Monday July 22nd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something that has been: repurposed.

I went into Kat's parents home during my morning break to get some water and started reading John Grisham's Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer after I found it in their living room. Kat's dad always has a few books checked out of the library and I tend to at least glance at them whenever I'm up there.

Anyway. In the opening chapter there is a reference to a hearse being repurposed for... a business vehicle that sold cheese, or something. It was painted bright yellow, at any rate. I stopped reading right at that point, as I needed to get back to the garden.

While I was out there I was thinking of all sorts of lines that could follow that description. When I went back in again later on I picked up the book... and was quite disappointed when it was just left at that.

Perhaps later on it gets expanded upon. I hope so, as I think there's a lot of fun to be had with that vehicle.

For now, though, we get my take on it.


When Valerie bought the hearse at the funeral home's liquidation sale more than a few heads turned her way in surprise. She'd never really struck any of them as the morbid sort. And while the price she paid was more than reasonable, it certainly wasn't cheap enough to give the impression that a tight budget was the main motivation for the purchase.

The coat of bright yellow paint, her neighbours were quick to agree, definitely made it a cheerier sight when it was parked in Valerie's driveway. The shape of the hearse, however, remained the same. And that made it impossible to forget its previous career.

Valerie didn't care what her friends and family thought, much less her nosy community. She was not concerned by their ability to see her new car as nothing more than a hearse with a dash of sunshine splashed across its outside.

She hadn't painted it for them.

She had painted it solely in the hopes that its former occupants would no longer recognize it.

And they didn't, for a while. But you can only fool angry ghosts for so long...


Greg Bennett said...

Sometimes it's the smallest, throwaway details that an author adds in that create the most interest. It's definitely good for us though, since it gives us writing prompts!
I quite like Valerie and her sense of optimism, though I wonder quite how she's going to cope when the angry ghosts work out the trick she's played on them! You've given us a very nice, somewhat bucolic scene with the threat of something terrible on the horizon – a perfect set-up for a horror story!

The idea was simple enough, and Bill and Ben, gentlemen thieves, would while away coffee breaks arguing genteely over whose idea it had been in the first place. With the privatisation of the health service offering a reliable, economical service was a clear winner in the eyes of the public, and spotting the hearse – in nearly mint condition – at the auction had been a stroke of fantastic luck. Bill had repainted it in hi-visibility colours, and then tinkered with the engine until it was capable of getting from 0-60 in a little under five seconds – always assuming they could find a road long and straight enough in London to get five seconds without a bend. He suspected that the top speed was probably 90, but they'd not had a chance to try that out yet.
The scanner on the table crackled and a police report started coming in; a vehicular collision involving an ice-cream truck, a school bus and an over-60s coach tour.
"Perfect," said Ben, his grin perhaps just a touch ghoulish. "Hit the sirens and let's get going!"
"You know," said Bill as they sped off, sirens wailing and blue light flashing, "repurposing a hearse as an ambulance has to be the best idea we've ever had."

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

A shorter bit from me today, though mine's not nearly as exciting as a repurposed hearse.
- - - - - - - - - -
There's a little tray sitting on my family's kitchen table. On it we have salt and pepper shakers, a candle, a sugar bowl, three salt cellars, and a small glass jar. Besides the sugar bowl and the candle, I'm almost certain my mother found everything at antique stores and estate sales. The salt and pepper shakers are the only ones in doubt; it's not like you can find salt cellars at Target these days.

The glass jar is the only one with a different job in its new life. We keep Lactaid in it, that wonderful lactase supplement that lets three of us in our family enjoy grilled cheese and small amounts of ice cream. Since so many use the stuff so often, it's easier just to have it out, and this jar is an attractive way to do that.

It's a sweet little glass jar, fitted with a glass stopper. It was in good enough shape when my mother got it at the estate sale that its previous label is still painted on the glass and in wonderful shape.

Not only is it attractively useful, but frankly it's incredibly amusing when folks come to the house for the first time and spot this jar, and perhaps wonder what "tincture metaphen" was, exactly.

Marc said...

Greg - thanks :)

Ooh, ghoulish indeed. That's not an ambulance I'd care to see pulling up to anything I'm involved in!

g2 - hah, that's brilliant. And thanks for the little look into your home :)