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The Weekly Review - Edition 47

3 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/14/2020 9:40:22 PM
The Weekly Review – Edition 47

FEATURING

Notable News!
Featured Interview and Recommended Reads: TheWriterInTheDark and Hastings, 1066: Aftermath
Featured Short Story: The Accountant
Who’s Who: simplesabley, Mayana, TSMPaul, Rommel and havacoman

NOTABLE NEWS

In Newbie Central the site welcomes Wolfinroses, BraveHermit and DesertFox!
In the Lounge Simplesabley starts a lively debate about her colleague’s conspiracy theories!
In the Creative Corner Chanbot / Ford’s well-written ongoing story gets its latest update!
In the Writing Workshop ForestFirecracker shares an interesting soliloquy and gets some great feedback!
Extra: Be sure to check out Bucky's hilarious Disappointment Periodical!

FEATURED INTERVIEW: THEWRITERINTHEDARK

In what will probably be the Review’s final interview here are a few words from the rather elusive WriterInTheDark:

1: How did you first find this site?

I think I found the site while looking for online fiction about the apocalypse, which brought me to “Dead Man Walking”.

2: What made you want to join?

I always enjoyed writing short stories and I thought the idea of creating alternate endings was a really nifty concept so I decided to give it a shot.

3: What are your favourite aspects, members or stories on this site?

I think this place has a nice size, if that makes any sense. It’s not too big as to get lost in it, but it still has an impressive repertoire of stories to be found. It’s sort of like an antique coffee shop, I guess? Very cozy.

4: What are your least favourite aspects, members or stories on this site?

Okay, this may just be me, but sometimes the “search” function on this website functions… sub-optimally. Which is to say, often it doesn’t work. But oh well, c’est la vie, I’d say that’s a pretty minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

5: What inspires your writing?

I find it’s relaxing, I get an idea in my head and then, if I feel confident enough in it, I start putting it down on paper.

6: What writing plans do you have for the future?

Nothing too definite, mostly just chipping away at a few ideas I’ve been meaning to put into writing.

7: Your most popular story is about the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings, a very original idea. How did you
come up with it?

I mean, the history was already written for me. All I had to do was ignore most of it and tell a story based on the slenderest scraps of historical realism immersed in a sea of (extremely) ahistorical events.

8: Your other two stories, In the Deep of the Night and Stranded, are both very good, which did you enjoy writing more?

Definitely Stranded, but that was mostly the appeal of “publishing” my very first story.

9: Any funny stories to relate?

I did nearly set my house on fire once, which was funny in a hindsight sort of way, but no, not really…

10: Finally, any words for new authors?

I guess I’ve been here for a while, but seeing as I’ve only made those three stories, I’d still be inclined to consider myself as a ‘new author’ (: As such, I don’t think I really have the wisdom or authority to offer advice, but… idk, “try to write for an hour a day” and “don’t get demoralized and abandon a project halfway through”?

RECOMMENDED READ: HASTINGS, 1066: AFTERMATH

An Edutainment Story with a Story Difficulty of 3, Play Length of 7 and Maturity Level of 6.

A historical story in my favourite category is of course something I am going to love but this author has written a fictional tale with a loose historical setting in the style of a classic Choose Your Own Adventure with a multitude of branches, vast amount of writing and a plethora of optional endings (52 according to the author). The writing is brilliant and imaginative, the characters well fleshed out and interesting, the situations develop in a Game of Thrones sort of way, the flavour of early Medieval England is well presented and your choices have huge consequences for characters you genuinely care about: this is (and deserves to be) one of the best Edutainment stories on the site.

FEATURED SHORT STORY: THE ACCOUNTANT

This week rather than an article I have written a short story called The Accountant. It comes to 4 pages in Word so would take about 5-10 minutes to read, I hope that you enjoy it:

The Accountant

“It is hell.” It was 6.05pm and the accountant was sitting in Joe’s Bar in New York holding a half-empty pint glass of Budweiser. Joe, the bartender, was sitting next to him while on his other side Larry, a seventy-something retiree, was nursing his drink. The accountant took another swallow and rallied on.

“Every day I go to that little room and do Math. Day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year. There is never any break, never any change of pace, always the same thing. Sometimes I think about setting fire to my desk just for the sake of variety. I never see anyone except the security guard on my way in and out.”

“Don’t they ever have any social things, like for employees of the company?” Joe asked.

“They do,” the accountant admitted. “I get emails about them from the managers but I never go to them.”

“What do you do at meal times?” Larry asked. “Do they have a canteen?”

“I don’t know,” the accountant told him. “I always bring my own meals and eat in the office.” He sighed and drained his glass. “Another one Joe.”

Joe poured him another pint which the accountant accepted, took a deep swallow and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Do you know the worst part? No matter how hard I work I never have any money left over, no savings and nothing I could use to go on holiday with. It all goes to Mr Andrews.”

Mr Andrews was his landlord. The accountant lived in a small apartment above the bar and every single night at 6pm he stopped by Joe’s Bar on his way home. Every month he transferred $1,000 from his account to the landlord’s account. He had never met Mr Andrews but every month he sent him half of his income.

“You could try dating?” Larry suggested. “There’s these erm, what-are-they-called, sites on the internet for finding dates.”

“How can I go on a date without any money?” the accountant asked. “What would I talk to her about? Corporate investments? Budgetary deficits in the hospitality fund? Do you even know how much the bosses in my company get paid? They get paid enough they could take a dozen girls out to dinner and still pay for the bill at the end of the night.”

The accountant took a big gulp of beer and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “You know, at any time there is over thirty million dollars kept in the company’s account at the Lake County Savings Bank on 32nd street? It just sits there! Nobody uses it, it brings no joy into the world, it exists solely to drive up share prices. Now does that seem fair to you?”

*******************************************************************************************

It was a few nights later and at 6pm the accountant walked into Joe’s Bar. Joe and Larry were sitting at a table playing dominoes and as the accountant walked in a man jumped out from behind the door and shoved a gun into his back.

“Give me all your money,” he barked.

The accountant froze and started to raise his hands but the man stepped out in front of him laughing. Raising the pistol, he pointed it at the accountant’s chest and pulled the trigger. BANG! The muzzle flashed, a wisp of smoke rose from the firing chamber and the accountant flinched but gradually realized he hadn’t been shot.

Joe laughed. “This is my brother Jimmy,” he introduced him, getting up from the table. “Jimmy’s a special effects artist in Hollywood. Works with some big-name stars up there.” As Joe went behind the bar and poured the accountant’s Budweiser Jimmy shook the startled accountant’s hand, who quickly decided he didn’t like him.

“Paper cartridges containing a little flashbang powder,” Jimmy told him opening the back of the pistol and showing the accountant. “Here you can keep it, give it to your kids or something.” He handed the toy to the accountant and sauntered up to the bar. “Say Joe, are all your customers this fun?”

The accountant took his usual seat, drank his beer and tried to ignore the sound of the stuntman prattling on to his brother. He examined the pistol closely in his hand, it looked just like the real thing. He examined the cartridges closely: they were also indistinguishable from the real thing. Discounting the fired one he had five left.
As he weighed the toy in his hand an idea formed in his mind.

*******************************************************************************************

A few mornings later all was busy at the Lake County Savings Bank on 32nd street: clerks were clerking, customers were providing their custom and even a guard called Walter was guarding. At 4pm exactly the accountant walked through the front doors, pulled his stunt gun from his pocket and fired a shot into the air.

“This is a hold-up!” he barked, adrenalin coursing through him.

Walter knew guns and advanced steadily towards the accountant. “Stop!” the accountant yelled at him and fired another “shot” over his head. Walter kept coming and the accountant, his confidence sinking faster than a lead balloon, backed up a few paces. “Stop,” he said and fired another “shot” over his head.

Walter charged.

The accountant screamed, blindly threw his “weapon” at the guard and fled out of the doors. Walter paused to pick up the stunt gun and as he suspected he discovered it was a toy. He crossed to the door but the accountant had already jumped in a taxi he had left waiting just outside the bank. As it drove away Walter memorized the number plate.

“What did you do in there?” the driver asked, shooting concerned glances into the rearview mirror at the panting accountant. “Nothing, just drive me back to Queens.” The accountant told him. His heartbeat slowly slowed as the full gravity of his predicament slowly sunk in on him. He wondered how many years a person would go to jail for armed robbery. He didn’t know exactly except it was a lot.

Halfway into the journey he changed his mind. “Drop me off in Brooklyn,” he ordered the driver. The police would get the taxi’s number plate either from eyewitnesses or CCTV footage and he suddenly realized he didn’t want to lead them straight to his home. The driver was happy to get rid of his strange customer and at his direction dropped him off near a subway station.

As the accountant walked quickly into the station he glanced up and saw a CCTV camera looking down on him. No matter where he went his route would be identified and traced. He had to get what little money he had from his apartment and get out of New York. Speed was important now. Turning his back on the subway entrance he jogged down to the street to find another taxi.

*******************************************************************************************

The accountant hurried into Joe’s Bar at 4.45pm. Joe and Larry were yelling at a horse race on the TV but look up in surprise as the accountant arrived at an unexpected time. For his part the accountant looked around slightly wildly and then with a wavering smile he went to the bathroom to throw water on his face.

In the bathroom the accountant looked at himself in the mirror and took deep breaths. Everything was ok, he had
time. He would go upstairs, pack up a suitcase and take another taxi out of town. He didn’t know where he would go yet but he knew he had to get out of town. With a final deep breath, he walked back into the bar.

“Why are there police in your room?” Joe asked.

The accountant froze and fear flooded him. “What?” he croaked.

“About five minutes before you arrived three policemen arrived and asked if you were here. I told them you lived upstairs and they went up. What did you do?”

“Nothing, nothing…” the accountant said, his mind racing. So that was it: his bank cards were in his room. Without them he had no chance of getting away. He sighed. He remembered reading somewhere about someone who had once got twenty years in prison for robbing a bank. He wondered if it would be much different from his job.

It was different for him though, he decided. He hadn’t successfully robbed the bank. He hadn’t hurt anyone. He had never been in trouble with the law before. If he handed himself in and pleaded guilty that would surely be counted in his favor. Maybe he would just get five years, maybe three. With good behavior he could be out in eighteen months, maybe in a year. Maybe in less than a year.

“Give me a shot of whiskey,” the accountant told Joe, steeling himself. “Give me a shot of good whiskey.” Joe complied and swallowing the whiskey down in one the accountant steeled his jaw into granite and walked purposely towards the stairs. Joe and Larry glanced at each other and followed him up.

*******************************************************************************************

Three Years Later

Joe and Larry were playing dominoes at the bar. The accountant was nowhere to be seen.

“You know, who would have expected that accountant to get so many years for holding up one little bank?” Larry mused.

“Yeah, a life sentence was rather unexpected,” Joe agreed. “It must have come as quite a shock to him.”

Larry nodded. “It is 6 o’clock. Shall we go and see him?”

Abandoning the dominoes, the two men trotted upstairs. Going to the accountant’s old room Joe took out a key, put it in the fist-sized padlock on the door and eased it open. The sliver of light from the corridor fell into the room and revealed the figure lying stretched out on the floor.

The accountant was tightly tied with rope from foot to head. With his hands secured behind his back he could barely move except roll feebly from side to side like a worm. It used to make Joe and Larry laugh to see him so, now they had got used to it. Seeing his captors, the accountant moaned incoherently through his thick gag.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that,” Joe said. “Something about how life is always unfair to you?”

“I think it was something about how he never has enough money and all his managers get paid more than him,” Larry said.

“Oh, is that all?” Joe Andrews asked. “After ten years of listening to that I don’t feel like listening to it anymore. If that’s all we might as well go.”

The door clicked shut again and the accountant was left to murmur alone in the darkness.

WHO’S WHO: SIMPLESABLEY, MAYANA, TSMPAUL, ROMMEL AND HAVACOMAN

31: simplesabley
Joined: 2012
Last Active: Currently Active
Top Stories: Ciara’s Game (Fan Fiction) and The Secret of Daphne (Horror)
Notable For: Currently one of my favorite site members she is a very gifted and imaginative author whose Secret of Daphne sets the standard for top quality horror stories on this site. Sabley is also a lively presence on the forums with a particular knack for telling a funny story very well, elsewhere she has reviewed the majority of the stories on the site (no easy feat) and written a very good article on how to deal with criticism.

32: Mayana
Joined: 2015
Last Active: Currently Active
Top Stories:
Notable For: For me, Mayana may be one of the site’s most impressive members. As I understand it, she is a blind Slovenian teenager who has overcome her disability and the fact English is her second language to become a prolific poster and reviewer of stories. Though a little quiet of late Mayana’s posts are always interesting to read and her reviewing ability is quite impressive; also, according to her trophy, she has the distinction of being EndMaster’s adopted daughter before being displaced by Cricket.

33: TSMPaul
Joined: 20006
Last Active: 2016
Top Stories: Various
Notable For: TSMPaul was one of the first-generation writers on the site and one of the best: his science fiction and modern adventure stories were featured for a long time before being replaced by newer stories. It seems he was quite technically proficient with scripting and variables, being able to use them and explain to others how to use them well. He left in 2016 (to join the U.S. Army I think) and hasn’t been heard from since. I’m sure everything is fine.

34: Rommel
Joined: 2006
Last Active: 2012
Top Stories: Various
Notable For: Rommel is another inactive but skilled first-generation author whose Terra Proxima story was featured for a long time. His three stories are all worth reading (his World War II Strategy story is particularly fun) and despite not having been active for the best part of a decade he has more points than the majority of newer members due to enthusiastic use of the daily point feature and apparently reviewing every story on the site when he first arrived.

35: havacoman
Joined: 2005
Last Active: 2016
Top Stories: Various
Notable For: Apparently inspired by one of Bart Simpson’s catchphrases (alternative name: Cowabunga?) havacoman was one of the first-generation moderators until 2007 before taking off. In his brief stint as a mod he did a lot of modish things such as writing a story-game, reviewing all the stories, writing articles, offering help etc. He briefly reappeared after a nine-year absence in 2016 to update a few things. If, like Haley’s Comet, he returns periodically we can next expect to sight him in 2025.

CONCLUDING CREDITS

Notable News: Wolfinroses, BraveHermit, DesertFox, Simplesabley, Chanbot / Ford and ForestFirecracker!
Featured Interview and Recommended Reads: TheWriterInTheDark
Who’s Who: Simplesabley, Mayana, TSMPaul, Rommel and Havacoman.

The Weekly Review - Edition 47

3 months ago
Hah, good thing you managed to post this before the Corona Tag thread went live.

TWITD is so quiet and elusive but he has some good stories, he was actually a great choice for an interview although I would've asked more prying questions just to get drag him out of the shadows a bit.

I did miss the way these used to have actual short stories. Although this one left me wondering what the deal was with Joe and Larry, they didn't seem to have any real reason for such prolonged revenge there and nothing to gain so they just come off as random creepy psychopaths.

The Weekly Review - Edition 47

3 months ago
Using the term "well-written" to describe my thread is flattering but false. Good chance to prove you click on anything you list in the news: what is my "well-written" story about?

The Weekly Review - Edition 47

3 months ago
"[...] a prolific poster and reviewer of stories."

...

Oh dear.

The Weekly Review - Edition 47

3 months ago
In 2018.