Thursday, September 13, 2012

Me vs Earl vs His Mother vs Himself vs... uh...

Writing challenge...

I don't write as much as I need to, and it scritches away at the inside of my soul.  I'm in the middle of a epoch so massive I can't even see if there is an end yet... I don't always enjoy going to that world.

Anyway... Chuck Wendig throws out this challenge... and on a whim I give random chance a whirl...

Rolled an 8...

What the hell kinda genre is "weird"

Rolled a 5, then a 7...

weird + climate change + Man vs Himself

...and just like that, I know what kinda genre "weird" is.

Earl belched. Belching made him sweat, not that you would notice on a day like today; the vast expanse of forehead on the twenty-seven year old man was already speckled with tiny globules pitting gravity against surface tension in a war that would always end with Earl's stretched of Earl’s shirt mopping up the battlefield.

He had been staring at the pause screen for more than a minute, thinking about getting a snack, taking a shower, or checking his email.  Any of plethora activities that all started with “get off the futon.”  Nice as they seemed, the pre-requisite was a burden he wasn’t ready for.

It was 84 degrees.

Farenheit, Canadian, if it was Celsius, or even centigrade he would already be dead.  That was a stupid question. Sit down.

Earl was of two minds on the classic adage “It isn’t the heat, it’s the humidity.”

For the two years he did manage to attempt college, he had done so at Arizona State University, believing that if he was ever going to have a wild and debauched life it wasn’t going to be at a school known for it’s button down hard working attitude.  The school’s hard partying reputation seemed like a guarantee of a social life.

Often in his ASU dorm room, on those frequent nights that he grew tired of lamenting his lack of a social life in the pink and red and mostly naked glow of his computer monitor, he would consider the temperature.

Sure, that is a thing.  Had you ever lived in Arizona or North Dakota you would not question the idea of sitting around considering the temperature.

It was there that he first took offense to the phrase.  After the temperature hit three digits, it was just fucking hot.  When people from New England would ask him about the heat, he would cringe.  He knew these people; he knew they would make a comment, and he would have to chuckle, determined not to be one of those Aspergers who had to explain why they were wrong, no matter how much he wanted to.  He wasn’t sure if the ones who did let themselves explain had to swallow back the urge to beat the offenders to death (for the betterment of mankind) the way he did.

It is hard not to be violently irrational when it is 103 degrees two hours after sunset.

On the other hand, when he returned to New Hampshire after 18 months and he remembered that 85 degrees could be debilitating if the air was wet enough to swim through, he softened slightly to the idea that it might not be the heat and it could be the humidity.

He was of two minds on the addage, but both of them were hostile and unapologetic, and his opinion of people who actually spoke it out loud remained consistently negative.

“Earl.” his mother, whose house he lived in, stood in the doorway Saturday spoke his name as though it were a complete sentence.   She had reached the “you already know what I’m going to say” point in their relationship more than a decade earlier.  The likelihood he was going to do anything positive in response to her Wesleyan educated dialog seemed exceedingly unlikely, and as a hobbyist logicist philosopher, she had recognized that there were more rewarding paths for her words to travel down.

“Mom.” Earl responded in an equally terse fashion.  He was a latecomer to this extremely efficient method of communication.  His philosophy was wildly different, believing that just because he already knew exactly what she was thinking, there was no reason for her not to treat him with the dignity of complete sentences.  He chose to respond in kind out of spite.  He was vaguely aware that he would ignore complete sentences if they were offered, but his adolescent mind refused to accept responsibility for his mother’s defeatist behaviour.

Yeah. With a “u.”  Because the British do it that way, and people think the British are smarter than Americans.  If I use a “u” you will believe I’m smarter, or at least that is the logic employed by beer commercials.  How can you disagree with anyone who can get millions of people to buy Budweiser on purpose?

“Why is your room so hot?”

“Cause I’m on fire.  Do you need something?”

The reality was that on a hot day, if he didn’t bother to open the windows, or turn off the mind boggling collection of video screens and speakers in his room, his attic room would rocket up to the high 90s by mid-afternoon, forcing even someone as committed to lazy as Earl off his ass long enough to open a window.

“Why don’t you turn off…” Mom gestured vaguely around the buzzing and glowing that was Earl’s room, “…something?”

“First law of thermodynamics Ma: ‘If you can’t take the heat get out of my room.’”

She did.

Earl looked around his room.  Mom hadn’t mentioned the stench.  Somewhere beyond the reach of his consciousness he was upset about that.  If he had he been fully aware he wouldn’t have known if it upset him because it was a missed opportunity to get a rise out of his mother, or because it might have motivated him to do something about it.

Earl considered himself.  At somewhere between a large cat and a medium sized dog more than three hundred pounds, he was at contributing as much or more waste heat in the room than the Xbox.  Lazy and Justified collided in his brain and talked it into accepting this as a reason not to turn anything off.  He looked at the window, sealed against the cool breezes running free outside.   His internal bullshit alarm tried to call shenanigans, and he encouraged it the best he could.  In the end Lazy and Justified reminded him about “the prerequisite.”

“Fuck it,” he sighed, mumbling to himself, “I’ll get it in a minute.”

From down the hall, Earl’s mother saw him unchanged.  At a distance of astronomical units, the inner workings of planet Earl couldn’t be perceived, it just drifted along like it always had.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure if I like Earl. I feel some sort of sympathy for him, but mostly, I just want to hit him. Was that supposed to happen? After spending all that time in his head, I want to shower. And turn on the AC.

    I hope in a later moment, Earl gets up and does both of those things, but I suspect that if we check in two weeks from now, he'll still be sitting there sweating....

    You established his character excellently. I approve.