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dS snippet: 'Comma Crusader'

Title: Comma Crusader
Fandom, Character: due South, Benton Fraser, Ray Kowalski, and an OC
Rating: G
Length: 300 words
Disclaimers: Alliance/Atlantis owns the characters, concepts, and plot lines of due South. Unbeta'd, so all mistakes are mine.
Challenge: Written for the ds_snippets Snippet Tag Challenge, with the prompt "Chicago Manual of Style".

Benton sits slumped on Ray’s couch. They had just completed a grueling thirty-hour shift which included two shoot-outs, a roof-top chase, and an unfortunate encounter with an incontinent cat.

Ray is in a manic state, eyes glittering. “Bet you never got detention in your life, Benton-buddy,” he says.

Benton has to correct him.

At seven years of age, Benton experienced an ethical dilemma. It was his first day in a new school, and respect for one’s elders was the basis of common courtesy. But Mrs. Ellsworth had Billy writing, ‘I bought some meat, some salt, and some bullets at the store’ on the board 100 times. Surely as a teacher, an educator, she would want the most current information possible? That was, after all, the purpose of a traveling library.

“Excuse me, Mrs. Ellsworth? The twelfth edition of the Manual of Style suggests that omission of the ‘Oxford comma’ is a valid style choice if it does not cause confusion.”

The teacher stared at him. The entire schoolhouse hushed, except for the scratch of Billy’s chalk on the board. “Does it, Benton?” she asked.

Benton couldn’t read her expression, but he was certain of his facts. “Yes, ma’am, it does.”

“Detention tomorrow,” she announced and went back to teaching Carol her times tables.

The following day he brought the Twelfth Edition of the Manual of Style with him to school and tried to show it to Mrs. Ellsworth. She sighed. “Benton, if you ever have occasion to journey to Chicago, I’m sure its inhabitants will be grateful that you’ve taken the time to master their grammar. In the mean time, this is my school, and my rules apply.”

Ray collapses into helpless giggles, sputtering “Us grateful inhabitants of Chicago,” and “Comma Crusader,” into Benton’s shoulder until he falls asleep.


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC)
Absolutely perfect use of the prompt. <3
Apr. 3rd, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
Why thank you, exbex!
Apr. 3rd, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
I Support The Oxford Comma

Okay, that was hilarious and I don't even know the show, really. I particularly love how she seems to think the CMS is "How to Speak Chicagoese".

Grammar teacher gives you a gold star!
Apr. 3rd, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Nice bumper sticker. And thank you! Mom was a high school English teacher, so I come by it honestly. Although the more I write, the more I've come to view punctation as more art than science. Where do I want the reader to pause, why, and for how long?
Apr. 3rd, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
Re: art not science? Precisely! And ohmigod, Fraser *would* have been in style during the changeover. That scarred me for life.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
And what a dramatic shift it was! I can see it made an impression - perhaps I should include a warning for traumatic grammar triggers?
Apr. 4th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)
::giggling:: Nah. And 'in style'? I meant in school. My brain, she creaks of late...

Thanks so much, this was FUN.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
Ahahaha. Oh, Fraser, of course that's how he'd get detention. &hearts
Apr. 3rd, 2011 06:01 pm (UTC)
I may have *coughs* gotten in trouble for repeatedly correcting my teacher's grammar in pre-school.

Thanks, luzula!
Apr. 3rd, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
Hee. I remember my biology teacher in elementary school telling us that a Frangula alnus was a Fagus sylvatica, and obviously I corrected her. I don't think I got in trouble, though. *g*
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 3rd, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
*grins* There seems to be a number of grammar fangirls around here. Thanks aerye!
Apr. 3rd, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
Heee! ♥
My love for this is equal parts wee!Benton squee, appreciation of excellent prompt usage, and my own personal mad love for the serial comma. =)
Apr. 3rd, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)
Heh. Thanks, hazelwho! I didn't even know what that type of comma usage was called until this morning. But I can see I've been missing out!
Apr. 3rd, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
Poor wee Fraser, learning the harsh conflict between book knowledge and real life at such an early age!! Plus, Mrs Ellsworth with psychic information about his final doom - hee :) Absolutely the best thing? that italicised educator and all Fraser's indignation behind it :) No wonder Ray was giggling
Apr. 3rd, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks, gloriana! I'm so glad that the implications of 'a teacher, and educator' came through! I could hear it so clearly in my head, but I'm never sure if I'm conveying the character's voice to the reader.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
Awwww, poor wee Ben.
Apr. 3rd, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)
*grins* Thanks, hsavinien!
Apr. 4th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
Bwee! This was lovely!

Apr. 4th, 2011 03:44 am (UTC)
Thanks, mergatrude, I'm glad you enjoyed!
Apr. 4th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
This was adorable. Imaginative use of the prompt.
Apr. 4th, 2011 03:45 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading and commenting, thursdaynext_27!
Apr. 4th, 2011 08:05 am (UTC)

I am full of giggles, but also full of empathy :)
Apr. 4th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you, lamentables! I know JUST what you mean!
Apr. 4th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
The title already had me smiling! And the fic did not disappoint. I can see this incident so clearly!
Apr. 5th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
Thanks vienna_waits, I'm so glad you enjoyed! I can SO see Fraser getting in trouble in school this way.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )