Sunday January 29th, 2012

The exercise:

Your theme for today: rooftops.

Kat and I went snowshoeing at Mount Baldy this morning and accidentally discovered a new trail. I was convinced that we had started at the same point as usual and just veered off it without noticing (I was in the lead, just following cross-country ski tracks and obviously not paying much attention).

But when we re-emerged from the trees we saw that our trail actually started several feet down the hill from where we were. Ah well, it was still good fun, even though I found it a little disorienting.

Oh, we also stopped at the lookout over Osoyoos on the way there and I took the following:


Travis took the stairs up to the roof two a time, his telescope clutched in his sweaty right hand. His boss had forced him to work late in order to finish the Benson presentation ahead of schedule - which just meant more time for important revisions - so he was bumping up against his personal deadline.

He emerged onto the rooftop, twenty-two storeys above street level, just as the sun dipped below the concrete horizon. After taking a few moments to catch his breath, Travis moved to the southern edge of his apartment building and set up his telescope.

As night swept over the city his precious stars began to appear, in ones and twos. He trained his magnified gaze on each one, but always returned to his absolute favorite.

There was just something especially captivating about Mrs. Jackson.


Greg said...

Mount Baldy? Really? Someone was having fun when they named that one! The picture is beautiful though, I may steal that as a desktop wallpaper. I really like the cloud hanging over the whole scene.
Oh and I do so do research before writing :-P
I do like who Travis's stars turn out to be. I definitely wasn't expecting that!

Red tiles
Offer scant purchase.
Only claws can grip, and
Four legs scrabble frantically
Trying not to fall
Off the edge of a sloping roof.
Puss purrs, when at last the
Soffit holds it safe.

Anonymous said...


No cat on this roof, (possums maybe but I rather hope not), but it is a hot tin roof. We checked it on Google Maps, zooming in, as we couldn’t see it from the road. (We’d wondered what we’d bought!)
We checked inside today, “It’s great inside,” he said. (Inside? You looked inside the roof?) Apparently it’s what he does, looks to check it’s clean with room to move for TV cables, storage, air con ducting... it’s a lot for a roof to cope with.
Luckily this one cuts it.
There’s a telescope in one of the boxes I unpacked, but the roof isn’t quite flat enough to sit up there. Well, what’s a couple of metres anyhow? Just venture outside in the garden, no street lights to interfere, might see Betelgeuse from there. 
Yeah this rooftop’s fine.

David said...

You know life gets away from you when you can't find the time to write 4 lines of prose or 4 lines of poetry.

But, alas ...

The Rooftop

Standing on the rooftop
She smiled
Making him Promise to love her
Launching themselves
At least
The Unsuspecting Pedestrians

Cathryn Leigh said...

Ha HA David, you're not the only one. I'm doing two replies sitting at my desk in the day job as my mind wakes up...


The word makes me think of Santa Calus and Chrsitmas songs. But I also remember a picture. Dad on the roof covered in snow.. More recently my hudsband when we got burried in the blizard. Snow still around us and piled high. Perhaps par of the course for you northern folks, but down here you don't expect two feet to get dumped upon you in the span of a week! So up goes hubby, because we just got our pellet stove. I'm in and out of the house. trying to keep an eye on him and the kids. Thankfully they're napping. It's him I'm worried about - up on the steep roof trying to insert a liner into the chimney...

Well it's all down now and the Family room gets nice and toasty cozey with the pellet stove going. If only we could get that heat to more of the house!

morganna said...

Skitter, skitter, thump!
What's that?!
Oh, just the squirrels using their quick cat getaway system.

Anonymous said...

Unhhh, been away for so long!! Had a fabulous end of week and weekend filled with contra dancing and fantastic company. Glad I took a little break and didn't shove too much into my days but missed here so much! Soooo, I decided to borrow an idea from last week and catch up on everything all at once : )

From the blank, frozen November of the city came a chorus of noise that could only be described as a fracas. Curtis looked up from his knitting and past the basket filled with balls of multicolored yarn that was perched on the windowsill next to him. He leaned forward, pushed the curtain slightly aside, and gaped at the massive assembly of crows gathered on the rooftop across the alleyway.

“I knew it, I knew it,” he muttered, swooshing the curtain back with a flourish, “Those crows have been planning something for years.” He swept the thoughts into a particularly grey area in the back of his mind and hastily escaped into his knitting, needles clicking furiously against each other.

On top of the neighboring building, number 677 Putnam Ct. to be precise, the crows filled the time till the Great Assembly would begin. Flapping and chattering amongst themselves, a hundred different conversations occurred in intense, dissonant union. Some of the young ones had been making short work of an area marked clearly with a half dozen, “Wet paint!! Stay off!!” signs. The loud squawks of their laughter echoed down the gap of the walls, startling a tomcat rooting through the trash.

Along the northernmost edge of the roof, three outcasts huddled together, pretending not to notice that the rest were pretending not to notice them. They were rebels to a degree that made many uneasy but they had been called all the same, so here they were, sharing their memories of summer quietly between them. Suddenly, every head turned to the West,

“ARGHHHH!!!” the writer’s voice cried out, a shrill outburst after the steady stroke of the keys, “That has to be the most ridiculous opening you’ve EVER written!”
Her right index finger held the backspace key down with particular ferocity, the lines disappearing rapidly.

She shoved backwards from the desk, the chair catching on the carpet and spinning wildly on its hydraulics. As it slowed, she flung her head back, arms hanging limply at her sides, moaning lightly. Why did her partner have to criticize the way she wrote, the words haunted through her mind, refusing to budge. Time slowed and silence descended. A small, timid thought arose in the stillness and she stood suddenly, marching off to the garden to speak to Lydia.

(Should note that this end bit is definitely not based on personal experience. Just couldn't think of how to phrase my own writing process.)

Iron Bess said...

Dam, all my comments got erased or something. Sigh.

Roof Top

Sweat trickled down between Anna’s breasts filling her bellybutton before it ran down into the thin fabric of her shorts. Her sneakers were sinking into the black tar which the heat of the sun was turning into thick Texas tea. Crouching beside the air intake vent of the building Anna felt as if the very air was being baked from her lungs. This had been the closest she had been to escape in a very long time so she wasn’t about to give up on it because of a little heat.

Again, she hazarded a quick peak around the corner and counted the heads which were almost obscured behind the large plate glass window. Four people sitting in the cool air conditioned interior chatted and laughed while enjoying drinks that sported umbrellas and fruit. Still too many, she thought. Her eyes stung as salty beads of moisture drip dripped from her hair onto her forehead then followed the lines furrowed on her face to her eyes.

Keeping low Anna backed slowly to the far side of the Buddha-house wall then inch by agonizing inch moved along the ledge to the back of the building. She breathed a sigh of relief as soon as she hit the deep shade being cast by the building next door, there were no windows on this side, so she knew that she could make a run for it. The exit from the roof top lay only ten meters away, she bent over and tied her laces tight then smiled. This time there would be nothing to stop her.

Krystin Scott said...

Bugger! I sat to write about a roof top, got an idea and it turned into this.....Sigh.

“The Cu Sith are coming!” Lysandra exclaimed.

Seth, the Lord of Darslan went pale and the once silent hall erupted with angry protests from the courtiers within. “The Cu Sith, hhhhere?” he stammered, but quickly recovered. “Guards! Ready your ...”

Lysandra cut him off in an instant. “My Lord, there is more. The Cu Sith are traveling with Oliana the Mage.”

Numerous gasps escaped the mouths of the unsuspecting crowd. A woman at one of the tables to the right of Seth screamed and then promptly fainted.

Annunciating each word as though it gave him great pains Seth bellowed “Oliana coming here!” He pounded his fist upon the table. “With the Cu Sith no less.”

Though somewhat amused by his tantrum, Lysandra continued on without hesitation. “The alliance between them would certainly be unstable given their history. Yet, there must be a justifiable reason why they would enter into such an agreement. The cause must be one they both deem important enough to put aside their differences. If that is the case and you threaten Oliana’s existence Kaelan and Darien will cut your men down.”

“Kaelan and Darien! Kaelan and Darien!” Seth laughed, as though the whole conversation had been a joke at his expense. “The Alpha would never leave his pack behind without his brothers guidance, you must be mistaken Lysandra.”

Lysandra’s voice became intense. “The High Priest, Orion La Geor, sought me out in Dumbarton and insisted I meet with him. He commanded me to arrive in Darslan before the next full moon, to inform you of their arrival.”

Seth stared at her unblinking, his mind racing with a wide range of defensive strategies. At last he shouted “Lower the gates, Scouts to the roof tops, Archers at the ready.”

But it was already too late, Kaelan, the largest of the two hounds swiftly shot through the hall’s arched entrance. With astounding agility he leapt deftly between the guards and jumped from table to table spilling platters of food and steins of ale onto the hall’s unfortunate attendants. With Darien not more than a few strides behind, Kaelan sprang up onto the Dias. He immediately launched himself at Seth knocking him backward and causing him to sprawl across the floor. Kaelan then stood, paw pressed firmly into Seth’s chest, mouth menacing and dripping saliva “Hold still foolish human.” he whispered so only Seth could hear.

The shocked crowd was stunned into silence. Then maniacal laughter suddenly filled the air, the crowd turned in the direction of the din, to see Oliana floating low to the floor on a cloud of mist. She tilted her head quizzically and looked toward the disgraced Seth. “Naughty, Naughty pet, didn’t your mum ever teach you not to play with your food?”

Anonymous said...

Ben preened a little bit and then, quite conspicuously, pivoted his ankles this way and that.

Julie looked unimpressed.
"And? Am I supposed to care about something?"

She had worked her way up to the kind of withering look reserved for nerds or music group 'tards.
Ben's lips compressed into a thin line.

"Are you being purposely obtuse or are you just trying to jerk my chain?"

Julie looked him up and down one more time, an expression rich with skepticism.

"Nope, sorry my lad, I just don't get what the hell I'm supposed to be seeing."

Ben rolled his eyes and blew out an exasperated breath. He pointed at his feet.

"These are *rooftops* oh blind one. They are the coolest thing this side of an iPad 3."
He did a funny little hop.
"Anyone whose even remotely serious about Parkour knows that these things can turn you into a beast."

He curved his shoulders and hooked his arms into a cross between a monkey stance and a bodybuilder pose.

"They have energy return gel all through the midsole, the latest in micro-lyrca arch and instep support and the treads are made of a polymerized compound that pretty much sticks to everything."

He turned an walked a few paces away and posed on the tiptoe.

Julie feigned a yawn.

"Wow," she said in as flat an intonation as possible. "Colour me dazzled."

Ben shook his head in evident disgust.

"Some people just can't see the awesome, even when it's right in front of them."

Ben flashed her a smile, crouched down into a runners starting stance and without another word raced across the gravelled roof with rapid crunching steps.

Julies eyes shot up in surprise and shock when he reached the edge and leapt out into space.

Marc said...

Greg - really? I'd just gotten to the point where I assumed you knew everything ever :P

Nicely done with the acrostic, I didn't actually notice on the first read.

Writebite - that rooftop sounds much better than fine :)

David - ah, it happens. And there's a reason my short prompts come along on Friday and Saturday :)

Great final lines, they really change the mood of the poem.

Elor - sounds like the danger was worth it :)

Morganna - haha, love that I could picture so much just from those sound effects.

H.N. - sounds like you made a good choice, glad your time away was well spent!

Great imagery and descriptions, and well done for fitting them all in there!

Iron Bess - yeah, Blogger can be a pain some times :/

Intriguing scene. Would love to hear about what she's escaping from and whether or not she makes it!

Krystin - haha, as long as you squeeze the prompt in there somewhere I have no room to complain!

Plus I'm quite pleased to see this saga continue :)

GZ - enjoyed the back and forth between your characters. You really brought them to life, mainly through dialogue. Nicely done :)