Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lettuce for the People: Another Writing Exercise.

Here is yet another attempt at writing fiction via the now regularly performed writing exercises at my apartment on Wednesday nights. This week's prompt--if I can remember it correctly--was to include:
1) A main character who is hiding in a non-urban environment.
2) The words "florid," "mnemonic," and "marital."
3) A moment of panic that forces the main character to violence.
4) The mention of a green vegetable somewhere in the story.

Here then is what I was able to come up with in the 45 minute time limit we gave ourselves. I'm honestly not that pleased with it, but I'll post it anyway in an effort to show people that I'm at least trying. No more beer runs directly before we start writing--I had to ask Jeff, Eric, and Paul what the three words we had to include were at least four times throughout the exercise and I think they got a bit frustrated with me.

Lettuce for the People.

Perhaps it was George’s overwhelming sense of adventure, or his innate and well-known stupidity that caused him to pin himself further against the bathtub’s floor, but either way he immediately regretted his decision.

“How the fuck did bits of lettuce end up in our shower?” he queried to no one in particular, “You fill a bathtub with beer and ice and someone goes and tosses pieces of lettuce in the goddamn mix?”

George and his roommates, each a collection of single, fattening, and in George’s instance balding, men of 27 were hosting a party on caliber with one they’d easily thrown four to five times over the last six years since they initially moved in together during college. The house and its roommates were currently engaged in one of their favorite pastimes during such drunken events—hide and go seek. George, lacking the foresight of the other partygoers had delved head on into an icy-cold bathtub full of beer (and apparently lettuce) forgoing the more conventional confines of a messy closet or discreet basement nook.

“Seriously, how the hell did this lettuce end up in here,” George again said aloud despite the urgency for silence, “This is just fucking inconsiderate.”

George’s now soaked through denim pants and long-sleeved shirt, the “Canadian Tuxedo” as his friends referred to it as, was the last thing on his mind, which had selected the florid chunks of lettuce floating around his chest as most prevalent and pressing matter at hand. As the moments slipped drunkenly by George’s mind began to race: “Who the hell could have done this? What asshole brings lettuce to a party? Wait maybe they stole my head of lettuce. That’s even more beat-up. Stealing a man’s head of lettuce, only to shred it up and throw it in a bathtub of beer. I mean, Coors isn’t that bad. Taste of the Rockies. Jesus Christ. Lettuce? Fuck.”

As George continued to postulate how the green leafiness made its’ way to the water in the tub he could hear the footsteps of Susan beginning her search of the house for the hiding participants.

George and Susan had once dated for three years. From the time they entered school at the tender age of 18, they had begun dating—casually at first and finally accepting that they loved one another somewhere around finals during the fall semester of 1999. What eventually led to the demise of the relationship was George’s proposal of marital stability two years later. Susan, not one for settling down, and much to George’s own ignorance, had been cheating on him throughout most of the relationship—devoting her time mostly, and quite adamantly, to achieving a sexual encounter tally that rivaled the results of most complex math equations and other mnemonic devices.

“That bitch will never find me in the goddamn tub. Unless she’s needs another beer I guess,” George said floating five to six silver Coors cans to the other end of the tub, “No one will look in the tub . . . I’m the only one crazy enough to hide in some ice cold water. Fucking dumb bitch.”

Susan continued to creep about the four-bedroom house looking for the five to six people who had decided to join in the game, “This is idiotic. Every third party these guys have I end up doing the same thing—wandering around their house trying to find where the hell they’re hiding, and it’s always the same damn places. I know George is in the damn tub freezing his ass off, and he’s going to get a cold again in the middle of August.”

Stepping over trash and through various drunken party conversations about “how awesome Journey is” Susan made her way to the hallway bathroom’s door and sat down with her back against it. She could hear George talking to himself and sloshing around in the water from the hallway.

“This fucking lettuce. Christ Jesus.”
“George I know you’re in there. You always are.”
“What? Fuck you.”
“Jesus,” Susan sighed to herself.
“You know what Susan? Don’t even start with me; I heard that under your breath from in here. Shouldn’t you be fucking someone behind my back by now?”
“Wait, what?”
“I knew. I fucking knew the whole time.”
“You did? I’m . . . I’m sorry George.”
“Yeah well, you’re sorry and I’m a guy wearing nothing but denim laying in the middle of ice and beer, and evidently FUCKING LETTUCE in the bathtub.”
“Did you say lettuce?”
“Yeah I said lettuce Susan. Lettuce,” George stood up from the tub jarring the once placid tub water, beer, and rapidly melting ice cubes. Susan oblivious to this rested her head back against the door.

“You know what, I’m not even pissed at you Susan. I’m more pissed at whoever it was that brought this lettuce into my home only to toss it into the tub. That’s just strange and fucked up. You don’t do that.”
“I’m not listening to you George. Please just shut up.”
“Well you should be listening to me, there’s lettuce in my tub and I don’t know how it got here. It could be mine for all I know, and someone took it.”
“George you haven’t bought groceries since I’ve known you. It’s not yours.”
“So, so you are listening to me now huh? That’s just great,” George now had a foot out of the tub.
“Just shut up will you. I’m tired of all this shit. Your parties, your friends, your . . . whatever, your fucking lettuce,” Susan was getting quite audible to everyone in the house now.

George was completely out of the bathtub and dripping water everywhere. Stumbling towards the door he had nothing on his mind but reprimanding whoever had brought the head of lettuce into his home.

“You know what . . .” George’s voice trailed off to Susan as the door to the bathroom violently swung open striking her head causing several people in the hallway’s vicinity to become alarmed, “ . . . I hate vegetables . . . in . . . general. Ah hell.” he slowly finished his statement as he realized he had just knocked his ex-girlfriend out cold.

George stood over Susan’s slim figure in the hallway with a drunken and complacently feigned sense of alarm. Someone he did not know was already on the phone for an ambulance, and there was more lettuce yet to be discovered at the end of the hallway.



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