Short Stories · Writing Process

Playlist Prompt 1

((There’s a writing exercise of my own invention that I enjoy on occasion: I put my entire music library on shuffle mode, regardless of genre, and try to tell a coherent oneshot story using each song to determine what happens next. I never know if it will end up literary or young adult until I get started, nor do I have any plot planned.

This is particularly difficult because I don’t collect music I like to listen to – I collect music that suits specific stories of mine, so they are… inconsistent all together. Regardless, I have to take mood, lyrics, and or imagery in mind. It’s been a while since the last time I’ve done this, but I’m having trouble sleeping, so why not?

Written on my phone; please note this is more for fun improv than actual quality.))

Transistor OST – “Gateless”
She tried to offer three grand for it. She waved the check in my face, as if the number written on it would distract me from her other hand.

“Woah, there.” I snatch my hand away, folding my fingers around the microchip. “Are you kidding me right now?”

Hamilton OST – “My Shot”
Her eyelashes glimmer in the neon light as she blinks, dumbfounded. Her lipstick’s a good color on her. It really accentuates the twist of her mouth when she sneers. “This is more money than a brat like you could ever hope to hold,” she says, thrusting the check into my face again. “You should be grateful to me for-”

“I don’t think you get it, Mrs. Lastell,” I say, tossing my voice up at her name. She tries to shut me up with a look.I grin. “You don’t really think I went through all that trouble for a measly 3G? Hell, the phone I had to hack was on a 10G system. Why not match the value?”

Momoiro Clover Z – “MOON PRIDE”
Mrs. Lastell is a wealthy, wealthy woman. You can tell because when I jacked up the price, she went red instead of white. Poor folk are scared when they lose money. Rich folk get mad.

“Alright, alright, don’t blow up,” I sigh, lifting my hands in universal surrender, chip peeking between two fingers. I snap back the chip with a flourish, and then I hold out my fist, rolling my eyes.

She’s still furious, temper simmering beneath her skin, but she tries to hide it. Thinks herself too classy to lose her composure – yeah, real classy lady, meeting her hired vigilante in the double-N of the city.

Oh right. But what kind of vigilante would I be if I just let smug folk like her pay me off?

As she holds out her palm for the microchip, I uncurl my fingers – she gets a fat load of nothing. Oldest sleight of hand in the book. And while she’s stunned I snatch the check and hoist myself onto the fire escape.

“I’ll be taking this, you cheapskate,” I say, pocketing the check. And then I hold up the chip, balanced on a fingertip. “And I’ll be taking a look at this,” I add, and then place it on my tongue.

“No!” she gasps, and my eyes alight as my scanner whirs to life.

Bastille – “Of the Night”
It’s never like a watching a movie or having a flashback. It’s more like knowing nothing, and then suddenly always having known it all along.

And suddenly I knew way too much.

“What the hell?” I stagger. My shoulder hits hard against the brick of the building. My feet clang against the metal steps.

There’s a pulsing in my ears. My teeth ring with a memory that isn’t mine. “I thought this was just inheritance drama,” I snarl as a song throbs in my head. “So what’s with the aural drugs? Dipping into the black market?”

Moana OST – “Where You Are”
A high-pitched whine pierces through the air, above the distant murmur of nightlife. I don’t miss the sharp glow of her handgun.

“Stay right where you are,” she says, like I’m stupid. Like I’ll really stand, right here, in her line of fire. Pressing the microchip to the roof of my mouth so I don’t swallow it, I give her a small nod and then bolt. There’s a hissing crack as her shot hits the metal railing. She misses me.

“Defective robots should just do as they’re told!” she shouts after me. Guess she doesn’t care about being caught anymore.

Parov Stelar – “Libella Swing”
Her shots trail up behind me as I rush up the fire escape. I can hear her frustrated growl all the way from up here. I give in to the breathless grin spreading across my face.

This was big. This was bigger than big.

Hermia Lastell, daughter to a corporate kingdom, married to the upcoming governor – trading aural drugs? With a scandal like this, who needs her check – I could sell it to the press for far more, or hell, why the press? There were way more people, fish down deeper, who would pay way more. My reputation as an information broker was still intact. I could–

Except I can’t. Right… I wasn’t going to do that anymore.

As I race across the rooftops, the humor drains out of me, flushed out with memories I don’t want. Memories of an encounter. Memories of a failure.

Of Monsters and Men – “Human”
Once I run far enough, on the outskirts of the Neon Nightlife, there are old houses with sloped rooves. I leap, skidding down the tiles to land back on the ground. My feet sting from impact. My knees whir as it absorbs the force. I don’t feel that.

I toy with the microchip in my mouth, trying to think. So I can’t sell this info, juicy as it is, even though I can practically taste the data in my mouth. Can’t get the check money through legal means, so I’d have to wait for my sources to process it. But that would mean that this whole affair was for nothing.

Heck no, I didn’t deal with getting called a robot again for absolutely zero gain.

The Chainsmokers – “Something Just Like This”
I’m sick of this. I crack the microchip between my teeth and spit out the shards. It’s empty anyway  all the data’s in my skull now. But what good does that do – it might as well not exist, since I can’t do anything with it.

And it’s all his fault.

‘If you don’t stop baiting, you’ll regret it.’

Shut up.

‘I don’t want to see you dragged in too deep.’

That’s the nature of a cybernetically enhanced brain. There’s nothing good about it. You remember everything, every little detail, like a computer. And, like a human, you don’t get to choose what to forget. If I could, I would forget that stupid promise in a heartbeat. I would delete every scrap of data he’s infected in my head. But, maybe, there would be nothing left.

Sia – “My Love”
“Well screw you too.” I kick a trashcan lid into the street, and it does nothing to soothe me. Frustration crackles like static through my blood. Forget him. Forget what he would think and just profit. It’s high risk, sure, but it’s high reward, and I’ve never gotten caught before.

But it was a near thing, once. And he’s the only reason I got out unscathed.

Andra Day – “Burn (Hamilton Mixtape)”
Always butting in where he doesn’t belong, always so self-righteous, so sure of himself. And I didn’t get out when he was alive, and eventually he stopped butting in. I rowed out to the deep and he waded in the shallows, and look how that turned out.

Look who’s left alive.

((I’m getting tired, so I guess this cuts off here. Oh well;; ))

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