Thursday August 4th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: Cleopatra.

Because I was listening to this while failing to come up with a prompt. And then, clearly, I gave up.

The bakery was quieter than usual this morning. I mean, it was still busy. But the lineup was closer to ten than thirty at opening and we had cinnamon buns left after the rush. And a few chocolate croissants as well.

By the time I left there were only macaroons, a slice of focaccia, and maybe six loaves on the shelves. So obviously things were steady enough to sell out... just a little later than I've grown used to.

We're skipping the farmers market this weekend, so I was available to pick up the closing shift at the community center tomorrow night. Hopefully that goes smoothly.

Mine:

She looked upon the asp
And said with a smile
That never failed to beguile,
I know quite exactly
What I wish from thee.
It is, quite simply,
This:
Bite me.

3 Comments:

morganna said...

Perched upon her throne
Appreciating her domain
Repeating the
Requests of her courtiers
Only eating the finest birdseed
That queen of queens, Cleopatra!

Greg said...

@Morganna: it took me a moment to spot the acrostic, but when I did I laughed. It's a great poem and the acrostic just adds depth to it. Thank-you :)

@Marc: thank-you for the song, for all it's a little hard to listen to without feeling melancholy :) I'm slightly surprised that you didn't write something more tragic, though what you've written captures the mood of the song I think. It's definitely beautiful anyway.

Cleopatra
The skies outside were grey with clouds but there was a wind up and it seemed like it might clear them still. Sunshine would be nice, she thought; sunshine made the snakes happier and more lethargic. She glanced over at their home; a glass tank that ran the length of the wall of the house, with logs, leaves, rocks and other things to keep snakes happy inside. There were three of them, lying around sleepily; she'd fed them that morning. You could never be too careful after all.
The clock on the mantlepiece, a little golden thing given to her after she'd left the office job, tingled brightly and she resisted, as always, the urge to throw it against the wall. She had no idea what the clock was supposed to represent -- a way of tracking all the time she wasn't spending with a spreadsheet and a Gantt chart and idiot colleagues who couldn't hit a deadline from three yards away? But she kept it there, she kept it wound and listened to its chiming to remind her that that was what was waiting for her if she failed to deliver.
The noise had a purpose though, it told her it was time. She twitched the curtains; thin blue material that didn't keep the light out when they were drawn but were symbolic enough. Despite the overcast skies there were already people out there, standing with their hands on their children's shoulders, happy with the wait because it meant they were at the front. She stepped back, and walked to the dresser.
Her hands looked like they belonged on someone thirty years older; knobbly, arthritic and poisoned. They worked well enough though, putting on her makeup and the wig, drawing colour on her face and hiding the lines until a picture of Egyptian beauty looked back at her from the tarnished mirror. Cleopatra.
The clock tingled again and she sighed, bracing herself mentally for the show. Then she went to the tank and lifted the snakes out to put into a basket. Snake-handling was as much entertainment as it was a religion, and Cleopatra never disappointed.

Marc said...

Morganna - a fun acrostic from you this go around, and well executed as always :)

Greg - you're welcome!

Wonderful scene setting, as I've come to expect from you. And an intriguing tale, a glimpse into something I did not expect (but certainly welcome) when I came up with the prompt. Great work!