Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Story of Prompt and Circumstance

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I took a little time out today to practice my craft. The following exercise comes via a writing prompt from one of the Daily Writing Challenges, found in the forums of The Working Writer's COACH.
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The Prompt:

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Candace looked up at Mark. “You know what this means, don't you?”
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He gulped, then nodded.
His head bounced like a bobble-head ball park figurine or one of those dogs seen in the rear windows of cars that have known better days.
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"Well!" The one syllable word flowed sing-song (not quite a statement; not quite a question) out of his mouth, as he turned to meet— well— what he alone perceived as doom.
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However adept back home, Professor Townsend now knelt in the company of a long-drawn-out avoidance of Fate. Oh! He talked the Talk. But when faced with the more mobile aspect of said equation, his flair for the verbal banter knew no bounds. And, it actually stood beyond reproach.
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Too excited to wait for him to answer, Candace continued. "I get to see your brilliance at work. First hand!"
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Though several years his junior, and at times markedly naive, Mark knew Candace was no fool. He watched her drink in the excitement of the moment. And revel in the grandeur of the exotic and other-worldly surroundings.
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"If you like, I can step aside and grant you the honor of coaxing it back out." Mark craved the luxury of knowing how much longer he could stall.
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"Oh no, Professor!" Dark ringlets of damp hair clung to the sides of her face. "I couldn't imagine missing out on such a rare opportunity; seeing you in action."
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'There it is.' Mark reflected.
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He’d savored every gradation of their well-meaning, if ill-placed praise. And he'd been fortunate, all the years of his tenure, to be the sole witness to the extent of his fraud. Relatively speaking, Mark found Candace a credit to her species. But her incessant public requests, demanding a spot on his next expedition, completely wore him down. Even more when the Dean of Faculties insisted he open up and garner field experience to commendable students; i.e. Ms. Foster.
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“Alright— ” He replied, running the backside of his hand across his forehead.
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As Candace moved to the fore to set up the camcorder and documentary video, Mark drew in and released a hard-drawn breath. His eyes rolled up and to the back of his head as the lids crept over them slowly, and then shut.
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Pulling a frayed and faded plaid hanky free from the upper pocket of his photographer’s vest, Mark wiped it across his face. And here, in the sweltering heat of the Amazon Rainforest, Professor Mark Ellsworth Townsend, wet to the core with sweat, had no choice but to shake loose the shackles of his fear. Trapped by the inevitable, and regardless how ungracious his potential undoing, Mark turned back to the earthen doorway of the elusive long-haired Giant Hissing Arachnoid.
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“I’m ready when you are, Professor.”
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“Yes. Well. Your eagerness is— well— It’s—” Mark practiced pointing to the tree when his head started bobbling again.
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While Candace focused the lens and her attention on the base of the massive and ancient tree, Mark wrestled with the image of eight long legs jutting out and wrapping about his hand. And while the question of his manhood never once entered the student's mind, Mark struggled with the subsequent sensation of being dragged through the comparatively small opening and down into a dark and vast abyss.
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Though he also gave thought to feigning heat stroke it was sooner, rather than later, that Mark's pride in his standing in the academic community triumphed. With a tinge of salt in his left eye and every ounce of courage he could in secret muster, Mark braced himself against the lichen-covered tree and plunged a very, very, very long stick forward and inside the whole; to poke at a monster of both dire and imagined proportion.
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Story draft by L.L. Abbott
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3 comments:

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Hey,

Thanks for taking part in the daily writing challenge at http://www.workingwriterscoach.com

I always find it amazing that people like you come up with such creative work based on my simple prompts.

Happy writing!

Suzanne Lieurance
The Working Writer's Coach

L.L. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L.L. said...

Well, as I state in today's post, I'd been offline most of May, but I forgot until yesterday, to check back in and view your prompts.

Thought I'd flesh out this one a little more here.

Thanks, Suzanne,

Blessings, LL