Saturday, 30 October 2010

Storypraxis prompt attempt 3: Take Care of your Shoes

A week ago, I saw a pair of men's shoes on the Churchyard's low wall, standing as if ready to take a step forward or a daring jump backwards to the ground below. They were in reasonable condition, recently polished, one heel was a little more worn than the other, but otherwise they looked as if someone would come and reclaim them (perhaps having removed them to walk on hallowed ground), and continue their journey to work. These weren't your usual trainers chucked over the fence as a prank. This was organised, tidy. It almost had the feel of someone having set their shoes aside as they'd walked into a new life, a Reggie Perrin moment? Or perhaps it was the start of a pilgrimage. It was their very tidiness that begged these questions, set side by side, polished and ready, on a wall outside a historic Church building on a relatively busy but leafy suburban road.

The next day they were gone. This almost made it worse - now I was wondering if he'd come back for them, or if someone had just taken them, having passed them so often and been tempted beyond their capacity to resist. Did his wife find them and take them home to challenge him on where he'd been the previous night? Or had the church simply taken them in as unclaimed, ready for the next jumble sale? I wonder how many other people actually noticed them and wondered if they were the result of a wonder, or assumed that they were the result of an assumption, or had they simply passed them by on the other side and refused to acknowledge their own curiosity?

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Monday, 25 October 2010

Storypraxis prompt attempt 2: Four Hours

Watching the clouds, she waited for the phone to ring. She had a feeling that the call would come just as the next heavy shower arrived, but whenever it happened she'd just have to drop everything and go. Sitting by the phone table, she spotted a job she'd neglected to do.. she sat a while and wondered if she dared go to the kitchen for the polish. Another 15 minutes passed. The annoyance at the layer of dust on the bannisters got the better of her, and she moved quickly, leaving all of the doors open so as to be able to get back in a hurry.

She dusted. She polished. She even hoovered, keeping close just in case. After a while she'd got so involved in the chores, relishing the relief from the stress that doing mundane things had given her, that the call left her mind completely. She remembered a job that needed doing in the spare room and went upstairs.

It was one o'clock when the first message arrived. She suddenly remembered, horrified, at five, having put a room in order and sorted out countless papers that had lain untouched for months. She played them back, knowing now that it was far too late and that her chance had gone. She just had to figure out how on earth the undo the damage, and cursed her conscience for concentrating on the small things....

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Storypraxis prompt attempt 1: How The Shower Cap Was Lost

"Ok - so I'm out here, miles from anywhere. Where am I supposed to get a shower? You're kidding me - that's it?? Two buckets and a well. The things I have to do for these people..."

Four hours from civilisation and all she seemed to care about was personal hygiene, a panic that one hair may just get out of place - in all honesty, no-one bar the livestock was going to notice. Still, she had to maintain her pride... There was that mirror in the shack that kept telling her she was in desperate need of a facial, never mind her straighteners. After five minutes of cursing her employers, bad luck, the sunshine, and the probability that even now, there were storm clouds closing in on her location to break the three year drought specifically with the aim of ruining what was left of her coiffure - after that solid five minutes of anger, she gave in.

Setting her collection of beauty products on the wall of the well, she started to wind the handle down for the first bucket of water. She gritted her teeth. A couple of bucketfuls later, feeling like a drowned rat, she reached for the shampoo. Unfortunately, she hit it rather than grasping it. Having already loosened the lid, the sinking feeling that she felt as she heard it bounce off the walls on the way down increased proportionally as she realised that she would be drinking diluted hair care product for the rest of her stay...

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