Okay, maybe I could come up with a better title for today’s post, but – yes – I slept in this morning and am late, so the title will have to stand.
A writers’ group is not a class, of course (although we all learn something), it’s a mutually supportive community, and I’m finding it very refreshing and a lot of fun to attend.
Now, because it’s a later time than I normally post, you will be spared my waffle (oh joy) and I will get straight into it. Last month we were given the word Random and sent off to do something with it. What follows is my effort. I have no doubt that it could use some polishing, but here it is, warts and all, and has nothing whatsoever to do with science fiction.
It’s humor, a short story (written in Australian English, by the way, not the USA variety).
Time, Destiny and Chance walked into a tavern, closely followed by Chaos.
Time was longing for a drink, preferably one with a little umbrella in it. Destiny knew exactly what he wanted, Chance couldn’t make up his mind, while Chaos didn’t care what he got, just so long as it was shaken not stirred.
They sat at one end of the bar, quietly noticing at the far end their nemeses. Yes, the Four Horsemen, somewhat of a joke now although still capable of mischief. Feeling outdated, the Four Horsemen had only recently upgraded their mode of transport and preferred now to be called the Four 4 x 4s. No one had pointed out to them that there were only three fours in that, not four, somewhat akin to a horse with a missing leg. It just didn’t sit right, everyone knew. Time figured they’d get it right eventually, Destiny was certain they were too stupid to cope, Chance wouldn’t bet on it and Chaos didn’t care.
Pestilence was drinking a Pink Blush while Famine nursed a Fuzzy Navel. War drank a Giggly Rose Cocktail and Death quaffed a B52 – he, at least, meant business.
“They’re plotting something evil, I just know it,” Destiny whispered under his breath, their own drinks arriving. “We could stop them, here, now.”
“You’ll likely lose,” Chance told him.
“You don’t know that,” Chaos rebuked with a frown.
“Are you sure you want to take them on?” Time asked.
The four paused and looked again along the bar.
“You’d have to wait for the right moment,” Time advanced.
Chance didn’t like their chances. “What? You mean if we jump them in the parking lot? Maybe let down their tyres?”
“Listen,” Destiny whispered harshly, drawing them all in closer to hear. “I know what I’m talking about. We can take these guys. Famine is weak and Pestilence is ailing. Sure, War’s always looking for a fight, but it’s really only Death we have to overcome.”
The group fell silent, once again eyeing the four Four 4 x 4s.
“Let’s leave it for a bit,” Time decided.
“I say we go in now,” Destiny countered.
They began their move, one by one sliding from their barstools in nonchalant preparedness. A flex of muscle, the odd loosening of a collar, each in his own way intent upon getting the Famous Four. Time suddenly stopped. Moving fast for once, his arms sprung outwards, catching Destiny on one side and Chance on the other, halting the entire party.
“Wait, boys, wait! What are we thinking of? We don’t normally set out to cause trouble.”
Destiny took stock, realization dawning. He slammed his cocktail upon the counter, slopping bits of fruit. “I knew it! We’re being manipulated!”
“It was a crazy idea,” Chaos said, his attention now probing the deeper shadows of the room.
“You’re right. I might take my chances,” Chance said. “But I’m never reckless.”
In the far corner, they spied the culprits watching them. There were three of them, one grinning foolishly, another snickering, the third one – the one in the middle – taking in the crowd. They sat at a different table every night, these three, and not often together. They had been practising inspiration, putting forth their influence into the room, triggering spilled drinks and near misses, foolish words and thoughtless deeds, choices good and bad with a whole mishmash of intentions.
The one in the middle smiled and raised his glass to their perception.
“It wasn’t time,” Time said.
“It wasn’t meant,” Destiny agreed.
Chaos was still agitated. “The Apocalypse? In a bar? Are they crazy?”
Chance smiled back at the distant group, amused. “What are the chances, boys? What are the chances?”
For there sat Choice and there sat Possibility and, between them, adding uncontrollable to desire and haphazard to potential, was the cause of what might have been accidental, right enough, yet a total disaster all the same.
It had been his doing, the main of it. No, all of it. It could indeed be said that it was all completely Random.