Idea #16: Metro Delivery Service

A group of children operates a swift delivery service via the city’s subway system. The group is divided in to two castes- those who stay inside the subway, and those who execute the final delivery on the outside. The kids on the outside run in order to deliver their packages rather than using the buses in the vast majority of circumstances. The only cost incurred would be getting the ‘Worms’ in to the subway system. Rather large profits, then, for whoever organized the children. All they have to do is pay the kids and give them just enough money for a single ride on the subway. This is because the ‘Crickets,’ those on the outside, wait by turnstiles and the packages are handed over.

Where do these kids come from? Good question. During the summer they could be anyone. During the school year ambitious individuals might make a few runs during lunch breaks and after school, but clearly there will be a lack of service during the day unless kids skip school. I suspect that there are a number who skip school, but not enough. Or are there? How many schools are there within range of a given stop on the subway? If there are five kids within range of a given station who do this work, only one of them would need to skip on any given day to act as Cricket. The Worms can be found anywhere on the system. There needn’t be terribly many Worms, depending on the size of the system as a whole. They can even carry multiple packages at once. But you need a Cricket at every stop, or within range of every stop if there’s some way of communicating which of two nearby stations a Cricket needs to be present at to receive a package.

Do they have pagers, cell phones, anything to allow for this? More costs, less profit if they do. Perhaps they are only allowed to use them on weekdays during the school year, when the crew is understaffed. During the summer there would be excess kids, no need to have flexibility.

The packages are anything that needs to be delivered fast. Money, in many cases. Small things. Things accidentally left at home, or at the office. Drugs, conceivably. Keys. Books (really fast inter-library loans). Stolen goods, anything.

How are the kids tracked? How are the kids paid? Who runs this? I need to figure all of that out. Better yet, this an idea I can integrate into my current project, ‘Dog.’ From now on all ideas which can be used in this project will be in the Dog WIP category.

Story Idea #15: Unnaturally Gay

What if homosexuality was a ‘disease?’ What if a cause was isolated, and a ‘cure’ found?

This was the common way of thinking for some time, and many were sent to (or chose to go to) halfway houses where they would be ‘cured’ of their homosexuality. Whether homosexuality is caused by genetic, psychological, environmental or other factors has yet to be determined. Perhaps it never will be. Considering that it has become a social, rather than a scientific, issue of significance with many making it a part of their intrinsic identity, I rather doubt too much work will go into discovering the cause of homosexuality for some time. Not until things calm down on the social front, anyhow.

If homosexuality was discovered, scientifically, to be curable, what would happen to Gay Pride parades?

I’m not entirely sure what conclusions a story based around this might lead to, but here’s how I’d start. The story takes place in the present day, focusing on the scientist- the doctor?- who discovers the cause and figures out the cure. He does not immediately reveal his findings, and instead leaves the office/lab early in order to contemplate the significance of his findings. He’s heterosexual. I’m not sure I could write this from any other perspective. I’m not up to the challenge of writing this from the perspective of a homosexual man (or woman) making this discovery. I get confused just thinking about it.Gay Pride Flag

The doctor has one- at least one- close friend who is homosexual. Also, let’s set this in San Fransisco. He goes to confide in his friend- potentially his friend was part of the group of test subjects he got the results from. The friend compares being gay, in light of this discovery, to having a non-critical medical condition. A hammertoe (my own affliction), acne, or anything along those lines. Anything that might cause someone to want plastic surgery as well. The medical technology exists to ‘fix’ these conditions, but to what end? To make the person more ‘normal,’ to work the way we believe the human body was designed to work? When asked, the friend decides that he would not seek treatment if such a thing was made available.

Now, let’s also have the doctor’s teenage son- or daughter- be homosexual. My first notion was to have it be a son, but at this rate the entire cast of characters will be male. Either way, they will make the opposite position. For them being gay has been anything but. They have found it to be a hardship. After the father informs his child of the possibility of a ‘cure,’ the child will ask whether the father would want them to seek treatment. The doctor considers telling the child that they should- he wants grandchildren. Instead, he tells them that the choice is entirely up to them. They decide that, if it were to be made available, they would seek treatment.

The doctor goes to bed, but cannot sleep. He feels guilty that he might have pressured his child into the decision, and is still unresolved as to whether or not to publish his result. Late into the night he calls his homosexual friend on the phone and asks if he can come over to talk. The friend says yes (of course) but chooses to meet him at a 7-11 or some similar all night location, likely within sight of a ‘gay bar.’ He doesn’t want to reveal the results to his partner, who for a long time was uncomfortable with his homosexuality.

The discussion now revolves around the potential aftermath of revealing the doctor’s findings. The doctor is a researcher at heart, and few things matter to him more than the truth. At the same time he realizes that such findings would make the movement for gay rights nearly impossible, which he believes would be unfair. He asks his friend whether he might not wait until gay rights at been achieved, and then publishing the results. The friend says that might not be a bad idea, but that like as not it might cause a reversal (Any law which can be passed can also be revoked.) The friend okays the publication of the results saying that “If it’s the truth, people might as well know. I believe that the cause is in the right. This will change the minds of some other people, but I wouldn’t have you hide the truth. Perhaps I’m hopelessly naive, but I’d like to believe that the right side should be able to win by being fully honest. Otherwise they shouldn’t win. Now, maybe I’m not right… I’m as capable of doubt as the next person. But I’m invested. This is who I am… etc.” In short, while the research will make progress more difficult, he won’t stand in its way.

Walking around the city until the sun rises, the doctor contemplates each side of the argument and, as the first rays of light illuminate the city, reaches a decision.

I don’t choose to reveal what that decision might be. That will be left to the reader.

Idea #14: Flash Hitchhiker

What would it be like to depend only upon the kindness of passersbye for transportation? What would you do to get a ride? Pay for gas? Bring a boombox? Leap in front of moving cars? Flash a police officer? Consider that last. The officer would be obliged to arrest you and give you a ride to the nearest police station. So, if that happens to be near your destination and you’re a quick talker, you have a free ride!

Idea #13: Infiltration Scheme

I spent far too much time thinking like a criminal today. This was inspired by seeing how little attention security paid to a police officer on a bicycle entering what should be one of the most secure areas in Washington.

Security guards/police officers travel on bikes near the target. First, attack one, take a complete inventory of their clothes, badges, and accouterments, then let them go. Or kill them, depending on the flavor of the story. Then repeat the process, only this time bring approximate replicas of the entire inventory. Steal the police officer’s clothes/ badges, etc. (let him keep the underwear, if you prefer) and burn the replicas. If we’re keeping the officers alive (preferable) make sure the officer sees the clothes being incinerated and believes that they are his. Then make it appear that the entire purpose of the exercise was to humiliate him- duct tape him to the back of a public transport or something.

Then, at the invader’s leisure, use the clothes/badge/etc. to bike ride straight into the high security area. All the obvious things should be done as well, of course- stake outs, steak outs (less known, but very important), learning the ins and outs of the place as well as the routine.

Idea #12: Like a Metaphor

I’ve always wanted to write a story set in a world where colloquial metaphors are literal -fast as lightening, giving your two cents, running late, driving crazy, going bananas, slipping up, etc.

Idea #11: Believe in Me

Creatures which exist only so long as you believe in them, drawing parallels to how someone’s nature can change based on what you believe of their actions (was Robin Hood greedy or philanthropic?). I’m not sure whether or not this should be tied in with traditional notions and legends of the Fae- I’d almost rather not, for although that might be a fantastic source of material it would draw uncomfortably close to the god question. It might be preferable to have it be an imaginary friend of sorts.
These are decisions that I will make on some other date, if at all.