22 November, 2005

So the story goes...

The following fiction has been gathering dust in various stages, in various places. A short sharp puff of breath through pursed lips, a curt wave of the hand over the tattered and stained surface, and it is clean again. I hope that by stuffing it here on this swampy blog, it won't get too dusty, and the warm innards of internet servers may activate whatever yeast remains of the inspiration. Any suggestions are welcome, too. I'm so uber scurred of getting too meta.

So far, the only title I've thought of is "Excresence."

“I just wish there was something like a plot-compendium, or plot-pile, where I could pick up a plot, a kind of structure to hang some writing on,” Squontius Threbbadum said to Hilda Harks.

“You know, writing these days doesn’t have to have plot,” Hilda replied. “Plenty of authors are quite successful weaving literature out of mere words.”

“You call that weaving? It’s more like excreting, and I don’t know why anyone would call it literature.”

Hilda pulled her precious old laptop, which she had spray painted yellow in an experimental gesture of love, closer to her on the table. As Squontius tapped his foot and babbled on about postmodern excrescence, Hilda noisily banged away at her beat-up keyboard. In an almost rhythmic pattern, it made an audibly springy kind of sound whenever she hit a key in the upper right hand corner, where it had come away from the scratched and gouged laptop cover. “Imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value,” she said.

“Imaginative… creative… hmm… recognized…” intoned Squontius. “So, literature is subjective, then. According to you.”

“No, dictionary.com, not me,” said Hilda, eyes still on the screen, scanning an ad by Google on the right side of the screen. “Literature Essays,” said one ad, “Thousands of Topics to Choose From. Check Out Our Free Online Samples.”

“Oh, well, such an oracle as that, such an online - "

At this moment, a large white Chevrolet, a solidly built though ill-maintained late eighties model, came crashing through the large window of the ubiquitous chain coffee shop where Squontius and Hilda were seated. In a flash, glass, metal, blood, and scalding hot green tea were everywhere. Hilda’s reactions were human, and thus just a bit late: she swooped up her precious yellow piece of equipment in a loving attempt to spirit it out of harm’s way, but felt with a sigh that the bright yellow back was moist and slightly sticky.

The car had just missed her.

Squontius and his chair were gone, along with a garish display rack groaning with holiday CDs that seconds before had taunted Hilda, its reflection becoming clearer and clearer as the early fall light faded. Hilda looked down and lifted her feet just in time to avoid an advancing pool of blood. Cradling her still-open laptop on one arm, and staring at the mess on the floor before her, Hilda retreated slowly towards another offensive display rack. Nearly oblivious to the sounds of pandemonium around her, Hilda continued to stare at the table where the crazy car had narrowly missed her. Something wasn’t quite right. It was entirely appropriate that the accident had erased the depressed and whiny Squontius, and that grating display stand as well, but still… what was… hmm…

With a sigh, Hilda closed her laptop, and at that instant, the car disappeared, glass and metal leapt off the floor, the window onto the street was healed, and her mug was full of fragrant green tea again.

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