Friday, August 28, 2015

The Writing Prompt Boot Camp: Day 5

In an effort to battle the evil tempter, Mara, the creator of procrastination, I've decided to take matters into my own hands. A quick Google search uncovered The Writing Prompt Boot Camp: Two Weeks of Craft, Creativity, and Discipline, a free PDF from Writer's Digest.

For the next few weeks, I'll be posting the work I do through out the boot camp.

I've been a little busy the last few days, so I haven't been able to get a story in. However, I started Day 5 of the boot camp today. Today was a good writing day. The prompt inspired a story that is too big to finish now. I've uploaded what I finished so far, but I'll be working more on this later. A really neat world is shaping in this story, and I can't wait to play in it some more.

Day 5
American Graffiti
You’re downtown, and see graffiti in an unlikely place—graffiti like you’ve never seen before, concerning someone you know.


by Cruz Andronico Fernandez

     Oscar walked the streets at night. He liked the lights. L.A. at night is like a futuristic neon painting, especially now. With the advent of new digital spray paints, the world has become a living advertisement. Images can change and rearrange themselves in pre-programed patterns. No more static images. Everything moves.
    The graffiti artists ran away with the concept right away. Their work was in a constant battle between the advertising campaigns of the major corporations. Some of them even illustrated this battle, adding new characters to advertisements, turning simple innocent movements into acts of violence or vulgarity.
    Oscar loved it. He walked the streets for hours, just watching the battle take place on walls, underpasses, alleys, and train cars. The resurgence of graffiti turned the world into a colorful, creative place. It was beautiful.
    Oscar made his way to his favorite spot, an overpass that the taggers used to tell an evolving story. This was the story of the city. The real city. Tags merged and competed, moving and morphing into a constant story. This place was about respect. No one was better than anyone else. Everyone could contribute to the narrative. Everyone's story was important and welcome.
    A homeless tagger told her story of abuse and fear through geometric shapes. Another told his story in classic street style. One story was for the dog who hung around the place, a digital paint companion to keep the dog company when no one was around.
    Oscar sat down and pulled a sandwich from the inside pocket of his trench coat. He liked to eat and watch the art. He stopped chewing when he noticed a new addition to the story. Someone had added a new character. A little girl who would slip in between the other words, scenes, and characters. The artist was good. Most of the time tags would simply cover an older one, the good ones would merge with them and contribute the art. This one was different. This one would disappear behind the other tags, seamlessly reappearing on the other side, as if the little girl was running around in the world of the tags. This was new. It seemed like an obvious progression, now that Oscar thought about it, but it just hadn't been done before.
    The piece was massive. The little girl made her way through the entire structure. The pattern didn't repeat itself as far as Oscar could tell. He knew that at some point it would. That was how the process worked. You programed the basic idea into your spray can, and then you began spraying the paint. You had a little bit of freedom to rearrange things as you laid down your pain, but for the most part you had to stick with the program you initially created. Most digital tag sequences lasted about one to 2 minutes. Many were thirty seconds or less. They were basically a GIF with spray paint.
    But the little girl piece had been moving around for at least five minutes with out repeating the pattern. Oscar realized she was playing a game of hide and seek. Oscar tracked her across the overpass. Eventually, she came to another new piece, a large red door. The girl stopped in front of the door. She turned and looked directly at Oscar. Oscar was stunned. They didn't do that normally. It was as if she was looking him right in the eye. Then, with a tear in her eye, the door opened and she faded into the darkens on the other side of the door.
    She was gone for a few minutes before the sequence started again. Oscar sat in silence, trying to process what he had just witnessed. The girl looked familiar. He knew her. Finishing his sandwich he racked his brain trying to recall where he knew her from.
    The shelter.
    That's where he knew her from. She was a little girl at the shelter he volunteered at occasionally. If his memory served him right, she was an orphan. The system didn't bother with homeless orphan kids anymore. There were too many mouths to feed. They left them to the shelters to deal with. This little girl, he couldn't remember her name, was known by everyone there. She had been there for at least a year or two. She loved to play games.
    Why someone would do a living graffiti portrait of her here, was beyond him. Maybe someone from the shelter was close to her and wanted to tell her story. But the way she disappeared unnerved him.
    The next day, Oscar visited the shelter. He went straight to the lady who ran the place, Maria. Maria was a short fat woman in her fifties, with a mohawk and a cut off sleeve denim jacket. She was an old school Chicana punk.
    "She disappeared about a week ago. I talked to the cops, but they aren't going to do anything. The girl didn't even have an ident-barcode. I've had some of the guys looking for her, but no luck."
    Oscar told her about the Living Graffiti tag. Maria was worried. So was Oscar.
    He left to meet up with some of the guys who were looking for Maria. They were local punks who acted kind of like the police force for the poor. Since the Collapse, the police only serve the neighborhoods that can pay the police tax. These days that was only the Hills. The rest of L.A. was lawless.
    It wasn't as bad as the movies had made it out to be. Turns out a lot of the gangs and punks took over the policing duties. The city took an "as long as you don't fuck with me, I won't fuck with you" attitude. It took a while for the stronger gangs to get a grip on things. There were a lot of wars and street fights at first, but the smart ones always come out on top. The People lived free from government intervention for the most part, while the Richie Rich's lived behind walls and gates, blind slaves and prisoners to a government controlled by Wal-Mart and the rest of the Big Business. They cowered in their homes, thankful that the government was there to protect them from the wild ones out side the walls.
    The Collapse wasn't so bad. Yeah there was a lot of starvation and no TV, and not much internet, hardly any electricity, but the communities started growing gardens wherever they could. The folks from the Central Valley took as many of their livestock as they could before the government took them over for the Richies. They hid them in places the government couldn't find or weren't willing to go because of the gang protection. They shared what they could with their southern brothers.

Sorry for the abrupt ending, but this isn't the end. This is just an excerpt for a much larger story. I'm not sure how long this story is going to be. If your interested in how this turns out, please let me know. I'll post the completed story when it is done.
Thanks for reading!!