22 August, 2005

Inexcusably Late...

Asking once more for my Aunt Silk's apology, and promising her that, next time I sign up for one of these things, I won't be nearly so late.

Here it is, my sophomore effort. [But will it prove me wise, or foolish?]

Focus in on a young man, my friends, a young man in Paris, starting out in his career. His name is Nino, and he takes pictures for a living. He scrapes by, finding work wherever he can, dreaming of someday becoming a photographer of prestige. The fame, the honour – and the money wouldn’t hurt, either.

The fledgling artist leaves his hovel early one sunlit morning. He walks across the city, dodging early morning traffic. He finally finds and enters an advertising firm, in the hopes of finding a job. After a brief, suspenseful wait, he is taken to an interview room.

The pretty director of affairs looks in depth at his portfolio, glances at his resume, and hires him on the spot. He grins in appreciation and relief, as she leads him quickly out of the room to his new work zone. He hurries after her, trying not to get lost in the maze of cubicles.

At last, they arrive at the back of the building, where she opens a small room. Inside the dark, cramped quarters are a few desks, some equipment for photography, and a few extra chairs – Nino’s base for operation from now on.


The phone rang shrilly in the middle of the night. It was three months later, and Nino was still working at the firm, slowly saving up money to start his own line someday. He shook himself awake, and grabbed at the phone. Nino listened for only about five seconds before he hung up the phone, bolted out of bed, and, fumbling into his jeans and pulling on a shirt, raced out into the night.

There she lay, her breathing monitored by machines – kept going by machines. Her heart had always been weak. He certainly had done nothing to hinder that, what with all the near-death experiences he had gone through. She had always watched over him then, and when he was sick, and now he returned the favour to his mother.

She’d had a massive stroke. Chances of her coming out of this alright were minimal. She needed surgery, numerous scans – the medical bills were piling up.

Nino looked the doctor in the eye, swallowed the lump in his throat, and told him to go through with it. Tears welling up in his eyes, Nino held back the thought of his own business; his mother meant much more to him than that.


Blinking, Nino trudged bleary-eyed into the office complex. Waiting in his office was the director of affairs. There was a big commission, she seemed to be saying, that could make or break his career.

One of the major jewelry companies in France wanted a new image, and wanted it fast. The amounts they were willing to pay for this new image would put the firm on a new level – would provide Nino with enough money to pay his mother’s medical bills and place him as head of a department of photographers, with a corner office in the complex.

He was provided merely with a copy of a necklace, one of the most popular pieces coming out at this time. Other than that, he received nothing. No hints as to what the company was looking for. No direction whatsoever – the rest was left up to his ingenuity.


Nino wandered around the city, gazing at the beauty around him, hoping for inspiration. He had his camera in a bag over his shoulder and the copy of the necklace in his pocket. He pulled up his collar to shield his neck from the cool breeze blowing.

All around him, people were rushing to get indoors, away from the cold and the imminent storm. Nino looked up, seeing the swirling clouds above him. Such weather suited him, but he did need something to keep him going.

He opened a door, trudged up a flight of stairs. He came to a rooftop café, and he sat at the nearest balcony table. Straight ahead of Nino, off in the distance, was the Eiffel Tower. Any image for a French jewelry company ought to include the romantic Tower, right? He looked around for opportunity to come knocking.

As he ordered his drink, he spotted her. Resplendent in a little black number that offset her ivory skin, her dark hair pulled back in a classic bun, she was perfect. Just what he needed for the job. Sitting with her was a young man, attired entirely in a black-on-black outfit. Hopefully, he wouldn’t mind having his lady borrowed for a short time.

Nino stared as his mind raced with the possibilities. She was breathtaking – an ideal image of French elegance. Nino needed her, and quickly. It would do no good to allow the approaching storm to rain out his dreams. He gulped down his drink, threw some shrapnel on the table, and moved toward theirs.

His hand slipped into his pocket and pulled out the copy subconsciously. Its glistening caught her eye as he approached. She stood, put a finger to his lips, and delicately took the necklace from his hands. Clasping it behind her slender neck, she placed one hand lightly on her companion’s shoulder. He glanced up into the tranquil pools of her eyes, then followed her as she backed slowly, gracefully, toward the balcony.

She winked at Nino, who came out of her trance and leaped into action. He ran back to his table, the balcony and Eiffel Tower in view. Quickly, he unpacked his bag, set his camera up, ready for the shot. Somehow, he knew he’d be given only one take.

She positioned herself without a thought, and, leaning back, placed a hand on the railing behind her. Her companion came toward her slowly, calmly, still gazing into her beautiful eyes. He reached her, and, as she angled her head back, he leaned in, and kissed her.


As Nino gazed at the perfect image, lightning struck – and the couple vanished. The copy lay on the rooftop ground, glistening in the rain.

03 August, 2005

Harper Lee's Sequel?

Last night began with the lovely movie Amelie, which Li enjoyed immensely, despite the fact that Chase and I would break out laughing before some of the scenes even started, just remembering. Chase got up, stuck The Sting into the VCR [the other two movies were on DVD], and discovered the tape was broken. It was twisted inside. Li also refused to watch Spy Game because "Brad Pitt's hair looks too stupid," which was really that she felt more like having some competition.

Trivial Pursuit ended up being th
e game of choice. I got to play with people who wanted to play and who didn't give up, AND it was the first time I'd actually played where we've finished a game! [And.... I won. : )]

One of the questions was about a Quentin Tarantino movie, and, though I've never seen any of his movies, I got it right. The answer was Reservoir Dogs, and I credit any knowledge I have of it to Aunt Sadie.

My favourite question, however, was one I gave to Chase in the Arts and Entertainment section. We had already had a question involving Atticus Finch from
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, and as such I was relatively sure he would get my question lickety-split. My question was, "According to Atticus Finch, what is it 'a sin to kill'?"

Chase didn't immediately jump on it, though. He rolled over on the floor, pulling at his hair, saying repeatedly, "I know this! I. Know. This. I've read it a couple of times -- you'd think that line would just pop out at me!" I thought he was just putting on theatrics for our enjoyment, as it was incredibly amusing. Finally, though, Chase sighs, and says, "A Cat."

I was stunned. I just leaned down and said gently, "Chase, what's the name of the book?"

"Oh my gosh! Oh. My. Gosh. I can't believe I got that wrong!" Chase was rolling around again, kicking his legs in anger, and covering his face in humiliation.

Li, of course, says sweetly, "Chase, dear, it's to kill a mockingbird!" She was smirking at him, and he looked ready to smack her; it was perfectly obvious that he knew that NOW. At this point, I flippantly threw out a comment, "That'd make a great sequel, Chase!
To Kill a Cat, by Harper Lee. C'mon, let's go check it on the internet!"