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Summer Contest (Prose) – Copy

 
 
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  #1  
Old 04-25-2010, 12:00 AM
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Default Summer Contest (Prose) – Copy


The time is upon us, a new contest to has arrived; with a theme that is wide open and awaiting your inspiration. So don’t be shy and spin a tale that resolves around the theme Copy; however you chose to interpret it.


* * *


Entries:

Members are allowed one entry in the prose contest. (You are welcome to enter our poetry contest as well.) Prose entries should be submitted as posts to this thread. The competition is open to all members of Writer’s Beat, including staff.

Members are requested to refrain from commenting on entries in this posting thread. Please use the Copy Comment thread instead. That thread will remain open throughout the posting period and afterwards, and members are encouraged to let entrants know what they thought of their entries.

Word Limits:

Prose: 2,000 words Maximum

Edits:

Once an entry has been submitted, it cannot be altered. Any work that is edited after it has been entered will be disqualified. If you feel you need to make a small alteration (a misplaced comma, a spelling error), contact a member of staff. If we feel your request is reasonable, we will make the correction on your behalf.

Close Date:

20th June 2010, 12 midnight GMT

Judging:

Winners will be selected by means of a public poll, so you, the members of Writer’s Beat, will choose the winners.

After the closing date, a voting thread will be posted. Voting will commence on the 21st of June and close on the 27th of Junel 2010, 12 midnight GMT.


* * *


Recognition:

The winning entries will be considered for publication in Writer's Beat Quarterly, subject to the approval of the editors. To increase your chances of getting published (whether you win or not), make sure your document is as error-free as possible!

Also, the member (or tying members) with the most votes will get to suggest the next contest theme!


* * *


If you have any questions about the contest, contact a staff member and we will happily answer them for you. Now sharpen your pencils, fill up your inkwells and get writing. Good Luck!

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Last edited by Tau; 04-25-2010 at 12:07 AM..
  #2  
Old 05-16-2010, 08:41 AM
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PRIMARY COLORS


Big brother was dead. It was his fault. Everything was always his fault. If I failed a class, he should have helped me with my homework. If I got jumped on the way home from the store, he should have done something. I don't know what though, Mom was the one doing the blaming. It was always his fault, and she was always blaming.


I watched him die in a parking lot at the hands of an Arroyo, blood spilling out, looking like transmission fluid. He was pulling himself with both arms to God knows where. I imagine if you're that close to death you don't care where you go, as long as you're moving.


One more to the head and he was done, blue bandana turning purple. Big brother was dead.


Mom got a lot more involved with everything that I was doing after that. School. Friends. Everything. I couldn't wipe my ass without her making sure I wasn't doing it like he did. Most everyone thought she was being overprotective of me. She was really just protecting herself. She didn't care who I was or turned out to be, as long as I wasn't like him.


Big brother was dead. I wasn't. Pretty fucking different if you ask me.


He was a Sedeno, I was an honor student. Even in death they won't let you leave. Once you're a Sedeno, that's it. “I'm a Sedeno” becomes the answer to a lot of questions.


Except at the actual funeral. It's not like he was a Free Mason.


Everyone's fighting. What people who don't know don't understand is that if you choose a side, you lessen your enemies and increase your allies. If you don't, everyone outside of your home is a threat.


Blue or yellow. That's it. Unless someone gets shot, then the street's a color wheel in motion.


Everyone's had their eye on me since that night, wondering what I'm going to do, if I'm going to do anything at all. Like I said, Mom doesn't care what I do as long as I'm not like big brother.


The Arroyos will never see it coming. Not in a million fucking years. They'll be suspicious, sure. But it won't last long.


I tuck big brother's gun into my pants and walk out of the house. You should have seen the look on my mom's face.


I've always looked good in yellow.
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:25 PM
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THE MENTOR
Below us the group of people left the building right on time and began to walk up the street, their usual route would eventually bring them directly past us. From beside me I heard the voice of my mentor, “Do as I do, act when I act”.

Always the same words for as long as I could remember. On the day we had first met he’d introduced himself as Patroclus, addressing me only as Diomedes from that point on. I had been sixteen when I made my first kill, a simple sleight of hand trick to add a few drops of poison to a glass of beer, apparently he’d been the boyfriend of some rich heiress, didn’t have the intelligence to keep his trousers zipped up.

As always Patroclus made the first shot as he done so many times before, even before his finger had slid from the trigger I copied the action and seemingly as one the two people within the group below us fell, their bodyguards swiftly moving to protect them. I allowed myself a smile, too little too late I thought to myself.

“Time enough for celebrations later,” Patroclus had said, an edge of irritation in his voice. Instinctively flicking the safety on, I picked the rifle up and returned it to the centre of the carpet used to transport it, its twin swiftly joining it before we rolled the carpet up and retied it at both ends. Nobody spared us a second glance on the way down the stairs, two men dressed in white uniform carrying a carpet barely warranted this.

Two minutes in, two minutes out, that was the clock we worked against, the sirens barely audible as we loaded the carpet back into decorators van we’d parked with hazard lights flashing right next to the service entrance. As Patroclus had pulled out into the main road I had taken a glance over at where the bodies lay. A crowd of people was slowly building around them, clearly waiting to be ushered away by the police as they were told there was nothing to see.
“Who were they?” I asked with vague interest.
“District Attorney and his wife trying to gain re-election, their little crusade earned them, shall I say, certain enmities”.

Ten minutes later we watched the van as it entered the crusher, we were always careful not to take chances with DNA or fingerprints but, as Patroclus constantly reminded me, you can never take enough precautions. I took a step backward, my hand removing the syringe from the belt as I did so. Even as Patroclus began to turn his head in my direction I thrust the needle in an upward angle, its sharp point penetrating clothes, skin and flesh alike as it passed through his ribs and into his heart. In all likelihood an injection into a vein would provoke a similar cardiac response but a vestige of sentimentality made me select the harder and less painful option. Even as he fell I think I detected an edge of pride present within his eyes before they adopted the same faraway look I’d seen countless times before. I hadn’t asked but they’d told me anyway, in less than a day he was going to enter witness protection prior to testifying in front of the grand jury.

I walked away without a backward glance. Three days later I walked into a room and looked upon the nervous boy who stood there.
“My name is Diomedes,” I said, “As from today your name is Menelaus”.
  #4  
Old 05-28-2010, 08:38 AM
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Default Happy To Be Limping --950 words

Her gripping gaze grabbed me as she stood in my office doorway. She was more than a dazzling dame of desire she was damaged and dangerous. A bold bruise bled freely from her forehead, as a long brown trench coat hid a slender frame.

“What’s the name of your game?” I quipped quizzically. Hat in hand I was headed home when she slipped right into my stride.

Something about her fetching face felt fascinating and familiar? She looked like a thousand other calendar covergirls and naughty nymphs. Long blond locks and lavender blue lips seem to shimmer on her silky soft skin. Leaky lines around her eyes said this chick was ready to crow.

“Not here and no cops. I’ll sing my song to you Mr. Saint as soon as we’re safe.”

I’m a sorry sap for a sweet smile so I decided to take a swim. This lady cat’s cache of lives looked like they were about all used up. The scandal stream was flowing and this reporter had seen it all too many times---there were fresh fish waiting to fry.


***


My pad: home sweet home. A bed and a bottle of brown booze in a small square space. A dented desk and a trusty typewriter my only other furniture—typical Hollywood hackware. A good place, I guess, to lie low when some loony’d like to lay you out.

Her name was Mona Monroe, a beautiful byline for such a brooding broad. A wispy white robe clung closely to her buxom young bosom. My robe and it looked better on her. Shivering, she said she needed a shower before she could spill her guts to me but catching cold was the least of her chic. She was one hot heartbreaker. A sultry seductress stuffed with spells and spice. I liked her.

A cold compress cooled her cut. A bite of brandy loosened her lips.

Her story was the same silly scene played out in millions of seedy cities. Gorgeous gal shacks with shady sucker. She loves the lifestyle—hates the loser in it. Swank celebrations! Hobnobbing with Hollywood high society! A fine frolic for awhile when boredom butts in.

Said Cal had some devious dirt on a crooked cousin named Clyde, a hallmark hoodlum of the Hollywood Hall of shame. Clyde came to call and Cal was caught! Gruesomely gunned down before her baby blues! Swore we were next if the dirt wasn’t dished down soon!


***


Oct. 5: A wet day in the city of angels. A long night followed by a lachrymose laden morning. Cheap coffee for one in a crude café and something didn’t ring right about this sad setup? Called my No. 2 snitch Kasey McClean. Kasey is an intelligent Irishman with macho moxy. A slick snitch that works the alleys and avenues close to Cal and he is the expensive ear packing priceless product. Kasey is greasy, but he likes my copy.

“That Kashner is a nasty number, Danny boy. Clyde’s a low-rate bagman with more brawn than brains. You tangle with them, ragman, and your better be ready to rumble.”

“Think Cal could cash-in on a cousin like that?”

“Nothin’ new on Clyde. He an’ Cal were raised like brothers, I hear. This little lass o’ yours must be yankin ya’ chain?”

“Yeah, KM, I should know by now what it is like to be played like a player piano! She must be playing the angles looking for a few minutes of fame?”


***


Got home and the gal was gone! An expected episode that--? I saw a flash and fell flat. A big goon in a gray suit slipped down to slap me. Had Clyde come to clip my wings and cave my chin? Yep. He claimed Mona had killed Cal in a cold act of cowardice! She was working them both for a wide wad of wealth! Told me to confess my cut in the caper--?

A ghastly gunshot rang out and cracked Clyde in the chest! He buckled backwards in a bloody heap and I saw Cal’s pistol plop on the hardwood. What came next seems obvious—I fainted—everything faded to black.



***


Oct. 8: A harsh day to wake up with a headache in Holy Haven Hospital. Seventeen stitches and a severe state of swelling racked my body. I was lucky to be living and happy to be limping.

Without my help or word count all the primo papers pieced the puzzle out. The cops pinned the collar on Clyde for Cal’s murder. My savior? A female friend who wished to remain faceless. Case closed.

I knew the real story. A trapped woman wilting wastefully under the hard heel of a horrible snake. He beats and batters her beautiful body until one day she’s had enough. It’s kill or be killed because he won’t let her leave alive. It’s a conflict of chaos and choices. She makes the right desperate decision, calls on a stranger with a story.


***


Oct 12: Made it home from the hospital and called my boss—slinging copy for two bits was history! Told my surprised secretary I might try a less precarious profession in politics. Only so much muck a man can manage before he needs to move up.

Mona mailed me a message, a postcard with palm trees and kiss. Said she was posing for a cool calendar to jumpstart her career and said I should look out for her in the headlines. Just another sexy silver screen starlit wannabe searching for fame and finally finding a path to it. After all, a girl on the go has got to make ends meet.

Turns out her real name was Norma Jean.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:09 AM
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The ping of my typewriter as I finished the last line came with relief. I had finished it, and in good time, just before COB. All that was left to do was to place it on Henderson's desk. I knew that, but there was something jittery in me, something that wanted to start over, to type it again, ensure everything was perfect. He always made me feel this way—Henderson—like an obsessive compulsive, or a bloody fool. I tried not to look at it, not to read it that last time. I knew if I did I’d have to start over. There’d be something, there always was. I tried to avoid the paper’s accusatory glare but the typography crawled over me like a line of ants. Damn words. Just words. It had always been this way, but he’d made it worse.



I picked up the thin page—resisting the urge not to ball it up, to throw it all away in that moment—and placed it in his in-tray. Backing out, I returned to my desk, awaiting his ire. It was not long in coming.
‘Clarke!’ he barged out of his office, his face screwed up like a monkey’s arse, the scent of undeserved sweat clinging to his business shirt. ‘This is bullshit. Utter bullshit. I’ll not accept it.’
‘You have to, Sir.’ I pushed the letter headed resignation back across the desk towards him.
‘I’ve been offered a book contract. I can’t stay here writing copy for you forever.’
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  #6  
Old 06-08-2010, 01:07 PM
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The Creatures That Swim

Contours of movement ripple through fluid, replicated by the swings of a tail. A journey lays ahead, a long a tiresome one. But one that must happen again and again.

'Jim!' cries Keiran. 'Where have you been, mate? We were beginnning to think you got swallowed by the bus seats or something.'

Echoes of laughter rattle through the alleyway, as the awaited man runs towards his friends.

Jim rolls his eyes and grins. 'Nope. Not been eaten yet. Same can't be said for your trousers.'

Keiran looks over his shoulder and swiftly yanks the material from his crack, where is was indeed in danger of being swallowed. Still sniggering, they open the door to the nearby club, pulses of music swelling out to greet them.

'Why were you late anyway?' asks Simon, one of Jim's more persistent friends.

'C'mon mate. Can't you guess?' he replies, clambering onto a bar stool clumsily, in a drunken manner.

Upon recieving blank stares, he replies, 'Well I gotta keep the wife happen too, y'know.'

They laugh raucously and this is the signal for the night to begin in earnest.

The creatures that swim in purposeful beats, meet a giant, rounded all. Their home. Tirelessly the burrow inwards, but only one joins with the mighty circle to become one, unique flesh. The circle spins in happiness for a few days, rolling along a narrow corridor. But then, without warning, an anomoly occurs. The joy of creation sends the circle into overdrive, and two halves are spit out. They begin to bloom on their own. Seperate but always united.

'How do I do this anyway? Just pee on it?' Marie asks. She turns the alien implement around, brow furrowed.

'Well, obviously. You don't cry on it do you? That's after you get the positive,' says Jim, looking over her shoulder.

'Charming. I thought you wanted...'

'I do, I do. I'm joking. Geez, go pee on it already,' he says, kissing her.

She wanders into the bathroom. About five minutes pass, before she returns.

A smile tugs at her mouth. 'Time to cry.'

The beings are minicscule, still balls of cells, with only single bent lumps for heads. They bob in gentle sways, the first movements of their long lives.

Cutlery clatters, and a continuous murmer of voices plays across the room like an amateur choir.

'Oh my goodness, Marie!', squeals one. I can't believe it! It's about time you had a bun in the oven, so to speak.'

Marie looks up from her chicken salad. A glass of water sparkles next to her plate. Already her overly-cautious nature had driven her to start eating healthily. She's not taking any risks.

'Keep it down, Nina. I don't want to get thrown out. I've still got some croutons left.'

'What are you going to call it?' asks Nina, still breathlessly excited.

'God knows! Jim won't have a huge say in it though. He likes Sydney for a boy, for heavens sake,' she says, whispering the last part, in case any diners nearby were called the accused name.

'Wine almost snorts through her friend's nose. 'Oh lord! What could have possibly brought on such bad taste?'

Marie laughs. 'Dunno. Maybe his great-great grandfather was an Aboriginal or something. That or a deep desire to have his child mocked all its life.'

'Well, I'm so happy. Kids are the best.' She lays down her spoon, and lays a hand on Marie's stomach. 'Oh my god! I felt it kick,' she screams.

'Erm... That's kind of impossible. It won't have any legs yet. I only concieved three weeks ago.'

'Oh'

The beings are growing, always growing. Their tiny organs are hardly formed, yet they are alive, their human forms slowly taking shape.

'Lie back for me,' says a soothing voice. 'Any problems to report?'

Marie smiles back, and shakes her head. 'Nope. Apart from the occasional morning sickness, I'm feeling fine.'

'Good, good. Here's your baby,' says the Midwife, turning the screen round and pointing. And...oh...'

'What?' asks Marie, concerned by the Midwife's tone. Was something wrong with the baby? She couldn't understand why. She'd been eating healthily. Oh god, maybe she shouldn't have had that glass of wine last night! That's what's done it. Marie, you fool...'

'...Either your baby has sprouted an extra head, or it's twins.'

Marie's train of thought crashes. She looks at the screen, eyes wide.

'Crap.'

The two beings now hold the appearance of humans. The confines of their temporary prison means that they are pushed close together. Curious of one so seemingly similar amongst this uncertainty, they brush each other and interact. An invisible tendril snakes around them, bonding.

'Twins!' he yells. 'How the hell did you manage that! How can we possibly afford it?'

Marie stares at him, outraged. 'Err, what! You think I did it one purpose to annoy you?'

He ignores her. 'We can barely afford one, never mind two. Did you take fertility drugs or something?'

'What the hell are you on about?' she retorts, incredulous to his reasoning. Having twins is a perfectly normal thing. I can't believe you. You're acting like a right moron! Some couples would kill to have just one child, and you're complaining because we've got two. What's wrong with you? God, it's like I've killed someone, the way you're reacting.'

'I'm just being realistic...'

'You're being completely rediculous!'

They stop panting at each other. Jim acts first.

'Screw this. I'm going out.'

'Oh ho! That's right. Spend the money you want to protect so much, on booze... Great idea!'

Slam!

The muscle walls vibrate in shadowed pulsations. The fluid swirls and they hear strange sounds. Sounds that invade their home. Sounds that are different to the angelic voices, and sharp beeps.

'So I see you've given up to listening to classical. You think that rock will be more the baby's style?' shouts Nina, over the band.

'What?' she yells back, despite being centimetres away.

Her friend doesn't repeat, and she is now far more occupied with jumping up and down like a Jack-in-the-box on caffeine.

The song ends, allowing them a pause to talk. 'I tell you. That kid's gonna think there's an earthquake happening or something.

'Hmmm,' murmurs Marie. 'I almost didn't come, but then I thought, it's going to have to get used to noise eventually, y'know?'

'Yeah. Especially if it ever has siblings.'

Marie swallows, knowing now is the time. She puts her fingers in her ears in readiness.

'It's twins.'

An earthly scream pierces the unfortunate concert-goers standing nearby.

'Oh my god! Seriously? That's amazing! Why the hell didn't you tell me sooner?'

'I value my eardrums.'

Something is happening. An event so drenched in timelessness its full wonder is often ignored, stale with repetition. The two halves feel their homes move. Shuddering, contracting with unfamiliar violence. The comforting darkness grows dimmer, and space shrinks smaller. After what seems like a lifetime in their unspoiled cushion, the world is finally ready for them. Light draws closer...

A cap of flesh appears from the chasm, and slowly slides out. The doctor's hurried calls to one another barely drown out the screams of pain from Marie, nor the soothing words inexpertly recited by Jim.

'First one's out.'

Almost like a magnetic force is sticking them together, the second twin seems to shoot out in rapid time. Marie's breathing relaxes, and Jim's hand, whose grip had been so tight throughout, goes limp. Staring at these two examples of pure, raw life that were his sons, all his monetary worried shrivel, embarassed by thier insignificance.

One of the nurses walks up to the couple, and baby in each arm.

'They're identical, just as we thought.'

She lays one baby in Marie's arms, and hands the other to a speechless Jim.

'Thanks,' breaths Marie. She gazes at her son a while, before looking at her husband. 'So... what do we call them?'

'Well, seeing as we've got two, can we call at least one Sydney?'

'No.'

'Oh, c'mon...'

'No.'

'Not even if...'

'No. Unless you want a divorce?'

Last edited by Tau; 06-09-2010 at 12:27 AM.. Reason: Aproved
  #7  
Old 06-09-2010, 01:23 AM
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Default Pear Drop Girl - 1771 words

Sometimes there is a moment in your life that you remember, if vaguely, forever. You compare then to now and then to the future. Although these moments are very rare, they normally occur at least once in everyone's lives and so they are not really considered something special.
This story is just a nostalgic view of something that happened in my past. Something that affected me deeply then.
This story is a photograph of the past.


I sat across from a friend of mine in a small, dimly lit café. The café itself was situated on the corner of the street and was uninspiring from the outside, just an off-white exterior with a couple of little windows and one basket of dying flowers.
The décor inside contrasted with this to a nearly terrifying extent. Red satin curtains hung to the floor and never closed, even at night. They complimented the dark wooden panelling on the walls and floor. The tables were made from the same dark wood but the chairs were padded and decorative, with minuscule carvings etched into the legs of each.
This was my regular hideout from life.
My friend, a girl of my age whom I had met in my English class, was busy drinking her latte while I attempted to eat a chicken sandwich. I was not a fan of meat.
We were sat in silence. She wore an oversized, pale green jumper with a tiny cartoon rabbit head stitched into the collar. The jumper made me uneasy, the green clashing a little with everything in the café.
I wondered vaguely where the rest of the cartoon rabbit was as I took a bite out of my chicken sandwich.
That was when a girl I had not seen before entered the café.
Initially she bore a striking resemblance to a shadow, but one with the ability to cast a flat replica of itself onto the floor as it walked. Her hair was neither long nor short, just reaching to her shoulders. It was a complete blackness that accentuated her pale skin in a peculiar way. Her long, charcoal jacket blended with it until she almost appeared to be a floating face amidst a near darkness.
Her face itself was neither beautiful nor ugly, but in some indistinct middle ground that forced her eyes to be narrow, but not small, her lips not too thin and her nose not too long.
The main thing about the girl that caught my attention were the bright pink and yellow hair pins that stood out from her dark ensemble. They hung in her hair like two tiny pear drops which had been flung into the night sky. They caused my eyes to widen ever so slightly and my gaze to follow her until she took a seat on the other side of the café.
My friend of course, finished her latte at that point and tapped me on the arm. I still held my sandwich in a kind of numb shock, my concentration broken. I looked at her with incomprehension as I realised she had spoken.
“Pardon?”
“You could really offend someone, the way you act sometimes!”
She smiled a little, bitterly amused by my absent mindedness. I noticed a strand of her pale brown hair falling dangerously close to the empty cup before her, but refrained from saying anything.
“Sorry, sorry. You know how hard I've been working.”
An easy excuse, but effective. She immediately laughed and pushed her negative feelings about me into the far corner of her mind. Her laugh was heartfelt and genuine. This was the reason she was my friend. I could trust her.
My gaze drifted back to the dark shadow of a girl who sat alone in a corner of the café. A phantom.
The two tiny pear drop pins glinted and caught my attention once more. They stood out as if they were unafraid of being ridiculed or scrutinised by passers by. They seemed to hold themselves up as best they could; strong, untouchable. I could almost hear them shout: “This is what I am!”.
I suddenly felt terribly jealous of those two pear drop pins. They were unaware of any feeling anyone had towards them.
Now that my mind had decided the hair pins were sentient (which of course, my logic demanded I debate with myself), the girl herself stood out less as a separate being from them.
The name suddenly sprung into my mind, like a bubble popping. A sudden, delightful clarity.
Pear Drop Girl.
She was stared straight at me as that name entered my mind, as if someone other than myself lived in my head and had decided to scream it at me.
The Pear Drop Girl's dark eyes watched me with a disturbing emptiness, but I could feel the pear drop pins guide her gaze and implant a bitterness in her slightly curled lip. It was as if their colour was only there to make the girl herself appear even darker.
My friend was talking but I was unable to hear her words. The Pear Drop Girl watched me, without blinking, never moving her gaze. My eyes were locked to hers as if I were under some sort of spell.
I found myself standing, my hands clutched to my chest as though I suffered from extreme pain. I realised it difficult to breathe.
“Hey, what's wrong with you?”
My friend looked up at me, confused and a little spooked by my unusual behaviour. I noticed that other people in the café were looking at me. Their impassive eyes scrutinised me.
You have no right to look at me like that! I wanted to scream at them, but no words left my half open lips.
I dragged my gaze back to the Pear Drop Girl, but she no longer looked at me. It was as if I was of no interest to her. I felt tears sting my eyes, but did not understand why.
I turned and fled from the café, my heart pounding in my chest and the heat spreading to my cheeks.


My friend had caught up to me later and questioned me about what had happened to make me ran off like that. She told me that I had suddenly gone pale then run away.
I had already planned the excuse that I had forgotten some work that was due in later that day.
My friend had merely looked at me for a few minutes before she finally sighed and told me not to work too hard.
I knew that she hadn't believed me.


For some unknown reason, I found myself sat back in that café the next day.
I was alone, of course. My friend had just shaken her head when I requested her company. I felt bad for lying, but there was no way she would understand why I had left that day.
It was particularly quiet in the little café today. Only a few workers sipped coffee on their lunch break and one mother talked quietly on a mobile phone while her child slept. There even appeared to be fewer staff than normal.
It was into this near silence that the Pear Drop Girl stepped.
I knew she had arrived even before I saw her. I could feel the coldness in her gaze as she watched the back of my head. After a few moments she walked past me, but stopped before the table she had sat at yesterday.
I held my breath, feeling my heart leap into my throat.
She turned slowly and the two pear drop pins glinted in the artificial light. Her small black loafers made no sound as she glided back to where I sat and slid in next to me.
She wore her thick, black coat inside the café, even though it was a warm day. I saw that she wore black woollen gloves.
We sat in silence for a long time. Her shoulder so close we almost touched, yet there seemed to be infinite space between us.
I could not see her dark eyes beneath her heavy fringe, but I knew she watched me.
“Well, it's-” I began to speak, but she cut me off sharply.
“How did you know?”
I sat for a few moments in stunned silence and blinked a couple of times before replying. “Know...what?”
She turned her gaze up to me now and I was once again under the scrutiny of her empty eyes. I felt a chill run through me and a deep coldness settle in my gut.
“How did you know?”
The question was the same, but the tone demanded that I answer. It was as if she had spat a venom at me which stung every pore of my flesh.
“Those pear drop pins... They're very....”
“We are not what we appear to be. Many would assume we are what they see us as or that this host we carry with us is just mad.” Her pale lips began to smirk. “There was a book that understood madness. Oh, we read that so many years ago.”
“B-book?”
They made her shake her head, glinting again and again in the light. “No, we are not what you think. You are not like those...” Here, her arm gestured to the others in the café. “But you are not like us, or those who understand what we truly are. You are in... a mental limbo.”
A small, unnatural laugh came from her small, red mouth. I realised that they must not laugh much.
“You are not a threat and yet you have attracted our attention. You are... peculiar.”
“Gee, thanks.”
Her stare was directed at me, not amused by my sarcasm.
“We do not think you will tell anyone, as you do not know what we truly are and so do not comprehend our purpose.”
I shook my head.
They used her narrow legs to stand and her hands pulled the collar of her coat up as if to keep out the cold. They made her body shiver.
“This place... it is so cold.”
With a final examination of my eyes, they guided her gently towards the door and out into the sunlight.
I sat there at the café table, surrounded by people I didn't know, and suddenly I smiled.
Needless to say, I never once saw that girl again. The Pear Drop Girl, dressed all in black, was gone. For what purpose, I had no idea.


The Pear Drop Girl was gone.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:19 AM
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Jimmy

Jimmy quickly swished his tail back and forth and circled the fish tank at full speed. He slowed down and slowly circled back and forth through the bubbles coming up from the aerator. He giggled every time the treasure chest lid opened and let the flood of bubbles percolate to the surface. He swam down to the man in the deep-sea diving suit but couldn’t see any face behind the glass plate.

He swam over to the mirror and studied himself. Orange and white. He looked familiar. Why did he look so familiar? Then he noticed that one fin was bigger than the other. He thought excitedly, “Nemo! I’m Nemo!”

“Jimmy. Jimmy Claxton. Jimmy, I’m talking to you.”

Jimmy blinked several times and shook his head slightly. He was no longer in the fish tank – he was sitting in math class staring at the fish tank, watching the clown fish. The kids around him snickered. He turned to look at Mrs. Ettleson, careful to not catch the eye of any of the other kids. He loved Mrs. Ettleson and didn’t want her to see him cry if he got embarrassed by the other kids again.

“Yes, Mrs. Ettleson.”

“Are you with us today, Jimmy?”

“Yes, Mrs. Ettleson.”

“Did you take your medicine this morning, Jimmy”?

Jimmy decided he might not love her after all. He thought, “Why did she have to talk about my medicine out loud where the other kids can hear it?” His eyes opened wider when she began turning red and sprouting horns. When the fangs started dropping over her lower lip, he blinked slowly twice and she morphed back into the Mrs. Ettleson he loved.

“Yes, Mrs. Ettleson.”

“All right. Will you try to focus now?”

“Yes, Mrs. Ettleson.”

He looked down at his textbook and glanced over at Mary Marjorie. She squinted and stuck her tongue out at him. Her tongue turned black, shriveled up, and fell off, along with three front teeth. Jimmy quickly looked back at his book and was only able to keep from laughing with a big effort.

Jimmy crawled into his sandwich at lunch so he could get away from the taunts of the other sandwich gobblers. He slid between the bologna and the cheese. The mayonnaise made it easier to slither through the tight fit, but he didn’t like the feel of it on his face. Fortunately he was standing in a waterfall when he made it out the other side of the sandwich and he closed his eyes and let the water wash his face.

The water wasn’t water – it was chocolate milk. He opened his mouth and took a long cold drink. Willy Wonka was waiting for him to finish drinking his milk. There were no Ommpa-Loompas today – just Willy, or “Mr. Wonka” as Jimmy always called him. Jimmy’s mother believed in children treating adults with respect.

“Jimmy, my boy. How have you been? I haven’t seen you for a while”.

Jimmy took Mr. Wonka’s hand and strolled down the licorice lane with him. “I’m doing all right, except I went for a swim in the fish tank during math class today.”

Mr. Wonka chuckled, “Oh, Jimmy. You have to remember to stay in the other world while you’re at school. Why, I’ll bet that people are staring at you in the real world right now.”

Jimmy looked back into the real world for a second and then joined Mr. Wonka again. “Yep – they’re staring. Mary can’t stick her tongue out again, though. It fell off when she stuck it out at me during math class.”

Mr. Wonka stopped and looked down at Jimmy with a concerned look on his face. Then he burst out laughing. “Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. What am I going to do with you, my boy? It fell off”?

Jimmy joined the laughter and when he could get the words out said, “Yep. It turned black and shriveled up and fell right onto the floor. She didn’t even know it and she stepped on it and broke it into pieces.”

“Just fell right off, did it?”

“Yep. And three teeth, too.”

While they were laughing together, Mr. Wonka and the chocolate factory disappeared and the cafeteria came back. The kids at his table were laughing at him. There were even kids from other tables pointing and laughing. Jimmy was still laughing but stopped when he realized that he was back in the real world.

He grabbed what was left of his lunch and threw it back into the sack. He got up and walked carefully and deliberately to the trash can, concentrating on not running, tripping, or crying. He tried to become invisible but it didn’t work. He dropped his bag in the trash and turned to leave, but Mrs. Pendle grabbed his arm and stopped him. Jimmy didn’t love Mrs. Pendle.

“Mr. Claxton!”

That was one of the reasons Jimmy didn’t love Mrs. Pendle. She never used first names. He didn’t like being called, “Mr. Claxton”. That was his dad’s and his grandpa’s name. He was Jimmy.

Jimmy studied his shoes, afraid to look up at Mrs. Pendle’s face. The last time she stopped him was in the hallway when he forgot to pull up his zipper after he left the bathroom. She had scolded him to pay attention to what he was doing. That was Jimmy’s least favorite thing in the world to hear, “Pay attention! Concentrate! Just think about what you’re doing!”. They acted like that was something he could do if he tried. He did try. He couldn’t do it.

She put her fingers under his chin and raised his head so that he was looking her in the eyes. Flames didn’t shoot out of them and she didn’t have a forked lizard tongue. She looked like a regular human. Jimmy thought he might love her.

She handed him a paper napkin and said, “You have mayonnaise all over your face.”

Jimmy took the napkin and hated her for a few seconds until he loved her again. He said, “Thank you, Mrs. Pendle.” He wiped his face and dropped the napkin into the trash.

She released her grip and he quickly left the cafeteria. He walked down the hallway, wading through the stream that ran in front of the principal’s office and tiptoeing from rock to rock across the lava flow. He held his breath while he walked through the poison fog outside the art room and stepped through the doors, not into the playground, but into Africa. He was on safari. The other kids were antelope and the teachers were elephants, lions, and hippopotami.

Except for Mary Marjorie. She was a big baboon. A big baboon with no tongue and missing teeth. Jimmy couldn’t help but laugh.
  #9  
Old 06-14-2010, 03:18 AM
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This story is called "What a mess!"
Tony was amazed at the difficulty of the blocks. They were all different somehow but they were all the same. Each time he looked at the blocks they looked dirrent. The pompous parents had gotten little Tony a set of colourful building blocks to play with and he was getting angry with everything. Defiantly he poked the one block with his fingers and banged his arm and hand to his chest. What sort of food is this? They taste horrible!

Then Tony decided out of his own to suck his finger because it felt a little different now, sore if you will. What the heck are these blocks doing in my crib? They don't taste nice and hurt my fingers! Then Tony decided to smash them together as he grabbed four of them at once. Unfortunately only one of them were picked up, strangely in his sore hand. He wondered why things went right for the one hand and not for the other.

Tony now decided to shout at them. He was so stressed with the lack of food and attention today that he kicked out with both his feet at the blanket. The blanket moved, then moved back. What the heck is he going to do now? Everything is against him! Nothing makes sense! Thenhe felt someting in his mouth again and stuck his finger into his mouth to see what sort of food it was. The drool slid down his lips as he probed about lookin for this 'food'.

Tony decided that he didn't want any of these things near him, as the pain he felt resulted in frustration. He threw all the thigs around with much authority, and then saw them still in his crib, but somewhere else. This puzzeled Tony who decided enough was enough! He threw a fit and used up all his energy, then lay there exhausted. Tony's eyes began to close...
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Old 06-16-2010, 09:43 AM
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Default Selfish Selflessness

Sometimes he walked along the riverbank, sometimes he talked to his neighbors, sometimes he taught their children how to fish, sometimes he plowed their land, sometimes he went to the city in their stead, and sometimes he languished in his hut, always alone.

Those times were the worst. A multitude of grievances would come bustling in on his contorted mind. He grieved for the past and what might’ve been. It probed his entire being every night he lay in bed, tantalizing him with different choices that could’ve been made. At times he screamed in the solitude of the secluded hut, both glad and sad that no one could hear him.

The only respite from it all was when he helped his neighbors. He never took anything in return. It wasn’t necessary. He had all he needed: fish in the river, clean water in the river, a roof over his head, and a forest all around to provide the firewood.

All those things were necessary to keep him, as a body, going and functioning. But it was not enough to fill up the abyss of loneliness within him. When he spent time with the neighbors, he was able to forget about it for a moment or two. That was when he would snag a breath to keep him going.

No one asked him about anything except the triviata of everyday life hindrances. That helped too. He liked to talk to them. They were a pleasant community and, he was sure, would help him with anything if he but asked.

There was also this one pleasant occurrence when he would visit his neighbors, one house in particular. A woman desirous of him always welcomed him into her family’s home. She smiled whenever she looked upon him, and she was always the one to offer him food after a day’s work. He liked her, but could not shake his thoughts off the past. She adored him, but could not pry him away from whatever it was that precluded romantic involvement.

Over time, even his tortured self became aware of her affection and it saddened him. It saddened him both because he thought no woman could replace the past and because she wasn’t receiving the attention she so deserved. Thus his visits grew scarcer. She wept. He wept. She wept for him. He wept for himself.

Then came a time when he felt the need to move on, to leave this place and find another one, to spur a sort of change he thought his soul needed in order to subsist. He left the place he had been calling home for several years and found a new one, as far away as the instinct dictated.

He settled in that new unassuming place, finding a home among a new batch of convivial neighbors. He helped them, tilled their lands, taught their children, went to the city for them, and at night languished in his hut. He would remember the torturous past; he would remember the welcoming smile of the woman who cared for him, who always brought him food after a hard day’s work. It killed him.

Last edited by Tau; 06-16-2010 at 11:07 AM.. Reason: Approved
  #11  
Old 06-19-2010, 07:25 PM
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She looked familiar to him. Something about her freckles held his attention but he had no idea why. Why couldn’t he remember her? He slowly focused on three freckles that hugged the curve of her upper-left lip. Was she a friend? Maybe she was family? The harder he tried to grasp at a memory, the faster it faded. But he knew those three freckles. Where her lips moving?

"What is your name?" She asked.

"Wh-what?" He said in a raspy, sleepy voice. Shaking his head, he cleared his throat. "My name?" Where was he?

She turned and a man with white hair handed her a lab coat, a clipboard, turned towards him and then smiled. He did not notice the man before but felt as if he knew him as well. "Yes." She said while struggling with the coat sleeves. “Your name, what is your name?”

"It’s…Bi….no, wait…” He paused to shake more cobwebs out of his head. “…Ryan, maybe…or…Andre?” He realized she was standing behind a desk now. Was that desk there before? Did he simply not notice it earlier? Why can’t he recall his name? “I…I’m not sure.”

The woman turned her head slightly. “You’re not sure? We need you to be very clear on this. Do you mean that you do not know your name or you can’t remember your name?”

“I...I can’t remember.” He is Jack’s total confusion. Wait, who is Jack? He remembered reading that in a book… or was it a line from a movie? “Wait, wait, wait. What’s going on?”

She glanced down at her watch. "...18 hundred hours and forty-four minutes. Subject is now aware and responding to external stimuli.”

“Marked, and with that, milestone 3 was achieved.” A woman’s voice echoed behind him. “Four hours and sixteen minutes ahead of schedule I might add.”

He turned to see who the voice belonged to but lost coordination of his legs and fell to the ground. He was standing? For a moment, the cool floor against his cheek reminded him of college. But why? Did he even go to college?

“Easy, there.” The man with the white hair said while helping him to his feet. “Your muscle control isn’t quite there yet. Give it time.”

“My muscle…? Okay, wait a minute. Wait. I want some answers.” He scanned the room but didn’t see the other woman. “Who was that?” he directed the question towards the freckled face woman.

“Who is who?” She asked while peering over her black rimmed glasses.

“That woman who was gitty as a school girl about milestones and hours…” His voice cracked then became raspier. “…who was she? In fact, where is she?” When did she put on those glasses? Did she have them on all this time and he never noticed?

The freckled face woman pointed behind him, “That would be our student researcher, Jane Ratta.”

He turned around to see, much to his confusion and surprise, a large, rectangle window with a young brunette behind it waving at him. He had no idea where the hell the window or Jane came from. Maybe both were there the whole time. They were, after all, directly behind where he was standing.

“She is monitoring the project to ensure we are on target with milestones, objectives, and following proper verification steps...among other things.” She said while pushing her glasses back up the bridge of her nose. “Now, I know this is all confusing…” She walked around to the front of the desk, leaned back on it, and crossed her arms. “… but I assure you, in a very short time, you will not only know everything but be very, very happy.”

“To put it mildly…” Jane’s voice added.

He shot a quick glance back at Jane but directed his question again towards the woman in front of him. “Then why are you asking for my name? Don’t you know it? You seem to know who I am.”

“Don’t you?” She retorted.

A faint memory surfaced. “Wait…” He said as he began to smile. “…you and…” His smile stalled. “…you…” The memory and his smile faded. “…never mind. For a second...something reminded me of you. But now….” He let the thought trail off.

She motioned him to sit down at the desk. “Believe it or not, that was a good thing. See, you are going through a process that has the same mechanics as a computer powering on. Earlier, you went through the initial POST check a computer would when it’s turned on…”

He quickly interrupted her. “So you are saying that I have been turned on?” His confusion of the situation turned to fear within a heart beat. What is going on?

“I am using an analogy. Focus. Now, once POST completes, do you know what happens next?” She reached into a drawer and pulled out what appeared to be a deck of picture cards.

“Yeah, the operating system loads into memory and applications start up. What’s with the cards?” He sat down opposite of her at the desk. The fear quickly vanished but he did not know why. Why can he remember what a computer is yet not his name?

“Correct, everything loads into memory. These cards?” She held them up in front of her. “Well, you know when you buy a new piece of software, in order to use it you need a license or key?” She waited for his slight nod and continued. “Same principle applies here. I’m going to show you a series of pictures and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?”

“Ready.” He said while sliding the chair up to the desk. Now he was damn curious and knew he shouldn’t be afraid of the situation. But why?

The first card she held up had a light blue background with three orange circles lined up horizontally. “A boy and his parents flying a kite at the beach.” He said right away. But after he blinked, the thought was different.

“Is there something wrong?” The freckled face woman seemed to be curbing some emotion but he wasn’t sure if it was excitement or something else.

“No wait, a teenaged boy and girl laughing while sitting on swings at a park.” The image shifted in his mind again. “Wait…” Then a flood of childhood memories burst into his mind. He remembered summer camp before his fifth grade year, playing baseball in middle school, the time he stole a girl’s bike because he liked her, and how he hated his mother’s beef stew.

Somewhere in the distant he could hear Jane’s voice, “…now has rapid eye movement, horizontal Nystagmus, and his heart rate…” He remembered sneaking out to meet Kendra at the park late one night. He also remembered almost getting caught by his mother because he came back close to dawn. “…is returning to normal now…” Jane’s voice punched through his memory flood once last time. He now remembered his childhood.

“My name is William Schwartz.” He exhaled and smiled at her.

“Let me know when you are ready.” She said with a big, bright smile of her own.

He motioned her to continue and she pulled out the next card. This card had a dark purple background with two yellow triangles side-by-side in the center. He found himself completely fixated on the two triangles and couldn’t move his eyes away. Then the flood began again.

He remembered playing baseball and football for Spalding High School, taking German his senior year because of a young blonde he liked was taking it as well, and letting a box full of white feeder mice out during graduation. Memories of his freshman year at university sped by and many of them, more than he cared, were of him passed on various bathroom floors during his first semester.

“…blood pressure is within acceptable range…” Jane’s voice rolled through his memory recollection like waves crashing on a beach. Some moments he felt like he was reliving his past with the vivid smells and sounds yet at times an anchor to reality would present itself in her mousy voice. “…grinding of teeth…” He remembered graduating college and going to work for a bio-defense contractor. Memories of his shrewd investments during the .com and housing booms and busts, cashing in on the green technology wars, and surviving the murky period of the public sub-orbital flights.

Christina was his wife's name. She had long, flowing blond hair and bright green eyes that attracted him to her almost instantly the first time he saw her. His wedding ceremony was performed in micro gravity. "...slow down the progression. You’re flipping the cards…” He remembered his fiftieth birthday party and how Christina dropped his cake on the back terrace. After his fifty-second birthday she was no longer in his memories. "...heart rate increasing again..." She developed breast cancer and died on a Thursday evening in October.

He remembered the light chorus of the remaining crickets in the crisps night air ash they took her body away. He remembered how he used to love the autumn but no longer. The flood of memories turned grey after she left. Long days sitting alone in the house followed by sleepless nights. Life, he remembered, lost all meaning. It wasn’t until he was sitting in his doctor's office and was given an expiration date did he realize he wanted to enjoy the gift of life once again.

He had no idea how long he was sitting there before he focused on his surroundings once again. He simply looked the freckled face woman and inhaled sharply. “It worked.”

“Yes it did.” Dr. Renee whispered. A slow, crooked smile spilled out over her face and those three freckles on her upper-left lip caught his eye once again.

“I want to do it.” William stated.

**********************

He didn’t look familiar anymore. Gone was his own light that was trapped in the withering, husk of an old man that lay before him. The tubes and lights surrounding the old man kept his body alive while the nurse monitor his vitals. “May I?” William asked.

Dr. Renee nodded and the nurse stepped aside to allow William space enough to research the life support controls. “I start anew. With no grief, regrets, or guilt.” The machine powered down and the husk struggled to breathe for a moment then ceased to live.

“How old am I?” William asked with his back to everyone.

“We estimate between nineteen and twenty-one.” Jane Ratta said.

“And how long has the press been waiting?” He turned around and smiled brightly to everyone.

“Thirty-nine hours.” Dr. Renee smiled back.

**********************

She didn’t look familiar to him but he knew her voice from the radio. “Essentially, your company has successfully transferred your conscience from your cancer riddled seventy-seven year old body into your cloned teenaged one?”

“Yes.” He beamed.

“How does it feel to be the youngest CEO of a corporation that owns a monopoly on immortality?” The reporter asked mater-of-factly.

“Strangely, very underwhelming.” He continued to beam.
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:00 AM
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Paul sighed deeply as Ms. Goodspeed moved passed his cubical. He watched her longingly as she went by, the scent of her perfume wafting subtly behind her. He felt his heart quicken while contemplating saying something to her on her return.

Her grey tweed skirt hugged her full hips which swayed alluringly with each stride.
Every day, actually, several times a day she would go to the small locked office that held a recently delivered copier.
He heard they only had the special copier in the other room for a week or so and it was the sixth day already. Once it was gone Ms. Goodspeed, with her golden hair and lovely green eyes would not walk by from the big bosses office anymore.
A curious thing, this copier, it was kept in room all by itself and when the lustrous lady Goodspeed went to the door of said office she would spend some time fishing for the keys. It has seven locks on it, an equally curious thing.

While in the office the flashes of the machine would illuminate the windows on each side of the door, the rhythmic hum of the top sliding back and forth with a loud click as it made copies. Then she would exit, a bundle of papers in her hands, and lock the room up tight again.

Each time Goodspeed would pass she would look down at Paul with a winsome smile, or so he thought, but it might have been his mind playing tricks.

“Just say hello!” John whispered from across the aisle. Paul rubbed at the stubble of growth on his face, feeling his heart race again at the thought of it. “ I will, “ he said in a frustrated grumble, glancing at the copier room. The lights still flickered and flashed so he had a little more time to steel himself for the big helloooo.

John rolled his eyes and turned back to his work. “ I’ll believe it when I see it.”

A strand of brown hair fell in front of Paul’s face. He quickly grabbed at it and fixed his pony tail. He had rather long hair and while working he hated it in his face.

“Who am I compared to the guys around the boss?” he muttered.

John leaned back out of his cube appearing angry. The man was thinning on top and pushed the strands of hair across his bare scalp. “What? Gabe and the other top dogs aren’t all that?”

Suddenly the copier room went dark and the door rattled, an image of beauty emerging from the curious room, blonde thick locks framing her angelic face. Ms. Goodspeed fumbled for her keys while trying to keep the large bundle of copies from tumbling. As she struggled her tongue rolled over her lushes, full lips of sparkling ruby red. Paul realized he stopped breathing.

She turned and again, the grey tweed fitted skirt creating amazing curves, and began locking up the door.
John ducked back into his cube. “Talk to her,” he hissed.

Finally, the rattling of keys at the door ceased and looking up Paul saw Ms. Goodspeed coming his way. He tried not to stare at her but she was such a vision it took his breath away. He averted his eyes and worked up his courage. Clenching his jaw he firmed his resolve and pushed up his sleeves.

Risking a glance across the aisle he saw that John was pretending to take no interest, dipping the pen with a tink and putting it to paper.

In a second she would pass and he would say something.

Goodspeed reached the aisle near his desk. Paul looked up to find those glorious green eyes were focused right on him.
He swallowed hard but steeled himself again. “Good Morning Ms. Goodspeed.” He said, offering her a genuine smile. To his shock and surprise she stopped and smiled back. Good Morning Paul.” She offered. Her voice was everything he imagined, a slight accent to it, heavy and light at the same time. It was both seductive yet innocent. Could that even be possible, for Paul it was exactly that.

“You know who I am?” he asked her. She smiled again and reached up, tapping the name plaque on the side of his cube with a wink.

“Ah, right.” He said embarrassed. She had no idea who he was really. As if noting his disappointed she gave him a serious look. “Your writing a part of the bosses book.” Goodspeed stated.

Paul smiled broadly, she did know who he was. “Why yes.” He said with a nod. “ Are you reading it Ms. Goodspeed?”

“Angela,” she responded.

“Sorry?” Paul asked.

“Call me Angela.” She smiled again, it was a slice of heaven.” And yes I am reading it. Quite good, very serious though.”
Feeling courageous by the exchange he decided to go for broke. “ Maybe you can tell me what you think some time. Perhaps you can help even me with some of it.”

“Really?” she asked, offering a puzzled look. “You think I could help?”
He nodded to her. “Sure.”

“Well, it’s a date then. How about tomorrow?” she offered. “ About 6?”
“Yeah….yes, that would be fantastic.”

She offered one more smile and began to head back towards executive row. John glanced over his shoulder with a big grin and Paul beamed back.

He turned to watch her go. Tweed skirt, again, working its wonders. Suddenly though, a sheaf of copy paper slipped from the bundle that Angela carried under her arm. It flitted back and forth towards the floor.
Paul quickly bent and scooped it up about to call out to her as she made her way down the aisle. Curious though, he stopped to glance at the copy. What he saw gave him pause. He stared at for a long moment.

John leaned out and looked over Paul’s shoulder. “What the heck is that?”

Paul turned the page to the right, then again. “Not sure but it’s got the bosses signature on it.”

“Is this something from the book?” John kept staring at the page over Paul’s shoulder, trying to figure out what it was.
“If it is, it is from the beginning part and….” Paul let the last bit trail off. “Wow, this is part of the “big” project I think.”
John shot back into his cube looking fearful. “ I don’t think we are supposed to see that.”

Paul glanced up and noted that Angela had already passed under the archway that led to executive row.
“Do you think we could look like…?” John let the question trail. Paul shook his head vigorously. “No.”

“Well, take it back to Angela before it is missed.” John said.

Paul nodded and stood. Holding the strange copy in his hands and looking at it again. “It looks real.”
John rolled his eyes. “You better take it back.”

“Yeah.” Paul headed down the aisle. He had never been into the area where the big guns worked. He got to the archway that marked the “ivory tower” and looked at the office doors ahead of him. Angela was nowhere in sight. She was probably in the boss’s office. Slowly, and with no small amount of fear, he stepped over the threshold. The boss was known to be temperamental and did not like it when the rules were broken.

“What are you doing here Paul?” a powerful and deep voice called. Paul jumped with a start, craning his neck upwards to look at Michael, one of the execs. His gaze was so full of strength that Paul could hardly look at him.
“I…I… “Paul stammered.

Gently resting a hand on Paul’s back Michael turned him around. “ Go back to your cube. You haven’t even gone to the field yet. You can’t be here.”

With a gentle push, the big executive, right hand man of the boss, pushed Paul back across the threshold.
“But” Paul stammered holding the page in his hand before him. Mike shook his head no and slowly turned to head back to the offices.

Fearful and dejected Paul walked back to his cube and sat down.
John glanced at him. “Was that Mike?”

“Yeah, he sent me back.”

“Scary” John offered with a shiver. Paul simply nodded back and with a sigh slipped the page into his desk drawer.

****
The next day Paul felt a thrilling energy. He and Angela were going to get together. It was a dream come true. He took pen too hand and dipped it in the ink, working meticulously as the day went by at a snail’s pace in anticipation to his date.
About mid day a crew of uniformed people came down the aisle and unlocked the room, wheeling the copier down the aisle and out of the offices. The unusual machine, that copied even more unusual copies was gone; day seven, exactly one week.

At the end of the day after almost everyone was gone, Angela appeared at his desk. Paul could not be more excited but immediately he noticed something was amiss.

“Paul. I can’t make it tonight. I’m sorry I didn't get to come tell you sooner.” It looked as if she might have been crying. Concerned, he stood up.

“What’s wrong?” he asked her. “Are you OK?”

She looked flustered and was a obviously nearing tears again. “Oh Paul. I made a terrible mistake. If the boss had not taken the day off I think he would have fired me…or worse”

Paul already guessed at what might be wrong, feeling guilty immediately that he did not make more effort to get her back the copy from the previous day.

Angela looked around to see if anyone was left in the office and sat on the edge of Paul’s desk, tears filling her eyes.
“Its awful.” She blubbered. Even crying Paul found her to be beautiful. “ I don’t know what to do. I would fix it if I could.”
Paul glanced at the desk drawer that still held the strange copy. He was sure this was the source of the problem. “What happened Angela, you can tell me.”

“Well.” She sniffed, holding back tears.” We…we only had the copier for seven days and the boss wanted to make a facsimile, you know, something in his image. He worked so hard and was exhausted but we could not find one of the copies.” Tears started to flow down her cheeks. “ He had to rest so the execs took the copies to the manufacturer without the one page. The originals won’t do you see. It had to be the copy, a facsimile, an image…his image”

Paul pulled open the drawer and pulled the page out. “It’s OK Angela, I think this is it. The missing page.” He handed it to her. “ I found it yesterday and tried to bring it back but Mike sent me away. I am so sorry, I should have tried harder.”

As she peered at the page tears flowed more vigorously. Putting her hand to her mouth she mumbled. “It’s too late.” She laid the page down. “The boss is already gone, he had to rest after working so hard.

Paul was ashamed and downcast. He should have tried harder.” I’m sorry.”

Angela sniffed and stopped her tears. “It’s done now. The boss was so mad though. He said those created in his image would never understand. It would cause a rift because that one lost page would always be the missing link in the path he took, the images of him…that they would get stuck on Lucy…I don’t know what that means.” She shook her head.
Paul stared at her a bit perplexed. “ I don’t understand either.”

She met his gaze.” The last thing the boss said before leaving was that once we are born and until after we return here we never will.”
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Doug Herring

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Last edited by Tau; 06-20-2010 at 01:34 PM.. Reason: Put spaces between paragraphs to make it easier to read. --Change aproved ~ Tau
 

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