Tobias sat down, put his cup of cinnamon coffee beside the keyboard and stretched out his fingers. He moved his neck from side to side making a cracking sound and spoke to himself, but only in his own head.
“Alright, here we go!”
The first couple of sentences were clunky, it took him a while to get into the rhythm. Very much like the first couple of steps of jogging. Not that he ever jogged, whom is he fooling? But the analogy could stay. For now. Maybe he’ll come back to it, like a revisit of- No. No more analogies. On with the story. A setting and a problem. What did he want to say? Ah, he remembered. His girlfriend told him about a tourist guide who literally got into a fist fight with another tourist guide. Oh, but he didn’t like that last sentence. Why didn’t he just write ‘a story about two tourist guides who fought’? Well, it was necessary to part the two since one of them initiated the fight, that’s why.
Alright, so he had a point he wanted to make, but he couldn’t just deliver the point right away of course. He had to make it the crescendo, the Jimmy Page guitar solo, the drum solo of- he was doing it again. Analogy town called and wants its musical references back. He changed his background music from Led Zeppelin to… classical? No. Jazz? No not jazz. French music. Yes! Perfect. Where was he? Oh yes, the point at the crescendo. Hopefully the point was strong enough. Could he incorporate a point about gender? If someone would guess the gender of the two tourist guides they would be correct, yet he hadn’t mentioned it. Is that interesting? Maybe, but he just did a gender story.
The guides came from France. Did it matter? Where did the line go? When was it stereotyping and when was it fact? After all, it was second-hand information. He wasn’t the one who witnessed it. Neither did he deal with tourists from different nations on a regular basis. Also, was a tourist a good representative of a nation’s citizens? Of course not. Best to leave the country out of it.
Alright, so the setting. Let’s make it close to the real setting, but not the actual setting. A tight place, a room full of tourists. A castle. Also let’s make something up, an ancient artefact, a relic from the Sweden’s conversion to Christianity. Both the pagan priests and the church claimed rights over the same relic. Yes. Tourists would flock such a thing of strong historic and symbolic value. A pagan made the golden relic, a scepter, and gave it to the king. The king was later baptized claiming the scepter for the Christian church. Obviously the two guides represent the same fight over the right of the relic. Then the ownership, now the right to see it. Humans took few steps, in fact no steps, since the first turn of the millennia. Clearly the main character is a woman, an outside-looking-in-type of character. What did she struggle with? Confidence. Because confidence could be the single most important quality for her. Why did she lack confidence? Because… Something simple. From being slightly overweight. 500 words already… No. Stop looking at the word count.
Focus! Or did he lose interest that quickly? The point. Focus should be on making the point, and then he can scrap the story.
Stones from the ninth century surrounded the treasury. Prisoners of war built the treasury. They took the stones from what was now a nearby abysm, after completing the castle, the king threw them down the pit. Sweden’s system of minimum wage was far away.
No erase that. That’s not even funny. Just stupid.
Okay, a fake brief story about the castle and then the friction. Tourists didn’t stay still, but touched priceless artefacts, wandered off and spoke during the presentation. She struggled. In fact she lost the tourists’ attention, she lost them, and the two guides noticed. One of them took over the tour and freestyled, loudly and inaccurately. The other hushed him.
Yes. The contrast between order and improvisation, rules and principles.
He told the other to shut up and to listen to her, she still tried her best to give a lecture on the castle, but he made too much noise. But when the other sided with her, the first one felt cornered. The friction intensified.
Curse words. Rapid dialogue. The heat, yes, even the heat became a problem. The reader would side with the girl, of course they would, so he wanted to make the tourist guide of order less likeable.
He told the improviser; ‘Hey fatty! Get out of the way, you pudgy man.’ Like obesity had anything to do with it. Like a few Big Macs forced him to be more in the way, because…those were simply the rules.
Alright, the girl with a lack of confidence, from being slightly overweight, tried to intervene. This was her moment. She had to prove to them, to her mother… no not her mother that’s too much, prove to herself most importantly, that she could handle the situation. A big breath of air. Clenched fists. Lungs filled almost to pain. A tingle in the out-most corner of her body. Control and authority. With a strongly supported voice: “DO NOT-”
“Shut up! You’re the fattest of all!”
A tourist. Not even one of the guides, but a tourist. All of them heard it, saw it. They waited for a response. Come on. Say something. It was her fault! That’s for damn sure. She lost the room and now she began to cry. Get a hold of yourself, said one of the guides, it doesn’t matter which one. Perspiration from her forehead. A tourist tapped on the glass of the relic. Another one yawned. The other guide shook his head at her. She couldn’t stay. Not now. Why was she so weak? They knew it from the moment they saw her. She knew it. But it still hurt so much when they tore her apart!
She ran out. To the abysm.
Too much? He thought he camouflaged the point nicely in there. In fact, few would even consider that he made several political points, not just one. They would focus on the ending and the shallowness of the guides. They wouldn’t go back and reread the story to check, not unless he specifically raised the subject early on in the story and reminded the reader in the end. But then of course, the story would be about how he camouflaged the point or maybe even which of the points he considered to be The Point. Shallowness? Gender? Creative rights? Power? All of them, probably. What would the story be about? A literal interpretation would say; her suicide and what drove her to commit it. A symbolic would say; the representation of two powers, whether religion or two guides, fighting over control of the scepter or of the main character, both the scepter and the girl are the tools for being in control. She was also a prisoner of war, working in the treasury, before the king threw her down into the abysm.
A blinking marker at 1200 words.
Scrap or send before I start to dislike it even more? Send.