Posts tagged 100 Themes Challenge
Posts tagged 100 Themes Challenge
“So, does that mean you can’t loan me the money?”, the scrawny man said, shaking like a bamboo in the wind. His hands left wet spots in everything he touched and his eyes looked as red as the rest of his face, the humidity making his eyes look like black jellyfishes in puddles of milk.
“I’m truly sorry, but unless we have a reason and comprovation of it, we can’t loan money, man.” The lender had to say this a myriad of times during his long career. It never got any easier, but saying it to a childhood friend was harder. The shadow cast upon Thomas’ face was horrifying, but he didn’t seem to want to explain his predicament, relying on fantasy instead. “If you give me a reasonable explanation, I’m serious. Tell me why you really need that much money, Thomas.”
“So you really don’t believe me? What part don’t you believe, tell me. Please, Dick.”
“Well, honestly, the whole thing…” It was hard to not believe Thomas. He had a honest face and it was him that gave to Richard straight whenever no one else would. To doubt him was to betray him.
“I know that the whole time travel is hard to buy, I had quite the problem accepting it myself and I was looking down a dinosaur’s snout.” He said. He seemed too panicky.
“I realize something is troubling you, I can see you really need the money, but my hands are tied here. You can’t expect me to write ‘Alien Ransom Payment’ in the form and not call the cops or the psychiatrists.” It was a novel idea, the whole story. It made the lender wonder what drug could bend his friend’s perception of reality so badly that he could come up with such a complicated story and believe it so desperately.
“You make it sound as if I’m trying to rescue an alien. That’s not it. I need the money so I can buy our planet back from them.” Richard could already see some of his coworkers casually coming closer to his desk. He felt a bit ashamed for his friend.
“And it was you who sold it to them in the first place?” The lender rationalized that he was humoring Thomas just because he thought that, if he made his friend realize how ridiculous it all sounded, he would stop it. Although, little by little, this situation and its surrealness reminded him of all the times Thomas would go to Dick’s house by mistake, so drunk that he would start talking to the house in the middle of the night, after Richard had phoned his friend’s house to let his mother know he was O.K. He remembered how they used to make fun of each other, how their conversations would become nonsensical and oddly philosophical at the same time. He never laughed so hard like in those days, since they grew apart.
“No! I told you! I lost it in a game of four-dimensional poker! And I think they cheated…”
“Stop it, Thomas. This is unhealthy. I don’t know what happened to you or why you need this money, but I can’t help you in this state.” The change in his friend’s demeanor was tangible, going from the frantic lucidity of before to a crestfallen hunched-over posture. As if collapsing under his own weight. “You’re really committing to this, aren’t you?”
“I… perhaps it didn’t happen, then. Perhaps I imagined the whole thing… being kidnapped, escaping from a spaceship, falling into a wormhole… but it seemed so vivid. But if it was all a lie… who’s waiting for me to get the money out there?”
“No one is, Thomas.” He is relieved now, that this charade can finally end. But looking at his friend still drives a nail into his heart. Thomas looks like a man that just discovered he’s adopted. It’s almost visible, the walls of reality collapsing around him. “Go home, man. Rest. I’ll swing by later and check on you. No more stories about intergalactic loan sharks, alright?”
“Interdimensional, but alright… And if I didn’t just made this all up, those aliens may have helped us escape the whole dinosaur thing, but they’ll have to find another way to pay their debt, I guess… and what can they do having won the planet from me? It’s not like I own it, anyway…” He is grinning now, realizing how ludicrous it all was. He looks up at Dick, his oldest friend, pitiful awkwardness incarnate. There’s a tacit contract here, a “we’ll never talk about this again” kind of deal. Richard meets Thomas’ look with one that could aptly say “I don’t think there will ever be a moment where this whole deal could come up.” After a few seconds of silence, the atmosphere of the bank seems clearer. Richard’s coworkers shuffle almost imperceptibly back to their tasks and exchange astounded glances. Thomas stands up, still looking a bit defeated and says, “I guess it was a pretty bizarre story.”
The banker is almost unable to hold his laughter now. “It was hard to buy it from the get go, man… The very beginning, when you said you were going out with your girlfriend. That made the whole thing unbelievable for me.” As the laughter of everyone echoed and ricocheted off the bank’s walls, tears dropping down from Richard’s tightly closed eyes, Thomas took his leave, no hope left on the sulking carcass walking out of the bank.
Perhaps, if Richard hadn’t been blinded by tears and deaf by laughter, he would have seen the green plasmatic light coming from outside the bank and heard his friend’s scream.
And perhaps the Earth wouldn’t be doomed.
Ok… it took me quite a while, but here is part two of the 100 theme challenge. This one was an idea that I had bouncing inside my head for quite a while but just now decided to commit it to paper (or data, as it were). It didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped… Once again, it might take a while between part two and three, but this wait may be diminished depending on the response this one receives. So let me know what you think.
Beginnings are always the hardest. The man could form up his whole introduction in his head, the way he was going to approach the other, the way he was going to ease into the subject of “you’re being hunted and I can help”, the way the other was going to believe wholeheartedly and follow his every lead. The imaginary conversation was going well, so well indeed, that he wasn’t going to discard the idea that they would become best friends sometime after the hunt was done.
But that’s just it, isn’t it? Every thing is easier in his mind. The man deludes himself into thinking that planning is a good idea, that he can plan for every contingency. And when life throws its unexpectedness in his face, he’s surprised and says there’s no reason to keep planning, that he’ll just “live in the moment” from now on. And next time, there he is, spending hours planning the next steps. It isn’t a bad thing, though. Planning gives the man a sense of order, it structures his thoughts, his expectations and, to a certain level, gives him confidence to go through with the plan. As long as he is aware that as soon as he starts the plan, it will have to be discarded, he’ll be alright.
The other is nonchalantly leaning against the wall, its tuxedo several numbers too big, a man obviously out of his element. The smoke draws elaborate patterns and stains the white shirt framed by its coat, the cough hangs in the air above one smoking as if to meet a social demand. The man approaches the other, an all too familiar shadow trailing him. The smoke stings his eyes and he restrains a cough, it could very well tamper with a perfectly laid-out introduction. As he reaches the other, while still trying to manage the synchronism of putting one foot after the other, the man chokes on his own words, no sound comes out. Fortunately, the other seems to not have realized the man’s pretensions, for he was still looking dumbstruck at the patterns of smoke that rose to mingle with the thick legion above.
The man decided to try again, the words were at the tip of his tongue, there didn’t seem to be a reason for nervousness, so what was happening? He formed the words carefully, first impressions and all that jazz. The shadow behind him seemed to be laughing, but he disregarded it. The words were fleeting, the more he thought about them, the worst they sounded. No, he couldn’t begin the conversation with something so bland, it had to be intriguing, make the other want to know the whole story, avoid an indifferent or awkward response. But that was mainly dependent on the other’s personality, wasn’t it? How could he prepare against that?
Say anything, measure his personality based on his response, then shape the rest of your discourse based on that. That could be a good way to do it, but what if his response to your first phrase is one of introspection, what if he goes away? The shadow isn’t even trying to suppress the laughter now, useless prick. The other pulls himself from the wall, does that mean he will leave? No, he can’t. He can’t. If he goes out…
The man is possessed by impulse, the social and volitive parts of his brain clashing and melting everything else down. His mouth expulse the first words of a half-forgotten introduction and, mid-way through it, it dissolves into a cry for help, mingled with a warning for the other’s life. It’s a train wreck. But as the man clutches his face to hide the shame, he opens one eye to see the other stepping purposefully on the ground, the last trail of smoke engulfing his tattered shoe. The other resumes walking, apparently oblivious to the man’s bizarre discourse, and opens the door at the end of the terrace, the way down. After a moment’s hesitation, the man screams for attention. The hasty introduction falls on the other’s deaf and the shadow’s knowing ears. No point in first impressions.
The man is gone.
So, I’ve decided to post short stories here, so as to refrain from using this only to reblog unfunny shit. To kickstart that idea, I’ve decided to get a challenge list of 100 themes for writing. Although I’ll doubtfully respect the list’s order and will probably post a few short stories outside of the challenge, that list will assure that I’ll post with a fleeting semblance of frequency.
I hope I can count on whoever reads them to critic at your leisure, as long as they are constructive remarks. I appreciate any attempts to guide me through the shapeless and contrived dimension that is writing.