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The Press Conference, by Henry Vogel
The Aufklarung Gambit, by cartusiae
Vidad MaGoodn rises to the Friday Challenge.
She walked into the room, sharp in her gray sweater and skirt.
“What are you doing?” she asked, seeing her husband staring at an unfamiliar blog, fingers poised over the keyboard on his mac.
“I’m trying to enter my first Friday challenge,” he replied distractedly.
“Yeah. This writer, Bethke, who’s like the founder of cyberpunk… he does this cool challenge every week where he gives people a topic and they try to write the best original piece.”
“I see. Did he write Snowcrash?” she said, sitting down.
“Okay, then I guess I don’t know him. So… what are you supposed to write about?”
“He’s asking us to do a rant about modern life.”
“Ah. You should talk about how much you hate the mainstream choices in this presidential race.”
“No, I can’t. See, this thing has restrictions. Like… I can’t talk about Mitt Romney’s weirdness or how I think Giuliani and Hillary are two heads on the same evil hydra.”
“Oh.” She looked up for a minute with pursed lips. “What about writing about illegal immigration?”
“No – I can’t do that either. I also can’t talk about gays, even though it would be fun.”
“Maybe you could talk about how much fun we had as kids… and how the new generation just doesn’t get it, because they’re so plugged into their stupid videogames, etc.?
“No. that’s another restriction. I can’t do the ‘kids these days’ angle.”
She got up from her seat. “Well honestly, I don’t know what you’re going to write if you don’t pick one of those topics.”
She exited the room, leaving the faint scent of sandalwood in her wake.
“Maybe I can rant about how many rules there are these days?” he muttered, to no one in particular.
Standing up, he flipped off his computer and started looking at his taxes for the thirtieth time.
“Yeah… maybe I’ll do that… when I get done with this mess.”