Wednesday January 6th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the craft project.

The snow has begun to melt, which is nice in the sense that mobility will soon be much easier. Less nice in the sense that the roads will be slushy messes until all of it is gone.

I'd honestly much rather drive on ice than slush. But hopefully it will soon be gone. Not to be replaced by new snow.

Oh, heads up: yearlong prompt begins this Sunday.


I place my overflowing shopping basket on the checkout counter of my local dollar store and begin unloading its contents for the cashier to scan. The lighter stuff is on top - feathers in all the colours of the rainbow, packages of stickers and googly eyes - and I know that if I don't work fast they'll end up in the bottom of the bag, crushed by the heavier items.

"Got a bit of a craft project going on then?" the cashier asks, not unkindly. I figure she's in her early fifties, could stand to eat less and exercise more, and is clearly too fond of her makeup collection. But she's setting my items aside, rather than immediately stuffing them into a bag, waiting to see what else I've got, so I like her immediately.

"You could say that," I say as I start extracting the tape and glue and scissors.

"Looks like it'll keep you busy for a while," she says as she continues to ring up my items. "Find everything you were looking for?"

"No, actually, I didn't." I'm doubtful she'll be able to help - I did check every aisle in the store very closely - but I'm pleased she asked. I pull the list out of my back pocket and examine my handwriting. "Let's see... right. Do you carry any live animals?"

"Uh, no," she says, her hands beginning to move more slowly.

"What about bits of formerly living animals?" I ask. "You know, frog legs and toad eyes and that sort of thing?"

"No, ma'am, I'm quite certain we do not." She's stopped now and I begin to worry I've said something wrong. "Which kind of craft did you say you were making again?"

"Yes, exactly," I say with a smile, relieved to discover she's not only not upset but also understanding. "It is a witch kind of craft!"


Greg said...

I guess both ice and slush are dangerous in their own ways; at least at this time of year you're not trying to get to and from the farmers' market regularly! I'm looking forward to seeing what you've gone with for the year-long prompt this time: today I shall guess that it starts off with a high-stakes poker game in a quiet backwater town where the players are much, much more than they seem.
I fly to Malta tomorrow, so if I'm a little erratic for a few days it will be due to finding my feet there and starting the new job, and possibly dodgy wi-fi connections :)
Heh, nice punch-line. I wasn't at all sure where you were going with your craft materials until your narrator started asking about live animals and then I had enough of a clue to guess. I like the little details, and find myself wondering what a witch would use googly-eyes for....

The craft project
The room was low-ceilinged but spacious, and windows in three of the long walls meant that during daylight it felt open, almost pavilion-like. Now at night-time, with the grey blinds drawn and the inset spotlights in the ceiling turned on, the room felt warm and almost theatre like. There was a strong smell of turpentine in the air, there were easels leaning higgeldy-piggeldy in a corner, and on long workbench, directly below the windows contained tube after tube of brilliant-hued oil paints.
Bill had opened the doors of a low cupboard and was studying the pottery he'd found in there. Most pieces would be picked up, scrutinised, and then dropped on the floor, where he appeared to appreciate the smashing sound. So far he'd only set two pieces aside to be kept.
Ben sighed and put his mobile-phone, a slender black glassy razor, in his inside jacket pocket.
"She got the emails confused," he said. "I told her that this isn't a job we'd consider, and she asked me where we were right now." He sighed again, sounding very frustrated.
"We're not after examples of Euphratean extreme pottery casting then?"
"No." Ben noticed the pottery shards on the floor. "Jesus Bill, did you have to break them all? They're probably student work!"
"Then they need to learn better," said Bill equably. He dropped another pot, its shattering a bright, happy noise in the room. "So what are we after?"
"Extreme poetry," said Ben. "Apparantly there's a locked auditorium nearby where the legendary body poet Marco Kwan got naked, covered himself in blue paint, and perfomed il cigno blu for the first time. It was a scandal and nearly got him thrown out of the university, plus three marriage proposals and a protest from PETA."
"Sounds cool," said Bill. "Not really our kind of thing though. What are we supposed to be liberating?"
"The canvas he performed the poetry on," said Ben.
Bill dropped the last pot, and shrugged. "Well she got one thing right," he said. "We're here. Let's go get the piece of paper some naked dude rolled around on and collect our fee."

Anonymous said...

There were sparkling bits of stardust, brightly colored snowflakes, and sticky, white swamp goo on every part of the table’s surface. So much that the dark cherry wood couldn’t be seen underneath it all. Indeed, the sheer size of the mess was enough to send her mother on yet another conniption fit for the history books.

But Kelci couldn’t care less; she had the best idea ever!

It came to her in a dream: a large, full color, topographical map of the dreamscape she’d spent sixteen years constructing. She knew exactly how high the Fambian Mountains were to the east, and how deep Lake Nautise was directly south of them. She knew how many trees were in the Retinala forest. She knew each town, each roadside tavern, even most of the people that inhabited this world.

So why not break out each and every art supply in the house (and from the corner store with her supposed lunch money) to create it on paper so others could see it?

Kelci just hoped she could finish the final touches and clean up the aftermath before her mom got back from work.

Marc said...

Greg - I need to start writing down your guesses for future yearlong prompt use :P

I hope your flight went well and that Malta has offered you a warm welcome!

You're really good at scene setting, you know that right? I envy your ability to create such vivid settings for your tales. Also: Ben and Bill are quickly becoming favorites with me. Bill in particular :)

No comment on the item they're off to purloin, for the record.

Ivy - hah! I wish Kelci the best of luck, as that sounds like a seriously awesome craft project :D