Random Name Game

Friday, December 17 2004

Here’s a new game. Use the random name generator to generate 5 names, then weave those five names into a story. Here’s a quickie:

Lawrence Coley made the mistake of braking too hard on the ice covered road, and promptly spun his rented Lincoln Towncar into the back end of Joseph Kearns’ Ford Explorer.

George Burden watched the scene from the restaurant window and chuckled as he took a sip of coffee while still chewing on his danish. The mingling of danish and coffee was satisfying to him and was something he did out of habit without giving much thought beyond his recognition that it was enjoyable.

Debra Rupert thought her partner was classless, and had given up telling him that his chewing and sipping was supremely disgusting long ago. She was the first to stand, and as she headed away from the table towards the door she threw a hand into George’s shoulder and said “Let’s go.”

George grabbed his coat and followed Debra out the door to the accident. He was a year away from retirement and preferred sorting out simple things like fender benders more than he did chasing down bad guys. Especially in the dead of winter. Debra had only been in the force for five years or so, and was always the first to act, which suited George well. He was done making big decisions and found himself thinking more about sipping Martinis by the pool in Cocoa Beach, getting out of Jersey for good. He’d play canasta, or whatever it is that retirees do.

Rose Stearns had been working at this restaurant for two years now and had gotten used to seeing George and Debra every morning. At first she was intimidated by the cops but had began to see them as friends. Though she was hardly a dangerous criminal, Rose and her boyfriend had been building up a nest egg selling pirated software at flea markets. They’d never been questioned about the legitimacy of their products before – their customers knew that a $10.00 copy of Windows wasn’t legit, so she felt less guilty about the deed. Her customers were just as guilty as she was.

Rose hadn’t seen the accident, and was concerned when she saw the officers leave without paying. But as she hurried to their table she saw why they’d left, and assumed they’d come back to pay when they were done. She decided to not clear their table and started to head over to another table to clear it. But she stopped sharp as she spotted something nearly on the edge of her vision. On the booth cushion sat an African Tree Frog, looking up at her with cold eyes. One eye slowly blinked as Rose got closer to look. As she got within a few inches of the frog, it stiffened up, paying a little more attention to it’s surroundings it seemed. Suddenly, before Rose could react, the frog opened its mouth to an impossible size and swallowed Rose whole.

I gave up. But the point is, the random name generator pulled out all sorts of stories when I read the random names. Maybe because they’re not real names I feel like I can get creative without the name being linked to something. Making up my own names for characters and writing about them is a bit excruciating because the name doesn’t seem to fit. Also, maybe five names is too many. Three or four seemed ok, but I was having trouble finishing things off with Rose, and making the entire thing a cohesive story. So she got eaten by a frog, which is interesting, but has nothing to do with the rest of the story.