29 January 2009

Stories

I love stories. Telling them, hearing them, reading them, discussing them, polishing them, turning them, painting them, singing them...really, is there anything which cannot be done with Story? It's a marvelous invention.

Has Story always been? since man begun,
His thoughts and deeds, hopes, fears, have all been sung
In poetry and prophecy, and told
Through novels new and ancient plays of old.
Perhaps the only thing as old as God
Is Story...

I write stories from time to time. In days past, I would write them in pieces or over instant messages, just making them up as I went along (which I'm sure genuine authors would chide me for, saying I ought to govern my creations more strictly than such wandering accounts). I wrote one a few weeks ago about the noise in my office wall--when the wind blows hard, a strange metallic creak goes through the wall, and this inspired my story:

A story written over IM… January 7, 2009

Something metallic rattles over my head, like the wind is in the ceiling or wall. I could probably write a good story about it, but the truth of it is far more amazing than even I could imagine. And if I had time, I would surely tell it.

You see, it isn't the wind that is causing such a ruckus. In fact, it is a story locked up within the wall.

You know how this building was purchased some months ago by Yerbey Construction? Well, during the second week of September, a work crew came to begin the process of gutting the old place. They walked in and found a mess of old two-by-fours, wiring hanging from a sunken ceiling, lights broken, small standing pools of water from the recent rains.

So they rolled up their sleeves and started throwing all the old useless things in the dumpster out front.

Well, one such worker--a lean, scratchy fellow named Carl--moved to a little-used corner of the space: the corner just outside my office, in fact. And pushing soggy warped boards aside, he uncovered there something unexpected.

It was small, rather old, and it showed its age. Still, he could tell it wasn't useless, and this caused him some dilemma. 'Should I throw this away, too?' he asked himself. 'I mean, surely I can't leave it here.'

He called the foreman over: 'Um, sir? Can you give me a hand with this?' The foreman, who was large with a large head and nose, and who was not the nicest sort of fellow, growled a little and came round from another part of the building.

Carl showed him the Story, trying very hard to pretend like he knew what he was supposed to do. But no need--the foreman himself had never seen such a thing before. He grunted in surprise, then grunted again to call for their electrician to come check it out. The electrician came and murmured to himself a bit before concluding he had no idea what the Story was, either. So they called the plumber, considering how the Story yet sat in a small puddle of water. The plumber came. And simply shrugged.

The carpenter, not wanting to be left out of the free break time everyone seemed to be getting, came over, too. He was always left out of the bigger decisions of the crew, but wouldn't be left out this time--so when he saw the Story sitting there, he saw his opportunity to prove himself.

'Why, that's a load-bearing chisel slack-joint,' he said to them all with all confidence. 'Sure, it's important. We need to tack that puppy up here out of the way, between the joists, like so,' and taking a pencil to mark a ridiculous X on the beam, he nailed the Story to the joist.

All the workers shrugged a little at this, but as the unknown Story was someone else's problem now, and not theirs, they were content to move on to other habitual tasks of gutting a building. So they turned and did not see the Story move slightly.

They laboured here a few weeks, feeding wiring, mounting sheetrock, applying paint, and so on. And the little story, still affixed to the joists, was locked up inside.

So now whenever the Story moves, the joists creak and the metal supports groan. I figure the Story needs to be heard, and I guess it will keep groaning until someone listens to It.


I stopped there--what do you all suppose happened to the Story?

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