Saturday, June 5, 2010

Attack the Prompt: The Gift of Wings

So, I wanted to flex my fiction-writing muscles by answering a few prompts, so I created “Attack the Prompt.” Here is my science-fiction take on a prompt from Writer’s Digest.

I sat down at the table we were supposed to meet. We were going to talk at the normal place, the diner right across the street from where my apartment was. He had something important to say, obviously. Why else would Johnny call me up in the middle of the night? I thought as I stared at the diner’s clock on the wall. “Three in the morning, Jesus Christ,” the clock ticked and another second flew by.

A waitress with a nametag, which said that her name was Doreen, came up to me. “What can I get you?” She wore a baby blue apron that reminded me of robin’s eggs. It went well with her white dress. Her red hair was tied in a ponytail; a black rubber band tamed and strangled her frizzy locks.

“Umm,” I looked at the menu and really didn’t know. “What do you recommend three o’clock in the morning?” I smiled.

“Coffee,” she said coldly. She wasn’t obviously a night owl like me. She had bags underneath her blue eyes and her wrinkles seemed deeper in the light.

“Ok, I guess I’ll have a coffee then,” I handed her the menu.

She snatched it from my hands and ran over to the coffee machine stomping her feet on the tiles that matched her dress.

Click. Clack. Click. Clack.

Noises filled the diner as she put the mug into the coffee machine. Clicks and clatters as people ate their breakfast or dinners with rusty silver ware. People coughed, sneezed, and attended their needs.

The silver bell on the top of the door rang and Johnny stepped inside with a determined look on his face. He searched the aisles and the rows for me as I waved my hand to grab his attention. He followed the hand and found a seat in front of me.

“How’s it going?” He asked as he grabbed a menu and looked down the entrées for anything that would wake him up.

Doreen slammed a coffee cup in between the two of us. Johnny didn’t flinch and only continued to look. “There’s your coffee, sir.”

“Thank you, Doreen.” I looked up at her and only saw her back as she walked to serve another customer. “Bitch,” I muttered underneath my breath. “What’s up? What is so important that you have to call me in the middle of the night—I mean, morning? It’s three o’clock and I can’t even think straight, why did you call?”

He searched and pointed to something on the menu. He fetched his wallet out of his pocket and saw if he had enough money. “I wanted to talk to you about you know what.”

“I know what? What do I know, Johnny? What the hell is going on?”

“I want to do it. I’ve saved up enough money when I heard about the surgeries that they did on people. I want to do it. I want to fly.”

“Johnny, are you serious? You want to become one? You want to be genetically mutated?” I looked at the outside world from my window. There were some who walked on the streets like normal people and there were others. Those gifted with wings, the wings of purest white, the wings of angels.

“Why? Why waste all your money for something like that? Don’t you ever want to have a family? Or buy a house?” I reminded him of all the other things he could invest his money in, but he would not change his mind. He wanted this more than anything else in the world and I could see it in his dark eyes.

He put his hand on the top of his head and brushed through his buzzed-cut gray hair. “I’m not getting any younger—”

“You got that right,” I interrupted as I sipped some coffee.

“—and you know that they don’t allow the surgeries on the elderly.” His eyes focused on a few old people in the diner. “If I can fly, I won’t need a car. I won’t need gas. Sure, I will have lost money in the short run, but in the long run I will have saved money.”

“I can’t believe you’re going to do this. You know about the discrimination. You know about the Clippings. Do you remember how the poor and the streets react to people who have wings?”

“I do.” He threw the menu aside.

“Are you still up for it even though…” I stopped to think of the next few words, because I knew this was important to him, “even though you might face the entire world.”

“Listen to me,” he grabbed my hand, “I wanted to fly since I was a kid. Back then, there were airplanes and helicopters that I wanted to fly, but now…Now, people can fly. I want to be a part of the skies just as much as birds. Just as much as airplanes or helicopters. As much as butterflies and bees. I want to be an Angel.”

I drank my coffee and took a deep breath. “Why did you call me here?”

“You know why, I need a donor. I need your DNA. You’re an Angel. You and I are a perfect match. I know ‘cause I took a sample of your feathers when I was at your place. Give me the gift.” He stared at my wings, then at my face. “Please.”

I dropped the mug back onto the table and thought of how much the world has changed since when we were kids. Now, it was possible for a few people to fly without access of machines; these people were mostly the rich. The only way to get the wings was by having a father who had wings, someone who was blood-related, or has blood that was the same as that of the street person’s. Johnny was my brother and I loved him, but can I really do this?

I told him my answer with a stern face.

His eyes filled with tears. He jumped and screamed, because now he was going to be a part of the skies. He would fly through the clouds and have a whole new life. A life filled with the same discrimination as mine, but with the same happiness for the power of flight. A life filled with the same hatred as mine for those who hated us, but with the same love for those who shared the skies. A new life created with my help, with my wings.


Anonymous said...

Pretty nice for a writing prompt piece - the discrimination thing is an interesting dimension. I like having a go a prompt every now and then ... it's amazing sometimes what comes out even if you think you've got nothing when you start.

Vatche said...

Hey, Rachel, thanks for the kind words and for your thoughts.

Yeah, about the whole discrimination thing, it definitely is an interesting angle because I didn't want everybody to have wings. I wanted some sort of conflict and it just popped into my head out of left field.

Also,I just started off the piece like you said, thinking that I've got nothing, but it just unravels like a bud into a rose. I didn't even know it was going to be a science fiction until the end really.

Once again, thank you for visiting! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for dropping by my blog. And yes, you write beautifully:)


Vatche said...

Hey, Nehha, no problemo! Thank YOU for dropping by my blog and for the comments. Write on! :)

Angel-Star said...

write on. poems are wings. flying prose sings.
and dreams spin the threads that we weave with in the morning.

Vatche said...

Very beautifully put, Angel-Star. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Write on!

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