Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition: Faker's Gonna Fake (Deadline Dec 7)  (Read 265 times)

Baron

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What do Bridget Jones, Krusty the Clown, and Neville Chamberlain all have in common?  A façade of competence and the sword of Damocles dangling just above their heads.  A player's gonna play, and a hater's gonna hate.  So what's a poor faker to do?
 
Faker's Gonna Fake


Nobody likes a phoney in real life, but god they get into such great predicaments for story telling!  Teenagers trying on new personas like they're clothes-shopping at the mall, corporate yuckity-yucks throwing around buzzwords like they somehow make sense, politicians lying through their teeth just to disprove the rumours that someone just shaved a monkey and put a tie on him: it's a faker's paradise out there!  Your mission in this competition is to create a character self-delusional enough to believe that, despite a lack of genuine skill and experience, they can do it just like the pros!  It'd be great if there was some sort of reckoning at the end, actual or implied, but that's just for bonus points.

Deadline: All entries are to be submitted by Friday December 7.

Word Limit:  It's gotta fit all in one post.  Faker's not gonna put in extra work, why should you? ;)

Possible Voting Categories: I might change my mind over the next two weeks, but right now I'm thinking:

Best Character: A really genuine faker of the fakiest kind.
Best Fake: Which character was able to pull off the most audacious fraud?
Best Plot: The most suspense created as the fake is about to be uncovered.
Best Writing: Which writer can best fake grammar competence, spelling proficiency, and word-choice prowess?
The Fake Vote: This one is a bluffer's dream come true.  Is if for best overall, or fakest entry?  Hmmmmm....  A wild card indeed! :=

Good luck to all entrants!
« Last Edit: 28 Nov 2018, 01:54 by Baron »

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I'd like to thank you all for feigning faking interest in this topic. ;)

Just a reminder: you've got about 4 days left to fake up an entry!

Who was that unmasked man?
« Reply #2 on: 04 Dec 2018, 09:54 »
Who ya gonna fake?

It had to be the right kind of corpse. No mutilated bodies - jumpers or victims of violence - just a reasonably fit, (intact!), middle-aged caucasian male that had recently died of drowning. You wouldn't have thought it would be this difficult in a large city with a fair-sized river, but it had been weeks now. Then the call came.

He was perfect. The police and the coroner had done all the 'due diligence'. Unmarried, no record of a family, no dependants, not on anybody's watch lists, no large amounts of money owed or due. A vagrant Welshman, James O'Rourke('Shams' in the local dialect). Looking at him now in the medical examiner's cold room, this poor man had wasted his life. But he would be reborn.

While a tailor made his suit, a whole government department worked on his wallet. His papers had to look real, but worn. A photo of his non-existent wife and daughter had to look awkwardly posed, and the daughter had to look the part. There were a couple of tickets to a (real!) West End show. But most effort went into the unposted letter that he never wrote to his non-existent family in their non-existent home.

The letter needed to be re-written a number of times. There had to be hints of rumours, disguised with a clumsy code -- something that would be enough to arouse curiosity but not suspicion. The spelling and grammar had to be literate, but short of perfect. The letter had to be written in pencil, as though hurriedly jotted in a cramped cabin, but a kind of pencil that would not be washed away after prolonged exposure to seawater. Similarly, the paper had to be resilient enough to resist a good soaking. There were many tests carried out.

Bill Worthing, the chief counterfeiter, gave a wry smile. "Well, mate, you are now Lieutenant Arnold Pilkington of the Royal Navy," he mumbled under his breath, "but 'Shams' is a better name for what you're about to do. Good luck."

Deadline day finally came. Shams looked every inch the naval Lieutenant. The top brass were here. Captain Harrison and a small group of men stood awkwardly around the corpse, steam issuing from their mouths and noses in the sub-zero air. The Captain reached for the inside pocket of Shams' neat jacket, and examined the wallet carefully. "Like you know anything about forgery," thought Bill Worthing.

"Let's hope we've done enough." Harrison was a man of few words, and none of them were compliments. He saluted briskly, and was gone. After a decent interval one or two people laughed nervously, then everyone started talking about the work they'd just completed. The compliments came from the project leader, who knew what a great job his team had just completed..."But we'd better get out of here soon before we all freeze to death."

                                                     . . . . . . . . .

It was a quiet, moonless night off the coast of Portugal. The Meteorological Office had made some calculated guesses about winds and tides, but of course there were no guarantees when it came to the weather. On the deck of the sub, the inflatable containing Lieutenant Pilkington and the two SOE operatives was ready to launch.
The sub slid beneath the surface and the men started paddling towards the dim lights on the horizon. About a mile from shore they tipped Pilkington into the water, and paddled back the way they'd come. They had been told nothing -- for them, it was just another weird operation.

The great thing about chains of command is that you can pass any major problems upstairs. From the fisherman who discovered the body, to the local policeman, then the medical examiner, followed by the District Commissioner, to the local Oberleutnant, and on up to Berlin, the contents of that wallet were examined minutely. There were high-level meetings. Based on the merest hints "deciphered" in the letter, decisions were made to switch regiments further up the coastline.

Erwin Rommel was not happy. The great General had been called up to northern France to oversee coastal defences against the forthcoming Allied invasion. All he could see with this decision was problems, not solutions. Recently, all military decisions were subject to political interference, and this was merely the most recent example. It had all been different in the beginning...

When the Allied invasion came, the Normandy beaches were less well defended than they should have been. 'Arnold Pilkington' played a part in the torrent of disinformation presented by the Allies. So a Welshman with an Irish name helped the English espionage community hoodwink the Germans in Portugal. Ironically enough, this vagrant's post-mortem 'existence' would be worth more than most soldiers in the Allied landings. Here's to you, Shams - The Man Who Never Was.

Sinitrena

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The Music of Grace


The sound faded to a silent ring and then a mere echo and the smile on her face seemed to spread through the whole room. A breathless silence kept the audience in its grip for several seconds while she stood with her arms stretched far to the side, seemingly encompassing the whole world. The cameras stopped flashing for just this moment and then the chaos of cheering and applauding filled the hall.

As if a spell was broken, she finally moved more than just her eyes and let the microphone sink down from in front of her mouth. One step forward, another brilliant smile for all of them and each one individually and then she bowed, first just her head in silent acknowledgment, then her upper body in an elegant and deep curtsey. Again and again she bowed and curtseyed and threw kisses into the audience that just wouldn’t stop celebrating her beauty and melodious voice.

The cheers followed her backstage where the atmosphere was less wild but not less euphoric. A stagehand passed her a bottle of water, another put a robe around her in the air-conditioned halls too scantily-clad body, while yet another scrambled after her to pick up the high-heeled shoes she kicked off unceremoniously. She honored their services with her brilliant smile and their compliments with absent-minded nods, rushing towards her dressing room.

“Perfect! It was perfect, darling, just marvelous! There’s no-one better than you, Gracie!” she was greeted as soon as she opened the door.

“Don’t call me that, Mom,” she said with the whiniest voice she could produce and an impressive pout and then, allowing her brilliant smile to return, she added, “And I know that it was perfect, because I am perfect.”

“You are, darling, absolutely. And the comments on social media,” she said while looking down on her phone, “are already spectacular. You are a sensation, Gracie.”

“What else could I be? There’s no better singer, no one who has sold more albums, no one who filled larger stadiums, no one who could grip the audience like I can. Mom, you don’t doubt that, do you?”

“Of course not! You’re the absolute best!”

The usual compliments out of the way, Grace turned her attention to the make-up table and allowed the hairdresser she didn’t really notice anymore to remove the clips and clasps that held her hair in perfect position.

For a while only the sound of the people leaving the concert hall and her mother relaxing on a couch and scrolling through her phone reached her ears. After a while, it was interrupted by the voices of her head technician and her manager arguing in front of her door. They were still in the middle of their conversation when they knocked and then entered without acknowledgment.

“...serious problem. If they follow up on their threat -”

The manager interrupted him: “We can’t cancel the show because some stupid hacker’s claiming -”

“We can’t let her go on stage!” said the technician.

“Is there a problem?” Grace’s mother had gotten up and was facing the two man with a mixture of annoyance and fear on her face.

“Nothing serious, we can handle it,” the manager assured her right away.

“Good. Because that’s your job.” Grace looked hardly up from her fingers where the assistant cleaned the last remnants of nail polish away.

Her mother was not so easily satisfied. “What is the problem?”

“Well,” the technician said, “someone’s threatening to turn of the auto-tune software during the concert tomorrow.”

“Which is not a problem. We can just use playback. Nobody will notice.”

“Playback?” That got Grace’s attention. “What are you talking about? I’ve never used playback! And turning off auto-tune? I always told you that I don’t need it. I’m not some pop starlet who got famous on YouTube and who doesn’t know how to perform. And is forgotten after a year or two. I fill stadiums! I’m the best singer who ever lived! That’s what the magazines say about me. Whatever threat you think you got, there’s not a problem and there’s nothing to handle!” With these words, Grace flounced out of the room and towards her waiting limousine.

“Handle it!” She heard her mother say before the door clunked shut behind her. The words echoed through her head like the sound of her music echoed earlier through the concert hall. She was seething. There was nothing to handle.

*

Grace woke to the buzzing of the phone on her nightstand late in the afternoon. The sun, shining through a crack in the heavy curtains, tickled her nose and she slowly stretched and reached for the phone.

“U sick?” the messaged read.

She stared long and hard at it, trying to comprehend it. She rubbed the sleep out of the corners of her eyes and smoothed the satin bedsheets while her mind worked on waking up. After a moment, the phone buzzed again.

“Sore throat?”

Her answer was about as articulate as her thoughts right then: “?”

“Check the news.”

She did and found the usual stuff about her amazing voice and the concert yesterday that was a revelation to everyone who ever thought he knew what music really meant. She yawned. All this was so normal and so true and still her mother and manager insisted on this stupid auto-tune system. With a sigh, she put the thoughts away and scrolled through the rest of the articles about her.

... rumor that a case of influenza might stop her from performing tonight for the twelves night in a row at the...

Her fingers became white around the phone where she gripped it like a lifeline. She stared down on it for several minutes, angry tears welling up in her eyes.

I am the best. And still they talk behind my back. I am amazing. And still they need technology. I am perfect. And still...

Again, the buzzing pulled her back to the present.

“U there?”

Finally, she answered: “Ya”

“U performing?”

“Ya”

“Still want me to do it?”

She did not think long about it. The anger was fresh in her mind.

“K”

After that, her phone was silent and Grace fell back on her bed and put her arm around her tired and puffy eyes.

*

Dodging paparazzi and fans at the backstage door had become second nature in the last couple of years. From time to time she enjoyed the flurry of flashbulbs and arms grabbing for her, hands that just wanted to bask in her glory for a fraction of a second. She considered it her proper dues. She accepted the attention with a benign smile and an indulgent wave for people giving her what she deserved.

This evening, she just waved absent-mindedly at them as she passed through, her bodyguards pushing them aside without all that much regard to whether they stumbled. She rushed into her dressing room, paying little attention to anyone.

“...handle it?” Her mother’s shrill voice greeted her – even though the question wasn’t directed at her – as soon as she opened the door.

“Yeah, we paid him off. It’ll be fine.” said the manager.

Grace had no doubt that she paid better and the thought made her smile. Still, she was more nervous that day than she had been for years, when she floated onto stage to the cheers of her fans. It was not worry that turning off the auto-tune would ruin her voice or her career because she knew she was perfect, but the fear that the hacker she had hired might not go through with it, either because the money from her manager had an effect or because he actually couldn’t do what he had promised to do.

The beginning of the concert was as normal, just like she had planned it. The music soared from her throat and danced through the hall. One by one it caught its listeners in its spell, putting them into a trance of the purest bliss.

Grace herself was caught by her own kind of trance. The music filled her soul as it always did. Every movement of her body was perfect, every gesture, even every thought, guided by a power far stronger that everything else, transcending every barrier between herself and the audience, no matter how far below herself they all were.

She hardly heard herself in the orderly chaos that music had always been to her and when it was time to start the last song, she knew that she was right and her voice did not need any electronic enhancement. Even though she couldn’t hear the difference, she just assumed that the hacker had done his job.

But when the last note of the song faded into the last remnants of its echo, for once the silence that followed was not broken by frenetic cheers but by incredulous looks and nervous laughter. For a while, the audience held onto the hope that this was just a joke – a strange and unexplainable joke but a joke nonetheless. It died slowly as the seconds ticked by.

She waited for the applause to break the suspense as it always did, which then would allow her to bow deeply in acceptance of the well-deserved obeisance, gracefully and elegant, but it never came. Shrieks, hisses, cameras that did not capture her beauty but her utter failure, jeers and angry and confused laughter drove her from the stage.

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Two entries doth a competition make, but it would be nice to have a few more.  One more day!!!

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • AGS Baker
  • Rottwheelers
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
And that's a wrap, folks.  We've got three incredible entries to choose from:

jahnocli with Who Ya Gonna Fake?
Sinitrena with The Music of Grace
Mandle with Fake Invisible Entry

The voting categories are, as promised:

Best Character: A really genuine faker of the fakiest kind.
Best Fake: Which character was able to pull off the most audacious fraud?
Best Plot: The most suspense created as the fake is about to be uncovered.
Best Writing: Which writer can best fake grammar competence, spelling proficiency, and word-choice prowess?
The Fake Vote: This one is a bluffer's dream come true.  Is if for best overall, or fakest entry?  You be the judge!

Voting closes Tuesday December 11, but I won't get to wrapping everything up until the 12th in case you're planning on cutting it close.  Good luck to all participants and may the best writer win. :)