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She called herself Penny Dreadful.  I don't know what her real name was.  Frankly, I don't even really care.  She walked in on a dark part of my life.  I was a college dropout nobody, working as a short order cook way past the ass end of nowhere.  I don't even remember which shitty dive I was working in the first time I saw her.  I remember her, though.  Couldn't forget her no matter how much I wanted to.  She was drop dead gorgeous, in a town where not too many girls could even be called pretty.  

I was on my hands and knees cleaning out the grease trap, so I didn't see her walk in.  I could feel her though.  Don't know how.   Maybe the air pressure in the whole fucking room dropped from the sharp intake of air from all the men sitting at the lunch counter, hell if I know.  Whatever it was made me stand up like a shot.  Did I tell you she was gorgeous?  Because she was smoking.  I've never seen so much hair on a head, curly and strawberry blonde, like a fucking ginger cloud.  Legs that went on forever, tits like a national emergency.  Shit, you should have seen her.

Anyway, she walked up to the gravy-splattered formica counter and ordered a slice of blueberry pie and a black coffee.  We had the best pie in the state, it said so right on a sign on our greasy window.  Every dive I ever worked in had the best fucking pie in the state.  It was all the same warmed up Sarah Lee shit.  Customers didn't know that, though.

So this chick's sitting there, just radiating fucking beauty, and I'm horny and I'm stupid and I'm bored, so I walk over and start flirting right?  Not because I thought I could get anywhere with her, just because she was there.  Same reason that fucker Hillary climbed Everest.  I start bullshitting her with what's a girl like you doing in a place like this.  Real amateur stuff, again I didn't think I had a snowball's chance.  Here's what she does, though.  She finishes her pie.  She slowly slowly slowly licks licks licks the whipped cream off of her spoon.  Every girl on the fucking planet knows how to do that.  Drives me wild.  She pushes her plate to the side.  Smiles to the waitress, leans in close to me and says all low and quiet Wanna fuck?

Wanna fuck?  Shit, was I blown away.  She said it all sweet-like too.  Wanna fuck?  That shit blew my mind.  It was all I could do to nod my head up and down like a grinning idiot.  Finally, something in my brain connected with my lungs, and I was able to croak out a yes.  She just gave me another one of her sweet smiles like she thought it was funny or something.  That just about killed me.

Next thing I know, we're leaned back in the front seats of her pick-up truck, sweating and smoking.  She was wriggling back into her pants.  That was the first time I asked her what her name was.  She chuckled a bit, said something about how names get in the way dontcha think.  I was pretty fucking insistent though.  I don't like to get blown off, not even by beautiful girls.  She smiled all serenely and said that maybe I could call her Penny Dreadful.  I took another drag from my cigarette and asked Penny if she wanted to see my art.

Shit, I forgot to tell you.  I'm an artist.  Well, an amateur artist.  That was the college I dropped out of.  I dropped out of art school.  When I got there, they told me my style looked "untutored" or some shit.  So I read my fucking textbooks; I attend every goddamned lecture.  I start doing my art the way they tell me to.  Then they tell me my art's formulaic or derivative.  It's all bullshit anyhow.  Now I just make art I like looking at.  Anyways, pretty much everywhere I worked, I would make art on my breaks.  I kept a box of sidewalk chalk in my back pocket pretty much all the time.  I'd go out to the parking lot or the smoking area and I would just make these fucking masterpieces with just a coupla pieces of chalk.  I've never been so proud of anything in my goddamn life.  That's probably why I asked her if she wanted to see them.  I was that goddamn proud of them.

We get out of the truck.  I try to run around the front to open her door, cuz I guess I'm a gentleman like that, but she opens it up to quick, so I slow down and try to look smooth.  I can never look smooth, goddamn it.  We walk out to the back of my diner, back where the dumpsters are, right?  I show off this chalk drawing I'm working on.  It's an alien landscape.  Beautiful as all fucking get out. But there's these dark shapes poking around the trees, looking at you from under bushes.  I think it's spooky as hell, and I love it.

The whole time, though, I wasn't looking at my work of art.  I was looking at Penny's face.  I always get so fucking nervous whenever I show anybody my art.  I don't know why.  I hate to show off my art if I don't know the other person's gonna like it.

Penny's staring at my chalk jungle, smoking, and I can't read her face at all.  Then she turns to me and says cool.  Just cool.  I didn't fucking know what to think.  I mean, cool's good right?  But I didn't know if she was just trying to save my feelings or whatever.  Either way, I guess I was pretty cold to her after that.  I wasn't being an asshole or anything, but I didn't say much to her after that.  I had to think.  She left soon after that, though.  Hopped in her pick-up, rolled down the window and said see you later as she drove off.  See you later.  Yeah right, I thought.

I was wrong.  I guess you probably figured that out, though.  This would have been a pretty fucking weak story if it ended there.  I was working at another, different hole-in-the-wall when she found me.  I don't know how she fucking found me, but she did.  She came around the counter and walked back into the kitchen like she knew exactly where to find me.  My pick-up's in the shop.  Drive me to Dallas.

I'm an idiot, so three and a half hours later we were outside this shiny metal recording studio on the outskirts of Dallas.  It looks like a big tall stack of CD's and my artist's intuition tells me that maybe the architect did it on purpose.  I was still kinda pissed at her: because of her reaction to my art, because she assumed I would drive her to Dallas, because she told me to wait in the car without telling me what the hell we were doing here.  Mostly, I was pissed at myself, though.  I'm such a damn sucker for a pretty face.  She had been in the studio for maybe an hour and a half, and I was seriously considering leaving her ass when she walked out the front door.  When she got in the car, she told me in no uncertain terms to drive like my fucking life depended on it.  So I did.

I peeled out, almost hit a mini-van on my way out of the parking lot.  The whole time, Penny was looking out the back window, like she thought we were gonna be followed.  I never saw anyone, though.

I pulled into a gas station.  Penny wanted to know why the hell we were stopping.  I told her very politely that I wanted to know what the fuck was going on.  She sighed and said she wanted me to focus on driving, at least until we crossed the state line.  So we drove, both of us pissed, neither one of us saying anything for hours until we crossed the Arkansas state line.  As soon as we got over, I pulled the car over to the side of the road and glared at Penny.  She just rolled her eyes and started to unzip her camera bag.  In it was one of those old fashioned polaroid jobs and one developed picture.  She handed me the picture.  It was a blurry mess.  I didn't know what the hell it was, and I told her so.  

She grabbed the picture back from me and told me something that didn't make any sense.  She told me she was an idea thief.  I scoffed.  She shot me green daggers with her eyes.  She repeated that she was an idea thief and she started taking apart her camera.  There was a piece that whirred, a piece that flashed, a piece that made on oinga-boinga noise.  Each piece did some sort of metaphysical bullshit that I didn't understand, but she explained each one to me the kind of way someone would explain something to a small child.  That made me mad.  I hate being talked down to, and I told her.  She sighed and said we should find somewhere to stay.

We got to this flea bag hotel room, and I was feeling a little better.  The place looked just like the hotel from that Hitchcock movie and the guy who owned the place was super creepy, and I made jokes about how if he started talking about his mother we should split.  She kinda chuckled.  That made me feel good.  So I asked her what was really on my mind, I asked her why we had to get outta Dallas so fast.  She kinda looked down at the dusty orange shag carpeting that was fucking everywhere in the room, even in the bathroom.  She said it was a long story and she didn't know where to begin.  So I kinda smiled and said to start at the beginning.

She looks up at me and says okay.  She said that when she said she was an idea thief that she meant it.  People paid her a whole lotta money to steal ideas from other people.  She said the reason she was so good at it was on account of her special camera.  Instead of waiting around for people to put their idea down on paper, the camera could sorta pluck images of ideas out of a person's head.  What was even better, she said, was that once the idea was out of the person's head, they never remembered even having the idea.  She handed me the polaroid again, and said that it was a picture of a song.  That's why it was so fucking blurry.  A regular person like me couldn't see music.  It wasn't concrete enough.  Penny though could look at that old polaroid and she could see a song.

Some up and coming rock band's manager hired her to snap a picture of this old-ass songwriter that I guess everyone and his cocksucking brother looked up to.  I guess the manager thought his boys only needed one big hit to make the big time, but he couldn't afford to pay royalties to a big time song writer like this guy.  So he hired Penny.  Penny fired off the camera easy enough, but as soon as she did this big guy in a suit started yelling and barreling towards her.  She didn't know if he was security, government, a rival thief, or something worse.  That was why we had to get out of Dallas so fucking fast.

Me, I was skeptical, and I told her so.  So, what does she do?  She told me to come up with an idea, any idea.  So I did, and then she points the camera at me and tells me to say cheese.  The flashbulb goes off, and my mind goes totally and completely blank.  A blank fucking slate.  She asks if I remembered what my idea was, and I just kind of sit their blinking like an idiot.  She asks me again and I slowly shake my head no.  See, she told me, it works.  

She waited for a while, expecting me to say something.  My head was too busy buzzing for me to do anything at that moment though, so she kept talking.  She said we had to lay low for a while.  She didn't know who this big suit was, or why he was after her.  This was just the kind of risk she knew she was taking when she took this job.

My head started clearing up after this, and let me tell you, I got mad.  I know I get mad a lot in this story.  If I gotta vice, it's my temper; I ain't gonna lie.  This time though, I was good and proper pissed.  I yelled at her for dragging me all the way across the state.  I yelled at her because now I was on the run from some cocksuckers that I don't even know.  I yelled at her for getting inside my head and pulling something out.  I didn't even know what the fuck was on that polaroid.  She just sat there like motherfucking Buddha until I ran after breath.  Then she very sweetly asked if I was done.  No.  Yes.

She turned off the lights and we got into bed.  I was still pissed, but I was also still an idiot and one thing led to another.  Me: with my hands on her breasts.  Her: nibbling on my ear.  Me: whispering I love you I love you I love you.

Goddammit, am I an idiot.  After we finished I lay in bed for hours and hours staring at the ceiling and whispering every swear word I knew as she slept like a goddamn innocent.  And maybe she was.  Hell, I was the one doing the yelling and the fighting and the arguing.  Shit, how do I get myself into these messes.

What I did next, I'm not too proud of.  I got up real quiet-like, so I didn't wake her up.  I put on my shoes gathered my things.  I left a note and bus money on the bedside table.  I went outside and settled up with fucking Norman Bates, the creeper.  Then, I hopped in my car with the sunrise behind me and never looked back.

I got a new job.  Apparently, my old one frowned on taking unannounced trips to Dallas and Arkansas.  I worked on my art.  I made new friends.  I tried to put Penny out of my head.  It worked for a while too; but somehow, I felt this goddamn loneliness inside.  I thought it would go away but it just kept growing and growing until I thought I was gonna burst.  That's when the envelope arrived in my mailbox.  Inside was a single polaroid picture.  It's a picture of an idea of a painting.  A painting of me and Penny Dreadful.  Dammit.  I look at the envelope.  No return address, but it's postmarked Amarillo, Texas.  Dammit.  I grab some things.  It looks like I'm heading for Amarillo.  I may be an idiot, but I'm not a stupid idiot.  I know I have to get to her somehow.
Just a little short fiction I'm working on. The language is... rough.
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:iconmudokon-man:
Mudokon-Man Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2010
Wow, yes, the language is rough, but appealing, giving a conversational effect for us, like *DMajorBoss said. The language is realistic, bringing out the narrator's relatable personality. Overall, I'm hooked. An idea thief by way of a magic camera in a modern world. When I first read "idea thief", it reminded me of "Inception", even though that film dealt more with planting an idea into a person's head through his or her dreams than with stealing ideas from a person's dreams. Your approach involves stealing an idea from a person when he or she is awake, at least at this point, so thankfully you don't have to worry about Christopher Nolan sueing you, lol. In all seriousness, though, I do like the idea that a person has no recollection of their idea once it's stolen. The ending to this story has me itching to read more, so if you plan to write more, you have my full support. :D Great work so far!
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:icondmajorboss:
DMajorBoss Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2010  Professional Writer
You know, as rough as it may be, I like how it came out. It's more conversational for us; it's not so much us reading a story as much as it is you telling us about a past event. The fictive elements used within, being an idea thief, helps to solidify that this is a work of fiction but could still have plausibility in occurrence.

The character speaks very well through this, as I said earlier, in talking to me as though I'm right there with him. I get further into the story this way, and the "plot" is simple enough so that there's no convoluted twists and turns on which we have to focus. Guy meets girl, girl has interesting job, things go nuts, he leave, he goes to find her again.

All in all, this is a pretty impressive story, and I think that others should give it a look as well. Thank you very much for taking the time to write this up for us all.
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:iconretconned:
retconned Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2010
hey, thanks a lot. glad you enjoyed it
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:icondmajorboss:
DMajorBoss Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2010  Professional Writer
You are very welcome.
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