Sunday September 20th, 2015

The exercise:

Let us return to the Random Book Prompt. Grab a book off your shelf, a story from your e-reader, whatever and however you like. Me? I looked inside.

Regardless of how you choose your book, use its first line as your own and then take it from there. Credit goes where credit's due.

Had a pretty quiet day off today. It was much needed.


Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

I died for eight minutes on January 26th. Ain't nobody thought I was coming back. Least of all me. But I did.

So here I am. I've seen the other side. I know what waits for us there, in the dark. It's not just for me, you know. The same thing will happen to us all. It's just that everybody else gets to tell themselves The Lie. They go about their day to day business, living their meaningless lives. Lying to themselves every step of the way. Believing The Lie each and every time they tell it to themselves.

They believe because they think that they have to. That admitting The Truth, that facing that lurking, patient darkness would make their existence meaningless. Like they'd just up and quit. Because what's the damned point, right?

Not me though. I ain't got the luxury of The Lie. I know The Truth now.

And I am all the more dangerous for it.


Greg said...

Quiet days off are nice, and your story is slightly more upbeat than I was expecting given the start line, so I'm assuming it was good for you after the market :) Speaking of random prompts, it occured to me the other day that you had a prompt based on some blocks that Max had that we've not seen in a while.
Your second paragraph rings rather true of the world in general, so I wonder how accurate you might turn out to be with this? Though having to die for eight minutes to know sounds a bit... risky. I rather like the third paragraph too, there's some strong writing there.

Cooking up a storm
According to Stanley Clisby Arthur; in his 1944 book Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em, the cocktail originated in New Orleans. However, he also claimed in that book to have invented the Poodle (he claims that he needed a dog of that size to turn a treadmill to crush the dozens of limes his bar went through a night), that women with six-fingered hands were significantly better in bed than their sisters (this is not the place for that story, but I do recommend looking it up), and that gods visited New Orleans just before the end of the Second World War. Although most of his claims are probably a little more hyperbole than fact, it's absolutely true that gods visited New Orleans at the end of the war.
There were four nights starting on August 26th, 1945, when the stars were occluded all of sudden. The nights were otherwise clear, and the meterological offices at the time report no adverse weather, cloud cover, or other odd conditions, and since their reports were being collected and used by the military there seems little reason to doubt them. Under the cover of the sudden, paranormal, darkness, the waters of the Bayou rolled greasily back and the alligators sidled off and pretended to be logs. Out of the mud and the roots of the mangrove trees rose shapes that hadn't been seen on this earth since primordial days. With a shaking and splashing and a foetid smell like that you get when you've been fermenting skunks in summer out back for several days, eldritch beings stomped off into New Orleans.
They arrived at Stanley Clisby Arthur's bar, that being the closest drinking establishment, pulled the roof off as casually as a gentleman doffs his hat to a lady, and demanded that they be served. This is undoubtedly how the story ended up in Arthur's book, but there are reasons to suspect that he, in fact, didn't shout at them to put the roof back on, as he claims, and that they didn't in fact pay at all, rather than leaving him with a supply of ancient gold as he also claimed. It might be true that they sorted out his plumbing for him; there is evidence that something strange happened to those copper and lead pipes around that time. But despite all that, he did indeed serve them, and because of that there are now ways to summon those gods back.
Which I intend to describe to you here, in this book.

Greg said...

I've just realised I should probably note that in the tale about the dates are all correct; you are supposed to wonder how Arthur managed to talk about events that happened a year after his book was published.

Marc said...

Greg - thanks, again, for the blocks reminder. It had quite completely slipped my mind.

This is great stuff. Love your descriptions and details, as usual. But the scenes you paint, both in the Bayou and at the bar, are really fantastic and vivid.

Also: thanks for the heads up on the dates. I'd quite missed that on the first go 'round and would likely have figured it was a typo if I had!