Wednesday February 1st, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the landslide.

Max has come down with Kat's cold and it hit him pretty hard today. So we generally tried to take it easy today, keeping the boys home from their usual afternoon with Kat's parents in order to avoid infecting them. We had some family painting time, which was pretty fun, and slipped in some outside time in the sunshine as well.

Our water was off for most of the day (about 11 to 6), as there was a leak in the system somewhere. Once they had it fixed they turned things on again... only to discover another leak.

We are hopeful that they are done messing about with our water, as that was rather severely inconvenient. And also gave us a new appreciation for the usual ready availability of running water.

Mine:

He had trained for years for that day. Sacrificed so dearly, both financially and personally. How many opportunities had he missed in order to pursue his one, single-minded goal? Countless.

Countless.

If you had asked him if it was all worth it, in the end? I think he would have said he would have done it all again without changing a single thing. He had no regrets. He was content in his choices, in the life he had chosen to live.

If you had asked me, on that fateful morning, if I thought he was going to win the race I would have said yes. He had put in the work. He had done all he could have to prepare for that day. He deserved to win. He'd earned it before the starter's pistol had even gone off.

So it's a shame, really, that he never got the chance to show the rest of the world just how deserving he was. But then, who could have seen that landslide on Harris Mountain coming? None of the competitors, certainly.

You could have asked any of them, I suppose... had any survived.

2 Comments:

Greg said...

Now, is that family painting as in you all sat down together and painted pictures, or family painting as in a local family came in and you covered them in paint? And if it's the second, does this mean that your furniture moving business is branching out into new (and slightly surreal) territory?
I know what you mean about water being off, especially when it's unexpected! You do suddenly realise how much you take access to it for granted. I hope it's all sorted out for you now.
Well, that's a remarkably depressing end to an otherwise quite positive story! I like it, and I like the subtle way you push the reader into thinking that the landslide is going to be a victory before you steal it all away and turn it into a tragedy.
Well, I assume it's a tragedy :)

The landslide
When Sixticton's skinny thug picked up the long, sort-of-oval shaped package from the post-office (the postman, Larry Carter, had refused to deliver anything bigger than him) the streets were deserted; the coffee-shop was no busier than usual, and the laundrette was only just opening up. Even so, as he eagerly tore off the cardboard packaging to reveal the surfboard beneath people seemed to be almost materialising nearby. There were faint smiles as he whooped with joy, and as he hurried along Main Street a throng formed behind him. He never looked back to see them, but they still managed to appear as though they were window-shopping, sauntering, casually standing around enjoying the return of the sunlight.
As he left the street and started to scramble over the piles of slag the throng became a crowd, and they picked their way after him and slightly off to one side, picking an easier route. Basalt and obsidian glinted in the sunlight, and though the thug seemed unworried about the scratches and scrapes they gave him the crowd were more thoughtful and careful. The rocks were the remnants of vulcanism: the recent art installation by Geraldinium Holmes had turned the local hill into a volcano for four days, and the sun had been blocked by a cloud of ash and smoke for six weeks. People broadly agreed that it was very effective as art, but too cold to keep going permanently.
The crowd halted about half-way up, but the thug kept going until he reached Rasmussen's shelf (Rasmussen was an old family name in Sixticton, famous for their skunk-farm). He set the surfboard down carefully, and balanced on it. The crowd held their breath.
The thug shouted loudly up towards the caldera of the hill, and for a moment nothing happened. Then the land slipped, pebbles bounced enthusiastically away, and the side of the hill started to descend. The thug road the landslide down to the bottom like an earth spirit, bobbing and weaving on the board to keep his balance, and the crowd applauded genteely.
"Well," said a voice in the crowd when the show was over, "I guess we'd better go dig him out then."

Marc said...

Greg - though I prefer your second definition, it was, indeed, the first :P

Ah, a moment of victory for the skinny thug! Even if it did end with him getting buried... but at least the townsfolk were willing to dig him out!

Unless someone else responded to the final line with a 'nah'. But I shall remain hopeful for the skinny thug :)