ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
In hopes of attracting some new readers, I am participating in [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo, a fest devoted to light-hearted creativity. You can view my bingo card here. I'm filling the prompts from my poetic series and shared worlds, so they kind of blur the lines between original and fandom content. If you like my poetry, check out my Poetry Fishbowl project, because once a month you have a chance to give me prompts for the kind of poetry you want to read.

The following poem belongs to Schrodinger's Heroes, featuring the imaginary fandom of an apocryphal television show. It's science fiction about quantum physics and saving the world from alternate dimensions. It features a very mixed cast in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This project developed with input from multiple people, and it's open for everyone to play in. You can read more about the background, the characters, and a bunch of assorted content on the menu page.

Fandom: Original (Schrodinger's Heroes)
Prompt: Wearing pajamas all day
Medium: Poetry
Summary: Strange blobs of energy come through the portal. Somehow, our heroes never get around to changing into their day clothes.
Content Notes: I couldn't resist including some cotton candy references in this one.


The Cat's Pajamas


When the alarm went off,
Alex ran into the control room
wearing nothing but ice-blue satin pajamas.

Dawn was no more than a skein of pink
tangled along the eastern horizon,
but the Teferact was lit up with clouds of energy
like cotton candy fresh from the fair.
The air smelled of burnt sugar and ozone.

Kay skidded into the room,
her bare feet squeaking over the linoleum.
She wore a camo t-shirt and men's undershorts,
with her gun belt slung awkwardly over one shoulder.
"What's the major malfunction of the day?" she asked.

"It looks like some kind of energy incursion,"
Alex said, her fingers tapping away at a keyboard.
The alarm stopped. The computers whirred into action.
The screens began to fill with images,
graphs and spreadsheets and dense blocks of text.

Bailey arrived next, pajama pants snugged around his hips,
thick unbleached cotton pale against his milk-chocolate skin.
"Any hardware problems I should know about?"
he asked Alex, leaning over her shoulder.

"None so far, but the smell makes me suspicious,"
she said absently as she scribbled an equation on a napkin.
"Use the computer tablet," Bailey said, "that's why you got it."
"Sometimes I think better in pen," Alex muttered,
and moved to put the pen into the pocket of her pajamas.
Bailey intercepted it, slipped a pocket protector
into the breast pocket of her top, then put in the pen.

Ash padded in, her heather-gray nightshirt
hanging off a copper shoulder,
its dreamcatcher decal peeling at the edges.
"I smell ozone," she said.
"Please tell me the software is still intact."
"No discernible damage to software or hardware
at this time," Alex replied.

"Also I smell cotton candy," Ash grumbled
as she took a chair next to Alex,
"which reminds me of the fair,
which reminds me of powwows,
and now I want frybread
but noooooo, I have to save the world instead."

Alex remembered that Ash
was not a morning person.

Morgan, being an astronomer, was more or less
an any-hour-of-day-or-night person.
She showed up in a floral print wrap
that covered whatever she might or might not
have on underneath it.
"Why do we suddenly have an aurora
in our very weird backyard?" she asked.

"Aurora!" Alex yelped,
her hands scrabbling at another keyboard.
"Correlating data, come on, render image already ..."
The nearest screen flared, waveforms rippling to life
and then collapsing.
"No match," Alex declared.

Quinn sauntered in with a plate of pop-tarts,
his turquoise hair not yet gelled into spikes,
dressed in a purple babydoll top and a thong.
"Does anyone else feel like singing,
or is it just me?" he asked.

"I thought it was just me," said Ash.
She reached over and stole one of his pop-tarts.
"These are awful. I still want frybread."

"Well, Pat's still at home," said Quinn,
"so there is no frybread, no coffee,
and no PR support if we screw up
in some way that attracts television cameras."

Ash was humming something.
Alex leaned closer and recognized
one of the light-hearted songs sometimes played
for the little girls' powwow dances,
if she remembered correctly from Ash's video collection.

Quinn's fingers tapped on the desktop,
and Alex couldn't name the tune
but it was something light and quick,
altogether too cheerful to be expected
at not-quite-dawn in the morning.

Hadn't there been a similar occurrence
several months ago, involving an incursion
from one of the moral vectors?

"Bailey, dig through that closet over there,"
Alex said, waving a hand in the right direction,
"get the thing that looks like a curling iron,
and stick it out the nearest window."

Sure enough, when Bailey did so,
the little rod lit up pink and blue and yellow
and Alex's computer trilled happily.
"We have karma tribbles again?" Bailey said.

"The data sets match almost perfectly,"
Alex said, as the waveforms
danced across the screen.

"I got out of bed in the dark for this?"
Ash demanded.
"The sun's up now,"
Kay replied indifferently.
Ash glared at her.

"Anyway," said Alex,
"we can cancel the emergency.
According to my calculations,
these will do just what the others did:
find the most obnoxious person they can
and balance the positive-negative energy field."

"So we don't have to round them up,
we can just go back to bed
and let them do their thing?" Ash said.

"Those aren't little tribbles like before,"
Kay pointed out.
"They are the size of bears."

"In that case," Quinn said with a smirk,
"I think some wicked people
are about to have a very bad day."

Alex thought about
the local KKK chapter,
and the good ol' boys who
lobbied for voter suppression,
and the idiots who seemed to think
that a fence along the border was a fine idea.

Apparently everyone else
was thinking along similar lines,
because they all began to laugh at the same time.

Sometimes, the best way to save the world
was to know when to sit back
and watch.

Then Pat arrived,
wearing jeans and a polo shirt,
and he stood in the door of the control room
staring at the rest of them.
"Okay, I feel a little overdressed," he said.

Alex stretched luxuriously,
the pale blue satin of her pajama sleeves
sliding along the creamy skin of her arms.
"I think we've done enough work today,"
she said. "Does anyone else feel like getting dressed?
Because I really don't."

Everyone murmured agreement.
"Right, I'll just go change then,"
Pat said without hesitation.

Alex did go back to her bedroom for her slippers,
and by the time she reached the living room,
Bailey was setting out cereal, bowls, fruit, and milk.
Quinn had turned on the entertainment center
and now the Roadrunner sped across a technicolor desert.

Pat strolled into the living room,
now properly dressed in flannels,
dragging a spare pajama top by one sleeve,
on which Alex's cat Schrodinger snored serenely.

"I found him in my bedroom.
I swear, this cat can walk through walls,"
Pat said. "Ah well, any day when we can
save the world before breakfast
is definitely the cat's pajamas!"

Morgan threw a banana peel at Pat's head,
but Alex thought he had the right idea.

Quinn whistled along as the Roadrunner's nemesis
plummeted toward the bottom of a canyon.
"... and Coyote was squashed flatter than a grass mat,"
Ash quoted, bursting into giggles.

Alex snitched the controller from Quinn's lap.
"My turn," she said firmly,
and selected an episode of Beany & Cecil.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-09-02 09:31 pm (UTC)
catsittingstill: (Default)
From: [personal profile] catsittingstill
I love your characters.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-09-03 08:16 am (UTC)
lucidscreamer: Death of the Endless smiling and saying peachy keen! (Peachykeen!)
From: [personal profile] lucidscreamer
Here from Cotton Candy Bingo. You have succeeded in attracting this reader! :) I love your concept and characters in this 'verse, and will definitely be reading more.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2012-09-03 09:37 am (UTC)
lucidscreamer: Yul Brynner as Pharaoh Ramses (Default)
From: [personal profile] lucidscreamer
Oh, that's great, thanks! I can't wait to dive in and see what all you have.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-12-01 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Reader for a while, first-time commenter. I love this series - I stumbled across it via... I'm not even sure where... and now I'm hooked. This is the fic that makes me giggle every time I read it, though. Karma tribbles! XD

I'd love to read the original karma tribbles story. Utterly unrelated, I can imagine both Ash and Quinn having lovely singing voices, especially when shifting out of English and into their respective languages.

Is the 'everybody can play' aspect of this series really true? Not that I disbelieve you, just that I want to be absolutely sure before I write anything using someone else's characters. I have a fic idea or two brewing, and I don't want to go there unless I'm sure I won't be ticking anybody off.

Re: Welcome!

Date: 2012-12-01 10:38 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a Pringles can with the words 'you can't write just one' written across it (drabbles are like pringles)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I... am only now realizing just how rude my question about the veracity of the everybody-can-play aspect of this series actually was. My apologies, because good lord, I sounded like a jerk there.

I've gone poking through that menu post quite a lot recently. Much love, not to put too fine a point on things. :)

As for potential stories on this end, would you believe one of the characters involved in the fic I'm toying with is Quinn? I rather (maple leaf) him, to borrow a symbol substitution from you. XD The point of view might well end up being Bailey's; I'll have to see.

Re: Welcome!

Date: 2012-12-01 11:44 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a bright blue sky and fluffy clouds (Wisconsin summer: boundless friendly sky)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Ah whew! That was exactly my intent, as it happens. I wanted to be absolutely sure I wasn't inadvertently stepping over boundaries before I did anything. I'm told it's a Midwestern thing.

Oh, now I want to find a shirt that does something with I (cheese wedge) Wisconsin! Or maybe I (stand of cat tails) marsh country.

*giggling* Bailey would be noticing Quinn, in this particular instance. :D?

Re: Welcome!

Date: 2012-12-02 12:18 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: paratroopers walk across Carentan, with fire burning in the background (BoB - Carentan: dang mosquitos!)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I grew up on the Horicon Marsh. My bias is legendary. :) I didn't realize that about heart-shaped figures. Whoops! Crossed sprigs... hmm. I like this! The cheese wedge idea would probably be the easier to a) find or b) articulate to someone sketching or printing, though.

I have to admit, my first thought on hearing you'd been up to Madison for conventions is ooh, have you ever been to WisCon? If not, I think you might well approve, if journal and story content is anything to go by.

As for Bailey noticing Quinn, he might not be the only one Bailey notices in some way or other, though I have the... ahem clearest idea of things regarding those two.

Re: Welcome!

Date: 2012-12-02 05:05 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: a lilac tree in bloom (Wisconsin spring: lilac season)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I'm biased, but southeastern Wisconsin is some seriously lovely country, in my opinion. If you ever get the opportunity to see the marshes up here, take it. As for the ground itself - oh goodness yes, the deep black soil we have is wonderful stuff, especially when gardening, isn't it? I lived briefly in Colorado, and a handful of soil out there was like a handful of flour! *nodsnods* Yes, this whole area is glacier-created. I'm so used to it that sometimes I forget the rest of the country isn't the same way. :)

WisCon was... oh dear. :( I've only gone to two WisCons, this year's and last year's, and I never noticed anyone being hassled, whatever their affiliation or identity. I may well not have been aware of it, if it was happening. Ooh. That's concerning to hear. I'm sorry you had that experience. :(

Re: Welcome!

Date: 2012-12-02 09:01 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: an older house and surrounding autumn scenery (Wisconsin autumn: smells like fall)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
If it helps at all, for the two years I've gone to WisCon, there's been a party on Saturday night called the 'genderfloomp' dance party. I haven't gone to that one - not much of a dancer - but I get the idea that binaries aren't even on the map. I'm still boggling at the idea of anyone on the con com trying to bust up a registered party. Holy cow.

As for Wisconsin and Midwestern soil, so very true! Trying to break up sod isn't an easy task, but it's worth the results. We've got some seriously fertile ground, haven't we? I still can't get lavender to grow here, though. I think it likes the sandy Colorado soil; it flourished out there, and it's croaked every time I've tried it here, no matter the cultivar I've planted. Alas.

Wisconsin cheese! :) I (cheese wedge) it. I have a thing for really strong aged cheddar myself, no matter the color. Ditto Swiss. Aaaaand now I want a grilled cheese sandwich. Whoops. :P

Re: Welcome!

Date: 2012-12-02 03:21 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Comte sounds like a good ingredient in a seriously kicked-up mac-and-cheese. Two or three good cheeses melted into a bechamel, stir into slightly-under-al-dente pasta, top with breadcrumbs and a grated hard cheese, bake for .. 20-30 min?

Let's see... Quinn is the other one competent in the kitchen, no?

(actually goes back and *reads the poem*, having come into this in media res...)

LOL! Saturday morning cartoons! And bear-sized karma tribbles. BIG FUN.

a game of Hearts

Date: 2012-12-03 08:28 pm (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
If you want to see some more of the variations on
I ___
look at The Snowclone Database, and specifically at... well, whaddyaknow! When I went there just now to find the URL for this comment, the latest two posts were
Best regards,
Dr. Whom
Consulting Linguist, Grammarian, Orthoëpist, and Philological Busybody


Re: a game of Hearts

Date: 2012-12-04 03:21 am (UTC)
thnidu: X RATED Food Porn. The X is a crossed fork & knife (food porn)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Um? Sorry, I don't get it. If there's anything to get. Please?
Edited Date: 2012-12-04 03:23 am (UTC)

Re: a game of Hearts

Date: 2012-12-04 03:51 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Interesting. (Well, I *am* a language geek.) Whence "the cake is a lie"?

Re: a game of Hearts

Date: 2012-12-04 04:17 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Also those who construct universes by use of language: worldgeeks of the word!

Just followed the links. Oy.

The kale is a leek.

Re: a game of Hearts

Date: 2012-12-04 03:24 am (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
(bow) My pleasure, Ma'am.

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