Wednesday November 11th, 2015

The exercise:

Since today is Remembrance Day here in Canada, and Veterans Day in the US, we're going to write about: the veteran.

This morning I cleaned up the backyard, pulling out the sunflowers before the ground freezes and yanking all the weeds and old plants out of our garden boxes. Still need to rake up the leaves in the front yard (why the hell is that two words while backyard is just one?) and put away all of Max's outdoor toys, but I'm getting there.


I don't like it when cars backfire. It doesn't scare me. Obviously. No flashbacks here. It's just a sign that people aren't taking proper care of their damned vehicles. Didn't they spend a lot of money on those monstrosities? Show some respect and make sure it works like it should!

I don't care for war movies either. Or any kind of action movie. Not because the guns and blood and dying triggers something hidden deep down inside me or none of that junk. The way I see it, why would I go see grown men and women playacting violent endings to their lives when I've seen the real thing with my own eyes?

And far too many times at that.

You wouldn't understand. You think I'm being silly. An old man behaving like a spoiled brat. Something like that, yes? Well, that's fine. You go ahead and think what you like. Hell, you can say what you like. It doesn't matter.

After all, you weren't there.


Greg said...

Frozen sunflowers sound kind of pretty actually, a way of defying Winter and bidding Summer to return! But I guess it's good get them out of the ground and composting down as well.
I really like how your veteran explains his reasons for things, and the sense it makes as you move through the story. By the end of the tale I've started to develop an empathy with him (or her, I guess, you don't say!). I really like it.

The veteran
Lights played across the stage, coloured discs illuminating the backdrop of stars and rainbows and making them glitter, while the band played a triumphant march and two ushers helped a frail and trembling man climb the steps to the stage. At the podium the MC waited, tall and handsome in a white tuxedo and a blood-red bowtie, a fixed smile on his face and his prompt card in his hand. As the trembling man reached the podium, and grabbed hold of it like a drowning man seizing the side of the life-raft, the audience applauded. Within moments they were all on their feet and clapping as hard as they could manage, and the trembling man was crouched on the floor, his hands over his head, making himself as small as possible.
The applause died away and the MC lifted the trembling man gently to his feet.
"Malcolm Exigué," he said. "We are here to honour you tonight for your services to teaching. It is well-known," he gestured out, encompassing the audience, "that you're a veteran of the very worst that our public school system can throw at you."
Malcom shivered and said nothing, so the MC continued: "When you started teaching you were working a school that has since been condemned and demolished. Despite the lack of water, heating, and human traits amongst the children you perservered and succeeded in teaching many of them enough social skills and English to be able to move into other schools in the system."
Malcom still said nothing, and the MC covered his microphone with his hand to whisper "We've got some of those children in cages out the back if you'd like to say hello later." Then, back into the microphone.
"After that you progressed, if that's the word, to teaching in a school in an actual warzone. While the Quebecian secession war raged you taught children the mathematics needed to aim and fire missles, and the engineering methods needed to build shelters and barriers. You helped make it possible to end that war after just 16 months and re-unite Canada. For that, we praise you.
And finally, for the last eight years you've worked alongside Miss Snippet–" Malcom jerked, and his head almost turned through 360 degrees as he frantically searched the stage. "She's not here, is she?" he snarled. White floam flecked his lips. "I'll kill her! I'll kill her, so help me God! I'm wearing a bomb!"

Marc said...

Greg - thanks :)

Heh, I was pretty sure your opening wasn't leading where you were initially pointing it and I was not disappointed. Love the way you built the story up with fun details as you moved through it, and that ending was rather terribly satisfying :D