Monday November 21st, 2016

The exercise:

We return today to the first line prompt. That means we all get the same opening line, but then each of us takes it where our individual inspirations tell us to go. I'll get to the line in a minute.

This morning I finally got around to sowing our winter cover crop seed in the garden. So that, I think, means we're officially done with the farm until spring. Unless I'm forgetting something. Which I probably am.

Max and I were back at soccer class this afternoon (Kat and Miles stayed home so that he could nap... which he didn't). He had lots of fun and was even more excited to see that they're starting to put up Christmas decorations at the community centre.

So of course we ended up putting a few things up around our house after we got home.

Anyway. Let's get to the writing thing. Our opening shall be: Muriel picked up the newspaper and, as she had for the previous fifty mornings, turned immediately to the Classifieds and began perusing the Help Wanted ads.

Mine:

Muriel picked up the newspaper and, as she had for the previous fifty mornings, turned immediately to the Classifieds and began perusing the Help Wanted ads. She sipped her coffee as she did so - a lingering indulgence that she would not be able to justify (or afford) for much longer. At least, not if her job search continued to prove futile.

And at first it seemed like nothing would change that day. There were the usual assortment of ads for tech workers and fast typing receptionists (both categories stretching well beyond her current capabilities), along with the various minimum wage jobs that would never be enough to pay her bills: fast food counter person (could you imagine?), lawn maintenance (At her age? They'd die of laughter the moment she walked through the door!), gas station attendant (she didn't even like pumping her own gas), and farm workers (her knees no longer allowed her to work the garden in the back yard - the idea of weeding somebody else's veggies was almost enough to make her nauseous).

It was depressing, is what it was.

But then an ad caught her eye.

Wanted: One Henchman
You: Not squeamish. Discreet. Willing to do
whatever is required in order to get the job done.
Previous Henchman experience an asset.
Us: Well funded. Access to delicate information.
How to apply: Figure it out and the job is
practically yours already.

Well, Muriel thought as she set the paper aside. It had been a long time... but for the sake of a decent paycheck, she could see herself dusting off those old skills.

3 Comments:

Greg said...

Sorry, two posts again. You'd think I'd have learned how to write by now, really....

It almost seems late to be putting up Christmas decorations, but then I realised it's the last (full) week of November, so maybe that's not true. I've just started seeing the first ones going up in Malta too -- maybe the world has decided to celebrate Christmas nearer to the time for once :)
I like the prompt! Are you thinking about ideas for next year's year-long story already, as this one has the potential for it I think. There are, as always, some lovely details in there like the coffee and her reasons for turning down other jobs; there's a definite genteelness going on right until the mention of dusting off previous skills. I think I like this woman.
[Offtopic, but I see Mike Doughty has a new album out -- any good?]

Greg said...

Mine:
Muriel picked up the newspaper and, as she had for the previous fifty mornings, turned immediately to the Classifieds and began perusing the Help Wanted ads. She sipped her coffee as she did so, and then pushed the cup away from her in disgust. Coffee didn't taste the way she remembered it from her childhood.

"No to celery salt," said a very young man in a white coat, making a note on a page clipped to a clipboard. He was one of four in the room, all stood near a large LCD TV screen. Acne adorned his jaw and neck, and he looked like he wasn't sleeping properly. "Anyone got anything else they want to test on this run?"
Boris, who looked like he hadn't slept in a week, shook his head. He was as pale as his coat and smelled faintly of vomit. "That kegger...." was all he managed.
"Yeah bro," said Fraser, grinning wildly. "Great night!"
"Piss off," said Boris.
"Right," said Graham, the first young man. "Turn her off, we'll reset and try the next one."

Muriel picked up the newspaper and, as she had for the previous fifty mornings, turned immediately to the Classifieds and began perusing the Help Wanted ads. She sipped her coffee as she did so and frowned, not recognising the taste. She sipped again, experimentally, and then put the cup down. Two seconds later she collapsed, knocking it over so that dark brown liquid flowed across the table top and stained the white carpet.

"No to cyanide," said Graham making another tick mark on his page. "Wait, who thought we needed to test cyanide anyway?"
"Dude!" said Fraser, holding his hand up for a high-five.
"Tard," said Graham. "Reset, let's go again."

Muriel picked up the newspaper and, as she had for the previous fifty mornings, turned immediately to the Classifieds and began perusing the Help Wanted ads. She sipped her coffee as she did so, lowering the paper slightly to reach the cup--

"Why is Muriel naked? Reset, let's go again."

Muriel picked up the newspaper and, as she had for the previous fifty mornings, turned immediately to the Classifieds and began perusing the Help Wanted ads. She sipped her coffee as she did so and suddenly something in the paper caught her eye. The little box, middle of the second column, read: "You're in a simulation. Below that was an image that seemed to suck her gaze towards it, and a moment later when she looked around her it was like she was in the Matrix: everything was ever-changing columns of green numbers.

"What the holy-- Denise?"
"I hate you frat-boys," said the fourth member of the group standing up. She has auburn hair and green eyes and was a few years older. "See how you cope when Muriel gets a life of her own." She turned and stalked out of the room.
"Dude!" Fraser lifted his hands for a high-five again and Graham turned away, seeing instead Boris throwing up into the wastebin. He looked at the screen in time to see Muriel tear the front-door off its hinges and launch herself into the sky like a geriatric Supergirl and face-palmed.
"Reset," he said tiredly. "Full reset, and then we check the code for any more backdoors Denise put in there. And there's no damn way she's getting any credit on this project now."

Marc said...

Greg - I've come to expect two posts per prompt from you at this point. Watch, now you'll go and start doing three... :P

I've been pondering next year but haven't come up with anything yet. I'll give this one some thought though.

Haven't heard it yet, sorry!

Wild and fun take on the starting line - I like it a lot! And I think I like Denise best, but I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone. Great stuff :D