Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hey look, I wrote something!

I joined a writing group in an effort to get my ass into gear. This is my first response to our writing prompt. I've been sitting in a coffee shop for nearly 3 hours writing it. Enjoy!

Karl vs. Routine

The acne covered stockboy returned from the back room with as little enthusiasm as when he had left. He shook his greasy haired head from side to side and told the man standing before him, "Sorry, we don't have any." before walking away without offering further assistance.

Karl Jones' heart nearly stopped. They didn't have any? How could they not? That wasn't possible! Convinced that the first stockboy hadn't really looked sufficiently, he cornered a nearby manager and barked his original request at him. The manager sighed and retreated to the back room, where he made absolutely certain that the first stockboy was correct. Karl waited outside, tapping his foot impatiently. It was almost 10 AM, which meant he had to get home shortly to begin weeding his garden. He didn't have time to waste-- his entire day would be thrown off if he didn't get home in time.

"I'm sorry, sir." he offered once he returned to Karl, shaking his head as sympathetically as he could manage. "but we simply have no white paint."

NO WHITE PAINT? In all 80 years of his life, Karl could never imagine what would cause a store to run out of white paint. In all 80 years of his life, Karl had existed only between his sparkling white walls. They were clean and calming, ageless and comforting. And of course, like anything in an old house, his clean white walls often took on a more dingy look as the years progressed. Times like these called for a fresh coat of paint, which Karl applied slowly and lovingly, caressing those old familiar walls with a paint brush as one might touch a lover.

But now? Now what?

Karl wandered the store, trying to formulate a plan. His dingy walls simply could not wait another day for a coat of paint-- and driving to another town for paint was out of the question. Eventually he found himself again facing the aisles of different colored paints. He marveled for a moment at the many different hues, wondering how it was possible to have every color of the rainbow but not his beloved white. His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the loud whir of a paint mixer, and he turned to see a young girl expertly pouring and mixing a shade of robins egg blue for a young couple nearby.

She looked up from her paint and gave Karl a bright smile while pausing to brush a strand of hair from her face (her hair, like the paint, was also all colors of the rainbow. Karl would normally have disapproved, but something about the genuine quality of her smile melted him a bit inside, and he found himself smiling back.) before saying, "I'll be with you in just a minute, sir."

Karl waited until she was through, and then approached her. He tried to explain his situation the best he could, but couldn't help feeling a little bit foolish when she looked up at him, the same winning smile on her face, and suggested, "Why not use another color?"

Karl felt himself stammering for the first time since high school. He tried in vain to make her understand the hidden benefits of the crisp, clean whiteness that enveloped him... but she wasn't buying it. He wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead and asked her with pleading eyes if there were possibly two colors she could mix together that could make white.

She giggled at this, and again Karl was embarrassed. He just wanted WHITE. Why was this so difficult? She grabbed his hand and pulled him down an aisle. "Have you heard of Feng Shui?" she asked him, bringing him to a display of the prettiest colors in the store. He had not, and although he agreed with her that the colors were beautiful, he couldn't in a million years picture them covering his walls.

"Listen," she explained, pulling a pamphlet off of the display. "different colors can actually amplify different things in your life. Like... painting a wall green or brown in the East, South, or Southeast area of your house will increase the energy of health and vitality in your home. And light yellow creates stability."

Karl wrung his hands in distress. There was no way any of these colors were going to make an appearance, whether they changed his life or not! He was a simple man and he saw absolutely no reason to mess with a good thing. His walls were WHITE. They would stay white as long as they were his walls.

Suddenly, the girl let out a gasp and grabbed at a paint swatch. Excited, she held it up to Karl's face. "This one!" she shrieked with excitement. "According to this, this blue will bring you calmness and refreshment. And it matches your eyes!"

Her hand brushed his cheek as she held the swatch near him, and with the static of her touch, he realized then why it was he felt so drawn to her. Her eyes and her smile were almost exactly that of his late wife, whom had departed this world over ten years ago. His beloved wife, who had become just as much of a constant to him as his white walls, until one day she was no more. It had been quite a blow to him, and although he still missed her with all his heart, it had been her time to go, and he had eventually learned to continue his life without her.

His wife had been a bit like this salesgirl... trying to budge Karl from his daily repetitive, safe routine. One Sunday morning she had insisted that they go feed the mountain goats their breakfast, instead of lounging around with the paper and attending Sunday Mass. Other times she would wake him up at 5 in the morning just to huddle on the balcony under a blanket and watch the sunrise. She had teased him about his ways, but always gently encouraged things more exciting. Most of the time, Karl had rolled his eyes and dismissed her ideas-- sometimes they even annoyed him.

Now, he wanted nothing more then to have her by his side, suggesting they catch fireflies in a jar or drive to a random location on a tattered road map just to have a change of scenery.

With tears in his eyes, he purchased the blue paint that matched them. At home, as he painted over the 80 year old white walls, he hoped that his wife could see him now.

3 comments:

the Music of the Night said...

Love it!!

it sorta reminds me of Mr. Balck hehe..

Eponine said...

I based it on him!!!! :D :D :D


I LOVE that you caught that.

the Music of the Night said...

well.. aside from teh fact that you named him Karl... his character is similar in personality