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Dec 19, 2007

I'm joining in for week CXVI.

I have never written a fictional piece. I shall be the miniature hurtle that is just there to make sure you can jump in the first place.


Dec 19, 2007

In, with :toxx:

Dec 19, 2007

Please send help.

Head Space
All children are artists.

A trigonal tessellation surrounds and encapsulates a supine lying Arthur. He lived in a dome, one that he bought after landing a job as an architectural designer. It seemed like a novel idea, but after three years, he began to hate the cavernous space.

The sound of the doorbell echoed from every surface twice over. Arthur answered the door, it was Teddy, one of his friends from college that interned and worked at the same firm.

“Hey, good to see you, come on in,” Arthur said as he stepped aside.

“Thanks. I was just downtown fetching some last minute party supplies for Jan’s birthday and figured I’d stop by to invite you.”

“I’d like to, but I’ve got a floor plan that really needs finishing by Monday.”

“The Edmunds client? Maybe I can help.”
“I’d rather not-“

“Have you started?” Teddy said, raising his eyebrows in disbelief.
Arthur realized he’d been revealed but stammered, “Long story short, I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

“Alright, hey, I’m not here to twist your arm or anything. I partly showed up to make sure you didn’t go all Howard Hughes on us. If you change your mind, the party starts at six.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.”

Just as Arthur was about to close the door behind Teddy, he finished, “It’s mostly Jan’s friends. I could use the company.”

It was one o’clock and Arthur decided he should make good on his word and start working. The problem was, every time he sat down to work, he’d make a rectangle and think, “That’s a stupid rectangle. People would laugh at that rectangle. You don’t get paid for rectangles like that.” He felt like he’d expended all of his remaining energy on last month’s designs.
He stared at a blank white computer screen until his mind was numb enough to check his email. He found a message from the lead architect:
I’ve had some time to present your preliminary designs to the Edmunds client. 
They say that it doesn’t fit the concept they had in mind. 
The client says they want something “more organic and fresh.”

We’ll go over the details at the Monday meeting.
Arthur’s neck went limp and he his shoulders slouched over his keyboard. Whatever work he may have accomplished wasn’t going to be organic, so he decided to go on a walk.

The autumn air was refreshing, and despite clear skies, he felt less exposed outdoors than in his home. He walked a sidewalk that led from his suburb toward town; trying to find any source of inspiration that he could. To Arthur, the buildings along the path were just a person’s time and name. Maybe if he looked hard enough, he’d see a brick at the base of a building with a name etched into it—a claim to the design by some architectural monolith who churns out four-bedroom homes for a living.

Before he knew it, he’d arrived at the edge of town. In sight was a drug store, and he started to give up on finishing any work and decided to take up Teddy’s offer. He picked out a bottle of white wine based on the shape and label and then headed back home.

The party had already began by time Arthur arrived at Teddy’s. He didn’t know many people there, and apparently Teddy didn’t either since they spent most of their time alone on the back porch reminiscing about their time in college.
“What made you buy into the whole dome home thing anyway?” Teddy asked.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was living in a noisy apartment complex, there’s economic benefits, and I had just landed my job at the firm.”

“Did it pay off?”

Arthur paused for a moment and said, “No, I don’t think it did. When I look back, it seems like everything happened at once—school, the house, the job—I was just focused on making a living for myself.” He took a sip of whiskey and let it burn in his mouth before swallowing. He continued, “It’s hysterical, you know, how quickly I blame naivety for a hollow life when all I want is to go back in time and enjoy myself.”

Teddy stood up, finished his whiskey, and said, “I think what you need is a little perspective. Let’s take a walk. Meet me out front.”

Arthur shrugged and took a path around the house to the front while Teddy went through the back door. He waited for about five minutes before Teddy exited the front door. Teddy was wearing a black backpack that made metallic clinking noises as he walked.

“Where are we going?” Arthur asked.

Teddy proceeded past Arthur and towards the nearby sidewalk, “Don’t worry about it, just enjoy the air. Let’s go.”

They walked for fifteen minutes, well beyond the suburbs and then along the edge of the town. Whenever Arthur protested to turn back, Teddy would reply simply, “Beautiful night isn’t it?”

They arrived at the foot of an old decommissioned water tower. There was a rusty barbed fence surrounding the structure, but a human-sized hole was peeled back by previous trespassers. A central support descended from the center of the water reservoir down to the ground. At about knee height a smaller pipe jutted out horizontally and Teddy crawled inside.

“Listen, Teddy, I’m not sure what your plan is here, but mine is to not get arrested.”

Teddy stood up inside the vertical pipe, “You’re not going to get arrested,” he pulled a flashlight out of the backpack and illuminated a ladder within the pipe’s interior, “Trust me.”

Arthur muttered curses, but crawled through the pipe anyway. The climb seemed to take nearly as much time as the walk there. When they finally reached the top, they were inside the emptied reservoir. Teddy’s flashlight revealed a rainbow of scatological graffiti coating the tower’s interior.

Exasperated, Arthur huffed, “Alright Teddy, what’s going on?”

Teddy dropped the backpack and then yelled until his lungs were empty. The cacophony made the whole water tower ring.
Arthur clutched his ears, “Jesus Christ Ted, I get enough of that poo poo when I’m at home.”

Teddy laughed, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” He moved to climb a smaller ladder that exited the side of the water tower and beckoned Arthur to follow.

They emerged onto a catwalk which encircled the spherical reservoir. The air outside was brisk and the vastness of the night sky dwarfed the town’s dimly lit buildings.

“Monuments to miniatures,” Teddy said. He held his forefinger and thumb to his eye and squinted, “Look, they’re not so big. You can even squash them if you want.” He simulated crushing the buildings by touching his fingers together.

Arthur played along with the charade. It was somehow comforting to feel larger than a building for once.

Once they’d gotten their fill of appreciating the view, Arthur finally asked, “What’s with the backpack?”

Teddy smiled and chuted himself back into the water reservoir, Arthur followed. Teddy opened up the backpack and emptied a swath of spray paints, acrylic paints, and brushes onto the floor. He gestured towards the reservoir’s interior and said, “Make whatever you want.”

Dec 19, 2007

I'll take a drink.

Dec 19, 2007

711 words
Irish coffee

One moment of carelessness and suddenly I’m stranded in an arctic wasteland. The old fogeys at the tavern warned me, told me the dogs would keep going with or without me once they were deep into the run. I bet they’ll all have a good laugh at my expense when an empty sled passes through town. For now, all I need to do is follow the sled tracks east and I’ll be okay.

The snow is deeper than I thought. The drat dogs left me without snowshoes and now each step may as well be uphill. That’s alright, the wind has picked up and the struggle will keep me warm. I can’t wait to fling open the tavern door and share a laugh with the veterans about this venture.

The wind has become unforgiving. It sails through me and chills my bones. The sled tracks have already been filled in by gusts of loose snow. Luckily, my jacket held a small compass to guide me through the rest of the journey. Now that I’ve had time to mull it over, I think I’ll order tomato soup with grilled cheese at the tavern. Maybe I’ll get a hot chocolate for good measure.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot control the spasmodic shivers throughout my body. I have to place the compass atop the snow to gain an accurate bearing. Each of my fingers and toes feel as if they were being crushed by pliers. The dogs have probably made it to town by now. I can almost hear the tavern’s laughter echo through this furious wind. I must be close now, another half-mile and I’ll be lounging beside a roaring fire with a hot soup.

The cold has gripped me so solidly that I have stopped shivering. My hands have lost even the tingling feeling of numbness and I dropped my compass somewhere along the line. No matter, the sun is waning now and I need only to walk away from it to travel east, towards the tavern. Any moment now the town will be within sight—a mote of dust specked upon this boundless tundra. I wonder if they get T.V. reception during storms like these. Something like Three’s Company or I Dream of Jeannie would be a delight.

The sun has disappeared and left me aimless. The wind gusts so strongly that it threatens to steal my breath. Blood runs through my veins like chilled syrup. What a stupid and treacherous journey this has become. I can only hope that the town has sent a party to rescue me.

A light! The tavern is near, I’m sure of it!

I try to jog, but my legs crumple like columns of ice. The snow cushions my fall but creeps in between my jacket and exposed skin. I should conserve my energy, the locals should find me soon. I need to rest, just a nap to regain my composure.

I wake up in the tavern foyer, propped up in a wool chair before a fireplace. Someone has wrapped a fleece blanket around me and placed a bowl of soup and crackers beside the chair. The crackling fire breathes warmth and comfort onto me while the tomato soup trickles vitality into my core. I imagine this comfort is only matched by that of heroin, and I begin to nod off.

Burning heat snaps me from my sleep. My eyes open to see a rage of flames escaping the fireplace. The blanket I’m wrapped in begins to burn and I struggle fiercely to stand without stepping into the inferno. I stand, throw the blanket into the fire, and move beside the chair. My clothes are burning, they’re engulfed in flames and fusing to my skin. I tear away at them until I’m naked. I’m still burning. Dear god anything to stop the flames, somebody please help!

In a flash, I am back in the icy maw of the arctic. My clothes are strewn across the barren landscape. I look down and see my fingers are blackened with frostbite. I feel nothing, no pain, no fear, and no desire. Too weak to continue, I am content to lie down in the fluffy embrace of the snow and let the howling winds entomb me.

Dec 19, 2007

I'm in as long as someone can tell me what the hell is going on between Murakami and people's ears.


Dec 19, 2007

I just want to throw out massive thank-yous to docbeard, newtestleper, Tyrannosaurus, Jonked, and sebmojo for critiquing my horribly amateur submissions. I found the frank responses to be invaluable and I don't think advice like that is dispensed from many places. My college writing courses had peer-reviews where everyone just said "it was pretty good ." Most of the people I listed gave me between five and ten sentences for their responses and I found that sufficient to let me know what I'm doing right or wrong.

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