Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Deal

Here is a short short story based on this sketch.


Simon, from Secret Simon, made this sketch. He does amazing things with a stylus and a digital touchpad. All of his sketches are digital and they are created by layering. On his blog he posts the progression of each sketch from start to finish. I found this sketch, entitled "The Deal," particularly interesting and the following story was inspired by it.

-The Deal-

The last dish had been cleaned and put away in its proper place and she had faced all of her bills from her tips that night and tucked them neatly into her wallet. Since earlier in the afternoon a storm had been churning the atmosphere outside of the diner. Illustrations of blue plate specials painted on the large glass windows had bowed and warped all day. Percussive tinks and pings of the rain and intermittent hail on the aluminum exterior had made conversation in the diner almost impossible for patrons to hear anything else. She never noticed. The orders uttered from the mouths of the customers sounded the same as they did on any other day. Work was her life, life was her work. Being cognizant of any kind of world outside of that was a luxury she simply could not afford.

Without a thought given to the weather she wrapped herself in a coat and grabbed her umbrella and set outside on her walk home. The glistening road was somewhat deserted save for the programmed activity of the traffic lights and the last bus before morning barreling down the road. Some of the lights in the apartments overhead were on but shades were drawn in an attempt to further shield the occupants from the fury of elements happening outside. It made no difference to her.

The rain beat down hard on her umbrella and the wind threatened to steal it from her every so often. Again she paid no mind to the physical world and was operating on a sub-conscious level, making her way through life on auto-pilot. The world around her had been reduced to a series of stimuli that resulted in her producing the appropriate reaction. Her mind had been swallowed up by regret, doubt, worry, and a host of other distractions. A consciousness co-opted by internal strife, reduced to only producing reflexes when probed.

The wind blew again and her grip tightened but nature demanded her attention this time. Her umbrella was ripped from her hand and floated some distance ahead of her. Although the wind was violent the umbrella seemed to be able to navigate the gust with ease and landed right side up. Handle on the ground, rim of the nylon touching the sidewalk, the umbrella tilted at an angle so as to point at the huddled figure leaning against the building.

She couldn't help but notice the weather now that she was defenseless. As she drew nearer to what she had lost she noticed that the figure leaning against the building was a thin boy. His hair was long and pushed to one side of his face, matted from the rain. She drew nearer and was about to recover her umbrella when he reached for it and took it for himself.

Wet and annoyed she approached the young man and spoke simply, "Thats my umbrella."

He shrugged and put it over his head enjoying the respite from the rain beating on his head.

"I'd like it back please. I need to get home." she said with impertinence not even realizing that she was fortunate enough to have a home to go to on a night like this.

The boy stood and for the first time that evening she had wished there was someone else on the street. He was considerably taller than she was but lanky. The rain had caused the suit he was wearing to fuse to his body, revealing his wiry frame. He lowered the umbrella is an egalitarian gesture before embarking on his proposition.

"Lets make a deal," he said. "Your umbrella for this."

To her surprise he pulled a cube from inside his suit coat. She thought for a moment how she could have not noticed it when he stood up. It seemed almost impossible that something so solid and angular could be concealed given the condition of his attire. Jarring herself from temporary amazement she came to her senses.

"I don't want to make a deal with you. I just want my umb-"

She was interrupted by the boy lurching towards her. With rapidity and grace he placed his right foot in front of the other, bent his body so as to present himself to royalty, and his right arm outstretched with the cube offered to her. His head faced the ground so all she could see was wet hair pointing towards the ground and rain running off it onto his sleeve. He jerked his head up. She had no choice but to look him directly in the eye as he said slowly and deliberately, "You haven't even looked at it."

The sound of the rain had faded and she had forgotten about her soaked clothing. She lowered her head to look down at the cube in his hand. With her eyes fixed on it the top of the cube was illuminated with shaft of light. She couldn't tell if the light was coming from the cube itself or from somewhere above. The glow was so beautiful to her that it didn't matter. Then smoke, similar to the smoke that trailed from the cigarettes of patrons at the diner, began to lift into the shaft of light. Wind was blowing up from the cube and the boy's hair danced. Each strand moved in unison with the other following the current of the violent tempest coming from below. The smoke, surrounded by light, was ignorant of any disturbance as it calmly wafted its way upward.

The boy leaned across the shaft of light and whispered into the woman's ear. Her eyes widened, her brow twitched. She tried to form words in response to what the boy was telling her but her mouth was agape in awe. The result was some breathy vocalizations accompanied by the corners of her mouth moving. Her attempt at speech seemed good enough for him. He drew back. Through wisps of dark hair his gaze was fixed on the woman and he continued to display the cube in the palm of his right hand.

"I knew we would reach an agreement," he said.

She nodded her head in silence and knelt on the ground to bring her face closer to the cube. The light flickered in the whites of her eyes and the smoke was reflected in the dark brown of her iris and the endless black of her pupils. The wind was lifting her up and all she could think about was the smoke and the light, how good it made her feel. The light had not stopped perking her curiosity and she wanted to know where it began and where it ended. She moved closer toward it. With each forward advance she found herself becoming as calm and as elegant as the smoke itself.

The cube had become dark and the boy tucked it into his suit with one swift motion. The street was still deserted and some of the lights in the windows from the apartments above had gone out. Rain was falling harder than when the boy had met the woman. It covered the asphalt on the street in sheets. The reflections of the traffic lights on the black were broken into mosaics of red green and yellow by the fat drops. The boy walked down the sidewalk away from where he had showed the woman the cube. He was soaking wet but was certain he'd eventually dry off now that he had an umbrella.


Blogger jjd said...

hmm.. so the boy took the umbrella and didn't give her the box!! shafted!

I loved it. It's so interesting to get a piece of someone's imagination written down, inspired by a sketch of art. I especially liked your descriptive sentences about the rain. Makes me want a rainstorm here.

Oh, and that sketch is some pretty cool work too!

10:36 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

that was a great. and the artwork is wonderful

10:51 AM  
Blogger Signalite said...

Creativity begets creativity. I was wondering when someone would catch the bug. Good stuff, sir!

5:33 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

I liked, left me wanting more...

8:13 AM  
Blogger tornwordo said...

Interesting story and sketch. Nice attention to detail.

8:43 AM  

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