Thursday September 29th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the nut.

Work was a little hectic first thing this morning at Public Works. Had a voicemail waiting for me, three or four relatively urgent emails in my inbox, and I needed to get the coffee going for the crew (they arrive for a 15 minute break at 10 and it's nice to have their coffee ready for them when they get there).

Got through that, had a few other things to deal with, then headed for Town Hall. Where I had zero phone calls and no one walk in needing anything.

So, the opposite of yesterday, basically.

I was realizing last week that I hadn't shared any pictures from the bakery. Now that things have slowed down a bit, I actually had time to pull out my phone to take this:

Going left to right, we've got butter tarts, chocolate croissants, regular croissants, cinnamon buns, and focaccia. Oh, and on the shelves in the background there are preserves, oils, and bags of coffee. Just out of sight are the shelves holding the loaves of bread.

It is amazing I haven't put on fifty pounds since I started working there. I suppose never having time to stop moving while I'm there helps with that.


"Looks like you're missing a nut, sir."

"Or is it a bolt, brother?"

"Beats me. I can never keep those two straight."

"Well, he's definitely missing one of the two, wouldn't you say, brother?"

"Oh yes. Clearly you're missing a nut, sir."

"Or a bolt."

"Yes, or a bolt."

"Whichever the round one is, sir."

"That's a nut? Really? Are you sure about that?"

"I mean, with all due respect, sir... you're not a mechanic, after all."

"Quite right. Not like me and my brother here."

"Well, if you say so. A nut it is. I guess."

"Either way! Rest assured, sir, we'll have your truck back on the road in no time!"

"Though I'm pretty damned sure it's a bolt tha-"

"Let it go, dear brother. Let it go."


Greg said...

It sounds like you get a lot of variety in this job; you seem to be enjoying it though. And the picture of the bakery is great... and has made me hungry. I love cinnamon so the buns would be fantastic (Malta has just had its first Cinnabon open up, literally a week ago) but the foccaccia is what is really causing borborygmus (everyone should know that word!) for some reason.
Hmm, these two seem familiar -- that use of the word brother -- and I like the back and forth between them. I still have no clue what they actually do, but it feels sinister even though there's no actual threats or anything else. It's so subtle and beautiful.

The nut
When Scott woke up he was too cold and he definitely wasn't in his bed. He opened his eyes, wondering what he could have been drinking the night before, and saw sixteen Martins; one leaning over him with a sintered-glass flask of a clear liquid and the other fifteen clustered around the white-board arguing. No, make that fourteen, there was one more that was looting the desk drawers and stealing whiteboard markers.
"What?" He tried to knock the flask away but Martin pulled it out of reach just in time.
"It's water," said Martin. "Triple distilled, of course. Look, I know this is a bit of shock-"
"There are sixteen of you!"
"Yes, I had the same shock."
Scott paused, processing that. He tried again. Then, "What do you mean?"
"They knocked me out when they arrived; I woke up and saw them there too."
"I... I saw you all when I came back for my coat."
"Oh, right. I thought that one-" Martin pointed at the Martin who was looting desk - "knocked you out too. He's a bit of a nut."
"Isn't he you though?"
"Yes, and maybe no. There's a trousers of time thing going on."
"We think, but we are still working on it, that the universe is bifurcating into multiple possible timelines but that they're currently all superimposed which is why there's sixteen of me in the same place. We're trying to work out whether everything will just slide apart or if it needs to be all reassembled."
" did this happen?"
There was a flicker, like lightning outside a window when you're looking at something else in the room, and suddenly there were three more Scotts in the room. They joined the Martins at the whiteboard.
"The time machine," said Martin.
"We should destroy it then!"
"And that's how I think it happens," said Martin. "I -- we -- us -- I need a new language for this really. Me in all my time-forms have agreed that if we try and destroy the machine it causes this to happen."
"Shouldn't that have undone all this then?"
"Not if someone else tries to destroy the machine."
"Like me?"
"Like plural-you. See, there's four of you now, so you're involved somehow."
"This is nuts."
Martin nodded and offered the beaker of water again. Scott sipped from it. The ache in his head subsided a little, but not enough.
"So what now?"
"I think we're trying to work out how to prevent the time machine from being destroyed," said Martin. I get odd echoes of conversations I'm not having in my head from them too. And future memories, if that makes sense. I'm really looking forward to next week and I don't yet know why!"

Marc said...

Greg - thank you! It took me a while to remember them from the shake up prompt. And I'm not at all sure what they do, either, but I enjoy writing their dialogue... so maybe one day we'll both find out!

Hah, a delightfully chaotic continuation to the previous chaos. And I really like that ending, with its lack of details - I wonder which Martin is looking forward to it so much that the original(?) Martin feels it...