Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


In the past, I’ve called this blog the place where memes go to die. When I’m given a blog award, I redesign it in Photoshop, ignore most (if not all) of the associated rules, and pass it along to absolutely no one. Well, today that’s going to change.

Okay, I may have modified the image, but old habits, like Bruce Willis, die hard. So, why am I breaking from tradition and adhering to the award’s prescribed rules? For my answer, I give you these four simple words:

Blog. Award. Of DOOM.

Today’s DOOM is courtesy of the epically fantastic Joseph L. Selby, who looked at my life and determined it didn’t have nearly enough DOOM in it. If I were you, I’d go check out his blog. Oh, and that’s not a suggestion. In case you forgot, you must now obey me because I am your overlord.

The rules (which I’ve only altered ever so slightly):
  1. When you receive the Blog Award of DOOM your task is to post a short selection of your writing, 100 - 300 375 words, in which your favorite a character suffers a horrible fate. It can be your favorite a character from your own writing or from something you've read, it can be from a finished manuscript, a WIP or something you just made up on the spot. Your choice, but it has to be full of DOOM!
  2. Pass it on to one other blogger and let them know their DOOM has come.
  3. Remember that the person who gave you the award also received it. Go back to their post to read and comment on their writing sample. Make sure to thank them for sending the DOOM your way.
  4. Whenever you use the word DOOM in your post, you must capitalize the whole thing.

Of course, when I received this award, the first thing I thought of was this exchange from the first episode of Invader Zim:
Zim: Let us rain some DOOM down upon the filthy heads of our DOOMed enemies.
GIR: I'm gonna sing the DOOM Song now. [singing] DOOM DOOOM DOOM DOOM DOOOM DOOM DOOM DOOM DOOOOOM... (watch video)
The award is also quite fitting, since I’ve performed with the Rod Knobs of DOOOOOOOM!, my friends’ Rock Band band. (And by the way, “rod knobs” are not what you think they are. Get your mind out of the gutter. They’re actually what an interior decorator would call “finials,” or what a normal person would call “those things at the end of curtain rods.” Okay, you can put your mind back in the gutter now, if you so choose.)

Anyway, I shall pass the DOOM on to Hannah Kincade over at The Palindrome Effect, even though she’s on a semi-hiatus, because I’m curious to see what sort of DOOM she might throw at her characters. Of course, she may choose to DOOM The Picard instead, but that could be just as fun.

Getting back to rule #1, the selection below is the end of the first chapter in my WIP. I wrote this passage over four years ago and it’s in dire need of copious editing, but it should be fine for the purposes of DOOMY DOOMY DOOM. For reference, the main character has just been turned invisible by Army scientists, and he’s decided to play a little trick on them while they’re out of the room.

Behold, the excerpt of DOOM:

Sean pulled out the IV and let it fall to the floor. Shedding his hospital gown, he started toward the door, but a tug at his chest stopped him short. He glanced back and caught his reflection in the mirror: three electrodes floating in mid-air, straining at their wires like miniature kites in a gale-strength wind. That was it. He couldn’t help but smile.

He peeled one of the electrodes off, and then jumped as a sharp crack shattered the silence of the room. Before he could turn to see the source, another three bangs rang out in quick succession. His left shoulder erupted in a burst of searing pain.

What the hell?! His attempt to scream this sentiment, however, came out as more of a gurgle, and he tasted blood. He brought his right hand up to his throat, which was wet to the touch and had a small hole in it on the left side. His fingers found its twin on the right, his blood seeping out in spurts. Oh fuck, this was not good. He applied pressure to both neck and shoulder to try to stymie the flow.

Something clattered off to his right. He swiveled cautiously to look, wincing as his shoulder throbbed. A close grouping of black circles now stood out against the white tile of the back wall, a series of minute cracks radiating outward from each one. A couple adjacent tiles had unburdened themselves and fallen to pieces on the floor below.

The dizziness hit him all at once. His vision blurred. He needed to get to the bed. He needed the doctors. A violent cough sent him staggering backward into the heart rate monitor, which fell to the ground. Spun around by the impact and entangled in electrode wires, he tumbled forward onto the machine and collapsed in an invisible heap, his invisible blood collecting in invisible puddles on the floor.

Beneath him, the monitor sounded out a half-dozen more quick beeps, and then settled into one steady, high-pitched tone.

* * *

Standing in the doorway, Colonel Jack Buckworth sighed and re-holstered his weapon. “Well, that was a waste of money.”

The colonel spun on his heels and strode back down the hallway, past the trio of stunned doctors.

It’s not my best work, but I hope with some spit shine and/or elbow grease it’ll turn out alright in the rewrite. Oh, who am I kidding? I think it’s pretty obvious my writing career is DOOMED.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


  1. Invisible Death. I could really picture what was going on, even though it was invisible.

  2. You're all DOOMED! /Ms. Bitters

    I'm glad you liked this one (and actually passed it along). Incidentally, my wife can do a pitch-perfect GIR. If I had a synthesizer, I would record a couple scales and then doom classic songs (which we do vocally, but it would be cool to have mp3s of that awesomeness).

  3. The only thing that's doomed is your pessimism, Nate. Your little work there is the engine that will! You do have what it takes to be a writer, and you are a writer, especially since you display the self-doubt inherent in all writers.

  4. Mary, either you're completely delusional or you just paid my writing a fine compliment. I'll assume the latter. Thanks!

    Joe, I may not have a GIR impersonator for a wife, but I do have a synthesizer. Soon, I shall rock my son to sleep with lullabies of DOOM!

    Jeffrey, so you're saying all I need to be a writer is self-doubt? Great, just great. I've always been horrible at self-doubt.

    Bryce, thanks for the support. I do feel regret for my DOOMED pessimism, though; we've been through so much together.

    Alex, you say that like it's a good thing. Don't worry, your time will come. Oh yes, it will come.

  5. Great, just great. I've always been horrible at self-doubt.


  6. Behold the coming of DOOM. Muhahahaha.

    I loved your DOOM excerpt; it gave me goosebumps!

    Ellie Garratt

  7. Ellie: Wow, I didn't know that passage could even cause goosebumps. Perhaps it's better than I thought. Thanks for the compliments!

  8. I considered blog tagging you, but I had a feeling you wouldn't love it! :)
    I felt bad for a moment, but after reading this post, not so much.
    Personally, I think you're a terrific writer. Your blog alone, speaks volumes. I love reading your blog and all of your replies to your comments. You're very eloquent, witty and supremely sarcastic. Your story is awesome. What a horrible end, poor guy.

  9. Weeeeeellllllll now.....isn't THAT special. I just saw Heather's comment.

    Guess what, Nate? You've been tagged. (Compliments of Heather VIA me.) So, umm, she's at fault, right?

    And BTW: The excerpt was great. Keep it up.

  10. Heather: What?! You've been reading my responses to other commenters? How dare you! Those are supposed to be private! :) Thanks for all the kind words, though. I've always prided myself on my eloquence and wit. (The sarcasm is just a bonus.)

    Bryce, if I were to fault Heather for tagging you, where do I stop? There's the blogger who tagged her, then the one who tagged her... I could conceivably trace it all the way back to the original tagger, but then do I blame that person for creating the things, or keep going and fault her parents for raising her in such a way that she would create such a thing. It's just so much easier to blame you.

  11. Haha! What goes around comes around. Thank you Bryce, now I don't feel so bad for leaving Nate out of the game. :)