Ed's Back...

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J Riff

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I have to post something, because of a thousand posts, so here is one of a dozen orphaned bits festering on the hard drive.
Trying to avoid quotation marks and/or italics, and still run some dialogue, no idea if it works.
Maybe the whole thing is too ridiculous, or maybe someone can suggest what Ed may have to say about the modern world.:confused:

Poe Returns

Edgar Allan Poe, of all people - a very famous person, a universally-respected author, and reputed to be a notably tortured soul - is the first and only man, to my knowledge, to ever travel through a hole in time, and arrive unscathed - in my kitchen.

It happened last December, as I sat quietly reading - not reading Poe - but, in fact, reading about Poe- in a small anonymous biographical pamphlet, its cover and other pages missing, an ancient moldering thing which I had found that very morning in the dusty cellar of a demolished building.

A small mustachioed man materialized in my kitchen. I heard a crackling sound like shredding ozone and seconds later- there stood Poe.

I wasn't sure it was him at first, but then he started talking - in that fabulous old american english, which I had little trouble decoding, as a bit of an armchair scholar myself, particularly in matters of horror and weirdness such as the man before me had become legendary for pencrafting - but which may have distressed the common listener in these days of acronyms and smilies - and he convinced me. I slowly became certain it was Poe when he kept insisting that he was, in truth, the Edgar Allan Poe - and after I also made him recite some of his obscure poems. He struggled with a few lines but it was him, there was no other explanation for the guy. He looked exactly like his picture.

Poe walked around being amazed by all the technological marvels in my living room; things like lamps and pocket flashlights had him gasping with astonishment. I flipped on the TV and started explaining what was going on in the world, and Poe fell onto the chesterfield and lay there sweating with his eyes bugging out.

He was tough though, and after a while he sat up and asked questions, intelligent ones, about the world and my apartment and his books and a lot of other stuff.

He was elated that his books were still in print, let alone popular, but I had to clue him in.

You can't walk in here Edgar - I told him - and expect anyone to believe that you are Edgar Allan Poe. You can't make a nickle from your books anymore. You will have to write some new stuff.

He shrugged fatalistically and immediately went to the big oak desk in the corner and sat down. He looked around for a pen and paper and I fired up the laptop and set it in front of him.

Edgar, I said, meet your new friend - Computo the book-machine. Poe was startled and amused. He began pecking at keys and stopping to look at the writing on the screen, which I had set to a large purple font on a light yellow background.

This is.... fantastic! murmered Poe - and he typed on into the night. It was my turn to ask questions and I sat there and grilled him steadily.

First I asked if he wanted a drink, anything like that. He stopped typing and looked at the floor for a while then he said no, no drink thanks - he was over that - but what medications did I have? Just like that - medications.

Shocked, I pulled out the suitcase full of every known drug that I had found in an collapsed sewer-main, and Poe had a long look inside. I'm not sure what he took, but he did pull out a pipe and request some tobacco. Then he went back to work.

Some of the stuff he came up with at first didn't seem very good. Like he was just fooling around with the super-typewriter gadget from the future. I asked how he had managed to fall through a hole in time and he said he didn't remember anything except laying in a hospital bed, then drifting into a dark swirling void of some kind.

Write it down, I said, it sounds like a Poe story! A guy dies and escapes to the future.

Yes, said Poe, bemused, but instead he wrote:
 
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Great idea Riff, and I had a smile on my face as I read it, imagining Poe's reaction to the technology stuff. Without the quotation and speech marks I found it a little hard to follow, and this sentence:
I wasn't sure it was him at first, but then he started talking - in that fabulous old american english, which I had little trouble decoding, as a bit of an armchair scholar myself, particularly in matters of horror and weirdness such as the man before me had become legendary for pencrafting - but which may have distressed the common listener in these days of acronyms and smilies - and he convinced me.

had me gasping for breath, it went on so long. But then I do scan quickly, so it's probably just me...

What would Ed write about? Gotta be the dark side of modern technology. Maybe he saw the item about the guy recently who died after a 3 day binge on a computer game. Maybe he beileves there are real people trapped inside computers, slaves, who toil endlessly with little or no reward, the horror of an existence that is at the whim of the computer operator. "I have seen Hell, and it exists in the future..." kind of thing... Or maybe you hand him a spliff, and he relaxes so much he can't write a thing, except comedy...
 
Hi, JR -- and congratulations on the 1,000th post!

You'd forgotten to add the one-line clear space between paragraphs -- we're fussy like that in Critiques, y'know... -- so I've done it for you.

A few nitpicky things need editing eg spelling -- it's nickel, surely? -- and I'd like American English with capital letters, but not too untidy a piece. Watch the dashes, though. I use them liberally, but three in one sentence is one too many. I didn't mind the lack of quotation marks, but I don't think it would work if you had too much conversation -- about this amount is fine, though.

As for what he might write... no idea. Me, I'd probably leave it on a cliffhanger so I didn't have to come up with something Poe-esque.
 
Is it nickel. Nickle.
That sentence is too long. And I wondered about American English... both caps?
I thought up an ending last night, now I have to come up with some fake Poe!

A 3 day binge kilt some guy? These reality games are getting out of hand.
Trapped inside a computer is good...
 
Congrats on the big 1000, JR. I think what you've done with the dialogue works fine. It seems to fit well with the overall style.
You do need to capitalise American English, and you do need some Poe at the end. A cliffhanger is all well and good, but I think this type of story needs a pay-off.
I've never read any Poe, but I might now. I liked it.
 
Well, the first paragraph pulled me in and that was it. I really, really enjoyed it.

Except for the ending.

It's like the worse possible cliffhanger...
 
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