Thursday February 11th, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt today, from the stormy town of Comox on Vancouver Island, is: invalid.

I appear to have tweaked a muscle in my lower back and I'm in a rather unreasonable amount of pain. Invalid is probably too strong a term but I've always been fond of turning into a great big baby when I'm hurting.


He lay prone on the white bed,
As he had since we'd first met.
I sat there with my face set
And listened to what he said.

Another name was spoken,
And I promised to collect
The debt owed by his subject,
And thought not of how broken

We both truly were.


Greg said...

Ouch, back pain is not a good thing! I'm sure I read somewhere a while back that back pain is the singlest biggest cause of people being off work. I hope it clears up quickly.
That said, I suppose you could ask Kat to put on a pair of high heels and walk up and down on your back as a massage... that might be kill or cure though!

I like your poem, although the middle two lines of the second stanza irritate me a little. I think it's because the stresses are wrong for the rhyming words (in British English): I'd put the stress on the last syllable of colLECT and the first syllable of SUBject, so it feels like the rhyme is being forced. However, it's a fun little poem with the final line neatly delivering a wry commmentary :)


The Green Lightbulb was incandescent with rage, much to Sylvestra's amusement. He was screeching like an angry budgerigar and slamming first his fists and then his head against the the heavy steel door that led into the Council of Nastiness's meeting room. Bright green light surrounded him in an unhealthy nimbus and little black lines crawled over his skin like a sentient case of blood poisoning.
"Is he alright?" asked Miss Niffy, a pretty young girl whose superpower was the ability to generate stenches strong enough to induce nausea, blindness, and occasionally melt soft tissues. She was carrying a stuffed squid.
"He's a little upset with the door," said Sylvestra. "He thi--" she was cut off by another scream from the Green Lightbulb.
"I am not an invalid!" he yelled, and headbutted the door with every erg of strength his scrawny, radioactive frame could manage. His head sank three inches into the steel and stuck.
"I swapped his swipe card for some laminated bacon," said Sylvestra between gasps of laughter. "All the computer system says is Invalid."
Miss Niffy, ashen faced, stared at the Green Lightbulb struggling to pull himself out of the door.
"Shouldn't we help him?"
"We don't need the meeting room for a couple of hours," said Sylvestra, bent double with laughter now. "I might have stopped laughing by then."

Tristan said...

Ernst’s wife took it harder than he did. Margot screamed obscenities Ernst didn’t know she knew. The doctor looked taken aback and tried to reassure her only to be hit with a barrage of ferocities and hair raising curses. Ernst lay there, staring at the patterns in the ceiling which he had deciphered over the preceding weeks. He had found the cat’s face, the woman wearing a hat and the sheep and had almost befriended them.
‘You can’t mean that!’ His wife was sobbing now, squeezing his arm and looking desperately at the doctor. But the doctor did. Ernst knew that deep inside his body, something had decided to give up. But after seventy-five years of faithful service, that was okay by him. He vaguely heard his wife say horrible words which frightened him, like ‘vegetable’ and ‘invalid’.
‘But I’m not.’ He managed to get the words out somehow. Margot and the doctor looked at him. He’d sounded stronger than they thought he would. ‘I’m not an invalid, I’m not a vegetable. Nobody can magic me into a potato and I’m certainly not invalid. I’ve got a while before my sell by date. If I can’t walk, I can’t walk but I’m still alive and I can think and talk and breathe. How much more valid to you want me?’
Margot looked at him and became radiant. After fifty years, she was still beautiful to him. She opened her mouth to speak and he thought she was going to cast some abuse at him but she turned instead to the doctor. ‘I told you,’ she said. Ernst looked back at the ceiling. He found the cat had a body instead of just a face and had ensconced itself in the woman wearing a hat’s lap and the sheep had unzipped outer coat to reveal a wolf underneath. ‘And anyway,’ he said to them, ‘it’s not as if I’ve lost my marbles.’

Marc said...

Greg - yeah... no. Thankfully Kat doesn't even own a pair of heels. So I'm settling for rest and heat packs. And rub downs.

I see what you mean about 'collect' and 'subject' - I was having a word of trouble deciding what to stick in there and just went with that in order to finish the stupid thing :P

And I was so hoping someone would go for the alternative definition of 'invalid' - though I was expecting it to be g2 to do it :D

Tristan - that was a great, great build to the final line. Very nicely done :)