This was written for Daily Prompt: Choose Your Adventure:
Write a story or post with an open ending, and let your readers invent the conclusion.
I stand just above Upper Falls on the Yellowstone River. So beautiful, so majestic. I have been working in the park for a little over a month. My journey to Yellowstone National Park has been a tumultuous one. War. Alcohol. Drugs. Loneliness. I look out into the vastness of beauty before me then take a deep breath. No one is around. I spread my arms out as if I can fly……(fill in the rest)
Your challenge this week is to write a post based on the above picture.
As I walk down the cobblestone sidewalk I finally see her in the distance. She is as beautiful as in her pictures. I glance around to see my surroundings. It is a peculiar location. A little alley with tall apartment buildings on each side the street car tracks. As I stand and wait for her to reach me, the street car has stopped to unload its passengers. I carefully eye each one as they exit. I look back down the hill as she is finally approaching me. We look like casual tourist. I say Hi to her in her native language which brings a smile to her face. As she reaches for me we hug. I feel her slide the mini container into my pocket as my eyes look around hoping this goes unnoticed. With her thick Ukrainian accent she says to hug longer. I comply as I reach in my pocket and pull out the syringe. I quickly poke her in the stomach. Her body goes limp as the streetcar begins to move forward. She struggles to get away from my grip but can’t. Her body is slowing down as the drug quickly takes away her capacities. The street has stopped next to us. I quickly drag the female around the front and reach the door. As we enter I move past the driver and softly lay her down on the floor. I feel the street car moving forward as I stand up. My heart is racing as I walk back to the front behind the driver.
“The duffel bag is on the rear seat. Go to it and get dressed. Quickly,” the driver says. “I believe we have gone unnoticed. But hurry. We’ve got to get her delivered and you out of here!”
I stand and walk towards the rear seat as instructed. I look in every direction as I reach the seat. Everything is as planned. As I casually take my seat next to the duffel bag I take one final glance out the rear of the streetcar. I am relieved that no one appears to be following us. I remove the clothes from the bag and quickly change. Casual slacks with a nice bright-colored Chaps shirt and loafers. Inside the duffel bag I find my wallet, passport and ID badge. I am now ready for my flight back to the United States. I stand up and walk to the front of the street car. I stop at the head of the woman on the ground and bend down. I feel for a pulse in her neck. “She’s still breathing Harry.” I then rustle through her bag and find what I actually met her for. Another larger disk is inside her bag. Ah, like magic I think to myself. I stand, brush off my clothes then walk toward the front of the street car.
Harry is at the controls of the street car. He is an agent for the Italian SISMI, an agency of the Ministry of Defense. I am sure that is not his real name. His real name is probably Baldovino or Fiorello. But at this moment I could care less. He is my partner in this joint mission between the United States and Italy. The SISMI set up this exchange of information between myself and an agent from Ukraine. A few years planning for a couple of round disks and less than two minutes to execute. “Two years,” I think as I take a seat behind Harry. I place both disks inside a brief case behind Harry’s seat. It is the most important mission in my young CIA career. Finally able to relax, I feel the cool morning breeze blowing in my face and take in the scenery around me. I have not slept much in the past week. Soon this will all end! A car will pick me up at a drop-off location and take me to the American Embassy. Soon afterward I will fly home like I was on a summer vacation.
As we move along the street I notice a car parked across the tracks ahead of us. Harry looks behind and just nods his head upward. He then brings the street car to a halt. He looks at me and says to stay in my seat. As he exits the street car my heart races with anticipation. Is there something going wrong with our plan? Who are these guys? I wasn’t aware this scenario. This was not how the mission unfolded in the briefing yesterday! The rear window of the car rolls down as Harry peers inside. Suddenly another car stops next to the street car. Two men slowly exit and enter inside. Without a word they grab the woman and carry her off the streetcar into the rear seat of the vehicle. My heart is again racing as the car speeds off.
As I look ahead of me I see Harry stand up and turn toward me. He adjust his shirt and begins walking my direction. My mind is racing. Is something very wrong about to happen? Harry reaches the street car then takes his seat. As he begins to move the street car forward he turns around and says “a little change of plans Michael. But it went down smoothly. Now off we go to get you back to the embassy. Mission accomplished.”
Not far down the road Harry stops the street car. I notice a man in the suit right in front of where we stopped glancing our direction. I stand and exit onto the street. “Thanks for taking the street car today sir, have a great afternoon. Enjoy Italy,” Harry says to me. I turn to him as he drives away. He smiles and give me a little wave. I walk to the man on the street who causally opens his wallet to reveal his embassy credentials. We walk toward the car without saying a word. I take my seat in the rear of the car. My body goes limp as I breathe a sigh of relieve. Yes Harry, mission accomplished.
Stephen King said it! The master himself told me directly! You can’t write! Well, not really directly but somewhat indirectly.
Mr. King laughing at me!
After countless recommendations I finally broke down and purchased Mr. King’s book “On Writing”. I have always admired King though I have not read much of his work. I know he has written outside the horror genre, but generally his writing is not for me. With that said, he has written two stories that I absolutely love! That being Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (not this again!) and The Body. Anyways, back to “On Writing”. It has been a great read. He is a very amusing gentleman. He makes so many valid points as you would expect from such an accomplished writer. It seems what he got out of his early life was determination. He found his niche early in life and worked to refine his craft into a monstrous career.
Now the main message I took from “On Writing” is Stephen King telling me I can’t write. If I can’t make time to read lots of books and to write, then writing is not for me! That was his message! Is it true? Now I understand Mr. King’s success has given him time to read seventy plus books a year. It has given him the time to write two thousand words a day. Even before he had the financial stability to have writing as his full-time job, he found time. Hell, he wrote “Carrie” with a kid on his lap most of the days. Or so he states.
But Stevie, come on man! Give a guy a break! I have to read that many books? Outside the genre I enjoy? Really? Damn! You are breaking my heart! Smashing my dreams. You are tearing down my poster of Raquel before I finished my tunnel. You are excluding me from my outing with my three buddies! You know the one. Running from the train! Leaches! Bullies! Well, “suck my big one you rich, successful author”! Work and kids cut into any precious time I have to write. I know the lap thing worked for you. I get that! But I am different. I will be “The Shining” example of someone who may not had much free time and struggled to read many books but found a way to write successfully!
Your book “On Writing” is brilliant. Although at this moment I am not at it’s end, I have learned lots. My highlighter is yelling at me to give “It” a break! It’s original bright yellow has given way to faint peach on the pages! And though I learned lots, I probably made most of the mistakes you mentioned in your book in this little ten minute writing prompt!
So give me my fast food and set my alarm for four in the morning. I’ll make time dammit! And I’ll prove you wrong Mr. King. And before you die, I’ll give you a copy of my first book! Or invite you to the opening night of the first script that makes it to the big screen! Or both! I’ll have that opening in Bangor and give you a signed copy. If you have the time.
This was written for “Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Go even though I have NO clue how to get my link on the page!
This exercise is for the Daily Prompt Writing Challenge Map it Out. Yeah yeah, I am a day late. Story of my life!
10 REASONS I SHOULD BE CHOSEN AS THE COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER FOR HARVARD CLASS OF SPRING 2013
1. I have never been to Boston. How about a free flight and hotel for me to see your historic city!
2. I hate the NE Patriots. But a high school friend of mine Orlando business sold the Patriots a jib, whatever the heck that is! SEE PICTURE Also, since I mentioned the Patriots, I once owned a Remington electric razor!
3. I am just like the friend in Goodwill Hunting. Not the smart kid or the ones whose last name is Affleck. The other one. You remember him right? Except I don’t smoke.
4. I Love Conan O’Brien! And I have seen many Matt Damon movies. See above example of one. And I like 70s Aerosmith, when there were doing heavy drugs. Not that crap they play now.
5. If you take my ACT score and multiple it by 2, I meet your minimum requirements!
6. I once owned a pair of red sox.
7. The Celtics color is green. What a coincidence, it’s my favorite color of all time! Well, 2nd favorite color actually. Ok, I lied. I hate that shade of green!
8. I wasn’t at the Boston Tea Party, put while I was in college boy did I PARTY!
9. I have been a life long member of facebook! Hmmm…how long has it been around?
10. Why in the #*%@ not chose me, I’m Cajun!
This came to mind after watching Conan O’Brien’s commencent speech to Darmouth in 2011. Found on You Tube HERE. Extremely funny and well written, with a wonderful lesson thrown in there as well.
Fall in our house met quite a few things. The sugar cane fields around us were being harvested. We didn’t have central heating in our house so we spent lots of time cutting firewood for our wood stove and heater. And LSU football.
Looking back I would say listening to LSU football on Saturday evenings was the most memorable thing I did with my father. Not that we did lots together, but Saturday nights were special for me back then. Now this is in the early 70’s. LSU football was never on any of the three channels beamed into our black and white zenith television. So our Saturday evenings were spent listening to LSU football on a little pocket transistor radio.
One similar to the radio above. Except our didn’t have a back. The batteries were held in play with electrical tape. It was the same radio that we listened to during hurricanes after we lost electricity. So my father and I would sit at the table and listen to the LSU football games on this radio. He’d sit on the end of the table and I sat to his right. Yes, he would drink. And curse at the play selection. But those evenings he generally was on his best behavior. So I know he was capable. That radio never let us down, though there were some games it would have been better to not get reception. Lots of losses to Bear Bryant coached Alabama teams. What I remember the most though was the times there were thunderstorms either in our area or in Baton Rouge. The broadcast would crackle with the lightning. I can hear it clearly. The voice on the radio frequently interrupted by the crackle sound! How fun! He took me to a game in Tiger Stadium against Mississippi State. We lost. But it was a wonderful memory in a lifetime of few good memories.
There is a line in City Slickers when Daniel Stern’s character talks about how when he and his father couldn’t relate to mostly anything, the one thing they could relate to was baseball. I guess this was the one thing that brought us together. LSU football on Saturday nights.
My mother died on a Saturday night. I got the call while I was watching LSU vs Ole Miss. I suppose when she met him he griped how she interrupted the LSU game for me. Kinda makes me smile in an odd way.
I am from a small town in south Louisiana. Everyone knows everyone. Even though David was 4 years older than me, I knew him my whole life. Along with being from the same town, we both attended an all boys catholic school in the neighboring town. When he was in senior I was in the eight grade. We never really had any in debt conversations but we did talk on occasion and we’d always say hi to one another.
It was homecoming day 1977. A Friday afternoon, last period. I look across the hall and I see David. He is looking towards the center of the class and I don’t recall him ever looking my way. I don’t know why I just noticed him there today. It’s the first week of November so we have been in school for a couple of months. Maybe he was assigned a different desk, who knows. I just remember seeing him there. So clear. Like a snapshot in my mind. Still so vivid all these years later.
That Friday evening David was murdered. He was with his girlfriend after the homecoming dance when two me approached their car and kidnapped them. They drove to a rural location and raped the girl then shot them both. Now that doesn’t happen in a small town in the late 70’s. To someone I know. It was shocking to say the least. All the kids that attended this school from my town were forced to go to the funeral. It was frightening to be so young and see such a young person dead. The same person I had seen only a few days before, hours before his death. To make things worst we were all interviewed by law enforcement at school the following week. It was a dreadful experience.
If you ever saw the movie Dead Man Walking with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn you know the story of the man who was convicted of these murders. I know the young man murdered. The story is about the friendship between the murderer and a nun from New Orleans who he wrote while on death row. It is a good movie with great performances by both. I find the book is much better.
The reason I told this story is I wonder if it was really that particular day I am remembering. I have always believed it was that day. However, does our mind play tricks on us when we think back? I have always wondered about this memory, this moment in time. Maybe I saw him a week before and that is when my mind took that picture of him. Maybe I did indeed see him that day. I suppose it’s just God’s way of making me remember him. I see him, so clearly in that desk. So full of life. That is my memory of him.