Wednesday April 14th, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt: at the construction site.

Sorry, they've been doing construction work near my office building for the last month. This prompt was pretty much inevitable.

Random aside: it's an absolutely gorgeous day here in Vancouver.


It had been a true labour of love. The family had pulled together to get the work done and neighbours had even pitched in to help when the weather was agreeable and their own chores had been completed. Almost every nail that had been hammered into place had been accompanied by a laugh or at least a smile. The wood boards that comprised the walls fairly hummed with a feeling of community and upbeat vibrations.

It was to be the family home for generations to come. Space was set aside in the yard for the grandchildren to romp and laze in, there was room for additions to be made on all four sides of the building so that the expanding family tree could be contained within it, and a garden large enough to feed a small community was created.

The father, with a wink and a nod at his friends, even pointed out the oak tree beneath which he’d like to be buried.

But then his oldest son went off to university and found a respectable job in the city. A year after that his lone daughter married a nice boy in California and relocated there permanently. When his youngest boy earned his pilot’s license he put on a brave face but understood the ramifications for the home and land he’d put so much of himself into.

The weeds outnumbered the vegetable plants the following summer. The paint on the outside of the house began to flake and was never touched up. The lawn returned slowly but surely to its wild roots.

When the father finally passed on the children returned home for a final time to lay him to rest. But not beneath the oak tree of his choice – the new owners of the property wouldn’t allow it.


Greg said...

Construction seems to be happening everywhere -- must be the emergence from the recession!
That's a great tale, from start to finish. The steady dashing of the father's hopes is kind of inevitable, but still quietly saddening. I like the amount of effort he put into building a house that two generations earlier would have done exactly what he'd hoped for. I reckon I'd like a house like that.

At the construction site

"Nanobiotechnology," said Dr. Septopus as he read a medical chart. He tapped a tentacle against it. "It allows us to give instructions to tiny little nanobots that then hurry to miniature construction sites in the body and build useful structures. We can use them to armour plate skin from the inside, or build up layers of tough dermis, making someone effectively bullet proof. We can have little nano-doctors roaming the bloodstream, tidying up infections and repairing damaged cells on the way - it's not immortality, but it's a very good start. So long as they don't go wrong, they're wonderful."
Sylvestra looked at the chart, but it was meaningless to her. "What happens if they go wrong?"
"It depends on how they go wrong, but they might convert you solely to a pile of ears, or reduce you to grey goo."
She brightened a little. "And what are these nanobots doing for the Green Lightbulb then?"
"Making him allergic to shellfish."
Dr. Septopus waved all his tentacles vaguely. "It's what he said he wanted!"

summerfield said...

hi, all.
marc, it takes a lot to make me cry. but this piece, it's that good that at the end, tears were just flowing out of my eyes. maybe it's been exacerbated by the strep throat and sinus i've been battling the last three days and the antibiotics aren't working, but cry i did after reading this piece.

therefore, i will honour this beautiful piece by not writing a response to the prompt.

greg, as always, very creative.

good job, you guys. i've been uncreative for quite a while and hope this "lights the fire". but i've been reading!

Marc said...

Greg - I think I'd like one like that too :)

I find the idea of being turned into a pile of ears highly disturbing, by the way.

Summerfield - I'm going to blame it on the illness, if that's okay. I don't like making people cry :P

I'm glad you enjoyed it though, and I promise to make up for it with something more cheerful soon (hopefully on Friday).

And I hope your creative fires are rekindled soon :)