Thursday, February 25, 2010

An old exercise from "The Archives"

I wrote this with a friend while we were chatting online one evening.

November 1, 2007 11:42 PM

The makeshift spear pierced the rippling surface of the water and nicked the tail fin of a passing fish.

“Damn it!” said Kevin. He’d been struggling to get just one fish for the better part of three hours. The last of the rations from the plane wreckage ran out four days ago and Jesse wasn’t looking very good, huddling under a tree on shore shivering despite the intense heat and humidity. They figured it was probably the insect bite that caused his illness. It flew away before they had a chance to swat it. It was probably a half inch long, purple with green wings. It was very beautiful. Would probably have made for some pretty good fish bait, thought Kevin. Though he thought that if he did see another one he would try and catch it and hold onto it. If--no,when--they were rescued he could take it with them to show whatever doctor would wind up treating Jesse. Maybe they would recognize it and say, “I’ve got the cure for that kind of bug bite right here!”

Kevin let go of the thought and set his mind back on the task of finding breakfast. More like brunch now, he thought. He peered through the rippling surface and saw a fish swimming against the current. It made no progress, just stood in the same place over the river bed as it calmly swam. Kevin threw the spear as hard as he could and managed to pierce the fish right through its gills.

“Ha HA!” yelled Kevin. “I got one!” He ran to the spear and picked it up out of the water, the fish dangling on the end, it’s fins flailing about trying to swim through the unfamiliar medium that was the damp air of the jungle. It gasped as it started to drown in the air rushing by its body as Kevin ran back to shore, stumbling through the water.

Jesse’s eyes had cracked open when he heard Kevin’s shout of success. They opened again as Kevin knelt beside him and spoke, “I got a fish, Jesse. Let’s get back to camp so we can clean it. I promise it’ll be a lot better than those fresh water shrimp we found... and a whole lot bigger.” Jesse managed to crack a smile, giving Kevin some encouragement as he put his arm under Jesse to help him up to his feet so they could shuffle over to their camp about a hundred yards away.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another game from "The Writer's Toolbox": Protagonist, Goal, Obstacle, Action

Protagonist: Lauri the famous actress
Goal: To find true love
Obstacle: Irene the temptress
Action: Learns to drive

A thump against the bumper and the irritating sound of plastic scraping against asphault filled the cabin of the Humvee.

“You’re the first person I’ve known to get a traffic cone stuck in the wheelwell of this thing,” said the driving instructor.

“Sorry,” said Lauri.”I didn’t see it. We’re so high in this thing.” Lauri couldn’t tell the instructor the truth. That she was distracted by Irene on the side of the course. Distracted because Irene was clearly making moves on Jack, another actor learning to drive military vehicles for an upcoming action film. She had only met Jack that morning but she really liked him. And her heart sank as soon as she saw Irene enter the classroom. They had worked together on other projects and Irene, sultry, voluptuous Irene; Irene the temptress--Irene the succubus was more like it--always made a beeline for the most attractive actor on the set. Sometimes Laurie even entertained the thought that Irene only went after the men that Laurie herself showed an interest in. Is there a female equivalent to a cock-blocker? thought Laurie.

“Little girl, you need to get your mind on the situation at hand,” said the instructor, a man who claimed to be a former Army drill instructor.

“Uh,” said Laurie,”Yes, Sir. Sorry, Sir.”

“Don’t call me ‘Sir,’ I WORK for a living.”

“Yes, Sir... uh...I mean, what’s your name again?”

The instructor told her but she didn’t hear him, they were about to start their third lap on the course and were about to pass Irene and Jack again. Laurie could see Irene hanging all over Jack, laughing and talking. For the briefest of moments Laurie considered having an “accident” and running over Irene but she didn’t want to hurt Jack.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

From Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones"

Write about your morning...

My dog, Philip, sleeps with me almost every night. Last night was no exception. I don’t know how he knows but he seems to always sense when I’m awake. Evening if I’m still lying down with my eyes closed. He just knows. Sometimes he looks at me and I open my eyes and see him staring me down as if he’s saying, “Well? Are you going to let me out or not?” This morning I opened my eyes and saw him standing at the door just looking at it. I’m not sure if it was his desire to go outside or the fact that we heard our roommate Warren rustling around in the kitchen. I wanted to stay in bed but I knew I just wasn’t sleepy enough anymore to justify it.

“I’m up,” I said to myself, as I usually do every morning. It seems that saying it out loud validates the fact that I am indeed awake and need to start my day.

I got out of bed, which got Phil’s attention. He was very excited to go outside and it seemed like he couldn’t wait for me to get dressed and out the door.

Phil needed no motivation to make it to the back door. Most of the time, when I “let” him out for his evening constitutional, I pretty much have to pick him up and place him out of the back door. Sometimes I can lure him there with a cookie. Of course, when he comes in after that, “We’re in for the night.”

Warren decided to make waffles this morning and gave me the first four piping hot out of the iron. It’s great having a roommate who loves to cook. It certainly makes up for the little idocyncracies that Justin and I noticed when Warren first moved in.