Thursday, 3 February 2011

Untitled Narrative Exercise Pt. 2 (397)

Nothing intervened, so I continued yesterday's story.


A biting pain in his wrists. That’s how Joseph knew he was awake—and not dead. They were bound behind him. He was upright in a chair, and from the smell of burlap he knew they had hooded him. He heard a scrape of a metal chair across concrete.

“Where is your friend?”

The voice came from the chair he’d heard. The sound of a file being dropped on a table. Pages turning.

“I know you’re awake. Please answer the question.”

Joseph tried to speak, but his throat was rusted shut.

“What’s that?”

“Water.” Joseph whisper-croaked.

“Water will be provided if you can satisfactorily answer my questions.”

Joseph swallowed to try and lubricate his throat. It didn’t work.

“Where is your friend?”

He started to answer, but his breath hitched in his chest. Tears stung his eyes. He swallowed again. “You killed him.”

Some papers shuffled.

“You fled with a man last night. Roger Weyland. We recovered you an hour after your departure. Where is Roger?

“His name was Roger?”

“Where is he?”

“He’s dead too.”

“Where is he?”

It was too much. “Why are you doing this?”

“Where is he?”

“I don’t understand what’s happening. We made a breakthrough-“

“Tell me where Roger is.”

“-in the lab. That’s a good thing-”

“Tell me where he is!”

The voice’s chair scraped the floor.

“-so why have we been brought here?”

With the hood on, Joseph was utterly unprepared for the blow to his temple. There was a flash behind his eyes like a strobe going off. Then he hit the concrete on his side, still bound to the chair. The voice was suddenly close to his ear.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. If you’ll answer my questions, we’ll draw this interview to a conclusion.”

His left side screamed from the uncushioned fall. His ears were ringing. There was blood in his mouth. He’d bit his tongue.

“Where is Roger Weyland?”

Joseph whispered, “he..he fell…into a ravine…off a cliff. We were running and it was dark and he…fell. Please may I have some water?”

The voice stood up. “We will check the ravine. If we find him, your situation will improve.” The implied threat—if they did not find him—hung in the air.

Joseph heard the file gathered off the desk. A door opened. Footsteps. The door closed. He was alone.

He started to cry.


In many ways I feel like Joseph lying on my side, tied to that chair with the hood on. I need your feedback. Tell me if it sucks. And if it does, tell me why.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A Really Bad Attempt at a Narrative Exercise (464)

It was bound to happen. I knew there would be a day I’d be loathe to post what I wrote. I’ve half-consciously been putting off writing anything narrative. I just didn’t feel “ready.” But without anything else to bs about, I figured it was time. So I cobbled together an exercise for myself.

I set the clock for an hour, and used these four websites to generate my elements. (random article): Fort Klamath, Oregon (an unincorporated community in the middle of nowhere) (last quote on the first page) “The important thing is not to stop questioning” –Albert Einstein Revolt Joseph

Here’s what came out in the hour:

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

The sweat and blood from their flight from the compound made his hands slick. Joseph gripped the man’s hands as best he could, but he could feel the man’s fingers sliding out of his. His heart pounded and he had a stitch in his side, but he redoubled his efforts to keep the man from falling.

“Please…You have to help...I can’t hold on.”

“Everything they’ve told us is lies.”

In the distance, Joseph could hear the dogs.

“They’re coming! We’ve got to…”

One hand popped free.

Joseph begged, “Please. Try to pull yourself up. I can’t…”

“Look at me!”

Joseph stopped struggling and met the man’s burning gaze.

“If you stop. They win.”

Joseph stared helplessly back. The man seemed satisfied.

”Now run.” The man let go. He slipped without a sigh into the inky chasm.

One heartbeat. Five. Dogs barking.

Joseph lurched to his feet and stumbled blindly through the brambles. He tried to run in a straight line, keeping the gorge to his left, but without any light he soon lost all sense of direction. He hoped each step wouldn’t end in space.

This wasn’t happening. It couldn’t be. Not twenty-four hours had passed since they’d made the breakthrough in the lab. Years of research, countless failed tests. Then suddenly…They’d barely gotten the cork out of the champagne when the helicopter arrived and whisked them away to a secure location to “replicate the process and begin implementing a vaccine protocol.” Fort Klamath was a secure facility, but not the kind with a lab.

His legs were quivering and the stitch had grown a twin on the other side. But still Joseph ran. He thought the sound of the dogs might be receding when he slammed headlong into a large, metal something, knocking him flat. Whatever it was gonged with his impact. His head swam and as he struggled to clear it, he thought he might vomit. Somewhere close by a hatch opened.

“It’s him.”

He felt the pinch of the electrode and the first metallic wave of electricity before everything went black.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

428 Words On Network TV over at

Tuesdays have become Jumppunched days for me. Head over there to read my open letter to Network Executives on the state of Network Television.