Monday May 9th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the collection.

Spent the day with Max, as Kat had an online course to attend from 10 to 2 and our eldest had soccer class at 3. After soccer we dropped by daycare to collect Max's things, because we're pretty sure that experiment is over.

We'll see. It might end up just being a break. But I can't imagine at this point him ever wanting to go back. And that's okay. Daycare served its purpose, which was helping us get through Kat's pregnancy and the early days with Miles (though not so much with the latter).

Miles will officially be 4 weeks old in a few hours and is just three days from being a month old. Not sure how that happened so quickly, but here we are.

The plan is to have Max with Kat's parents two afternoons a week (same as now, just different days), playing with Natalie at her house one afternoon a week, and playing with Natalie at our house one afternoon a week. That leaves me with him for one afternoon (likely Thursday for blast ball). Which likely will be tough after spending a morning working at the bakery, but it certainly could be worse.

I think it'll work out fine, with the added bonus of not having to drag him out the door to daycare twice a week. So... hurray, I suppose.


"Would you like to view my private collection?"

It had seemed an innocent enough question. The invitation came from a kindly old man who wouldn't intimidate a fly. To say that I felt safe with him, despite having met him only an hour previous during the convention's introductory soiree, would be an understatement.

So I said yes. The wine glass in my hand was still half full and hadn't been topped up since I'd started nursing it shortly after I'd arrived. Can't blame the booze, then. I suppose you could say that I, being new in the city and having not yet made any friends, was simply looking for some company. And something to do other than return to a cold, echoing, and empty apartment.

He was rich. That much any idiot could have figured out from twenty paces. He seemed harmless enough. Almost grandfatherly. And not like my mother's father, who was too fond of the drink and had a mean streak wider than Broadway. Like a grandfather whose knee you'd sit on and have him read you a bedtime story or ten.

Was I too naive? Perhaps. Surely I trust too easily, but that's not always a bad thing. What I need to learn from this, I think, is not hostility towards strangers or to always guard myself with a shield of suspicion. It's to ask more questions before agreeing to do anything.

Like, in this case, I could have asked something along the lines of, "And just what sort of collection is it that you have to show me?"

Too late now, clearly. But maybe it'll save me an awkward tour of an old man's vintage lingerie collection next time around...


morganna said...

A few of this,
A few of that
Some more of this,
Some more of that
And that makes my collection!
Shall we open the museum tomorrow?
Based on The Collector's Museum a few blocks from my house.

Thanks for your good wishes, Greg!

Greg said...

@Morganna: I'm utterly intrigued as to what has ended up in the museum in your poem! It sounds like it could be interesting, if only to see what people think is worth collecting... and how little I agree with them!

@Marc: Daycare does sound like it's over from the way you're writing, but it also sounds like you don't think it's a bad thing, and I might agree with you. Max will be starting school soon enough after all :)
There's a definitely gentleness in your piece today that makes me uneasy all the way through, but I suspect that's because I know you're up to something. I like the narrator's attempts to justify how it all happened, but you know that they think they've been stupid. And the final denouement sounds... excruciating!

The collection
I was eating a boiled egg. Well, I was actually eating seventeen boiled eggs because the urchins had learned how to cook eggs and were currently on a boiling phase. They'd found hens somewhere and I'd built a kind of sheltered run for them: there was a henhouse at one end and long arms extending out from it with chicken wire stretched between them to form a roof so that the urchins could move it around. It kept the chickens safe and meant that they didn't scratch up too much ground before they moved on to new pastures. It was working well, except that I was getting sick of eggs.
A shadow fell across the table and I looked up. The Master of Chincherry Security stood in the doorway of the kitchen, his bright grey eyes meeting mine and a thin smile on his lips. I gestured to a chair at the table, my stomach suddenly tight and uncomfortably full, aware that there was little else I could do.
"I nearly sent the men," he said as he sat down. I pushed a boiled egg towards him. "Usually we do this by collection: they come out and bring you to the office and we talk there." His voice broke at collection but got stronger after that. "But you're an educated man, for all that you seem to insist on having secrets." There is was again, the hitch in his voice at secrets. He picked a knife up from the table and sliced the top of the egg off in one smooth movement.
"Cecily left," I said. "She went into the forest the night something exploded out there. I think–" I stopped talking for a moment, let my head sink down. He waited for me to continue. "I hope she wasn't caught in it."
"She wasn't."
I kept my head down, thoughts rushing through my head. I'd seen the dirigibles, the gendarmes had turned up shortly after that. They'd been to the site then.
"You're sure?" I lifted my head, blinking as though to keep tears away. "She might have survived?"
"No." The certainly in his voice created real shock and my reflex shiver was genuine. "I am sorry to tell you this, but there were fourteen people shot and killed in that area that night, in order to prevent any contamination. It was a quarantine order. Five of them were women. We will need you to come and identify her body."
"That was three weeks ago," I said, stumbling over the words.
"It won't be pleasant."
"I see." I said. There was a danger in saying that any body was Cecily's, but it might be worth it to be left alone for a while. I needed to understand the phlogistonic wine better, and then there was the object I'd retrieved from the crash-site – the one they were clearly hunting for.
"Good. The other thing I want to talk about is what that explosion was."

Marc said...

Morganna - I, too, am curious about this museum now! I'd love to hear details on what one might find there, if you have the time to share them :)

Greg - haha, I'm terribly pleased that you're able to tell when I'm up to something. Not sure why, but I am :)

Hurray for this continuing! It's impressive how quickly I get caught up and swept away in this tale every time I start reading one of your entries. Loved the details about the eggs :D