Two Heads Are Better Than One

29 April 2008

Instructions: Pick a writing partner and write two halves of a short story about three friends marooned on a desert island: Frank, and lovers Fred and Jenny. Writing perspective is in first person, and Fred is telling the story.

In the first part, bring the story elements to a crisis. The crisis reaches its climax when Fred finds out that Frank -- because of desperation, hunger, and growing insanity -- has killed and cooked his girlfriend Jenny for food. One of the writing partners will write the events leading to the crisis, e.g. how they were marooned on the island, why the food supply has run out, the tension growing among the three friends etc. It is your task to write a compelling starting point and run up to the climax.

In the second part, bring the story elements to a resolution. After Fred finds out about the grisly act committed by his friend toward Jenny, one of the writing partners will write the events leading to a resolution. E.g. how will Fred react? Will he seek revenge and kill Frank? Will he flee the island for fear of getting murdered and eaten next? Or will he join Frank and partake of the gruesome repast? Or do you have something more sinister in mind? It is your task to write an interesting ending for the story.

Here's what Jam Jovir (my writing partner) and I did:

(629 words)
By Jam Jovir

Our trip started smoothly — or so we thought … I remembered the last moment of that gruesome flight — the blinding white light and the deafening sonic boom that followed and then darkness …

It’s been three days since I was awakened by faint murmurs and Jenny’s painful slap on my face. It seems the three of us survived a dance with death just to wake up marooned in a small island which only God knows where.

Why did I drag myself and my Jenny into this mess? The picture of Macau and paradise just looks so vivid and promising that I did not hesitate to accept stupid Frank’s offer for free tickets and accommodation to Sinampeng. My God what have I done? If only I had cancelled this trip, we would have been better off at home with delicious food and a warm and cozy bed.

Food … that’s all there is to it. I can feel my body tremble just at the thought of it, but Frank ate up the last coconut two days ago. I cannot go fishing as the inlet is now lined up with hungry Tiger sharks spying for their next meal.

All that I can see on the horizon is just an endless sea and not even a speck of anything that can rescue us from this torture.

I think I’m hearing voices now, weird … they sound like voices off from a hotel commercial urging me to eat Frank to survive, but I think I’d rather die of hunger than to live with the thought that I ate my friend or my girlfriend just to survive.

Just then, I heard Jenny cursing Frank for eating up all the coconuts instead of sharing a ration for us to pull through until we get rescued, and Frank was aiming to hit my girl! Luckily, I managed to get in between the two and managed to jab Frank right in the face for him to realize what he has done.

I saw him walk away to the water’s edge and Jenny teary-eyed took a hard look at me and went away. I figured I’d doze off and erase the day’s tension away…

Is this a dream? Strange … I think I heard Jenny screamed or was it just the wind, but I can smell something cooking and man I woke up drooling.

I sat up to Frank’s calls for me to eat, but mindful as ever took it a notion to find Jenny and have her eat with us. I looked around the water’s edge but to no avail. I ran straight up to Frank and asked him but he only shrugged off and said that she’s maybe off swimming as the sharks have already left. He handed me a bowl which I think he got from the plane’s wreckage. I helped myself to that really wonderful stew, which tasted strangely but nevertheless wonderful. Somehow I can feel an eerie stillness in Frank which makes me uneasy. He took a few moments off to walk to and fro in my back and then he suddenly leaned to me and said in my ear, “Fred, I have a confession to make, I killed Jenny. She was a nuisance and I could not help my hunger so I thought it best to kill her for the two of us to survive. That delicious stew is her.”

I dropped my bowl, gave a deep sigh. With a sudden grasp, I grabbed Frank’s neck and muttered my last words, “You’ve really done it this time Frank, you’ll pay with your life! You’re wrong for only one of us will walk away and it is only me … me I tell you! Ha ha ha!”

Strange…I can feel cold tears falling.

The Hunger
(352 words)
By Monster Paperbag

I stood numb on the sand. I stared hard at Frank, probing his beautiful and tantalizing eyes for some trace of sense.

But he didn’t stare back for long but took a step back, turned around and collapsed slowly on the ground, facing the other way.

“Why?” I asked loudly, almost shouting. He made no reply and no movement. His back, deliciously tanned and bronzed and gracefully adorned with sensual and fully-developed trapezius and latissimus dorsi muscles, seemed to taunt me with a mysterious and seductive ambivalence.

“Why, Frank?” I shouted this time.

He turned his head sideways while his slender neck glinted as the sun slowly caressed its surface, reflecting fervent beads of sweat trickling down his smooth and elegant spine. His hair swayed with the ocean breeze, partially obscuring his delicate forehead where amorous strands of hair met and slapped his dainty brow.

“I was hungry,” he whispered, his voice trailing away. His lips danced when they moved and for a second, I caught a glimpse of his long and lovely tongue as he momentarily opened his mouth.

For a moment there, I wanted to refuse his explanation. I have lost the love of my life but the fleeting mourning gave in to fancy yearning. It has been so long since I’ve changed my old ways but Frank, that bastard Frank, that vile Frank, my buddy Frank, challenged all things that I have led myself to believe in.

I took one long stare at the murderer of my mate. This time he stood, faced towards me and stared back. “I need a dip,” he whispered as he took off everything.

It has been so long since I’ve changed my ways. But it was all coming back to me, now. It has been so long since the last time. I felt feverish as I continued to gaze at his bare torso, at his flawlessly defined six pack and navel, at his exposed thighs, at his curvy backside, at the way he carried his huge, and lusciously long … stride.

At that moment, I realized I was hungry, too. Forgive me, Jenny.


A Connection Is Made

18 April 2008

This week's exercise is about connecting an idea with another different idea. Below is a list of sentences.

1. It was inevitable.
2. I couldn't believe it.
3. It wasn't what I expected.
4. She came like she said she would.
5. He nodded and quietly walked away.
6. Does he suspect something?
7. She wanted to see me.
8. It's not over yet.
9. I'll never know.
10. Not really.

Instructions: Pick any two sentences from the list and connect them together by writing prose in between the two sentences (250-300 words). Here's what I did:

The End
(298 words)

It wasn’t what I expected.

The end came like a thief in the night. It bore through our mountain of trust and carved a valley of uncertainty amidst our seven-year-long union.

I couldn’t believe it. When I opened the discovered letters, my mind searched for substantiation even as it desperately issued denial at the merciless betrayal. Still, the words from the pages, they clawed at my mind: Does he suspect something? Are you sure you’ve kept my letters hidden from him? We’ve got to keep it secret from him for now. He mustn’t know.

The search for my lover ended in failure. Cold reality seeped in, haplessly aided by the sight of her empty closet and cabinet.

In subsequent nights, I howled to the winds at this tribulation. As the last speck of my dwindling hope trickled down the hourglass of nothingness, a new seed of optimism sprouted in my desert in the form of a message delivered frigidly to my lost world. She wanted to see me.

It’s not over yet. I gathered myself, mustered my remaining strength.

She came like she said she would. And so did her new consort. I stared daggers at him, murderous intent restrained only by confusion and what little sanity left. He nodded and quietly walked away.

I stared at her and the question leaped from my tongue even before I thought of it. It burst through — angry, demanding, pleading — “Why?”

She just stood — a ghost of my waking — silent, unmoving, unreal. “I’m sorry,” was all she said. And she, too, walked away.

For a moment, it seemed my heart had grasped everything. It seemed my heart knew what to do in order to survive. Not really.

Can I bear the sight of them grieving at my wake? I’ll never know.


Disabled Circumstances

11 April 2008

This week's exercise is to put oneself in the persona of either a deaf, deaf-mute, crippled or blind person, then write a poem or prose piece at least 200 words long. I did my piece a la Beastie Boys, here it is:

The Blind Barber of Junquera

Attention! Yo ladies, yo gents, come out!
The Barber of Junquera is in the house.
Come on now everybody, lend me your ears.
I got a nifty story that will live on for years.

My name is Kevin and you heard me right.
I run a pretty parlor that opens at night.
I’m good for nothing, except with scissors.
I’ll shave your bony head with nothing but razors.

Why open at night? You ask me now.
I got no time for questions, leave them for now.
Just sit on my chair and don’t you worry.
We got a lot of time, there’s no need to hurry.

I once had a customer you’ve never even heard of.
His curls, like a girl’s, he wanted to get rid of!
He told me to look. He’s out of his mind!
I would if I could but I’m friggin’ blind!

Well what could I do? It’s what he wanted!
This freakin' wicked dude’s wish must be granted.
So I told the guy, “Be bold and be brave.”
I did away with all his hair in one swift shave!

Next was a Mom, she’s 30 years old.
She wants her black hair to shimmy-shine like gold!
I said, “Say what?” “Like gold”, she replied,
“Shimmy-shine, anytime, a source of pride!”

Oh heaven forbid! I’m stuck in a dilemma.
“What color did you holler? You tell me now, Mama.”
The color of blonde was what she yearned.
But all I see is black, as far as I’m concerned.

I thought for a minute, maybe for three.
I looked up to the ceiling even though I can’t see.
And then — whapack! The perfect idea!
I dowsed the lady’s head with Agua Oxinada!

And now you’re here, a word to the wise.
You look pretty dandy to my useless eyes.
I’ll trim your hair, and your goatee!
I’ll even shave your eye brows, I’ll do it for free!

‘Coz here I am, the one and only!
The Barber of Junquera, that’s right you heard me!
Thanks y’all, for hearing my fable.
I’ll see you later, though that’s impossible!

Word! Break it down!

This piece was partly inspired by another Beastie Boys rip-off creative writing exercise in Paperbag Writes.


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