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Sunday, April 4, 2010

And the winner is...

True story. About twenty-five years ago I happened to be back in my hometown one hot July day, sitting around with my Dad and a bunch of his old buddies, drinking beer, shooting the breeze, and watching a parade. I'd just had one of my first short stories published in a paying market, and my Dad was eager to brag about his kid, the professional science fiction writer. This naturally got his friends talking about this weird guy they'd all known back in the day who used to write that sort of crazy sci-fi stuff; Bob somebody, Bob—what was his name, anyway? And then one remembered, and turned to me, and asked—

"Yeah, Robert Bloch, that was his name. Didja ever hear of him? He ever get anything published?"

I tell this story as a lead-in to mentioning that I do not, as so many people mistakenly believe, come from the state that gave America Governor Jesse Ventura and Senator Al Franken, but rather from the state that gave the world Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer. As well, we also indirectly gave the world Mr. Bloch's enduring masterpiece loosely based on Mr. Gein's story, Psycho. Accordingly, I feel a tremendous affinity for Watkinson's proposed TV reality show, "The Red State."

However, after reading Watkinson's entry, and listening to M's entry, and trying very hard not to be influenced by M's choice of media, I found myself leaning towards the latter. I thought his entirely unexpected choice of "state" to be quite clever, and besides, after a lifetime of watching James Bond movies, I really long to see "American Idol" losers get the treatment accorded incompetent Spectre agents, and M's entry showed the best promise of providing that.

But then Henry weighed in, writing:
Watkinson: The biggest problem with this reality show would likely be a shortage of actual serial killers for the show. I like the idea but think this would have to be a staged event; sort of like those Mystery Cruises or the like. With a truly devious bunch of writers and special effects people, this idea could be compelling viewing. Add in a "TV audience plays at home" option and you could have a ratings winner on hand.

M: So, both of this week's entries deal with death, only M wants to kill the contestants voted off the show in interesting and potentially gruesome ways. I foresee a shortage of people willing to apply as contestants on the show, so some form of compulsion might be required. Hm, drafting contestants or, better yet, randomly selecting them from a list of people whose names appear in the press more than, say, 500 times during the year. It would certainly give a new definition to the phrase "the price of fame."

I ran these past my wife to get her feedback, and her opinion mirrored mine. While both entries are interesting and creative, we both liked the amateur detective show best.
Hmm. An awkward impasse. Henry and his wife preferred Watkinson's entry; Karen and I preferred M's. Absent a tie-breaking vote from Kersley...

Okay, this week, we're going to call it a tie. Watkinson and M both, come on down and claim your prizes!

As for all the rest of you: remember, the deadline for the 4/2/10 Friday Challenge, "I'm in Love With My Car," is midnight Central time, Thursday, 4/8/10. So get writing!
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