Author Topic: Total Request Live (Ask Questions or Suggest Things and I Will Write Stories)  (Read 1775 times)

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Django Durango

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See, when I wrote clowntown fic, I was able to be so prolific with it because I wrote those little Cash Bonus stories all the time. But I haven't done that in a long time so now my writing skills are pretty stiff. Gotta get back into shape with it and you can help!

In this thread, you may ask questions or suggest things about the plot/characters and I will try to write little stories in response. These stories will be added to the Library - making it canon - and your name and suggestion will be attached to the entry. There's probably gonna be ones I can't do for whatever reason, but I'll let you know if yours falls under that.

---

Added October 17th, 2019
Quote
[Thus far,] I've answered some of your questions directly instead of writing stories and if I do that, it's 'cause I'm intuiting that it is a direct question and not a prompt. If that's not the case, feel free to say so, but also bear in mind that some things really don't (and in fact shouldn't) have a deep lore backstory.

2. Consider all stories posted in this thread to be first drafts and living documents. I go back through these and edit them, and so the text will change over time. I've done that even with the Exit Strategy stories after they were posted. With rare exception, I don't make changes to the story itself. You don't need to worry that actual plot elements will change. I just improve upon it, make it more clear or fix mistakes or describe things in more depth. Writing is one of those things where if you don't do it as often as you should, you start to suck at it, so I'm still working to get back up to my clowntown level of quality. And as I see things that I could have done better... well, I do them better.

To get us started, here's a suggestion PaupersRun gave me a million years ago.

Quote from: PaupersRun
Say Cairo, Sable and the rest come across another member of this Syndicate known as Bram. You think "reference to Bram Stoker", right?

Well, after a bit of conversating, they find out he was trying to call himself "Brom", like Brom Bones from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", and now he's all butthurt by the fact he can't change that.

Nothing major, just thought it'd be a tad funny.

Quote from: PaupersRun
Ok, just realized you don't pick your code names with Syndicate. Ok, here's my revamp:

Brom wanted to go by, well Brom, and said so to whoever you talk to while becoming a part of The Syndicate. He got told that's not how it works, and he's thinking "Ugh, fine, whatever."

Once his registration is done, The Syndicate picks Bram as his codename. He swears they did that on purpose.

Ok, how about now?

"What about this job?" Dixie said, holding her phone up for Cleo to see across the table. "Codename Braum. Doing an art gallery in Topeka."

"Why would we subject ourselves to driving through Kansas?" Cleo asked, not looking up from her smash burger combo. She was not helping to search because a hamburger required two hands to eat and she didn't want to get grease on her phone's screen.

"Wait, Topeka is in Kansas?" Dixie asked.

"It's the capital of Kansas, honey," Cleo confirmed patiently. Then, curious, she asked, "Where did you think it was?"

"I don't know." Dixie's face scrunched up, wondering that too. "Not Kansas. How valuable could the art from Kansas be?"

"Well, hold on," Cleo said. She tilted her head to the side, considering. "With a name like Brahm, he might have more insight on the Kansas art scene than we're giving him credit for. If he's named for the composer, maybe he's not a complete philistine. Maybe there's something special moving through there."

"Yeah, well, it's spelled like the ice cream store," Dixie said around a mouthful of Frito pie. "Maybe he's just a goth kid and Dracula and Alucard were already taken."

"There's a remote possibility that it's a Legend of Sleepy Hollow reference," Cleo mused.

"Wasn't Brom the bad guy in the movie?" Dixie asked.

"More than Ichabod himself?" Cleo said. "The man was trying to marry a girl for her money."

"You wouldn't name yourself after the dickhead in the movie though, would you?"

"You might if you thought he was in the right. Or if Ichabod had too many syllables to be used as a codename."

"Okay, hold up," Dixie said, chuckling at this turn in the conversation and waving her hands in a "stop, stop, stop" gesture. "We're gettin' away from the important thing here.

"We can't tell anything about what this guy knows about the art scene in Kansas by his name alone, 'cause he ain't the one who woulda picked it. His controller did and that don't do us shit. The only real thing we know about Braum's taste is that he is going to Kansas to steal art, which means he ain't got none unless he's stoppin' for ice cream on the way."

"Keep looking then," Cleo said. She took another bite of her burger.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 02:12:07 PM by Django Durango »
 
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Django Durango

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So before I fucked the forum up, Paupers Run suggested weapon backstories for Cairo's and Sable's named weapons. I'mma hold off on Sable's, but here's the Nasty Gal for you.



"Mmhmm, and what kind of weapon do you carry?"

"Weapon?" Cleo asked.

"Yeah-huh, your gun," the bored controller seated on the other side of the desk elaborated. "You can't rob a bank with just a mean face."

"I'm really more of a burglar than a-"

"Ya still need a gun, hun." The controller clicked her mouse of a couple times. "Look, go out, buy a gun, and come back tomorrow. I can save your application, but I can't activate your account if you ain't got your equipment.

---

"I have more than enough to buy it," Cleo said. "I don't see what your objection is." It was a combat shotgun, the most intimidating-looking weapon in the racks at All Star Pawn. It had a sloppy, jagged engraving on the receiver that read "Nasty Gal". Cleo considered the inscription damage and felt it should've made the weapon less expensive, but intuited that the shop owner thought the narrative it created increased its value.

"My 'objection'," the elderly pawn shop owner said, making finger quotes, "is that this ain't a weapon for some Ivy League rich girl who won't appreciate what she's got. This was used as a prop in Black Beignets, held in the hands of Trini St. Romain, with a certificate of authenticity. It says Nasty Gal on it and you ain't no nasty gal."

His refusal to sell was utterly ridiculous. She had the money, she would certainly pass the background check. And yet, she couldn't buy the stupid gun because she wasn't "nasty" enough.

Cleo rolled her eyes and left.

---

She then spent the rest of the day watching the shop from her rental car in an alley across the street, waiting for the shopkeeper to leave.

She could have just bought a gun somewhere else. She should have. But now she wanted this one. Cleo just couldn't abide a world where she was denied access to anything, especially when she had the money. She knew this was ridiculous, that she'd let herself feel the same way to a prop from a movie she'd never seen and assumed was terrible as she would an artifact in a museum, if only because someone else was keeping it out of reach. But she did feel that way and a mere pawn shop was not going to keep her out.

She waited until the last shop on the street closed down. Then she pulled her car around to the back of the pawn shop. The front door and windows had bars, but in her experience, people didn't often think much about the back door. She figured there was a good chance the heavy metal door could be opened with nothing more than a piece of stiff wire. Slip the wire in the jam, slip the latch and-

The alarm sounded!

No matter. She knew where the gun was. She dashed to the gun case, smashed her elbow into the glass, and had the Nasty Gal in hand within seconds. Her first smash-and-grab! Cleo ran straight back to the back door, but she paused before exiting. She reached in her pocket and threw a wad of cash totaling $2800 into the store. The wad exploded into a shower of bills and wafted down to settle on the floor and counters. With that, she threw herself in her car and got the fuck outta dodge.

---

The pawn shop owner arrived on the scene minutes later. It was very clear to him who did this. Only one thing was stolen and it had still been paid for. Petty thugs didn't leave you enough money for the stolen goods with change leftover to buy a new gun case. He rifled through the bills one more time, just to be certain of the amount. That's when he saw the the handwriting on one of the bills.

In a tidy cursive, there was a note.

"Who's nasty now?"

The store owner chuckled. He stuck the bill in his pocket. He still had to call the police since it was a firearm that had been stolen, but he decided to keep that bit of evidence to himself.




Sorry that took a couple days. I had to do some logistical research. Here's some fun facts!

  • Nasty Gal is named for the Betty Davis song.
  • The shotgun is based on the Franchi SPAS-12. However, the blaxploitation genre - of which Black Beignets would have been a part - had largely died down by the late 70's and the SPAS-12 was not put into the production until 1979, making it's use as a prop in such a film unlikely. But this is fiction so I do what I want.
  • The thing about doors is true. I got hung up for a while on the fact that Cleo, at this point, isn't exactly a fully fledged bank robber and in fact, she's hardly a burglar at that. Pawn shops almost always have bars on the doors so I had to figure out a way someone of limited burglary skill might get in otherwise. Knowing that doors can often be slipped with nothing more than a traveler's hook or even piano wire is something you could conceivably pick up along the way somewhere. You just picked that up right now!
  • I also had to confirm that real weapons could be used on movie sets. It's not very likely now since there's been a number of accidents involving the use of real guns with blank rounds on movie sets, but it was certainly possible for a real gun to be used in a movie in the 70's, especially if the budget was low.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 05:56:55 AM by Django Durango »
 
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Paupers Run

Pretty cool, breh.

Well, if I'm going for three...


Cleo and Dixie are getting breakfast at a diner the day after a heist. A cop asks to take a seat at the table next to theirs. However, across from that seat is the insider The Syndicate got for that job, and they are looking pretty nervous.
 
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Paupers Run

I want to clarify, "they" innthat prompt is referring to the insider being nervous.
 
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Django Durango

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Unfortunately - cause I think this is a neat damage control situation - that kind of scenario is unlikely for a couple of reasons.

Part of the point of the Syndicate is to minimize contact between moving parts. They would have arranged the inside men, and the robbers would never actually meet them. It's possible that you might, as a crewman, have to actually interact with an insider in the field, but not at the level of jobs that Cleo and Dixie were getting. So even if they were in the same place like that, they likely would not recognize the inside man or that that was why he was acting all wiggity.

Also, it's just good sense not to stick around after a job. They might stay just long enough for breakfast if their hotel has it complimentary, but they wouldn't be trying to take in the local flavor post-heist. Staying for breakfast at the hotel (which would be open only to guests, so no locals) is risky enough in Cleo's estimation, but Dixie loves a muffin she didn't pay for.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2019, 03:18:58 AM by Django Durango »
 
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What is Black Beignets about?
 
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Django Durango

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I ain't written a whole screenplay or nothin', but...

It's a mid-70's blaxploitation movie in the same vein as Coffy or Foxy Brown, where the protagonist goes undercover and enacts vigilante justice against drug dealers and other criminals, except this one has three women and is set in New Orleans.

It's got its fans, but not enough to qualify it as a cult classic. Most people have never heard of it.
 
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Paupers Run

All right, new idea.

Cleo and Dixie are working a job with a pair of siblings (gender is at your discretion). These two are constantly bickering and sniping at each other, with C and D (maybe the driver as well) being stuck in the middle of it.
 
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Django Durango

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Do y'all enjoy meeting random Syndicate members?  :D
 
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Paupers Run

Kinda. Helps to see the trainwreck the gals are leaving behind.
 
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Django Durango

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"We should approach quietly," Method said.

"You would say that," Madness said.

"Of course I would." Method replied evenly. "It's the only logical way to go."

"Except running in guns a-blazing and scaring the shit out of everyone so they don't have time to think or fight us."

Method started in on some deapanned reasoning involving fight-or-flight response and the variables it brought into the situation but Madness' eyes glazed over. Cleo and Dixie glanced sidelong at each other, sharing a look of acknowledgement that they had brought this on themselves.

Twins. You rarely ever got the ones with the telepathic link that put them in perfect sync. Instead, you usually got a pair of fuckin' Geminis, at odds on everything up to and including the hiest plan.  Siblings - especially twins - were always way too comfortable with each other and not comfortable enough with anyone else. It created problems. A lot of times, siblings were so concerned with each other that they couldn't fit anyone else into their awareness. Or like today, they'd be too busy trying to argue to agree on a course of action.

Cleo and Dixie usually avoided jobs where the other crewmates were visibly siblings. The jobs had been coming up dry lately. The Syndicate had grown by several hundred agents and that meant the job distribution was thinner. So they took the job with these twins (whose codenames really ought to have been enough of a fuckin' clue that it was a bad idea) and now they were gonna pay for it.

---

"They gave us zero point ones!" Dixie bitched.

"Obviously," Cleo harrumphed, scowling at her own phone. "They have to explain why we came out with such a pitiful take and they weren't going to downrate each other."

"That is such a load of shit though," Dixie said. She slammed her phone facedown on the diner table in disgust. "Madness was the one who deviated from the plan and created a panic."

"You would think by now, Method would have figured out how to reign his sister in," Cleo huffed.

"Or, you know, they could work separate of each other," Dixie said. "It's fuckin' weird to still be joined at the hip when you're out of school. Hell, it's still weird in school, but at least there I can understand. I mean, who'd want to be friends with those two?"
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 12:56:35 PM by Django Durango »
 
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How did Sable and Cairo meet?
 
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Django Durango

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Have this while I think about that.



"Is this where I can sign up to be a bank robber?" Chester asked timidly. He held up a cellphone with a Hole-in-the-Wall app profile open on it, since he was sure it was not clear what he meant, being that this was the headquarters of a cellphone app that catalogued dive bars. The receptionist's eyes widened and without a word, he immediately punched in an extension on his phone. He stared down at the panel of lights until one lit up.

"Take that elevator," he said, pointing to it. "Don't press any buttons. It'll take you where you need to go."

"Thank you," Chester said, giving a grateful smile. He pressed the call button for the elevator and boarded when the doors opened.

Standing there, he wondered why he was not given a floor. Where was he supposed to go? The building had six floors. He was about to just pick one at random so he could get off and ask for better directions, but the elevator began to move, not up but down.

A secret basement, he thought to himself. Neat!

---

He'd been greeted at the elevator by a woman in a prim skirt suit and led to her office. She took the phone from him.

"Where did you get this?" she barked.

"I found it on the floor of my bank," Chester answered, quailing under the harshness of her question. "Behind a potted ficus."

"And how did you get into the backend of the app?"

"It just opened to it when I unlocked the phone."

"There wasn't any kind of passcode or swipe pattern on it?" she asked, incredulous. She leaned forward, bearing down at Chester, as if it was his fault the phone's previous owner didn't secure it. Chester shrunk into his chair and shrugged.

She pressed the power button on the phone and, sure enough, it opened the Hole-in-the-Wall app, bypassing the frontend and automatically logging into the backend. She navigated to this fool's profile to find out who it was who was threatening their entire operation. The profile loaded, revealing the phone's owner to be an agent codenamed Clippy. His profile photo had a black-and-white filter, though, meaning the agent had been reported as deceased. Pity, she thought. No one to make an example of.

"Um, look, ma'am," Chester ventured. "I don't care that all this is illegal. I'm not gonna tell anyone. I just want in on it."

She gaze snapped up from the phone to examine Chester's face for motive.

"Have you ever committed armed robbery before?" she demanded to know.

"No, but I'm not afraid! I could be a great bank robber!"

Her eyes practically rolled out of her head, but then something flashed across them. Like an idea or a realization.

"All right. In recognition of your service here today in bringing this grievous breach of security to our attention, I will put you on a crew. It'll be an easy introductory job. I'll even have a firearm requisitioned for you."

Chester's face broke into a bright grin.

"Thank you, ma'am! You won't regret this!"

She didn't acknowledge his thanks, ignoring him to scribble a note on a post-it note. When she finished, she ripped it off the pad and handed it to him.

"Take that to the end of the hall, turn left, and go through the third door on the left. The controller in that office will get you set up.

Chester hopped out of his chair and accepted the post-it note.

"Thank you again, ma'am! I'm really excited about this!" He waited for a response, but gave up and left when he realized she was finished with him.

He shut the door behind him and read the post-it note.

"For immediate assignment on Accounts Payable team. - Verdandi"

---

The controller let out a low whistle when he read the post-it note. Normally with a novice he'd ask why they were interested in the work and make sure this wasn't going to be a waste of time, but in this case, he would get in trouble if Chester backed out now. So instead he sat back down behind his desk, gestured for Chester to take a seat opposite, and started setting up his profile.

Chester looked around while the controller filled in the information. He read the name plate on the controller's desk - his name was Zeppo - and took in the books on the shelf behind him. Mark Twain, William Faulkner, James Thurber, Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde, H. L. Menken.

"So..." Zeppo said. "You ever rob a bank before?"

"No," Chester admitted. "But I've seen it done in movies. It can't be that hard, right?" It was clear he needed reassurance.

"Nah, it's a piece of cake," Zeppo said. "All right, so your codename will be Mitty. Now that's your new name basically, so forget your old one. Your crewmates are only to know you by your codename." He pulled a cellphone out of a box of them, poked and swiped at the screen for a few minutes and then handed it over.

"I've already set you up for a job on there," he said. Mitty took the phone and looked at the screen. The job was a bank branch in Montana with three crewmates. Cleo, Dixie, Frenchy.

"All ladies, huh?" Mitty said, both nervous and pleased.

Zeppo smiled. "Hey, if I managed to get you a date too, you can thank me later." He knew Mitty wasn't going to bag any of those chicks. He stood and directed Mitty out the door. "Head back to the elevator and I'll have it send you to Wardrobe. They'll get you your uniform and take your profile photo."

"Thank you so much!" Mitty said.

"Don't mention it."

Zeppo watched Mitty head back down the hall and turn the corner. Assigning a fresh recruit who hadn't even had the chance to disappoint yet to an Accounts Payable team? The cruelty of it weighed on him.

He looked forward to forgetting what Mitty looked like.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 05:45:17 AM by Django Durango »
 

Paupers Run

Huh, the secret origin of Mitty. Think I started to figure halfway through.


Now a part of me wants to see a bit of insight on Frenchie (or was it spelled Frenchy?).
 
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Django Durango

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You're right. It was Frenchy. I feel Frenchie is the better spelling, but she was named for the character in Grease who spells it with a Y.