Monday, January 12, 2009

Entry #61

Icarus
by Emily Preston


“What’s this supposed to be?”

The old man works in his ragged uniform fit for a bigger man, the navy blue faded from time and wear, stained with sweat and grease. He toils on without pause.

“Can’t you tell? It’s an escalator to the sky.” He says, picking up a wrench and settling it around a nut.

“A stairway to heaven sounds much more romantic. Like the song.”

“And much less practical. I’m old, do you really think I could make it up all those stairs without something giving out?” he grunts, changing his grip.

“Well, I always thought these sorts of things were meant to be more symbolic than practical—like the pyramids. Anyway, do you actually intend to get to the top of this thing?”

“Why else build it?” he replies, jerking at his wrench as his spidery arms flap like chicken wings in his oversized sleeves.

“My, you are practical, aren’t you? Well, I suppose that sort of mindset makes for a pretty decent life. So, what’s at the top?”

“The clouds. Some birds. God, maybe. I’ll find out when I get there.” He shrugs indifferently before intently inspecting his work.

“Then what are you going to do?”

“Come back down, of course.” He says, without looking up.

19 comments:

Lena said...

you reated such a practical character!! Good one :)

harshad said...

strange old man...somehow reminded me of brooks from shawshank...occupied with just one thing. cool read!

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Some ambition!Well done :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

Reminds me of Richard Bach's "Illusions," with the airplane mechanic, only more realistic.

laughingwolf said...

nothing like practicality :)

iLL Man said...

Matter-of-fact absurdity. Brilliant. Just my sort of thing.

strugglingwriter said...

I liked this a lot. Really liked the story idea and the old man character. Nice work!

Paul

Sarah Hina said...

Wonderful interpretation of the Icarus tale, Emily. I hope his waxen (or chicken) wings don't melt.

I love these mythic re-imaginings. Yet what a tough, dogged, practical character your old man is. Sometimes, we just have to know. Maybe he'll fill us all in when he gets back down. ;)

Beautiful work.

Rebecca Livesey said...

hahaha loved the ending, isn't that life! fantastic

McKoala said...

Great character!

JaneyV said...

I love your old man. Great philosophy.

Selma said...

There certainly was something mythical about your old man. I hope he soars and gets to see the stars. Very well done!!

Meghan said...

I love the blending of myth and reality. Very well written!

Jimmie Vee said...

Good - I always enjoy these kind of stretched reality pieces. You never know...

Catvibe said...

Wonderful. He kind of reminded me of the Anthony Hopkins character in The World's Fastest Indian.

Aniket Thakkar said...

What an amazing character you have created there Emily! It reminds you to all those old men who didn't let the fire die in them... Like Harshad and JR rightly said... He is the mechanic from Illusions, He is Brooks from Shawshank, He is Paccino in "Scent of a Woman", he is like two grandpa from "Second Hand Lions", he is Nicholson from "Bucket List"... he even reminds me of my grand pa (he was a tough one himself)! He is everyone yet he is himself! Among the best character build ups I've read here!

Ÿ∂ Μ Î ŋÎ said...

"The clouds. Some birds. God, maybe. I’ll find out when I get there.." -loved this imagination. Very well written :)

September said...

Makes sense to me. Gotta see what's up there. I like this man.
I like this story.
Nice work.

jason evans said...

Great job with entertainment value, storytelling, and voice!

Thanks for being a wonderful part of the contest!