Wednesday September 29th, 2010

The exercise:

Today we get to write about: the travel agent.

I ended up having to be my own travel agent yesterday when I booked our honeymoon flights. For some reason it actually ended up being cheaper to buy the tickets there and back separately, rather than as a round-trip. Whatever.

So yeah, we're going to Jamaica at the end of January/start of February for two weeks. I shall write more about this another time.


"Please have a seat, Agent Travel," the man in the black suit and sunglasses says, pointing to the chair on the opposite side of the patio table.

"Honestly Tom," I reply as I take my seat and pick up the menu in one motion, "we should be on a first name basis by now! Call me Time."

"But we've only just met."

"Er... right, of course. My mistake." I knew I should have grabbed a paper to check the date before I arrived. "You were saying?"

"We have a new assignment for you." Always we. Never the government. Never the president. Just plain old we. "A research scientist by the name of Jason Boyle is on the run with some very sensitive documents. We need them back."

Oh, crap. The Boyle Case. They'll be talking about this one for years to come.

"I see," I say, perusing the dessert selection to stall for time. "As it turns out, I'm quite familiar with Mr. Boyle." If only he knew. "Unfortunately, he is also aware of me - he'd see me coming a mile away. I'm just not the man for this job. I think that Agent Matthews, however, would be a most excellent fit."

Honestly, I do feel quite bad about sending Matthews to a certain death. But hey, better him than me, right?


Greg said...

Jamaica should be good for a honeymoon! Do you have family there -- I'm sure I remember you saying something about your father being Jamaican? I'm a little surprised that booking the tickets separately was cheaper, but airline prices are pretty hard to reconcile with anything at the moment as they all struggle!

I really like the idea of a time-travelling secret agent, it's a great premise for a novel. (Maybe a NaNoWriMo novel?) The dialogue is great, it feels very natural and even sounds a little like the kinds you get in James Bond films.

the Travel Agent

Against the shiny wooden counter
A tired mother leans,
Her children fighting between her legs,
Her holiday beyond her means,
But she is determined that they will go.

"I think the system's broke."
The travel agent chews gum harder,
"It says you have to go for a year,
And your hire car will be a Lada."
The mother's heart is sinking.

"You said Antigua, right?"
"I said Andorra, for skiing and snow."
"But they both begin with the letter A --
You might like it if you go!"
The mother gathers her screaming kids.

"I've had enough," she says,
Her voice steady and her words like ice.
"I'm going somewhere with no Travel Agents
To get some travel advice."

She sweeps out like an ancient queen
Back to her bedsit and foreign holiday dream.

Zhongming said...

Marc - That is some wonderful conversation!

Greg – Your poem is so intense, I could feel it miles away.


I recall a trip to Malaysia Kuala Lumpur roughly two years ago around this time. It was a planned trip few months back where my aunt were asking around who is interested in joining her for the trip.

It was my first time that I decided to go for a trip, which is not totally a tour around places of interest in the country. My ultimate goal was to listen to sermon speech by Grandmaster Lu.

I know it is hard for anybody to understand and easy for anyone to misjudge my master since he is famous for “crazy monk - orthodox Buddhist teachings”. The way he talks with humor while preaching on certain subject is often crazy but very meaningful if you are someone with great interest to understand more about Buddhism or meaning of life or afterlife. As I always look for what is beneath instead of just looking at the surface, I feel I have learnt much from his teaching.

To be frank with you, I was never a fan of meditation. As of before, I could never have sit quietly and mull over things although I am a quiet person since I was young. My view about mediation before I went into practice is that I feel that it is silly – as in, you sit there and waste your time doing absolutely nothing.

Eventually my views changed after listening to many sermons about the art of mediation. Do you know that anything that you do wholeheartedly is also a form of meditation? For example, scroll in the park or working on something or even doing nothing.

You just have to pay attention to your own behavior and notice the changes - that is what I meant. However, what I really understand is… whatever you do is part of mediation, not necessarily seated in zazen, in a quiet room all by yourself. Writing itself is also part of mediation, which I am glad that I am doing.

Then the day of the actual sermon speech arrived. My family and I, nine of us, went there three hours before the event - in hope to find a good spot with excellent view and audio possibility (The event take place in a stadium with approximately fifty thousand seats). However, when we arrived, three quarter of the space, occupied with disciples from all over the world (Some were not even disciples, but eventually take refuge in True Buddha School and receive empowerment from the master.)

Damn, I miss the prompt again – Sometimes I wonder why it turns out otherwise when I am supposed to be focusing on something. Well, I guess I will write more about it when I have some inspiration, promise :)

Marc said...

Greg - my mom's from Jamaica, yeah. We're hoping to visit one of her sisters while we're there - I haven't seen her in many, many years.

Glad you liked it, though I think time travel would be a bit too complicated to keep straight for NaNo. Thankfully I've found another idea at last though!

That's a really inspired poem, I can't even think about picking a favorite stanza!

Zhongming - no worries about going off prompt, the most important thing is that you write, after all :)

And thanks for sharing the story, I enjoyed that.