The Washington: A Storied Bar

Rules for Franchisees

The Washington is a story site in the grand tradition of the science fiction/fantasy bar story (e.g., Tales from Gavagan's Bar, Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Munden's Bar). It's also a shared universe--sort of.

You see, The Washington will have many different incarnations. The Washington--New Jersey is a slightly seedy neighborhood bar. The upcoming Washington--Boulder is a nonalcoholic bar that caters mostly to students and faculty at the University of Colorado, plus members of Boulder's burgeoning high-tech community.

"Franchise owners" set the rules for their bars, with a few exceptions, as detailed below:

  1. The name of the bar is The Washington, not Washington's or Washington. Don't refer to it as The Washington--[place], just The Washington.
  2. The owner and chief purveyor of the bar is a woman of indeterminate race named Nataly Washington, always spelled that way.
  3. Nataly must appear in every story. This appearance can be as brief as setting down a tray of glasses or as substantial as being a main character.
  4. Nataly will never reveal what her racial background is. If asked, she refers to herself as a "tiger," after Tiger Woods.
  5. Nataly will never reveal where she lives or anything about her private life except very generic details, if at all. If she's followed, she leads the follower on a wild goose chase and slips away at an opportune moment.
  6. Nataly can be someone's lover, but she will not reveal any details about herself to that person without my express permission. This includes background, place of residence, etc. She will, however, be happy to meet someone at a restaurant, hotel, house, etc.
  7. Every story must have something at least slightly fantastical or ambiguous about it.
  8. Characters cannot yet notice that the same woman is tending bar simultaneously in different places. This is a plot point that will be explored after there are a larger number of franchises and Washington stories.

I think that's it; if anything else crops up I'll add it and notify the franchisees.

Except for these hard-and-fast rules, franchisees are free to design their bars as they see fit. They are also free to accept or refuse submissions based on their rules. Writers who want to contribute to a particular franchise should contact the franchise owner directly about permission to use existing characters, if necessary.

All stories remain the property of their creators and will be duly copyrighted and credited to them. Realizing the copyright issues that may come up based on the story restrictions, I hereby grant everyone the nonexclusive right to use the character "Nataly Washington" and the name "The Washington" in stories published within Rational Magic. If you publish your story elsewhere, you must change the names or get my permission to use the names outside this website. For other questions about submitting material, see the Submissions page.

Editing: I reserve the right to lightly edit your story for clarity and adherence to franchise rules. If a potentially story-changing item needs fixing, I'll submit it to you and let you make the changes.

So You Want Your Own Franchise?

If you like the idea and want to contribute, email me with a description of your bar.

Questions? Comments?

Email me, of course!


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