Thursday November 12th, 2009

The exercise:

Well I managed to go in to work for the morning today and got caught up on everything I'd missed. Then I went home.

So, oddly enough, your prompt today is: heading home.

NaNo Word Count: 25,945
NaNo Target: 20,002

Oh, I've put an excerpt from my NaNo story here, if anyone is interested in checking it out.

Incidentally, I'd be really pleased if someone took it upon themselves to tell mine from the perspective of the driver. Just so you know. That's all.

Mine:

It was almost closing time when the car pulled up to the pumps and silenced her engine. I looked through the window from where I sat behind the register and admired her sleek lines and leather seats; she had been polished so well that the overhead lights were damn near blinding me, the way they reflected off her sides. My curiosity was most definitely piqued, with regards to who might be driving that fine lady down my lonely road at that hour, so I'll admit that I stared pretty openly.

But the driver didn't get out.

I gave him or her a few minutes to read the Self Service Only sign but was rewarded with a grand sum of nothing at all. So I eased myself off my wooden stool and ambled out the door, forcing a pleasant smile onto my grease streaked face. It was late November, so the cold was bothering my hip a little, but I tried not to blame that on this fine person with their very fine car. I came around to the driver's side window to find a young man, dressed to the nines or hell, maybe even tens, and he was just staring straight ahead, his hands locked on the steering wheel like he wasn't ever letting go.

"You doing alright, son?" I asked, wiping my fingers with the cleanest rag I had at hand. He just nodded and said not a word. "Where you trying to get to tonight?"

"I'm heading home," was his reply.

"Ah," I said with an understanding nod. "Well then, you just take all the time you need - I'm in no hurry to close up."

So I made my way back to my welcoming stool, in my nicely heated office, and waited to see what was what. Five, maybe ten minutes later, the engine came back to life and he pulled up to the road. After a little more hesitation, without bothering to signal, he turned left and roared off into the night. I began locking things up, a little bit sadder than I had been before his arrival, wondering what it was that had sent him back the way he had come from.

2 Comments:

Greg said...

Sounds like you're not completely recovered then. Let's hope you manage a full day tomorrow, or maybe just take it off and recover properly for next week :)

I've had a read of your excerpt too; comments are on Protagonize.

Fascinating little story going on here as well, really nice descriptions and ever so slightly strange. Well, I'll give it a go, writing from the perspective of your driver, but it may not be very good.
Oh, and I discovered Tim Hortons today, which appears to be a very Canadian thing. I liked the coffee and the doughnuts :)

Heading home

Five miles of dark roads, dark empty roads with nothing to break the monotony. Just a bleak empty landscape hidden by the darkness, and my thoughts to occupy me. Maybe this drive wasn't such a good idea after all.

Then, up ahead, a light at last. I drove towards it, feeling the engine purr with a silky smoothness that's like fine chocolate sliding down your throat, a single square that tantalises your taste buds by its very transience, luscious and romantic and, at its heart, deeply bitter. As I drew close I could smell oil on the air, and then I could see the sign. It was a filling station.

There was a guy in the office who looked to be content where he was, and I figured he probably wouldn't bother me. I sat there, my hands gripping the steering wheel, feeling its grip beneath my fingers like a rosary, just waiting in the light, listening to my heart beat and my blood roar in my ears.

It was so nice to be out of the darkness. I felt like a man dying of thirst suddenly arriving at an oasis. It's not a lot, it won't last for very long, but you take what you can while you can. And sitting in the light was like drinking water: I felt for a while that I might just be able to get strong enough to carry on.

I was wrong though, after a few minutes, as I was starting to get my strength back and could think about turning around and going back home, the guy in the office got himself up off his stool and came towards me, brandishing a rag. He said something to me, but I couldn't make his words out properly, so I just told him I was heading home. Or something like that, I couldn't hear what I said properly either. It worked, though, he walked away again, back to his office, saying nothing more.

I sat in the light a little longer, pulling myself together, until it felt like the light wasn't doing me any good any more, and then I started the car back up, slipped her into gear, and pulled out of the garage. I hadn't lied, I was heading home. By the scenic route.

Marc said...

Tim Hortons is friggin' fantastic. I used to love those donuts. Can't really have them anymore, but still remember them fondly :)

And you did a fantastic job with your version! I particularly liked the light/darkness aspect.