Friday Fiction: Crave More

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Friday Fiction
04 May 2018
Crave More

Crave More: I hate those words. I always choose
a cart with the shop’s name on the handle.
I can handle that. I can’t stand a cart
that screams Crave More at me every time I
bend to place an item in the wire grid.
If stores were honest they would write Think More
and Crave Less
 on their shopping carts. I bet
that would cut into profits. Anyway,
there I was, in LaLaLand, leaning on
my cart, half asleep, when this ghost drifted
towards me. “Help me,” it said. “I’m hungry.
I need money for food.” I woke up from
my dream, looked at the ghost, tall, skeletal
thin, cavernous eyes and cheekbones sticking
out, gaps in the teeth, grey face drawn with shame.
“Sorry,” came automatically. Then I
too felt shame. I looked at him again. “I
only carry plastic.” The excuse limped
heavily across the air between us.
I saw something in his eyes, I knew not
what, and turned away. As I walked away,
I added one hundred pound of muscle
to the scarecrow frame. Took forty years off
his age. Filled his body with joy and pride,
not shame, and remembered how he played, hard
and fast, but true. I ran the card index
of former players that I had coached through
my mind. I knew their moves, and attributes,
the way they played the game, strengths, weaknesses …
I remembered him holding up the Cup.
But I couldn’t remember his name. I
pushed the cart all over the store in a
frantic search for him. At the ATM
I withdrew cash. I could hand it to him.
I could tell him he had dropped it. I went
through a thousand scenes. I could invite him
to the snack bar. I could tell him to buy
what he needed and follow me. Check out
time, I would add his purchases to my
bill. I looked everywhere. He was nowhere
to be seen. One opportunity. One
chance. That’s all we get. Miss it, and we blow
the game. Grasp it and we medal with gold.

Commentary:
I have been experimenting with iambic pentameter, counting words and syllables on my fingers, tapping rhythms on the table, driving Clare crazy, and disturbing the cat. I have also disturbed my usual way of writing, for better or for worse I am not yet sure. Yesterday’s entertainment was to rewrite my brief story, Crave More, as a poem in pseudo-iambic pentameter. The measures seem to function and the rhythm and word count move both within the line and in the melodic, rhythmic phrasings that move between lines in a constant enjambement.

So, by all means let me know what you think of this experiment.  Here’s the link to the short story, also called Crave More. I would love to receive your opinions on narrative pseudo-iambic pentameter.

Revised Version:

Encounter

I was in the Superstore, leaning on
my cart, half asleep, when this ghost drifted
towards me. “Help me,” it said. “I’m hungry.
I need money for food.” I woke up from
my dream, looked at the ghost, tall, skeletal
thin, cavernous eyes and cheekbones sticking
out, gaps in the teeth, grey face drawn with shame.
“Sorry,” came automatically. Then I
too felt shame. I looked at him again. “I
only carry plastic.” The excuse limped
heavily across the air between us.
I saw something in his eyes, I knew not
what, and turned away. As I walked away,
I added one hundred pound of muscle
to the scarecrow frame. Took forty years off
his age. Filled his body with joy and pride,
not shame, and remembered how he played, hard
and fast, but true. I ran the card index
of former players that I had coached through
my mind. I knew their moves, and attributes,
the way they played the game, strengths, weaknesses …
I remembered him holding up the Cup.
But I couldn’t remember his name. I
pushed the cart all over the store in a
frantic search for him. At the ATM
I withdrew cash. I could hand it to him.
I could tell him he had dropped it. I went
through a thousand scenes. I could invite him
to the snack bar. I could tell him to buy
what he needed and follow me. Check out
time, I would add his purchases to my
bill. I looked everywhere. He was nowhere
to be seen. One opportunity. One
chance. That’s all we get. Miss it, and we blow
the game. Grasp it and we medal with gold.

Comment to the Revision:

The first eight lines of the original poem set the scene. While I tried to use them to accentuate commercial exploitation of the customer’s potential for greed, Crave More, they are not essential to the story of the encounter. Meg noticed this and following her interaction I have revised the poem, eliminating those first eight lines.

This is an interesting and inter-active way to work. Thank you Meg!

12 thoughts on “Friday Fiction: Crave More

  1. Love both versions, Roger, but have to agree the second is easier to take for me. Good story line. Also I’ve been there, done that myself, and in one case was on the receiving end of the “random act of kindness” that shines thru this story in the end,. Sometimes though, well, we were never promised a second chance. It sometimes happens by accident, but my personal solution is to always carry $5 with me just in case. Kinda like carrying that dime in my shoe when I was young and dating, just in case I had to call my dad or brothers to come bail me out!

    BTW, I’m writing those memoirs. Maybe some day I’ll let you see some of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The memoirs first: so glad you are doing hat. I am sure you will not regret it and one day your family and friends will be grateful to you. We lose so much in an instantaneous, throwaway society. I like the idea of “random acts of kindness” and have been well-treated by generous strangers at various times when I needed help. There is good in the world and we believers must find it and believe in it. Thanks for posting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Being a reformed quilter I have a hoarding instinct when it comes to throwing anything away. Since I was raised on the concept of “use it up, wear it out, make it do” and can find so many ways to use old stuff better than new, I might soon have to rent an apartment just for my old stuff that serves me as spare parts, patches, socks to mend (yes, I know how to darn socks and when they wear out would rather mend some that feel good rather than buy new ones that are too tight at the top!). Not enough hours in my day for all the things I want to finish up before my time is up. I also prefer old buildings that have stood the test of time to the glass, concrete and steel that is using up all of our green stuff. And people wonder about the bad air? Plant live trees and green grass before you have to explain what they looked like to the grandkids!

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      • Lovely post: my grandfather taught me how to darn socks and I have done so all my life. I use bright colors for socks and sweaters and things so I remember who did the sewing and darning and when. I still have his WWI sewing kit, all wrapped up in a tie canvas wrap. Lovely just to touch where his hands touched.

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    • It can be so difficult to pick and choose … this one looks needy, this one doesn’t … this one doesn’t ‘feel’ right … I help a couple of regulars when I meet them. This was someone I knew, but didn’t at first recognize and I felt terrible. I may reduce it a little more. I am thinking.

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  2. The middle section is especially good – from the lines after you say you only carry plastic through the recognition of who he was and your memories of him. Personally I love story-telling verse, rhyming or no so this is a winner in my book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perfesser: I’m no expert on poetry styles, far from it. I like blank verse, as long as it’s

    not too

    blank.

    I love iambic pentameter, and often marvel at how – when properly recited – it sounds like ordinary speech, making Shakespearian poets of us all. It rankles (moi) when the meter is incomplete. Even with the (deservedly) much-maligned Limerick, lazy pretenders skip the rules in favour of the story, thus ruining the story and the poem.

    So, what about pseudo-iambic pentameter? Trust the cat. Thanks for posting. -Jan

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, Jan. I hope all is well with you and the water is not troublesome in your area as it is in ours. Fortunately we are high on a hill and out of it. I don’t know what will happen with Quispamsis next week (WFNB) but I hope the waters settle before ten, though nobody seems able to predict what to do with this one. Computer models with insufficient data, like effective data on the amount of clear-cutting close to the rivers and its detrimental effect on water retention in the soil … quite the topic … but the current models are not working … best wishes … Roger.

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