Friday, May 25, 2012

Timed Writing: 5/25/2012


Time: 10 minutes
Prompt: "... do you suppose that's my hand?"
Source: 5 x 3 x 4 + 6 x 6 + 6 = 102 = The Water Method Man by John Irving

"Do you suppose that's my hand?" I asked the docent who was leading the tour.

Many tours of the recycling plant were given every week, but from the looks exchanged by the receptionists when I had requested one the day before, I understood that recently re-bodied persons did not visit the facility often.

There were fifteen in the group -- several children and teens, and a few adults, all of whom, I guessed, were still in their original bodies. We stood facing a wall of glass, looking down into a concrete-floored workspace dominated by a several-hundred-gallon open-topped vat. Brown liquid swirled in the vat, pushed round and round by unseen blades rotating deep in the corrosive brine. Occasionally a solid object would rise to the top. Mostly they were not recognizable, but sometimes there would be a foot, largely intact, or a lightly eroded liver or some tangles of small intestine. The heads were processed elsewhere, so as to protect the privacy of the re-bodied -- some people were frightfully sensitive about such things.

"I really do believe that it is mine," I said after the docent had pointedly failed to acknowledge my query. "Look there!" I prodded the elbow of the pimpled teen beside me. "The tan-line from my wedding ring still shows -- this ring, here, that I'm wearing now! And those scars running across all four fingers -- I got those working in the assembly plant!"

The dear old appendage sank into the brown, sucked down by a fluke of the currents. The youth to whom I'd spoken moved away from me and struck up a conversation with his peers. They were all careful not to look my way -- not to encourage the old man in the new body. I didn't mind though. I walked right over to them. Put my shiny, new face square into their precious personal spaces. I cornered them.

"Hey kids! Did you all see that? It was my hand!" I shouted with glee. "You all think it'll never happen to you, I know. You think that by the time you're thirty, something better will have come along -- that you won't have to jump bodies. I thought the same thing, when I was your age. But really, it's not so bad." A couple of them smiled -- sort of. And then they edged away, keeping an eye on me all the while.

"Hmmm... yes," the docent said. He refused to meet my eye. I was pretty sure that he'd been re-bodied at least once, but he struck me as the uptight sort who wouldn't want to talk about it. "I think we've seen all that might be of interest here," he said. Nobody spoke, but they all seemed eager to follow him through the open door, leaving me to take up the rear.


(about my timed writing exercises)


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