Book Jacket

 

rank 5911
word count 15467
date submitted 11.11.2010
date updated 11.11.2010
genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, C...
classification: moderate
complete

Duos

Erik J Skinner

A collection of short stories consisting of only dialogue.

 

Duos spans many genres including science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Topics include death, the afterlife, religion, super heroes, history, time travel, and lime flavored chips. Each story is told in a way that eliminates everything other than dialogue.

This is the complete first book in the Duos Trilogy, which consists of the books Duos, Deux and Drei. Deux was completed in April 2010, and Drei will be released in January 2011. All three books will be released together as The Duos Trilogy upon completion of the third book.

 
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tags

comedy, dialogue, fantasy, fiction, history, horror, humor, jokes, observations, science, science fiction

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Chapters

4

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soiled

“James, my dear old friend. I’m so sorry.”

What for, El Rapido?

“It’s just Rapido.”

I thought there was an ‘el.’

“Nope. No ‘el.’”

Aren’t you Mexican, though?

“No, why would you think that?”

Well, you wear a lucha libre mask...

“I found it at Goodwill. Anyway, I need to have my uniform cleaned.”

Of course! But why so apologetic?

“Well... Here.”

Oh. OH. Oh God... Oh. Oooo... Oh.

“Jim, I got a bit of a stomach bug and...”

Say no more. Please say no more.

“I have the super runs.”

Let me stop you right there. Why are you only wear­ing boxer shorts?

“I’m not only wearing boxer shorts. I have my shoes and mask on too.”

That’s not my point. Why aren’t you wearing pants?

“I’m glad you brought it up, Jimmy. You’d think that being the fastest man on Earth would allow me to get to the toilet in time when old man brown river comes a’knockin’. Not true, my friend.”

I gathered as much from the filthy garment.

“You see, that uniform is an utter pain to take off for even the simplest of private moments.”

Please don’t list them. Please.

“Taking a whizz. Sex, both solo and with accompa­niment. But especially number two. Even the fastest man alive can’t get those tights off quick enough for the disgruntled escapees of the neth­erworld. Speak of the devil, could you direct me towards your restroom?”

Sure. It’s down that hall on the left.

“Thanks Jimbo, I’ll be just a moment.”

Yeah okay. Oh wow, that was fast.

“My name isn’t Rapido for nothing. As I was about to say, not wearing those tights gives me that extra edge I need to not make a mess.”

Uh... you’re dripping.

“Oh my. I’m so sorry. Let me clean that up for you...”

For the love... Could you face a different direction when you bend over?

“Sorry, so sorry.”

It’s... Just forget about it. Don’t ever mention it again. Please. So the boxers I can understand, but why are you shirtless?

“Don’t you think I’d look kind of dumb wearing a shirt with no pants?”

If you say so.

“That’s what I like about you, we’re always on the same page. We have an understanding, you and I. Don’t we?”

Sure?

“That’s right Captain Jimmeroo. We’re pal-ohs to the end-oh. That being said, if we could keep this little digestive problem of mine on the down-low...”

Believe me, I won’t be telling anyone about any of this.

“You’re a good man, Jim-Jam. Now, tell me, when can I come pick up the uniform? Before Wednes­day would be best for... Hold on, I’m feeling another rumble in the rumpus room. I’ll be right back.”

Alrig—

“Nope, false alar— OOOH, not a false alarm. Not at all.”

For crying out loud.

“You got a mop back there?”

 

push and pull

“How’s the tractor beam research coming along?”

Excellent. I must say, this may be the most important work of my career.

“That’s just great. I was thinking though...”

Yes?

“We’re developing this tractor beam for space war­fare, right?”

That’s correct.

“Wouldn’t it be more useful to push the enemy away?”

I suppose...

“Don’t get me wrong, the tractor beam is fantastic. I’m just not seeing the usefulness of pulling the enemy closer. What’s the advantage?”

I’m not a warfare strategist but... maybe if the enemy is running away?

“No, that can’t be it. I want you to scrap the tractor beam and work on an... ‘anti-tractor’ beam. Task number one, come up with a better name than ‘anti-tractor’ beam.”

But I’ve spent 17 years on this tractor beam technolo­gy. The prototype will be finished this afternoon!

“You can just reverse the polarity or something, can’t you?”

It doesn’t work like that.

“Why not? That’s how magnets work. Isn’t it just a big magnet?”

No, this is far more complex than that. There are the weak and strong nuclear forces to take into ac­count, not to mention manipulating gravity to— You’re not listening to any of this are you?

“What’s that?”

Never mind. Sure, yes, I’ll just reverse the polarity.

“Alright, so... let’s see it then.”

It’s not quite ready, I have to recalibrate—

“Let’s. See it. Then.”

Okay, but you should probably wear these safety glasses and a hard hat.

“Ooh, ooh, test it on a watermelon!”

What? No! We’re using this crate. Now, stand behind that yellow line.

“Got it.”

Cover your ears, this could be loud...

“What’s that sound?”

It’s just the tractor beam.

“It’s really loud, like a ripping...”

I just told you it could be loud.

“I don’t think it’s—”

Hold on, I need to...

“How’s the tractor beam research coming along?”

Huh, what happened?

“I wanted to know how the research was coming along.”

No, I got that, I mean, you already came down here and asked me. 

“What are you talking about? You know, I was think­ing—”

That pushing the enemy away is more useful than pulling them closer?

“Exactly! An ‘anti-tractor’ beam if you will. You read my mind!”

I don’t think this is a tractor beam... I think it’s a time machine.

“Could you make it into an ‘anti-time’ machine?”

 

call home

“Hey Dad.”

Why hello Son!

“Just thought I’d call and uh... check in, I guess.”

Well it’s good to hear from you! I got a new tennis racket yesterday. Plays like Heaven, just Heaven. How are you doing down there?

“Good. Good. Well, I could be better.”

Uh oh, what happened?

“It’s nothing.”

I know that tone. Do I have to come down there and sort things out?

“No, no, it’s fine, really...”

You know, if there’s anything you need, just let me know.

“Well... there is one little thing. A tiny thing. It’s hardly even a thing.”

Just ask already.

“Could... Could you give me better super powers?”

Jesus H. Christ, what’s wrong with you?

“You know I hate it when you call me by my full name, Dad.”

Well I’m sorry, but frankly I’m offended. Here you are, the Son of the most powerful being in the Universe...

“Ego-trip much?”

Excuse me, young man, I’m talking here.

“I’m not a young man, I’m like thirty years old.”

Yeah and I’m like a billion years old, so seniority card. That’s right, I played the seniority card. Listen to me, you can do more than any other mortal man has ever been capable of before. You can walk on water, you can make wine, you can raise the dead, you can even fly. What more do you want?

“What, I can fly?”

Of course you can fly, you’re the goddam Son of God, damn it!

“How do I fly?”

You haven’t figured out how yet? What the hell have you been doing for thirty years?

“Mostly all that other stuff. The wine, walking on wa­ter, raising the dead... Oh, and building chairs.”

BUILDING CHAIRS? The Son of God BUILDING CHAIRS?

“I’m pretty good at it. I’ve built five so far.”

FIVE chairs in thirty years?

“I put together some shelves too.”

What do you mean ‘put together.’

“Well we ordered them from a catalog and I followed the instructions...”

That isn’t even proper carpentry!

“It was tough. Those instructions are really confus­ing. Honestly, it’s a miracle I got it assembled. I had some pieces left over though...”

No, no, no. You’ve been wasting your time!

“Well if I had known I was able to fly...”

You never once wondered ‘Hey, I’m the Son of God, I bet I have the ability to fly. I should have a go at it.’?

“No, not at all.”

Even Superman figured out he could fly when he was just a baby.

“I never really got into Superman.”

I could have sworn you read Superman comics when you were little.

“No, I liked Batman.”

Oh yeah... You always wore that mask and cape while running around the house... But seriously, how did you not know you could fly? You were curious enough to find out if you could bring corpses to life...

“It never came up! I wish I had known sooner. My feet are killing me!”

Well walk no more! Now you know.

“Just great. By the way, did you know I’m getting crucified tomorrow?”

Oh that? Forget it, just fly away.

“I can’t just fly away from a crucifixion.”

What’s the point in having a power if you don’t use it?

“You could have at least warned me. I found out from some stranger on the street.”

Sounds like a good Samaritan.

“Wait a minute, this is what you were talking about last week, isn’t it?”

What?

“You told me I was going to have to die for every­one’s sins.”

That doesn’t sound like me.

“It’s what you said.”

I say a lot of things.

 

cap’n

All hands on deck!

“All hands on deck, bawk!”

Man your stations!

“Man your stations, bawk!”

Prepare for battle!

“Prepare for battle, bawk bawk!”

Stop repeating me.

“Stop repeating me, bawk!”

Seriously, stop it. We’re about to engage in battle here.

“Engage in battle, bawk!”

Snap out of it, man! You’re not a parrot!

“Sorry Cap’n. Bawk.”

It’s alright. Just take it easy with the parrot talk.

“Yessir. Sorry. You know how it’s been since our visit to that hypnotist back in Haiti.”

Haiti was a hell of a time. What was the deal with the hypnotist again?

“She hypnotized me to be a parrot. You were there, remember?”

Ohhh yeah, that was hilarious. At the time. Now it’s kind of annoying.

“Kind of annoying. Bawk!”

You see?

“I see, bawk!”

One thing has been bothering me... what’s with the bawking?

“What do you mean?”

Why do you go ‘bawk’?

“That’s the sound parrots make.”

I’ve never heard a parrot go ‘bawk.’

“Sure, that’s the primary parrot sound.”

You’re thinking of chickens. Just a sec, watch for the enemy’s cannons, they really pack a wallop! Sails up! TURN HARD STARBOARD!

“HARD STARBOARD, BAWK!”

As we were saying...

“No way that chickens go ‘bawk,’ I swear it’s a parrot thing.”

Chickens go ‘bawk.’ I’m one hundred percent sure of it.

“What sound do parrots make then?”

‘Skreeaaaw!’ maybe?

“That’s a hawk sound.”

Like you would know, chicken man. All men, draw your swords! Don’t let them board the ship, those filthy bilge rats!

“Filthy bilge rats, bawk!”

Oh, that’s it! ‘Squawk.’

“Really?”

Definitely.

“I would have remembered squawk. I don’t even think that’s a word.”

It’s gotta be. Go get the dictionary. PRESS HARD BOYS! THEY WON’T TAKE US DOWN THAT EASILY!

“Alright, here it is.”

Let’s hear it then.

“Squawk. Verb. To shriek loudly, as a parrot.”

Well, there you have it.

“I’ll be damned, I’ve been making the wrong bird sound for weeks.”

Hey, we all make mistakes.

“Uh... speaking of mistakes...”

Oh bloody hell, the crew’s all dead.

“Crew’s all dead! Crew’s all dead! Bawk!”

 

id

Hello Steven.

“It’s Steffon.”

Don’t be stupid, it’s Steven.

“What do you want?”

I need to speak with you, Steven.

“Who are you? There’s no one else in here but me.”

That’s the beauty of being in your head, Steven.

“No way, I’m not a nutcase.”

There, there, Steven. We’re all a little bit crazy.

“Would you stop calling me ‘Steven’? It’s Steffon!”

That’s what I’m talking about Steven. Calling your­self ‘Steffon’ just makes you...

“Hip? Stylish? Vogue?”

It makes you a jackass, Steven.

“What? You’re delirious.”

You’re the one talking to yourself, Steven.

“No, you are!”

Technically that is true, Steven, but that’s not why I’m here.

“Why are you here?”

You have to cut the act, Steven.

“What act?”

You’re a farm boy from Kansas, Steven.

“That’s not who I am anymore.”

You can’t forget your roots, Steven. The farm, your family... Bessy. They all need you.

“What happened to Bessy?”

She’s sick, Steven.

“What does she have?”

Mad Cow.

“On no.”

That’s right, Steven. She’s mad that you moved to the city and turned into such a tool.

“Bessy didn’t say that!”

I know. I did. I’m making a point here, Steven.

“Don’t toy with my emotions... you.”

You can call me Stevesie.

“That’s stupid, I’m not calling you that.”

Exactly my point, Steven. Stop these shenanigans and go back home.

“I can’t. I’m booked to perform every day for the next month.”

Poor Steven. You dance in Central Park along to a mix tape of the Cure.

“It’s steady work, okay?”

Steven, if you don’t go back home... I’ll be forced to take you down. From the inside.

“What’re you talking about? How can you ev—Ow! I just punched myself in the face!”

No, Steven. I punched you in the face. I’m calling the shots now.

“Ow! Ow! Stop it! Owowow... ha ha ha! That tickles! That tickles! You know all of my ticklish spots! Stop! Stop!”

Are you going back to the farm? Or do I have to break out the noogies?

“No, no, oh man, I’ll go, just stop tickling me.”

 

heist

Ski masks?

“Check.”

Rope?

“Check.”

Glass cutter?

“Check.”

Walkie talkies?

“Check.”

Custard pie?

“What?”

Custard pie. I put it on the list.

“No you didn’t.”

Yes I did, right after orange juice.

“What orange juice?”

Shoot... I added it to the wrong list...

“What do we need custard pie for? We’re robbing a bank.”

It’s my calling card, Darrel. I can’t pull off a heist without leaving my trademark custard pie booby trap in the vault.

“I didn’t know you did that.”

I do. Then they read the note that says, ‘Looks like you got pie on your face.’ Jesus Darrel, do you even read the itineraries I put together?

“Not really. I usually just sit in the van, so...”

If you’re ever going to advance in this business be­yond being the ‘sit-in-the-van’ guy, you have to start being more involved in these heists.

“I kind of like being the ‘sit-in-the-van’ guy.”

I am astonished. Astonished and offended. Where’s your passion? I remember the look in your eyes that first time I came back through those un­marked van doors carrying armfuls of money bags. It was like a child seeing fireworks for the first time. Where has the magic gone, Darrel? Where has it gone?

“I just like sitting in the van.”

Fine, let all your potential just slip away. I’m going in there, but I’m not going to enjoy it. You’ve broken my heart Darrel.

“What about the pie?”

Oh damn, that’s right, the pie. Is there a grocery store around here?

“Couple blocks back. I think they’re closed though.”

Nonsense, grocery stores are open 24 hours these days!

“Fine, we’ll go take a look.”

That’s it, get back into it! We’re making it happen! Look at us go! Exciting, eh?

“It’s closed.”

Shoot. Guess we should just call it a night then. Let’s go home.

“You think Mom will have hot chocolate ready for us?”

Oh that would be bliss, just bliss... damn it, hot chocolate was on the wrong list too.

 

Chapters

4

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Marita A. Hansen wrote 1256 days ago

This is like standup comedy. I started reading during my lunchbreak and kept going until I read the lot. Your use of dialogue is both clever and funny, but I have to point out the Narrator as being the best way of using dialogue. Loved his narration at the ending, when he was about to get hit over the head with the chair.

I can't really criticise anything here so I'll just tell you my favourites, or any lines that I liked especially. The Narrator, the 3 connecting stories (Light Bulb, Limbo, and Douse) and the Jesus shorts were probably the ones I liked the most. You have a lot of clever word play and endings in these shorts, especially with the dead guy's dialogue (Hell, Damn it) as well as Jesus' shorts (Jesus getting annoyed when Dad/God calls him by his full name as well as the lines: (Jesus) It takes 3 days. (God) You'll never make it). God was my favourite character out of all the shorts, he definitely had the best lines.

The Time Traveller series were very funny with the spandex, the time traveller laughing at his younger self's jokes while on the phone, when he's literally on his hands and knees, etc. Another good ending was in lab lab, with the line "Son of a bitch." Also laughed with Fortune, where he was telling her everything, and then was amazed when she knew about him and his sister. The undead guys (or should I say guy and girl) were very amusing.

Well I'll stop now. This is probably the most original writing that I've read on this site, and the first time that I read the lot in one sitting. The little stories just flowed from one to the next, keeping my interest.

Well done. All the best, Marita.

SusieGulick wrote 1251 days ago

You are totally fantastic, Erik!! :) How can I ever thank you enough for backing my memoirs book?
God bless you. :) Love, Susie :) p.s. I just looked to see if I had ******-ed your book & I had :) - could you please ****** mine, too? :) Every ****** -ing & backing moves our books closer to the editor's desk :) I want to ask you if you could please keep my book on your bookshelf as long as possible because I'm 12 from the editor's desk & need to be in the top 5 by the end of November :) - I had a mini-stroke last Wednesday with slurred speech for an hour & numbness of tongue still & 5 smaller ones since & I"d sure like to cross the finish line of the editor's desk after 9 months trying on authonomy. :) Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me :) - I have lost 3 sisters to strokes & my last sister, Mary had 2 heart attacks earlier this year.

blueboy wrote 1255 days ago

interesting prose.

Farrold Saxon wrote 1255 days ago

Different - quick-witted repartee. It works for me.

Farrold Saxon (Where-Stand-All)

Andrew Burans wrote 1256 days ago

I do like your stories and they are quite unique in that it is all dialogue. Well done and well written and very inventive. I have given you a high star rating.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

SusieGulick wrote 1256 days ago

Dear Erik, I love your book & got so excited as I read dialogue after dialogue of each story. :) Your pitch was well done in preparing me for this. :) The one of falling off the toilet actually happened to the older man downstairs & they found him dead the next week, between the toilet & bathtub of a heart attack, so I was so surprised to read this in one of your stories :) - amazing. :) I hope you write many more great stories. :) I have read, commented on, & put your book on my watchlist to back when space opens on my bookshelf. :) I have also ****** 'd your book :) - could you please ****** & back mine in return? :) Thank you from the bottom of my heart. :) Love, Susie :)

Marita A. Hansen wrote 1256 days ago

This is like standup comedy. I started reading during my lunchbreak and kept going until I read the lot. Your use of dialogue is both clever and funny, but I have to point out the Narrator as being the best way of using dialogue. Loved his narration at the ending, when he was about to get hit over the head with the chair.

I can't really criticise anything here so I'll just tell you my favourites, or any lines that I liked especially. The Narrator, the 3 connecting stories (Light Bulb, Limbo, and Douse) and the Jesus shorts were probably the ones I liked the most. You have a lot of clever word play and endings in these shorts, especially with the dead guy's dialogue (Hell, Damn it) as well as Jesus' shorts (Jesus getting annoyed when Dad/God calls him by his full name as well as the lines: (Jesus) It takes 3 days. (God) You'll never make it). God was my favourite character out of all the shorts, he definitely had the best lines.

The Time Traveller series were very funny with the spandex, the time traveller laughing at his younger self's jokes while on the phone, when he's literally on his hands and knees, etc. Another good ending was in lab lab, with the line "Son of a bitch." Also laughed with Fortune, where he was telling her everything, and then was amazed when she knew about him and his sister. The undead guys (or should I say guy and girl) were very amusing.

Well I'll stop now. This is probably the most original writing that I've read on this site, and the first time that I read the lot in one sitting. The little stories just flowed from one to the next, keeping my interest.

Well done. All the best, Marita.

SusieGulick wrote 1256 days ago

:) comment to follow after I've read your book - read & commented on 14 hours later :)

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