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"Orange Traffic Cone, etc..."

It is my pleasure to announce that I am not writing today's blog. hah I called on Dan from The Man Who Painted Agnieszka's Shoes to help me out with my stress level today, and he has kindly agreed to complete the requirements of today's exercise. Everyone, go look at his blog! Also, read his book! It's wonderful! To get a little info, read my last post.

It is without further ado that I give you Dan!!

Exercise #61 : "Orange Traffic Cone, etc..."

Write a brief scene that incorporates the following: an orange traffic cone, a miniature cat, fried fish, velcro, Teddy Roosevelt, and polkadots.

"Exercise Video"

Tom put down his beer and picked up the remote. He flicked through the usual channels, through the fake gold necklaces and football games he'd seen so many times even the commentator's voice seemed to have slowed. Through the self-help and the freak shows, plastic surgery and miniature cats.

He watched the rolls of fat ripple down his front as he laughed at a sixteen year old guy who'd run off with his best friend's career. His eyes moved between his stomach and the television. There's the soft, glutinous flesh, he thought. And there's that black and white movie again, the one with the two old ladies and the crazy guy who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt. And the slow, formless flab he knows is part of him, however foreign it feels.

He was in a loop, turning and turning in on itself like an eel swimming endlessly round its tank.

He threw his fried fish supper on the floor, fired the remote at the TV, watching the picture shrink to zero, and headed for the front door, carrying his bulk with him. This is it, he thought. This is the last chance I'm gonna have to get out of the loop.

The air hit his lungs as he opened the door, and he felt it flex through his body. At once he felt his skin, his flesh, his mind become part of him. It was like he'd been looking down on a so-called life from above for all these years, watching it play out until it faded to nothing, and now he was part of it again. And it didn't have to fade. Not yet.

He strode down the sidewalk, his steps getting longer, more confident. Each time he planted his foot more firmly, taking in the myriad new sites and sounds as he did. The noise of his street, of his town, of his life.

He put his foot down with a joyous confidence. His knee buckled. That was odd, different from the other footsteps.

Tom looked down at the dark surface beneath him. That's not pavement he thought, and glimpsed the curb he'd stumbled down. It took a moment, took the sight of the orange traffic cone, and the unfamiliar roar for him to put the information together.

A road. His road. And a car.

And polkadots of what had been Tom splattered red on the sidewalk.


Oooooooooooooohhh... Twist!

See? That was great, right? If you didn't visit his blog earlier, I'm pretty sure that you've been convinced you should take a hop on over there now. 1, 2, 3, GO!

I am such a giddy little girl right now. Part of it is the nerves due to my recital being today, but most of it is because Dan is the first guest blogger I've had on my blog. It's all very exciting. Of course, 52 Weeks of Wordage is my baby, and I am very protective of her, but I love the idea of a bunch of people taking part in these exercises, whether it's in the comments section or the posts themselves via guest blogging. I can learn so much from all of you, and I would be honored to read your exercises. :)

Thanks to Dan!


P.S. The recital is today at 5:30pm. Ahhhhhhhh!!! :)


Dan Holloway said…
thank you so much for asking me to do this. It was an absolute blast! And very best of luck for this afternoon!
Marisa Birns said…
Oh, poor Tom! He did get himself out of the loop but...

Very good twist. I enjoyed reading Dan's story. And I laughed at the imagery of Tom turning from rolls of fat into polka dots of red. But I shouldn't laugh, right?

Well done!
Hi, Marisa. Oh yes, you should laugh :-) I had a Roald Dahl story at the back of my mind when I did this, or maybe it was Brian Aldiss - it was about a village where the women fattened their husbands up for an annual show, where they would be judged, and the "winner" would become the end of show banquet. I love that kind of wry, dark suburban twisty stuff. Ira Levin, there's someoen else who does it. Suits flash fiction very well somehow.

Thanks, Stef!
Great Blog!! That was amazing. Your thought processing is wonderful. The way you tell the thing is awesome. You are really a master
Great Blog!! That was amazing. Your thought processing is wonderful. The way you tell the thing is awesome. You are really a master

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