Friday, October 28, 2005


What was I going to do? My story was already late. If I didn't write one soon, my readers would be disappointed, perhaps even abandon me for more interesting bloggers, and I don't know if I could ever come to terms with that happening. That's why I decided to consult that little known bureaucracy, the Ministry of Imagination. They're there to help, or they say they are. From outside the architecture looks elegant, yes, even inviting. Inside, my footsteps echoed eerily in the empty, impersonal halls, causing my unease to build. Finally I came to a heavy wooden door. It opened by itself. Inside the antechamber it was awful! It was crowded with characters sitting or milling about, empty stares and blank expressions on invisible faces. They looked like stereotypes out of a b-movie or dime novel that never get life breathed into them. They murmured clichés under their breath, and the collective sound of it would have been bad enough, if not for the laconic female voice droning from the speakers, calling out random numbers every few seconds. Numbers that no one apparently held, for none of the stereotypes reacted. I took a slip of paper from the take-a-number machine. It bore the digits 00. The haggard, unshaven schematization of a drunkard swooped in close to me, too close, and smelling of cheap liquor. He began a high-pitched, screechy laugh. "Every one draws zero!" he declared between phrases of the horrid sound.

I couldn't stay in that room. I would suffocate. I quickly scrawled the letter N in front of the double null and added two exclamation points - "NOO!!" it now read - then crumbled it up and threw it onto the floor - my protest to bureaucracy. I exited the anteroom through the same door I entered yet found myself standing not in the hall from whence I had arrived, but in the office of a ministry official. It was the Chief Imaginator. He appeared indifferent at seeing me. Except for the bored "state-your-business" glance he cast in my direction, he seemed hardly to notice me at all.

"I have to know about my application!" I exclaimed, aware that I must have sounded a little too apprehensive, too desperate. That could ruin my chances. I tried again calmly: "I applied for an idea two days ago but haven't yet received an inspiration."

"How do you intend to use this idea?" the Imaginator inquired while stifling a yawn.

"A story. I want to write a story, a special story. A masterpiece, perhaps. The world needs more masterpieces."

"The world needs more masterpieces," he repeated copying my intonation, but only to taunt me. It didn't sound as if he agreed. "From you?" he added rhetorically, after an effectful pause. The Imaginator drew a folder from a tower of documents on his desk, thumbed silently through the papers, then spread the entire sheaf out flat for me to see.

"Why, they're all blank!" I told him, so shocked I even forgot what I'd come for.

"Regrettably, I must disappoint you," the Imaginator stated with a subtle smirk, "but as you can see, we're all out of ideas. They've all been used up. I couldn't even tell you what color they were. Good day."

"But you have to help me!" I implored, leaning forward over the top of his desk, "I have no idea what I'm going to do otherwise." The futility of what I'd said dawned on me like the sun going down. He was waiting for me to leave.

"Here," the Imaginator said, moving suddenly to retrieve something from his desk, which he then tossed into my hands, "have a light bulb."

Story #300

12 comments:

ariel said...

"A story. I want to write a story, a special story. A masterpiece, perhaps."

I loved it. those words make it.

lula said...

And as you hold the light bulb it glowed brighter than ever, for you discover the true source of elecro imagination flows from the gyro inside yourself, not from out there.

Doug said...

Indie, and I say this without encouragement or comfort, I think this was the masterpiece. The perfect story for this site. I'm speechlessish.

Indeterminacy said...

Ariel: Gee thanks Ariel. I'm glad you found something memorable for you. I always want there to be at least one phrase that stands out like that (although I never know which one, if any, that will be)

Lulu: If I believe that, who am I going to blame if I can't think of a story! But of course, you're right. Although without the the photos, there would be no catalyst.

Doug: You can't just keep going around and picking out new masterpieces! What would Ambrose say? You already have a favorite (the belly dancer).

viruswitch said...

This was a very nice story. I really loved it due to its imaginative nature. It makes up for all the few days that you havent posted a story! And yet, I believe you are a cyber hero for managing to post so many stories so regurarly. Why not make a sequel of this story? I want to know what happened when you took the bulb home and examined it carefully.. :D

Indeterminacy said...

Thanks Sunray. This week was hectic at work, and then my printer stopped working - but at least I got that going again. I'm so dependent on chekcing the stories in the train to work in the morning. I hope to have a good week next week. I'll think about a sequel, but I'm just not good with sequels.

Now I'm going to see if I can find a halloween picture to post for the weekend stories.

Tom & Icy said...

On the Alien Guy we make up the story idea and then find or create a picture to illustrate it. Lula was a guest. She played as the Dog Face Girl after Dr. Doo Doo of the Pansi Files gave her plastic surgery. We consider that interactive creativity.

Doug said...

Beethoven wrote a half dozen masterpieces that I can think of and this is only your second.

I do think this post is the perfect expression of this site.

Don't worry, I'm not blowing smoke up your butt,

Indeterminacy said...

Thanks Doug. Really. But don't I get 1 masterpiece per hundred? Seriously, I wonder if the added time and thought between the stories is what made it work? Maybe I really should go to every other day posting. I'd often thought that a lot of the earlier stories could be expanded with dialogue and more description of interaction, but there just wasn't time to work them out in that way.

weirsdo said...

Really, Doug, I think Beethoven did a bit better than that. Just offhand, there are the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 9th Symphonies, the final quartets, the violin concerto, the Emperor piano concerto, and I would say the Missa Solemnis.
On Indie, I agree with you. This was a great story. Again, I was reminded of Kafka, but there was whimsy here too, and it mixed well.

Doug said...

Well Weirsdo, if I had a couple more degrees I might argue with you.

And yes, Indie. You're one behind.

Indeterminacy said...

Doug: I knew something had to be wrong with your computation. Their are five piano concertos and each of them masterpieces, and then there's the 5th and 9th symphony and the moonlight sonata. They must be masterpieces otherwise people wouldn't keep hearing about them.

One behind? Couldn't it be that you missed a story?