Monday, May 16, 2011

Story Notes: "Vote Early, Vote Often"

(This is about the flash story posted yesterday, "Vote Early, Vote Often." It includes spoilers. You may want to go back and read the story. It's short.)

This is another story I wrote in hopes of breaking in to Woman's World. Before they went to the current "you solve it" type puzzles, they used to print one 1000 word mystery every week. They liked things to be fluffy and upbeat, and the emphasis on the puzzle or problem. I never found a good place to submit some of the stories they rejected. Most mystery magazines want heavier irony, and other magazines wanted more drama.

Lily and Grace did not start with this story. They started with another story I have not finished, titled "The Perfect Hostess." In it, they are much less correct than they are here. They have to deal with an unwanted body, and since there is no one enforcing the rules, well, they don't follow them. But that story needs work. (And thanks to Elizabeth's comment yesterday, maybe even a little rethinking.)

But back to this story:

Lily and Grace are kind of fluffy, with their Chip and Dale sort of relationship, so even though they are more suited to getting into macabre trouble, it seemed like I ought to try a Woman's World story on them. The Florida recounts were going on right around this time, and so vote recount stories were on my mind. (I have a number of ironic ideas, but frankly the concept has just become less and less funny over time.)

This story is based on an old con game: One way to cheat an election is to stuff the ballot box, but that is risky because you don't know how many votes will be cast for each side, so you don't know how many to stuff. However, if you have a way to just fake the whole count -- replace all ballots with whatever results you want -- you must put at least one vote for the other side in the box, because anybody who voted for the other side will know it's a fake if their vote clearly isn't there. Several votes is a better idea, because then if people get together and talk they need to be able to believe both/all their votes were counted.

And that's where the villaness, Irene, was hoist by her own cleverness. She knew that the other ladies would abide by the rules and not discuss the vote, but that Lily and Grace might talk to each other, so she had to put in at least two votes for Lily.

But she also wanted to send a clear message to all that SHE was the one the other ladies preferred, hands down. Note that the lady who consoled Lily believed that all the other ladies had voted against her -- Irene has been cultivating that belief. She wanted to quash any competition, and make any ladies who voted against her feel alone and ashamed -- so she only put in the two.

That whole attitude was her downfall, really. When you force fake loyalty, you only HAVE fake loyalty, and so in the end, nobody had voted for her. So I guess you could say that this story, covertly, is about Irene.

In the meantime, I do have other election and politics ideas. The one that most interests me would be a Mick and Casey story.

I've read about how, during the settling of the west, towns would go to battle over who got to be the county seat. Supposedly, there were even times when one town would raid another and steal the public records so they could make the claim that they were already the seat of politics for the area.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find citations for these incidents, so I can't find more details on it. It just seems to me that this is exactly the sort of job Mick and Casey would be recruited to take part in -- either guarding or stealing the records. And since Mick and Casey are always in the process of inventing their ethical standards, this would be a great conundrum for them to figure out what side they should be on.

But for now I need to get on with the work-in-progress. I'll be back tomorrow with an update on that, and a posting schedule for the week.

No comments: