Sunday May 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the overachiever.

Miles needed to get back to sleep this afternoon and Kat needed a break. So I loaded the boys into the car and took a drive into town.

You could say that I ended up overachieving a little bit:


This morning I helped Kat's parents and brother get the nets over the cherry trees. The fruit is turning red already and the birds have taken notice. Hopefully we've managed to discourage them now.

Mine:

"Did you hear who got the promotion?"

"Oh, not again!"

"I know, right? It's like the guy never sleeps or something."

"What, you seriously think it's just hard work and dedication that's got him this far?"

"Sorry?"

"Nobody puts in those kind of hours anymore. That's old school garbage. This is a new age, man. Anything and everything is on a computer or in a cellphone."

"Are you suggesting he blackmailed his way to the top? That's a horrible thing to spread around the office!"

"Don't be so naive, man. I mean, just look at the guy. He's obviously not sleeping his way there. And there's no way he's smart enough to do anything else."

"What, like work hard and study hard and..."

"Who has time for that? Way faster to find some nasty dirt and put it to good use."

"So why haven't you done that?"

"I... uh... it's complicated."

"Oh, so somebody's got dirt on you then?"

"... shut up and get back to work, man."

2 Comments:

Greg said...

Is that a sleep tug-of-war going on there? My money's on Max, though if you've tied Miles in securely enough it might end up being a draw. Did Kat enjoy her break? I can imagine that it was nice for her to have a half-hour to just relax for a moment and not have to worry that someone would be crying/screaming/asking why they can't carry on sawing up the furniture (I think I've got all three of you covered there, in some order).
Hmm, that little conversation went dark quickly, didn't it? I like that you eventually reveal that the speaker with the suspicious mind is working from being on the receiving end already, and I'm now wondering if I haven't worked in an office like that. Or maybe two. I also like the disparity of opinion between the two speakers... and I wonder how long it will last!

Overachiever
Sixticton's Community Prison was medium security. It had been built to be able to be used as a high security prison, but when it became clear that the locals weren't very good at remembering to lock things and were so polite ("so Canadian" as one auditor had witheringly put it) that they would consider prisoners' requests for leniency, extra food, or even freedom three days a week they'd lowered their ambitions. The guards were mostly volunteers who also worked as required at other council posts, so there was the Mayor's body double managing Wing A, the leisure centre counter clerk managing Wing B and two cafeteria ladies who looked after the maximum security wing on weekends. From time to time they rotated posts to ensure that they were all cross-trained.
Leslie daFox, one-time sitcom writer and now semi-retired author, sat in the prison's bar and looked at his six students. Two of them were functionally illiterate, one was determined to write only in his own blood, another two were only interested in writing for True Crime magazine, and the last was an overachiever. He'd aced every assignment Leslie had given him, including one that required writing the Prison's formal name eight-six times correctly (like the nearby town of Osoyoos the prison had been named by drawing seven letters from a Scrabble bag and finding a pronounceable anagram). He was staring at Leslie with the hunger of a nascent cannibal, his too-red lips slightly parted and his grey eyes slightly unfocused.
Leslie started handing assignments back.
"Phillip," he said, holding out the first paper. "Well done. I could read all the numbers and that signature is starting to look like it has real letters in it." He smiled, attempting to be friendly and coming across as furious. "Charles, also good. You should try writing in just pen though; the pencil and crayon are definitely talking to me, but not in a good way." Charles ran his hand through a tangle of chestnut brown hair and squinted at Leslie.
"David, your work is good but it finished too soon."
"I fainted again, boss," said David, picking at a scar on his arm.
"Yes, well if you'd use ink instead of blood...." Leslie sighed, as David clearly wasn't listening. "Fine, well perhaps you could try alternating veins in your arms?"
"Cool!" said David, his face lighting up.
"Connor, Ashley," said Leslie. "Good work, but you need more detail to get into the magazine. Don't be afraid to draw on your past experiences to help get the gore right." He paused, and sighed a little inside. "And Danny. Well, it's near perfect. It would make Hemingway cry and Dorothy Parker get herself to a nunnery. I'd love this, except...."
"Except?" Danny leaned forward keenly, his intensity scarily focused.
"Except I wrote this, Danny, four months ago. You broke into my house and stole it, didn't you?"
"...yes boss."

Marc said...

Greg - hah, more like Max was holding Miles' hand until his little brother fell asleep, and then didn't let go... and then he fell asleep himself.

Some wonderful details in your piece. The origins of the name Osoyoos made me smile, and the little touches you included for each of the students was nicely done. Good stuff, as usual :)