Wednesday Write-in #64

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Welcome to the Wednesday Write-in!

Welcome to the Wednesday Write-in. This event runs every week to help any and all writers take control of their productivity and imaginations. Please join in; we’d love to read your work.

Prompts

handful  ::  deadline  ::  birdsong  ::  headache  ::  resonate

Guidelines

There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some brief guidelines:

  • You can use the prompts as inspiration or try to work them into your story somehow. Use as many as you want.
  • When your story is done, post it online (your blog/twitter/in a comment here), tag with #wednesdaywritein if you like, and comment with a link so we can read it.
  • Please take the time to read and comment on as many other stories as you have time for (but we won’t shout at you if you don’t).
  • If you want to write a poem, a script, or something completely different, feel free.

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61 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-in #64

  1. Pingback: Wednesday Write-In #64 | SJ O'Hart

  2. The alarm went off just as the first hint of pink began to streak the sky, Tom wasn’t used to seeing the sun rise and hearing the medley of birdsong at the dawn of the day, but the deadline was looming and he hadn’t completed his presentation. He felt the beginnings of another headache as he thought of the meeting to come. He grabbed a handful of grapes from the bowl as he went through the kitchen and out onto the patio. But he didn’t see the grass sparkling with dew, or smell the honeysuckle’s sweet scent; he was only aware of his boss’s voice resonating in his head: ‘Three redundancies from your department, your choice, by Friday’.

  3. A Beer Too Far

    “What is that infernal racket?” a muffled voice rose from beneath the stack of pillows. It was a long moment before Marcus understood that the sound he heard was caused by his brains trying to escape from his head.

    How could he possible feel this bad? He’d only had a couple of beers. That wasn’t true, of course. In a desperate attempt at self-preservation, his brain had dumped most recollection from memory after beer two.

    The sudden realization that he was scheduled to give the Porterhouse Presentation at ten o’clock jolted him off the bed. Sadly, this move was doomed from the start given that his legs’ current state – rubber, rendered them utterly incapable of supporting the rest of his frame. He came to rest, heavily, with his face all squished up next to Burton’s cage. The bird’s sing song patter usually brightened each morning. Now, however, his squawk, which carried as much indignation as fright, did nothing but make his head hurt even more.

    Why would he ever do this to himself?

    Ah yes, because he was scheduled to give the presently unfinished Porterhouse Presentation at ten o’clock, that was why. Fired, or fired and hung over, what would possibly be the difference?

    He started to rise, but was found himself tangled in the mess that had originally started out as trousers. His unsteady legs didn’t stand a chance,and he found himself dancing intimately with a corner edge of the dresser. OK, now make it fired, or fired, bruised, and hung over.

    Just as his legs were finding their ground, his left eye started swelling from the dresser encounter. His vision was getting blurrier by the minute, but in that instance what remained of his mind came up with an plan. Maybe he could claim that he was mugged and they stole the thumb drive that held the presentation? They certainly wouldn’t question it on appearances, that’s for sure.

    He had a long, hot shower, got dressed in a painfully slow manner, managed to brew a pot of coffee without scalding himself, and popped a handful of aspirin.

    He could put it off no longer. He called up his boss’ direct line from the list of contacts and waited.

    “Marcus, what do I owe the pleasure?”

    “I’m not so sure you’ll think a pleasure in a minute or so. I’ve been mugged,” he said as earnestly as he could manage.

    “Oh my goodness, are you alright?”

    “Aside from a few bumps and bruises and a terrible pain in my head, I’m fine,” he replied. I am afraid that the thumb drive containing the Porterhouse Presentation is missing, though. I think we’re going to have to postpone it. I know how important that account is and I don’t think we should jeopardize it with any half-finished thing I could throw together in a couple hours.”

    “Marcus? Are you sure you didn’t suffer more damage to the head than you realize?” his boss asked.

    “I’m fine Arthur, just a bit banged up,” Marcus assured him. “Why?”

    “Because, I’m trying to figure out why you’ve forgotten our conversation from last night,” Arthur replied.

    Marcus froze. “We spoke last night?”

    “Yes, I called you on your cell phone to tell you the Porterhouse people needed to reschedule our meeting until next week. It was quite loud and you said you were picking up something for dinner. You let out a squeal when I told you, but you said that someone had just stepped on your foot.”

    That, Marcus grimaced, must have been sometime after beer two.

    • Haha! I love the twist at the end. Beer, the great memory-eater. I feel sorry for Marcus, but I hope he learns his lesson and doesn’t stray beyond two beers from now on… I really enjoyed your descriptions of Marcus’ hungover state, particularly how you say he enjoyed an ‘intimate’ dance with the dresser; that was funny, but also evocative. Great use of humour and a wonderfully unexpected ending. Well done.

      • 🙂 There may have been a time or two in my misspent youth where it felt like my brain was desperately trying to escape! Thank you!

    • This is great! Love the twist. You bring the reader from the worst feeling in the world to huge relief and did it in a really entertaining way. Enjoyed this! Going back for another read now!

      • Hopefully he learns his lesson! Thank you taking the time to read this and letting me know what you think. I am so glad you found it entertaining.

    • I liked the last few lines the most, and also the “peppermint painkiller” and “standing on one leg as did the Indian Gods of old”. A bit more radical indeed 🙂

      • Yeah it came out quite quickly but I think I read too much Ginsberg for my own sake recently !

    • “the white noise after the silence” – a powerful way to wrap the poem. Great rhythm, which gives a sense of peaks and valleys, and how we might misidentify which one is which. On a side note, I miss my DX-7… the emulator cards today don’t give me the same feeling! I enjoyed reading this, thanks!

  4. Pingback: Let’s say it’s a poem! | go ask alisa

  5. HI everyone,
    No shock ending this week but another contribution towards my novel. At this pace I might get a first draft finished this decade!
    This is how it began
    Saturday morning, October 1999.
    With a handful of days left before the deadline, Sam Brennan sat at his desk to read his project objectively, like his professor would, to assess it. He was finding it difficult to focus. He had immersed himself so completely in it that it was impossible to distance himself. The sentences were so familiar that his brain simply refused to process the words impartially. The string of phrases fell into place before he read them because he knew them by heart.
    Uneasiness crept in. He could feel the little palpitation as his heart increased its pace.
    He inhaled deeply through his nose and exhaled, deliberately controlling his breathing to slow down his heartbeat. Sam pushed his chair back to appreciate the display of his achievements on the wall in front of him. The array of framed awards and certificates reassured him.
    He tried to read the first sentence again. It just wouldn’t go in. His brain spat the words out in disgust at over feeding. It longed for the taste of something new; it was bored and needed stimulation.
    Lines from a poem he’d heard at a reading the day before flashed through his mind.
    He got up from his desk and went over to the window at the other side of the room. When he opened it, the sound of birdsong expanded. Outside, the sky was clear. The air was fresh, the wind blew away any smell. Sam longed to be somewhere the wind blows away all sound.
    Sam left the window open to let in fresh air. He returned to his desk and to read the first sentence again, this time as if he’s never seen it before rather than as creator.
    Downstairs the girls screeched the Westlife song “Flying without wings” at the top of their lungs. It distracted him.
    “So im- pos- sible as it may seem…” the pitch of their screech increased in volume.
    “Impossible to concentrate” he muttered to himself.
    He decided to have some breakfast. When he opened his bedroom door he was met by the smell of sausages and coffee. Before he stepped outside his room, the doorbell rang and three pairs of footsteps clattered out the hall in a race to answer the door.
    “Oh my God I’m soooo Excited.” Girls screamed.
    Sam stepped away from the door the high pitched screeches gave him a headache. The noise caused a sharp, painful vibration on the interior wall of his cranium. Bitter sensations shuddered through him. He closed the door against it but more girls had arrived, it was much louder. He couldn’t escape it. Anger and anxiety collided within him, his irritation growing into a new beast.
    He paced up and down. His irritation was out of proportion. He felt like knife in a room full of balloons. The girls were entitled to their fun. They weren’t doing anything wrong.
    It was all about perspective. He needed to see things from a different point of view. After all the time he had invested into his project, it had to amount to something significant. It had to be objectively perfect. There had to be a meaning. He couldn’t catch his breath.
    At the window, relief was not to be found in cold air. Sam lunged for his inhaler on his locker. He shook it, clicked and gasped it in.
    He sat on his bed with his palms spread on knees. He was trembling.
    “Calm down Sam.” The voice inside his head told him.
    “I know. I know.” He whispered back.
    There’s that line again from Dermot Bolger’s poem “Oldest friend and adversary, fugitive brother, /We recognise each other/ In carriages of express trains which pass: / Your hands beat on the glass.”
    Why did that line resonate? What was the poem called? “Prayer”. It was as if a forgotten voice spoke to him, making him feel a loneliness that he had always denied.
    Something had to change. If there was to be any hope of adjusting the perspective from which he viewed the world, Sam knew he would have to forget about his project for today and get out of the house.
    He knew he needed to go to the beach. He was looking for something but didn’t know what. The door into the unknown had creaked open and Sam’s curious subconscious scuttled to the slit of light, searching.

      • Thanks for reading! It’s very rough around the edges. I can see lots of editing opportunities but thanks to the prompts I have a starting point. Yes sometimes life does get in the way!

    • Wow! I really liked this piece. I love some of your imagery – Sam wanting to be in a place where the wind blows away all sound, and feeling like ‘a knife in a room full of balloons’ – and, as always, you’ve created something so evocative and emotional. I love the last line in particular, both the way you’ve written it and the emotions it conveys. I also think your observations of the girls are true to life and add a great dimensionality to the piece.

      • Thanks for your really encouraging comment. When I posted this I really didn’t think it was any good but now I think I’ll keep going. There’s a birthday party going on downstairs & Sam, eager to get out of the house, will go on some errands including to butchers! Thanks again for the encouraging feedback-just what I needed!

  6. This is mine. ‘Deadline’ got me got me thinking this week.

    Deadline for Submissions: 1st Jan 3014.

    We accept both genres. The theme this Semi-Quarter is The Politics of Silence. We will be looking for works that appeal to all Three Senses. Any ultra violent images, odours or sensations must be integral to the experience. Scenes of a sexual nature should NOT appeal to our sense of sight. Account should be taken of our sensory impaired subscribers and as such your application should be compatible with Assistives. All work should be the autho/imagist’s own and should not have appeared in any published form anywhere else or at any point in time.
    Length: Max word count 5000. No minimum. Duration of sensory interpretations 2 minutes max.

    Strictly no submissions from any form of Artificial Intelligence.

    Send a short third person biography and 3D image of yourself. We apologise in advance for responses being of a generic nature, but we review a huge volume of work universe wide.

    Touch screen to submit.

  7. Here is mine, again a tad bit late and a bit random 🙂

    The dream of the red bird

    Mr. Wichtigsmann was sitting in his top floor office in the city’s highest skyscraper and he was drinking green tea sent to him by a business partner from Japan. The air conditioning was gently humming and keeping the room in a perfect temperature for hard brain work and important decisions. The typing of his secretaries always relaxed him, it was a steady rhythm like the stomping of dancing feet, maybe a round dance of natives in a jungle village. It was only broken occasionally by the ringing of a phone and, as Mr. Wichtigsmann was slipping into a slumber, he imagined it to be the rattling of bones or the cry of an exotic bird. He washalfheartedly struggling against sleep because he had deadlines pressing on his temples and fumbling with his brain and a headache which was splitting his skull like a stone axe. He was going under, slowly sliding down into the rain forest of his consciousness.
    Beside his desk a huge hibiscus plant was blooming and spreading sweet pollens in the sterile air. In his dream Mr. Wichtigsmann was a little brown boy crouching on a roof made of branches and leaves and played what seemed like a rudimentary flute. His face was painted with red paint, different motives were curling above his eye, next to his nose, protecting him from the bad winds. Suddenly, a huge crimson bird landed in front of him, the sound of its wings making a soft, rustling noise.
    Mr. Wichtigsmann woke up to see all his papers fell from his desk. He was still dizzy from the peace of his dream and during the meeting with his business partners he caught himself thinking about leaving the civilized world behind and during his dinner break ( sometimes he spent the whole day in his office) he even looked for plane tickets to South America.
    He never bought any, though. Mr. Wichtigsmann was a man who preferred dreams to changes, so he remained in his office until three months later, when untimely death took him in the form of a heart attack.

    When he was found there was a single red feather on his chest and his face seemed strangely peaceful.

    • That was quite touching, and I thought the word choice was absolutely lovely. I really enjoyed reading you submission.

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