fiction files

Do you, too, wish running away and living in a museum for a while was still a thing you could do? (Do you, like me, wonder what the heck Chock Full o’Nuts was? And why coffee needed to be full o’Nuts?)

Smithsonian magazine just put out a lovely piece exploring E.L. Konigsburg’s children’s classic, which turns 50 this year. They talked to Konigsburg’s children, Laurie (the model for Claudia) and Paul:

“Mom took art lessons in [the city] on Saturdays, so she would drop all three of us kids off at the Metropolitan,” says Paul. “I was the oldest, so I was in charge, and I had three rules: One, we had to see the mummy. Two, we had to see the knights in armor. And three, I didn’t care what we saw. Mom would meet up with us in the museum, take us to study Impressionist or Modern art. It always made me want to puke, but we did it every weekend for over a year.”

The whole piece is here. Now, who’s for nouilles et fromage en casserole?

– Petra

X Files Fic Write-In

Working on a casefile? Fleshing out a drabble? In a writing slump? Join us for a Fic Write-In/Chat on Friday, June 16th @ 8 PM Central

Inspired by the various iterations of chats and challenges hosted by @campaignofmisinformation, @startwreck, and @kateyes224, we’ll be spending the better part of three hours writing fic, talking fic, and generally having a grand old time. 

Push yourself during word wars and timed sprints! 
Ask for and provide prompts, feedback, and direction!
Talk about your favourite tropes and headcanons!

The rules are similar to the rewatch chat: 
  • The chat is open to everyone who wants to write! Even if you’ve never written so much as a drabble before. There’s no pressure to share anything you’re working on.
  • Let’s keep things civil - no discourse, no drama, no ship wars. Leave it at the door. 
  • The chat will prompt you for your name - use yourname_yourtumblrname so everyone knows what to call you, and how to follow you if they so choose!
  • Encourage your fellow writers, and be kind! This is not the time or place for intense literary critique. 

Watch this space for a chat link closer to the 16th! Come write with us!


She has the foresight to set up call forwarding so she doesn’t miss out on the cases that get called in directly to his home number. For her trouble, she’s rewarded by her phone ringing at 6:00 on Monday morning.


“Er… hello, I’m looking for Agent Mulder?”

“He’s on a leave of absence.” She’s glad she thought to practice that one; she almost manages to get it out without her voice cracking. “This is his partner, Dana Scully. What can I help you with?”

“This is Agent Marley Sampson at the Salt Lake City field office. Local authorities up in Burley, Idaho just called in a murder, and it sounds like a pretty weird one.”

Okay. Nothing like jumping in with both feet. She can do this.

“All right, Agent Sampson. What can you tell me about it?”

“You’re… you’re Agent Mulder’s partner, you say? Do you mind giving me your badge number?”

She stifles a yawn and tries not to be offended. It’s reasonable protocol; the Bureau isn’t exactly thrilled about sharing case information with civilians. Still, she might need to do something about the fact that Mulder’s name is the only one that comes up in the directory when agents need to contact the X-Files.

“It’s JTTO331613. Do you mind giving me yours, Agent Sampson?” she asks, purely on principle. He’s the one giving her information, after all, but it’s worth making the point that she doesn’t know who he is, either.

“Uh, sure. Let me just…” She can hear him typing over the phone, no doubt verifying that her badge number matches the name she has given him. “Right, thanks for your cooperation, Agent Scully. My badge number is JTTO347922.”

She grabs the notepad and paper from her bedside table and jots it down. “Thank you. Now, you were saying?”

“Older couple, murdered in their home, no sign of forced entry. Actually, the husband was killed on the front porch, real violent. Sheriff’s deputies couldn’t find an obvious weapon, said it looked like the man had been attacked by an animal. Lots of bite wounds.”

But if they thought it was really an animal, they wouldn’t be calling you, Mulder’s voice in her head chimes in.

She frowns. I know that, Mulder. I’ve got this.

“But it didn’t entirely look like an animal attack, either?”

“That’s the thing. Usually with something like a wolf or a mountain lion, you would expect to see a lot more destruction inside the house, where the wife was attacked. Also things like tracks, scat, fur and the like. There wasn’t any of that.”

“So no obvious weapon, but very violent deaths. Inconclusive evidence for either a human- or animal-perpetrated attack.”

“Exactly. The local LEOs are stumped, but the way it sounds… Well, I’m just not sure we’ll have any more luck than they’ve had. I figured Agent Mulder might have the sort of expertise needed for this case. But if he’s on leave, I guess we can–”

“I’ll get a flight out this morning,” she interrupts. “If you would email me copies of the crime scene photographs and any other information you have about the case, I would appreciate it.”

“Sure thing. I’ll have the Sheriff’s office pass that along directly.”

“Thank you. You can reach me on my cell number if there are any developments.” Thank goodness for electronic directories.

“Will do. Thanks for your help, Agent Scully.”

“You’re welcome, Agent Sampson.”

She hangs up the phone and rubs her eyes. She didn’t sleep very well, and her alarm’s not even supposed to go off for another half hour, so she is in for a challenging day. Ultimately, though, it’s good they have a case right away; at least she and Agent Doggett won’t spend their first day working together just sitting awkwardly around the office.

You’re gonna treat him to a slide show at least, right? her mental Mulder proxy offers.

Scully grimaces. Shut up, Mulder. It’s a complicated thing, being hurt and angry with him for keeping his illness from her, while also missing him so badly that it’s hard to breathe sometimes.

But yes. As soon as the email with the crime scene photos comes through, she will forward it to the imaging lab and call in a request to have the photos converted to slides. It would feel wrong not to.

With a groan, she gets up out of bed. These travel arrangements won’t make themselves.

Clean Room

Written for the dialogue-only challenge @xfficchallenges, Rated PG-ish, post-terrible-bridge-cliffhanger.

“How long do I have to stay locked up in here like an animal, Scully?”

“Until we’re sure the treatments have worked.”

“I see. Is it completely necessary for me to be naked?”

“No, but I requested it.”

“OK, doc, but seriously, this is humiliating. Doggett was in here earlier, and his expression was all business when he talked to me, but I think he was making faces at Reyes and laughing whenever he turned his back to me. I saw her face; she was suppressing a smile.”

“Maybe she was happy to see you. Anyway, it’s not for much longer, Mulder, and besides, you’re not really naked.”

“This gown doesn’t have an ass on it. That’s closer to naked than I’d like to be.”

“It’s sterile. You can’t risk getting infected while you’re recovering, while we’re making sure we got it right this time. I’ve seen others die who tried to join the general population too soon.”

“I’m not sick anymore, Scully. Would you like to see me do some jumping jacks? I can do a million of them. There’s nothing to do in here. How about push-ups? Look at these guns.”

“I’d love to see you do some push-ups, Mulder. You’re wearing a gown with no ass. Drop and give me twenty.”

“Watch out, or I will. C’mon. I want to be free; I need to be free.”

“It’s not much freer out here, really. We’re deep underground in a bunker. All the rooms are as bleak as this one. They all look the same.”

“The other rooms have you in them, a version of you not on the other side of a pane of glass. A version of you I might get to see naked.”

“Not until you’re cleared.”

“Then do me one favor.”

“I’m still not taking my shirt off for you, Mulder. There are cameras in here.”

“Hmph. And you don’t worry about the fact that there are cameras? I mean about who’s watching these cameras?”

“Your doctors, Mulder. That’s who’s watching. Not everything is some big conspiracy.”

“You’ve got to be joking. We’re in a bunker. I’m recovering from something that most definitely qualifies as a conspiracy. All that’s left of the world is conspiracies. One after another after another. You and me and conspiracy.”

“Three of your favorite things.”

“And all I’m asking is to see two of my other favorite things. I need something to picture later tonight, when they turn the lights off.”

“What makes you think they don’t have night vision cameras in the bunker?”

“Well, if they do, they deserve to see what a lonely man does when he’s locked in a cage with nothing to do.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Mulder.”

The three of them are crowded around the computer. Mulder is flanked by his wife and son. He hits play on the video of the UFO for what seems like the thousandth time.

“It could be aliens or our own government, but it’s definitely some kind of craft. Listen to the sound it’s making.”

When Will looks at his mom, she rolls her eyes, and it makes him smile.

“I dunno, Dad. I think Mom might be right on this one. I’m no expert or anything, but it could be a missile.”

Scully smirks and pats her son’s shoulder.

“I’m going to make lunch. Who wants a sandwich?” She is gone before they have a chance to answer.

“It’s totally aliens, isn’t it? I just know it is,” Will blurts out, once he is sure she is gone.

“That’s what I’m talking about. You really had me going there for a minute.”

“I just like to see Mom happy,” he says.

“Me, too, Will. Me, too. Plus, now we get sandwiches.”