Thursday October 6th, 2011

The exercise:

Today's prompt: beginnings.

Because I started looking for a winter job today. Just looking for something part-time to help pay the bills until the garden starts producing again, nothing serious.

Mine:

When she first began nodding off, Karen turned to coffee. That got her through chapter five, but the homework assignment called for three more to be read. She was beginning to suspect her professor never actually read the textbook for himself - he really didn't seem that cruel on the first day.

So she tried music next, as loud as her stereo could handle, neighbours be damned. She managed to get through four pages before turning into a bobble head again. Sighing in frustration, she gazed around her living room, searching for something, anything to keep her awake.

Toothpicks might have done the trick, but her roommate had finished the bottle off with her attempts at do-it-yourself acupuncture. Perhaps there would be time in the morning, on the way to class even?

That was when she realized that the room wasn't so bright just because all the lights were on - the sun was responsible for most of it.

This, Karen thought as she dragged herself out the door, was not how I planned on starting my first year of college.

3 Comments:

Greg said...

Shouldn't your writing be that part-time job? ;-) I know I've said this several times before, but you have a great editorial voice, so have you considered finding some by-line work for local(-ish) newspapers? Although, saying that, a part-time job in winter when you're not at the market would definitely stop you starting to think that there's only you, Kat and Mr. Wriggles in the world :)
I laughed at the diy-acupuncture reference and a little more wryly at the realisation that it was morning already.

Beginnings
"Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end," said Leslie daFox. He glared around the room, hating it and the students in it. He'd been enjoying his retirement, with little more to do that get up in the morning, shout at the maid, eat breakfast, shout at the maid, read the newspaper and shout at it... in fact, that's what he should be doing right now. If his idiot wife hadn't decided that she wanted him out of the house for three mornings a week while she held flower-arranging classes. All because he'd shouted at the flowers.
"Consider this room," he said, resisting the urge to shout. "It is a drab, functional space shared by many self-interested groups at different times. As such, it's identity is confused; if it were a human being you'd put it down as a mercy killing. YES?"
The middle-aged woman with the droopy eye flinched as he shouted at her, lowered her hand, and said, "I think it's dogs you put down as mercy killings."
"You never had the misfortune to meet my children. However, this miserable, asbestos-contaminated room shall serve us for our first creative writing exercise. I want you all to close your eyes and relax, and try to feel what else this room might have been used for. Find it, pursue its thread, sift it and lift it from the dross that weighs it down, then write that down on paper. In pencil, ink, or blood if that's what it takes."
As the class meditated on the task in various sniffly, coughy and oozy ways, Leslie daFox sat down in a chair he suspected had once been used for bondage sessions by nursing students in the nineteen-thirties and sighed softly. Right now he should be at home shouting at the gardener.

Drake Davenport said...

Let's see... Beginnings... Oh, where to begin... (Pardon the pun.)

---
"Yeah, my flight takes off in two hours," Michael said, "and then there's a short layover in Denver."

"And then you'll be home?"

It had been so quick. It started out so innocently. But as soon as it was over, Michael came to the full realization of what he had done. He immediately wanted to see his wife, to say 'to hell' with the conference and take the first airplane back home.

But... he knew that she would never forgive him. The damage he had caused was irreversible. As it turned out, she nearly didn't. She was crushed. How close he came to losing her.

Somehow, though, they managed to work things out. Michael went back to his parents for an extended stay, to let things cool down. And now... he missed her more than ever.

She had called a few days ago saying that she was ready to get back together. Michael got the first ticket back home. He hoped... he hoped this could be a new beginning.

"Yes. Then I'll be home."

"Ok, good. I can't wait to see you."

"Hey," Michael added, "I just want you to know how much I love you."

"I know, honey. I-I love you t-"

Static. The line was dead. Michael flipped his phone shut. He opened it back up, and pressed redial.

"I'm sorry. The number you are trying to reach is no longer in servi-"

He shut the phone.

There must have been a problem with the phone company. Maybe the power went out at their house. It couldn't be anything too major.

Then Michael glanced at the board with the flight schedule. His flight was delayed. When had that happened? And then, a few more were delayed. All of them were delayed. Simultaneously, he saw the word "cancelled" cover the board. Every single one of them.

The tv in the corner was tuned into the news. He walked up to it and saw explosion after explosion. Must have been covering something in the middle east. But no. He looked again. "Chicago", it said. It switched views. "New York." "Miami."

What was happening?!

They started replaying events from moments before. He saw meteors crashing towards all the major cities of the country. But meteors don't hover. And they don't rain fire down at the buildings.

Michael knew what he needed to do. He had to find her. He had to find her whatever the cost. He couldn't stand the thought of losing her again. Especially not like this, just when they were starting to get things together.

But, looking at the screen again, whatever those things were that were destroying the cities, he knew that this would only be the beginning.

Marc said...

Greg - revising Lessons in the Dust will be my writing job this winter ;)

That's quite the teacher you've concocted for us! I kinda like him :)

Drake - that was quite excellent! I'm already in his corner, cheering him on to go find his woman.