Sunday September 25th, 2011

The exercise:

Back home on solid ground again. Patiently waiting for my body to realize this.

Your prompt: the loop.

Inspired by Kat and I doing a hike in Skagway that looped around a lake. It took us much longer than expected, but it was still good. Aside from the rain.

Anyway. Cruise was good. Pictures and more starting tomorrow.


"I feel like Matt and I are stuck in this miserable loop," Jodie tells me through a haze of cigarette smoke.

"What do you mean?" I know exactly what she means, but I have a role to play.

"Argument A always leads to Argument B, which is inevitably followed by Argument C, and on and on," she says, waving around her cigarette baton like hell's conductor. "Until finally Argument Q takes us by the scruff of our necks and drags us back to Argument A."

"Only Q, not Z?" My curiosity sounds pretty convincing if you ask me.

"Oh, we have exactly seventeen different arguments." She pauses to blow seventeen smoke rings. "So we don't bother going all the way through the alphabet."

"Well, it's good to have room to grow," I say with a laugh I cut short with a sip of gin and tonic. Maybe next time we get together I'll have a rum and coke.

Probably not.

"Oh sweetheart, don't make fun." One final smoke ring. "It's absolute hell. You just can't understand."

Actually, I'm pretty sure I do.


Drake Davenport said...

"That's just the thing. I don't think he actually did agree to doing anything," said Steve.

Déjà vu. Justin had this uncanny feeling that he had just had this conversation. The feelings of remembrance stuck with him as he issued his reply. "Well, we should probably find out, then, don't you think?"

It was obvious that Justin would have to just go to Carl and talk to him directly about it. As much as that he hated the idea of doing so, it was the only option he had.

He parted with Steve and headed down the hall. He greeted a few people in passing along the way, but then one of them stopped him in his tracks.

"Hey, did you talk to Steve?" asked the lady.

"A few minutes ago. Why do you ask?"

"He just told me that he really needs to talk to you about the project. Says it's urgent."

Justin knew what this means. There was no time to spare. He thanked the lady, and turned back to go to Steve's office.

"You said you needed to see me?" he asked as he walked in.

"Yes. It's about Carl. I have... I have my reserves about him being a part of this venture."

"Why? Didn't he say that he wanted to help us?"

"That's just the thing. I don't think he actually did agree to doing anything," said Steve.

Déjà vu. Justin had this uncanny feeling that he had just had this conversation.

Greg said...

You went hiking on the ship? Or was the hike before or after the cruise?
I love the meta-loop in today's story; clearly a week's break and some holiday has been good for you! The world-weariness of the narrator comes across very clearly as well. Nice!

The loop
The cat barked. I looked at, staring at it hard, daring it to bark again. It stared back, yellow eyes filled with an empty malevolence, and then lifted one paw and carefully licked it. I looked away.
But I couldn't leave it alone. I had to know if I'd heard the cat bark the first time, so I concentrated, picturing concentric circles and feeling that strangeness, that extra-limb type feeling. Then I reached out with it, made a connection, and looped back in time, just a little way. Just a tiny little way.
The cat barked. I looked at it, staring at it hard, daring it to bark again. It stared back, green eyes filled with an empty malevolence... wait, hadn't its eyes been yellow last time? I concentrated, seeing the circles, resisting the urge to follow them as they rotated, reaching out with a strange extra limb I couldn't forget remembering and created a tiny little loop in time. An insignificant little loop....
The cat barked. It looked at me hard, daring me to bark again, blue eyes staring at me with an unfulfilled malevolence, a hatred that made me shrink away. Reflexively I put up my third arm to bat it away. Wait... three arms?
I didn't need the concentric circles this time, the connection was effortless, a tiny little loop in time, something almost negligible....
The dinosaur barked.

Marc said...

Drake - I liked the way you began at the end of the loop, then brought us back to it at the conclusion.

It also reminded me of a few offices I've worked - some people just can't tell you somethings often enough :P

Greg - during the cruise. We stopped in at Juneau and Skagway for eight-ish hours on shore. Were meant to do one more but the weather was too rough for docking.

That was truly fantastic stuff. So many great details, and such an intriguing narrator. I'd love to read more from this perspective.

Anonymous said...

Do you ever feel like you have thoughts that need to be expressed, but they keep playing over and over in your head in a loop and you can’t find a way to tell them to another human being? As you brood about your inability to open your mouth and say these words, your mind spirals out of control. Are you really shy, or are you just a coward? Is it more preferable to spend your existence alone than to talk to him? If you can’t work up the courage to form a sentence, then you don’t deserve him. You don’t deserve anybody. You should just go back to your studio apartment and spend the evening with your cat. That would be more productive than standing here in the corner while everyone else parties. How hard is it to go up to a guy and ask his name, to try and learn something about him? What are you afraid of?

Marc said...

Anon - geez, switch up the genders and that could have been written by me not so long ago.

You captured and conveyed the feelings extremely well.

Drake Davenport said...

I second that. In fact, I don't even have to say "not that long ago" myself. Very nice piece.