Sunday January 26th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the sprinter.

Max, when he gets excited, can run surprisingly fast. We're going to need to keep a close eye on that kid.

Spent most of the day in town with Max, at the coffee shop and running errands. Once he got comfortable in the coffee shop I think he was obsessing over cutting down on his time from our table to the bathroom. By the time we left... let's just say his best run will be difficult to top.


After far too many missed opportunities, he is ready to seize this moment. He's trained the right way, he's forced the best foods and supplements down his throat. Focused and determined, losing is no longer an option for him.

Losing is for other, less dedicated people. He will run them over if he has to.

His breathing is even as he approaches the starting line. With his goal in sight it is a challenge to be still, be calm. There is no choice, though; until he and those lined up on either side of him are unleashed by the starter's signal, there is nowhere to go.

So he bides his time. He remembers all of the inspirational quotes clinging to his fridge. Breathe in, breathe out. Slower. That's better. Again. Again.

At last, just as he is in danger of falling asleep, the traffic light changes from red to green and the race to the bus stop begins.


Greg said...

Heh, I do like how kids get an idea into their heads and then pursue it until they either succeed or get bored. A lot like puppies actually.... Well, a career as an athlete could be very good for Max, so maybe you should encourage him :)
That's a fun tale, and I like how it's a race for the bus-stop at the end, I wasn't expecting that. The first three paragraphs are a great build up to what eventually happens. And the lines about breathing made me smile the second time round, when I knew what was coming!

The sprinter
There was only a slight breeze, ruffling the tips of the neatly mown grass. The sun was shining and warm, but not uncomfortably so. The sprinters lined up, each in a lane delineated by white-painted lines that the groundsmen had put in earlier that morning, just after the dew had evaporated.
David stretched his calves, leaning deep into the stretch. He recognised the faces around him; he'd been competing against them at race meets for most the year now. He'd beaten every one of them at one point or another, and two of them had beaten him in races too. Those were the real threat, he considered.
Joe was two lanes to his left, but David's coach had told him that Joe had broken a toe two days earlier. He might be running, but that would be disadvantage enough for David to beat him. 'Don't fear him,' his coach had said back in the locker rooms. 'You've beaten him before when he's been fit; this one's in the bag.'
Kieran, all the way over on the right, was the real worry as he was as fit and ready as David. This was going to be the real fight.
The starter raised his pistol and the sprinters dropped into position, heeding his orders. The gun fired, and they were off!
It was fifteen seconds later, when he'd won and was celebrating, that David discovered that the starter had fired his pistol directly at Kieran, and that the pistol had been loaded. Kieran still lay back at the start line, his face ashy-grey and his hands clutching the bullet wound in his ankle.

morganna said...

Greg -- yikes! Totally unexpected. Now I want to know why the starter did that. I was rooting for David to win fair & square.
Seriously late
Procrastinated too long
Into the office
Now in
The home stretch
Exhausted, sliding in the chair like a
Runner sliding home.

Marc said...

Greg - yes, quite a lot like puppies :)

Glad you enjoyed mine!

Great buildup in yours, with an ending as unexpected as you found mine, I suspect. Now the only question is: was that intentional, or an accident?

Morganna - hah, I hope your character managed to arrive before the boss (or any especially gossipy co-workers) :D

Also: really liked the tie-in to a base runner in your ending.