Wednesday February 8th, 2012

The exercise:

Today we write about: neon lights.

I've had a bit of an up and down kind of day. About ready to get it over and try again tomorrow.


The neon Open sign in the store window flickers off and on for several seconds before finally giving up the ghost. Sally, standing behind the cash register with one hand in the cash drawer, stares at the sign, rage erupting in her eyes.

I'm surprised it doesn't come back to life out of fear.

"That happen a lot?" I ask with a soft chuckle. Well, that was my intention. It came out more like a cat coughing up a hairball.

"Only every damned night," she says without moving her gaze. "I warned Bill what would happen if we didn't get a new one."

"I guess they're pretty expensive to..." My words whimper into submission as Sally produces a shotgun from underneath the counter. Has that always been there?

"I warned him," she says again, loading a round into the chamber. If she says anything more it's smothered by the shotgun blast and the sound of the sign and window exploding out into the night.


writebite said...

Neon Lights

Neon lights flicker and shine in the city 
that never sleeps. 
At first they entice you, they look so glitzy. Colours, shapes, sculpted forms, icons, words phrases, it’s all there - an advertising mecca.
Try to sleep in the hotel room on the main drag, though, and you’ll start to see the other side. You can’t sleep in a city that won’t sleep because its fried chicken is more important than your diurnal cycle.
Live that way and eventually it will impact on you. Headaches, depression and bad mood swings will erode a once happy disposition. You’d better not work in health care or the ones you care for will be at risk as the neon gets under your skin.
Stay for years longer than you intended and what was once fun becomes a way of life - seething, skulking, dour. 
Light wasn’t meant to be neon.

Greg said...

@Writebite: very thoughtful; I like the editorial tone.

@Marc: short of time again, as always these days :) I did think when I sent you that email that I might have dumped a lot of info on you!
I like Sally, and her approach to life!

Neon lights
"I don't know, mom," said Annabelle, frowning. "It doesn't look very... Christmassy to me."
"It's a tree, there are lights," said her mother, slurring her words and stumbling. She caught herself against the wall, and the whiskey sloshed inside its bottle, straining for the neck and falling well short.
"Yes. Yes, but it's a dead tree," said Annabelle, frowning harder and wrinkling her pretty face. "In fact, it's a rotting log you've stood up on end and shoved some branches in."
"Its. A. Tree." Her mother's voice was getting warningly growly.
"And the lights are just bar signs you've stolen and plugged in somehow," continued Annabelle. "'Pabst' isn't really Christmassy either."
"I like Pabst," said her mother. "What's the problem?"
"The bar owners are here and want their signs back."

writebite said...

greg, brilliantly funny!

Cathryn Leigh said...

@Marc – I suspect your narrator likes Sally, a bit startled by her reaction though eh? *giggles*

@writebite – ick, you make me glad I live in the country. But then I was never a city girl anyway.

@Greg - *snickers* a rotten trunk with neon signs to light it up... that’s worse than the year we had a Christmas Wreath *shudders* that wasn’t the greatest of Christmasses.. I feel sorry for Annebelle.

And for me it’s a ramble day, tossing my thoughts and chemistry background at you :}

Neon Lights

The whole name is a farce you know; Neon lights. It’s only the red-orange that’s neon. The other colors are made by other noble gasses, or worse, colored fluorescent lights.

And noble gasses? Who thought to call them that? Are they noble because they don’t like to bond with any of the other elements? Goes to show just what we think of the nobility, huh. Maybe we should call them content gasses? They are content to be what they are, not bothering trying to find another element to ‘complete’ them.

Ha! There I go again trying to assign human traits to elements and molecules. Still it did make study hall fun and our group did well on the tests.

But enough rambling, I should make a concerted effort to complete my performance evaluations. Those feel as much of a farce as Neon Lights...

morganna said...

This is an old poem from my blog -- I think the original was in response to another prompt here.

Northgate Mile

Coming over the hill, headlights
Catch the faded gleam of neon.
Here the old buildings sit, crumbling,
Watching the days turn into nights,
Pretending to be young again.
See the windows brighten, lights glow.
See it as one of the town’s sights.

And the link on my blog: Northgate Mile

Krystin Scott said...

When I was just kid my Momma and Daddy took our family on trip. My sister and I didn’t know where we was going, Momma just packed our things up in the car and Daddy drove off. They never used a map, stopped when we wanted, when we got hungry or when someone needed to pee but other than that we just drove on.

Two days later we made it to New Brunswick, stopped off to see some family for a bit; then got back in the car. Guess when you don’t know where your going the pull to go back home is strong. I saw New York City for the first time that night. The city called to me with its bright lights and flashy neons. Saw a taxi for the first time too and I’ll be danged if they don’t look just like they do on TV.

I could picture myself here walking the streets dressed in an executive’s jacket and carrying a sleek little briefcase. Maybe doing some modeling work, maybe acting too, isn’t that what most people did here?
I told Momma I was gonna move there some day, leave our farm out in the woods and venture out to see what the world had to offer. She didn’t say much, just smiled at me that way she does when she knows more then what she’s telling.

Learned what Jay-Walking was later that night. It’s an experience you won’t forget having some mean ole policeman on a horse yell at you just for trying to cross the street. Did you know you can’t pet a policemen’s horse in New York? They get more than a bit mad bout that, dunno why though. We had horses back on our farm in Florida; they don’t mind it when you pet um. They like to be scratched too their kinda like giant dogs, but they run faster.

Grondzilla said...

He sits hunched over in front of the glow of the two flat screens. His mind is a blank. If this were like working in Photoshop that second screen would be there to help him out, an array of palettes and tools ready to unleash his imagination at a moments notice. That second screen helps to express Yi, to make intent become action and, when he so chooses, express his will upon still waters.

Presently the second screen is mocking him. The primary monitor is a blank canvas, daring him to bring the mental brush down and create something from nothing. The second monitor just displays an image and when that image changes it's essentially flipping him the bird as he knows what the delay is on that function.

Another images flickers to life and he can hear the little technical imps laughing at his progress.

“Weren't there some words over there a few minutes back?” They mock, jerking their heads to port.

Mentally, he gives them the finger.

His gaze drifts over to the empty cup, to the sleeping cat, to the stack of CDs waiting to be ripped into the digital library.

He sighs. Scoop up the cup, push back the chair, trudge across the room. Out of the small pool of light cast by the desk lamp he looks back and watches, hypnotized, as the case fan spins lit from within by brilliant Neon LEDs.

That glow is the beacon that will draw him back here to sit, cup refilled, and wrestle to punch a coloured hole in the blank white world.

Marc said...

Writebite - great observations and details, perfectly summed up in that final line.

Greg - I thought Sally might appeal to you :)

And this is one heck of a Christmas tree!

Cathryn - haha, I particularly liked the paragraph about the gases being noble :)

Morganna - that's great work. Very haunting.

Krystin - great voice here! This in particular is a fun line, in a piece full of fun lines:

"She didn’t say much, just smiled at me that way she does when she knows more then what she’s telling."

GZ - great, great descriptions and details. That's a wonderfully vivid scene. Love that final sentence too.