Friday, March 28, 2008

The Friday Challenge

Update: For those of you complaining that you're unfamiliar with CSI, here's a little help, in the form of my 2006 essay, "Alimentary, My Dear Catherine", which was first published in the BenBella Books anthology, Investigating CSI. Enjoy!

I've been trying to come up with a terribly clever way to pose this, but it's been a long day and I used up my entire quotient of terribly clever about three hours ago, so here goes. This week's Friday Challenge, as you might expect, involves the PistolCam...

And CSI.

That's right. An episode of CSI always involves a sexy main plot ("How did this week's gorgeous lingerie model end up dead?"), a goofy secondary plot ("How did that guy in the scuba suit wind up dead, headfirst in a construction site Porta-John, with a 3-lb. walleye up his rectum?"), and on ongoing plot. ("Will Horatio's long-lost son turn away from the Dark Side, or forever will it dominate his destiny?")

The TV Laws of Technology are in full-force for this one. You know: a digital image is always a clearer picture than could possibly have been captured with that camera in that location under those lighting conditions; a photograph or frame from a video can always be "computer enhanced" to reveal the critical piece of evidence; forensic tests and computer simlations that in reality take months can be performed in a matter minutes; and police departments have unlimited time and budgets and are never bothered by union work rules. I'm sure you can think of more if you put your mind to it.

The challenge is: sketch out a CSI plot that revolves around a still-frame or bit of streaming video captured by a PistolCam. Main plot or secondary, I don't care. It could be the critical piece of evidence that exonerates an innocent person; it could be a viral video being passed around as a boast by a serial killer. Your options are wide open. The key points are that the story must fit the CSI format, and the plot must hinge on the capabilities, real or imagined, of the PistolCam.

As always, we're playing by the ever-changing rules of the Friday Challenge, and playing for what's behind Door #2. You can enter by posting your pitch in the comments for this blog item, posting it on your own site and posting a link here, or emailing me a file, which I will PDF and post here for all the world to see.

Slight Rules Change: We're trying something slightly different this week, in that the deadline for entries is 11:00 P.M. Central Time, Thursday, April 3. On Friday morning I will post links to all entries received — along with a new Friday Challenge — and the winning entry will be announced on Sunday, April 6. Even if you're not entering, you're encouraged to comment on and vote for your favorites amongst the other entries.

Ready? Then, ladies and gentlemen — we've got a crime to solve.