Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Timed Writing: 8/1/2012



Time: 9 minutes
Prompt: "Small hands hold fast to thin leashes"
Source: Ocean City, Maryland by Kathe L. Palka

Out on the bubble deck, the usual crowd mills about under the star-speckled black. It's noon by the ship's clock, but the planeters still act as though it's night. They yawn or whisper or blink up their timestamps.

Only the children—those born aboard—exhibit no nocturnal behaviors in the presence of the perpetual night sky. They cavort on the synthetic lawn that grows from the metalic floor whenever it is desired by a majority of the promenaders. Small hands hold fast to thin leashes—each leash tethering counter-gravitational toys. Some are animals, some miniatures of the ship—or of other ships, real or imagined.

The game is to direct one's toy upward, all the way to the bubble top, and then employ the toy's probe tongue to dimple the bubble. Not a major impact—just enough to attract the maintenance bots. Then the driver of the toy yanks at the leash and hauls the offending toy far from the point of insult and disappears with it into the crowd, squealing with laughter.

The bots inspect the dimple and iron it flat. The children cannot actually damage the bubble and the dimples would eventually repair themselves, given the time, but the ship likes the children, so it indulges them. It facilitates their illusions of agency in a world kept too safe from within, and still too menaced from without. The ship plays the children's game.


(about my timed writing exercises)


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