Sunday September 11th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the shake-up.

With all that went on yesterday, I entirely forgot to mention the earthquake.

It hit while Max and I were at the breakfast table and Kat was in the bathroom. Miles was on the floor in the living room. It lasted about 20 seconds, with some pretty good shaking at its peak.

Sum total of damage done in our house: a bottle of shampoo fell off a shelf in the bathroom and landed in the tub.

That's the second earthquake I've felt since moving here (and second total in my entire life) and this was definitely bigger than last time. Miles didn't seem to notice or care. Max thought it was pretty interesting.

It certainly had the whole town talking, at any rate.


"Brother, you don't know what a shake-up is, do you?"

"Judging by your tone, brother, I would say that you believe that I do not."

"Quite right, brother."

"Well then, what am I doing wrong?"

"I think that it would be helpful if you were to tell me what it is that you think you are doing."

"Well, brother, I think you just want me to do that so that you can make fun of me. Again."

"I promise to do no such thing."

"You swear it?"

"I do, brother. So, if you would be so kind?"

"All right. If a shakedown is, at its most basic level, the use of force or threats or intimidation or what have you in order to get someone to do as you wish..."

"Ah, yes, I can see where you are headed with this brother."

"... then a shake-up must be the same thing, only done on a rooftop or other such elevated locations."

"Yes, that would explain what we're doing up here."

"So what's the problem then?"

"I think I'll explain it all after you're done here. So just go ahead and finish with this rather terrified looking fellow and then we'll go grab a beer and chat it out, all right brother?"

"Fine by me, brother."


Greg said...

Your earthquake sounds like fun; I'm with Max in the opinion of it. I've had a couple, of similar size to yours and no bigger, and I also think they're interesting :) But then I also like turbulance on aeroplanes. And I'm glad to hear that your only casualty was the shampoo bottle!
Haha, I love the conversation you'd got here, with the measured voices and reasonable tones, and the at rather more unreasonable behaviour going on while they're all talking. These two seem... oddly intellectual for their behaviour :) And I'm especially intrigued by the fact they keep calling each other brother -- this warrants another visit and some more details I think!

The shake-up
The police station was a square two-storey building on Main Street, sandwiched between the bakery and a shoe-shop and had the only working street-light on the whole street outside it. Snow had been falling steadily all afternoon, and as the darkness closed in around the yellow pool of light from the sodium-arc the whirling flakes were like dizzy moths. There were two patrol cars parked out front; more round the back. Christmas Eve was pretty quiet as people were still in the bars, drinking, or in their homes with the families and still drinking. Things would stay fairly quiet until tomorrow, when Christmas forced the disputes to ignite, the old wounds to tear open, and frustrations to a head. Inside, the duty desk was manned by Debbie only; in the staff-room behind it there were colourful paper streamers, party hats, and a bowl of listerine-green fruit punch. The station chief, Chief Matthias, had a strict no-alcohol rule for the holidays.
The staccato crack of machine-gun fire was accompanied by the harsh shattering of glass, a dull bass thud of wood and concrete being punished by hot lead and a hiss of breath escaping. In the staff-room four officers dived for the floor and remained motionless, listening. At the duty desk Debbie slumped in her chair, her eyes glazing over, her fingers at the bullet hole just off-centre of her chest, failing to stem the blood from her heart.
There was a crash of wood and the stamp of booted feet. Another gunshot, a single crack of judgement, then seconds later the door to the duty room was thrown open. A pause, and then more gunfire. Four bodies writhed under impact; blood leaked out and pooled under the table holding the punchbowl.
"All shook up boys?" Chief Davies walked in through the front door, noting that it was hanging onto the frame by a hinge still. A large policeman, blood spatter on his uniform and the snow on his boots not yet melted, saluted. "Good work. Clear the cells; use their own guns. Break a lock. We'll write it up as an attempt at a Christmas breakout with tragic consequences."
"Sir!" The policemen dispersed, and Chief Davies heard the rattle of lockers as the local officers' guns were located. He looked at Debbie, still sat in the chair, her face as pale as the petals of a lily, blood soaking her clothes and only the barest tremor betraying that she wasn't yet dead.
"Enjoy your divorce, bitch."

Marc said...

Greg - ah yes, here's the previous installment of the unnamed brothers. I quite enjoy writing with them, I must say. Though I'm not at all sure how this scene relates to the more recent one. More investigation is required!

That is quite the scene. And an unusually harsh ending coming from you, I think. I like it though! A lot of great details and descriptions really bring things to life.

Before, uh, they're brought to death. As it were :)