Vowel Conductor Quilt

This is a story for a collaborative project in which three randomly generated words are given to writers. The writers have to create a 1,000 word story containing those three words in some way, and then artists will draw or paint a visual representation of that story.

This is a second edit so I re-posted it.


The clock stroked 47. The damn cogs were acting like cats sleeping on the ratchet wheel, refusing to move. The minutes wanted to tick on, kind of, but the fur was just so indulgent, it was better to just stay put.

Enjoy your relaxation time while you can, Clocky, ‘cause I’m gonna enjoy smashing your smug face in just as much in a minute.

Assuming it can get past the next minute at all, that is. The boy’s watch did admittedly look quite smug at – almost – ten to 2 in the afternoon, the shadows from outside the window casting a sort of thoughtfulness on its v-shaped grimace. Rapidly passing trees caused an occasional epileptic flicker on its crystalline surface as he stared at it, dejectedly.

The man of 35 years thought it would be a good idea to catch the bullet train specifically to counter his problem of impatience, but it only seems to have heightened his expectations and warped time against his will. There was only about 38 years left in him. It was hardly fair to waste half of it on a railway track.

He closed his eyes and hoped the change in perspective would solve things. It was quiet on the train, one thing to appreciate over the crappy 2-cart shit-mobiles presumably dragged along rhythmically by an aging horse on the track of rhythmic popcorn.

As the popcorn popped more and more frequently, the boy got out a bowl from his backpack and started to drag it along the tracks outside the window.

Mother always told me to keep my hands inside, but why miss an opportunity like this?

He thought about that for a moment, noting that windows in trains are not usually so low-set, and rarely do they have white wooden frames separating the glass into four segments like an old country house.

After scooping up a good amount of bloated corn, he shoved some – ready buttered – into his gob before snuggling down into his quilt, kittens on his lap, and pressing play. Not a fan of horror movies, this night was destined to be a predictable disappointment, but there was nothing else to do. He took a glance at the faded sunset outside the window and checked his now remorseful looking watch. For a moment, it looked like it was struggling to keep its protest against time going.

I knew I’d have the last laugh. Smashing your face doesn’t even seem worthwhile anymore.

He felt no pity for his companion. They both had a fruitful relationship of many years to look forward to. Then again, it doesn’t seem like Clocky was looking anywhere. 48 was just an idea on the back-burner to be brought back into focus when all other ideas had fallen through.

The movie started, regardless of the non-existence of time, and set a lovely opener up, destined to be ruined by atmospheric nonsense involving teenagers scaring each other for fun which later inevitably develops into various slicing and dicing of young flesh. But for now, there was an enjoyable landscape of meadows and deer, hills and clouds, with some rhythmic beats in slightly off-set 6/8 time signature. He could hear the notes clearly in their cacophonic overtones: C, A, G, E and D.

It was a Mildly Decent albeit dissonant sound of a string section tuning up, destined to become trashy with bass pedal ostinato and heavy accents later on. He bent over and picked up a handful of grass, just because. Something about human evolution seemed to drive him to pick grass from its peaceful slumber and scatter it all over the green city with torturous joy.

As he watched the wind blow them away from everything they held dear, he spotted another deer in the distance, galloping rhythmically away from him, as if knowing he could never catch up to it, but eager to prove its point anyway.

Why are you so competitive? What did I ever do to you, deer?

He chuckled at this pun before walking non-threateningly towards the rapidly shrinking hooved mirage, its cloven toes dancing seemingly in a 6/8 time signature.

Another look at Clocky showed it was tempted, but still hesitant. The second hand was probably the strongest influence on the cogs, doing its damndest to push on past the thirty second mark, but it was clearly something that would get done faster on double wages. I mean, it was New Year’s Eve.

He looked back at the window and saw his wife washing up, smiling back at him.

Thank God there’s no danger out in the country that could take her away from me.

Or Gods, for that matter. He sat there on a tree stump wondering if God was listening. If man was created in God’s image, then does that exclude women? Were women made as a side project? Did we men originally divide like bacteria before he started messing around with sexes?

These were all unanswered questions in the scientific community which he would one day strive to answer, but for now he would continue looking down wondrously at the earth from his heavenly cloud.

It was fascinating that what He created as humans were so vastly different from each other, but they all seemed to look and act exactly like Him.

I really outdid myself this time, He thought out loud, careful not to be overheard by the ants below.

He zapped a few deer with his Zeusian rod and took another look at Chronos.

8:48 p.m.!

It was a victorious day on the mountaintop, one to be celebrated with popcorn and music. Just two more minutes until the end, give or take human error.

His mood now transformed, the seconds seemed to fly by in a free-flowing, 6/8 rhythm. This was odd; ticks should be in 4/4. Ticks don’t swing their rhythms. To make things more concerning, each tick was accompanied by a choral wail. Dramatic vowels of the sopranos pierced through the thick orchestral layers.

The musical piece reminded him of something, some sense of duty. He stared ponderously at his rod, or baton, as it appeared to be. The more He focused, the darker His surroundings became, and the clearer the music became. He twisted his neck all the way around and looked back through the window. A worried looking audience was staring back at Him.

They’re dressed nice. I wonder what the occasion is.

He looked back at his baton, watched it shiver violently in three dimensions. Behind, where the darkness loomed, was the suspected orchestra, intently battering dissonant chords they had all practiced so much. They didn’t even need a conductor.

Zeus got up from his knees, took a final dejected look at Chronos’s smug face, and fainted. The music stopped.

The audience applauded.

He smiled.




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