Sunday May 8th, 2011

The exercise:

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there :)

On a completely unrelated note, today's prompt is: crooked.

I finished reading The Girl Who Played With Fire (whose title character is often described as having a 'crooked smile') tonight and all I have to say is: it's a good thing there's a third book. Talk about an unsatisfying ending.


The painting in the dining room had been crooked for as long as any of us could remember. No matter how often it was straightened, it would inevitably end up hanging lower on the right. One day Dad threatened to put a nail through it to keep it level but I don't think his heart was really in it.

Besides, I'm pretty sure even that wouldn't have done the trick. The damned thing was hell bent on making its observers tilt their heads just so in order to look at it properly.

I don't know who bought it - maybe it came with the house when we moved in. I could appreciate why the previous owner would want to escape that stubborn painting.

Nothing would have ever changed if that earthquake hadn't knocked it off the wall. But it did, and so the next day was when we finally discovered that the right half of the frame was made of gold.


Greg said...

I suspect you mean North American moms -- Mothers' Day in the UK was back in March :)
[Little typo for you: you've got who's for whose in your parentheses for the Girl Who Played With Fire.]
I wasn't expecting the ending of the piece today, so that made me smile in itself. I like the way the set-up let's you go almost anywhere without feeling forced. The line about putting a nail through the painting was particularly good.

The dining room in the painting had been crooked for as long as any of us could remember. Anyone who looked at the painting would tilt their head first one way, then the other, trying to get all the elements to resolve properly, but the crooked dining room always won out. Some people gave up with a headache, some people cricked their neck, and last week, one poor boy went into an epileptic seizure.
Dad covered the painting with a cloth then, saying it was too dangerous to keep on display.
Ever since he did that though, we've all been on edge; we keep hearing noises like furniture being surreptitiously moved, and the dining room never quite looks right when we're sat in there, eating.
We might not have realised what was going on if the earthquake hadn't shifted the foundations and the walls. Somehow -- and I blame the mice -- our dining room is now identical to the one in the picture, crookedness and all.

morganna said...

Tossing and turning
Unable to sleep
This mattress makes me
Sleep crooked.

I like yours, Greg, and the way you play off Marc's. By the way, you have an extra apostrophe in 'let's' in your intro. :)

Marc, I like the little surprise at the end of yours.

Aholiab said...


Jason doodled on his notepad while he listened to his geometry teacher drone about points and lines and shapes and whatever else he had taught for thirty years. It was amazing that the class wasn’t titled “Homicide: An Applied Course in Death by Lecture”.

"The shortest distance between two points is a straight line."

Jason drew two small circles on his paper and filled them. "Ok, Mr. Lawngyon, there are two points," he thought. He picked up his ruler and inscribed a line precisely through the center of both circles. "And what do you know? there's a straight line between them." He measured the line and carefully wrote the distance above the line - 3 1/8 inches.

Folding the page halfway between the two points, he made a sharp crease, then bent the page back again part way to expose both dots. "Oh, but look at this," he murmured half under his breath. "Now the points are closer and if I draw a line between them..." He drew, measured, and noted the new distance - 2 1/4 inches. "So if this isn't a straight line, it must be a crooked line. And it's a lot shorter than a straight line."

The sudden silence around him made him look up from his musings. "Jason, is your scribbling more important than the whole class's education?" the teacher challenged with a sneer on his face.

"No, sir."

"Then please remind the class what we have learned today."

Jason slowly tore the page from his pad and crushed it in his hand. "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line."

Marc said...

Greg - how is there not an international Mother's Day? That's just silly.

Yours was particularly brilliant this time around. I really enjoyed that :)

Morganna - I think I've slept on a few mattresses like that :)

Aholiab - I really liked the way you moved us through that scene from beginning to end. It had a great flow and I think that ending was spot on.

Heather said...

I doubt we'll have the same luck, although some of our pictures seem to always be crooked. There hasn't been an earthquake in Wisconsin in more than 30 years And the ones in Michigan and Illinois aren't strong enough to shake anything here.

As far as the third book, you'll have to tell me if you find the ending satisfying.