Sunday December 28th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the tired man.

Not inspired by myself, by the way. Read on to discover the actual source, if you're interested.

Max's cousin and aunt are going back north tomorrow, but we're hopeful that they'll be back to stay come March. They have an offer on their place but it doesn't close until January 5th, so we'll just have to keep our fingers crossed until then.

In the meantime, my sister who is living in Calgary is coming for a visit at the end of January, which means Max will get to hang out with another aunt fairly soon.

Also: thank goodness for Skype.


Our favorite coffee house here in Osoyoos has a rotating art collection, displaying various local artists for a short period before moving on to whoever is next in line. I've had a photographer friend and a painter friend both have runs there, which is pretty cool.

Anyway. On a recent visit there were quite a few paintings on the walls of actors in famous roles. A few of Bill Murray from The Life Aquatic, I remember an Adrien Brody, though I can't recall in which role. And, getting back to the point of this, one of Heath Ledger as the Joker.

I can't find the exact pose he was captured in, but it was something like this. Mouth open and looking crazy are the key distinctions here.

I thought Max would find it upsetting or scary or... unpleasant. Turned out, I didn't have anything to worry about when he noticed it for the first time.

"That man tired," he said, standing up on his chair to reach for it. "Go home, go sleep."

I decided that interpretation was just fine, thank you very much. So I might have encouraged it a little bit. Every time he pointed it out. Which was multiple times over the course of two, maybe three visits.

"Yes, Max. That man is yawning, he should go get some sleep."

Then last week we arrived and the next artist in line was on display. I didn't even notice at first. Max, of course, did.

"Where the tired man go?"

"Oh, he's gone, isn't he? I guess he was just here for a little visit."

"Where the tired man go? I find him."

"No, sweetheart, he's not here. Maybe he went home. Or he's in a different store."

Max was having none of it. He was already climbing down from his chair, ready to scour the coffee shop for the missing painting. But first he had to double check the exact spot on the wall where it had been hanging. Which was right beside a table occupied by two women.

"Where the tired man go?" Max demanded of them.

Several times.

I was honestly laughing too hard to explain what was going on to them. I can only imagine what they thought of it all.


Greg said...

So... Max wants a picture of Heath Ledger as the Joker for his bedroom wall so he can make sure the tired man gets to sleep when he does? I actually think you ought to do that just so that you can show people the room and have them leave horrified about the way you choose to parent :) However, I do admire his concern for other people, and his concern that the tired man had disappeared like that. That's pretty cool of him!
It sounds like the start of your new year is going to be fairly busy with people then, with one Aunt leaving, another coming at the end of January, and then the likely arrival of a whole family barely a month later. That should be an interesting year for you already :)

The tired man
It hadn't snowed yet, but it was cold enough and there was a hard frost on the ground, the kind that crackled when you walked on it, and kicked up little puffs of powdered ice if you kicked at it with the toe of a shoe. The trees had shed their leaves, and Del had swept them up a month ago, and the early morning sunlight was glittering on the frosty branches. There was a squirrel out there somewhere as well, awake and probably hunting for nuts that she'd buried a couple of months earlier. Del sighed, and set aside the bacon fat on her plate. It might not be recommended by the animal welfare groups, but the squirrel didn't seem too fussed about their opinions either.
A hand came to rest, hovering about an inch above her shoulder, and she shifted her bulk a little uncomfortably.
"Y'all having a good mornin'?" said a voice, its drawl a deep, familiar sound.
"Ayup," she said. She pushed her chair backwards, not fast, but firm and brooking no argument. Something shifted out of the way behind her leaving a feeling of resentment in the air.
"That's good." She looked back at the man who'd spoken and raised an eyebrow. There were words unsaid here.
"Aw, shoot," he said, looking down at his feet. "There's a tired man wants to see you."
The fork slipped from the plate in her hand and clanged on the floor, as loud as a fire siren in the quiet house. Del stared at it for a few moments, though her eyes weren't focusing. Finally she leaned down, bracing a hand on her knee, and picked the fork back up. Silently, she carried the plate to the sink, and set the bacon fat aside to take outside.
"He says as it's 'portent," said the man, but he sounded subdued.
"Ayup," said Del.

Marc said...

Greg - I am not certain his mother would approve :P

Yeah, he's surprisingly aware and thoughtful. Well, it surprise me anyway. I have no idea what kids are supposed to be like at this age.

Geez, I really enjoy reading about these two. They both intrigue the hell out of me, though I don't think Del will ever enlighten me with anything beyond her usual response.

Would definitely enjoy a longer tale about them, should you feel inspired to write it :)

Woo, caught up on comments again! Perhaps I shall turn over a new leaf in 2015... never more than a week behind on comments?

Hah, yeah right...