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17 September 2008 @ 12:56 pm
"Eternal"  
Oh-so very uplifting brigits_flame entry this time around, kids.  Thanks to all the lovely community folks who voted for mine last time; you guys are awesome! :)

Much appreciation for brainstorming help and beautiful beta work are, as always, owed to the one and only eltea. :3

And now for something completely different.

I’ll bet your job sucks.

I’ll bet you hate it sometimes, hate it so much you just want to damn it straight to hell and be done with it.

I sympathize.  Though my job wouldn’t take too well to the damning bit.

If it’s any consolation, I’ve been doing mine twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, midnight to midnight, since pretty much the dawn of time.

None of this nine-to-five business.  God.

On second thought, let’s not go into that.

It’s funny, how people perceive death.  It’s my personal theory—and perhaps it is a little vain; but honestly, what’s deadlier than vanity?—that everyone has a slightly different conception of it.  Of me.  I like that idea.  I like it more every time I think about it, which is really saying something after a while.

But there are a couple things we ought to clear up, here, wouldn’t you say?

First of all, I’m not the shadow that darts just out of view when you glance in the bathroom mirror in the dead of the night.  That’s probably your hair.  Or maybe you’ve got some dust in your eye.  Or maybe your shower curtain’s right by the heating vent; hell if I know, but it’s not me.  You think I have time to go around scaring people shitless like some kind of blue-collar creep?  Think again.

There’s a corollary to that point—eerie shadow is out.  So’s the airplane seat when the turbulence starts jiggling your internal organs, and you start gripping the armrests until your knuckles look like bone.  Hand down the garbage disposal?  Nope.  Psycho serial killer chasing you down the block?  Unlikely.  Computer-generated dinosaurs?  Come on, Spielberg.

Yeah, I know it’s Crichton’s fault originally, but… really?

The summary is, I’m none of that shit, or not very often.  No, I’m your foot on the accelerator as you stifle another yawn.  I’m the cigarette you slide out of the pack or the razor at your wrist.  I’m two and a half inches of water and the clots in your capillaries.  I’m the super-sized fries you dropped thirty cents on, because what’s thirty cents in the grand scheme of things?

Or if you’re a little girl somewhere in Africa where the sun sears down with a vengeance, I’m the distended belly that swells from your wasted body like a tumor, and you can look at me all day long as you savor the familiar taste of nothing but your own thin saliva.

I’ve always found it kind of amusing that people think of death like this card game—right?  There’s you, hunkered down on your folding chair, and right across the table is Death.  And you think that as long as you keep playing, as long as you keep bluffing and betting and stay in that game, eventually you’ll win somehow.  You think you know the rules, know the table, know the limits of your opponent.

Let me tell you a little secret.  Come in close, now; I’m only going to say this once.

I’m not sitting on the other side of that table.  I’m not even dealing.

I’m the cards, cowboy.  And when your hand comes up, baby, there ain’t nothin’ you can do to stop it.

I laugh every time I think about that, which is really saying something after a while.

I suppose that makes me just the littlest bit cynical, doesn’t it?

Must be this job.

 
 
 
Feeling: accomplishedaccomplished
 
 
 
richelle2972richelle2972 on September 17th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
That was so cool! I would love to see that as a monologue in a show or something...
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 18th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
Whoa, I didn't even think about it in monologue terms. This might have to be my new audition monologue. XD

I am glad you enjoyed it! :D
dreamifyeddreamifyed on September 18th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
I agree! Wayy cool! I could hear the words being spoken aloud even as I read the words. Good job!
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 18th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! ^^
(Deleted comment)
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 18th, 2008 06:28 pm (UTC)
Aw, shucks. 8D

Dark humor is one of my favorite things. x)

I am terribly glad that you liked it. :3
Biancamermaidbia on September 18th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
First of all, I’m not the shadow that darts just out of view when you glance in the bathroom mirror in the dead of the night. That’s probably your hair.

That made me giggle like the frigging moron that I am.

BRILLIANT, smooth, darkly funny piece, full of cynicism that doesn't sound fake or über, and I LOVE the last line. VERY well done!
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 19th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
I'm glad to hear my frigging moronicness is coming in handy! 8D

Thanks very much! ^^
cedarwolfsingercedarwolfsinger on September 19th, 2008 12:19 am (UTC)
Well, it certainly is original... Wow. I enjoyed it. Good luck this week.
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 19th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
Thank you, and thank you! :)
Ngoc: balloon skyorientalblossom on September 19th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
wowwwwwww....different, indeed! I loved how you set up the atmosphere, it was compelling and really kicked my brain cells into gear..."what on *earth* is going on here?" very interesting concept, very interesting story, very Tierfal ^^ Two thumbs up!
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 21st, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
Hooray, thanks! ^^; I'm glad you liked it. 8D
insolentscrawl: Peaceinsolentscrawl on September 19th, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
I really like this. Very unique, and kept me riveted.
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 21st, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad to hear it! :)
grayglubegrayglube on September 19th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC)
Too fucking cool hun, I love this. It's a very sardonic death, it's a very personal detah you created here and I dig it a lot. You made me smile and have a god giggle and now I'm coughing up a lung. Definitely one of my favs this week.
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 21st, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
Haha, thanks very much! :D
major pip: hand-eye coordinationpipisafoat on September 20th, 2008 02:59 am (UTC)
That was such an interesting story! Not many people think of how Death feels about his job. Very fun to read, too. Two thumbs way up!
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 21st, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)
This was one of my first ideas for the prompt, then I circled around a lot and eventually came back to it... I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks! :D
ファウスティナfaust_ina on September 20th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)
I love this, it's awesome and funny.
Vitamin Ctierfal on September 21st, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad to hear it! :D
cedarwolfsingercedarwolfsinger on September 22nd, 2008 01:20 am (UTC)
Editing
Hey there! The first three times I read this piece, I saw nothing to change or edit. Nothing. I loved the piece, loved the concept, even posted and told you so. Tonight, I got an e-mail from Jacques saying you want a “tough edit”. So – after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I am offering some suggestions that might improve the piece – though I feel like I might be trying to paint the lily or gild refined gold!

Your first six paragraphs might be considered choppy. If you combined them into one long paragraph, the content would still be there, the tone would still be there, the flow might be improved. Of course, choppy might have been your intent.

In paragraph seven, line two is a bit wordy. “It’s my personal theory—and perhaps it is a little vain; but honestly, what’s deadlier than vanity?—that everyone has a slightly different conception of it. Of me.” You might change it to “It’s my personal theory that everyone has a slightly different conception of it. Of me. Perhaps that is a little vain; but honestly, what’s deadlier than vanity?”

Paragraph eight could be the first line of paragraph nine, without the “But”. So it would read: “There are a couple things we ought to clear up, here, wouldn’t you say? First of all, I’m not the shadow that darts just out of view when you glance in the bathroom mirror in the dead of the night.  That’s probably your hair.  Or maybe you’ve got some dust in your eye.  Or maybe your shower curtain’s right by the heating vent; hell if I know, but it’s not me.  You think I have time to go around scaring people shitless like some kind of blue-collar creep?  Think again.”

In paragraph ten, instead of “So's the airplane seat...” use “So is...”

Add paragraph 11 as the last line of paragraph ten.

In paragraph 13, drop the word “Or”, it now would read: “If you’re a little girl somewhere in Africa where the sun sears down with a vengeance, I’m the distended belly that swells from your wasted body like a tumor, and you can look at me all day long as you savor the familiar taste of nothing but your own thin saliva.”

In paragraph 14, drop “kind of” before “amusing”.

Paragraphs 15 – 20 are choppy, which might have been your goal. Combining them may improve the flow.

Again – I love your characterization of Death. I really think this piece is extremely well written. You asked for a “tough edit” and I gave you as tough as I possibly could. Good luck!

Vitamin Ctierfal on September 22nd, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Editing
These are some excellent suggestions as far as formatting and simplifying and generally improving -- thanks so much! :)
jamais_toujours on September 22nd, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Hey there, I'm one of your editors this week :).

I know you want a tough edit on your piece, but after reading through it five times I honestly can't find anything you should change. The only thing I did spot was the "So's", I think it would be better as "So is".

I loved this monologue. The curt, abrupt tone of Death sent shivers down my spine. I love the dark humour you've added in too. I'm with mermaidbia, when I read the line First of all, I’m not the shadow that darts just out of view when you glance in the bathroom mirror in the dead of the night. That’s probably your hair., I giggled so loudly I nearly got thrown out of the library.

You've characterised Death brilliantly and created a vivid picture of him. You're entry haunts people for a while after they've read it, especially the line I’m the cards, cowboy. And when your hand comes up, baby, there ain’t nothin’ you can do to stop it.. It's an original take on the age old legend of death as a gambler (over here it's told in the Cearbhach Mac Caba, I'm sure there's versions of it everywhere).

I love how you tied the start of your piece in with the end by coming back to the idea of jobs. It knitted the piece together very nicely. If I were you, I'd really consider the possibility of using this as a monologue in a play.

Great job and good luck!

Vitamin Ctierfal on September 22nd, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! :) I'm glad to hear that you liked it! ^^

After getting the suggestion -- which I hadn't even thought of! -- I'm going to be very tempted to use this as an audition monologue the next time I do theater. :D