by Henry Wyckoff
Dedicated only to the flamers who complain about subtlety, plays on words, hidden references and such. This one's for you!
Everyone else: enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: The characters and situations of The X-Files television program are the creations and property of Chris Carter and Fox Broadcasting and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
-- Introduction --
There's all kinds of fiction out there: adventure, comedy, romance... and something that can only fall into the categories of subtle, surreal, esoteric, and so on. For every kind of reader, there's every kind of writer and fiction. That's the way it should be, shouldn't it?
Not to the flamers.
If they had their way, every writer on the web and on paper would write stories that only they could like and appreciate. Any writer who put out stuff that didn't fit their fancy is an open target for their flame thrower practice. Any writer who put something out there intended to be subtle or a mystery -- something intended to make people scratch their heads for one reason or another -- in their eyes deserves to burn because they -- the flamers -- don't get an extra commentary spelling everything out. That's being generous -- most want the entire story to be written so that it is the commentary, with a second more extensive one included.
I've read every single flame sent to me over the months, and I've considered them well -- which drove me to present to you all my impression of the flamer's perfect story. That is, the flamer who hates subtlety.
Scully and Mulder approached the Pepsi machine with caution.
"Mulder?" asked Scully. "Why are we creeping up to this vending machine?"
[Voice from the sky: Scully and Mulder are characters from the X-Files. Standard disclaimers apply.]
The two looked around in confusion, trying to find the source of the powerful, ubiquitous voice. After a moment of fruitless searching, they went about their business.
"According to past campus police reports, this vending machine is supposed to accept dollar bills -- but always spits them back out, except for one time in ten. But it always accepts change." He said this with a wide-eyed look and a spooky voice. "The question is, why would it accept coinage, and only one out of ten dollar bills? Why won't it accept either all or nothing?"
"M-u-l-d-e-r-r-r..." Scully put her hands on her hips, and was interrupted by the voice from the sky.
[Voice from sky: Her quoted word is written that way because she is meant to express extreme frustration and wishes to jolt him into her definition of normality and sanity. Normality is not used in this context to mean a measure of equivalents of ionic charge per liter in a chemical solution.]
Scully got tired of that voice and snarled, "Who the hell are you?!" looking up at the sky.
[Voice from sky: I'm the author. I'm sorry, but I got too many flames complaining that I wasn't spelling things out enough for them in previous stories. They also complained about hidden references, plays on words, and subtlety. We'll have to satisfy those flamers -- make it Flamer-Correct -- and if anyone wants a mystery or wants to read something that pushes the envelope -- oh well... That's why you're dealing with this X-File, and why I have to explain everything ad nauseam as we go along. Ad nauseam is Classical Latin for...]
Mulder nudged her. "Just ignore him. You were about to say something?"
Her face crumpled up in frustration, as if she wanted to pound her head into the wall.
[Voice from sky: A wall is usually made of concrete and/or brick, and is usually used to hold up ceilings or act as a barrier.]
Scully grimaced, baring her teeth, "Why the hell are we on this case?! Isn't this a job for the vending company's maintenance man??"
"But what would we be doing?" He faced her. "If the author is right, then any Flamer-Correct story would eliminate all the possibilities! No conspiracies, no aliens, and no Cancerman! After all, he only explains himself by what he doesn't say! And there couldn't be any conspiracies because you'd have to work out the clues for yourself before they gave you just enough more for it to make sense! There's no way it could be Flamer-Correct!"
Both grimaced as they forced themselves to look at the vending machine, trying to concentrate on it.
[Voice from the sky: That is a vending machine. Its purpose is to --]
Scully and Mulder snapped, yelling, "We know that! Don't you think we have brains?!"
[Voice from the sky: Sorry, but you know how it is... A brain is --]
"That does it, we QUIT!" both yelled at once, storming out the door.
Mulder turned around just as he left the building, "I've always searched for the Truth, but I never imagined it would be like this!"
The voice was about to make some sort of explanatory statement, but
he shut the door, for once happy to shut the door on the truth . . . and
it never felt so good.
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