Wednesday January 7th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the bump.

Max accidentally hit my forehead with a flashlight this afternoon, so that's where the prompt came from. If you happened to be wondering.

Took a drive into Penticton this morning, now that the roads have been reasonably cleared after that huge dump of snow. Picked up some groceries and a couple of other things before coming back home for lunch.

It's nice, living so much closer to the (relatively) big city.


"Oh no!"

"It's okay, kiddo! You're doing fine. Keep those hands on the wheel!"

"But Grandpa..."

"That was just a little bump in the road - we all hit those. Trust me on that one!"

"But Grandpa I -"

"It's nothing to worry about. You're better off not stressing out over every little mistake. That's a whole lot of life experience talking, so you better listen!"

"But Grandpa, I'm pretty sure that bump was Grandma!"



"Take the next right and hit the gas, kiddo. We can be in Juarez before sundown."


Greg said...

Is this accidental bump on the forehead like "walking into the doorframe" or "falling down the stairs" or "being clumsy again"? Is Max actually bullying you and beating you up now? ;-)
Heh, I like Grandpa, though I'm not sure he's a good role model. Or a good person to be teaching someone to drive. Or necessarily a good person, given his approach to dealing with running Grandma over. But these are also all the reasons I like him, so....
The back and forth in the conversation works really nicely here, especially with Grandpa's not wanting to hear what's actually happened. Very enjoyable :)

The bump
The sun had set an hour ago but the noise and the lights of the fairground could be seen and heard from half a mile away. They'd set up camp in Miller's Field, which bordered the river on one edge and the foothills on the other, and it was still early enough in the year for chunks of ice to be floating downstream now and then. People walked through the attractions and the sideshows and the fairground rides carrying candy-floss and toffee-apples, eyes bright and lips smiling. Laughter bubbled underneath the conversation, and over the noise of machinery carrying ferris wheels round, bumper cars about and roller coasters up and down.
Maarten stopped by a sign outside a tent. A family walked past him, the mother holding tight to her children's hands, while they stuffed their faces with jelly frogs and custard tarts. The sign read "Phrenologist: your inner self revealed. $5." He checked his pockets, and though there was too much string and too many teeth in there, there was also a thin roll of banknotes. He peeled off $5 and pushed through the awning in front of the tent.
It was gloomy inside, lit by a couple of dim electric lights set on a table. There was a model head covered in a white grid with labels attached, which presumably was the phrenologists reference, and a woman dressed in voluminous red robes like she was going to a charismatic church. She gestured with a long, thin hand, and Maarten sat down. Something about the hand bothered him, but she'd already tucked it away inside her sleeves.
"Naamet will read your personality through the bumps on your head," said a voice low down, and Maarten realised that there was someone sitting huddled up on the floor. They looked small enough to be a monkey, though the voice was clearly human. He sat down, and the woman in red, Naamet, rustled as she came to stand behind him. Her fingers rested on his head, and though he wouldn't have though his skull was lumpy, he could actually feel her fingers moving over contours. Then they slipped down his skull and pressed against his face, and as he flinched, they gripped him to stop him moving. He found himself counting knuckles, and suddenly realised that her fingers must have at least two extra joints in them each, and then felt smooth and hard, like horn or hoof. He tried to stand, but Naamet held him down, impossibly strong, and as she leaned over him, her hood fell back and he could see that her head was as smooth as an egg....

Anonymous said...

I was definitely not expecting your story to go like that. It sure did get a laugh from me, though.

The Bump:

The wheels rolled over the curved landscape, the small crevices finding no resistance in the smooth terrain. Forward and back they rolled. Up and down, the car traversed the hill innumerable times, disobeying gravity and taunting Newton with its constant speed. The only change in course was also the only imperfection: a smaller mound right in the center of the crossroad.
I watched as Shawna continued to roll that little Hot Wheels car over her large stomach, avoiding her innie-recently-turned-outie belly button, muttering squeaking and squealing noises as she did so. I couldn’t help from smiling as I thought about the look my son would give her when I told him exactly how silly his mother could be.

Marc said...

Greg - oh, he abuses me plenty. He's just usually a little more careful about not leaving obvious marks...

Great details throughout your piece, and it ends on that wonderfully, delightfully horrific note...

Ivybennet - happy to hear that, I do appreciate getting a laugh out of people!

Aw, that's a sweet little piece. I like that you managed to double up on 'bump' in there as well.

Aholiab said...

Continuing to put my day of jury duty to good use.

The Bump

I don't see how this is my responsibility. I was not the one who wanted a dog in the first place. That was my daughter, Brittany. I was not the one who dictated that the dog had to stay outside. That was my wife, Jenny. I was not the one that decided to chase chickens and the neighbor's female dog. That was the dog himself, FlipFlop.

But when FlipFlop decided to pull his stake up along with fifty feet of chain and run off in the middle of a blizzard, suddenly it was my job to go try to find him. I kept hoping that he would show up at the back door, icicles on his muzzle, and begging for food, but it hadn't happened. Brittany had sobbed all through dinner, and Jenny had sent me daggers until I finally relented and agreed to drive to the neighbors to see if he was there.

So here I am, freezing my tail off, trying to stay on the road as the blowing snow obscures my view through the windshield. I realize I'm probably driving too fast when I feel a sudden bump under the front tire.

I slam on the brakes and fishtail to a stop. Taking a deep breath I wait for my hands to stop shaking. I wipe my nose and assume it's running because of the cold, but that doesn't explain the tears on my cheek.

Stupid dog! I never wanted another one. But now I'm dealing with another mutt that has stolen the hearts of my family.

I open the door of my pickup, turn on my flashlight, and check the tracks left by my tires. A lump is already being re-covered by the snow, but I can tell it's too small for FlipFlop. Instead it's the metal pipe that I had used to stake him behind the house. I follow the chain that's still attached into the ditch. It disappears into a culvert and before I can call his name, a snow-covered FlipFlop comes hurtling at me and flattens me into a snowdrift.

Stupid dog! You stupid, stupid dog. It is so good to see you.

Marc said...

Aholiab - you had me there for a moment or two. Absolutely, utterly had me.

Wonderfully executed, and thank you for the happy ending :)