The third movie in the Oliver film club series - Life, Above All - was shown tonight. Still stunned. Can't really say much more than that at the moment.
Your prompt: courage.
Her courage is quiet,
Her greatest challenge:
To just keep going.
One foot in front of the other,
Despite the unimaginable burden
And the road unending.
You can see it in her eyes,
She will reach it one way or another,Her destination.
Two haiku about: the moving company.
I got a couple hours of work helping a lady move yesterday and earned a bit of cash and a writing prompt to boot. I'm still hoping and looking for something a bit more regular, but jobs like that certainly help in the meantime.
One's on crutches, the
other's ninety - of course they
charge by the hour.
* * *
The constant smoke breaks
I can sort of understand.The beer breaks, less so.
Do what you will with: the aftermath.
Apparently I just couldn't resist one more go at last week's story. But I'm done with it now, I swear!
Their response was predictably bureaucratic. Board members stumbled over each other in their rush to introduce new policies and operating procedures.
These were debated, refined, expanded, struck down, and reintroduced in due course. When the hot air finally settled the expanded paperwork was championed at news conferences, on televised interviews, in newspaper article after newspaper article.
The message was uniform and clear. Yes, of course it was a terrible tragedy. But all of these extra words in the manuals and standards, drawn up by your trusted representatives, would ensure nothing like it would ever happen again.
But, of course, it would. For they had not yet found a way to regulate human nature out of the equation.
Space Week draws to its inevitable conclusion today with: the landing.
I'm finishing up my story today and you're welcome to either do the same (with as many comments as required) or just keep on keeping on with it. I leave the choice in your creative hands.
Regardless, I'd just like to say thanks to you guys for making this week particularly enjoyable.
When the ship landed at last on Nukzhul, teams of medical personnel were ready and waiting for them. The moment the main gangway touched down they rushed on board, pulling carts overflowing with fully functioning Individual Environment Suits behind them. Once inside they split off in groups of twos and threes as they began their search for survivors.
There were, if they were being honest, more than they had expected. After all, they'd had no contact with the ship in the final two hours of the voyage aside from the automatons that had taken over the flight controls. Status updates would have been a waste of precious air.
Most of the survivors were in pairs, having shared their breathing apparatuses between them like Old World scuba divers submerged with a single tank. A few of the higher level Technicians had hacked their own suits and keyed in a scaled back oxygen output in order to extend their supply at a minimally life sustaining level.
A few lower level Technicians had attempted the same technique, with fatal results.
The Engine Room was the final area to be searched. The medical crew that had the dubious honor of exploring its claustrophobic corners filed the following report:
The deceased were found next to each other in the Engine Room. Dog tags identified the crew members as Timothy Higgins, Mechanic, Second Class and Miranda Sanchez, Mechanic, First Class.
All signs indicate they were working on an important adjustment on Engine Three. It is our belief that an argument broke out over the correct settings and a physical altercation ensued. At some point during this scuffle First Class Mechanic Sanchez's IES was irreparably damaged.
We believe that Second Class Mechanic Higgins was overwhelmed with grief at the unintended results of his actions and knelt over his fallen comrade for some moments, escorting her spirit to the other side. Eventually his pain was more than he could bear and he made the decision to take his own life with a kitchen knife. We are not certain how this weapon came to be in the Engine Room.
On a personal note, we would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to those on board that this was an isolated incident and that all other crew appear to have pulled together in the face of this terrifying emergency.
The grim truth of what had actually come to pass in the Engine Room was not brought to light until the video surveillance was reviewed several days later.
The penultimate day of Space Week brings us to a four line poem about: isolated/isolation.
I know some of you chose to work your Two Haiku Tuesday into your prose and you're welcome to do something similar today, especially with tomorrow being the grand finale.
I'm too stubborn to do anything of the sort, of course.
You're right where I want you,
No one else is near;
Scream as loud as you wish,Not a soul will hear.
Space week draws nearer to its conclusion with four lines of prose about: the escort.
I'm sticking directly to the challenge, but I'm willing to let you guys slide if you wish to expand a little since this could be a rather constricting day. But maybe keep it to four paragraphs?
Alternatively you could view this as a chance to ramp up the tension with just four lines as we head into the final two days. Up to each of you though, as always.
"Mechanic Second Class Higgins," Sanchez replied with a strained smile, struggling to contain her contempt for the incompetent grease monkey who had interrupted her thoughts.
"Heading for the Engine Room?" he asked, glancing over his shoulder for no apparent reason.
"Yes," came the reply after two soft hisses from her IES and no reasonable lies coming to mind.
"Me too," Higgins said a little too eagerly, "and I'll be happy to escort you!"
Space week continues with the prompt: adjustments.
In order for mine (and, awesomely enough, pretty much everybody's in the comments as well) to make sense, you'll have to go back to Monday and the beginning of Space Week and read from there, as each of us is working on our own continuous story.
I have no idea how I'll manage to wrap all this up with Sunday's post, but I'm determined to find a way. So, consider that fair warning that my writing on the last day could be like two thousand words.
I'm mostly joking.
It had been a difficult adjustment after Eric had left. His declaration that he was accepting a promotion to Head Engineer on another ship had blindsided her and left her to raise her son alone.
Eric may not have been the father, but he had made promises when he first entered her life. Now, on top of her motherly responsibilities, she was burdened by feelings of betrayal, violation, and bitterness.
And now this. Faced with a ticking time bomb with only three options, the last of which was utterly out of the question.
1. They both would die.
2. She would die so that he would live.
3. He would die so...
She couldn't even finish the thought.
Looking up from where he lay sleeping on his bunk, his IES making it seem like he was a patient in the infirmary, the clock embedded on the wall of their compartment showed her there was only six hours of oxygen left for both of them. Which left just five hours for her.
If Eric hadn't left he could have saved us both.
She knew it wasn't a fair thought, but she was too angry and frightened to care. Rising from her seat at their shared desk, she moved silently to the door of their room. She paused to look back at her boy before exiting, reluctant to be apart from him for even a moment.
But she still had her duties to attend to and the call had come in for some adjustments to be made on Engine Three. No point sacrificing herself and then have a ship failure render it meaningless.
Leaving the room and turning left, a thought crept into her mind and took hold with barbed, icy fingers. It nearly stopped her in her tracks but she forced herself to continue walking as it tumbled over and over through her head.
What if there was a delay and her son needed more than an extra hour of air?
She was so troubled by this possibility that she didn't hear her name being called somewhere behind her until the third try.
"First Class Mechanic Sanchez!"
In case you're just joining us, the theme for this week's writing is outer space. I'm rather pleased with what has resulted from it so far. Shall the trend continue? I suspect it shall.
Because you guys kick ass.
Because you guys kick ass.
Today's prompt is: the key.
Timothy Higgins, Mechanic, Second Class.
The job title had always grated on him, for it was more than just a designation of rank. It marked his place in the ship's caste system.
One rung above the bumbling idiots in Third Class and, much more to the point, one below those arrogant First Class pricks. And they made damned sure it was never forgotten, always passing on the work they considered beneath their universe-class skills to those in the Second Class. Talking down their noses all the while.
As Higgins walked through an empty corridor on Deck 8, he had two items in his pockets. He kept his hands away from both, though the rhythmic hiss of his breathing apparatus made sure his thoughts never strayed very far from either item.
The first, lying crumpled at the bottom of his left pant pocket, was a piece of paper with three hastily scrawled names on it. These were the worst offenders in First Class, the ones he knew had argued against his promotion to their lofty ranks.
If he was going to do this anyway, he might as well get some revenge while he was at it.
The other item, secreted away in his right pant pocket, was a knife he'd stolen from the galley shortly after the second announcement had come from Captain Romero.
Whichever of the three he could isolate first would be his ticket to survival. The key, he knew all too well, would be to kill his target without damaging their IES.
Space week continues with two haiku about: decisions.
I've decided to take the challenge and have all my posts this week relate to each other. I'm hoping to wrap the story up on Sunday but I haven't planned this out at all, so we'll see how that turns out.
Today's haiku are meant to portray the responses of two different crew members to the situation that's just begun to develop in yesterday's writing.
The math is clear: by
the thirteenth hour one must
die so he may live.
* * *
Elsewhere a mother
holds her son and contemplatesone last sacrifice
Greg made a suggestion almost two weeks ago about having an overarching theme for a week's worth of prompts, and I've decided to test it out this week. You're welcome to have all your responses relate to each other (though with Two Haiku Tuesday coming up tomorrow that could be a challenge) or have them be stand alone pieces.
So here we go. The theme for this week? Outer space.
And today's prompt: contact.
The collision had seemed insignificant at first. Some of the crew weren't even aware that the asteroid had made contact with the hull of the ship. In fact, when the announcement came from Captain Romero over the comm system that they were leaking oxygen, many thought he was joking.
He was not.
A second announcement soon followed the first, this one instructing all crew to don their IES (Individual Environment Suits) while they re-routed to Nukzhul for emergency repairs. The oxygen tanks affixed to the back of each IES would provide enough air for a person at rest to survive for fourteen hours.
Panic didn't truly take hold until the first crewman realized that Nukzhul was fifteen hours away.
Let us do some more continuations. Just pick up the story where the last person left off and do what you will with it for a little while.
We had Kat's parents down for dinner tonight, and then afterward we had a Skype chat with Kat's brother and his family. Our niece was definitely the star of that little show.
The crowd gathered in the town square to hear the speech, huddling in clusters of friends and family for warmth. The only sounds to be heard were created by shifting feet on the hard packed snow. The result was similar to the discontented groans the people didn't dare allow escape from their throats.
The soldiers patrolling the perimeter of the square were watching far too closely for such foolishness to emerge.
Minutes crawled by like an advancing glacier, but still the royal balcony remained empty. Their overlord enjoyed making his subjects wait.
As the sun sank wearily toward the horizon, murmurs began to spread through the townsfolk. Then the soldiers started exchanging nervous glances and gripping their weapons a little tighter. The same question tumbled through every frost-bitten mind.
Where was King Morris?
A four line poem to do with: repetition.
Kat and I worked the local municipal election today and it went pretty well. We got there at 7:30 this morning, the polls opened at 8 and then, aside from half an hour each for lunch and dinner, we worked until the polls closed at 8pm. And then we stayed an extra hour to help clean up and sort ballots and whatnot.
So yeah, a little drowsy now.
Back to the point, one person at each table was required to inform each voter of a few things. I didn't have to do it very often (as my co-worker preferred doing that over registering voters on the computer), but I could see how saying the same thing over and over all day could get a little tiring. Thus the prompt, and thus my take on it.
The same words come tumbling out,
Always in the same damned order;
For the love of all that's good,Someone get me a recorder!
Four lines of prose about: shake/shaken/shaking/boom shakalaka.
Okay, maybe not that last one.
Too late, the voices in my head cry out, for Greg has already begun writing!
Anyway. We had ourselves a little earthquake here this morning. It was a 4.6 magnitude shaker that woke us up shortly after 5am. Since the epicenter was less than 100 km away the house did perform a brief wiggle.
To say that it was a rather confusing and disorienting scene would be an understatement. We weren't even sure it was a quake until Kat checked the news after breakfast.
As best I can recall that's the first quake I've ever felt. Not sure I'd want to experience anything much stronger.
The news had rocked him to his very core. Hours after word had first reached him, he sat at his kitchen table, staring at nothing. His pumpkin soup sat cold and ignored in a brown bowl in front of him, a corner of his black phone barely visible in the center.
After all those years of playing, he'd finally won the lottery.
Let's go with: preserved.
I made an apple delivery to the restaurant this morning, as they finally have some time to do some preservation work. Before I left the chef said he had a gift for me and disappeared around the corner. He came back with a quince and lavender marmalade that he'd recently made (hadn't even put a label on it yet).
Very unexpected, very appreciated, and, as I discovered shortly after I got home, very tasty.
Plus he mentioned that next time I come by he'll have something for me that he made from our apples as well. Sweet deal!
The cupboards are filled
With bottles of red and green,
Summer's sweet harvest
Saved to brighten Winter's scenes
And enliven tongues
When fresh produce becomes lean.
Their numbers will shrink
As the days slowly crawl by;
We know there's enough,
And if we don't we just lie.
Until at long lastWith a smug smile, Spring arrives.
Write something that takes place in: Paris.
We went up to Oliver this evening for the second movie in the film club series and thankfully it was light years better than the first one. Midnight in Paris was a whole lot of fun; if you haven't seen it, consider it recommended.
He finds a table at the sidewalk cafe in a prime location. From there he's able to people watch in three directions - up and down the street the cafe is situated on, as well as up the avenue that crosses directly beside it. His view down the avenue is blocked by a delivery truck, but he assumes it will be moving on sooner than later.
The cafe is not busy, and he has not been in Paris long enough to understand this means the fare is subpar and the coffee much worse. His waitress knows both of these things but can't be bothered to inform him. She simply takes his order while grimacing as he butchers the native tongue before returning to the dark interior of the business her father runs.
Puddles from the previous night's rain reflect the morning sunshine with blinding enthusiasm while he waits for his breakfast. A pair of pigeons alight on the table next to his and eye him expectantly, as though they know he'll be unable to finish his meal without their help.
Thinking them cute, he takes their picture before returning his gaze to the steady stream of humanity flowing past him. He doesn't think to wonder why none of them stop at the cafe he's chosen.
When his cell phone rings he listens to the voice at the other end of the line without speaking, then hangs up and tosses it in the trash. The waitress sees this as she is bringing the man's breakfast to him but thinks nothing of it.
Not until he stands and points a gun at her face.
Two haiku about: revenge.
Reading one of my favorite author's latest novels and felt inspired. The Whisperers by John Connolly, in case you were wondering.
Spent a portion of the clear, cool morning chopping firewood. Now I'm sitting in front of our fireplace while some of that wood burns. Mmm, full circle.
A dish best served cold?
Sounds like a game best saved for
a more patient man.
* * *
Anger blurs reason.
A direction is chosenbefore vision clears.
Write about: the blanket.
We had a storm pass through this morning that left behind a blanket of snow. Once the snow stopped falling and the wind died down, I went and took a picture:
Most of what fell around us has melted already, but the hills are still covered.
"Your grandfather's blanket has to be around here somewhere!" He'd never seen his mother in such a frantic state before. She was tossing aside cardboard boxes without a care as to where they might land, and she'd already dropped a tattered dictionary on her foot.
"Maybe it grew legs and walked off?" He was hoping to lighten her mood but it did no good. In fact, it made things even worse.
"If you're just going to stand in the way and make stupid jokes you can go hang out with your friends and get drunk and smoke cigarettes!" Her voice was so shrill it felt like she'd driven nails into both his ears.
"It's just a stupid blanket!" He yelled as he made for the door. "I don't know why you're wasting your time looking for it!"
He slammed the door and stomped down the front stairs. He knew he shouldn't have said those things, but it was far easier than telling her that he'd thrown the blanket away the previous summer.
Write a little something to do with: the agent.
Winter cover crops have been seeded, most of the leaves in the yard have been raked, and there's even a reasonable amount of firewood in our backyard box. It's been a good day.
The text had arrived on my phone while I was still cooking breakfast, just a few minutes before noon. I'd tried sleeping through my hangover but that hadn't worked out particularly well, so I was preparing to kill it with greasy goodness. The message had eliminated that option with impressive efficiency.
Audition booked @ Timmon's Theater 1pm
I was out the door so fast I spent the majority of the fifty minute trip to the theater wondering if I'd remembered to turn off the stove. The rest of the time I speculated about the role, the movie, the leading lady who would be working opposite me.
My big break. This had to be it. I had done the training, the legwork, sucked up to the right people, shook the right hands. Hollywood was a game and I was playing by the rules. Success had to follow, that was all there was to it.
So when I stepped out of the taxi and saw the schmucks huddled outside the theater I only grew more confident. This was my competition? Please. I could sleepwalk through this audition and still blow them all out of the water.
I strode inside, not bothering to hide my smile.
Which just meant it died a very obvious death when I realized that the auditions were for the newest commercial commissioned by ex-lax.
I called my agent and fired him on the spot.
A four line poem about: the champion.
Kat and I finally got started with the cover crop seeds this morning. We got most of it done by the time our bellies began demanding lunch, and then the rain came around for a visit. Well, it rained here. Not so far up on the mountains it was snow.
It's only a matter of time now...
Battered, broken, bloodied, and bruised,
He emerges victorious;
He'll carry those scars to his grave,Isn't it all so glorious?
What with today being 11/11/11, I figured we'd go with four lines of prose about: one by one.
Today I spread wood shavings, rototilled, and raked up the walnut tree leaves in our front yard.
Tonight is my first Friday night at home without a market to go to in the morning since May 27th.
Tomorrow morning I sleep.
It was simple, really. He just had to go through the list, one by one. Take care of the first, then the second, and so on until his work was finished.
Then, once he'd reached the final name and all those men were dead, he could rest at last.
Today we write about: the locket.
Busy morning around these parts. Helped Kat's dad pick up and unload two truckloads of wood shavings (for general garden use) and then rented a rototiller (to till between the rows of strawberry plants).
The afternoon settled down a little but we'll be back out there tomorrow to work on spreading the wood shavings and seeding the winter cover crops.
I didn't mean it to be, but this ended up being a continuation from yesterday's writing.
Sorting through the ashes, it was the only thing of value he found. Silver, heart-shaped, its chain missing. Its contents a mystery, as the heat of the fire had sealed it shut. A jackhammer might have managed to get it open but he wasn't about to go looking for one.
Besides, what did it matter whose picture was inside? And what business of his was it to find out? Just useless, distracting curiosity. Keeping his mind away from the haunting landscape he was traveling through.
He was on foot now. The damned gas tank sprang a leak. Must have been a rock the tires kicked up when he was driving cross country to avoid a town he hadn't liked the look of. In hindsight, he guessed he should have just taken his chances. Probably would have been fine.
Or maybe he'd be captured or dead or worse.
He stuffed the locket in a jacket pocket and moved through the remains of the house toward the front door. He couldn't explain why he didn't just leave it behind. He couldn't explain why he did much of anything those days.
Movement in the shadows across the street. He decided the back door was a better option.
At least he could explain why he made that choice.
Write about: the way.
Quiet day here today, though I did manage to get into town to vote at the advance poll. Now I don't have to worry about voting on the day I'm working, and I also got to meet the woman I'll be working with that day as she was working at the table I went to.
It's good to know at least one of us will know what we're doing.
He sat behind the wheel and studied the map pressed against the steering wheel. The engine was running, burning precious fuel, but he didn't dare shut it off. What if he needed to leave in a hurry and the damned thing wouldn't turn over?
Best not to think about that. Best to concentrate on the map, to find a way through. There had to be one; he just needed to figure it out, that was all.
The low rumble of his stomach diverted his attention to his watch momentarily. Not time to eat yet. He was just playing a little game, testing out his will power. If he won his food supplies would last until he arrived at his destination. If he lost...
Best not to think about that, either.
The highways would be clogged with abandoned vehicles. Ambushes waiting to happen, those. Better to stick to side roads and hope for the best. Hope they weren't watching those.
A siren in the distance, approaching fast. Time to move.
Two haiku about: early morning.
Spent the day working on writing projects and chopping wood. Sounds like a good winter day to me. Too bad it's still fall, for crying out loud.
The purest silence,
the sun's first tentative touch;
I watch and wonder.
* * *
I'm sure it's quite nice
and all that, but don't ask me -I slept right through it.
Write about: yearning.
It's getting darn chilly here. I saw a handful of snowflakes fluttering down from the clouds at one point this afternoon. Too soon!
Ah well, the fireplace helps soothe the pain.
Sitting solemnly at his desk,
Blank pages and trusted pen,
The words refusing to come play
And he can't remember when
Or if they ever did before,
Or if they will again.
Chin resting in an upturned hand,
An idea deep within
Begins aching for escaping,
Crawling beneath his pale skin,
But this constant fear of failureWill not let him begin.
Upon our return to Osoyoos, let's go with: the godfather.
Kat and I got back safely this afternoon after a long but uneventful drive. We did see some snow at the sides of the road, but thankfully none of it where our car would have to deal with it.
Had a great time seeing friends and family in Vancouver and we're hoping to get back there a little more often than we have so far.
The bartender has the Amaretto in one hand and the Scotch in the other before I even manage to make my way to the bar. As I slump onto my stool he slides the cocktail in my direction without a word and leaves to take an order from another customer.
I take a sip and collect my thoughts. It's been a busy day and sleep isn't likely to be in my near future. Not with my troubling client due to arrive at any moment.
Taking another sip, I catch the bartender's eye as he passes and nod my gratitude. He shows no sign that he noticed but I know there will be another Godfather in front of me before my first is in the same area code as finished.
There's a slight lessening in the volume of the room and that's all I need to know that my client has arrived. She's a looker, all right; I'm not going to pretend I haven't noticed. But as long as she's paying my electricity bill I'm not doing anything more than noticing. After that, well...
"Good evening Detective," she says, taking the stool next to mine. "You look like you've been working hard. I trust the results match the efforts?"
"Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't." I take another sip and watch her chew her bottom lip. I continue on before my imagination takes over. "And this time, they do."
"Lucky for me."
"We'll see how you feel about that after looking at these." I pass her the envelope and look away. I don't want to see that pretty face while she surveys the proof of her husband's true nature.
A four line poem about: undercover.
Be back tomorrow!
Shake hands with the devil,
But don't become his friend;
Don't forget your halo,Or this will be your end.
Four lines of prose about: the struggle.
Off in Vancouver to see friends, be back on Sunday.
He had struggled mightily to stay awake, sacrificing cup after cup of foul coffee in the effort. Victory seemed assured until defeat arrived out of nowhere, like a lightning bolt from a clear blue sky. The telephone pole had moved like a ninja, he'd told the frowning policeman with the pen and writing pad.
Now, surveying the wreckage as the fire crew began packing up to head home, he wondered if he'd ever be allowed to drive the school bus again.
Kat and I are off to Vancouver for a quick visit with friends, be back on Sunday. I'm scheduling posts to cover me in my absence, as I'm not sure what my internet access will be like.
Anyway, let's get 'er started with: evidence.
My technique is flawless. It's taken years of polish, but my criminal empire cannot be demolished. Certainly not by that bumbling Detective Wallace!
He cannot see what is plain to me. The way I climbed that tree, entered through there without a key, played briefly with the daughter's stuffed honeybee, strolled this hallway while whistling off-key. Though I think he might finally have a list of all the things I got for free.
Let's go with: a light in the dark.
Because Kat and I went up to Oliver to watch Cave of Forgotten Dreams, the first in this year's Oliver Film Club series. Kat's parents got me the tickets for my birthday, which was very thoughtful.
The rest of the day was spent finishing off the garden prep for winterizing, running errands in town, and attending our election worker training session. Election day is November 19th, and it's looking like it's going to be a long one.
There were certainly plenty of flashlights slashing through the dark caves in the movie, but sadly that's not where the prompt idea came from.
You see, the movie had a rather fascinating subject matter (incredibly old cave drawings discovered in France), but with a running time of an hour and a half there was just too much... wasted space, I suppose. In fact I'd guess that there may have been, grand total, about ten minutes of interesting footage.
Sprinkled very sparsely throughout.
So, by the time the credits rolled, I had come to think of those moments as lights in the darkness.
The darkness of Boring Town.
Hopefully the next movie in the series gets us back to Enjoyableville.
Happy November all, and good luck to those of you participating in NaNoWriMo this year. After two successful attempts in a row I'm choosing to skip this one in order to avoid having yet another story in first draft. Because, you know, maybe I should give second draft a try.
Anyway. Two Haiku Tuesday has a demand for you. And that demand is: don't give up.
The odds may look bleak,
Hope might wither and blacken;
Keep on anyway.
* * *
Your job is not done,
My friend, for as long as theBuffet's still open