I. Introduction.

Fireland turns five years old on 31 October 2000 and although it is very excited and proud of itself for not being anaesthetized yet and is hoping someone will buy it some of the crap on its very own wishlist, its creator/puppetmaster, Joshua Allen, has long since abandoned the idea of nurturing it, teaching it tricks, letting it suckle at his breast, or even singing it quiet songs, late at night, under the covers. Those days are over, but Josh (that's me — not entirely sure why I'm writing this in the third person) would still like to celebrate the passing of time in a way that won't involve too much effort on his part.

II. Thus, The Blind Dialogue Competition.

The Blind Dialogue Competition is a contest that will begin at 12:01AM EST on 31 October 2000 and end ... at some point in the future only known to Josh! Here's how it works:

1. On 31 October 2000, return to this page. There will be a form you can fill out to submit your entry, or you can simply email it to a to-be-announced email address.

2. You will be submitting your name, email address, and some dialogue. This dialogue will begin with something said by Professor Elmer and then continue with something said by Madame 09. The topic of conversation will be Fireland and can continue for as long as you please. There are many, many more rules that can and should be read below.

3. The person who submits the last entry will win the prize, which is the Lego Ninja Fire Fortress, a $29.99 value and a toy — nay, a work of art! — that is serving as the model for Josh's new home.

4. The problem is, you do not know when the contest will end. Only Josh (me) knows this. It could be over five minutes after it starts, it could go on for years. But rest assured that Josh (I) has already decided when the expiration date is and will not change his mind about this unless he forgets or gets bored or is sad because no one has sent anything in.

5. Once the contest is over, the winner will be posted here, as well as every single entry, stitched together in chronological order to create one long stretch of dialogue (entries that break one or more of the official rules will naturally be set ablaze and not included) that everyone can enjoy, share with their loved ones, print out and give as stocking stuffers, or use as the script for amateur plays or films.

As you can see, although there will only be one prize-winner, everyone who participates will be rewarded with Art, which, though cheap, is always great.

III. Suggested Strategy for Winning.

Constantly send in entries that follow the official rules. All the time. Always.

IV. More About the Prize.

"Discover the many secrets of the red ninja's fortress. . . . . . where dangerous traps await the unwary! There's a trapdoor, a secret entrance, and special ropes and chains used to sneakily scale walls. The brain behind the fortress is a wise old ninja, who knows more secrets than he will reveal! Includes two red ninjas and precious treasure for them to protect."

V. Official Rules + Warnings.

1. Each entry must include the author's name, a valid email address, and a Dialogue Entry (DE).

2. Each DE must consist only of the speaker's name, followed by a colon, and his/her lines(s) of dialogue, followed by two line breaks and the next speaker's name, colon, and line(s) of dialogue. If desired, you can then return to the first speaker for a follow-up line, and then back to the second speaker, and on and on. Here is an example of a correctly formatted entry:


Professor Elmer: Fireland has really gone downhill this past year.

Madame 09: Agreed.


3. No quotation marks should appear around the lines of dialogue, unless the speaker is quoting something that someone else said, or something he or she read, or heard, or sensed telepathically.

4. Stage directions or mood indicators may appear after the colon, in square brackets. For example:


Professor Elmer: [holding head in hands] Fireland has really gone downhill this past year.

Madame 09: [through gritted teeth] Agreed.


5. The first speaker must be named "Professor Elmer" and the second speaker must be named "Madame 09." Your dialogue can be as long as you'd like, but it must start with a line from Professor Elmer and end with a line from Madame 09. This will ease the process of combining all the entries together.

6. The topic of conversation between these two characters must be Fireland.

7. The dialogue must be originally written by you, or plagiarized in such a way that Josh either a) doesn't recognize it as being plagiarized, or b) is amused by the use of plagiarism.

8. Any entry received before 12:01 AM EST on 31 October 2000 will be obliterated from existence, as will any entry received after the Unknown Expiration Date (UED).

9. The person who sends the last entry before the UED will be declared the winner. An email will be sent to all entrants at that time, letting you know that the contest is over, the winner is most likely not you, and you can now come here to read the completed dialogue.

10. Josh reserves the right to make edits to your entry, but will probably not unless the spelling is just god-awful.

11. You'll note that there is no rule restricting Josh from sending in an entry and then deciding to end the contest right then and there, so he gets that sweet, sweet Ninja Fire Fortress. But he wouldn't do something like that.

VI. So Remember.

Return here on 31 October to submit your entry. Feel free to get a head start on your rough draft and make it good because you will be judged, harshly, by your competitors. Remember: Enter early, enter often!

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