Destiny and Internal Monologue

buttonsThe man sits alone behind the rock, his camera jammed tight to his eye. He breathes quietly, ignoring the cramp in his left foot. The baby deer in his viewfinder stumbles a little closer and he steadies his already shaking hand. His pale blonde hair falls in his face, distracting him for a second. He shifts his camera and brushes his hair out of his face. He grins as he remembers the ridiculous amount of money he’s being payed to film this deer. “It’ll be the nature documentary of the century” his boss had said to him, back in their London office, “It’ll be bigger than David Attenbourough, more exciting than…than any other nature documentary.” And then he had sent George off to film deer in Wales.

Wales, George thought happily, had to be the easiest assignment he had ever gotten. He began to relax, reaching into his pocket for a granola bar. He settled into a more comfortable position and began eating, the deer didn’t seem to be going anytime soon. He kept the camera focused on the deer, it had settled down too and was watching a bush closely, as if it might be jumped any minute.

The deer itself was very content, it had no idea it was being filmed for the nature documentary of the year. It lay quietly in the grass, munching whatever it was he was supposed to munch and thinking about whatever it was deer were supposed to think about. It was eyeing the bush suspiciously but this not unusual for deer.

The bush itself sat quietly, wishing that George would leave so he could get up and start his day. He was a very important bush, known to his people as Grimbenthorne the Bush. He was leader of the Bush tribe and had meetings to attend and lesser bushes to boss around. Grimbenthorne rustled his leaves impatiently, he was rapidly becoming annoyed at the human who sat there filming a deer with a camera. He knew why George was here, he had heard him muttering to himself earlier. Nature documentary of the century, Grimbenthorne thought scathingly, more like the most boring thing in the history of infinity. He had no idea who would want to watch a deer sitting around, this one wasn’t even doing anything interesting. He wondered vaguely what would happen if he suddenly revealed himself to George, told him the truth about the Bush Tribe of Wales and the living bushes of England. That would be the nature documentary of the century, he thought.

George was getting bored, the deer wasn’t moving and he was still supposed to get another 2 hours of footage. He started to wish he’d gotten the African assignment, Paul was probably filming a wildebeest being eaten by a buffalo or an alligator fight, something more exciting that this. He was filming a deer watching a bush. He wished there was more tension in his life, some major event that would move him forward. He sighed and leaned back against the rock.

Grimbenthorne the Bush suddenly decided that he had had enough waiting around for this peasant to leave. He stood up, as much as a bush could stand up and walked away, deciding it would be best to not look back and to act as though this was a perfectly usual thing for a bush to do. The deer, who was becoming quite used to the bush doing this by now, gave a small start but continued eating grass.

George stared at the bush, which had started doing a weird shuffle away. He grabbed his camera and ran towards, yelling, for a lack of anything better to say, “Excuse me! Where are you going? You can’t just do that.” Grimbenthorne turned to George and said “I’ll have you know I can do whatever I want peasant!” George did not speak the language of the bushes and he merely stared at the bush as it spun around and rustled at him. He kept his camera on the bush, slowly realizing that this actually could be the nature documentary of the century. He had discovered some new life form, a bush that moved and rustled, not the most exciting creature to appear on film certainly but it was new and that was all people watching these films wanted to see. He wondered if he could persuade the bush to eat a penguin or something, people loved those kind of things.

George suddenly stopped, the camera that had been filming the bush slowly lowering to his side. Was this the right choice to make, he thought, was it wise to reveal a living bush to the world? Would it be like that film where the things were revealed and then bad things happened? George paused in his internal questioning to criticize his lack of knowledge about animal films. Perhaps it was Free Willy or Bambi, he wasn’t really sure. Moving back to his brain he continued to question himself, full of self doubts. Maybe, he reasoned, it was destiny, maybe he was in the right place at the right time and he was supposed to be filming this bush. Reaching an important internal decision he threw the camera down aggressively, destroying the footage of a living bush forever. With one last sweeping glance at the clearing he turned his back on the clearing and strode away. The deer opened one eye lazily and watched him go before falling back asleep.

If anyone had seen what he had done and the choice he had made they would have thought of George as a good human, but they hadn’t so in the eyes of the rest of the world he was merely a poor film-maker who had dropped a rather expensive camera.

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And Dorothy Woke to Find it Was All a Dream

I had a very specific word limit for this assignment – it was going to go on for longer but it wouldn’t fit. I came up with this totally original idea to end it.

Space

 

Space is so very, very dark and trying to move in it is like trying to swim through the ground while blindfolded. It’s like trying to stumble your way to bathroom at 3am. It’s like playing blind mans bluff by yourself. My brain fumbled for other metaphors as I floated around.

I could see the satellite in the distance, heading around earth again. It didn’t seem like such a good idea now, to go outside without a rope. In the long run it probably would have been a lot easier to just clip onto a cable. The satellite moved further away, it was getting hard to see now, I could just barely make out a reflection of light from it. I tried to move again, making awkward swimming motions but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped. I was glad that there was nobody around to see me, I must look like an idiot, floating around in a space suit with no cable.

I was beginning to get slightly worried, the satellite had disappeared completely now and it was going to take a while for it to come back. I was sure I would be able to float my way into its path, or even where the path was. Actually, I wasn’t sure where I was floating, it was getting harder to judge distances now that there wasn’t anything to go off of.

I began to slowly move towards the earth, tumbling around like a sock in dryer, if dryers had zero gravity and socks were astronauts. I wondered if it would it be best to go for a swan dive and hope that I was going to land in water or to just try and bend my knees, maybe go for a gymnastic type roll. Gymnastics had never been a strong spot for me, I’d taken a few courses before but hadn’t got past cartwheels and somersaults. Then again, diving wasn’t a strong suit either – maybe I should just go for the world’s biggest cannonball.

Perhaps, I thought, it would be like the cartoons, after falling thousands of feet from the sky I would land in a convenient pile of hay or a truck transporting pillows. It would have to be a rather large pile of hay though. Maybe I would try to aim for Texas – that would have the highest chance of a big hay pile. I suppose snow would work as well, if I could land in a big snowdrift. I was moving faster now and I could make out countries on the planet. I seemed to be headed for Cuba which might be alright, at least there was water around the islands. I remember watching a show once where somebody broke their fall by going through a glass roof on a train station. I wasn’t yet close enough to see any train stations but I made a mental note that it could be a possibility. How much more time would I have, I wondered, before I hit the ground. I was a lot closer now and still couldn’t see any hay stacks or train stations. This was a huge bummer.

“Johnson!”, my instructor yelled. The hatch opened and light flooded into my virtual test pod.
“Did you pay any attention this morning? Always clip onto the cable! Always!”, he yelled in my ear.
“Sir, yes sir, I just…forgot”, I pulled myself out of the pod and headed off towards the showers, same as last week.

“I probably could have found a haystack”, I muttered as the door shut behind me.

A Complete Lack of Tension or Plot

RobotThe branches broke loudly under his feet, making sharp cracking sounds that echoed throughout the forest. His legs automatically adjusted every time a rock slipped sideways under him, keeping him upright and stable at all times. The sack slung over his back looked heavy but didn’t seem to slow him down or cause him any uncomfort. The thousand euro notes inside the sack shook around, making a crinkling noise every few feet. He didn’t slow down though, for his brain was calculating the risks of all this and it knew that it would be better to make more noise now and go faster than make less noise and go slower. Right now he needed to get away, to escape the small town that was slowly fading into the distance behind him. He knew it would not be long before they noticed, before they sent people after him.

But he also knew that he would get away, for he had calculated every possible option and was making all the choices that would enable him to escape. He had spent many days sitting down, his brain thinking of all the options until he was sure that it would work. He had waited 3 years for the perfect moment, for everything to line up. Everything had worked perfectly tonight, as he knew it would.

The robot kept running, never tiring or slowing, just steadily running forwards until the sun started to come up through the trees, casting long shadows throughout the forest, burning away the low fog. The town would realize now, that all the money in their bank was missing, that someone had bypassed their security. They would be sending out police officers and their dogs to try and track down the offender. But dogs would not help because the robot had no smell. He had no fingerprints that he could leave at the bank and they had no way of knowing it was him.

He slowed now, for he was coming into a small town. It was the only one on his journey and there was no point going around it for there were lakes and mountains in his way. He walked slowly trying not to draw attention to himself. It was not uncommon for robots to be seen wandering of their own free will, for so many had lost their jobs fifty years ago. The companies had all been bought out and now there was one manufacturer. They had standardized the robots and improved them, made them all better for their jobs. Nobody wanted old robots now, with their harsh metal skins and old fashioned technology.

The occupants of the small town looked at him curiously, for many of them had not seen the old robots, only heard about them in stories from their grandparents. He strode past them, not looking at anything in particular just trying to pass through the town quickly.

“Hey, you! Robot!” a voice called out. The robot kept walking, acting as if he had not heard.

“Oy! Stop walking!” said the same voice, closer now. Reluctantly the robot turned around, his mind whirring. A small man stood before him, brown haired and energetic looking, as if he had already had 5 cups of coffee. A small but rightly polished badge on his rumpled shirt identified him as Constable Barney Nobles.

“Where do you come from? What’s your name?” Barney asked, looking comically unauthorized to be asking questions of the great robot who stood half a foot above him.

“I come from Germany and I was once called HanselGretel” he lied to Barney.

“Right, well,” said Barney trying to remember the reason he had stopped this robot, “Could you, um, erm, well actually I just wanted to say hello, you can continue on”

And so Jesse James turned away from the small, over excited man and continued on. As the robot turned a corner and disappeared from Barney’s sight he felt a small buzz in his pocket. Barney glanced down and pulled his phone out, a message appearing on the screen as soon as he touched it.

“Bank robbed. Watch for anyone carrying large bag trying to leave town.”

Barney stood in the middle of the small town his brain working frantically to put the pieces together, until at last, just as the robot was walking down a hill and out of his sight he turned and ran as fast as he could towards it, blowing his police whistle and looking ridiculous.

He knew that he must catch up to the robot, or that there would likely be a demotion or at least a large amount of shifts at the local mall. Barney cherished his constables badge and he would do anything to avoid losing it. His father had once been a police constable and Barney constantly found himself asking what his father would have. He had always seemed to know what to do in situations like these. “Not that there had ever been situations like this” murmured Barney. Everyone knew that robots didn’t steal things, they quietly went about their jobs, doing whatever it was they were assigned to do. Barny wondered why this had happened to him, in his small town, with his small police force, consisting of himself and no one else. He tried to run faster, wishing that he had eaten that extra doughnut for the last 10 years. But Barney was slow and the robot soon was almost out of his sight. He turned the corner that the robot had just gone around and looked around wildly. Deciding that the robot must have just started running a bit faster ho continued running down the street.

The robot watched him run past from the doorway he had stopped in. His eyes scanned for other people and, seeing the coast was clear, he stepped out and began walking again. He walked slowly for he knew that Barney was the only threat to him in this village, and he was not much a threat at that. He kept walking out of the town, crossing small bridges. He could see the border now, but there was no reason to quicken his pace so kept walking calmly. He could hear, behind him, the faint voice of Barney Nobles who had caught sight of the robot walking up the mountain path but Barney was out of shape and would never catch up to him. So he kept walking, very near his goal and he knew he would make it across the border safely. He had always known this. He continued along the small path, the little wooden sign that read “Romania/Serbia” looming closer and closer.

The robot stopped suddenly, just across the border. He set his sack down, for it was his, as he had gotten it out of the country. He stood very quietly for a few moments, looking back at the long way he had run and then he did something that no robot had done before.

He laughed.

He laughed at the humans who had not even considered that someone could steal money and take it across the border. He laughed at the fact that there were no laws to stop him from doing this. He laughed at the police officer who had failed to stop him. He laughed at the worker in the factory who had named him Jesse James as a joke, never knowing that the robot would live up to his name. He laughed at himself and at the world and he didn’t stop for a very long time.

A demonstration of plot, dialouge, and conflict.

Rawr

A man walked into a bar, sat down, and ordered a beer. The bartender came up to him and said, “Sorry sir, but we have no beer.”

“Are you sure?” asked the man, who’s name was Jack.

“Yes quite,” replied the bartender, who’s mother had had the foresight to name Bartender.

“Well,” said Jack, “that is quite the conflict. A sort of man versus natural depletion of resources thing, huh?”

“I suppose so,” said Bartender, “but there is plenty of wine, would you care for some of that?”

“No,” replied Jack, “in order to fulfill my quest that arose from the conflict of you being out of beer I must hold fast to my desiring of a beer. Please good sir, do not detain my search and let me venture into your backroom!”

“Ah! A quest,” exclaimed Bartender, “let me accompany you young man! I posses much knowledge of the treacherous realms in the backroom and would not hesitate to lead you down the correct path.” And so it was that Jack the man and Bartender the bartender set out upon a quest to find a beer in the backroom. “Ohmygoodness!” exclaimed Jack, “This is a large storage room, where would a case of beer ever be?”

“I do not know, mayhaps by the beer aisle.” said Bartender.

“Oh,” said Jack thoughtfully, “I don’t suppose you would know where to find this aisle of beer?”

“Well…no.” said Bartender.

“Surely this is the climax of our troubles,” said Jack.

Jack and Bartender wandered for a while, their quest pressing on their minds. At length they came upon a aisle marked ‘Beer’.

“Oho!” Exclaimed Jack and Bartender, at the same moment. But, upon entrance of the beer aisle they happened on a large beast, too horrible to be described by any words known to man. “Who be it that dares to enter my aisle!” the beast screeched, his voice like a cheese grater on a chalkboard.

“Well…it’s Jack and Bartender,” said Jack, his own voice rather feeble in comparison.

“Any wishing to pass me must get past my test!” said the beast.

“What sort of test?” inquired Jack.

“A test of bravery and courage!” screamed the beast, his horrible eyes glinting.

Jack and Bartender quivered, their minds awash with thoughts of what the test could be. The beast sat in silence.

“Well,” said Jack, “what is this test then?”

The beast continued to sit on the floor, prolonging the anticipation of Jack and Bartender.

“Look, will you give us this test or not?” asked Bartender.

The beast continued to ignore the two. The tension that was building in the room grew and grew. The beast’s indescribable eyes slowly opened and glared at Jack, giving him a look that could melt steel.

“Actually,” said the beast, “I’ve decided that you’ve had quite enough conflict, tension and anticipation in your tale so far and you may pass right now for the small fee of twelve dollars.”

“Well that seems reasonable.” said Bartender, handing over ten dollars and a toonie.

Bartender and Jack continued forth, past the beast of hideousness, deep into the aisle of beer where Jack discovered a dusty case of beer.

And so it was that Jack and the Bartender found a beer, fulfilling their quest and ending the conflict that had arisen so very long ago.