Dispatches, metablogging

What is Dispatches?

This is one of those things I’ve thought I probably should write for a long time but never got to actually doing. Until now.

Dispatches, for those who don’t know, is a semi-regular feature on this site. It consists, essentially, of a few sentences that laments that our (fictional) reporter hasn’t been in touch in a while and then there’s the (fictional) report that he’s filed.

I’ve naively told myself for sometime that anyone who came across it would understand that this is what it was, but looking at it as an outsider I see how it’s not terribly obvious. If someone followed along from the beginning, they probably could have guessed because, well, the first two installments were about pretty blatantly fictional fare: unicorns and the lost city of Atlantis. They were also pretty bad, but that’s another matter entirely.

The reality is that in this medium people haven’t been, and can’t be expected to have been, following along from the beginning. The internet’s great for jumping in midstream, and that has created a far bit of confusion.

The height of that came in a letter I got recently, from a (real) lawyer regarding this story (which has been changed as a result of that letter). Confusing readers who stumble along is unfortunate but tolerable, the specter (even absent an explicit threat) of legal action is another thing entirely.

So, to explain Dispatches let’s start with Steve Finch, our reporter. Mr. Finch–who does not, to my knowledge, exist–is a 30-something newspaper hack or “beat reporter.” He’s an old hand who write clean straightforward stories that tend not to venture to far from the events and opinion relevant to the story. But he does have a passion for odd and unconventional stories that no one else is covering.

His existence is essentially to make it easier for me to write something about “wouldn’t it be cool if…” or “wouldn’t it be weird if…” for this site without having to present them as so many excessive hypothetical. The idea of animal racism, for example, was something that popped into my head one day. But I wanted to present the idea without taking explicit ownership of it; Dispatches allows me to do just that.

I hope that this will clear up any present or future confusion, and wasn’t too much of a bore to those who already understood. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Dispatches, fiction

Dispatches from the Field: Land Speed Record

Dispatches from the Field is our ongoing series of reports from our intrepid traveling reporter Steve Finch. This week, some insight on the most famously reclusive animals on the planet.

In the history of the world, there has only been one land mammal faster than the cheetah. What creature is so incredibly fast and nonchalant that it hasn’t made it’s amazing speed well known?

Unicorns have long scoffed at the frequent boasting of cheetahs and their adoring human fans. Papa Unicorn, who became their leader after the death of the great mother, made his disdain for cheetahs clear to this reporter by stating that their official comment on the situation was “no comment.” For these proud animals, that can only mean that they feel themselves above the cheetahs and the need to comment on such a story.

One unicorn, however, was both more forward and less dignified than Papa Unicorn, proudly boasting of his personal speed. Black Sheep, so-named because he is largely disliked and distrusted by the others, offered to give this reporter a ride. He promised that he would easily double the cheetah’s highest recorded speed of 70 miles an hour.

This reporter, having heard all too frequently from the group of Black Sheep’s questionable reputation, kindly declined. Black Sheep than galloped away, at a rate this reporter can only call “fast,” to display his disgust.

This reporter would clarify that Black Sheep’s attitude at this slight was uncommon. Though the unicorns are uniformly proud animals, they are also very polite. This reporter, for one, has never felt more slovenly than when in the presence of these noble and magical creatures.

Perhaps John the Unicorn said it best. When this reported pressed him about the speed record, he said only that the cheetahs could continue their boasting. The unicorns, for their part, will continue to avoid record of their speed because, he said, “We don’t go in for that type of thing.”

Until next time, this is Steve Finch signing off.