Thursday December 11th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: rushing.

I had Max with me in town this morning before going to gym time at the community center. By the end there were 13 other kids there (not including the twin boys who slept in their stroller the whole time) but Max didn't seem bothered by all the hubbub.

At one point he was bouncing a ball back and forth with one of the girls who seemed to be around his age. He was having a great time but eventually she ran off to see her mother.

"That one all done," Max observed.

So it appeared.

She did come back a little while later for a couple more passes. Then they both got distracted by other things.

It was pretty entertaining.


"I don't get it," Brad whined. He was never the fastest kid in school on a good day. This was not one of his better days.

"You're unbelievable," I muttered with a shake of my head. "Even Dmitri understood that joke. Right comrade?"

"You are nyet my comrade," he rumbled without looking up from his Russian to English dictionary.

"Dude's been in the country less than a month and already he has a better grasp of our language than you do," I said. "How many times were you dropped on your head before your first birthday?"

"Shut up, man. I got a better mark on yesterday's quiz, remember? So you're full of it."

"It was multiple choice," I reminded him. "You just got lucky. Give it another week and he'll be crushing you on those stupid quizzes."

"Enough talking," Dmitri said, putting his books away and standing up. "We will be late for class."

"Man, what's your hurry?" I asked, a big grin on my face. "You're always -"

"Nyet." Suddenly a finger was slowly wagging back and forth in front of my nose. "Nyet make that joke."

"What joke?" Brad asked.

"You make that joke, Dmitri break your nose." He held my gaze until I nodded my understanding. Or agreement. Whatever it was. Then he turned to Brad. "You laugh at that joke, Dmitri break your fingers."

"Dude, I don't even... okay, okay! You got it, comrade!"

"You are nyet my comrade."

We started walking to class then in a silence I found distinctly uncomfortable. Whenever I stole a glance at Dmitri I found him staring straight ahead, unblinking. I made the mistake of not looking at Brad, so I couldn't see what happened next coming.

We were only a few feet from Mr. Brown's chemistry lab when Brad started laughing hysterically.

"Oh man!" he wheezed, bracing himself against a nearby locker with one hand. "Now I get it! He's always in a hurry bec-"

His words were transformed into a howl of pain as Dmitri carried through on his promise without uttering a word.


Greg said...

The toddler football sounds pretty cute; you'll have to start teaching Max how to play hockey then! I wonder if they make goalie-pads in a kids size? (Feel free to steal that image for another prompt as well :) )
Ah, it's always nice to see a slightly longer piece from you, and though the joke may be old, it's well delivered and neatly set up without ever actually being so crass as to announce the punchline. Dmitri's quite the star pupil too! (A tiny point on Russian though, "nyet" means no rather than "not"; just "nye" for not. And because of the way articles work, Dmitri's more likely to say "Nye Comrade". I like Russian :))

The storm drain lid was recently oiled and hinged upwards silently. Miles got both feet on the steel ladder inside and grabbed the lid over his head, and closed it behind him as he stepped carefully down the ladder. When the lid was closed it was pitch dark; he could only see the tiny flashes of light and colour that were phosphors in his eyes. He carried on climbing down, each footstep a cautious test for the rung below, and a firm pressure when his foot went on it to make sure it was safe, but even so his breathing sped up a little and the darkness around him seemed almost physical by the time his foot touched the concrete floor at the bottom. It smelled like burned concrete around him, and when he reached up to turn his LED headband on the feeling of relief to have sight back was palpable. He heaved a sigh, looking around and see the scorch-marks. It smelled like burned concrete because that's what he was standing on.
There was only one way out of the circular shaft, if you didn't count climbing back up again, so he stepped through a low concrete arch, and into the sewer system.
The first thing he noticed was the lack of smell; there was just a lingering hint of concrete and perhaps water some way off. It didn't smell anything like a sewer should, and he realised that Mirabelle had been telling the truth: there was a separate system of tunnels that should have been part of the sewers but weren't. He was stood on a kind of platform above the bed of the tunnel, and could turn right or left. To his left, faintly, he thought he could hear water, so he headed in that direction.
Rats squeaked as he walked past but he didn't see them, even when he held his breath, screwed up his courage and leaned down to look under the platform. After a minute he dropped down onto the tunnel bed to avoid a writhe of snakes that seemed happy on the platform; presumably they fed on the invisible rats. When he climbed back up, he had to scramble, his legs kicking the air as his arms ached and burned, and he realised how deep the tunnel must actually be.
Then the smell of water filled his nostrils completely and he walked through another low arch into a room that was a huge tank of water with a platform around the edge, and three waterfalls from other tunnels pouring into it. The noise was vast, contained in the space by the smallness of the exits and baffles constructed in from of them and it was like being stood on the edge of a busy road or next to racing trains.
He looked at the water, wondering what the point of this was, and a hand punched the small of his back, sending jags of pain through his kidneys and toppling him towards its glassy surface.

David said...

Jocelyn raced out the door, into the car, through the streets, up the block, downtown. She could not be bothered to obey that law, this regulation, any order for that matter. Her thoughts swirled. Get out of my way. Screw you. Move the eff out of there. Now. Yeah you. She resorted to nonverbal communication. Waves of her hand. Single fingers. The middle variety. Jocelyn did not care about you. Or me. Or any mofo who was in her way. She had to get there now. Not five minutes ago. Actually ten minutes ago. That is when it started. It was Sunday. And God would be pissed if she did not make it in time for the second collection.

Marc said...

Greg - oh, he plays hockey already. Just not by any rules that I recognize. But that's what he calls it...

Yeah, I figured that wasn't quite right. But I also figured that I could just pass it off as Dmitri's mistake :)

My goodness, that was certainly an unexpected punch in the back! Really liked your descriptions leading up to it, by the way.

David - hahahaha... I did not see that ending coming, at all. Beautifully done :)