Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Wil Wheaton/Shane Nickerson Writing Experiment

From Wil Wheaton's blog, via Shane Nickerson's blog, comes this interesting challenge.

Write a short story about this picture of a mystery hotel:

(Shane's Flickr has details.)

Here's my late-night attempt.

All Ships Are Female
by Mona Buonanotte

“Tobacco’s a nasty habit.”

Eli idly kicked at the spittoon in front of the cigar counter, watching the thick brown liquid inside swirl side-to-side, with the gentle roll of the ship.

“Yes, yes it is. ‘Cept it keeps the passengers happy, “ Eli’s father, Otto, replied, fingering the new box of Manchesters.

The Schooner Kelly was returning from three months in Europe, fifty passengers exploring ports of France, Spain, and England, their temporary home a rocking berth in Upper Deck No. II.

“You sure I look alright?”

Eli stood awkwardly, shoulders haunched, the new glasses sliding off the slimness of his nose, unsure where he should stand, for how long.

“We’ll have to git you a new jacket,” Otto remarked, “And you’d best relax a bit, like we practiced.”

Shaking, Eli tugged at the tightness of his new clothes and turned away from his father. “I don’t think I can do this.”

“You can. You can and you must. You can’t undo what has already been done.” Otto’s voice rose above the clamour of engine and wave.

The doors of Aft Deck opened, and Ruth Mackey burst in, camera in hand. “Well, so we’re underway!”, she roared. “I simply must buy one of your 7-20s for my husband. Tobacco is a nasty habit!” Ruth started toward the counter, but stopped when she saw Eli.

“Oh. Where’s your daughter, Mr. Fox? Did she stay behind this trip?”

Otto flushed. “My daughter is in Europe, Mrs. Mackey. This is my...my son, Eliza...Eli, Elijah.”

Ruth squinted at the younger man, her lips pursed. “I see. So...so similar. Are you twins?”

Eli stiffened. “Yesss...yes ma’am. Twins.” There was a curious stirring in Eli’s loins, something the French doctor had warned him might happen, would happen, that he would have to face sooner or later.

“Mind if I take a picture?” Ruth asked softly, raising the camera to her face. As she pressed the shutter, Eli admired how Ruth’s dress clung to her slim body, how her breasts swelled, how beautiful, and the curious growth between Eli’s legs let him know that this would, indeed, be an interesting trip home.


At 9:46 AM, Blogger Jay said...

I really liked that.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

Patrick looked on at the chairs. Just as old Sullivan would have wanted it, they were lined up all neat as you please with everyone's names on them. You see, old Sullivan was one of those men that everyone liked. No matter of your Uncle had a row with the Father Brady, or if Mary Ann has riled the living piss out of the mayor's daughter, Sullivan was the one that kept everyone from each other's throats. Now, in his passing, Sullivan had the last word. Everyone who had a spat, a squabble or diagreement were seated next to each other. Some were planted in the midst of their so-called "mortal enemies" while others were near some sorry sods who just needed to piss off. It was engineered beautifully down to the very last detail: The alcohol. Patrick re-read Sullivan's last words he was to read to the crowd: "...and to everyone who still bears a grudge against anyone they see here, remember that when you carry too much, you haven't got a free hand for an ale. I beg you all to please leave those silly things here with the earthly burdens I've forever set down and get yourself pissed in memory of me." Patrick half smiled at Sullivan's sentiment. Even to the last, the old git will be loved. He tucked the paper into his pocket and took a deep breath, staving off the tears. It was time to let everyone in and he had to be brave. His dad, Patrick Sullivan Sr, would have wanted nothing less from his son, the new heir to the Sullivan namesake.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger SVN, prn said...

Jeremiah, over in Haloscan asked, "I wonder how, and why, you saw that tale in this photo."

Oh come on now, I'd expect nothing less of Mona than to take an old black and white photo of some chairs and turn it into a story with sexual innuendo.

Can I be Ruth in the movie?

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

Miss Jay: Thanks! I think I may have to spend some time on your food site...mmm...cheesecake...!

Thomas: I really like this! Who are you, Thomas, and does your blog have more stuff like this?

svnprn: Of COURSE I'd throw sex in the mix! And YES, you may play Ruth! I'll be Eli...!

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

I used to have a blog, but a little offline* phone fun eventually led to it's demise.

I like excercises like this; chances to explore in a new tableau and restrained only by the limits of your imagination.

Granted, it's not as facinating as watching homemade porn and wondering who is holding the camera (and why they agreed to just be holding the camera,) but it's still fun.

*Offline but so totally intense it was scary.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Claire said...

I really enjoyed your version. Great payoff.


Post a Comment

<< Home