WGOM CW Survivor Archives – Challenge 16 – Genre Swap

Take a well-known movie scene and write it in the form of another genre.

John Malkovich (John Malkovich) – (bursting into the office) What the fuck is going on here?

Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) – (stuttering) Oh! Um, Mr. Malkovich, sir, uh, Mr. Malkovich, I think I can explain.

JM – Yes.  Explain to me why I had to fight an enormous mutant killer goldfish to the death this morning.

Lonnie Schwartz (Kelly Wells) – That one was my fault.  Sorry.

CS – My name is Craig Schwartz. (CS offers his hand, JM contemptuously bats it away) We have discovered a portal which, when entered, allows the person to experience you, John Malkovich, fighting a physical manifestation of their worst fears.  I’m very sorry about my brother Lonnie, we didn’t realize that the fears were manifesting in the real world, but at least you were able to eliminate his manifestation.  Mine is still out there somewhere, terrorizing the populace.  You can’t really be blamed, of course, who could ever expect you to vanquish a ––

JM – (interrupting) I want to do it.

CS – I’m not sure that’s a good idea.

JM – (more forcefully) I want to do it!

LS – Let him do it, Craig.

(CS opens the portal door, and JM hesitates momentarily and then begins to crawl down the tunnel)

CS – What happens when a man goes through his own portal?

LS – (laughing) We’ll see.

(As JM crawls into the tunnel, the sound of gale force winds builds until the door slams shut and JM is pulled forward, sliding down the tunnel.  He opens his eyes in a deserted restaurant.  Bewildered, he begins to wander through the building.  A television is on in the lobby, showing an entire city block that has recently been demolished by some sort of natural disaster.  The headline across the screen only contains one word, “Malkovich”.  The footage is resized to a small square over the shoulder of the news anchor who could be JM’s twin)

Malkovichian News Anchor – Malkovich––

(JM, shaken by his face appearing on the anchor’s body turns off the television before more than one word is spoken.  A door slams somewhere ahead of him and as he moves forward he finds a woman leaning against the door, sobbing incoherently, her face hidden in her hands.  He reaches her, but as he reaches out to make sure she is alright, she lowers her hands to reveal that she too has JM’s face.)

Malkovichesque Woman – (Terrified of JM, screaming) – Malkovich!

(The woman scrambles to her feet and dashes out into the street.  The door remains open, and, outside, a multitude of people, all with JM’s face are rushing by, clearly fleeing something.  Rising from the murmur of the crowd a single word, always infused with a palpable sense of panic, overwhelms the sounds of running feet)

Random Pseudo-Malkovich #1 – Malkovich!
Random Quasi-Malkovich #2 – Malkovich!
Random Semi-Malkovich #3 – Malkovich!

(JM steps out of the restaurant and the sounds of the fleeing horde recedes until he stands in the street seemingly alone.  One straggling Malkovichovite limps by, badly injured.  The straggler sees JM is not fleeing.)

Straggling Malkovichovite – Malkovich?

JM – (affirming) Malkovich.

Straggling Malkovichovite – (shakily pointing back the way he came) Malkovich.

(JM heads in that direction.  He hears the sounds of buildings being smashed and glass breaking.)

JM – (whispering) Malkovich.

(JM stands in awe as a 20-foot tall giant John Malkovich pauses in his destruction, an unfortunate regular-sized Malkovich dangling forgotten in his hand, the corpses of a dozen or so other Malkovichi strewn in the street)

Giant Malkovichinator – (world-rattling roar as he moves toward JM) MALKOVICH!!!!!

(The force of the yell blows JM off his feet.  Tumbling backward, he is whisked out of the portal into a ditch somewhere just off the Jersey Turnpike)

CS – (falsely cheery) How was it?

JM – (running out of the ditch, he grabs CS by the collar and shakes him) I have been to the dark side.  I have seen a world that no man should see.

CS – Really? There were no manifestations here in the real world.  I thought that meant it was going well.

JM – That portal must be sealed forever, for the love of God.

CS – Mr. Malkovich, sir, with all due respect, I discovered that portal, and I started all this.  It’s my fault that New York City is currently being demolished by an enormous T-Rex with a jetpack and a laser gun.  I think the portal is the only way to finish this.  It’s our only hope.

JM – (shouting) It’s my head, Schwartz!  IT’S MY HEAD!  Find someone else to fight your ridiculous monstrosities, I’ll have no part in this.

(As JM walks down the highway away from CS, behind him, in the city, the T-Rex lets out a victorious roar as another army helicopter explodes into an angry fireball)

CS – (to himself) You don’t have a choice Malkovich. Either you help us, or I’ll be inside you, making you help us.

SPOOKY: Hehe…you guys definitely pay attention when I make cracks about my likes, my dislikes and my greatest fears, I’ll give you that. I think the idea of hundreds of Malkovichi would be funny against just about any backdrop, but the giant got me pretty good here. It might still be too funny to be a horror film just yet (granted, there’s usually a healthy helping of comedy in horror movies) but I do like the concept.


This one was kind of weird, right?  I really wanted to do the “Malkovich, Malkovich” scene, trying to change the genre without any meaningful dialogue.  I feel like the stuff I added before and after kind of took away from that a little bit, but I was pleased with the overall product.

WGOM CW Survivor Archives – Challenge 15 – Interrogation

Write a scene involving an interrogation, at some point a secret is revealed about the interrogator, giving the power to the interrogated.

The Devil was in my bedroom last night.  Something knocked the lamp off the dresser, and, before I thought about it, I was awake and shouting at the cat, “Lucifer, you furry bastard, this means war!”   Almost immediately, I felt the hot, sulfurous breath behind me and felt the Devil’s scaly fingers reach out to touch me.  The night in my room had thickened and deepened to something even blacker than a Spinal Tap album cover.

Tip #1 for negotiating with the Devil – Don’t name your cat Lucifer, no matter how much the damn thing resembles the anti-Christ.  It can lead to accidental summoning, and you don’t want to start your negotiation off-balance.

I switched on the light, and his ugly horned head snapped away, but I saw the flames that always burn behind his eyes still threatening to leap out and consume everything in his gaze.  “Hello, mortal,” he began.  “Why have you summoned me?”

“It … it was an accident.”

He waved a cloven hoof dismissively, “There are no accidents.  Everyone finds something they want from eventually.  What are your aspirations? Any competitors I could neutralize for you?”

My mind was a blank.  I babbled something about just wanting to be left alone.

“Hmmm, ambition isn’t your thing, eh?” He thought for a second, then, like the dry crack of a hanging victim’s neck, he snapped his fingers as inspiration struck.  He leaned in close, his lips pulled back to reveal his sharpened teeth. “What do you fear?” he hissed.

Before I could think, a whisper escaped my lips. “Death.”

Satan licked his lips greedily, and his hand strayed to the pouch on his hip that I knew contained his most recent harvest of souls. “Death will come for you, eventually it comes for all mortals, but perhaps, for a small price, I could offer … an extension?”

I didn’t say anything, but he knew with a little push he had a deal.

Snarling, he leapt on top of me, his fingers digging painfully into my chest. “I could take you tonight, but for the price of your insignificant soul, I will let you live another 20 years.”

Tip #2 for negotiating with the Devil – Be specific, health is an important stipulation.  There’s nothing worse than 20 years spent in a hospital bed with cancer of the everything (trust me, I found that out the hard way).

I managed a shaky whisper, “Twenty healthy years and I’ll do it.”

I could see the Satan’s eyes grow wider in anticipation of the taste of a fresh soul.  His fingers twitched as he reached for me.  He paused.  “Your soul seems familiar, have we had dealings before?”

“I’m Buddhist, maybe in a previous life?”  I was kind of disappointed.  He didn’t even crack a smile.

Tip #3 for negotiating with the Devil –  The Devil recognizes people by their souls.  If you find yourself soulless, you have nothing of interest to him and you’ll never get his attention again.

The pain of losing a good soul was searing, like being boiled in a vat of acid. Once it was over, Satan stood at the end of the bed, holding my soul up to the light, salivating noisily as he prepared for his first taste.

Tip #4 for negotiating with the Devil – His only weakness is in those moments immediately after he harvests a new soul.  He is transfixed and unaware of his surroundings.  Make your move then or suffer the consequences.

“Goodbye for now, mortal. I’ll see you in 20 years.” He winked at me as he disappeared back to his fiery kingdom.

“Just in time to negotiate a new deal” I thought as I felt my new soul that I had plucked from his pouch slide into place.

SPOOKY: Uh-oh…this is close enough to the screenplay I’m working on that I’d better hurry up and get the thing finished and registered (okay, there are some extremely important differences, but the tone couldn’t be more spot-on). Anyway, I’m not sure our hero has really turned the tables here or anything, and I’ll admit I was really waiting to see him own the Devil here. For me, the difference in scale between a temporary reprieve and a full-scale beatdown is important here, especially since we’ve got so few of you left.

BEAU: Heh heh. I like this a lot. The writing style is engaging. The dialogue is fairly terse but conveys its intentions well. “Cancer of the everything” is a great line. A very original piece that has an unexpected ending that still rings true.

I’m having a hard time with this one. Both Big Mak’s and Carter Hayes’ are written extremely well and I wish I could give both people immunity. But I have to give the slight edge to negotiating with the devil.

Winner – Immunity


I got really engrossed in this challenge, and I was really pleased with the way this entry turned out.  As an added bonus, I’m safe for another week.  See you after the next challenge.

WGOM CW Survivor Archives – Challenge 14 – Meeting of the Mimes

Write a story where the two main characters do not speak.  One of the main characters should end the story in a much better situation, while the other will end up in a much worse situation.

Formatting was important to this one, so I’ve tried to get it right, although it’s difficult with HTML:


Joey took a huge bite of his triple decker
peanut butter sandwich just as the girl he
had a crush on came through the door.
Despite his best efforts to hastily wash it all
down with a glass of milk, he was unable to
utter a word before she was gone.

She lunged for him as he lay on the couch, and the struggle for power was on.  He had held sway over her for too long.  Now, with the element of surprise on her side, she was going to turn the tables.

The Little Red Schoolhouse World
Championship Match had entered its 8th
hour  with neither contestant showing any
signs of weakness.

On the other side of the paper-thin walls, Mrs. Busybody sat with her hand reaching for the phone.  She had already threatened to call the cops twice this week.  If any more sounds of struggle came through the wall, she wouldn’t hesitate.  The cops wouldn’t buy the “playful wrestling” story again.

Too late, Detective Smith realized the chef
who had prepared the pufferfish was the
same person observed hanging around the
murder scene earlier today.  A quickly
swelling throat prevented the detective from
making a sound as the room went dark.

One well-placed knee ended the wrestling match.  The victor triumphantly waved the remote control in the face of the vanquished and changed the channel one last time.

The formerly frumpy introvert appeared at
the top of the stairs after her makeover, and
her mother was struck speechless as she
tried to hold back tears of joy at her
daughter’s transformation.


SPOOKY: So, yeah. This is the best week ever. This one was sent as a doc because the formatting is important; the entry is so one-of-a-kind that the meaning could get lost without it. As is, however, it’s far beyond what I’d imagined here, appearing to be on a large scale but turning out to be pretty mundane. Oh, and the name “Mrs. Busybody” is perfectly obvious here.

5 points out of 5

BEAU: This is the most surreal entry I’ve ever seen. It really stretches the borders of the outline of this challenge, but we want to reward ingenuity, not strangle it. The rapid changes are actually effective, and the main narration stays clear. Mrs. Busybody’s appearance is brilliant. And pufferfish murders are always fun. Thanks for this.

5 points out of 5


The love parade continues.  This came about because I had brainstormed a whole bunch of reasons for my characters to be silent, but hadn’t really nailed down a plot.  I went with it and included them all with a little bit of misdirection, and everything kind of fell into place.  The teams merged after this challenge with 8 players remaining, 4 from each team.  I get the feeling this finish is going to be nuts.