Tag Archives: life

Daily Warm-Ups – A Mouthful of Banana

This is the first in a lengthy series of creative writing pieces based on photographs of dead people. I have been known to frequent estate sales and purchase neglected photographs of the recently department. They’re very good mental stimulants for my writing, and I love the idea of a memory that was saved from the abyss, and interpreted without prejudice or any sense of context beyond its own borders.

I know that it’s weird, but to me there is something endearing about giving fresh life to an expired thought.

Bill and Carson

‘Bill,’ said Carson as he peeked his head around the door, ‘is now a good time to chat?’

Bill looked up from the piece of paper on his desk and turned to Carson, who was now standing in the open doorway. He’d been staring at the same sentence for the last two minutes, and the same piece of paper for the last ten. His eyes gave a clumsy flutter, as if his eyelashes were sweeping the text away. He nodded to the old man in the doorway, and smiled.

Carson walked through the office, taking in all of the jumbled piles of paper and scattered half-thoughts that decorated the surfaces. Bill carefully slipped the piece of paper into his drawer and snapped it shut. Carson gestured to the empty seat across from Bill’s seat. Bill smiled and shook his head.

‘Uh, okay. Bill, this uhm,’ started Carson, shuffling awkwardly from side to side as he looked at the piece of paper in his hand, ‘this uh, request, you made for changes in office policy. You obviously understand that this is grossly unacceptable right? I mean, you understand that right?’

Bill smiled and leant back in his chair. Carson looked to the door. He fumbled again with the paper. He moved towards the desk.

‘Listen, is everything okay at home Bill? I mean, I don’t mean to pry, but you can tell me. I’ve known you for, God, going on eleven years. This,’ he said, holding up the piece of paper in his hand, ‘this isn’t you Bill. You’re a good man. Is Marcy okay? And what about little Lewis? Is everything okay at home?’

Bill held his stare as he leant back further into his chair. He slowly put his hands behind his head, and raised his bare feet up and rested them on his desk between a pile of documents and coffee cup filled with rum. Carson let out an awkward cough. He ruffled the paper and looked back towards the door. Harold, the aging security guard peeked his head around. Below the desk Carson held out his hand to halt Harold from coming any further.

‘Bill,’ he said as he took a deep breath and puffed out his chest, ‘you’re my friend and all, we go back, but we’re gonna have to suspend you with immediate effect. Like, immediate effect. Do you understand?’

Bill’s smile came apart and his teeth appeared, glinting between his lips. He leant forward in his chair and opened his desk drawer. Next to the piece of paper was a banana left over from his lunch. He grabbed the banana, closed the drawer and reclined back again. He peeled it and took two large bites, devouring the entire fruit, leaving only the little heel and the flaccid yellow skin. He tossed the peel onto the desk between them.

‘Go fuck yourself Carson’ said Bill, with a mouthful of banana.

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Your Dash

What’s your dash going to tell people about you?
Your dash. What’ll it say?
I don’t get it.
On your tombstone. Your dash.
I still don’t know what you mean.

Okay, so your stone will read Jim Collins, 1980 eh…
Right, of course. I knew that. 1984 to….whenever.
See that dash in between the day you’re born and the day you die? That’s your dash.
Ah, okay.

So what?
What’s it going to say?
Nothing. It’s a dash.
No, you’re thinking too literally.
It’s a weird question, I don’t really know how to answer it.

I know what mine will say.
What will yours say?
“Here lies a man that cheated the hand that God gave him.”
I like that.
So what about yours?
I’m not sure. I’ve never thought much about death.

The mark of a man is how he treads that dash. Remember that.
I will.
Because it isn’t long. It’s only about this long.
Well, it’s measured in years, not distance.
You really think that?
I’m not sure.

Son, you live it like you’d be happy to die.
Like ‘each day is your last’, kind of thing?
Not quite. More like, ‘In death, your unfinished business will never be held against you.’
Okay, how about this? ‘John Collins. 1984 – whenever. Died happy.’
Yeah, I like that.
Thanks dad. So why are you telling me this?

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