Monday January 12th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the slippery slope.

I'm not sure that I would go so far as to say that it was ill-advised to go down the slope I was on when I took this picture this morning:

... but it also probably wasn't the best idea in the world. At any rate, I managed to get down to lake level without incident. Although next time I'm pretty sure I'm taking a different route to get there.

Oh, so... that yearlong prompt thing. The 2015 version. I totally hadn't forgotten about it until Greg's comment the other day. Not in the least.


Expect an introduction to this year's literary playground on Wednesday. Written by me again this year, though I'm pretty sure I'd like to alternate starting the story off with you guys. Me first, Greg second, me third... Morganna fourth?


Each step
Carefully placed
And so

Evenly spaced.
Go slow.
Slower than that!
Hands out,
Let the wind have your hat.
Just breathe,
Don't bother stopping to think,
For you
My dear are very clearly on the brink...


Greg said...

Well, treacherous though the path may have been, the picture at the end of it was clearly worth the risk, as it's stunning! I imagine that one will be making it onto the shortlist for your next set of prints and cards? I can almost feel the chill just looking at it, and that makes me envious... :(
I really like the way the words pile up towards the end of your poem as though the reader is slipping faster and faster down the slope until they reach the point of no return, neatly symbolised by the word "brink". Very aesthetic :)

The slippery slope
Uwythgrzl sat down in the plush leather chair and swivelled it experimentally a few times. It squeaked and screeched with a sound like the screaming of the damned, which was exactly what he'd expected. He giggled and rubbed his hands (scaly, mucus-green, eight fingers on one, seven on the other, three minor, but infectious, skin diseases) together. Then he looked around.
Astfgl, his boss and Seventh Lord of Hell, was out of the office today, on a trip to Earth to pose as a charismatic preacher and annoy people into sinning. He'd gestured grandly with someone else's arm around him and said, "Just keep the place running. No more than that." Uwythgrzl had nodded, wondering how hard the job could be. And now that he'd seen the office, he was sure that the day was going to be just fine.
Seven minutes later the temperature had plunged to the Arctic depths of a Canadian winter and Uwythgrzl was punching the button on the desk to summon an imp as hard as he could, and only partly to keep warm. When the imp appeared Uwythgrzl punched him a few times for good measure and sent him to bring Amorangous and Ne'erzlk to the office to explain themselves. Amorangous handled facilities, and Ne'erzlk was his Junior.
The two demons in a puff of powdered ice, looking miserable.
"Report!" snapped Uwythgrzl.
"The heating's on the blink," said Amorangous, who had ten eyes each with double pupils, all of which seemed crossed. He appeared to trying to look at the back of his own head. "One of the damned souls got themselves stuck in the pipework and we're trying to get them out now."
"On a positive note," said Ne'erzlk, "that soul is currently being pounded by 800 psi superheated steam, so there's a pleasant screaming amidst the blizzards!"
"The slippery slope's not," said Amorangous, his deep voice like a dirge sung at the bottom of a chasm. "There are smashed icicles all over it, so it's now chewing up anything we put down it. So that means no food for the lower levels."
"On a positive note," said Ne'erzlk, "we're pushing the freshly dead down there and they're mostly coming out as ground meat at the bottom, so we are getting something down, even if you'd rather not eat it."
"The lava's turned to rock," said Amorangous.
"On a positive note we were basting people in the lava, so they're now embedded alive in rock!"
"And the snow is highly acidic," finished Amorangous.
"On a positive note–" said Ne'erzlk, just before Uwythgrzl punched him in the neck.
"Just fix it," he said, and sat back down in the chair.

morganna said...

He swore to himself this would be the last time. He wouldn't do it ever again, really. He just couldn't resist, this one last time. He'd said the same thing last week, too, but he just couldn't help it. One last time, he thought, as he reached for the tumescent mounds.

A voice behind him startled him. "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave. We here at Big Boxes Grocery prefer not to have our cantaloupes squeezed."

"But, but ..."

"I do understand, sir. It all seems innocent, doesn't it?" The security guard hooked his arm through the other man's and started for the door, talking all the while. "But really, sir, it's a slippery slope, you know. You start with the cantaloupes, sure, but soon you'll be bruising the peaches, fondling the carrots, and frightening small children. Goodbye, sir."

And he pushed him gently out the door into the rainy parking lot.

On his way back to his office, the security guard gave a quick stroke to the celery bunches. It was so tempting, after all.

Anonymous said...

I think I'll try and do the year long prompt this time, now that I'm determined to stick with it.

Again, such a lovely picture! Missouri should get snow any time now (fingers crossed!). Though, as much as I'm looking forward to it, walking four blocks to school would be even less fun if I have to navigate snowdrifts and ice patches.

Marc, your poem was beautiful. Again, I love your short lines and long lines.

The Slippery Slope:

He was fumbling for words, clumsier than he ever was with a football. It was as though his tongue was both made of sandpaper and taffy, alternatingly being too dry to talk and then unable to get the words right. Sarah Jacobie was still just standing there. Those midnight blue eyes were staring blankly at him, perfectly emotionless as she waited for him to speak.
“I was uh wondering if you um…”
This hands were moist and he tried to dispel the dampness by rubbing them briefly on his jeans. The butterflies flapping widely in this stomach wouldn’t listen to his silent commands of dissipation. As much as he wanted to take some deep breathes to calm himself, his heartbeats were too erratic. Harry could only imagine what his catchpenny proposal would work on someone like Sarah.
She blinked at him, one perfectly shaped bronze eyebrow lifting ever so slightly.
Harry blew down the stony walls that housed his courage and took the plunge.
“Will you go to the dance with me?”
Those blue eyes widened at him before a soft pink color spread across her cheeks. She nodded, her mouth twitching into a small smile, before he hastily turned and speed walked to the bathroom at the end of the hall. Sarah glanced at Harry, still rooted in his spot by the locker, before entering. There had been a large grin on her face before it disappeared into the mysterious rumor mill of the girl’s bathroom.
Harry slowly let out his breath as his head grew light from the excitement. That slope hadn’t been too slippery after all.

Marc said...

Greg - thank you, it's definitely currently under consideration. I'll have to see what else I manage to capture this winter.

I hadn't intended for my poem to be that way, but then it started turning out like that and I decided to just go with it and tweak it until it was more cohesive. Glad you liked the final product :)

Love your descriptions here, particularly of Uwy's hands (no, I'm not spelling that out). And I quite enjoyed the two summoned demons as well!

Morganna - hah, that was an excellent ending. Unexpected and pulled off with a very deft hand :)

Ivybennet - woohoo! I'd be happy to have you aboard for the ride - the more the merrier! :)

Thank you, and thank you again. Missouri, hey? I must confess I know very little about the area.

Ah, sandpaper and taffy. Definitely been there before.

I think there's some name confusion at the end there, as I got a little lost as to who was doing what.

But I think the line about the girl's bathroom being a mysterious rumor mill was pretty much perfect.