Sunday August 23rd, 2015

The exercise:

Today's writing shall involve something or someone that is: washed away.

I was so distracted by the smoke yesterday that I actually managed to forget about the "highlight" (infuse as much sarcasm as you possibly can) of my day. So let me correct that oversight real quick.

After I finished packing the last of the produce on to the truck in the morning, I drove down the driveway and turned onto the dirt road that connects the farm to the nearest paved road. Once I reached that one, I drove past the mailboxes where we get our mail, went around the corner and... what is that?

Oh, I see. It's a skunk. In the middle of the road.

So I stopped the truck. Because I really didn't want to run over it. But I didn't stop far enough away (I guess?) and instead of moving off the road... it came right at me.

I lost sight of it for a few seconds, so I backed up (this is 6:15 in the morning by the way). Then I realized it was beside the truck so I put it in drive and hit the gas.

Too late, of course. By that time it had sprayed the truck. I hoped, with little actual hope, that an hour of driving at mostly highway speeds would clear out the smell. It did not.

I'd say it was about 50% of my customers at the start of the market who commented on the smell. Then I hit a good couple of hours without anyone mentioning it and I began to hope that I was the only who still noticed it. And then another group of people said something about smelling skunk.

Good times.

On the way home I stopped to fill up at a gas station and took the windshield washer squeegee thing to the front right area of the truck but I'm not that it made much of a difference.

Hey, at least I got a prompt out of it.


I know that I am being followed. This is not paranoia. There are people with very good reasons to pursue me. I am not ashamed to admit this. It is, after all, why I am out here in the first place.
These woods provide shelter and the wildlife here is my sustenance. I am safe here, hidden beyond the reach of those who wish to do me harm.

Or so I thought.

With my pack on my back I am following this trail as it leads me up into the surrounding mountains. At the end of every clearing I pause to drink from my water bottle and to look back. I have yet to see anyone behind me but that does not mean I am alone out here. No, it simply means that my pursuer is careful. Patient. Professional.

I continue on. I have no choice. There are no branches to take - only one dirt path stretches out before me. I do not wish to meet whoever is back there. So I keep putting one foot in front of the other, content in the knowledge that my lead will not be challenged in the coming days. Not as long as I keep moving.

What's this? The maps I consulted before setting out had no mention of a bridge here, much less a river that required a bridge to traverse it.

And they certainly said nothing about the bridge being washed away...


Greg said...

It certainly sounds the highlight of the day to me! Wild animals in their natural habitat, interacting with you and providing a talking point when you arrived at the market. What more could we ask for? Well, apart from you having offered the skunk (I think we should call them Ms. Squirty for politeness) a lift to the market so that the people there could also admire her and her abilities :)
I'm sure the smell will all be gone by the next market though!
Hmm, marginally less sinister story from you today, but I don't think I've spotted a happy character from you in nearly two weeks now! However, I can sympathise with the non-paranoid knowledge that people are out to get you, and your narrator certainly seems like a sensible sort. Except for believing that maps tell the truth, maybe :)
Great descriptive writing, and there's a little tracery of tension running through the whole thing that starts vibrating just as we reach the end. Nice!

Washed away
"You know, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas no more!" said Dorothy. She hiccoughed, which turned into a belch that would have embarassed a trucker, and fell over backwards. A moment later, perhaps two, she started snoring.
"Fo'shizzle," said Toto in tones so dry they should have evaporated the flood-waters around them near instantly. He looked around, his ears pricked and alert, his nose sniffing the air. The farmhouse that they'd arrived in, the same one that had flattened an elderly woman with startlingly poor taste in footwear, had apparently managed to land in the dried-up river bed of the River Boz, on which the Emerald City and the Munchkin Manse both stood. Dorothy's trip down the yellow-brick road with the Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion had not been a resounding success; she'd murdered a valuable flock of flying monkeys, completely failed to get off on the charge of Actual Bodily Harm to the woman the farmhouse had landed on, and then jumped bail. On her way out of the Emerald City she'd also somehow managed to blow up a dam, which had lead to the refilling of the river Boz, and Toto's current state.
"Toto! Toto!" he looked around; the Scarecrow was stood on a bridge over the river and dangling a rope.
"You want me to jump and grab that?" Toto's teeth hurt just thinking about it.
"No!" Toto squinted, there was something odd about the end of the rope.
"Is that a noose?" he barked.
"Yes! Get Do-ho to sit up and we'll catch her in it. Then you can just climb up her to safety!"
"Won't she hizzle?" The Scarecrow blanked, and there were sounds of muttered discussion as he tried to work out what Toto meant with the Tinman and Cowardly Lion.
"Hang, fo'shizzle," said Toto, wondering again what the wizard who'd given him the gift of speech had been smoking.
"Oh. Hopefully! Uh, wizzle!"
Toto sighed. He was sure that he was supposed to have loyalty to Do-ho – he meant Dorothy – but somehow the woman was just a liability. "Do-ho! Mo-fo!" he barked, and jumped up and down on her legs, thick as tree-trunks, with his claws extended until she sat up.
"Wuh?" she said, her tongue lolling from the corner of her mouth. "Ugh-urk!" she said next as the noose dropped over her head and pulled tight. Toto ran lightly up her and jumped into the waiting arms of the Cowardly Lion, who set him down on the bridge.
"Drop her," said Toto to the Scarecrow. "She doesn't really deserve to hang."
There was a splash, and then the Tin man peered over the side of the bridge. "I don't think she can swim," he said.

morganna said...

Drenched --
Rain coming down
In buckets, washing off
The dirt, beating down leaves and
Branches, soaking me to the skin, dripping wet
Why am I standing out in the
Cold, cold rain beating down
I am soaking --

Marc said...

Greg - Ms. Squirty? You're hopeless.

Yeah, that smoke did nothing for my mood, that's for sure. I am so glad it's mostly gone now (the fire north of town is still burning, as is the one in Washington State, but the smoke hasn't enveloped us recently).

You running amok in the land of Oz is pure entertainment. That's all I have to say about this.

Morganna - another neatly crafted poem from you. The imagery in this one is particularly strong.