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Sam the Profiteer September 12, 2010

Posted by laurenrobbins6 in writing.
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New York City Serenade

Image by joiseyshowaa via Flickr

This was something that I tried out a while ago. I love writing games, and this one was relatively simple to do. All you need is a dictionary and a pen and paper (or laptop as the case may be) and *POOF* your writer’s block is gone!

Disclaimer: Results may vary

The rules that I used are negotiable but once you make your own, you have to follow them to the letter:

Step 1: Obtain a dictionary…the bigger the better.

Step 2: Decide how many words you want to pick (I chose 16 as a nice, even number)

Step 3: Flip through the dictionary, stopping every so often and pointing to a random word (using words at the beginning, middle, and end of the alphabet. If you want, you can make a rule saying that every word you point to MUST be used…but sometimes this rule can be bent).

Step 4: Write down your words in the order that you found them.

Step 5: Stare at the words that you’ve written for as long as you need to in order to create a germ of an idea (no matter how weird)

Step 6: Create a story (with no editing allowed while writing it) with a beginning, middle, and end. Make sure that you use ALL the words.

When I did this, I didn’t have a particular number of words in mind but decided that I had all the tools to create a proper story when I reached 16. And these are the words I found:

Profiteer, Retch, Tariff, Misguide, Hail, Rapier, Dew, Sight, Tolerance, Diddle, Rappel, Convent, Furor, Rajah, Sought, and Vying. (This is also a very interesting way to learn new vocabulary).

And scrounging around in my pile of very messily post-it-labeled, beaten-up collection of spiral-bound notebooks, I finally dusted off the story that came out of these 16 words. I’ll give you the abridged and slightly edited version (I didn’t remember it, but it has a slightly sappy moral too):

Sam the Profiteer

Sam, the profiteer, lived in a grand mansion directly on the Southeast expressway to New York City. Misguided though he was, he was at least punctual, and came out every morning at 6 AM in his decadent white bathrobe and expensive leather loafers to visit his little booth, which automatically collected the tariff from all the vehicles that passed by. Sam considered himself to have a pleasant and, despite the noise of the expressway, a quiet life and had planned to retire to a nice beach house in the Caribbean with his butler and 29 other servants. Sam had no doubt in his mind that he was going to be a bachelor, until that fateful Wednesday morning when he met a woman who would change his life forever.

On Wednesday morning, exactly at 6 AM, Sam opened his door to the week sunshine and exhaust fumes, and started his descent towards the Southeast expressway to collect his daily stipend. His loafers squeaked on the newly polished pavement, and his white, luxurious bathrobe gleamed in the sun. [blah, blah, blah and more description]

Suddenly, he caught sight of an exotically dressed girl repelling herself down from the top of a Wonderbread truck. She jumped down neatly when the truck stopped at the tollbooth and proceeded to make her way into Sam’s front yard.

“Hey, get off my lawn!” Sam yelled. He had no tolerance for trespassers. To his chagrin, the girl ran towards him.

“Oh kind man,” the girl said, her voice trembling on the verge of tears, “please hide me from my cruel fiance. I have come to America to start a new life!” The girl looked up at Sam with large, tragic-looking eyes and managed to have what sunlight there was glint off of her long, shiny hair. Sam was struck by her beauty.

“Without paying?” He retched.

“You heartless pig!” The girl spat. “Have you no heart?” She burst into sobs. Sam felt a new magnanimity in his heart for this poor fugitive and decided to help her after all. [blah, blah, blah] And he fell instantly in love with her. This blind devotion was long forgotten the next day, however, when Sam walked down his path at his usual hour and saw who the beautiful girl’s fiance was. 

Coming slowly but steadily out of the hazy horizon came the most stately train that Sam had ever seen in all of his profiteering days. It was colorful and decked out in gold and silver. The tusks of the elephants were encrusted with diamonds and rubies, though how they managed to get an elephant over here in an ocean liner was beyond his comprehension.

Sam hailed the majestic train coming down the Southeast expressway. His first impulse was to turn over the girl and milk this rajah for all he was worth.

“Hey, over here. I think I’ve got your fiancée.”

At that, the rajah, covered with rubies and fine silks, held up his decorated hand and the train and all of the people, who barely fit onto Sam’s manicured lawn, pulled over, ignoring the obscene shouts and honking of the cars whizzing past them. At the same time, the rajah’s fiancée came running out of the house, followed by Sam’s butler and his 29 other servants.

“How dare you!” She stormed. “I thought you loved me. I shall never marry you now!”

“My darling future wife, come back to the palace and stop this foolishness,” the rajah pleaded.

“Never. I shall stay here and marry him!” the girl grabbed Sam’s arm possessively.

Sam turned to the rajah. “How much will I get if I hand this girl over?”

“Whatever your heart desires. You will receive enough to retire to a palace filled with riches beyond your wildest dreams.”

“Richer than you?”

“Well, of course not, naturally,” the rajah stammered, “but I see that you are already something of a prince yourself.”

“Don’t listen to him!” the girl said, “He will give you nothing. His plan is to kill me and inherit the richest kingdom in the world. He is blinded by greed, like you are.”

“Like I am?” Sam echoed feebly. Despite his millions, grand estate, and 29 servants, no one had ever told him that he was greedy.

“If you’re going to kill her, I won’t give her to you,” Sam challenged the rajah.

“Are you vying for her hand, then?” the rajah laughed. He jumped nimbly off his elephant, as much as jumping off an elephant can ever be called nimble, and handed his colorfully decorated coat to one of his many servants. […] Of course, Sam wasn’t planning on dying. He had a year of wrestling under his belt, and did not consider himself half bad.

“Okay, you’re on,” he said to the rajah and handed his bathrobe to his butler.

“Here is your rapier,” the rajah said as one of his servants handed Sam something that he had only seen in museums. While the rajah held his own jewel-encrusted sword at the ready, Sam caught sight of another knife in his sash, glinting in the sunlight. “Ready?” [details of sword fight].

Finally, the rajah’s sharp rapier reached Sam’s hand and Sam’s sword fell into the dew of his manicured lawn […].

“Please,” Sam pleaded while the rajah’s sword inched closer to his neck. “I–“

Before Sam could say more, the rajah fell senseless beside his sword. The butler was standing over him, holding a glass vase. Everyone fell silent and Sam let out a sigh of relief.

“That’s what he gets for diddling!” Sam said. One of Sam’s 29 servants had called the police and the rajah was taken away in a police squad car, followed by the hundreds of people and elephants, and later deported. The princess, despite Sam’s protest, decided that she would choose to give up her title and join a convent [or, in a more feminist ending, become the CEO of a very successful business].

Sam, being a changed man, decided to give away his house and retire early to that little beach house on the Caribbean. He finally took the long-since-paid-off toll off of the Southeast Expressway forever.

The End.




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