Sunday February 24th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the application.

I am sleepy and it is time for bed. So...


"How are your university applications coming along?" Dale's mother tried to sound nonchalant but anxiety was squeezing her vocal chords; the end result was somewhere between chain-smoking frog and tortured boar.

"Oh, you know, fine. Mostly." Dale didn't bother to turn to face his mother while addressing her, as he was far too consumed by his work. Besides, even a momentary loss of focus could lead to instant death for his video game character.

"Mostly?" His mother's voice had now overcorrected, sounding like a close relative of mouse with its leg stuck in a trap. "Anything I can help with?"

"No, it's cool. I got it."

"You're sure?" Dale's mother was, to say the least, not sure at all.

"Yeah, no worries." A brief pause to launch a rocket at his fleeing opponent. "I mean, it's not like any of these places I'm applying actually care about grammar... or grades... or criminal records..."


Greg said...

Heh, I've definitely been there with the attempt as nonchalancy coming out completely wrong. I think you've captured the worried mother perfectly though. Dale's response at the end is interesting though, and inclines me to wonder if he isn't Henri's son... ;-)
I love the notion of the chain-smoking frog!

The application
"This application is unusual," said über-lecturer Razhonik. He held out a form neatly filled in with typed text. "Look, they've used Didot."
"Whuh?" Professor Miyaki was very intelligent in his areas of speciality and nearly retarded in everything else, including manners, courtesy and interpersonal communication. He spat into the wastebin, which chimed with the force of it.
"Didot," said Razhonik patiently. "It's a classical typeface. Think of it as the typographical father of Courier."
"And that makes the application interesting, does it?"
"Yes, yes it does. Because it's the only one we've received that's typed. Because it uses a beautiful, albeit archaic typeface. And because it appears to have come from the biology department's computing cluster."
Professor Miyaki finally took the waving piece of paper from Razhonik's hand and scrutinised it. As the wrinkles around his eyes smoothed out, the muscles tightening and the squinting improving his vision enough to read, he seemed to somehow become the clever, respected head of department that he was.
"You mean that this appears to have come from the computer cluster qua computer cluster, don't you?" he asked. "Not from some individual using it?"
Razhonik nodded. "Yes. Our technology is applying for a place on a course about theoretical particle physics."
"Our biology technology," said Miyaki, frowning. "Can that be good?"
"We are three years into our five-year plan to take over some other department at the university," said Razhonik. "And we're about two years behind. I think this might be the opportunity we need to catch up."
There was a brief silence while Professor Miyaki considered this.
"Who is teaching this course?"
"Study-führer Simonplex."
"Ahhhh." Miykai smiled, and it was surely the smile the fish saw as the shark approached. "Good."

morganna said...

From my son's perspective.
Brushing your teeth is complicated, you know. Especially if you are seven, like me. First you have to get your toothbrush. But look! There's a new toothbrush in the holder! Where did it come from? You can't brush your teeth if you don't know who all the other toothbrushes belong to. I yelled at Mommy about the new toothbrush a few times. She kept saying, "Brush your teeth, it doesn't matter!" Of course it matters. But after I yelled enough, she yelled back, "It must be Daddy's!" Good. I hate little mysteries. Now I can put toothpaste on my own yellow toothbrush. I like my yellow toothbrush. I picked it out myself. I have to spin around the bathroom three times, humming, while I unscrew the toothpaste cap. What's that? Oh, Mommy yelling again. Don't worry, Mommy. I'm brushing my teeth. There. All done. Now I have to rinse my toothbrush very carefully. Aaagh! Mommy's yelling again! And this time she's taking the toothbrush and finishing the rinsing! She's not doing it right! Aaagh! She says it's done and it's time for boots and going to school. I wish I could have rinsed it my way.

Marc said...

Greg - ah yes, Henri. Perhaps it is time for him to make another appearance.

You've got some great lines in this one, descriptions that really bring the scene to life. This seems like a fun setting to play in :)

Morganna - always interesting to see things from another perspective. I think you captured this one perfectly :D