Thursday April 21st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the trainee.

Another good morning of work at the bakery, though it was definitely busier than yesterday. Starting to learn little tricks to do various things faster, which feels good.

Max had a good day at daycare, after giving Kat's dad no trouble dropping him off. That's a relief.

Hoping to get back to House of Mercy on Sunday, before I run out of April. Someone please hold me to that.


She's doing her best
(Which isn't very good);
Doing all the things
She knows she really should.

In her wake she leaves
A trail of broken glass -
So at least we know
Exactly where she's passed.

Customers don't seem
To mind her many flaws;
I guess that's because
Her cleavage gives them pause...

I think I'll keep her
(And maybe half her tips).
I know she's trying,
My waitress with the yips.


Greg said...

I have to assume that you started with the image of a waitress with the yips because I can't think how you'd have come across that word otherwise :) I really like how the poem leads up to that final couplet though, the punchline is perfect. Well actually, I'd probably change the penultimate line to "I know she's trying hard," because I think it fits the scansion better, but I'm picky like that :-P

The trainee
Shared memories of pain.

Voices, talking in German. Low, intense. Falling silent as I was poked and pushed past doorways, starting up again when they thought I was far enough away. Not that it mattered, I can recognise German but I can't speak it. I might catch a word here and there: "gelber Finger", "zwölf-tausend drei hundert fünfte Nacht". Not enough to make sense. The walls were sheet panels of corroding iron, wide streaks of rust as red as blood like children's fingerdaubs on the soul of a building. The floors were concrete, unpolished, rough, scuffing my shoes as I tried not to let myself be taken. Tried not to let myself be taken.

Pushed roughly into a chair. For a moment there was light and I could see a grid of chairs, spaced maybe ten metres apart north, south, east and west. Each had a person in them. Then the lights went out and a spotlight went on and all I could see was the darkness around me, my night-vision destroyed, and the woman stood in front of me. She was wearing a uniform, the navy-blue and crimson of the Unified Authority, and she wore mirrored contact lenses so that I couldn't see her eyes. She smelled of phlogistonic wine.

They tested loyalty. They tested your dedication to the truth. They tested your determination to know what was real and what was imagination. They dug deep into your soul with psychological tools, seeking out self-doubt and self-deception, holding it up to you and making you recognise and acknowledge it. They made it impossible to choose a theory because it suited you: only the data-driven facts could be acceptable. You had to learn to change, to bend, to accept that once was true once is false now because of the weight of accumulated evidence. You learned to be protean.

I learned to be protean. They used pictures I prayed were put together by talented graphic artists when they left me alone. Words, recordings, things said that I would have said I couldn't stand to hear, let alone by the speakers saying them. They had knives when it was necessary. Bats. Gags. Detailed descriptions of what would be done next, and how slowly. They peeled back layers of mind, and of skin, muscle, flesh. They shaved living bone and shaped living thoughts.

Sooner or later your voice broke, because the larynx wasn't designed for screaming that much. It became a badge for those of us who survived that induction, something we hear and recognise, a way of knowing that we're on the same side.

The Master of Security blinked and stepped back. I was allowed to leave.

Marc said...

Greg - I can't remember for sure, but I think 'yips' came to me about halfway through writing mine. It's possible that 'tips' came first and then I had to start thinking hard for a rhyme, but I suspect 'yips' arrived first.

Wowza. I was not expecting this to be the connection. Your narrator reveals more and more layers, it seems. Brilliant addition to the series, as expected :)