Tuesday, September 11, 2007

~Buff by Diane~


Stan was never sure which was the more bothersome problem with time travel—the shaky, dizzy, nauseated feeling he experienced upon arrival, or the fact that despite his best efforts to focus his mind on his destination he sometimes did not end up where he planned to go.

The bigger problem with his misplaced arrivals was that he attempted to dress in period costume for wherever…or whenever…he hoped to land. Stan was a bit of a history buff, to put it mildly.

Abandoning his youthful desire to become a history professor one day, he followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in medicine instead. But his true passion, along with an unbelievable collection of historical artifacts his surgeon’s salary had helped him obtain, kept him well equipped for his travels around the world and through time.
Anyway, on this particular day, he knew he was not going to last long in 2005 New York City wearing a particularly ridiculous wig he had donned in the hopes of visiting the French Revolution.

***Anything with revolutionary wigs is alright in our book!***

6 comments:

W.B. Keckler said...

When I came to, I was on a subway. I wondered why my vision was blurry, and I tried to focus. It didn't work. Was I drugged? Concussed? But then I looked at my hands and they were perfectly in focus, as was the rest of me. It was just everybody ELSE who had gone blurry. And when I spoke my voice was clear, but when the young lady on the subway posing for some odd reason like a game show twinkie spoke back, her speech was garbled and fuzzed like a radio out of tune. I kept asking her to repeat herself, and finally I gleaned what it was she was buzzing at me. She was saying "Now you know how your poetry makes US feel!" I knew then I had been captured by an evil literary critic and that I was trapped in some sort of virtual reality critique prison. And then I heard someone laughing, a laugh large enough to dwarf a subway car. It was the noted literary critic, M____. The writing game had taken a decidedly nasty turn somewhere in the middle of the 21st century. "So this is how they finally handled the problem of literary glut," I despaired as I sank to the blurry metal floor.

Comrade Kevin said...

The out of focus photograph shows the subject awkwardly posed against one corner of the subway. It was taken immediately after the vendors hawking pencils and cheap wares plowed up the aisles, scouring the crowd for those naive souls unfortunate enough to make eye contact.

The subway is home to a million bizarre circumstances and general eccentricity, but in typical fashion, no one bats so much as an eyelash. The attitude is Don't even bother to acknowledge their presence. It just encourages them.

New Yorkers are remarkably blase towards such things. This is why no one even bothers to acknowledge the homeless man, obviously an un medicated schizophrenic, who shadowboxes against the far end of the car, mumbling to himself. His sole possessions are comprised of the clothes on his back and and two suspicious looking garbage bags, full to the brim with something.

Everyone keeps half an eye on him in case he gets out of control. A woman steps within a few paces of him and he scares her away with a low, guttural, Neanderthal snort.

Splotchy said...

I was feeling really bad, and regretted coming. The dizziness returned, problems with my vision, a sharp, constant pain in the front of my head that wouldn't go away.

She was smiling at me, and I thought how I normally ruin everything.

This time I would really make an effort not to disappoint her, and if she asked how I was feeling, I'd lie.

diane said...

Stan was never sure which was the more bothersome problem with time travel—the shaky, dizzy, nauseated feeling he experienced upon arrival, or the fact that despite his best efforts to focus his mind on his destination he sometimes did not end up where he planned to go.
The bigger problem with his misplaced arrivals was that he attempted to dress in period costume for wherever…or whenever…he hoped to land. Stan was a bit of a history buff, to put it mildly. Abandoning his youthful desire to become a history professor one day, he followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in medicine instead. But his true passion, along with an unbelievable collection of historical artifacts his surgeon’s salary had helped him obtain, kept him well equipped for his travels around the world and through time.
Anyway, on this particular day, he knew he was not going to last long in 2005 New York City wearing a particularly ridiculous wig he had donned in the hopes of visiting the French Revolution.

Sharon Hurlbut said...

Apparent

Judith could seem ghostly when she wanted to, which was most of the time. Blurring around the edges, fading in and out with each breath. Sometimes her parents thought she was more transparent than was seemly and threatened to send her to her room until she promised to be solid. Solidity was important to them. Like a golf club between the hands or two fingers of scotch at midday.

She never thought about why it was embarrassing to occupy the same chair as her father’s boss or whether the neighbors were whispering about her from the shadows of their living rooms. She could walk through walls as easily as her mother dealt the cards for her weekly bridge game. She could taste the whiskey still in the bottle. There were no secrets in Judith’s neighborhood, at least not until Laurent moved in next door.

The first time Judith met Laurent he looked right through her and she had to double-check that she was really there. When her fingers brushed against his, he squeezed her hand quickly before letting it drop but he still didn’t look at her. Laurent never looked at Judith. She learned to like that. Anonymity was appealing.

Harder to grasp was the difficulty Judith had in vanishing when her father gloated about Laurent’s denied application to the country club. There was something in the way he said the word skin that caused her to feel angry and substantial. She was so tangible that she slammed the door on her way out of the house. Laurent only laughed into an empty corner of his bedroom when she told him.

Soon, Judith could only be ghostly with Laurent. Her parents, her friends, even the strangers she passed on the street, saw her as clearly as though she’d always been apparent. They stared at her and Laurent together and turned away. Solid, Judith was more invisible than she had ever been. She twined her fingers with his and saw him smile, the edge of his eye catching a glimpse of the girl who knew how to dissolve secrets.

Clarke O'Gara said...

‘Pushed’ into it.

He came around briefly, half recognising the woman in front of him as the lady that tried to buy him a drink earlier.

She smiled her fat smile that he recalled from earlier in the night. He refused her drink because he already had one. He went to the toilet, came back and she was still there, looking after his drink. Then he remembered the next taste of his drink. The unmistakable sour-bitterness of Sex-E in the drink, he knew the taste it so well because he pushed the ‘rape-drug’ in Rio.

“Where are we going?” he asked. He didn’t recognise the surroundings.

”You’re cute.” She said in a childlike way. She was like an overgrown child in every aspect.

“Where did you get your Sex-E caps from?” He asked, he could feel consciousness drifting away, he tried to hang on.

”From Dwell. Why do you want some more?” she giggled cruelly.

Dwell was one of his low level pushers: “Shit.” He drifted away.