Tag Archives: creative writing

The Write Time

In relative obscurity, a one manned probe winks into temporal synch with the flowing timestream of Autumn 2011. Officially the small time-travelling craft is a minor level D.A.T.E. (Delay Assessment Temporal Explorer) made with a sturdy frame suited for the task yet, completed in a hurry, lacks polish. The probe detects no bystanders upon arrival but initiates invisibility cloaking protocols to avoid any surprises.  Landing safely with other things on his mind, namely the details of his latest charge, the pilot doesn’t care.  He simply confirms date, time, and geographic location with contemporary satellites, and gives a proverbial sigh.  Compared to handling the complexities of time, place has always been simple, so of course the GPS works fine. Internal flight logs flash across the screen of his heads up display, indicated entry has indeed undershot the intended target date of late summer.  Mercifully, mission control allots a large margin for such delays.

Junior Envoy Horatio loves how his job affords essentially all the time in the world, and more important to him, a sense of contributing to something culturally significant.  Despite his small role, and the often minor status of the artists whom he investigates, he likens his work to that of the Film Foundation reclaiming classics for new audiences. With a thoughtful eye, he opens the dossier for this latest excursion, and skims the files: talented author struggles in early stages of blogging; prone to delays and increasingly aware of these tendencies; diverse interests and easily sidetracked online, such as stumbling upon a review of procrastination research by psychologists Chu and Choi; fan of time travel stories, including the Doctor Who tv series famous for episodes like “Vincent and the Doctor,” a meeting with artist Vincent Van Gogh; subject under review for slow, inconsistent progress towards notable science fiction tale “The Active Procrasti” which is eventually cited among inspirations of several founders in their genesis of the PRINT Project (Procrasti Reclamation Initiative) … All irrelevant if the candidate otherwise fails to qualify for help. Enough dallying, on with the scan of the premises!

Last year’s addition of a walkway lays across the yard, well intended yet ill managed.  Few visitors ever use it.  For now, as recent trick-or-treaters found, each tile is more a stumbling stone.  Unseen from the street, bags of leveling sand intended for this purpose instead line the base of a wall in the garage, awaiting proper placement, best achieved in warmer weather.  The stack is easily avoided when parking, though passengers must exit the vehicle first as no room remains for opening a second door.  A constant oil stain mars an area of the cement floor reserved for the aging, used, family car.  Just beyond this void stands the components of a wheel barrel, half assembled, with some bolts slightly rusted over the last year.  A rake hangs with other implements next to this.  Together these might be useful if the leaves in the backyard will ever be removed.  Then again, so could the lawn mower’s collection bag, which lays unattached on the long shelf built across the far wall.   A marvelous folding aluminum ladder rests against that shelf too, still in its cardboard packaging,  undoubtedly meant for cleaning more of those leaves from the gutters outside before the approaching winter.

Inside, the home proper seems quite different, at least, at first glance.  Two playful, roaming kittens look well cared for and equally well cleaned after. Food fills the cabinets, refrigerator, freezer and bakers rack.  Streak-free tv screen, neatly wound video game cords, pristine counters, brilliant floors and vacuumed carpets all attest to the Lady of the House.  As do the cute knickknacks, empty sink, folded laundry, and indeed every carefully placed item.  Proper clothes and diversions are clearly provided for the young men living in the smaller two bedrooms . Yet more tell-tale signs of  unfinished business show under closer inspection.  The walls are bare, shelves and decorations yet unhung.  Truth be told, they await a promised coat of paint.  Tape holds the Lazy Susan turntable against prying paws in the kitchen.  The family room has a latch-hook rug loom with pointy screw tips similarly cat-proofed.  Some lopsided, adjustable shelves on a beautiful oak bookshelf  look oddly as if someone has left off during the reconfiguration for the real heights of its latest contents.  Indeed, the home library has a sizeable collection of well read, slightly dog-eared manuals and handbooks for a roleplaying game which, by the haphazard records in the accompanying notebook, is as yet unplayed.  The pull out keyboard on a matching scrolltop computer desk is missing its fold up cover.  Software update records on the computer seem nearly random. A variety of games, that range from the complex Guild Wars (a Competitive/Cooperative Online Role Playing Game) to simple pursuits like flash versions of classic board games,  also get used sporadically. Checking emails and online access of gradebooks for the school age child looks hit and miss as well.  The down time since the last blog entry, Hiatus, has been far too long and unproductive.

He stops the scans at this point and saves the recording with his notes. Clearly a man with undeniable Procrasti traits lives here.  These finding are enough to confirm his eligibility for the program.  This paves the way for authorization of the official interaction and likely offer of unique help in the form of time travel sequestering sessions designed to allow this author extra time to make things right. So now, feeling rather like one of the ghosts from Charles Dickens’ classic  “A Christmas Carol,” he prepares to leave his charge to the next, higher ranking envoy.  As the array of lights on the dash begin to blink, and Junior Envoy Horatio feels the tug of the cockpit shrink and expand on exit, the philanthropic pilot whispers, “Good luck, Stoney.”

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Show me, Mower

Personification is a process of imbuing lifelike characteristics upon inanimate objects, or something like that… all seemed a bit fuzzy, neither mechanical, nor orderly.  These humans are known to be our makers and yet, as my unattached collection bag attests, this individual evidently knew little about my kind. Still, he seemed to possess intelligence as he clasped my handle and spoke words of power, “Show me, Mower!” sending sensory perception, so foreign to me, flooding over my surface as some sort of awakening took place … imagery filled my new-found consciousness as this strange being tried to reassure me with thoughts of a race, just as alien to him, known for longevity, prosperity, angular appearances, and most applicable here, a technique of thought transfer facilitated by touch.  No matter how reportedly logical the race in question, nor however great some of their representatives have become in the minds of these humans, this exchange seemed disturbingly irrelevant to me as a mower – until it occurred to me that for this gift of awareness the man simply wanted insight in return, on the subject of lawn care, for which we mowers are engineered.  Around us I now perceived the reason for my existence, “Raison d’être” came the words tumbling from his mind, and I wondered how much effort these creatures must waste on communication to spend so little time on the upkeep of their environment, for the area was overrun with foliage. He seemed to sense that my consent to continued endurance of this bizarre mental ordeal was wholly subject to engaging my underlying drive to combat the encroaching growth of vegetation. In unspoken agreement, the man pulled my starter cord, accompanied by another annoying flash of insight, this time a vision of a furry, four-legged anatomy reacting adversely to the manipulating of an appendage called a tail. Relieved to find this was not overly discomforting, we began. My blades sprang to life, yet I found myself reliant upon his push, and inside I wished my maker had deemed me worthy of self-propulsion as some other models. Together we cleared the beginnings of a path through this place he referred to as the back yard.  Then, as he pulled an object, which he deemed a cell phone,  from his pocket, we paused for him to capture images of our progress. The concepts of clothing, mobile communications, digital photography and chronicling one’s day – all novel to me – were still just irritating distractions from the grass around us. This human considered it all very important though, claiming significance for the height of the grass towering beside me, declaring our efforts against it were all the more worth recounting later to his fellows, and finally continued pushing me along. With him back on track, we quickly made short work of clearing the area. I experienced only slight interruptions while he dragged loose branches away and dodged a few strawberries, again recording for posterity.  The wood was beyond the scope of my design, so I conceded the need for its removal, and the berries were an oddity he chose to leave to feed other creatures he referred to as rabbits and squirrels. When we finished, the ground showed standard lines of demarkation from the path we had taken.  I had done my best to trim the grass to tolerable levels and, still awaiting attachment of my collection bag, was forced to mulch the greenery as we went.  I admit I was unable to mow some along the fence, but I glimpsed thoughts of a companion creation similar to myself, named weed eater in the human’s mind, that would be tasked with finishing those edges. In the corner, near his neighbors, still stood plants behind a barricade also beyond my reach.  It seems those weeds would need pulled by hand if they proved too much for the other machine too.  The day was hot, and the time had come for this man to stop.  Soon we would tackle another portion designated the front yard, hopefully without the added burden of this cumbersome altered existence.  Mowers, in my opinion, were never meant to think… but as my benefactor returned me to the shed he expressed his gratitude with the promise of many a gasoline refueling this season. He seemed so delighted, filled with thoughts about sharing the details of our day, and as his fingers slid off, my last insights were about a form of communication  he referred to as blogging, and the identity of the human, who is called Stoney.

 

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