Wednesday October 23rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the compulsion.

Spent some time today hauling potatoes out of the garden. Still lots left out there but hopefully we'll have them all in storage by the end of the week.

We've been pretty lucky with weather this October, with nights staying above freezing and pleasantly warm days. Don't want to count on that continuing though.


"You've done it again... I can't believe it."

"What are you talking about?"

"I can smell it on you from here, darling. You just can't help yourself, can you?"

"No, no, no. You've got it all wrong, love. It's just on my clothes, I wasn't doing it. The boys were having a smoke after work and I hung around to chat and -"

"You honestly expect me to believe that? You couldn't have come up with something a little more plausible? You're sinking to new lows."

"Ask Roger! Ask Terence! No cigarette touched these lips, I swear it!"

"You're dragging those two down with you? What, are you buying their packs in return for them covering your sorry behind?"

"That's uncalled for. I haven't smoked in two months and have no intention of ever doing so again."

"I can only shake my head... and wonder aloud how, if that were actually true, you've managed to turn your fingernails yellow."


Greg said...

I'm starting to think that the seasons have all slipped by a month now. It still feels like the start of autumn here, not getting close to Winter. still, it seems to be good for you!
Great interaction there today, with each character speaking with a well - defined voice.
The voice in the back of my head always sounds like my grandmother. whenever I go into the garage I can hear it, whispering.
"just take it, just take it."
exactly as she did when she was alive, and encouraging us to try her baked goods: "Just take one."
I shake my head and try to ignore her voice. The can of petrol and the Matches will have to wait for another day.
[sorry about the formatting, this is from my phone!]

Aholiab said...

a scene from the universe of "Invisible"

The Compulsion

President Andrew Carlton strode into the banquet hall, exuding a confidence that belied the nervousness that he was actually feeling. He always felt this way when he was meeting new heads-of-state, but tonight was even more difficult. His aides had rehearsed the protocols with him repeatedly, but still he felt uncomfortable meeting the leader of the largest Invisible nation in the world.

Greeting various dignitaries who had gathered to witness and celebrate this meeting, he worked his way to the far end of the hall where his guest awaited him. As he murmured warm comments to each of his guests, he was reviewing every aspect of how he was to greet the royal visitor.

Since the king was 5’ 9” and he was 6’ 3”, he would need to look down slightly to “look” him in the eye. The Invisibles were not as effusive as the Visibles, so the greetings would be formal, almost stylized. He knew about the king’s favorite foods, his hobbies, and the names of each of his children, so there would be sufficient topics for small talk.

He saw his Chief of Staff approaching and knew the moment was at hand.

“Mr. President, I would like you to meet His Royal Highness, King Polearin Jensorant.” He turned to the empty space to his right and continued, “Your Royal Highness, may I present President Andrew Carlton.”

President Carlton gave the small smile of greeting that he had been informed would be appropriate, nodded his head just slightly, and then extended his hand to shake with the king. Instantly, he recognized his error. It was a built-in response, taught from childhood, until it had become a compulsion to shake the hand of anyone to whom he had just been introduced. Unfortunately, this custom had not developed in his guest’s culture. In fact, the idea that the custom had originated as an attempt to determine if the other person was armed, was offensive to the king’s society.

The President held his hand in mid-air as a sudden tension rose in the room. He wondered if the king would leave him hanging. A moment passed, then with a great sense of relief he felt his hand being grasped in a firm shake, and heard the king speak with a hint of laughter in his voice, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President.”

Marc said...

Greg - no worries about the formatting, I just appreciate that you made the effort to post something :)

Intrigued that the voice in his head is his grandmother's. I wonder if it is an innocent voice warped over the years, or if it was never that innocent to begin with...

Aholiab - hah, there always seems to be some little detail overlooked in situations like that. The way you've written this scene makes the mistake seem very natural.