Wayne Cole

Writer Podcaster Geek

First Leap

Fiction Fragment Friday

This week’s story is about the character Ricochet that I play on the Knights of Reignsborough Actual Play. He is a character I have truly enjoyed exploring over the years and have done a few pieces of audio fiction about him. This is a scene I wrote last week while sitting at my dad’s bedside in the hospital. It is the first of many scenes I hope to write and combine into a either a novel or a collection of short stories. It is with great pleasure that I present to you Ricochet in “First Leap”

Ricochet

I felt my muscles strain as I pumped my legs pushing myself closer to the edge of the roof.  I was sprinting faster than I ever had before as I passed the point of no return.  I was committed and there was no backing out now.  I bent down and leapt into the air. My body curled up and I did a flip forward in the air. 

As my legs extended to point towards the next roof over my life flashed before my eyes.  As memory after memory came, I realized that I wasn’t particularly proud of any of them.  I had never done anything of note and if I died now, I would not leave a legacy. 

Everything changed when my feat hit the roof.  All the fear faded, and I started laughing with joy.  I could feel my muscles tighten and grow.  Deep down I knew that I had to keep moving.  I ran faster and faster until leapt from the other side of the roof.  With each jump I got faster and went higher.  All thoughts of fear and regret were gone, and I was lost in a euphoric joy. 

I’m not sure how long I bounced around the city.  Afternoon stretched into evening and I could hear my stomach growl more than I could feel the hunger.  I landed on the roof of a four-story building and without pause leapt off spinning three times before landing perfectly on the ground.  I felt invincible.

Finally, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel.  As it turns out the tunnel was an overpass I landed in front of.  The light was the only working headlight on the moving truck that hit me at forty-five miles per hour.  I could barely feel the skin on my arms and legs being rubbed off by the friction of sliding across the asphalt. 

I looked back at the truck as I skid to a stop.  The front had crumpled around me and was now glowing from the fire that had ignited in the engine block.  Through the windshield I could see the driver slumped against the steering wheel with blood on his face. 

“NO!” I screamed as I ran towards the truck.  All I could think about was how this was my fault.  I didn’t even question how I was doing it as I ripped the door off the truck and flung it across the street.  I snapped the seatbelt from around the man’s waist and pulled him from the drivers seat.  Throwing him over my shoulder I leapt onto the overpass just as flames engulfed the cabin.

“Uhm, I hope you took out the rental insurance.”  I think the joke was more to calm me than it was for him.  He was waking up, so I turned to leave.  “Sorry to rescue and run but I really hate answering questions.”  I leapt onto the nearest roof and continued to bounce until all feelings of guilt for what almost happened faded from my mind.  I probably should have been more worried that it didn’t take very long at all.

Estate Sale

Fiction Fragment Friday

            “OOH!”  Jen was squealing in glee as she dug through the box of jewelry.  It seemed like each new piece somehow managed to excite her more than the last.  I personally didn’t understand it, but had long ago learned not to get between her and her “shinies” at an estate sale.  A man could get himself hurt doing that.  Since I had no interest in jewelry or having my eardrums blown out by high pitched squealing, I decided it might be best to wonder into another room. 

At first her energetic rifling through other people junk had been cute.  That was five yard sales, two estate sales, and six hours ago.  My only consolation was that it was 3pm and nothing else would be open.  I had assumed that this estate sale would already be over when I agreed to one last stop, but I was just not that lucky.  There were so many better ways I could spend a Saturday.

I walked into the house’s library and started glancing through the books.  It was a large room with one wall lined by bookshelves.  There was a fireplace opposite the bookshelves, and two old chairs with holes worn into the upholstery sat facing it.  A coffee table held a few stacks of books, but it was the rows and rows of them on the bookshelves that caught my attention.   

Having been dragged to far too many of these events I had learned what to expect.  Estate sales would have mostly religious or children’s books.  Self help and cooking also seemed to be common place.  If I was actually lucky enough to find something science fiction there was no way I would know the author.  The best I could hope for would be an interesting compilation.  There was nothing else worth looking at in the house though so I figured with a library this big I should at least give it a try. 

I was so focused on the bookshelf that I didn’t see the power cord for the vacuum cleaner stretching across the floor until I had already tripped on it.  My arms flew up to try and break the fall, but I was spinning and landed hard on my shoulder.  It throbbed and I moaned in pain a bit until something caught my eye.  There was a book lying under the largest bookshelf.  Overcome by curiosity I couldn’t help but reach out to grab it. 

I blew the dust off the book and immediately started choking on it.  The book had been under there for a long time.  As the dust cleared I looked at the graphic on the cover.  It was an oval with a spiraling circle inside it.  “Well that doesn’t really tell me what you are about now does it?”  Flipping the book open I couldn’t tell what language it was in, but it was not English.  Since I couldn’t read it I tossed it onto the bookshelf.  “Well I guess today was a complete bust.”

“No way, today was awesome.”  Jen had finished with the jewelry and was standing in the door.  She had three necklaces and a ring in her hand.  “These are the best way to finish the day off.”  She smiled at me.  “I’ll even let you be a gentleman and buy ones of these for your loving girlfriend.”

I sighed a bit and pulled out my wallet.  “How short are you?”

“I just need $5 to get them all.”  I handed her the money and she kissed my cheek.  “You’re the best even if you are grumpy.”  She smiled at me and walked towards the living room where they had the money table setup. 

I rubbed my sore shoulder.  “Atleast someone’s happy.”  As I said it I saw a tiny little statue of a dog.  It had a marble in its mouth with a swirling design.  I couldn’t quite make out what breed it was supposed to be, but it looked very wolf like.  The tail twisted back around to make a loop and I realized that it would be the perfect size for putting on my keychain.  I grabbed the statue and headed for the living room.    

Jen had already finished paying by the time I got to the table.  She gave me another kiss on the cheek.  “Thanks again hon.” She held out a necklace with a very ornate key on the end of it.  The thing was jewel encrusted and I thought it looked pretty gaudy.  “I know jewelry isn’t your thing, but I got this for you.  I’m giving you the key to my heart.”  She reached up and put the necklace on me.  I thought about protesting, but she looked so happy that I didn’t want to disappoint her.  “Do you like it?”

“Oh course I do.”  I hoped that she couldn’t tell that I was lying through my teeth.  If she could she didn’t show any sign of it.

“What’s that book?”

I looked down into my hands and found that I was holding the book that was not in English and the tiny dog statue was sitting right on the swirling symbol.  I struggled to remember when I picked the book back up, but there didn’t seem to be any time I could have done it.  I just stared at the book.

“Andy are you ok?”

“Yeah hon.  I just, I don’t remember picking this book up.”  I rubbed my eyes.  “Maybe I’m just a bit tired.”

“Well hurry up and check out so we can get you back home.  I need you all rested up so we can go out tonight and show off all my new jewelry.”

I sighed thinking about how much I would rather just stay in and watch a movie instead of meeting our friends for a trip to the casino.  When I turned to the table to pay I let out a loud gasp.  An elderly woman I hadn’t seen approach was standing in front of the table about a foot away from me.  She started speaking in a raspy voice.  “Are you sure that is the book you want?  There are some lovely cook books back there.”  She looked deep into my eyes and I wasn’t quite sure what to say.  “No, I think this is the book for you after all, oh and I always loved that little statue.”   She limped her way back around to the other side of the table and had a seat.  “Three fifty.”

I felt like I was in autopilot as I pulled out my wallet and handed her my money.  I don’t even remember walking back to the car.  The next thing I was clearly aware of was that Jen had just asked me a question and I had no idea what it was.  This was not a good sign and my mind went into overdrive trying to figure out how to handle the situation.  If I didn’t give a good answer I knew that the drive home was going to be very unpleasant.  I had to think fast.  “I don’t know what do you think hon?”

Apparently that was an acceptable answer because she started talking about dinner options.  When I got in the car she turned to me in a very poor imitation of the old woman said, “I think this is the book for you after all.”  She burst out laughing and I couldn’t help but give a bit of a chuckle myself.  “That has to be the creepiest thing I have ever heard at an estate sale and I was hit on by a pervy old guy once.  Hey maybe she was flirting with you.  I just can’t take you anywhere can I?”

She continued to talk about absolutely nothing the entire way home.  I found myself wondering how a depressed introvert like me ended up with someone as peppy as her.  As I pulled into the apartment parking lot I had to ask myself what kept two so completely different people together?  As I looked at her and saw just how happy the morning had made her and I couldn’t help but smile back.  “I love you,” I said.

“Well that certainly came out of nowhere, but I love you too.”  She gave me a quizzical look, but if she had something she wanted to ask she decided to keep it to herself.  

Monster Hunters

 Fiction Fragment Friday

               Starting today I’m going to be posting fragments of fiction on Fridays.  These could be stories I started but never finished, attempts as flash fiction, or excerpts from larger writing projects I have done.  I’m hoping to generate some feedback and see what works deserve to be developed into full projects.  With that in mind for this first entry I present Monster Hunters.  This was written as flash fiction based on a writing prompt.


                “I’m not saying it’s your fault.  I’m just saying I’m probably going to blame you for it.”  James had a smirk on his face as he said it, but Lilly knew he was frustrated at being covered in green gore. 

                “You and everyone else.”  Lilly ran her hand over her face and shook the green gunk onto the floor.  “I swear I don’t know why I do this.  We risk our lives fighting creatures that people don’t want to believe exist only to be yelled at by Commander Lopez for collateral damage or exposure.  Plus we have to wear these hideous brown utility worker uniforms.”  She motioned up and down her body at the suit slopping even more green goo to the floor. 

                “In fairness you shot a nine-foot-tall six tentacled creature with a grappling gun in Times Square and pulled it down making a spectacular splat in front of us.  There were no less than 20 phones recording it.  We became a meme before we even called it in.”

                “Well Lopez can just wait to chew us out.  I got green gunk running down my ass crack and if I don’t get in a shower before the itching starts, I just might tell him what I really think of him.”

                James shook his head as he watched her storm off to the women’s locker room.  “It’s going to be one of those days.”  He sighed and then caught himself scratching at his neck.  “Son of a bitch.”  He headed to the men’s locker room as quickly as he could walk. 

September 2020 Update

                I had a lot of ideas for both this website and projects when the year started.  I was going to do regular flash fiction here, share story concepts to get feedback, and generally blog about topics related to writing and geek culture.  There are two other domain names I have purchased, and I was hoping to launch projects related to them by the end of the year.  As it turns out none of that happened.  When Covid struck one of the projects I had in mind became impossible with the lockdowns, but the other creative endeavors could have occurred.  I just found myself drawn into the events of the world and struggling with motivation.  Going forward I will try to do more regular updates on what I am working on and what to expect. 

Podcasts

                I have made guest appearances on GamersTable and Gaming with Gage.  I am still a regular host on both Fear the Boot and Funnybooks with Aron and Paulie.  These are generally weekly shows but have not been quite as consistent this year as they both have been in the past.  These shows have had to adapt to the changing world.  For example, the Skies of Glass Actual Play went from being recorded with everyone around a table to being recorded online.  I’m not certain what this has done for the quality of the recordings, but it has certainly changed the dynamics of the game.  In the case of Funnybooks there was over a month with no new comics being released.   

               In addition, early this year I started releasing a short weakly podcast called Fear the Boot: Game Notes for the $5 a month and up Patreon backers of Fear the Boot.  This has been a consistent release with no late episodes or missed weeks.  I have found it to be both a learning experience and something good for me from a routine standpoint in an unstable world.  The podcast is focused on both sharing how myself and other rpg gamemasters prepare for games as well as sharing insecurities.  While recording I have explored my own thoughts on running games and really examined why I do the things I do.  It is a project I am truly proud of and if anything has given me a sense of accomplishment this year it is this podcast.

Streaming

                Late last year was the start of a new experience for me.  When the podcast GamersTable did a Kickstarter for their new season one of the goals was a weekly streaming show on Twitch called Big20.  It is a roundtable conversation with GMs every week on a different topic while interacting with viewers in the chat room.  I have been a host on this show many times introducing me to live streaming on camera. 

                I have been involved in actual play podcasts for years, but this year I have joined a game that streams live on twitch.  It has been very different having a live audience and being on video while roleplaying.  The game is an East Texas University game with people I met through GamersTable. 

Writing

                Most of the writing I have done is on the roleplaying game Skies of Glass.  Two beta versions have been released to Patreon backers of Fear the Boot.  My contributions are combination of transcribing rules and writing setting as well as basic layout.  The project is coming along nicely but much slower than I would like.

              I expected with working from home exclusively since the pandemic that I would have gotten quite a bit of writing done.  This has not been the case.  I am not working any less than I did when I drove into work.  I have however gained time I would have spent driving and have been using that to cook my own meals and improve my health.  I have written a flash fiction story that I have not submitted anywhere yet and done some editing on previously written works, but I have not done much writing on my own projects this year.  I hope starting with this update to turn that around for the rest of the year.      

Gaming

                I started the year running a Dresden Files campaign for my regular weekend gaming group.  When Covid first hit I lost two of my players and this game had to be put on hold.  My Dresden game was serving as a creative outlet more than I realized until it was paused.  Every week I created a newsletter for my players writing articles about game and world events as three different reporters each with their own writing style and focus.  When the game was paused, I sat down and put all the story and NPC details in a document so I could return to it someday.  Doing so I really fleshed out quite a bit including a whole food truck scene with intermingled drama. 

                With the temporarily smaller group I started running a Superhero game in the Masks system.  The game has been going very well, but all the extra out of game creative work like the newsletter is not a part of this game.  I find the mechanics and just using a lot of genre traps makes this game fairly seamless to run.  The game has been great, and I do think I have come up with some fun ideas and concepts, but it is not the creative release of the Dresden Files campaign. 

Other Hobbies

                Last September I started building Gundam models.  This initially started at the Japanese Festival when I went to an event and built my first one.  I enjoyed it enough that I started picking up kits and eventually expanded to paint pens and panel line markers.  I am still not in any way artistic and do not do much more than slightly improve the look in some cases.  I have a problem relaxing and tend to need hobbies that let me relax while keeping my mind just occupied enough that it does not wander.

                I still find Lego kits work wonders for relaxation for me.  This year I have built a Space Station, Voltron, a boat, and various small kits.  I have worked my way through most of my backlog of Lego kits. 

Going Forward

                Nothing quite gives me the sense of accomplishment that creative projects do.  With that in mind it is well past time to get back to writing.  I plan on doing quarterly updates here at the minimum and aiming for monthly.  I will start sharing some of my writing snippets and work to schedule things more regularly.  Feedback and interaction with my creative projects help keep me active and motivated.  Deadlines and expectations also work wonders in that regard.              

Welcome

I want to welcome you to my new home on the internet. I wanted to create a single place that I could direct people in order to find all my various podcasts, actual plays, and writing projects. You can follow me on social media using the links on the right bar to get more up to date information.

What you can expect from this site is regular blogs that could be anything from project updates, reviews of geek materials, my rambling thoughts, or flash fiction. This will be the first place I will mention new projects going forward and serve as the launch site for them.

This site will be a work in progress and an experiment. Things that work I will continue with and things that don’t will be phased out.

I want to thank you for spending your time here and I look forward to making 2020 the year of long standing project completion.

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