Sunday January 22nd, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the audit.

Ended up working from 8 until 11:45 this morning to finish off the inventory (a couple of people from last night didn't show up this morning, so it took a little longer than expected).

Current status: done. Just... done.

Mine:

"Hey Marty? Could you come here for a second?"

"Sure thing."

"So, I s-"

"Okay, time's up!"

"Don't be so damned literal, Marty. You know what I meant."

"Of course I did. Gotta have a little fun now and then though, right?"

"I guess. Anyway, I'm just doing an audit on our inventory count from last week and I see you were the one doing the stationary supply closet."

"Yeah, that's right."

"And under red pens, here? You put 5A3TTU."

"Yup."

"Uh... okay, well... by my count, I got 92."

"Yeah, me too!"

"Um... okay, but that's not what you wrote down."

"Sure it is. I just did it in code, same as the rest."

"Right, sure. Um... what code?"

"Oh, I just made one up in my head. It got a tad boring after a while, had to keep it interesting."

"That's, uh, fair, I guess. Could you explain the code to me?"

"What would be the fun in that?"

Saturday January 21st, 2017

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about someone who is: skittish.

Managed to totally forget about my diabetes diagnosis anniversary (11 years today) until Facebook reminded me when I logged on just a few minutes ago.

I guess that's what happens when you work a 14 hour day, pretty much entirely on your feet.

I was at the bakery from 8 until 3:30, then I went to work helping out a store in town with their inventory from 4:30 until 11. It was fine (better than I expected, actually), but I still do not recommend doing that. Just remember: Marc makes bad life decisions. Do not do what Marc does.

We got a little over 80% of the store inventoried, so we'll be back at it tomorrow morning at 8 to finish it off. I expect it'll take a couple hours at most.

Which is good, seeing as I probably can't handle much more than that.

Also: will have to celebrate Diabetes Donut Day a day late.

Mine:

Every unexpected noise
Is like Death knocking on her door;
To be totally honest,
I'm not sure she can take much more...

Friday January 20th, 2017

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: chance.

Took the boys to StrongStart this morning while Kat saw a counselling client. Max was disappointed there wasn't more time to play, as we got there just before snack time and then the librarian showed up to read books to the kids. Miles did not care about that. He only cared when I insisted on taking toys out of his mouth.

Worked the 4-9 closing shift at the community centre this evening. Pretty quiet night, which allowed me to leave a touch early.

Hoping to get some extra sleep tonight, as tomorrow is promising to be a long day.

Mine:

There are certain moments in my life - such as this one, for example - that I pause to consider all of the things that happened in order for me to be in a particular place at a particular time. In this example, my phone rang while I was getting ready to leave my house, forcing me behind schedule by a few precious minutes. Which led to me being stopped in my car at a red light I would have otherwise never seen.

And then I'd have missed out on seeing the hunk in the red convertible who stopped next to me, which truly would have been a shame... though I'd happily have taken a pass on that if it meant not seeing his ex-wife smash into him from behind at full speed in a stolen monster truck.

Thursday January 19th, 2017

The exercise:

We're going back to the List Prompt today. So use each of the following words in your writing: sleepy, discard, animosity, squeamish.

For those that are curious, I used a random number generator to find pages in my dictionary, then read through the words on the chosen page until I found one I wanted to use. Kinda annoyed I got two so (relatively) close together, but that's randomness for you.

The weather has returned to normal here. We're above zero for at least the next few days, and the snow has begun to melt.

In *very much* related news, my hands feel much better.

Mine:

Gardenvale has often been referred to as a sleepy little hamlet and now that I'm standing here, in what passes for the town square, I can see why. It's two in the afternoon and the only people I see look like they've either just woken or are on their way to bed.

I'm also pretty sure I can hear a lullaby playing somewhere nearby. Probably the only song the local radio station allows on its airwaves.

My stomach growls - not for the first time - and I decide to find somewhere to pacify it. I try the first cafe I come to and find the door locked. Big surprise. The owner's probably taking a nap in the back. The same is true of the second and the third.

I can feel panic battling with hunger in my belly.

On a hunch I step into the alley between a coffee shop and a deli. It's dark and the stink is bad enough to make me feel squeamish. But maybe I can find an unlocked back door, convince someone to take my money for whatever they want to serve me.

I knew I should have packed a lunch before leaving the house. This is ridiculous.

Shoving aside my growing feelings of animosity toward this town and its residents, I knock on the deli's back door. No answer. I turn and try the coffee shop.

"Who is it?" a voice shouts from within.

"A hungry customer," I call back, annoyed to have this conversation through a door. "Can I pay you for some food? Please?"

I hate myself for that please.

"We're closed!"

"Come on, man! Don't you have anything? Hell, I'll take somebody's leftovers - I'm not picky!"

"That's gross, man."

"Better than eating scraps out of your dumpster!" I counter, trying to remain calm.

"We're closed," he repeats. "Why don't you go back to wherever you came from?"

Stalking back to the main thoroughfare, I decide that this is no sleepy hamlet. This is an obnoxious hole in the ground to be avoided at all costs. Just before returning to the sullenly empty sidewalk, I step on a discarded banana peel and take a tumble into a puddle of I-don't-want-to-know-what.

It's like this place just wanted to kick me in the ass on the way out the door.

Wednesday January 18th, 2017

The exercise:

It's time to bring back the Random Book prompt. So go grab a book from your collection and borrow its first line. After giving it credit, let your imagination take it from there.

I wanted to use this prompt to inspire me to start reading one of the two books my sister Nicky got me for Christmas. Turns out? They both have excellent openings, as far as this prompt is concerned. I had trouble choosing between them for today's writing... so there's a chance this prompt might come back around a little sooner than usual.

Ideally, though, that'll be after I read the one whose starter I'm making use of today.

Mine:

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

I am not as I once was. When I look at these photos, taken so long ago, I see someone else. Those are not my clothes, my things, my friends. That is not my face. It cannot be.

Where are the lines, the scars, the wear and tear of the passing years? Where is the pain? That is what is missing most clearly: the pain. How it transforms you, inside and out. How it changes... everything.

You must be thinking: we all get old, you are not special. This happens to us all, this lack of recognition as we flip through dusty albums filled with faded photographs. We are born, we grow old, and then we die. It is part of the human experience.

If that is so, if those thoughts are swirling behind your eyes, then I should probably tell you that you are mistaken. We are not the same, you and I. I was never meant to grow old. I was not meant to die.

Perhaps I was not meant to have been born at all. I'm sure my mother and father would tell you so...

Had they survived.

Tuesday January 17th, 2017

The exercise:

Write two haiku which take place on: the construction site.

Because our living room is always a construction site these days. Even Miles is starting to get in on the act.

Took a trip to the Model Railroad Museum with Nicky this morning and it was enjoyed by all. Mostly Max, but also Nicky as it was her first time there.

Nicky had to leave for the airport after lunch, which of course felt far too soon. These visits always go too fast.

Max had his second swimming lesson this afternoon and Kat told me he did great. Which was a relief after he started going on and on about how he didn't want to go this morning.

Because of course he did.

Mine:

He cusses with the
best of them, while silently
writing poetry

*     *     *

Dig it out, pour it
in, and over and over
and over again...

Monday January 16th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the next step.

I'm returning to the Wastelands for this one. In order to do that more easily, I needed to label all the related posts because apparently I hadn't already done that.

Had a good day with Nicky and my family. Spent the morning with Miles while Kat and Max were at StrongStart, then the afternoon with Max (featuring a rather spectacular session of soccer class).

She'll be stopping by again tomorrow morning before having to catch a mid-afternoon flight to Calgary from Penticton. We shall see what sort of madness we can cram into the three or four hours we'll have together.

Mine:

I'd had my doubts about the splint Master Francis had affixed to my left hand - two short pieces of wood tightly wrapped in three leather straps - but I have to admit it has done its job. The ache in my wrist is nearly gone now, and he says we should be able to remove it within a few days.

And then what? That had been the question he posed to me over dinner this evening.

"Sebastien tells me that Scout V42 has returned from your crash site with sufficient evidence - his words, not mine - that you were indeed brought down by the North Ridge Brigands. So I suppose revenge is one possible course of action for you."

"Hmm," I'd said without making eye contact. The food was simple but good, so I focused on that instead.

"Or you could continue on your journey to the west. Try to discover what your Captain Miranda had been seeking." Master Francis had been trying to avoid dipping the end of his long white beard in his soup, with mixed results. "Though, to be entirely honest, I have no idea what that might be and I have lived in this place for a very long time."

"Right," I'd said, stirring my soup with slow circles of my wooden spoon. That had originally been my plan but my time with Master Francis and his inventions had been a pleasant distraction and I wasn't sure that I was ready to leave them behind.

Besides, I still needed to win my money back from Sebastien. I could have sworn he cheated at cards, I just couldn't prove it.

"Alternatively," Master Francis had continued after sipping from his cup of water, "you could, if you'd care to, stay on here for a while longer. Sebastien has enjoyed your company and... I suppose I have as well."

"That is kind of you," I had said.

"Don't go thinking it would be a nice vacation or nothing like that though," he'd said, pointing a heavily wrinkled finger at my face. "I dare say you'd need to put in some work here to repay me for all that I've done for you."

"That's fair," I'd said, trying to hide a smile.

"Anyway, take a few days to make up your mind. Just don't take all year about it, all right?"

"Of course."

Now here I am, lying in bed, mulling over my options. And I think I already know which path I will choose. But I'm also wondering whether or not I could pursue more than one of those choices at the same time.

Because as much as I wish to repay my debt to Master Francis, I am also not the sort of man to simply forget about those who have blasted me out of the sky.