Presentation on theme: "Original image: Restaurant Window by Dan Iggers on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license.Restaurant WindowDan Iggers on FlickrCC."— Presentation transcript:
Original image: Restaurant Window by Dan Iggers on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license.Restaurant WindowDan Iggers on FlickrCC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Aaba n PROJECT CHIRON STORY RELAY #01 DECEMBER 2012
he main course was served, a tray of oven-baked ham topped with pineapples. Flushed pink and tender, the meat oozed as he cut a slice for himself. He was about to take a bite when movement from outside caught his attention. Round, hungry eyes gazed at the Christmas ham on his plate. Standing outside the restaurants window was a scrawny runt of a child, dirty face pressed against the glass. He stilled his hands and turned his face away. He wanted to avoid that longing gaze, those soot-streaked cheeks. Why isnt the security guard shooing this child away? He felt a flush of annoyance. T PROJECT CHIRON 1/15
Looking back to his carefully prepared meal, Anthony gingerly poked his fork through the piece of meat he had just sliced away from the larger chunk of pork. The annoyance he felt from the rude intrusion turned to a bitter feeling of guilt. There was a tap at the window and Anthony did his best to ignore the unexpected source of moral discomfort. He hoped that guilt had not ruined his appetite. He raised the slice of ham and stuffed it all into his mouth in one swift condescending gesture. He threw yet another look at the window. The child had not moved, his face steady, his chin jutting out as though he challenged Anthonys altruism. Or so Anthony felt. Resisting every kind impulse, he started to make assumptions about the child in his head. This could be just another modus of a syndicate in this crime-stricken city. He was startled out of his reverie when his phone rang. He picked it up and the sound of his long-time partners voice reminded him why he was in the restaurant in the first place. 2/15
Anthony, are you still there? I had to finish some paperwork here in the hospital but Ill be right there in a few minutes. Did you start eating without me again? You pig, Brandon teased. Well, hurry up before I lose my appetite, Anthony replied and glanced at the little boy who was still standing there, his eyes glued to Anthonys meal. Hmm? Whats up? Brandon asked, sensing irritation in Anthonys response. Oh, just get over here. Youll see. I have a feeling hes going to be here a while. He? Someones there with you? No, Anthony sighed. Its a beggar. Just dont mind the thing, Brandon said, irked. 3/15
Just hurry up because yes, I started without you. It was only a bite though, to make sure the meats good. And only so you wont eat more than your share. Anthony remembered last year when Brandon had complained about the steak they had at another restaurant across town. That place went out of business, to say the least. How thoughtful, Brandon replied, snapping him back to reality again. We can always order some more. Whats the use of working like dogs if we dont enjoy its perks? The comment made the guilt growing inside Anthony ebb a little. It was only right to enjoy the little luxuries in life he could afford, wasnt it? After all, why feel guilty for this child when he had parents who could work? The child himself could work too, Anthony thought while reminding himself not to turn his gaze. 4/15
He does have parents, doesnt he? Anthony absentmindedly asked aloud, forgetting Brandon was still on the line. What did I just tell you? Brandon snapped. Ignore the runt. Ill be there in five. Stop eating without me and try to get a table away from the window. Tell them I requested it. Anthony ended the call, his fingers clasped, his head down. He had lost his appetite. It wasnt because of the sordid view of the starving boy outsideit was because of Brandons indifference. His thoughts turned to Brandon, and himself, and the several odd jobs they had taken until they rose through the ranks. He looked out the window and at the child who was still there. He paid the bill and motioned for the boy to come inside. 5/15
hirty minutes later, Brandon arrived at the Café des 2 Moulins but there was no longer anyone waiting for him. Brandon zipped up his jacket and walked out of the restaurant. He was about to press redial when his phone rangit was Anthony. I … I hid … they did not see me. The voice was so unfamiliar Brandon could not help but glance at the display, hoping to see the callers face. Who is this? Where is Anthony?! T 6/15
He... he... screamed. They said, Get the keys from the faggot! Brandons knees gave under him. Oh my God … Where is he?! Alley, behind drugstore … next to …, Anthony rasped, his voice faint, pained. Shhh … its alright, honey, I know where you are. Im coming, baby. Im there. Brandon was about to round the bend when a boy of about eight grabbed his hand. They punched and kicked. The big man hit him, the boy explained and held out a rusty pipe. He pulled Brandon into a dark alley, almost completely obscured from the street. 7/15
And there was Anthony, his left leg twisted the way only broken limbs could. There was a growing bloodstain on his abdomen. His face was … Brandon could not bear to look. He focused on the blood-soaked rag pressed to Anthonys forehead. Despite the shock, his brain registered it as the boys shirt. Approaching footsteps brought Brandon back. He saw the boy running towards them and behind him, about five people. A car screeched. Arms were gently moving him away from Anthony. Sir, are you alright? Please stand back so we can help him. An ambulance is waiting at the corner of 37th and 12th. Hurry! 8/15
Dazed, Brandon could only watch. Suddenly, he felt a tug on his shirt. The big men, they did not see me. I ran to get this, said the boy, showing Anthonys battered phone. When … when … they took his car … I ran to him. His head … there was blood … He said, Help me. Press this, pointing at the speed-dial button for Brandons number. Brandon fell to his knees, pulled the boy towards him and sobbed. He felt small hands gently patting his back and the top of his head. He drew back and looked at the child in whose glazed eyes he saw a mind not quite whole. Thank you. The scrawny runt of a child, face dirty, smiled at him. 9/15
The nice man, he gave me ham. It had pineapples. Brandon sighed, feeling helpless. Keep it together, keep it together, he told himself. He chanted it over and over again in his head to keep himself steady. Being a mess wouldnt be much help to Anthony and the child. The child! He looked down at the little boy, who couldnt be more than eight. He was small and he was skinny, but that was probably what constant hunger did to a person. The boy was hugging himself and shaking. Whats your name? Brandon asked, trying to keep his voice from cracking. Keep it together, keep it together. 10/15
Umm... Aaban, Sir. Aaban. Brandon then thought to himself, Aaban, where have I heard that name before? Forgetting the uneasy familiarity the childs name brought him, Brandon thanked Aaban again, then moved to follow the police officers carrying Anthony down the alley toward a pair of EMTs bringing a stretcher. Brandon caught up with the group as they were about to load Anthony and the stretcher into the waiting ambulance. Brandon, Anthony called out to him weakly. Im here, Brandon was at his side right away. Brandon, what about Aaban? Anthony whispered. 11/15
Dont worry about it now, dear. Ill take care of things, Brandon squeezed his hand in reassurance. Anthony managed a weak smile, managed it despite his bloodied state. Then he closed his eyes and rested. 12/15
aban walked up to the window and pressed his face against the glass, looking in. The interiors were as he remembered them. The same still life of fruit bowls and flower vases hung on the walls. Families and couples attended to their meals, each table a closed island of intimacy. Aaban moved to stand right outside the corner table next to the window where he had seen a lonely man and a sumptuous leg of ham many years ago. The table was free. Smiling, he moved away from the glass, strode to the door, and let himself in. He was met by the head waiter who smiled and ushered him to an empty corner table. A 13/15
Its good to see you again, Sir. What can I do for you today? Aaban smiled at the graying head waiter. Ill have the usual, thanks. You three are such creatures of habit, the old waiter quipped as he departed. Its family tradition. In ten minutes the meat was served, flushed pink and tender. The meat oozed with maple syrup as he cut a slice for himself. He was about to take a bite when his phone rang. Sorry, Aaban, well be late. Dont worry about it, Dad. Hows the leg? Aaban asked. 14/15
Better. Those physical therapy sessions can be such a pain though, Anthony said. Dont you dare start eating without us! Aaban heard Brandon snarl a threat in the background. I cant promise anything. Its rather tempting, Aaban teased. Now, now, stop teasing your father. You know how he is about ham. Whatever, Dad. Love you, Dad. Love you, son. See you. 15/15
Contributors Joseph Acallar is a virtual assistant. He hopes to pen a fantasy novel that will overshadow Tolkiens works if only he werent plagued by writers block so often. Joseph is a companion to Siamese cats, a Labrador, and a tarantula. RK Aranas is working on the Sisyphean task that is his masters thesis in geomatics. He solves problems for karma points at the GIS Stack Exchange. Allyn Baldemors name is an anagram of label randomly an explicit instruction and a dismissive remark, a paradox short of an oxymoron. She freelances as a writer and editor. In her spare time she writes short stories and poems very few have read.
Contributors Nathan Briones takes art and online battle arena games seriously. He procrastinates but when faced with a crisis, becomes somewhat more reliable. Kiteng Cabling is tempted to give up teaching Italian for Skyrim. But as it turns out, she loves the language and her students too much. JM Dela Paz is a teacher at a semipublic school where he campaigns for world peace through childrens literature, wordplay and jokes. Gerald Piñero Dicen majors in physics and moonlights as a writer for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company. He loves his friends very much.
Contributors Solon Dolor is a freelance writer. You can catch him at the Social Barrel, where he occasionally writes about social media. Rachel Quirante is a virtual assistant and full-time mom to a beautiful son. She loves to make plushies. Raffy Raymundo is a copywriter by day, gamer by night. His favorite meal of the day is breakfast. Sue Quirante, who served as Story Master for this Relay, creates content for Project Chiron and sometimes edits for a local textbook company. She likes ham and cats.
About Story Relay Project ChironProject Chirons Story Relay is an online activity that draws from the tradition of collaborative writing. But unlike the renga poets, the Dadaists, and the Surrealists who saw each other in the flesh, Story Relay writers are faced with the paradox of our age, their physical solitude in front of the monitor and at the same time equally real presence in a vibrant, noisy virtual community. Lets start writing alone together. Visit the Rules page for more information. Or check out Project Chiron on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.Rules pageFacebook TwitterGoogle+