Thursday January 27th, 2011

The exercise:

La prompte du jour: the big freeze.

Mmm, mangled french.

Anyway. Our deep freeze arrived today. It isn't actually plugged in yet - both because we're waiting until after we get back to do that and since we couldn't be bothered to squeeze it into place this afternoon. It was right before dinner and there will be time to get it right tomorrow.

You know, in between packing for our freakin' honeymoon.


He was built like an upright freezer,
With the brains to match;
We were all certain he wasn't born -
He must have been hatched.

I'll admit he came in quite handy
When trouble came 'round;
He never had to hurt anyone,
He just kinda frowned.

That was enough to loosen bowels
And send fools running;
I think the man we called The Big Freeze
Found it rather stunning.

Even though his nickname was frigid,
He was warmhearted;
I cried the day we pulled his plug
And he departed.


Greg said...

Ah, I thought initially that the prompt was weather related, so I guess it's better that it's the arrival of a deep freezer instead!
Packing for a honeymoon? You mean you're planning on leaving the bed at some point??

I love the idea behind today's poem, and your main character reminds me a little of Lenny from Of Mice and Men, but it seems a little stilted. I wonder if I'm reading it as a straight poem, but you wrote it as a performance piece, so I'm missing some element of the delivery?

The big freeze
Charles Asucigmento, Head of Building Security, sighed as he let himself into an access corridor. The door only opened to his personal key-card, and there was a concealed panel covering a digital combination lock that needed the right code before the key-card would operate. This was one of three spaces in the building that wasn't covered by surveillance camera and patrolled by his guards, and he continued to regret the necessity for this.
The access corridor led to another locked door, but this one was retina-scan protected. Charles leaned forward and let the laser scan his retinas, and the door opened silently. A short flight of stairs now led down the Big Freeze.
Here, carefully lined up in cryo-coffins, were Charles's three predecessors as Head of Building Security. Charles considered their presence to mean that they'd failed in their job, but his pragmatism had prevailed at the end, and a fourth coffin was already prepared and bore his name.
He sat down, cross-legged on the floor in front of the oldest coffin. The name-plate, brass of course, read Cecil d'Alemberge.
"It's been a long day," began Charles.

David said...

Hopefully will post - my open id login didnt work. Tried with google account (so dumbricht goes to David lol)

@Marc - First off have a happy honeymoon. I'm jealous as I look out the window and see three feet of snow on the ground (East Coast of US getting record snow this year). I like your poem, a nice little eulogy. Regarding, your question about continuing The Barber story. We shall see, he was born yesterday, so I don't know him well. Right now I'm just enjoying spending a little time writing using your prompts, i dont want to derail myself by creating grand plans for future writing (although my end goal may be to write a novel during the summer). just trying to rebuild the muscles.

@ Greg - I want a full fledged Charles story, I'm loving these little details you're doling out.

Here's mine for today:

The poster advertised “The Big Freeze”. If it snows more than twelve inches, come to The Freezer Shack and receive a treat. Encouraging parents into unsafe behavior may not be the morally prudent thing to do, but look at these kids enjoying their cones. And look at how the sun shines in this picture. Everything is better with ice cream.

Joan stared at the poster every day. She liked to imagine the high fives the marketing professionals gave each other on the day this clever idea was born. Every day, she wondered if anyone would come knocking in search of their tasty reward. It had snowed more than 12 inches the night before, just as it had during the previous 17 nights.

She was always disappointed, because no one would come. Joan wouldn’t let herself cry, instead, she would go to the back to make her dinner. The hot dogs were long gone. So were the chicken nuggets. Tonight she would dine on a few maraschino cherries and walnuts. She would save the whip cream for her breakfast. Alone, Joan sat in the dark, thinking of the twenty-something copywriter who she imagined birthed “The Big Freeze”. She hoped that she was on the phone in her warm Manhattan office, making plans for a romantic dinner with her boyfriend. A tear slid down Joan’s cheek. Actually, she only hoped that Manhattan was still there.

Heather said...

Marc- I agree with Greg, your poem reminded me of Lenny. It was quite well done and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Greg- I love your characters. A friend of mine always asks me, "Where do you come up with this stuff?!?" I'd like to ask you the same thing.

The Man Once Known As Dumbricht- I can't decide if I should laugh or cry. I loved the little story. Very well done!


I sat staring in the mirror as she pulled first a brush and then her gloved hands through my hair. The bright purple dye spread evenly. I wondered how something so bright and vivid in color would turn out to be a soft red in my hair. I only half heard her start a conversation. My eyes flicked up to see her face in the reflection. She chatted amicably, but never took her eyes from my hair. If she had, she would have seen the coolness on my face.

"So anyway, this guy that I saw just before you starts telling me all about his girlfriend. He was so jovial about it! That's the kicker, you know what I mean? He is sitting in the chair talking about his girlfriend while twisting his wedding ring."

She paused. "Hold on a second Melinda. I need to get a little more color."

I watched her walk away and felt ice form at the base of my neck, extending down my spine. I was staring in the mirror when she returned.

She picked up another section of my hair and began painting a mahogany color on it. When it was rinsed out and dried, it would be a beautiful deep brown color that would look softer next to the more vibrant red.

"I mean, Melinda, you're married. What would you do if you found out your husband was cheating on you? Oh my God, you'd kill him wouldn't you? I mean who wouldn't? I just can't imagine."

She prattled on another few minutes before asking me if I wanted something to drink and then disappearing for 20 minutes. I appreciated the quiet time. There were so many things I needed to think about.

An hour later I was rinsed, dried, and styled. "What do you think? Do you like the color?" she asked.

Dryly, I said, "It's beautiful." I looked straight ahead.

"Okay. You don't sound very pleased. What do you want me to change?" She sounded concerned. A client of hers was leaving unhappy. Even the 'new talent' would offer to make amends and then involve a more senior stylist in repairing the damage. But there was nothing she could do.

I stood up hastily. Looking her dead in the eyes I responded with a cold so deep that she froze in her tracks. "Next time you want to gossip about another of our clients, make sure the one your telling isn't married to the one you are talking about."

Marc said...

Greg - A little stilted is being kind. I'm really not very fond of it at all and struggled mightily to find an ending for it so I could be done with it.

This is an interesting development in the life of Charles. I like it.

Davbricht - fully understand. But perhaps there's no need to plan - just let each day's prompt steer you in a new direction (as I believe Zhongming was/is doing with his continuing story). Or just keep building those muscles up! Feel no need to pay any attention to me :D

Great piece, by the way. Even if there was no Barber appearance :P

Heather - oooooh my, that's awkward. Very nicely done.

Zhongming said...

Marc - wonderful poem, that is. Are you learning french? I think French is pretty cool. :)

Ah, I should get to my snowy wood. It's gonna get rusty if I leave it there for too long :D

Greg - Charles is way cool :D

I like the sophisticated details you're providing here! 

David - nice to know that you had another cool nick :)

I like the many small details there, it made your story a little edgy with full of expectation from readers with many different anticipation! 

Next prompt I may add another memo of snowy woods, no promise though :)

Here's mine,

The big freeze

What would you do when you're sandwiched between two or more parties? You knew you had the abilities that can make things work but because either of your decision would make either one of them feel pretty hurt. What would you do? 

I think it's pretty hard to come up with a perfect answer for questions like this as it really depend on the problem dependencies. Humans are especially difficult to comprehend, it just keep changing every now and then. 

Deep inside I knew I had to learn how to give unconditionally, it's part of a practioner's vow to help others when they're in need. It is also no doubt that I have to tolerate many things that come along my way. What should I do? 

Funny enough, I knew I had the method to transform reality into emptiness which is highest level of tolerance. Why haven't I do that when it's time to do? Was I in lack of mindful practice that led me into indecisive? 

My mind is like "the big freeze" when something like that happened.

I guess it's all part of learning, growing up experience. 

Zhongming said...

Heather - Ops I forgot about you. My bad. The details in your story is awesome! Loved it :)

Marc said...

Zhongming - I think many of us suffer from that particular big freeze. Very nicely captured.