Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,
It is a beautiful, rainy Friday here in the desert. My kids enjoyed splashing in the puddles, a rare occurrence since most rain is accompanied by much lightning. SO I am enjoying all the cozy feels despite the high temps and humidity. Air conditioning is miraculous.
Anyway, it is time for my weekly literary improv, where I pull a couple of prompts and do a nice little fictional free write with no editing. You get to see the warts and all version and can play along with the prompts however you like.
This week’s prompts are: “historical re-creation goes awry,” and “person who can’t go back.”
I guess I should have said no.
But the opportunity was so tempting, and I was so perfect for the job. I had the perfect resume to put together a room sized replica of the battle of Thermopylae. I’ve even got a little Greek in the genes for goodness sake.
As it turns out, being dumped just before you launch into a new venture is a terrible idea. I don’t think I had a choice either way. If I’d passed on the display I’d never get the chance to move up the ranks at the museum. And if I’d been able to help getting dumped I would have done something, at least something to make it less imminent.
So it happened that I was in a really weird headspace as I studied the layout of the coasts, both modern and other recreations of the same area. And as I started guiding my team I could have done with fewer phrases like, “as if their heart’s being ripped out,” and “It should totally run red.”
For weeks I showed up early and left late. And then I stayed up all night watching Friends reruns. They all about how important sleep is, but I felt fine. And the price of energy drinks had really come down.
So it’s possible that when the big reveal was given date, and the project thereby given a deadline, I kinda freaked out. Some thing about the concept of it all coming to an end, no matter how awesome that end might be had the ring of doomsday. The figurines got more vicious in their facial expressions. The melee became more brutal.
But it wasn’t coming to gather quick enough. The details wouldn’t coalesce. I couldn’t see the big picture anymore. The night before the opening of the exhibit the director of the museum and its curator came to check on things. They found me standing in the corner, hemmed in by artificial ocean staring at a group of figures that looked nearly identical. They seemed s familiar to me.
I couldn’t quite process what the upper management types were saying, but one of my crew, all still slaving away to get things done took care of it. There was just a chunk of rock, plaster really, left to paint when I sent everyone home. THat’s when the savage little group of Spartans in the corner started talking. And I knew that voice.
I knew those words too.
“I just can’t see this lasting, and I’m done wasting my time with a museum nerd who’d rather read books all the time.”
I don’t know when I went home, but I must have because I woke up to my phone losing its mind on the nightstand. I had nineteen voicemails, from everyone: my team, my supervisor, the department head, the director, my mom.
I didn’t listen to any of the messages, I just got dressed, made a half hearted attempt at hygiene and headed to the museum. They all had to be losing their minds because I was late for the opening. They probably let someone else cut the stupid little ribbon.
But the paparazzi at the doors of the museum tipped me off. This was big, and based on the way they were snapping pictures of my face, it was bad. Everyone eyed me as I swiped my badge and headed for the ancient history wing. The “exhibit closed” pylon in front of the door made my heart stop. The fuzzy recollections of the night before turned each step into a slow motion, surreal nightmare.
I opened the door to find the words, “Die ALEX DIE!” scrawled across the wall in red paint. I looked at the expressions on everyone’s faces, nodded in resignation, handed my badge to my supervisor, and left.
And the whole thing is really unfortunate because they have a great display of ancient Egyptian pieces coming in from London next month. There’s no restraining order or anything so technically if I wanted…
Anywho, hope you enjoyed. And I hope you’ll share your take on these prompts in the comments or link to where we can find you. Have a wonderful, rainy weekend (if that suits you like it does me).