him under short, black hair. Over her brown, short-sleeved blouse she wore a wide, white apron..."
<br>That's interesting. I hadn't thought of it as mechanical. I'll have to look at that.<br><br>
I must say that, for me, the blurb under the title's link undercut the strength of the beginning's ambiguity. Not being told what Alan was up to before the story started would've made for a more effective double twist at the end.
<br>I was a little let down by the preconception it gives, too, but in Robert's defense, I didn't give him any suggestions. If I had thought about it, I'd have said "Alan did many things for his wife that he didn't want to do, but killing Sarah was something he was really looking forward to--as long as his wife didn't find out why." OR something to that effect. [shrug] Beggars can't be choosers.<br><br>I was hoping for the reader to think he was some kind of serial killer, then relax and realize he's just some henpecked farmer, and then have that Woah! Those aren't chickens! moment. <br><br>That way, even though it was quite short, it could be like it was 3 stories in one, where you start reading, find reality is different, go back & start over, and then have it change again & start again, etc. That might have been somewhat ambitious on my part, however.<br><br>Either way, I'm just glad somebody liked it. I've never written a horror story before. This classifies as that, doesn't it?<br><br>Nate
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Post June 17, 2005, 10:22:37 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Robert,<br>Dude, I did get the joke.<br><br>Hence my comment on the blurb, or at least how I processed the blurb. Nate's intention to have us believe a serial killer was at work to begin was not lost on me, but I think it would've gone over better for me with something more along the lines like Nate suggested. Others might think differently, if they think of it at all. <br><br>Dan E.<br><br>
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Post June 17, 2005, 11:44:11 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

...I must say that, for me, the blurb under the title's link undercut the strength of the beginning's ambiguity. Not being told what Alan was up to before the story started would've made for a more effective double twist at the end.

Dan E.
<br>I was very careful to avoid hinting that the 'Sarahs' weren't what the context seemed to indicate that they were; and we don't find out that Alan's wife is named Sarah until near the end. I'm not sure what I gave away ...<br><br>Blurb-writing is one of my least-favorite things (along with coming up with titles for stories). It's like the ultimate form of flash fiction writing (aside from the ultra-evocative phrase that conjures whole worlds in a few words), or 'grabber' writing made even more restrictive.<br><br>Cain't please everybody nohow no way, so's I maht s'well please m'self.<br><br>Robert M.
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Post June 17, 2005, 12:16:44 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Robert,<br>For me, the blurb gave away the beginning. I knew going in that Alan was slaughtering a chicken so that the ambiguity of Nate's opening was diminished for me. It certainly did not give away the ending, but it in a way, not being able to believe a woman named Sarah was having her head hacked off at the start, having it "revealed" that Alan was capping a chicken, and then have it really revealed that he was slaughtering humans, was less effective. The irony was lessened. Again, I say, for me. <br><br>Does that make sense?<br><br>And by the way, your blurbs are otherwise effective and wry (this one was wry too), and I agree that they are far more difficult to do well than one who has never tried it might think.<br><br>Dan E.

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Post June 17, 2005, 01:08:20 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

This is the first story by Nate I've read. It didn't have as much description as I thought it would. Nate did a good job of interweaving the inner dialog with the description, which helped it move along. I didn't think the general premise so grand, but I thought the story was told very well. I was drawn in wanting to know what this guy was doing. Then, when I figured that out, I wanted to know why. I found the ending clever. I'll have to go read his other stories sometime. <br><br>I read the story and then the blurb, but I have to agree that the blurb gives too much away. A good blurb should make you want to read a story, without giving up much about it.
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Post June 17, 2005, 06:47:13 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Okay, FINE! >:( I replaced my blurb with Nate's suggested text.<br><br>(I admit that I was so focused on not giving away the final whammy that I didn't realize I was screwing up the first reversal ... :-[)<br><br>Robert M.
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Post June 17, 2005, 08:06:59 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Nate!  They didn't get the joke!  They thought the "Sarahs" were actually chickens!
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<br><br>I did too get the joke...in a way.  I noted that Alan called the cluckers "humans" near the end, and thought his Sarahs might  actually be humans.   But on the other hand, maybe calling them humans was only a part of his fantasy.  So I went back and read the story again, and this excerpt convinced me that they were chickens after all:<br>>>She rolled her eyes. "She? Oh, don't tell me you named this one, too. Dammit, they're only cluckers -- stupid chickens...<<<br><br>
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Post June 18, 2005, 11:55:26 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

THis was your first horror story? Really. I thought it was very good. But its not hard to write horror if your wife has a family, is it? ;D<br> Rob

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Post June 19, 2005, 08:05:39 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Hey there,<br><br>I really liked this story. I loved the way you actually get hit by a double switch in not much more than two paragraphs....<br><br>I thought it was a guy killing a lady, to a guy killing chickens, to what it finally ended up as..<br><br>My only question now is:-<br><br>Whens Jack gonna show up to set things right? ;)

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Post June 19, 2005, 12:19:18 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

 THis was your first horror story? Really. I thought it was very good. But its not hard to write horror if your wife has a family, is it?   ;D
  Rob
<br><br>That's prolly where Nate got his idea for the story! :o<br><br>Donald
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Post June 19, 2005, 06:43:15 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer


I did too get the joke...in a way. I noted that Alan called the cluckers "humans" near the end, and thought his Sarahs might actually be humans. But on the other hand, maybe calling them humans was only a part of his fantasy. So I went back and read the story again, and this excerpt convinced me that they were chickens after all:
>>She rolled her eyes. "She? Oh, don't tell me you named this one, too. Dammit, they're only cluckers -- stupid chickens...<<
<br>Everybody reads things differently, so that's fine, as long as you enjoyed it. But how do you reconcile this quote?<br><br>"And why did she have to keep calling them cluckers? He hated that name. If he was as small as they were, he’d be chicken, too."<br><br>Just curious.<br><br>Nate
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Post June 19, 2005, 06:49:03 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer


That's prolly where Nate got his idea for the story! :o

Donald
<br>Strange how perfectly normal people turn into the Addams Family when they're your in-laws, isn't it. :)<br><br>Nate<br>
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Post June 20, 2005, 10:16:20 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

you've got it easy Nate, mine are like the Manson family. :D<br> Rob
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Post June 20, 2005, 11:45:37 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Damn you, Nate! I was going to write a story with a similar twist at the end.. LOL<br><br>I liked the ambiguity of the ending. It could either mean that Alan was a giant or pretending to be one.<br><br>By the way, how did you research on the mechanics of slicing someone's head off? :o<br>
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Post June 20, 2005, 01:22:25 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Damn you, Nate! I was going to write a story with a similar twist at the end.. LOL

I liked the ambiguity of the ending. It could either mean that Alan was a giant or pretending to be one.

By the way, how did you research on the mechanics of slicing someone's head off?  :o
<br>Let's put it this way -- I'm not going to do anything silly like Google for 'missing pets' or 'missing persons' in Nate's area ... you know, just in case ... ::)<br><br>(And you'll notice how quick I was to change the blurb for the story to What Nate Wanted. One might almost suspect that I was afraid of him for some reason ...)<br><br><br>Robert M.<br>
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Post June 20, 2005, 04:26:38 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Strangely, I find myself reminded of a line from an Alice Cooper song; "While frends and lovers morn your silly grave- I have *other* uses for you, Darling..."<br>Oddly enough, the death toll in my Nightwatch has grown allarmingly. I may hold some sort of record... Is 414 a lot? Ha-ha! (Oops! Channeling Jack the Ripper there for a second. Down, Boy!) <br>Nate certainly spooked quite a few folks this month. Good story. The finer elements went past me until I read the commentary, I'm afraid. I didn't realize you could fit that many wheels within wheels within wheels... Nicely done. Had me doing psychosomatic cringes all the way through. <br>Dan<br>
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Post June 20, 2005, 06:26:14 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Let's put it this way -- I'm not going to do anything silly like Google for 'missing pets' or 'missing persons' in Nate's area ... you know, just in case ... ::)

(And you'll notice how quick I was to change the blurb for the story to What Nate Wanted. One might almost suspect that I was afraid of him for some reason ...)
<br>LMAO.<br><br>The idea struck me while having the census taker over for dinner. I was out of fava beans, and found myself looking at the chicken in the freezer instead... :)<br><br>The truth is simply that I wanted to try to write a horror story. The opening came out of my subconscious & and I saw a way to tie it in with the one and only time I had to butcher chickens with my inlaws. (That will put you off KFC for at least a month.)<br><br>For those of you really creeped out, there's a nice, regular fairy tale coming down the pipe in the next month or two, if that will make you feel better. That is, if Robert gives it a thumbs up...<br><br>Nate
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Post June 20, 2005, 07:04:17 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

...For those of you really creeped out, there's a nice, regular fairy tale coming down the pipe in the next month or two, if that will make you feel better. That is, if Robert gives it a thumbs up...

Nate
<br><br>Hey, I'm not sticking a thumb or any other part of my anatomy up, down or out around Nate unless somebody pats him down and checks for knives, swords, machetes, cleavers, scissors, shears, man-portable guillotines, cigar cutters, chain saws, circular saws, band saws, a capella saws (for those who can't afford a band), etc.... Then we'll run him through an airport metal detector and a body cavity search by Bruce-Arnold, winner of the Gay Mr. Universe competition ... <br><br>(Now THERE's a horror story for you. All you need to do to qualify as a participant is have the wrong name, look like you might be an Arab or other Muslim ethnotype (is that a word?), or write disturbing stories about butchering creatures that may or may not be chickens.)<br><br>Robert M.
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Post June 20, 2005, 07:09:59 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Strangely, I find myself reminded of a line from an Alice Cooper song; "While frends and lovers morn your silly grave- I have *other* uses for you, Darling..."
Oddly enough, the death toll in my Nightwatch has grown allarmingly. I may hold some sort of record... Is 414 a lot? Ha-ha! (Oops! Channeling Jack the Ripper there for a second. Down, Boy!)
Nate certainly spooked quite a few folks this month. Good story. The finer elements went past me until I read the commentary, I'm afraid. I didn't realize you could fit that many wheels within wheels within wheels... Nicely done. Had me doing psychosomatic cringes all the way through.
Dan
<br>I do keep trying to get you to add extra underlying character conflicts and storylines... ;) Sometimes it's the small strokes, not the large ones that hold the key to a good story.<br><br>Nate
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Post June 20, 2005, 07:21:37 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Hey, I'm not sticking a thumb or any other part of my anatomy up, down or out around Nate unless somebody pats him down and checks for knives, swords, machetes, cleavers, scissors, shears, man-portable guillotines, cigar cutters, chain saws, circular saws, band saws, a capella saws (for those who can't afford a band), etc.... Then we'll run him through an airport metal detector and a body cavity search by Bruce-Arnold, winner of the Gay Mr. Universe competition ...
<br>Oh, sure, I haaad to tell you about my machete... :)<br><br>BTW-The only person who has been cleaved by it was me, when I dropped it on my own leg by accident. Dang-blammed clumsy fingers. Does a hell of a job on corn stalks and brush, though.<br><br>Nate
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Post June 20, 2005, 08:02:03 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Oh, sure, I haaad to tell you about my machete... :)

Nate
<br><br>Say, you don't happen to own a hockey goalie mask and a set of ratty overalls, do you? (And have Freddy Krueger's head on your mantel as a trophy?)<br><br>Robert M.<br><br>(Edging toward 600 posts! Too bad a lot of them are like this one and have nothing to do with any of the stories ...)
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Post June 27, 2005, 09:27:52 AM

Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

<br>sorry it took me forever to get to this story, Nate.<br>anyway, just because the Sarah's and others were human in this reality doesn't mean they'd be regarded as sentient or deserving of names by the giants. i too think Nate's intention was to have an evil monster hacking up innocent people as the premise, and for me it worked well, although i'd have it slightly longer.<br>The baddie's almost pornographic exhaltation went across as deviant and impactful, and if there's one word i choose to describe this story with, it's gotta be 'gruesome'. that, and elegant.<br>sure, the plot wasn't much but who cares? as an easy to remember horror/surreal short Another Sarah left a taste in my mind vastly superior to last friday nite's Marie Callender chicken pot pie.<br><br>Lee

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Post June 30, 2005, 09:35:32 AM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

I usually prefer Science Fiction to horror but this story held my interest. I would love to see a short movie based on this story, but then again I perceive things different from most people because I work with a bunch of aliens! Home grown ones that is reared here in the backwoods of Pennsylvania!<br><br>Stories that point in this direction can be a good playground for creativity and I think that all writers should atempt ones such as this!<br><br>Good job and I enjoyed the twists!
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Post June 30, 2005, 09:01:20 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Stories that point in this direction can be a good playground for creativity and I think that all writers should atempt ones such as this!

Good job and I enjoyed the twists!
<br>Thanks.<br><br>
but then again I perceive things different from most people because I work with a bunch of aliens! Home grown ones that is reared here in the backwoods of Pennsylvania!
<br>So that's the Amish? Or maybe escapees from Philly? :)<br><br>Nate
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Post July 01, 2005, 12:48:25 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

Escapees from Philly are too street smart to can where I live! And the Amish? Why, I never seen an Amishman that I didn't like. But then again, I'm not Amish!<br><br>Sadly, I can't talk about what the "home grown aliens" did. But if we ever meet, I'll tell you alone.<br><br>They didn't do anything illegal, and all of them are very good workers who have nice families! Most of them do, anyhow!<br><br>They went to a place that they shouldn't have gone to (not Viet-Nam or any other war or overseas but right here in Pennsylvania) to help out, and the only hint I'll give you is that it is in the middle of a river!<br><br>Most of them are sick now!! They would not listen because of the high pay back then!<br>
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Post July 03, 2005, 08:39:39 PM

Re: Another Sarah by N J Kailhofer

...Sadly, I can't talk about what the "home grown aliens" did. But if we ever meet, I'll tell you alone.

They didn't do anything illegal, and all of them are very good workers who have nice families! Most of them do, anyhow!

They went to a place that they shouldn't have gone to (not Viet-Nam or any other war or overseas but right here in Pennsylvania) to help out, and the only hint I'll give you is that it is in the middle of a river!

Most of them are sick now!! They would not listen because of the high pay back then!
<br><br>Lessee now -- Three Mile Island is in the middle of a river, AND it's in Pennsylvania, isn't it?<br><br>If those folks would post comments about Aphelion stories, would the authors be able to boast about receive (ahem) glowing reviews?<br><br>Robert M.
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