Friday, May 27, 2005

Lab #2 - "I have no pen and I must write"

Write a piece of psi phi [0] (or skiffy [1], or speculative fiction if you will) that combines the following fragments to creative effect (this is the first time I'm doing this, so if you're frustrated by the options, let it show in your writing)

* a voice (presumably on the phone): hello ... can you connect me to room six one one ? ... (pause) six one one

* a long-overdue haircut

* Obscurity has its tale to tell. Like the figure on the studio-bed in the corner, out of range, smoking, watching and waiting. [2]

Deadline: 10th June (extended to 24th June as a consequence of temporal delays and a sag in comprehension)

[0] from the magazine by Bob Lichtman
[1] used a lot by Harlan Ellison (incidentally, today's his birthday)
[2] from a poem called FOCUS by adrienne rich

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Monday, May 02, 2005


"Now you remember what I've told you, don't you?"

[Voice raised] "YES! I've heard it, I've heard it!"

[Voice raised too] "You don't understand! Shouting at me won't make you right."
[Quieter, but with controlled effort] "See son - don't be foolish, that's all. There's a lot at stake here. I know you - you'll get too high up. You've always done silly things like that and..."

[Interrupting] "Yeah, I'm the one whose always doing stupid things. I got into trouble with King Minos, didn't I? I was the one who got us imprisoned here.

[Irritatedly] "Oh come on, what do you know about the affairs of the world! You're too young to unders..."

[Again interrupting] "I'm always too young, I don't know anything, I'm too immature - that's all you ever say! I'm surprised you're taking me with you - why don't you leave me to rot on this island?"

"This is not the time to quarrel. It is almost daybreak. It's the best time to make our leave. Don't be irksome, I beg of you. Prepare to leave."

And they do. He carefully, lovingly fastens the last of the feathers on to his son, checking not once or twice, but five times. He could feel the warmth of the sun on them, and he could feel freedom's flame beckoning.

"You're sure you won't fly too low or too high? Don't be rebellious as a son is wont to do. Please, for my sake."

Again irritatedly "Oh father, I'm sick of you talking to me as if I were a mere infant!"

[Whispers] "It is your nature, my son, I know it well - you see none but yourself, and are lost in your own image of exultation. It is perilous to be lost in your own self."

Seeing his child's impatience, he thought it was best to leave at the earliest.

"I'll lead the way - remember, stay close behind"

They leap off the cliff and flap their new wings, blinking like a fledgling would. Soon Daedalus was off. He keeps looking behind anxiously to chart his son's progress. The sun kept glinting in his eyes and he couldn't see clearly...

Some time later...

[Thinking to himself] "I can't believe this! I'm actually flying. I'm a bird! I'm soaring! Look at father flapping away, all in dread. Oh this is so joyous! I wish he'd soak in this warm air, its currents."

He flaps a little more and it takes him higher. He sways a little at first but slowly learns how to control his flight. He gets better every time.

"I can get a little higher - just to show that old man you don't have to be such a coward. I'm not going to get too close, just a little.

His enormous wings slap the air about and thrust his body upwards, rushing a surge of excitement through him. Then a little more. And then more. Unbeknownst to him, a little drop of molten wax falls off and plunges into the water way below him.

[Singing] "I am flying... to heavenly abodes... I'm dreaming... of silver roads..."

Which is when it happens.


Stunned by the impact, Icarus loses all balance and drops wildly. He lashes out in search of a hold, but comes up with air. He cries out to his father, but no words will come. He careens away and some of the feathers drop off.

Icarus stops falling. Someone has plucked him off and stopped his fall. He loses all concept of time and space...

Icarus blinks. His vision is a mix of sights. He is on ground, he can feel it. There is someone peering at him. He is all confused. He can see the little figure above him looks like a monkey. He closes his eyes trying to regain his obviously impaired eyesight.

A pause later, he opens his eyes again. It is a monkey.

[Shrill, boyish voice] "Sorry about that, elder brother. I didn't mean to bump into you that way."

Icarus blinks.

"I've just been a little silly, actually. You know that orange, round thing in the sky? I thought it was a fruit you see. I really like to eat and no one would give it to me. I asked for it so many times, no one would pay any heed to me. So I leapt up to get it. I didn't know I could fly so high! No one told me that either."

"So as I got closer, something hit me. I don't know - someone didn't think I should have it. It didn't look like a fruit when I got nearer - it was all hot. By the way, your wings are coming off."

"I think I don't know my own strength, don't you think? My father always tells my mother: 'Anjana, this child will hurt himself one day'. He is the Lord of the Air, but even he can't be around all the time to keep watch on me. But lucky I could catch you before you fell too much."

Icarus sits there and simply massages his head.

[Sorry for this very, very late submission guys, but I had to clear some mental buffers before being capable of doing any useful writing. Let me know what you think.]

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