Friday, July 03, 2009

Wordzzle 70 - Sunflower fields

This is my contribution to this week's Wordzzle. Wordzzle is a game in which each week word lists, used to create stories, are given on the blog Views from Raven's Nest. Participating users post their stories on their own blogs.

This is the fourteenth time I've played the game.


Ten Word Challenge:

Florida,
spit,
child bride,
operatic,
busy,
holding pattern,
sunflowers,
ginger jars,
office,
superintendent


The sunflowers swayed in the wind. Bees flew in busy holding patterns around them. Old ginger jars and empty Florida orange juice cartons lay on the ground, scattered among the grass and the sunflower stalks. Somewhere a woman in a high operatic voice was singing a country song, something about being a child bride.

Beyond the sunflowers, a ramshackle wooden house sat, badly in need of paint. A boy riding by on a bike threw a newspaper, which bounced off the house and landed among the sunflowers.

An old man came out and picked up the newspaper and looked at the headlines, then leaned over and tried to spit in one of the ginger jars, but accidentally hit a bee instead. The bee fell to the ground and lay still. The old man leaned over further, peering at it with one eye. Then the other bees attacked him, swarming around him and stinging him, and he was waving the newspaper at them and dancing and yelling and acting very agitated. He ran back and forth and around the yard and finally ran back inside, slamming the door behind him, shutting the bees in with him. Through the window he could still be seen, dancing around and waving the newspaper and shouting.

In an office somewhere a superintendent looked at his large screen TV and shook his head. "I'll never understand these music videos," he said, sighing. "But if you think this will help sell the song, then go ahead"


Mini Challenge:

music to my ears,
plot,
powerful,
braggart,
super model


"I beat them all," said the braggart. "Over and over again. Their cries of frustration were music to my ears. Super models flocked around me, and I enjoyed their attentions, while remaining aware that they did that with anyone who was powerful, and it was not about me personally." He paused, looking thoughtful. "Those were the days, and it seemed like they would never end. They did, though, and faster than expected. I underestimated my enemies, and they gathered together and plotted against me. It's all gone now, everything. All I have is memories." He laid his head in his arms and began to sob uncontrollably.

"Billy," his mother said. "So your team lost one game. It's not the end of the world."


Mega challenge:

Florida,
spit,
child bride,
operatic,
busy,
holding pattern,
sunflowers,
ginger jars,
office,
superintendent


music to my ears,
plot,
powerful,
braggart,
super model


The superintendent opened his office door and was met by sunflowers. A wall of them blocked his path, a wall that extended into a field of them. He leaned back and looked at the name on the door again, just to be sure. It was his name alright. He turned back to the sunflowers and stared at them, then started to slowly push his way through. What happened to his desk and his computer? What happened to his file cabinets? For that matter, what happened to the walls and floor? And wasn't his office on the third story?

Suddenly overcome by a sense of dread, he turned to go back, but found the office building gone. In its place stood an old farmhouse. He stared at it open-mouthed. Then, moving in a daze, he slowly went toward it, and slowly put he hand out to the wall, unbelievingly, almost afraid to touch it.

"Watch where you're going," said one of the sunflowers. "You're about to step on her."

He paused, his head turned slightly to the side. A sunflower talked? Somehow that didn't seem normal. Then he slowly looked down. The skinny lower legs of a woman were sticking out from under the building. He jumped back.

"I'd take her shoes," said the sunflower. "That's what I'd do."

"Oh I couldn't. That would be robbing a dead person. What would I do with them anyway?"

"Wear them, of course."

"They're women's shoes and they're too small anyway."

"It doesn't matter. They stretch to fit anyone. You're going to need them later, trust me. Better get busy, you haven't got very long."

He gingerly reached down and started to take them off. They seemed to be made of orange peels, though remarkably tough ones. He turned one over and looked at the sole. It had Florida stamped on it. "What are these, anyway?"

"They're the orangy slippers, of course. Now you'd really better hurry up."

Getting both slippers off, he started to straighten up and back away from the body, when it suddenly said, "I saw that."

"Pay no attention," said the sunflower. "That's just residual magic. A house fell on her. You don't really think she's still alive, do you?"

He stared at the body, uncertain. "If she's really alive I can't just leave her like that."

"Well, go ahead and try to pull her out if you must, though it's not going to do much good with the house on top of her like that. I wouldn't bother, myself. I'm sure you're going to regret it."

He reached down and carefully took hold of her ankles and began to pull back on them. Nothing happened. He pulled harder, then harder, putting his whole back into it. Still nothing happened. Suddenly the feet and legs curled up, going around his hands like a snake. He screeched and let go, falling back and sitting on the ground. The legs and feet continued to curl up, and disappeared under the house.

"Yep, that's a sure sign of death. At least around here."

The man stared at the place the legs had disappeared into, a strained look on his face. Then he buried his face in his hands, then suddenly jerked them away from his face as he remembered what they had been touching. "How do I get back?" he said in a small tense voice.

"Well, you could go and see the powerful and operatic Wizard of Awes. He's supposed to be able to do a lot of things."

"Operatic?"

"Well, not technically operatic, but he does go in for a lot of special effects. He's a bit of a braggart, but don't worry. He seldom actually smites anyone."

He considered this for a while. Finally he said, "How do I get there?"

"You see that glittery line over there, a couple of hundred feet to your right, partly hidden by the sunflowers? That's the road that leads to Awes."

"Why is it glittery?"

"Because it's made with brick that have pieces of broken ginger jars sticking out of them. It's the Ginger Brick Road."

"They expect people to walk on that?"

"Sure, people who want to get to Awes, and who have good sturdy shoes. It keeps out the riffraff. At least the shoeless riffraff."

"Why don't they just walk through the sunflowers beside it?"

There was a long pause, while the sunflower seemed to stare at him through invisible eyes. Finally it said, in a somewhat strangled voice, "Because not everyone here is an uncouth as you are."

The man looked at the glittery line of road that led off to the city of Awes. This was all starting to seem a little too familiar.

"Look, why don't I skip all this and just put the shoes on and click the heels together while saying there's no place like home."

There was another long pause, and he could again feel the sunflower's unseen eyes upon him. "I guess you could," it said slowly, "but why would you?"

"To get home, of course."

"Why, um, do you think it would get you home?" it said slowly and carefully, like it was dealing with a crazy man.

"Because that's how it's done."

"It is? Well, if you, er, say so, though I've never heard of such a thing. I really wouldn't count on it."

"If the shoes aren't for that, then what are they for?"

"For walking on the road, of course. They're magic, and the road can't hurt them."

He looked out toward the road again, a somewhat stricken look on his face. "Isn't there anyway we could get the Wizard to come here?"

"It's never been done, but I have this emergency signal watch that was left here by a young red-haired guy. You might try that." A leaf held the watch out to him and he took it. He stood there fiddling with it awhile, then it abruptly starting emitting a zee-zee-zee sound. There was a flash and a man in late middle age appeared before him, holding the hand of a child. They were both dressed entirely in yellow.

"Well, what is it?" the Wizard said. "We were just about to watch the parade."

"There's always a parade," the little girl said. "At least this is something different."

"Who's this, your daughter?"

"Why, no, this is my lovely wife..."

"You have a child bride?"

"She's not a child, she's older than you are. She's just really, really, short." He winced as she bent down and viciously bit his knee.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that! It must be nice to be short! Much better than being tall!"

The woman straightened, smiling and showing somewhat ragged looking teeth, with some missing.

"What happened to her teeth?"

"I'm afraid it's a rather common affliction in the Lemonade City of Awes," he said. "Particularly for those who don't brush their teeth religiously." The woman opened her mouth and started to turn toward his knee again. "Not that there's anything wrong with it! You are lovely anyway! Even more lovely because of it! I wish my teeth were like that!"

"Look, I'm trapped here. I don't have time for all this. I need to get back to the office."

"Well, why didn't you say so. Here, take these magic beans. Put them in your mouth and cover them with spit, then plant them and step back."

The man took them and stared at them doubtfully. "What happens then?"

"No one knows. We were hoping to find out."

The man looked up, desperation on his face. "What is this, some kind of plot? I've got to get back!"

The Wizard stared at him, his head tilted back a bit, a slight look of fear in his eyes. "Well, you could put a magic bean in each ear, then tilt your body forward with your arms sticking straight out to the sides, and go round and round the farmhouse, like a winged monkey in a holding pattern, while saying over and over 'I gave at the office.'"

The man stared coldly at him, his eyes narrowed, not saying anything.

"Really. That's how it's done." The Wizard looked uncomfortable. "Really."

"Why am I saying I gave at the office? That's something a person at home would say."

"I don't know. That's just how it is. Really."

The man's eyes lowered, and a feeling of resignation crept over him. He looked at the beans in his hand. Well, I've got nothing to lose but more of my dignity, he thought. "I'm really going to be back?"

"Really."

"That's music to my ears," the sunflower murmured. "I've never seen a crazier person."

The man started to put the beans in his ears.

"Er, could you turn the watch off before you go?" the Wizard said. "It's most annoying."

The man stared at the watch he was holding. He had forgotten it was still sending out the signal. He fiddled with it, but it wouldn't turn off.

"If you can't turn it off, at least take it with you," the Wizard said.

"Or you could stay here," the woman said, grinning broken-toothed at him. "I have a twin sister who's still single. She's almost as pretty as I am. We used to be super models."

"A twin sister? Twin super models? A pretty twin... marry..." He realized he was babbling. "Sorry, I'm, um, already married."

"Not here you aren't. Don't worry, your wife back there will never know."

He stared at her, his eyes big. "I've really got to get back."

He put the beans in his ears and, still holding the watch, stuck his arms out to the sides and leaned forward and went round and round the farmhouse, saying I gave at the office, I gave at the office. Suddenly, he was falling into darkness, falling, falling....

The Wizard walked over and picked up the beans and the watch. He held the watch in his hands, looking at it intently, and fiddled with it for a while. "I sure wish there was some way we could turn this off," he sighed.

The man landed on his side on the carpeted floor of a darkened room. The zee-zee sound was still going on. He desperately clawed his way up the dresser and turned off the alarm. "I've got to get to the office!" he murmured. "I'm late."

"Get back in bed, you idiot," his wife said. "It's Saturday! And by the way, you were talking in your sleep. What's this about marrying pretty twin super models?"

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6 Comments:

Blogger Akelamalu said...

Oooer remind me never to spit on a bee! LOL

I loved your mini challenge Stephen - Billy the Drama Queen. :)

Your megawordzzle is amazing - you have such a vivid imagination and that is why you are getting an award. Please do visit my blog tomorrow to collect it. :)

4:35 AM, July 05, 2009  
Blogger Raven said...

I loved your mini and the Wizard of Awes (that is SO clever) was just delightful. Well done and wonderfully imaginative as always.

8:38 AM, July 05, 2009  
Blogger Dr.John said...

I liked the first and second ones but the last one blew me away. it was fabulous.

2:19 PM, July 05, 2009  
Blogger bettygram said...

Don't spit on a bee. I loved the Wizard of Awes.

5:52 PM, July 05, 2009  
Blogger CJ said...

I thought I was the queen of puns, but you might be the prince with your Wizard of Awes. Loved it.

Sorry I am so late reading these this week. Busy weekend.

Don't forget my GIVEAWAY (easy scavenger hunt.) Anyone can join in here:
http://proartz.blogspot.com/2009/06/giveaway-1-scavenger-hunt.html

9:25 PM, July 05, 2009  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

These are just amazing!

7:27 AM, July 06, 2009  

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