Friday, July 10, 2009

Wordzzle 71 - Knight time

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 fifteenth time I've played the game.

Ten Word Challenge:

laugh and the world laughs with you,

The blueberries are definitely past their peak, he thought, as he picked through the fruits and vegetables. In fact, most of them had passed over the line into spoilage, which was undoubtedly why they had been thrown out. He managed to find a few, though, that hadn't yet molded, as well as a few pounds of wilted grapes. He sniffed them all, then held them up so that they could be better illuminated by the parking lot lights. It was important to stay away from things that had actually fermented, too. He had to stay sober in his line of work.

He moved off to another section of the dumpster, and started looking through things there. This section had various household and office objects that had gotten broken somehow. He was behind a giant supermarket/discount store/drugstore, and sometimes he found things he could use. He guessed a lot of it was floor models or stuff that had fallen off of shelves or had otherwise gotten damaged. For all he knew the employees engaged in fights with them in the back rooms. He was about to give up on finding anything this time when he came upon a computer keyboard with a big crack running through it. He took it out and examined it. Chances were it still worked. His old keyboard was having trouble with a few letters now, so it was worth trying it out.

Suddenly he heard a scream. He quickly went behind the dumpster and changed into his costume, then went running toward the source of the continuing screams. He found a man trying to steal a woman's purse, while the woman gripped it in both hands, refusing to let it go. The man was dressed in a bright purple suit and was wearing a yellow lampshade over his head with large holes cut out for the eyes.

"Well, Mocker, this is sinking rather low, even for you."

The lampshade turned toward him. "Why, if it isn't the Knight-Owl, come to save the day. I figured you'd show up. In fact, that's the only reason I did it. Now. as I always say, laugh and the world laughs with you, die and I still laugh at you," and he suddenly produced an enormous futuristic-looking gun, which began to fire what looked like ping-pong balls. The Knight-Owl knew better than to let any of them hit him, though. They might contain poison gas, or acid, or drugs, or glue, or germs, or expanding spikes, or explosives, or any of a wide variety of possibilities.

The balls just bounced off the walls and pavement like normal ping-pong balls, though. He turned and looked at them bouncing away. Turning back, he said, "Is that all you've got, Mocker?"

"Hey, times are tough! And you wouldn't believe how hard it is to find good help. It's so sad I could just laugh myself to death!" And he began laughing, but it soon degenerated into a series of strange giggles.

"You loser!" the woman yelled, and slammed him in the head with her purse. The Mocker lurched to the side, tried to recover, and then fell on his back. The Knight-Owl walked up to him and began wrapping duct tape around him, pinning his arms and legs to his body. The Mocker was weakly shaking his head in small back and forth movements, but was not offering any resistance.

"Ha-ha-ha, duct tape? Ha-ha, what happened to your electronic handcuffs?"

"The manufacturer went out of business, and I haven't been able to find another one. Not that I could afford it these days anyway."

"Ha-ha, we're just alike, we're finally just alike..."

"In your dreams. Now be quiet while I contact Commissioner Boredom." He took out a cell phone and punched in the number.


"SHUT UP! No, not you Commissioner. I have the Mocker captured again. He's all ready to be picked up. What? Are you sure? Well, okay."

He lowered the phone and turned toward the Mocker. "Commissioner Boredom says that the city has had to cut a lot of services, and money is so tight that they've had to release most of the people from their jails. They couldn't afford to house them any longer. He doesn't want you. You're free to go."

"You're letting him go? You LOSER!" The Knight-Owl felt a sudden impact on the side of his head, and then he was laying on the pavement with someone wrapping duct tape around him.

"I can't believe it!" the woman said. "He tried to take my purse and you're just going to let him go! You're both LOSERS!" She finished with the tape, and straightened up and put her hands on her hips and looked down at him with contempt. Then she picked up her purse and hit him again with it, then went over to the Mocker and hit him, too. Then she kicked them both a few times for good measure and walked off in a huff.

"You're just like me, you're just like me, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha..."

"Shut up."

"Say, would you like some coffee?" An artificial flower poked its head out of his coat pocket. The flower head turned toward the Knight-Owl, and then fell off and rolled down the street. "HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA..."

"Shut up."

It was going to be a long night.

Mini Challenge:

Michael Jackson,

A man in a Michael Jackson mask lay on the sidewalk, and a long ladder lay beside him. People walked around him, paying little attention to him. After a few hours a couple of policemen came upon him, and began to examine the situation.

"I guess he was trying to climb up the side of the building with the ladder, and then it fell over."

"Yeah, that's probably it. I wonder what he thought he was trying to do?" He leaned down and picked up a wallet that was laying beside the man, and looked through it. "Looks like the crowd got here before we did. It's pretty cleaned out. There's not even a driver's license left. Not many clues here."

"Yeah, well, with the economy like it is, I don't blame them."

"There's nothing here that's really worth our time. Let's call the coroner and have them pick him up."

"Do we have to do that? There's always so much paperwork. The coroner has been complaining lately about having too many dead bodies, anyway."

"We still can't leave him here."

"Let's just stuff him in the trash can. The garbage truck will get him eventually."

"Well, I suppose. But what do we do with the ladder?"

"We can just move it over by the building and get it out of the way. Someone is bound to steal it, sooner or later."

"Well, okay, let's get started, then."

They reached down and started to picked him up, when all of a sudden he groaned.

"Hey! He's still alive!"

"Oh no, this really complicates things. Looks like we're going to have that paperwork after all."

The man sat up, holding his head, still groaning.

"Are you okay now? You don't need an ambulance, do you? What were you doing on that ladder, anyway?"

"I wasn't on the ladder."

"You weren't?"

"No, it was in the way and I walked under it. I guess I must have bumped it or something, because I soon heard a strange scraping noise, and when I turned around I saw the top of it sliding across the wall toward me. There wasn't time to do anything."

"But, if you weren't on the ladder, then why is it here?" The policemen both looked up, trying to see if anyone or anything was on top of the building.

Suddenly their pistols were out of their holsters and poking them in the back.

"Alright, put your hands up against the wall there! Push Hard! Pretend you're holding up the structure!" The man then went through all their pockets, taking everything. "Okay! Now stay that way for an hour! Don't turn your heads, don't move! I'll be watching!"

After a while, one of the policeman said, "Do you think he's gone?"

"Probably. We might as well stand here for a while, though. I'm really not looking forward to the paperwork."

"Why don't we just say that a bunch of people came out of an alley and did it."

"That would probably be best."

"We never did get a look at his face. Who was that masked man, anyway?"

"I don't know, but he left us this stupid ladder."

Mega challenge:

laugh and the world laughs with you,

Michael Jackson,

The knight stood outside the drugstore, in full armor. Ten feet ahead of him were double glass doors. On the right door a sign said "Laugh and the world laughs with you." On the left door a sign said "Cry me a river."

An owl sat on a light pole, watching. Posters of Michael Jackson blew by in the wind.

A man, obviously not sober, walked by, his arms carrying two big paper bags full of groceries. He tripped and fell, and blueberries and grapefruits spilled out and scattered on the sidewalk. He lay still. A man in a white apron came and put the fruit back in the bags, then put them against the wall of the drugstore. He then pulled the man over and propped him against the wall in a sitting position, with his knees up near his chin. He unfolded a newspaper and put it over the man's head, making a little peak, and left him there.

A man smoking a pipe walked slowly by, looking through a large, economy-sized magnifying glass, as if searching for clues. He paused briefly where the bags had earlier fallen, but then went on.

Time passed. The knight continued to stand there, facing the doors. The owl continued to watch. A hook and ladder truck raced by on the street behind the knight, siren wailing. A dog, harnessed to a little red wagon, went slowly by, panting. A teenager sat in the wagon, playing music on a keyboard.

More time passed. Flies gathered around the bags of groceries, buzzing. The man in the white apron came back and picked up the bags and threw them in the dumpster with the other spoilage. The man sitting against the wall slowly fell over to his right and lay there on the sidewalk, still curled up, the newspaper still hiding his head. A lampshade rolled by in strange arcs, showing a complicated internal structure.

Finally the knight walked slowly forward, and slowly stretched out his right arm toward the doors. Abruptly, the signs were taken down and replaced by others. Each sign now had an arrow pointing at the opposite door, and each sign now said "Use other door." The knight stood there, his arm outstretched, frozen, unmoving.

"OH FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE," screamed the owl. "JUST PICK ONE!"

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Blogger Raven said...

As always, you offer such a unique vision. You seem a touch sardonic this week. I hope all is well with you. I suppose 115 degree temperatures and an economy in the tank would impact my mood too.

10:49 PM, July 11, 2009  
Blogger Ordinarily Just Me said...

What a wonderful use of the words. I have not participated in a while so when I see other peoples it makes me happy to know it is still going on. Hope all is great in your world.

1:07 AM, July 12, 2009  
Blogger Akelamalu said...

YOu have such a wonderful imagination Stephen, sometimes a bit quirky which I like. :)

3:09 AM, July 12, 2009  
Blogger CJ said...

I especially liked the Knight-Owl this week. I also read some of your dreams. Aren't they amazing? I often wonder what mine mean. Sometimes they are obvious, like when I dream I had forgotten some important item I need that day for work. But often there are people I know from, say, work, in another venue where I would normally not see them. People who have died have come back to haunt my dreams. And strangely, on the rare occasion I have an erotic dream, it is with someone I never thought of that way when awake.

3:54 AM, July 12, 2009  
Blogger Dr.John said...

I'm sorry I missed you last Saturday. These are great. Just weird enough.

3:04 PM, July 16, 2009  
Blogger Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Oh good grief - how wonderfully strange.

I particularly enjoyed the useless super-heroes fallen-on-bad-times story

Glad i returned the favour of the visit and checked in - keep up the good work!

12:25 AM, July 17, 2009  
Blogger Argent said...

Knight-Owl! Birlliant! Laughed my socks off at that and the two bumbling cops. The third story was very vivied and had a very dream-like quality to it. Great stuff.

3:03 PM, July 18, 2009  

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