Sunday July 25th, 2010

The exercise:

Today, on this 777th day in a row of Daily Writing Practice, your job is to pick one of the seven deadly sins and use that as your prompt. Don't worry about using the same one I or a previous commenter chose, just go with the one that inspires something creative in you.

Another day at the beach today. This time I brought back a picture:



He'd been telling his wife for years that he would quit as soon as he'd made enough for them to live out the rest of their lives in complete comfort. She knew it was a lie, that they could have afforded a plush retirement already, but she played her part with smiles and sweet, murmured understandings.

It's a powerful thing, the knowledge that you do something extremely well, perhaps even better than anyone else on the planet. That sort of self-confidence is impossible to replace, which only makes giving it up that much harder.

But his desire to go on had more to do with a thirst for more money and, more specifically, the sort of things that money could buy. He liked to sample life's perks, the more exotic the better. And the truth was that there would never be enough money to retire with if he insisted on spending what he made at such a frenetic pace.

Then came the day that his wife knew would eventually arrive. The job went sour, the cops were tipped off, and suddenly the most prolific bank robber since Dillinger would be spending the rest of his days behind bars.

This, needless to say, was not the sort of retirement he'd been talking about.


Greg said...

That's a very serene picture, I feel relaxed just by looking at it. And slightly jealous... damn it, London needs a beach! Barcelona has one....

777's a nice number to be celebrating, and the seven deadly sins are nicely appropriate. Now all you need are seven comments today to get the numerology all sorted out!

Great story about greed, and I appreciated that you kept the revelation that he was a bank robber until late; otherwise I think I'd have seen where the story was going much quicker.

(Btw, the wikipedia article on seven deadly sins leaves me mildly confused as to what the canonical list is!)


(But this is anger)
Let red-blossomed flowers burst forth
And explode upon the heads of passers-by
Let high winds rise and smite
Let lightning illuminate the night
Let Anger rule the world
(Tremble oh you puny mortals)

morganna said...

Paul prided himself on his attention to detail. No detail was too small for him to get exactly right. The cast and crew hated him, especially the costumers and set designers.

For the terrible play set in the 1920s, no one could find just the right jet buttons for the matriarch's costume. Paul screamed the worst things he could think of, but it didn't help. Everyone hated that play so much, they didn't care if the buttons were just right or not.

That would be the first opening night Asmodeus had attended in many years. At first, he had come to every one, making sure Paul was holding up his end of the bargain. After a while, though, he got tired of coming up to Earth just to see yet another play, and the details were always just right. But tonight he had some time to kill between soul pick-ups, and thought he catch the play.

The theater people said they'd never get the screams out of their heads, but that would only last until Thursday next, when they realized they'd never have to work with Paul again, now that he'd broken his bargain of eternal life in the theater in exchange for every detail's perfection.

Zhongming said...

Marc -Nice picture up there, it does look like a perfect day to be out in the sea! The river looks so calm and quiet. It’s beautiful. Oh man, how I wish I was there!

I like what you wrote about greed. Nice short story. Thumb up :)

greg - Nice poem. i could feel that beautiful anger. :)

morganna - aww, it's hard choice isn't it? Nice story up there. :)


After looking at all the evidence from the crime scene, Judge Chester is looking furiously at defendant Jorge. That look on his face suddenly turn reddish and he begin to breath heavily. According to crime scene investigator, defendant Jorge fired another five rounds right in the chest of his wife Monica after she died in the bed with her lover. Apparently after closely examining everything, the police found Jorge fingerprints on the gun.

I am really disappointed with you... Your action really arks me... Do you have no shame, he shouted across the board? You don't even appear remorseful after being held in the custody of the police? Now you have another chance to explain yourself. Tell about the murder that you did two weeks ago. Say it loud and clear, I want to hear the truth and stop denying, Says judge Chester.

Defendant Jorge, please raise and say what you have to say, said panel judge.

Chester: Explain yourself or be prepared to stay in jail for the rest of your life! What were you doing in the crime scene? Why did you throw your gun into the river? All the evidence are against you, are you aware of that?

Jorge looked straight into Chester's eye. I am really innocent! I was famed! I was in a car. I was drinking but sober. I know what i am doing. I drove to the backyard of my house thinking about what i saw earlier in that room. I admit that i had murderous intent. But i really didn't murder her. It was someone else. She is already dead before i went into that room. I really don't understand how that gun had my print on it. I am really innocent! You've got to believe me, i am telling the truth! Jorge speaks while tears rolled down onto his cheek making its way down....

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

I just realized: You have more posts than xkcd. As much as I love xkcd, this realization made me quite happy.

This one's a toughie... but I think I got something, here
- - - - - - - - - - - -

I pace furiously, on the cusp of leaping at anything that moved. All creation seemed destined to cross me, dared to interfere. We'll see if creation dares once I'm through with those who've lined up as my primary deterrents. Those who've dedicated themselves to securing my downfall.

We'll see who falls first.

It happens tonight. The first ones fall tonight. As soon as dark falls, they will soon follow.

Then we'll see who else dares to cross me.

Marc said...

Greg - the flowers blossoming on heads is a great image. Nicely done :)

Morganna - that was great! You really dragged me in and I didn't see the ending coming at all.

Zhongming - thanks, glad you liked it. I think you captured despair very well, while reminding me of the Shawshank Redemption (which is never a bad thing).

g2 - that's a whole lotta posts I got going on around here!

I really liked your closing two paragraphs. Particularly the 'dark falls, they will soon follow' bit :)

Brunnhilde said...

Well, THIS was fun. And I really enjoyed reading everyone else's take on it too.


When the Academy Award nominations came out that morning, I was watching them on TV. I’m a writer and an actress and I always pay close attention to those categories because my name could conceivably make the list someday.

“Jackie Thompson!” they would announce, nominated for my stellar work in, oh, I don’t know, “Anna Karenina,” having newly adapted the Tolstoy novel from its original Russian and redefining “tragedienne” as I fell under the train. Or maybe some urban comedy I co-wrote with say, Woody Allen, and then got even more great press with my interpretation of “Googie”, the bat-brained socialite whose scene in the stuck elevator is repeatedly described by critics as “Chaplinesque”. Of course, I only say I could “conceivably” be nominated because I haven’t worked in the business in three years. Don’t ask why. That’s not important here.

When I heard the name “Birdie Sopwith” come out of George Clooney’s mouth as a nominee for Best Supporting Actress, I dropped my coffee cup and it smashed on the kitchen floor. When he said it AGAIN as a nominee for writing the Best Original Screenplay, I screamed as though I were witnessing a freak accident.

Birdie Sopwith? Birdie Fucking Sopwith? Part of my frantic brain asked “Could there be more than one?” Some other part already knew that was impossible. Nobody else would adopt that same stupid name. And then they put her stupid face up on the screen and I could clearly see that it really was her, my archrival in all things dramatic for the last three decades, starting with the 4th grade production of “Wind in the Willows” in Teaneck, New Jersey. (She was Badger. I was Toad.)

From there, she tormented me by being cast in every show I tried out for in junior high and high school. I thought I’d escape her when it was time to go to college, but we were both admitted to the drama program at NYU and we both enrolled there. Then we both did graduate work at Juilliard. It seemed like every call-back audition pitted me against her. More than once, a director had us read a duet scene together and then would make us swap roles and read it again. She always seemed to get the better part. That is, assuming I got cast at all. We made no secret of the fact that we hated each other. And now, my worst nightmare was all over the airwaves and in the coming weeks, it would be all over People magazine and Entertainment Tonight and Yahoo!: Birdie Sopwith talks about her inspirations, Birdie Sopwith communes with Quentin Tarantino, Birdie Sopwith wears a Valentino gown, Louboutin pumps and Harry Winston jewels and chats up Joan Rivers. And she might even fucking win. That would be the worst: a color photo of Birdie Shitbag Sopwith holding an Oscar on the front page of The New York Times.

Only two things made me feel better. First, I threw up. Second, I went to a pawn shop that afternoon and bought a gun. I didn’t know why I needed a gun—I mean, I wasn’t planning to shoot her, for Christ’s sake-- but just having that pistol in my purse finally made me calm down.

Marc said...

Haha, I loved the progression with the name. 'Birdie Shitbag Sopwith' made me laugh out loud.

Great finish to it as well, really leaves it open to multiple continuations/completions.

(woo hoo, 7th comment on the 777th post!)