Sunday January 22nd, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the audit.

Ended up working from 8 until 11:45 this morning to finish off the inventory (a couple of people from last night didn't show up this morning, so it took a little longer than expected).

Current status: done. Just... done.


"Hey Marty? Could you come here for a second?"

"Sure thing."

"So, I s-"

"Okay, time's up!"

"Don't be so damned literal, Marty. You know what I meant."

"Of course I did. Gotta have a little fun now and then though, right?"

"I guess. Anyway, I'm just doing an audit on our inventory count from last week and I see you were the one doing the stationary supply closet."

"Yeah, that's right."

"And under red pens, here? You put 5A3TTU."


"Uh... okay, well... by my count, I got 92."

"Yeah, me too!"

"Um... okay, but that's not what you wrote down."

"Sure it is. I just did it in code, same as the rest."

"Right, sure. Um... what code?"

"Oh, I just made one up in my head. It got a tad boring after a while, had to keep it interesting."

"That's, uh, fair, I guess. Could you explain the code to me?"

"What would be the fun in that?"


morganna said...

Examining everything
X-ray machines to alphabet soup
Absolutely anything needed for a
Millenia-long space voyage.

Marc said...

Morganna - that is a wonderfully appropriate acrostic you've got there, and I really like the tale you manage to tell in just four lines. Very impressive!

Greg said...

@Morganna: I agree with Marc, it's a well-constructed acrostic in just four lines! I do like that alphabet soup is part of the essentials for the millenia-long voyage :)

@Marc: sorry for the silence over the past few days: I'm in Budapest for work and it's non-stop. Literally, I get back to the hotel around 11pm and get up at 7am so there's not much I get to do except sleep ready for the next 16-hour day.
As you might expect, Marty is definitely my kind of guy, with his codes and the refusal to explain them. And I bet he's forgotten some of the codewords already :) I'd definitely be interested if he were to reappear in any subsequent tales you have to tell! Excellent work (though you always do do it) on the dialogue and keeping the two voices distinct.

The audit
Mist flowed upwards from damp, broad flagstones, water pulled from the tiny cracks and fissures by an intensely attractive force. It swirled, going from slightly hazy and transparent to thickly white and opaque in a matter of fifteen seconds. It gathered as a ball, a second moon too close to the ground, and then extruded pseudopodia like a starfish. Four of them grew longer and one stayed the same length and just acquired detail: shortly afterwards a figure as white as milk and as inhuman as a statue stood on bone-dry flagstones. Its eyes were blank and staring, it had no eyelids to blink with, and its hair seemed plastered to its head. It turned its head as though looking around, and then walked swiftly to the bridge across the river. Beneath the bridge other mists swirled without intent and the water lapped rythmically against the shore. There was a ammoniac smell with an undertone of carrion -- all kinds of waste poured into the river that bisected the Unreal City -- and the night breeze wasn't strong enough to carry it away.
The milk white figure vaulted the balustrade of the bridge as lightly as an athlete and disappeared over the edge with the relentless determination of a suicide.
Water splashed as it landed, three inches offshore and unharmed by its fall. The man stepping out from underneath the bridge halted and swore under his breath.
"Chance." The voice came from the figure but the throat didn't vibrate with the effort of breathing; nor did the mouth open to allow the sounds out. Blank eyes stared at him. "This is an audit."
Chance swore again, his word-choice more disgusting and stomach churning. "You'd better come in," he said at last when he'd spat the last vitriol. He held up a brown-paper package that had a wet spot at one end. "I was about to make a delivery."
"That will not count against you."
Chance's dwelling: less a home than a foetid dungeon. The figure looked around, giving off a faint glow like luminescent toadstools, and pointed at the form of the detective. "One detective," it said. "Minus hands, which you will deliver."
"Well done." Chance didn't bother to hide his sarcasm. "That's all?"
"No. We should start with the children."

Marc said...

Greg - ah, good to hear you're okay. I had wondered if you were being kept busy trying to figure out how 5A3TTU could mean 92 :P

I hope your days aren't quite so hectic for much longer. But I shall take your writing whenever I can get it.

Fantastic opening descriptions in yours. And I quite enjoyed the interaction between your auditor and Chance (who I was rather pleased to see making a return appearance already). That final line is quite chilling... but I shall go and try to get some sleep now anyway.