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Prompted: broken

gin. on Twitter has a Patreon and I’m a patron of hers and she sends me a writing prompt every Thursday. I’m going to try to use every prompt this year and publish them here, and at the end of the year I’ll stuff them together in a book and see if anyone will toss money at me in exchange for reading them all in one place.


I wish I knew what to say, but I don’t.

I never do.

“I’m sorry” gets old.

It’s never enough.

“I’m sorry,” I say anyway, because saying nothing is worse.

“You don’t have to apologize,” she lies.

I can be silent now that I’ve apologized, so I stare at my feet, which is a mistake. I can see the shattered pieces of whatever it is that I’ve just broken. Evidence of my unfortunate talent.

How do I know she’s lying? I can hear you screaming the question at me.

Because they always are. Polite words betrayed by sighs, irritation radiating off like heatwaves that cause the air to ripple in the distance. What else can I expect, though, when my mere presence causes such havoc?

I can’t blame them for being angry. They have that right.

I’m not just clumsy, you know. It’s more than that. I seem to invite fragile things to leap into the air and fling themselves against hard surfaces when I’m near. Floors, walls…bathtubs (more than once).

It’s a problem.

I’m so lost in my thoughts that I’m ashamed to say I nearly jump out of my skin when she puts her hand on my sleeve.

I’d forgotten she was still there.

She snatches her hand back, but her body doesn’t move.

My eyes stay on my feet, despite being startled, and so I see her crouch down to examine the carnage. The pieces catch the light and look like they want to dance, and she picks up some of the larger pieces to examine them.

“They’re perfect,” she says.

Wait. What?

“I can totally use these. They’re exactly what I needed!”

“What are you talking about?”

She picks through the sparkling pile and gathers particular pieces. They’re all broken, I can’t imagine what good they are to her.

I start again when she jumps back to her feet. She has ignored the smallest and largest pieces. They lay in the street, in the sun, evidence of my destructive power.

Damn it.

“Come with me,” she invites. She’s got her shards gathered in the pocket of her shirt so they don’t cut her hands. One holds the pocket together, the other beckons me to follow.

I’m curious enough to do it, maybe because once I offer a slight nod, she turns and starts walking and doesn’t look back to see if I follow. It makes me feel a little less intrusive. A bit less guilty.

She really doesn’t seem to mind.

Then again, maybe she’s taking me to a trap, where she can beat the price of whatever I broke out of me.

But she doesn’t seem like that type. She seems sweet and genuine, and yes, there’s no way to be able to tell that, but it kind of sits on her like a hat.

Or maybe an aura, but I can’t see those. Anyway, it’s just a feeling.

She doesn’t dart, but she doesn’t dawdle, either. She leads for long enough to make me think I should stop and let her go on ahead, to let the crowd swallow her up. I’m about as good at second guessing as I am at breaking things.

Just when my feet are ready to stop and I’ve convinced myself that she didn’t really mean it, and she was just being nice, she pauses. She looks back, and smiles, and hooks a sharp right into a doorway.

And because she looked and smiled, my feet keep moving.

She’s disappeared from the doorway once I reach it, and I’m as careful as I can be as I move through it. I’m careful of my elbows, and my feet. My hips tend to brush against tottering tables with expensive vases, so I keep an eye out for any of those.

I’m so busy trying to keep track of my parts and make sure nothing fragile encounters me, that I don’t notice the space.

“Over here,” she calls.

She’s across the room. I look at the expanse I have to cross, and then forget to be careful.

It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing to break – everything has already been broken.

Mosaics made of of broken pots and vases, and other fragile, breakable things cover the floor, reassembled from their pieces into illustrations of themselves. One doesn’t walk on art, but there’s no choice. The center path is worn smooth but is no less vibrant for that fact.

The sun falls through a window and illuminates a spot ahead, and I walk toward it. Toward her.

“I only get to keep the pieces that break,” she explained. “And I can’t bring myself to break them, even when they’re not usable.”

She gestures to a shelf, and I look.

Malformed mugs. Collapsed vases. Magnificently painted and fired, but imperfect.

“I can’t break them,” she says with a sheepish smile. “I love them too much, but when they are broken, they become beautiful again.”

Oh.

“I can help with that.”

Prompted: indulge me

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter lately and there’s a person there promoting her Patreon (as one does), which I have an odd fascination with, and she’s very motivational, and I thought…okay. I’ll be her patron for a small monthly amount because A) I can use some extra motivation, and B) it looks like she’s close to a goal and maybe I can push her over the threshold. (I didn’t, actually, but it was worth a shot.)

One thing gin. does is she puts on Patreon a creative prompt one day a week, and I’m going to start doing the prompts. I’m not going to edit them or think really hard about them, I’m just going to do some creating.

Buckle in.

Prompt complements of gin. (@showupforthis and showupforthis.com).

indulge me

“I’d like a room, please.”

“Of course.” clickity clickity “We have one room available tonight.”

“What kind of room?”

“The most expensive kind, with the softest towels and bed linens, and the largest shower, and the most luxurious bath.”

“Does it come with any free things?”

clickity clickity clickity “In fact it does. There are many free things. Would you like to activate them?”

“I would, please. Thank you.”

click click…stab “Very fine. Your free things will await you in your room. Is there anything else?”

“No, this should do just fine.”

“Very well.” click print whrrrrrr “If you could please sign over your firstborn child.”

scribble scribble…return “Here.”

“Lovely.” beam “I hope you enjoy your stay at our fine establishment. Use extension 9 if you need assistance with any of your free things, and extension 6 if you would like to spend ridiculous amounts of money for any reason. We would love to take your money from you.” lusty sigh

elevated eyebrow “Thank you?” back away…slowly

step step step step

finger trails on walls

slight finger waves toward surveilance cameras

step step step…button push

wait

elevator

step step step step

“I believe this is my room.”

“Indeed, it is.”

“Are you one of my free things?”

“I am.” blank face…no eyes, no nose, no mouth, just an almond shape meant to imply an actual face “I am your butler.”

“Will you open my door, then?” pause “Thank you.”

“Your room contains all the free things available at this ridiculously expensive level. Your free computer with six bonus monitors and faster than fast network connection is resting on the antique desk in the corner. The chair has been upgraded to the Special Elite Gamer Chair with Reclining and Waste Removal function so you never have to leave it if you desire.”

“That is a rather attractive feature.” face scrunch resembling disgust

“As I have been told. Your very tall and very large bed has been made with the sumptuously soft bedding – another of your free things – and a small elevation panel has been installed to assist you in getting in to your bed to sleep.” pause “However, taking in your height, it’s possible you may not need it as many of our patrons do.”

“That is a possibility.”

“Indeed. Continuing, the closet, just over there,” point “contains an entire wardrobe that is customized to your measurements that we received when you signed over your firstborn at registration, including – but not limited to – a ball gown and appropriate prescious stone laden accessories worth more than your firstborn could ever manage to pay back in its lifetime, a replication of every item of clothing you have ever worn, and a super suit.”

“A super suit?”

nod “In case you find yourself in need of disguise while fighting crime. We also received the most likely possibilities of what your superpowers would be by analyzing your history of entertainment consumption.”

“I hope it’s pink, with sparkles.”

nod “It may also contain a rainbow cape. I couldn’t possibly say.”

bounce excite…cough “Is that all?”

“Not in the least. There is a stash of money hidden under the bed in the event you need to ransom someone. A pile of passports and alternate identities are in the lower left rear desk drawer for every conceivable city-state currently in existance, and an additional one for The Place Where The United States Once Stood, if you’re feeling particularly,” pause “inclined to move your expiration date forward.”

“I am not.” thoughtful “May I keep that one as a souveneir?”

“You may. As a reminder, all free things are yours for life, provided you meet all 42-7 criteria in the contract you signed at registration.”

polite “Thank you!”

irritated “May I continue?”

contained “Of course.”

“Any meal you choose to order will be brought to your door in 30 seconds or less, by penalty of death, and your food selection is restricted only by your allergies. There is a full and complete collection of all published books ever in the Library of Infinite Shelving, and it can be accessed through that very narrow door in the corner.”

“That seems inconvenient.”

“The very narrow door is much larger than its description would indicate.”

scoff “If you say so.”

“I do. Now, please remember to feed the Norwegian Forest Cat that we have derived as your pet of choice, as I believe he may be quite hungry after 248 years of stasis and inclined to eat limbs that are not carefully guarded.”

“I will be sure to order for him, first.”

“And don’t let him out of your room, as he has already gnawed through my last good foot while I stood here giving your tour.”

glance “I will make sure to give you an ample head start.” snicker

“And do not, under any circumstances, get the pillow wet with tears. It invalidates your contract.”

blink “The blankets are fine, though, if I feel the need to cry?”

pause process pause search…zero results “The blankets are fine.”

“Then I will be sure to cover the pillows.”

“That is all we ask. Is everything to your satisfaction?”

“Indeed. I feel very…indulged.”

“And that is all we ever hope for. Please call me if you require my assistance with anything during your stay.”

“Thank you very much.”

pause “No, I couldn’t possibly accept your non-existent attempt to offer me gratuity. You are too kind.” sarcasm

“I do what I can. You are excused, now.”

“Certainly.” blip

alone silence perfection

“Brrrowr?”

irritation “How about an android foot for dinner?”

fin