Wednesday March 1st, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the scientist.

Bakery was mostly busy today, but had a few quiet stretches that lasted long enough to leave me with ten loaves on the shelves at end of day. Oh and the majority of baguettes that were baked this morning, which was definitely unusual.

Most curious to see if we get another bounce back day tomorrow like we did last Thursday.


Today is the big day.

At long last, the results of my research will be revealed to the world. All of my hard work and sacrifices will be worth it the moment I step behind the podium, microphones from every major news outlet across the globe pointed toward me. Cameras recording, lights flashing.

All for me.

Me, about to be a household name after years of toiling in anonymity. After sacrificing my relationships, my friends, my health. Maybe I'll start eating right and exercising again. Get outside more, enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. I used to do those things. Before.

Before the research took over my life.

Never mind that. All that pain and suffering is in the past. Today is a day for celebration. For celebrating me and my work. To look forward to the easier, happier days ahead. To dream of the attention beautiful women will shower me with.

It's going to be glorious. So let's get this day started right. Up out of bed and get to the kitchen for pancakes with strawberries and extra maple syrup. I've earned this one final indulgence. More than earned it.

Man, not now. Not this stupid pain in my neck and jaw again. I must have slept wrong. Whatever, nothing is going to slow me down today.

Jeez, climbing down the stairs should not make me breathe this hard. Maybe I should put get gym membership on the top of my to-do list. This is dep... no. Not going there today. Focus on the positive.

I think I'll sit on the bottom step. Just until I catch my breath. And this light-headedness goes away. It never lasts too long. Probably happens too often, but that's a concern for another day. Tomorrow, maybe.

Great, here comes the pain in my chest again. Why does this have to happen... have to happen to... have to...


morganna said...

Reading, thinking,
Editing, always
Searching for the next
Exciting and
Amazing discovery
Ready for the breakthrough in
Cat psychology and
Homing instinct.

Dragonfly Oracle said...

Marc, I can imagine research woukd be just like that

Mine is a 2-part bit:

After you passed away, I wrote a letter to you asking for a sorry, which I
never got in life, actually, I said, it is really a sorry to "her" as that
was to whom your past comments were directed. I also said "and while you are at it, a sorry to your first children is in order", (not that I am a judge or anything
but while you are in the frame of soul to think about things, why not throw
that in as well?)
So, I left it at that. I even deleted the letter.
Then I heard that Beatle song, "No Reply", (a group you loved back then), which I initially thought was about you being upset about your first wife for the falling out way back then. Then I looked at the lyrics, and felt that you tried to gain access to her in the now but there was 'no reply.'
So yesterday I am doing housework to my phone set on random music and I got
the Madonna song, American Life, and in the background a man is singing
"sorry, sorry, sorry", over and over!
Then this morning I went to the shops and a big bus loomed in front of me at
the crossing and on its destination sign was the word - "sorry". Then, at the post office, there was a Xmas chocolates tin with the word "sorry" on it!

The Scientist-
We sat in "that" restaurant, waiting for our simple but nourishing meal. The breeze directly off the water was refreshing, like a breath of fresh air that hadn't been on Earth before. We talked about you.
Because since we'd had "words", this restaurant will always remind me of you.
You didn't like it.
I said, "I never understood his attitude, what was he trying to prove?"
We agreed, then and there, to always remember the "old you", the one we understood, idolised, even. You were our hero back then.
It all crumbled when you moved away, moving us all out of you life as easily as used furniture.
Well, old memories are sometimes better than recent ones, so those are the ones I will cherish, now.
We came home. I got busy in the kitchen, madly baking to stock up. It's a kind of therapy. I know the recipe off by heart; I go on autopilot.
The phone's music was set to shuffle.
There it was, again - your song, "You'll Never Walk Alone".
I quit stirring and listened.
And felt.
The waves of soft joy rose up in me, from my heart, spilling outwards, all over, to my toes. I saw you again, as I remembered you: smiling, happy, well.
After a lifetime of doubt you know, now, that we do not walk alone, that someone always has our back. Maybe you have mine, now.
After that song came another - Black Magic Woman - hmm, I'd always felt you became bewitched and that's why you changed. But that's only my own humble opinion being reflected, here. It could be wrong.
And then came the "sorries" again, well, just in case I'd forgotten those you offered me last week. Or may be just so as I knew it was you... three more songs with the word "sorry" in them...this one was special:
Because I am the scientist...
The Scientist - A song by Coldplay...
"Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you, tell you I need you
Tell you I'll set you apart"

Greg said...

@Morganna: I think you've described research pretty much exactly... except I remember there being fewer cats when I was doing it :) As always your acrostics never cease to amaze me for how easy you make them seem -- combining them with poetry is just a level above!

@DragonflyOracle: I enjoyed the theme that underpins these vignettes and that it's never explicitly brought out and mentioned, just alluded to through the music, the locations and the actions. Baking on autopilot, stocking up is a very powerful image, especially when contrasted with the earlier restaurant scenes. The emotion in here is written down deep and comes through gradually but intensely -- this is very moving.

@Marc: Ah, this was the day when you had the baguettes left over. That surprises me as well actually!
Ah, you seem to have a Trump-kind of scientist here, more interested in the fame and glory than in the work that's been done! I love the idea that he's obsessing over being a household name and that that is the underlying reason for the effort and work. Somehow the ending seems very appropriate, in a subtly tragic way. That the moment of glory should be transformed into a eulogy from an elegy, but that the work still exists and can benefit people: a lovely commentary on life.

Looking at what I've written so far I can see that I'll need to post twice to get mine in as well (sigh, sorry) so I'll post this and then the story separately.

Greg said...

The scientist
Bare feet on snow. Skin so white -- it reminded her of the tall pillars that fronted her father's villa over in Eastrill, the ones he was growing ivy over because he hated the classical feel of them -- that the blue veins were like lines of mould in cheese. Were gloves an afterthought today?
She sighed and reached for the box of latex gloves. It sat on a small ledge above the work-bench that was covered with research papers printed out over the last week. 1000 pairs! proclaimed the packaging in bright red on a yellow splash. As she dipped her hand inside to pull them free there was a momentary waver, a sense of dizziness like the onset of vertigo. A man leaned in and she could smell peppermint so strongly... but it was a mask, it was concealing another odour.
"This is really just an afterthought," he said, and a light shone in her eyes from a tool he was holding and she could see the veins in the back of her eye like Martian canals through a telescope.
The gloves pulled free and she slipped them on. The samples in the petri dishes had all been harmless so far, but it only took one mutation in the right place and all that could change. Preparation was essential. She made sure the gloves were secure and bent down to the small underbench fridge. The magnets on the door -- bright, colourful, intended for children, an afterthought -- spelled out her to-do list: Cure cancer. Someone had added some more, reading "Whose?" She smiled.
The fridge door opened and somewhere behind her, in another world, a voice said, We believe you can help.
The petri dishes were stacked on top of each other, neatly, just as she liked them. She paused, she couldn't remember putting them away. Had someone else done this?
Did it matter?
A warm hand touched her back and a voice, deep and lush, reminding her of her first cigar, said, "I put them away. You were exhausted. Again."
"I was just going to wash my hair," she said. Did she have to feel so defensive? "I would have come back." She stood up, cradling the petri dishes and looked into Jenny's eyes. There was no white there -- she'd had her eyeballs tattooed -- but there was sympathy. She set the petri dishes down on the bench, and Jenny touched her hand; pale fingers lying lightly over the blue veins under white skin.
The living and the dead met again, a gateway opening and a threshold forming. She could see the bare feet on snow and feel the chill wind coming in from the east. It carried a scent of diesel fuel with it.
"Do you have a cigarette, Jenny?"

Marc said...

Morganna - another excellent acrostic. Really like the twist at the end, both for fitting in to the acrostic and for the picture it paints :)

Dragonfly - ah, lovely again. Very intricately done. And... I love that Coldplay song :)

Greg - thank you!

This is fantastic stuff. So many great subtle touches that build the atmosphere as they move the story along. Love the descriptions as well. Bravo :D