Spookymilk Survivor X — Challenge #11: Payoff

This week’s Spookymilk Survivor writer’s challenge was a continuation of an earlier challenge: using someone else’s previous cliffhanger submission, write the payoff. And oh yeah, write it to match the style of the cliffhanger you are completing.

This was a bugger, not necessarily because of the difficulty (not that it wasn’t difficult), but because the Runner family spent almost the entire week with many of my wild, wonderful extended family in central IA. I did review the cliffhanger’s beforehand, settling on completing the store robbery cliffhanger by my arch-nemesis Daneeka’s Ghost (it felt the closest to my own “style”, such as it is) and ruminated on it until the night before the deadline. This was eventually written on the night before the deadline while watching the wonderful musical adaptation of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds on DVD. The story worked out, but it could have used a scosh more spit and polish.

(Daneeka’s Ghost conclusion)

Gerald semi-crouched where he had been standing, frozen in place as the squad car raced forward. It came to a halt with a screech in the open parking spots before the front entrance. Both car doors flung open and the officers took up position behind each door, their revolvers drawn and pointed, and one with the radio mic in his other hand.

“The building is surrounded! No one needs to get hurt – just put down your weapon and come to the door with your hands over your head!”

He could just make out Namir through the front windows, glancing furtively around him, and without seeing an exit available to him, slowly raised his hands above his head. Gerald knew Namir had no weapon anyway.

As the officer on the passenger side moved forward, his raised gun signaling to Namir to lie on the ground, the other office turned his attention, and gun, in Gerald’s direction. Gerald had already sunk to his knees with his hands behind his head, though, just as a second police car pulled to a stop right in front of him.

While being led away to the newly-arrived police car, hands cuffed behind his back, Gerald overheard the lady’s excited voice. “Thanks for coming so quickly! I took your advice about suspicious repeat purchases and called right away. I didn’t even have the phone hung up before that one over there ran in!”

Jotting in a notepad, the officer in charge replied, “Well, more often than not when a guy comes in multiple times like that, he’s casing the joint. You did right to call us.”

Gerald glanced up in the lady’s direction as his head was being forced into the waiting car. “That’s not the only reason,” he mumbled, as the pack of wintergreen gum fell onto the car seat. “That’s not the only reason…”

I liked the thought of Gerald being a reluctant antagonist, which DG had originally set up, and the pack of gum makes an appearance as an embodiment of Gerald’s feelings towards the victim.

Additionally, I was flattered that freealonzo chose to complete my cliffhanger. Since I had had no idea where the story was going and I never did take it to any conclusion in my head, it was interesting to see where he took it. And the fact that not one but two plot twists resulted would have made M. Night Shyamalan proud.

So how did team SPOILER ALERT! make out this week? Well I’m glad you asked — RESULTS. The scores are the real cliffhanger here! SPOILER ALERT! sits at 2nd place, and Nibbish and His Vogons finally get the privilege of voting off a player. Tonight, thank God it’s them instead of us.

So, what say you, adjudicators?:

K: Alright, this is beauty right here. The story knocks down some pins that Brooks may not even realize he set up, and it’s Gerald, not Namir, who got them caught in the end. This pays off the complexity of Gerald’s “relationship” with the clerk in a realistic way, creates excellent foreshadowing and reads as if it’s from the same author. Excellent. 5

DK: I like to see usage of details from the original, or the lack of details, as in this case, the (possibility) that Namir lacks a weapon. 4

I’ll take the compliments while they’re still coming, and hopefully we can do it again next week. And thanks for the proofing (and the hospitality), SS. The home improvements look great, btw.

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One response to “Spookymilk Survivor X — Challenge #11: Payoff

  1. The genius of the foreshadowing here is something that nobody else quite did (Beau’s a possible exception), and might make this one my favorite of the week. That was just a stand-up-and-applaud moment for me, man.

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