Wednesday April 24th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the shift.

Managed to get all of our broccoli planted in the garden today, as well as some of our savoy cabbage. With things taking so long, I ended up going back out after dinner for an evening shift... which I believe is the first time I've done that this year.

We must be getting into the busy time of year or something.


A keen eye is required in my line of work. There are a lot of critical details of the subtle variety, none of which you want to miss. Not if you want to survive.

You will be tempted by distractions, slight of hand nonsense. Do not allow yourself to be drawn in. Keep your focus where it ought to be. Where it must be.

There will be days and nights when you are not at your best. Too much drink, too little food. A quarrel with an old friend or lover tugs at your thoughts. When these times are at hand, remember one thing above all others.

When a man shifts his weight in order to reach for his gun, you better be ready to draw.


Greg said...

Heh, you mean you're self-employed and yet... you're working overtime? ;-D It kind of makes sense though, you need to get the job finished now, not in six months time when nothing will be growing anymore.
Heh, do I detect a hint of longing for a return to How the Best was Won? I can imagine Ben talking like this, expounding wisdom over a cigar and a campfire, while Red snorts and remembers the time that Ben nearly got shot because he thought the other guy was trying to catch butterflies.

The shift
Sberychev seemed almost ghostlike as the quantum prison shifted around both him and the Snake. The sirens still dopplered about them, but the purple haze deepened towards plum as though reddening with embarassment at how easily Sberychev eluded it. The Snake looked about him, scared to move, not knowing what was really happening. His tongue flickered over dry lips, and his fingers rubbed against each other, longing for something to fidget with.
The haze thickened suddenly, and suffused with red the colour of old blood. Then there was a pop like a cork from a champagne bottle and the light became normal. For a moment there was the shock of cold air and the disorientation of direct sunlight, and then there was the shock of impact as they both dropped three feet through thin air to stagger and stumble on scrub desert.
"What the...?" breathed the Snake, on his knees, and looking around him. The light was so bright it forced him to squint.
"Well isn't that interesting?" said Sberychev, sitting up. "The prison must be constantly on the move, drifting around the world. I'm guessing they put you into it in New York?"
The Snake shook his head. "Rome," he said.
"Ah," said Sberychev. "Well that's good at least, they won't know where we dropped out of the prison."
"And the bad news?"
"Neither do we."

morganna said...

Back from a trip to the desert. For anyone not familiar with the American Southwest, mesa means butte or tableland.
The mesa rises sharply up
From the desert valley floor of saltbush and sage
Up top, pinon junipers thrive.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Okay, a few things:
1) Mine got long. Again. Sorry not sorry.
2) I've included some links to clear some things up a bit in this. There're threads getting connected, here. Get excited.
But maybe not too excited.
- - - - - -
Rolling out of bed carefully, so as not to wake the Prince, Max dug around in his vest pocket. He pulled out the battered deck of cards, and set them on the floor before him, staring at them quizzically. To look at them, there wasn't anything special about them. They were old, but the wear suggested more than age, these cards have been through the valley, as it were.

He picked them up again, skeptically. He swore his fingertips prickled a little. Tentatively he began to shuffle them, as he had done a few days ago for the academic. And again the sensation spread from his fingers into his hands as he did so, coming much faster this time. Max continued to shuffle, closing his eyes and trying not to shudder against the feeling coursing up his arms into the rest of his slight body. But the only reason he shuddered anyway wasn't because it was unpleasant, quite the contrary: it felt like ice-cold water pouring over his head on one of those unbearably hot days, strange but wonderful.

He only shuddered because something was shifting, either in him or elsewhere, and he just wasn't used to it.

Still with his eyes closed, he began to draw and lay down cards as the sensation dictated, shuffling as he went. In this way, he saw when he opened his eyes, he had recreated both parts of the spread he had done for the academic.

No, he thought, not exactly the same. He picked up the stack for the dymaxion, the force of change. Something else had to be said for it this time.

He set it aside and fanned it out. The two of clubs still lay under it, but the Traveller wasn't there. He had to shuffle more, so he did.

The clan, his sister, even the Avo only called him Max, but for as long as he could remember he knew full well that Dymaxion was his given name. According to both Marcie and the Avo his father had picked it without hesitation. It was an unusual name, but it was a wanderer's name: the circular-yet-triangular force of change was the instigator of a lot of things in their people's folklore, not unlike a ghost in the machine. But Max had never seen the symbol before outside of that context, and certainly never on a card.

Max drew two more cards, and set them above the dymaxion, as the sensation dictated. The Traveller and the Goddess. The Traveller had been in his stack before, but this Traveller wasn't him, of that he was sure. Then something else shifted that compelled him to set the remaining cards on the corner of the Traveller. They just belonged together, something told him.

No, that wasn't quite right. He adjusted the cards so that the stack rested both on the Traveller and the dymaxion. Something trilled in his head, and he pulled his hand away in surprise.

But it wasn't surprising, not to whatever was shifting in his mind. It had just slid into place: The cards had belonged to the Traveller, and had now been passed to his Dymaxion.

Marc said...

Greg - well, if you count the time I watch Max, then yes. But if you just count the time I'm actually working on the farm... I might actually be working a normal day :P

And yes, that story has been on the back of my mind for quite some time now. I swear I'll do something about it eventually.

Ah, the grand escape has been completed! But what now? :)

Morganna - welcome back!

Lovely imagery. Makes me want to see that for myself.

g2 - fascinating stuff here. Love your descriptions. Really enjoyed the whole thing.