Title: Some Words Of Intelligence

Callout: Todd writes.

Logged: 22 Jul 17 (Saturday in the AM)

Copyright:

Time: 3 minutes

Replies: 33

Revisions: 10

Publicity: Superfeed

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That daft Dr. Wormwood, with the apparent help of a number of Rejects, had finally put the finishing touches on his newest model, the Super Dirt Star. Larger than its predescessor and nearly thrice the three dimensional displacement, it was now the ultimate vacuum in Very New Havana, prominently displayed in the window of the dubiously credentialed Dr.’s Vacuum Emporium and Air Supply. And when activated it sounded… Todd wasn’t sure. Hinky. The kind of sound you’d go a lifetime and never place. It was, in a word, unmistakable.

Todd wrote the last of his entry and carelessly tossed down his Better NASA Space Pen®, pretending for no-one-else-for-he-was-alone’s sake that he wasn’t captivated by the pen’s rolls and bounces across the mahogany veneer of his crepescular desk, onto the chrome and foiled titanium floor. He turned his attention back to the dispatch, folding it neatly and purposefully as he had been instructed. Lighting his nearest stick of red wax he lifted the liquefying organic compound squarely above the freshly licked and pressed envelope flap and slapped his big brass T down for the seal. With a knowing wink that only Todd would think to give to an inanimate object, he addressed this one to George Lazenby, President of The Universe, Incorporated and Mayor-Elect of the Bermu-Delta Exclusion Zone, and, secretly, sort of, his boss. Lazenby was going places and Todd knew it.

The second copy Todd addressed to Bearnice, his literary agent and biggest critic. He gave that envelope no such wink, as he could already imagine what she’d have to say to such a bold and unbibliographied work of intelligence.

Todd reached into the secret compartment below his desk and retrieved the appropriate canister for the day, placing the letters into its aluminum receptacle before twisting it shut and walking it to the exterior bleached birch door. He tucked the smooth metallic communication apparatus behind the unkempt fern below the coat stand where his droid Unit 8633 Joe’s overcoat was curiously not hanging. Soon the droid would have to fend for himself, thought Todd, wherever that imbecile was.

His work complete for now, Todd mixed himself an absinthe and Tang and settled his gaze out the slats of his Venetian Space Blinds onto the fading light over the Very New Havana skyline. He noted the swiftly changing hues of the partially artificial lagoon surrounding the surprisingly affordable Bermu-Delta Hilton. With the approach of evening the air was thick with the lusty croaks of the lagoon’s radioactive frogs. Todd wondered if the apparatus was still behind the fern but daren’t look. He knew it was a good place to hide things. Lazenby himself had taught him that, but he wasn’t precisely sure how things worked from there.

A few more absinthe and Tang’s and Todd was thinking of mustering courage. A bowl of cereal, a few lines of powdered iridium and one-maybe-two-tops more drinks and he’d be ready to complete his mission. The room long since darkened, illuminated only by the glow of the frogs and the reflection of whatever they were supposed to be calling the moon these days, Todd had wedged approximately 30% of his body back into the taffeta dress. Tattered and stained, its folds creased over in unflattering ways, Todd still considered it his best disguise by far, and as long as the heels held up he would continue to wear it.

And it was right there and then, grappling with the synthetic silk cross-straps that are supposed to somehow go around and under his armpits in a way he could never quite get right, that he heard it. Through the din of the frogs and the rattling rumble of his hotel air conditioner, he could hear it, hinky and unmistakable.

The whole place was about to suck.

Revisions

Rabbit » Authorship
Rabbit » 11:04 PM 12 Aug 17
Rabbit » 1:44 PM 22 Jul 17
Rabbit » 1:43 PM 22 Jul 17
Rabbit » 12:01 PM 22 Jul 17
Rabbit » 11:58 AM 22 Jul 17
Rabbit » 11:11 AM 22 Jul 17
Rabbit » 1:29 AM 22 Jul 17
Rabbit » 1:25 AM 22 Jul 17

The Thread (33)

 Author's voice in spacey orange. 

  1. Goddammit I wish I knew what was what in this series, and what’s going on.

    I do like daren’t — can’t believe this is my first encounter with it.

    The twilight skyline of Very New Havana from the Hilton, and the radioactive frogs, and the Tang and absinthe — this all adds up. But I’m still reading these pieces like they’re disconnected, isolated, to be considered for their internal qualities as opposed to their external interconnectedness. I want that to stop and it’s not all on me.

    Have I already compared Todds to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? There are probably a few other comparable books that I also haven’t read but think I know something about based on the cover alone. Hitchhiker’s just always comes to mind first — that green blob with arms on the paperback jacket from the 80s, seems like he’d have a role to play.

    Honestly I don’t know what else I’d do in the bathroom if there was no RL.

  2. Hearing that last part is what makes this whole endeavor worthwhile.

    No, it’s not all on you. There are numerous aspects of the Todds that remain a work in progress, and though less than complete I’d softly counter that the series at this point is more than riffing. Can’t say it’ll satisfy every reader but I think some more mindful tagging work will help with threading together some of the strains, especially as we begin transitioning the backlog over from Turbodat.

    I can’t recall you comparing to Hitchhiker’s but that is absolutely a part of the stew.

  3. A true work of art. Perhaps the magnum opus of the Todd series.

    If you’ve followed these pieces, you know that they operate both individually and across the board. There’s connectivity but not through plot or character or any other traditional literary element. Maybe it’s just that we keep using the same names.

    Really enjoyed this one.

  4. “There’s connectivity . . . but not through [X] . . . or any other [Y] . . . [m]aybe it’s just [Z].”

    Thanks.

    Hey look, if you don’t even know, just say so. Stop hiding the ball. Come clean on this thing so we’re not just suckers at a shell game.

  5. You can always count on Elk for a good early morning comment.

    This series to me revolves around the idea of play. The characters are a smattering of toys that have general attributes and/but can fit into various roles. Todd is almost always the protagonist (except when he’s not). George Lazenby seems to take on roles of authority. Fragg is Todd’s (sometimes creepy) friend. Joe is a less organic Todd doppelgänger.

    Situations, as in a child’s play (the activity, not a theatrical work), vary but only so much. As you know, Todds often parody previous works, and often build on each other.

    It’s a rainy day and there’s a bucket of toys spilled out on the table. Let’s play Todd.

    That’s pretty simple, right?

  6. There are all kinds of theories on “play” we don’t need to get into, nor were they ever discussed in the conception of Todd. Essentially, Rabbit and I began messing around with and adding to this farcical Todd universe because it was fun. Writing can be for fun, for joy. If it’s not, I don’t know why we do it. I suggest everybody have fun writing.

  7. Fun is overrated — time and place, really. Writing is where I go to grow and/or communicate. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have fun; it’s to say not everyone should need to have fun. There’d be no variety of output without variety of input.

    Thanks for the rundown. I think that’s a sound organic premise for a series (playing with seeds), but I maintain that it’s time for some growth.

  8. Growth is overrated. Return to your roots, Elk.

  9. Maybe you’re that waiter holding the huge platterful of dishes, trying to balance every single thing every which way. Drop it and eat off the floor, why don’t you.

  10. There’s a human condition, a biology, a physiology, an ecosystem, a universe coded sometimes hard and sometimes soft. My body is asking for some hard or soft boiled connections and development from these pieces, in the traditional sense. It’s saying to me, “Give me that drug, it’ll make things better.” It’s a physical craving I cannot control except to quit stories altogether. But who can quit? We’re living in one, all of us, individually, in tandem, in unison together, fractally, coded in a condition that perpetuates and tastes as good as a bowl of powdered irradium paste flakes being chomped in front of a double-fused ion ejection set playing S01 E01 of Snorks.

  11. But that’s the point. A story’s not supposed to be satisfying. At least entirely. It should be satisfyingly unsatisfying. It shouldn’t give you the all the answers.

    If you’re left wanting something, maybe it’s working.

  12. I don’t disagree that it’s working — that’s why we’re in this conversation. It’s about whether it will stop working, unless. And I believe there’s an unless on the horizon, so I want something to arrive before the sun sets.

  13. I like to think that every Todd could be the last one. Or the first.

  14. That’s fine, and good enough for nothing — but I might just say you’ve had your fun, and that that’s a great way to produce a book, and that now the work begins, i.e. identify, untangle, plot, link, write, and conclude.

  15. Once this Todd thing was clearly gaining velocity, Bear and I decided that we wouldn’t share thoughts about what it was or where it was heading until a certain milestone was reached. We were communicating via vignette and saw no reason to spoil it by injecting our respective raison d’être’s. I agree with his description above, though I have my own thoughts as well. I’ve said it before, in text and in person, that I believe the Todds possess all the elements of storytelling that one may crave, but not all stories are told in the same way. I’m a fan of both War and Peace and Infinite Jest, but to say they share the same or even similar manifestations of storytelling or technique would be, if you’ll forgive me, fiction. And neither could be comprehended by an assessment of the book cover or reading of excerpts.

    I have no interest in being my own literary critic and I’ve been typing even this much with one hand as the other is busy pinching my nose to get through it. It’s not for everyone, and that’s OK. And while there’s work to be done with what’s been produced, I am proud to say that I have not yet begun to Todd.

    Still interested in thoughts but ask for trust.

  16. Trust is a rare thing in these parts.

  17. Which is exactly why Rooster Land, for all the good things it’s produced from the writers who’ve participated, was doomed to fail from the start. No faith.

  18. That’s how I feel about the Sun. Sure it might’ve brought us into this world, but you know it’s just itching to take us out.

  19. Go duck yourself, thus spake das Rooster.

  20. Just keeping it real, homie.

  21. Variant of homey, a member of one’s peer group, or an acquaintance from one’s neighborhood.

  22. Just keeping it real, homey.

  23. Superfeed this.

  24. Sounds a little like an insult or comeback.

  25. Sorry: I hereby nominate this vignette to be superfeedeth, on this the third day of August in the Year of Our Lord 2017.

  26. It is good — and superfed it I have. But these suckers struggle in isolation, and still struggle together, a la about 1000 angry text messages that went back and forth last week. But I’m still a huge fan.

  27. Todd stories, even in isolation, reduce stress and add to quality of life. I once administered a Todd story to a dying man in Nepal whose oxygen-starved brain was granted instant reprieve from unquantifiable pain and suffering from the mere ordering of the letters T-O-D-D.

    The smile on his dead face was well worth the trouble.

  28. Reading back this conversation two months later makes me realize how silly we are. Not necessarily in a bad way.

    An Unless on the Horizon is a great title.

    And the Air Supply reference in the story. I missed that one.

    Really all top shelf stuff.

  29. Agreed.

  30. Reading it three months later makes the whole thing seem kind of cute. Making Todd Out of Nothing At All. And yes, that is a link to my very first Audio-Visual Todd.

  31. Always appreciate a random YouTube link — I just spent the last 10 minutes watching Wheel of Fortune bloopers and I don’t want a second of it back.

  32. And you know what — how deeply Todd of me to tunnel back in time and bury my woes under a pile of crudely confected media sweets.

  33. Attention is finite. Why waste it on anything which can’t bury our woes?

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