Friday, July 10, 2009

Entry #23

The Machinery of Self
by William Wood

The pattern cut into crystal goblet looks like teeth. Ready to chew me up. Just like a hundred times before. Or a thousand.

I can’t remember.

Light snags in each crystal facet and the wine shimmers, blood red. Who will I be tonight? What have you programmed for me, you fat bastard? Sitting across the table, sweat beading on your forehead, eyes wide.

Will I be the trailer trash cheerleader from high school that snickered at your invitation to the prom or maybe just your wife, but with cravings to do the things you only dream of at home?

My pulse is slow, my breathing steady. Lies. I shudder but you probably think I’m excited, eager to begin.

Will my chest swell, my belly, my biceps? Will I laugh or cry, Mister Wednesday Night? Will the tiny machines swimming in that glass ever make me…me again?

What did I do to deserve this? To be rebuilt every night into someone new, someone else. To more than just look the part. To be the part. To want to do the things you’ve paid for.

What did I do? I don’t remember. Probably rewritten or lost.

Is it the rush of watching me become someone else that makes you spend your pretty family’s money?

You’re squirming in your chair, glancing around. Time is money.

I scream in my head but my arm reaches for the glass and I swallow. Fire erupts in my veins and I begin to laugh.

[William Wood lives in an old farmhouse in the Blue Ridge Mountains with a patient and understanding family. He frequently writes instead of sleeping.]


laughingwolf said...

nice take on the prompt, william :)

Anonymous said...

this is good.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

oh wow! Very sci fi and fascinating! I want more!

JRVogt said...

A unique take on the picture. Reminds me of Dollhouse. Good stuff.

Aniket Thakkar said...

Ditto to Josh.

I so reminded me of Dollhouse too. Only this accomplished much more in 250 words than it did in the entire season. :)

Great work.

PS: If writing such pieces gives you sleepless nights, then I as a reader, am not complaining. :)

Catherine Vibert said...

Interesting concept. I like it!

Anonymous said...

ditto Aniket on the sleepless nights but NOT on Dollhouse - ANIKET! I loved Dollhouse! Grr.

Though I agree, this piece explains so much more so quickly.

More, please!

Aniket Thakkar said...


Oh but I liked Dollhouse too. But you have to admit they strayed from the main plot a lot at times.

But I have utmost respect for anyone who created Firefly. So I am hopeful that things will only get better in the second season. Am glad it didn't get scrapped.

PS: Perhaps we should take this chat over at FB. :D We are prying on William's territory. :P

Once again William. Great write up. :P

Therese said...

"Is it the rush of watching me become someone else that makes you spend your pretty family's money?"

Ugh, shudder.

Well done, William. She's believable and gritty and angry.

Laurel said...

I got a little Bladerunner out of it. But I haven't seen "Dollhouse."

This rocked. I'm waiting for her to turn on him in a classic Frankenstein/I, Robot twist.

JR's Thumbprints said...

The Machinery of Self, once set into motion with the fuel of wine, leads to destruction. Nice take on the prompt.

The Preacherman said...

This is a cracker!

Read 'Red Dwarf' by Grant Naylor William. It's got a very funny take on this sort of thing.

I like this a lot. Cheers mate

Four Dinners

Tessa said...

Chilling - keeps you going right through until the last laugh. Very impressive and an excellent take on the prompt.

PJD said...

Nice twisted reality aspect to this. But what I like best is the MC wondering how she came to be OK with this life she's so NOT OK with. How she came to agree to it, accept it, and still loathe it. That's where the tension is. But you can also see her exposing the answer in her own questions--what will you make me tonight, what are your fantasies, what is your strange desire? It's almost like a voyeuristic participative theater, and she's become entangled with it in a fundamental way.

This is really good, and has a ton of possibility.

Unknown said...

Terrific, powerful and original. Really enjoyed reading this very rich piece. Good job!

Meghan said...

"Nice twisted reality aspect to this. But what I like best is the MC wondering how she came to be OK with this life she's so NOT OK with."

I totally agree. It's very powerful how the MC is so unhappy and wondering how they came to live this kind of life. Great job.

JaneyV said...

I think this piece is stunningly imaginative. I love the conflict and I think your handling of the subject ha the perfect tension. Really well done.

J.C. Montgomery said...

The great thing about sci-fi, good sci-fi, is the plausibility - and you make this sound very probable.

Jade L Blackwater said...

I really enjoy the use of the "machinery" imagery throughout. The opening sentences are powerful and draw me right in.

McKoala said...

Very clever; brilliant idea.

Anonymous said...

Very original and vibrant. You introduced a potent world. Expertly done!

Congratulations on Second Place!!

Jaye Wells said...

This one grabs you by the throat from the first line and never lets up. Your voice is very strong and your descriptions paint vivid pictures. Very nice job on this one.