Greetings and welcome to what I hope is a relatively brief installment in the ongoing saga of "what
sort of insanity is running around inside Crash's brain today"?  In other words, I'm going to rattle
on for a few paragraphs about how this story came into existence.  

Starburst Challenge 60 showed up at a very opportune time.  I had finally managed to deal with
some family-related emotional baggage that had been doing an exceptional job of sabotaging my
creativity (on the rare occasion when I actually sat down to write), and I had also begun to very
deliberately reserve more time for writing and for thinking up stories.  (The latter part is the huge
time hog.)  Unfortunately, most of what I had been working on during the first few months of
2012 were very old, very stale stories.  This does not mean that they are not worth finishing, or
that I intend to give up on them.  But stale stories are difficult to get moving again, and they are
arguably the worst material to work on if you are attempting to get your creative juices flowing
after a long sabbatical from writing.  

So I was delighted when vinegardog posted this challenge.  The Youses Muses Gang perked right
up and got excited about the topic.  If I were a maple tree, then the sap began to run like
springtime in Vermont.  (Which may be a more apt metaphor than I care to admit.)

Then I hit my first obstacle.  I could not envision any of the characters flat out lying without a fair
amount of build-up and backstory to it.  Yes, our beloved characters are flawed and they lie, but
there is usually a reason why they choose to do it, which means getting the justification onto the
page.  There is nothing wrong with that, but I have more than twenty old stories sitting idly in the
writing queue, one of which is a behemoth, and I did not want this story to turn into something
novel length (or longer).  But that is part of what I like about challenges.  The

I grabbed the challenge topic in both hands and begin twisting it the way you scramble a rubik's
cube, changing the patterns, rearranging the colors, looking at the design in new ways.  Within a
few minutes, I had the solution.  (No, I'm not going to explain the solution.  That would ruin the
story.  You will see for yourself when you read it.)  All that remained was to figure out who and
why.  That's the easy part.  

The only other dilemma I ran into was choosing what voice I wanted to use.  This is the third story
where I have chosen to write in Second Person.  It was not an easy decision.  I began with the
more standard Third Person, changed it to Second, began to change back to Third, and finally
settled on Second.  It takes a special kind of story, one where I want to bring the reader right
inside a character's mind, for me to choose Second Person.  It is an unusual voice and perspective,
which places at least some level of burden on the reader.  I never do that casually or just for the
sake of using 2nd Person.  There is a risk that it will distract the reader from the storytelling.  In
this particular instance, I think it is the right answer.  

The punchline to all of this is that I had just gotten the first draft committed to paper (okay,
stored on the computer) when the Youses Muses Gang, in a display of their frequently warped
sense of humor, finally came up with a story of some outright, blatant lying.  The result of that
second effort is Malefactor ... which means that it is time for another wingnut.  

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Make Believe