Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday Prompt

The setting: a library.

An object: a journal.


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  2. Rudy walked into the library and walked over to a carrel. He dropped his book bag on the chair and glanced around the room. Considering midterms were right around the corner, the library was oddly empty, save for a few diligent students who were busily making notes and reading thick textbooks.

    Rudy would have preferred to study in his dorm room, but his roommate Seth, along with Seth’s girlfriend Bootsie, had locked him out, studying a course in their own private anatomy, much to Rudy’s chagrin.

    Rudy wasn’t sure he’d be able to concentrate in the library: it was too quiet. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any other place to go.

    To change the channel playing in his head from the rather annoying one of Seth and Bootsie doing it to something more pleasant and soothing, he tried to focus on Samara.

    Ah, Samara! Beautiful Samara. The love of Rudy’s life.

    She said she was planning to come up to visit him the weekend after next (after midterms were finished.) At last, he’d get the rare and wonderful opportunity to boot (so to speak) Bootsie and Seth from the room, which was, at the moment, Rudy’s happy place - along with visions of Samara under the covers (with him, of course.)

    While drawing on mental images of a romantic weekend with Samara, Rudy absently wandered up and down a few aisles, until he snapped back into his cold awareness reality, and there discovered he was in a particularly old section of the library. Mildly curious, he looked at the spines of the fat, dusty books on a shelf which was at eye level. The leather on all of them was cracked and in various stages of disintegration. Rudy could barely even make out some of the titles. But, stuck in between two ancient tomes was a slim volume. Rudy slid it out from the shelf.

    There was no title or any other words on the spine or cover. Just weathered blackish-brown leather. Rudy carefully opened the cover. The liner inside the cover was the old sort where paper was laid on a tray of swirled ink over top of water. Rudy turned to the first page. In faded blue ink in an elaborate handwriting, it said,

    Rudolph Alexander Cadwallader Antrim

    Rudy turned the page. As he began to read the first words on the page, a sepia toned photograph fell from the book to the floor. Rudy stooped to pick up the picture and as he stood back up he starred at it dumbfounded. It was a portrait of a young woman in Edwardian costume, seated in a chair by a table with heavy draperies falling behind her. Her head was tilted slightly to the side and a coquettish smile played on her lips.

    After starring for a few more minutes at the strange picture, Rudy turned it over. On the back, one word was written in the same hand as that which appeared in the journal:


  3. Hi guys! I missed you all. I just got back from a two-week vacation on Sunday night.

    Christi - I hope everything's okay - and we'll miss you hugely.

    Congrats Deb - and welcome to the funhouse!

  4. Hey girl, welcome back! Love this story! :D
    We missed you. I think we're all suffering from summer laziness so it's been quiet here.
    I'm off to work now so I'll post later tonight!!

  5. That was great Lightverse! Welcome back. I have an idea for this prompt, so I might put something up later.

  6. Can't wait to read your posts, Casey and Deb - and anyone else!!!

    Thanks for the nice words!


  7. I’ve walked into this library every day for the last eighty-four days (minus the twelve Sundays they’ve been closed), and though I’ve had my share of nerve-wrecking moments, today is the wedding day of visits—a once-in-a-lifetime.

    Xander Larson, my crush of the last two years, will be here in five minute to continue his nerdtastic resolution to read the entire sci-fi/fantasy section of the library before the year is out.

    What’s so special about today, day eighty-four? Today he reaches the spot my name would be were I an author. And today I will be. I’ve written the most amazing story that stars him and me (names changed for the sake of surprise) and our love story. He won’t be able to resist reading it, and by the time he turns the very last page and finds my name and the dedication to him, I have no doubt he’ll be my own personal fanboy.

    When I reach the shelf, I quickly slide the journal into place. I double check that it’s next to the book he last finished and then dart around the corner to wait.

    Xander arrives right on time. I break out in a hot sweat as he pulls his customary step stool over to the shelf and slides the journal from its newly minted position. Will this really be the day I’ll earn his eternal love? Is my plan actually working?

    I watch uncomfortably as he examines the leather journal for a title and author that aren’t there. Finally, with an eyebrow lift, he opens it. The first moment of truth presents: will he dismiss it because it’s hand written or will he be intrigued?

    Intrigued! He reads in rapt silence, and I know my plan has worked. Two years of waiting and he’ll finally be mine. Starting tomorrow, we’ll enter the library hand and hand and read nerdtastically together, rather than apart.

    Or so I hoped, until he mumbles, “Whoever shelved this knew just where it belonged—the fantasy section.” And then he gets up, walks over to a box labeled LOST AND FOUND, and chucks it in.

  8. Casey - brilliant. Nerdtastically???!!! Loved it!

    But how (sniff) sad, too.


  9. Thanks Lightverse! It is sad. Maybe I'll bring these two back with a different story for another prompt and give them the narrator her happily ever after - lol!

  10. It's not going to be a fun night. My boss hands me this ridiculous article request for like fifty-three pages of some antique German journal: Zeitschrift fur Biologie 1865. I mean, how do I even know if the citation's correct? I can't read German. I know my supervisor can't, even though he tries to act hip like he can.

    And god help me if I have to copy the whole thing and it turns out they wanted the 1867 zeitschrift pages 3285-3338. We're not even supposed to copy articles over fifty pages, but Supe says (yes, he makes us call him that), Supe says that it's a slow night and there's nothing else for me to do and get of MySpace and Twitter. I mean, who does he think he is?

    It's always so cold in the Bound Journals. Jeez. Let's see. Here's the Z's. Zeitschrift fur A, Zeitschrift fur An, Zeitschrift fur B, 1863, 1864, 1866. Where is it? There's a space on the shelf. Is that someone at the end of the shelving? It looks like he has a book, a heavy book in his hands.

    Ja. Zis is one you want, no? His face is covered by the shadow of his hat and he smells like autumn leaves. I look at the sheet in my hand. Die Pseudowissenschaft der Therianthropy. If only I knew German.

  11. So good lighty. Welcome back, we've missed you!

    And Casey, I can tell Xander that's it's a never ending battle. They keep updating the stacks with new acquisitions and if you go back, you'll never finish and if you keep trucking, you'll have to start over! Poor guy. Poor girl. Good story!

  12. Love your story, B!

    I imagine it would be a never-ending battle! Between books coming in and out and new acquisitions. Yeah, no thanks!

  13. Ooookay, these stories are just too good!

    Casey, nerdtastic LOL! Very clever story!!

    B., does this smack of autobiography? Yea, if only I knew German too!

  14. NO!

    They don't have to call me Supe and I can actually puzzle out a smattering of German, but mainly from cognates and repetition (like Zeitschrift = journal or magazine).

    For easy free and online translations, you can go to Google's translation page or babelfish. Both are good. I prefer babelfish since it used to be part of altavista and it's a reference to Douglas Adams.

  15. A sharp crack of lightening split the sky like an egg, allowing fat drops of wet to waterfall down. Even though the temperature was still in the 80's I ran for the library, not wanting to get soaked. Hot was one thing. Hot and steamy was not my idea of comfortable.

    Besides, I loved this library. It was the only church I belonged to. That's why I volunteered three times a week despite the head librarian, Ms. Cranston.

    The quiet coolness inside was rudely interrupted by the slow-building rumble of thunder. Rip Van Winkle came to mind as it reached crescendo.
    I looked around to see that it was mostly deserted despite the thunderstorm.

    Great. That meant I'd be alone with Ms. Cranky.
    You'd think these were her personal books she was handing out, the way she snarked at everyone. I wish I knew what had crawled up her behind and died making her such a sourpuss.

    "Lindsay, it's about time you showed up," Ms. Cranky-doodle observed above another crack of lightening.

    "I'm on time Ms. Crank - er, Cranston," I said.

    "Yes, well I want you to clean out the back room this afternoon," she dismissed me with a flap of her arm.

    I rolled my eyes and slunk to the back. She'd apparently been busy here already as there were like five million boxes crammed in the stuffy room. What the heck was I supposed to do with all this?

    "Organize those old journals into categories", she called back, as if having read my mind.

    "Categories? Boring, more boring, most boring?", I muttered under my breath.

    "My nephew will be here any minute to help you," she barked out.

    Neph-who?? Oh good god! Could I not be spared the agony of yet another Cranston?

    Just then an ear-splitting display of thunder and lightening assaulted the sky, followed by complete silence and darkness. The electricity had run for cover. Great, no more air-conditioning.

    I sat there for five minutes, looking out of the room, blinking my eyes as if that would help. Finally I saw a spot of light moving toward me. A flashlight. The old bat was going to make me work by flashlight!

    As the mini spotlight approached I realized that it was not attached to Ms. Cranston. Instead, there was someone tall and male on the other end. Oh right, the old bat's nephew.

    "Hi there," a deep voice melted over me. He held the flashlight over his head to illuminate himself for me. "I'm Jared."

    Even in the uneven light I could see that this boy was a god. A god in my church of books. Oh goody. I guess I could suffer hot and steamy this afternoon.

  16. B (Supe) - loved your story! The description that he smelled of Autumn leaves was wonderful.

    I too do not (alas!) speak any German. A little French and a soup├žon of Spanish, Japanese and Hebrew, yes (along with assorted swear words from other languages) but that's about it.

    Deb - I loved your Church of Books. Terrific story. Old Lady Cranky (errrr, Cranston) was a super character!

  17. Deb!! That was fantastic!

    Love the Church of Books and, well, your God too, of course. Putting up with Ms. Cranky is even more bearable for the narrator now, eh?