littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.


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Love Journey

Recently, I’ve been binging Ainori: African Journey on Netflix. I don’t watch many reality dating shows, but Ainori is one of my favourites. It may not have a filmic quality, and it may be cheaply produced, but I feel at the heart of it are the real stories of real people, and that’s more valuable than the artificial reality of Western dating shows.

I’m not saying that Ainori is 100% realistic, but it also seems less inclined to manufacture drama, than Western shows, which seems more inclined to sensationalise everything.

Anyway, it got me thinking: if I were pitch a Western dating show, whether or not it eventually went to camera, what would it be?

I’d probably start from Ainori. Of course, a travelling dating show is a novel idea, and not something the West ever seems to do, but it could be fun. In Ainori, a lot of meaningful stories seem to be drawn from local attractions, so I could do something from that angle. I also like that the stars are ordinary people, with as many flaws as positive attributes.

On the other hand, the setup for Ainori is based around a very Japanese-specific cultural practice: the love confession. I feel like not being able to express that you like someone until you leave the show would be a hindrance in a Western show, so I’d probably find an alternative setup. I also don’t like the fact that once they leave the show, they never get to see each other again. Not even as friends.

Setting the show in a fixed but interesting setting could be an idea. Bachelor in Paradise, while it’s not a show I enjoy, could provide some ideas. It’s set in a tropical setting that I could use, and though it’s much more luxurious than Ainori, I’m sure I could find an appealing middle ground.

The thing I really hate about Bachelor in Paradise are the stars. They’re flawlessly beautiful, while also being petty, shallow, and spoiled. I’d much rather go the Ainori route, and make the stars of my show go unplugged than give them every comfort like Bachelor does. This discomfort, I believe, would force the stars to really get to know each other on a more personal level, rather than exploiting some gimmick. But to go completely low budget would probably turn viewers off.

I would also like a more diverse cast of characters. That’s where another dating show comes in, MTV’s Are You The One? This show wasn’t very good in terms of its setup, as it basically forced stars into specific couples rather than letting them choose. However, in terms of showing sexual diversity and gender diversity, season 8 of this show had it. And that is something great which I would love to see more in dating shows.

Even Ainori didn’t have LGBT people in it, because it is essentially a straight show, and in Japan, they’re far less open about showing LGBT people on TV than we’ve become in the West within the last few decades. So I would want to take advantage of that if I ever got the chance.

So, here’s the pitch:

9 (3 guys, 3 girls, 3 enbies) sexually fluid and gender diverse contestants are put in some exotic locale, say Bali. They are set up in a getaway house. This acts as a base, from which they go on adventures together. Here, they are off the grid, and have only each other for entertainment.

These adventures start as group activities, to explore and learn about the locale. After having gotten to know each other at the house, they compete in games for the chance of one-on-one dates. There are two winners for each game. Winners get to choose a date mate from the group. There are also no eliminations in this show. Couples leave once they both decide they’ve found love.

When a couple leaves, the group moves to a new locale, say Vietnam, and two new people are introduced. Individuals can leave anytime. The process continues until the end of the season. After the season concludes, there would also be a reunion episode.

So basically, it’s Ainori meets Amazing Race, but it’s exclusively for LGBT people. And the reason why I want it to be only for queer people, is that there are no queer dating shows on Australian TV; this would be the first. So that would be a selling point. I want to give queer people everything, and this show would be part of that.

Well, wasn’t that a fun exercise?

* In retrospect, I should also add that the countries would have to be LGBT-friendly. Alternately, it could be a cross-country trip.


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Trifecta – Mask

It had all happened so suddenly.

One minute a volcano had erupted, the next the entire US was without a food source, and he was driving in the middle of a desert that looked more like a snowfield, to a place where it was known that crop seeds lay safe inside a warehouse.

Of course, it would take much more than just the crops themselves; America would need a place to raise them, and of course the government had greenhouses all over the country for that. But there was one more danger out here, dangerously close to ground zero…

Zombies, previously creatures of fiction, were now fact, destroyed by the supernatural volcano deep within the heart of Yellowstone. It just so happened that the storehouse was in that same region, almost the same state, as the famous national park.

The people once known as and laughed at Doomsday Preppers might yet save the human race. He tightened his air mask; even in this regal limo, he didn’t feel safe.

It wasn’t a wide open area like the Sahara out there, nothing but yellow sands and one solitary road. This desert was dirtier and rockier than that, just on the edge. And just when the President finally thought he was safe… this road trip was about to get a lot rockier.

He pulled his seatbelt tighter against him as the awkward, long car was sent over high and low rock hills, landing smoothly or jarringly each time. They had to get away, for the good of their country. But no matter how fast they sped, the zombies were somehow faster.

Darkness fell, even through the tinted windows, and they knew they had failed. They had caught up. All the dead and rotting bodies pressed up against the windows, smashing them, pale hands reaching out.

“The President!” called the driver, and he could see the flash of a phone. “We won’t make it! You have to –”

The line went dead.

Tale for Trifecta

Inspired by a game on my phone called Zombie Road Trip


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Friday Fictioneers – Time Church

church_and_tree-claire-fuller

 

He was mobbed by the sweltering crowd as he weaved his way through the crowd. He didn’t know what time his portable time machine had taken him to; but he had to be fast. The Time Police were capable of tracking his time activity, and it was only a matter of time before they caught up to him.

Going at this rate, they’d catch him any moment now. He decided to escape the crowd and duck into the pristine church.

Silence. He took the nearest door out of the room and sprinted up the stairs.

At the top he could see everything.


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A Sombre Drama… My First Funeral

Recently, my nanna died. I’ve been tossing up whether to write about this or not, but I feel like I just had to.

A little backstory: Because of something my dad did years ago, we’ve been cut out of his family’s lives. It was a stupid decision, one felt not to be in nanna’s proper interests, and one that made him — and the rest of us, by association — hated by them. They didn’t even tell him four years ago when one of them died.

So recently, we travelled down from the Sunshine Coast where we live (except for my sister, who lives in Brisbane) to go to nanna’s funeral. Gladly, we weren’t hit by outright abuse; two of the women closest to nanna (known hereafter as V and A) simply treated us civilly. One of them, though, an old friend of nanna’s, slipped dad a hate note just before the service. So now, at least we’re clear on their feelings against us…

For clarity, I’ll be keeping certain members anonymous, by referring to them by the first letter of their names.

This is my story.

We were the first behind the hearse. After everyone had arrived, it was now time to drive to the grave site. Aunt A and K were there, and they’d seemed civil enough, but all I could help thinking was how Anne must feel about us being first. Dad had arranged the funeral too; no doubt she probably thought that was her area.

“Are we going the right way?” asked mum out loud.

“I don’t know,” said dad. “I think the driver must be a little confused… I don’t think we came through this way before…”

Actually, we had. I recognised the rows of Jewish graves that we had passed, now out the left window.

I was just wording my response in my head, sorting out the markers in my head when mum exclaimed, “Oh, yes we did! We passed that Russian building before…”

It was more like a huge gazebo, with pointed dome shapes for window frames. It was blue and white, with a bench inside the middle.

And she was right, of course, we had passed it. But I could’ve told her that we had passed this whole section if I’d told them earlier. Speaking of which, why didn’t I? What was it exactly that I saw before…

We arrived soon, and parked away close by. I took the bouquet we’d bought earlier, half carnations and half yellow roses, and carried it over.

The reverend, who was now there and dressed in his long white garb, looked at me as I arrived. “Will you be placing that with the coffin?”

I looked around at my family and mum filled in the question. She then took the flowers away, and opened up the wrapping. She wanted each of us to take a flower. Dad and I took a carnation; mum and Kristi took a yellow rose.

Mum hastily or messily wrapped the bouquet up again and placed it on a field of green tarp where a number of other bouquets had been placed. It looked haggard compared to the others.

As we stood around, waiting for everyone to arrive and the service to start, nanna’s old friend V slipped a note into dad’s suit pants pocket. “To be read after ther funeral,” she said. It sounded important.

Casting the odd sight aside, I took my position facing the modern line of graves, where the reverend would be addressing an intimate audience of those seven of us and nanna’s nurses at the home where she’d spent the last years of her life.

“Mina lived for 91 years. Now, looking around at all the faces here, I can see all kinds of people who knew her. She was a wonderful sister, mother, wife, grandmother and friend. Everyone here will have different memories of her, but I doubt that everyone here will have known her for all of those 91 years.”

“Hm,” I agreed, nodding.

“I give my deepest condolences to those she left behind, Ken, Tami, Kristi, Ashley and –”

My attention perked up at the mention of my name, and as I finished listening to the names he gave, I noticed he didn’t say A’s. She wouldn’t like that, either I thought.

I looked over at her. She was leaning into K, an open frown on her face, her eyes rimmed with tears. That made sense, at least. She loved nanna, it was the whole reason she hated dad, and what was a funeral without tears and mourning?

The reverend had now started on a list of meaningless events that had happened on the year she was born, 1921. I didn’t think that would help anyone, certainly not A, with her memory. I tried to listen anyway, but these things meant nothing to me. I don’t know so much about the 20s.

Then he handed it over to dad, who took charge as he always does. The first thing he said was bring up one of those events, the only one I really heard, “because Mina really liked that. In reality, she was just like The Little Rascals too…”

And proceeded to tell a story I never knew, that nanna had apparently told all the time, about how she or someone else had lopped off the toe end of someone’s shoes…

As the service went on, and the reverend started to speak again, I remained silent, even through the prayers, playing with the leaves of my flower, looking over at A a few more times, who didn’t change much.

Then finally, “I see that some of you have flowers. Would you like to place them on top of the coffin?”

I had seen it happen, that the tarp with everyone’s bouquets had been laid aside and that the coffin had been placed on two flat bars over the open grave and looped through with rope.

Dad went first then, nervously, me. Everyone else with flowers lined up after and had their turn, and my family grouped up on the other side.

When all the flowers had been placed against the coffins bouquet, the coffin was held with the ropes, the bars removed, the coffin lowered.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

Finally, the tarp, placed over a metal grate, covered the grave. The service was over.

People gathered in groups now, talking. I saw A take her and K’s bouquet off the tarp and offer it to the nurses at nanna’s old home. In turn, others also took their bouquets away. Only ours remained. Mum thought, and I agreed, that nanna should have at least one bouquet for herself. Messy as it was, it was hers now…

A soon cheered up after the service at least when I saw her talking with the others, and eventually she made her way to us. She learned that Kristi had gotten married last year, to great excitement and congratulations on her part. Then she asked me what I was I was up to. Great.

“She’s currently looking for work right now…” mum filled in for me. “And she’s also writing a book.”

“Oh, what’s it about?”

I looked down. In the first place, I was too embarrassed to mention the book. In the second, I always had trouble with that question, even if I knew.

“Vampires,” said mum.

“Oh…” said A, distaste in her voice.

I shrugged. Whatever. It didn’t change the fact that Dawn’s a lot like Anne.

A hugged Dad and Kristi when we left. I was afraid to go in for a hug in case she didn’t want to. “Do you mind if I hug you?” mum asked.

“I do mind, actually,” said A, seeming to hug herself in discomfort.

I nodded. Fair enough.

In the car, though, we found out what V’s letter had been. “I can’t believe that she lumped me in with you,” mum fretted. Soon I learned what she meant. “The letter. She told us both to rot in hell.”


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Friday Fictioneers – Deserting Home

Copyright - Janet Webb

There was no going out tonight. Not here, not ever again… I couldn’t even take my writing. I left my dress hanging out over the balcony, and my notebook there on my bed.

I felt a tug from my heart as I left my bedroom for the last time. We could take nothing with us. It was too poisonous, the radiation already exceeding the Ukraine.

I was just a teenager. I didn’t want any of this. Leaving everything I knew and loved. My mama held me in her arms. Within hours, the streets would be empty.

Time to leave… Chernobyl.

For Friday Fictioneers.


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Friday Fictioneers – Rebel

Sandra Crook

“What the hell is that?”

“It’s a motorbike.”

“No,” scoffed Jeremy. “That’s a hunk of metal.”

“Isn’t this gang about rebellion? Well, I’m just fighting the system here. I made this with my own hands. I think it looks cool. I’m proud of it.”

“What about all those sharp edges? Rebellion’s one thing, but you show up at the club on that thing, you’re gonna be the village idiot.”

“Oh, yeah? Just you watch me! They’re gonna love it!”

He really wished he hadn’t. It was one of the stupidest things he ever did on that bike. There was a riot…

Flash fiction for Friday Fictioneers


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Friday Fictioneers – Starting Over

Copyright -Douglas M. MacIlroy

I woke to the worst disaster in history.

My heart jolted as my eyes opened to the inside of a tent.

“I think she’s awake,” said someone just outside. Dad? He poked his head in, smiling. “You awake? It’s almost one.”

“You dragged me camping?”

“A storm hit early this morning. You wouldn’t wake up, so we had to carry you. The cyclone destroyed half the coast; we had to move inland.”

“Where are we?”

“Come out and see.”

I poked my head outside. Fields all around; there was a horse behind a rabbit proof fence.

“Great.”

Flash fiction for Friday Fictioneers.


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Trifecta – Infect

There was no chance the aliens were going to allow anything to infect the Milky Way. It was a sanctuary; one that was highly guarded from the outside space.

This was an important zoo; and there was much documentation on display at the visitors’ capsule. Andromeda housed it; but humans, the one species testing their barriers, could never know that they were being kept captive in this spacial zoo. It was for their own good.

They sent probes far into space, exploring their world, discovering Andromeda. They were the most fascinating creatures, the smartest of their kind, but they were not ready for the outside world.

“They will never find us,” a mentor of the latest apprentice zookeeper taught him. “Their technology is far too basic, and they are just beginning to explore space. They’ll never reach our capabilities, but they are capable creatures.

“Eons ago, we discovered life. We documented the ages as the dinosaurs evolved into birds, and we watched the mammals rise… but we knew that we could not interact with them. We have to be responsible and let them live out their lives on their own. If we were to interfere, their lives could be drastically altered.”

“Why can’t we just study the animals?” asked a student.

His mentor smiled. “We have never interfered with any of their lives. Know this; even though they have the capability and proclivity to destroy their own planet, every animal is different. They’re fighting to save themselves.  The planet is getting warmer by the decade. But even if the humans die off, there will be other animals to take their place. Hopefully, none as destructive, though.”

“Hmm,” the student seemed worried. “I hope they pull through.”

“Yes,” the mentor agreed. “That is the hope of all zookeepers who keep the guards. But even if they do, there is a long road ahead of them to understanding the world around them. If one day, they do evolve to our level, I’d happily greet them.”

Prompt taken from Trifecta.


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Trifecta – Hack

His joints strained under the pickaxe hacking at stone. “I’m tired of safety… I have to move… I’ll be dead too.”

Alan stopped him. “I love you because you’re different. Don’t do this.”

Prompt taken from this weekend’s Trifecta.


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Friday Fictioneers – Self-Made

Copyright - Beth Carter

“I rebuilt this mostly from scratch. I didn’t have money for a lot of the parts, but hey,” he said, taking one last long drag from his cigarette and stamping it into the ground, “she still runs. At least she’s got a decent engine!”

“I don’t know,” Zach said. “It looks kind of dodgy. I really need a decent car to get me there.” He watched this guy carefully, nerves trembling through his heartbeat.

“It’ll get you there and back without breaking a sweat!” He pulled the sign out of the car vigorously. “It’s my everyday car. Just bring her back to the shop.”

He was desperate. “I’ll take it.”