Friday December 5th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four (or more) lines of prose about: in deep.

If you're writing a week long story feel free to ignore the four line restriction. I certainly did. Just to show the difference between the two approaches, I tacked on my four line version at the end of mine.

Plus I was curious to see what it would have looked like had I not been feeling like I had too much story left to tell. So, yeah, I likely won't be sticking to a four line poem tomorrow either.

Pretty excited for the craft market tomorrow. It's running from 9am to 3pm so it's going to be a long day. Hopefully enough people come out to help the time pass a little faster.


By the time the elevator dinged open on the 36th floor, Agent Pine had employed all of his self-defense training in order to keep the increasingly enamored receptionist's hands off of him. It had been an effort to avoid looking for the surveillance camera that was surely capturing each advance and retreat. He could only hope that security was too busy eating lunch to notice the woman's unusual behavior.

Next time, he thinks as he slips out of the car while the doors are still opening, only two clicks of the pen.

He stops short when he sees the two men watching him from the far end of a narrow hallway. After a moment he realizes the corridor is average sized - it's the two behemoths that are messing with his perspective. They look like they spend most of their waking time in a weight room. Maybe some of their sleeping hours as well.

"Come on, silly," the receptionist chides him, sliding an arm through his and dragging him forward. "They don't bite."

"Hi Lily," the blond says with a shy smile.

"Who is this?" the redhead asks. No smile.

"This, my lovely boys, is an old high school friend of our dear Rosie Dee!" Lily leans into Agent Pine and very nearly giggles.

"Fellas," he offers as a greeting, avoiding eye contact with his escort.

"You don't have an appointment." Red doesn't need to consult a calendar in order to know this.

"Well no sir, I do not," Pine admits. "This is more of a surprise type visit fo-"

"Boring!" Lily announces and pulls him forward. "Let the two lovebirds have their reunion already. Good luck in there, hun!"

A nudge toward the closed door lurking a dozen feet beyond the guards. A loud smack on his rear before she turns away, calling over her shoulder, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do!"

Next time, he silently amends, at least bring an antidote in order to deal with overdoses.

He looks at the blond and gives him an apologetic shrug. The meathead gives him a big smile and a thumbs up in return. But as Agent Pine lets himself through the door the last thing he sees is the redhead pulling a cell phone out of his pocket.

*     *     *

The Four Line Version

Agent Pine escapes the elevator on the 36th floor, the receptionist hot on his heels. He'd given her one two many clicks of the mist - perhaps two - and considers himself lucky to have not lost any articles of clothing on the way up.

There are two over-sized men guarding the only door in the hallway he finds himself in and Pine offers up a quick prayer that they have more muscles than brains as his escort catches up and slips an arm through his with a suggestive laugh.

He begins to wonder if, between the cables secreted away in his belt and tie, he has enough length to escape the building through a window.


Greg said...

Although there's a definite challenge to working in the four-line versions, I think you're right; I think it might be nice to relax the guidelines this time and write something with a little more meat on it. Your longer version is definitely more interesting and vibrant than your four-line version, though I note there are cables in the belt and tie in the four-line version that didn't get called out in the longer version!
And, good luck with the craft market!

In deep
Goss sat down on what felt like a bus-seat and muttered under his breath, "At least it's not RyanAir. At least it's not RyanAir." He leaned back and felt for the recline controls, and discovered that the seat was too basic to have any. He took a deep breath and counted to 10, and then repeated that another nine times. The rage didn't fade or disappear, but he did feel more in control of it now. And he was actually slightly amused to realise that there were at least six other people around him who were muttering exactly what he'd muttered earlier.
He tried to force his seat to recline anyway, and gave up when it started creaking like it might break. He shook open his magazine ostentatiously, letting his neighbours know that here was a grown man dressed like a hipster who was reading Seventeen, a teen girl's magazine, and hoped that there were no nearby paedophiles. The magazine seemed to attract them like slugs to margarine. Inside the magazine the e-ink pages made a secure connection to a satellite feed, and the dossier re-appeared.
We have had an agent, Fairy Green, in deep with the Red Bear for a year and a half, noted the dossier. In that time we have realised that the Red Bear is using a sophisticated counter-information programme that is also propagated amongst his staff, though the higher ranking they are in the organisation the less propaganda they appear subjected to. Fairy Green is currently rated B1 and has good promotion prospects to level A3, which appears to come with a semi-military rank. Because of this Fairy Green will make no attempt to contact you, and you should make no effort to identify them. Fairy Green gained access to the lists this year, which is how we know that Mumsie appears there, and on the wrong list.
Local wildlife appear hostile, but this is because they are actually loyal to the Red Bear who provides shelter, food, and access to vetinary services. There is a persistent rumour that he has his own personal vet, but this appears at this stage to be simply part of the propaganda machine.
To penetrate deeply into the Red Bear's Fortress we recommend the use of pheromones to tame the wildlife, costume to fit in with the sometimes-bizarre uniforms that the Red Bear selects for his staff, and stealth. When you arrive at your destination you will have luggage waiting for you
Goss smiled here since he'd boarded this plane with no luggage, certain that Easyjet would only "lose" it and sell it to Middle- and Near-Eastern arms dealers which will contain pheromone sprays, clothing, and other gadgets selected by Mr. Edison. Goss' smile disappeared at this point; Mr. Edison was the code-name for the organisation's quartermaster and R&D bod. He had a distressing tendency to only test things for the circumstances that he expected them to be used, which was invariably different to fieldwork.
"Would anyone like to buy a sandwich?" yelled the attendant. They were stood in front of a narrow airline cart with a sad array of wilting, boxed sandwiches visible, and a pot of lukewarm water, some plastic cups, and a can on industrial-strength NescafĂ©. "I'll open the bidding at €13 for egg, cress and white vegetable on brownish bread with industrial margarine."
"I'm a big fan of Chitty-chitty bang-bang" said a wet, breathy voice behind Goss and he groaned. That appeared to be the international password of paedophiles everywhere.

David said...

The Beard’s compound was 63 miles west of the airport. The Barber had made the trip twice before. The last time required 126 stitches and three months of physical therapy. The first 15 miles of the trip were along the highway. The tourist portion of the adventure. He was no different than the countless idiots in convertibles racing to the next zipline or frozen margarita. The next six miles were along a rock strewn dirt road that could be traversed ten months of the year. The other two, it would be under a foot of water for one which would lead to mud like quicksand for the other. Then came the hike. 39 miles, 6,000 feet of elevation. The Barber was well equipped to handle this trip by himself, but he always opted for a trusted guide. Unfortunately, both previous treks led to the death of his guide. The first fell as they attempted to escape (the entry was quite uneventful). The second guide proved to be less trusted. The Barber was forced to put a bullet in his head. He wanted to put seven, but he still had professional discipline at that point. The final three miles were accessed via the Beard’s own transports. The Beard liked his “things”, so there was always “stuff” being delivered. The Beard would jump onto one of these transports to safely take him through the gates. It generally worked out ok. Of course, that was a small sample size. Any trip could be an outlier.

The Barber waited for his guide on the curb outside baggage claim. A large man, unlike the Barber, everyone would remember his presence.

“You him?” asked the man.

“That’s me,” replied the Barber.

The guide picked up the Barber’s bag.

“I’ve got it,” said the Barber.

The Barber was not sure about this guide. But he did know him from somewhere else. From across the aisle, the guy with the wrong ticket.

“I’m over here,” the guide pointed.

The Barber was ready to go deep with this guy. He just hoped he would have no need to shoot him.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, there was no way to just make a shorter version of what I originally wrote. At least I couldn't think of one. So I needed to introduce a new element or two. Interesting experiment, at any rate.

Oh man, on the wrong list? How did I not piece things together? Hah!

David - hmm, an intriguing guide he's got himself. Enjoyed the reference to previous visits to this location, particularly the bit about professional discipline.