Jenn/Me: At least the seed of a story.
benliblit: Ooo ooo ooo!
Jenn/Me: "Why would anyone murder a computerized crash test dummy?"
benliblit: Ow. I think you just crashed my brain.
Jenn/Me: Inspired by a TV commerical that had nothing to do with crash test dummies except they were part of the background.
Jenn/Me: But, what came into my mind was this:
benliblit: The first answer that came to my mind was that someone would do it as a sort of experiment, to test out a technique they were considering using on a human.
benliblit: But that's too easy.
Jenn/Me: They (the dummies) really liked that particular car because it kept them safe. What did they need to be kept safe from? I don't know. One of the engineers. An engineer wanted to kill one of them? Yes. They were afraid of him. He was going to murder one of them and they knew it. Why? Why would anyone murder a crash test dummy?
benliblit: Oh my.
benliblit: You're a nutter, you know that?
Jenn/Me: I didn't have that thought. I had the thought that it was to hide "THE TRUTH" from someone.
Jenn/Me: Yeah. I know. This is my life. These are the things I think about every single day.
benliblit: Heh. I think this reveals something amusing about your and my temperaments.
Jenn/Me: At the merc, I met two people with the most marvelous tattoos and my mind spun a story of tattoos dancing from that.
benliblit: The question is a kind of inkblot.
Jenn/Me: An inkblot?
benliblit: As in, Rorschach.
Jenn/Me: Yes. I know. But what does it tell you about me and about you?
benliblit: Well, my answer is very much a scientist's answer. Yours is rather more fantastical.
Jenn/Me: Yes. You think like an engineer - What? How? I think like a QA person - What if? Why?
benliblit: Also, my answer was specifically "to conduct an experiment". Very science'y.
Jenn/Me: Where my answer was more ambiguous.
benliblit: Your answer makes the dummies into central and sentient characters, whereas that didn't even occur to me.
Jenn/Me: Of course. That was the reason I used "computerized"
Jenn/Me: Infered AI sentience.
benliblit: I guess our two answers are not fundamentally incompatible ... "as an experiment while plotting a future human murder" could be the reason an engineer wanted to kill one of them.
Jenn/Me: Yes. Now my story could include that.
benliblit: Do the dummies know who?
benliblit: Do they try to find out, and warn the human?
Jenn/Me: IE: To kill one of the other engineers that the dummies like.
benliblit: Who would even listen to a crash test dummy paranoidly ranting that someone was trying to kill him?
benliblit: The perfect victim, in that sense. Nobody would believe the dummy.
Jenn/Me: No one. They are "killed" every day.
benliblit: Of course someone's trying to kill you, dummy. That's what you're for.
benliblit: "But, but ... !"
benliblit: So this is seen as some sort of glitch to be fixed ("cured"?).
Jenn/Me: So, what sorts of things would dummies do to protect themselves?
benliblit: Opening the way to all sorts of metaphors about the nature of mental illness, if you want to go that way with it.
benliblit: Heh. This is fun.
benliblit: Hmm. Make sure the airbags work, even in the experiments where they shouldn't?
Jenn/Me: Welcome to my mind.
Jenn/Me: No. Think outside the box.
Jenn/Me: You don't murder someone on camera like all tests are run.
benliblit: Hmm, I have a climactic scene in mind, but I almost don't want to tell you it because that feels like spoiling the ending.
Jenn/Me: You do it after hours when no one is there and you're 'working late.'
Jenn/Me: But a dummy can make sure he stays on camera. Or is hidden by other dummies.
benliblit: Ooh! I have a clue!
Jenn/Me: If you want to kill a computer...?
benliblit: Why that dummy? What that particular one?
Jenn/Me: Good question.
Jenn/Me: I have a thought - which is surprisingly mundane.
benliblit: Well if the dummy is indeed being used to practice a "real" (human) murder, then it's that dummy because that's the one that is best matched to the intended human victim by height, weight, build, whatever factors are important.
benliblit: That might help the dummies figure out who the eventual human victim would be.
Jenn/Me: A mystery. I was thinking more spec fic surreal.
Jenn/Me: But, having them figure out who he is trying to kill... That's interesting.
benliblit: Yeah, my ideas are going in more of a murder mystery / stop the killer just in time sort of direction.
benliblit: OK, I need to tell you my other scene idea. It's not giving away the ending because, well, there is no ending yet. Right? Right.
benliblit: The scene is the dummies finally getting rid of Mr. Bad Guy by strapping him into an '85 Yugo and sending him into a brick wall at 85 mph.
Jenn/Me: I think I'm going to focus on the engineer trying to kill the dummy but is overthinking the problem. He should have just done it the way you said - put the dummy in a test that does not include an airbag.
benliblit: Hmm, OK.
benliblit: Could be a revenge motive, if tests using that dummy demonstrated the badness of one of the engineer's earlier design ideas.
Jenn/Me: Oh, no. I know why.
Jenn/Me: Why the engineer is going after the dummy.
benliblit: Or, heck, unrequited love for all I know.
Jenn/Me: Tell me, do you talk to yourself when you are coding?
Jenn/Me: Or talk to your computer?
Jenn/Me: I know a lot of engineers who do.
benliblit: OK, sure.
Jenn/Me: Imagine a guy bitching about his co-worker to the dummy as he works late and tells the dummy he is going to kill his co-worker. But the dummy is computerized and records his voice.
benliblit: Ah hah.
Jenn/Me: Perhaps, he has already killed his co-worker who "tragically died" in an "accident"
benliblit: But why wouldn't this engineer know better? Would you still talk to your own computer if you knew its mike was on, and that others could access that recording?
Jenn/Me: And the dummy has the recorded confession. Tries to replay the confession but who listens to the dummy? The engineer distracts the cops at the right time.
Jenn/Me: That's just it... they aren't suppose to record.
Jenn/Me: That's the AI part of the story.
benliblit: OK, but if you keep my "send the engineer into a brick wall" scene, and if they make a movie out of this, make sure they include a bit where the dummies are sticking those little round crosshair-like decals on the engineer's forehead, cheeks, joints, etc.
benliblit: 'Cause that would just be freaky.
Jenn/Me: Now, you are the nutter.
Jenn/Me: Of course, now that I've told you the story, I don't have the urge to write it. That's the bad part of sharing a story with someone for me.
Jenn/Me: Once I've shared it, it doesn't need to be retold.
benliblit: What if I hit myself in the head with a coconut so I can't remember this conversation?
Jenn/Me: No worries hon. Maybe I'll revisit this idea during my Writing Year. I'll LJ it and save it in memories.
benliblit: Ulp. Now I just had a scary thought.
Jenn/Me: In a few months, just the idea of murdering a crash test dummy may spark something very different.
benliblit: You told me your story of murder most foul. The engineer told the dummy his story of murder most foul.
benliblit: Then the engineer realized he had to kill the dummy.
benliblit: I've got a bad feeling about this.
benliblit: /me backs away slowly.
Jenn/Me: Guess it's a really good thing you live far away so you don't need to be paranoid.
benliblit: Jet airplanes make 2,000 miles small comfort.
Jenn/Me: There's one difference - in the story it was a plot of murder most foul. In reality - it is a random thought in my head.
benliblit: Ah, so it's all make believe. Well, OK then. I feel better now.
Jenn/Me: And you think I'm the nutter.
benliblit: I said you're a nutter. Indefinite article. Doesn't suggest uniqueness.
benliblit: We're both a few poppy seeds short of a full load of bagels.
benliblit: It's part of our charm, doncha know.
Jenn/Me: Of course I know. It's why we get along. Speaking of which, it is late for me. I need to get along to bed.
benliblit: Good night, my friend. Watch out for revenge-minded dummies.
Jenn/Me: I shall. *hugs* Night-night.