Welcome to Hot Potato!
8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story
Here’s the seventh fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story, this time featuring potato/writer NATALIE ELIZABETH BEECH who is taking Gwendolyn’s penultimate ‘middle’ and bringing the entire short story collaboration to its heady conclusion. Not an easy task!
In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s beginning here, Gail’s ‘middle’ here , CJ’s ‘middle’ here, AK’s ‘middle’ here, Laura’s ‘middle’ here and Gwendolyn’s ‘middle’ here.
Here’s Natalie’s contribution and the exciting conclusion of our short story:
“ W-What have you done!?” Chloe squeaked, timidly hovering over her father’s body.
“Chloe.” Robo-girl’s voice feminine and nurturing once more “ Jeff was a bad man!”
“My daddy was Peter, HE TOLD YOU HE WAS PETER.”
“Jeff would trade you as scrap just like he traded me. If Tom hadn’t saved me, I would be just like your father, oil leaking into the sand, parts broken.”
“ You are just an old unwanted toy!” Chloe bellowed the words from the very pit of her stomach, throwing all the bile and nastiness she could behind those words.
“I’m exactly like your daddy, Jeff made me!”
Chloe, head now spinning, reminded herself of the grandfather her dad had never dared speak of; how he had been abandoned and left by the technologically-obsessed father for pastures new…How he would never even speak his name…
“He looked just like Jeff… spoke the same, same nose… same eyebrows same hair… same old beer breath.”
Back when he was a young man, Jeff, had built robo-girls and boys and robo-women and robo-men.. He was obsessed with the cables the nuts, the bolts, people called him robo-victor, mish-mashing together parts into his beloved robots.
He also had a family, a wife he was forced to marry, because she stupidly got knocked up when she was 15 and that annoying little brat Peter. Hardly speaking until one day they shared their first beer, from an aluminum can, the old familiar beneath Jeff’s fingers.
“What is it about these… toys? Why do you spend more time with them than with us?” The boy Peter had asked about himself and his mother.
“Well.. for starters they speak when spoken to and don’t ask me annoying questions… They don’t get themselves pregnant at 15 and give me a son I don’t want.”
Peter left, kicking the parts that would become his father’s new obsession to the ground and scattering them…
Not stopping to notice the stray would-be robo-organ flailing towards his mother’s head, knocking her to the ground.. cold…
“MUM!! SORRY SORRY SORRY. ”
“I always knew these robots would be the death of me.” She smiled, her dark wit beaming from eyes and showing her teeth..
“No more beer, you hear me… You will get a headache as bad as mine… I love you Peter” With that she was on the ground… cold…. dead.
“You see what you did, you see what these things caused… I HATE YOU… I HATE YOU…. I HATE YOU. ”
They would never see or speak to each other again.
Peter ran and he ran long, not stopping until his legs gave out underneath him. He ran, as he would see Chloe run decades later… On that fateful day when they had decided he was her daddy and she was his daughter and they became each others’ family.
“ You are just scrap… we should have thrown you into the land years ago… You don’t feel, you don’t bleed, you are nothing like him NOTHING.”
“I have his voice now, we share a father, we both love you. “
“Feel a beat in my chest?” She asked placing Chloe’s hand across her heart-like circuitry “It doesn’t pump blood, but it feels like your father’s felt against your hand doesn’t it? Jeff made sure I was his most perfect model.”
“Nothing.” Chloe defiantly insisted under her breath…
“Well, perhaps not” robo-girl resigned. “But, I am at least like you.”
Grabbing Chloe by her wrist, robo-girl took her finger and ran it along the middle of Chloe’s right arm… Blue sparks flying, cutting her open down to what should have been bone.
“Most perfect until he made you, that is, the beat of your circuits even fooled me”
Chloe looked down, felt a sinking in what she thought was a human stomach, and uttered one single word-
With that.. fell a new card, Wheel of Fortune, owl legend was again renewed.
NATALIE ELIZABETH BEECH is a Writer/Poet and now occasionally Editor. She likes to call herself a “Professional Language Whore.” (Writing is what she does. Because she has to) She begun a love affair with written word and books when she was just a child and her father would bring her home two free books a week from his job at a distribution company. Beside words, she loves music. She likes to think she can play the guitar; she is wrong. Her favorite song of all time is “Drain You”; she will always be the girl who listens to grunge and reads beat poetry. She is a Brit, living and loving in Portugal and has lived in many countries since she was 16, loving to travel,move and see the world. She is called a “Typical Gemini” whatever that may be.
You can find her in many hiding places on the web. Here are just a few, so far discovered:
Well, this marks the conclusion of this particular Hot Potato Collaboration 2013, which, I think we can all say has been a success, and from what I’ve heard from the potatoes, an enjoyable and creative experience. It is my every intention to use this format again in the future. It’s great! Many thanks to the originator of the whole idea. My thanks also to the lovely potatoes who contributed to this particular project: Ben, Gail, CJ, AK, Laura, Natalie and Gwendolyn, and to Aksania and his intent to create, who had to pull out unexpectedly.