Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Three Wishes (1500 word writing exercise from Chuck Wendig)

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

Clive entered the building, his professional face firmly locked in position. As usual he was greeted
variously,  with deference,enthusiasm or anxiety. He could see the interns like playful puppies, willing
to do anything the Master required while senior staff lowered their eyes and backed away or
switched on wary smiles. His gaze swept past his employees as he saw a wealthy client
'Jacqueline, Dearest. You look fantastic. You grow lovelier every time I see you.' He brushed
her cheek with his lips.
'Where were you last night, did you stand me up?' she hissed in his ear.
'I'm sorry we missed you yesterday, Wendy had a cold. May I call you to discuss another meeting?'
She looked him in the eye. 'If you're not too busy please do.'
Was there a glitter in those eyes? Clive wondered if Jackie was getting possessive.

He walked into his suite hushing his secretary as she handed him a sheaf of papers.
'No calls, no coffee.' He said closing his office door before she could respond.
He sank into his armchair and gazed at the Thames.
'I'm getting stale. I'm entirely dis-enchanted with architecture. I need a change.' He sighed and
watched the boats chugging up and down river. 'They know where they're going, lucky bastards.
What's left for me? I've done it all already.'
'So, money don't buy you happiness?' squeaked a voice from the curtain rail.
'No, It's just another load of manure ....' Clive looked around, at a loss to locate the person
speaking. 'Have I got talking mice now or am I finally losing my mind?'
'I'm not a mouse Stupid. I'm a fairy' came in answer and now Clive saw movement overhead.
Something winged and brown fluttered above him.
'A fairy?'
'Don't freak out. It's a weird world, I should know.'
Clive stared 'You don't look like a fairy, aren't you supposed to be pretty and colourful?'
'Listen Chum, forget fantasy. I am a fairy, there's a reason for the colouration. I'm incognito.'
'You're likely to be swatted with a copy of 'The Telegraph' look like a horsefly. What are
you doing here ?'
'Your name has reached the top of The List.' The fairy made an excited face.
'Do you mean a Wish list, the magical kind?'
'Uhuh. Your turn, 3 wishes. Don't ask why, I don't make the list. I'm only doing my job.'
'Really? said Clive ' I remember this from childhood. I get 3 wishes and you have to fulfil them?'
'I need a minute. Bear with me.' Clive grabbed a pen and started writing on his scratch pad. He
was busy for several minutes. When he looked around again the fairy was lounging against his
Ormolu inkstand. 'What you got this for? You use a Biro.' said the fairy.
'It's part of the image, I hate it.' The fairy shrugged it's shoulders.
'I've chosen my first wish. Let's start.'
The fairy pointed at the desk top where a sheet of closely typed paper now lay. 'Read and sign.
Indemnity papers.'
It took ten minutes for Clive to check over. 'It looks okay but I should have my lawyers look at it.'
'Sorry, no third parties. Sign or I go, I've got loads of Wishees waiting.'
Clive grimaced but signed, his hand shaking from sudden excitement.
'Tell me your wish.'
'I want to be outdoors I'm sick of offices. Give me sun, sand, and space.'
The fairy said 'Close your eyes. No peaking.' then he tapped Clive on the head.

'Now open'.
Clive was definitely outdoors; there were hills, mountains and a river running past his feet. There
was also hot sunshine and sand..... between rocks, lots of rocks. Looking down slope Clive noticed a
scruffily dressed man with a cowboy hat, he was hunched over a garden sieve.
'Good Morning.' said Clive.
The man started and staggered to his feet. He was holding a rifle, the barrel pointed at Clive.
'Where you from Stranger?'
'London. Where is this?'
'California. How'd you get here?'
'I don't know to be honest. What are you doing?'
The rifle rose to firing position. 'Fixin' ter shoot.' said the man.
'I mean you no harm'. Clive was afraid, this felt too real.
'Well you ain't armed, so mebbe that's true. I'm doing a little panning. Rush is over now, not much
gold, but enough fer coffee and rifle shells. I was a preacher man, retired three years ago.'
'Have you been here ever since?'
'Pretty much. It's peaceful.'
'You don't get lonely?'
'God talks to me, so nope I don't get lonely.'
'It must be a hard life . Where do you stay?'
'I got a little place, it's hid away. I ain't showin' you where.' The man unlocked the safety catch.
'No, quite, that's sensible, I'm just curious. Do you see many people?'
'See Indians down at the trading post; good folks, we chat about the Great Spirit sometimes.' He
grinned. 'I like it alone, you know.' He waved the rifle towards the hills.
'Yes. Yes, I see. One more question if that's okay.' There was a nod.
Clive swallowed 'What year is this?'
'1857 why?'
'No reason. Thanks. I must be off. Goodbye.' Clive turned .........

And there was his office and the fairy.
'You didn't say you'd send me back in time.'
'Didn't ask.' The fairy rubbed his toe along the desk top, smudging the polish.
'Well I need to think about the next wish. I didn't like that place.'
Clive scribbled on paper again..........................
' OK..... I'd like to go back to the Middle Ages, to Sherwood Forest. I loved
Robin Hood movies. I want to be a Merry Man.'
Clive closed his eyes, felt the tap on his head and then he was in woodland. Massive trees
surrounded a pretty glade. It looked like Spring. The trees had buds and soft green leaves. There
were flowers at his feet and mushrooms.
'Aaaaaah' he breathed deep ......'Beautiful England, this is more like it.'
Seconds later he sneezed, then again louder, his eyes watered. He pulled out a handkerchief
and felt for his nose drops, they weren't there.
Determined he set out; sneezing at frequent intervals. He'd barely crossed the glade when an
arrow thunked into the nearest tree.
......Outlaws ..... Clive looked around but could see no-one.
.....It's that Lincoln green camouflage..... He shouted. 'Hello please come out. I come in peace.'
Suddenly he was on his face in a muddy patch and something was sitting on him.
A pair of dirty boots appeared before Clive's eyes.
'What manner of creature art thou? You come unarmed into our forest. Are you a fool? ...Off Tyrell.'
The pressure lifted from Clive's back, he saw a short man with a large bow.
'Are you Robin Hood?' The face was grimy and didn't resemble Costner or Flynn.
'I am Robin of Locksley, who wants to know?
'I'm Clive of London, pleased to meet you.' and he was.
'Have you word from King Richard?'
'Well last I read, he was in some castle in Germany, he'll get back eventually. I think.'
'The King dallies too long. We needs must fight Nottingham without him. Join us, we'll find you a
bow.' They moved off accompanied by the dog carrying a brace of rabbits in it's sharp teeth.
Clive trudged along, his nose running now, hay-fever in full flow.

The Merry Men looked decidedly downcast.
'They have Ague .' said Robin.
'We're soaked through is why. Bloody weather, Bloody trees.' snarled a huge man with no teeth. He
leaned on a stick. 'My back's killing me.'
'Little John?' said Clive.
'You bein' funny?' said John.
'Er No, not much. What's cooking?' He pointed at a pot over a smoky fire.
'Rabbit stew. Every day rabbit stew. Sometimes there's no stew, sometimes no rabbit.' said a skinny,
tonsured figure.
'Are you Friar Tuck?' Clive was shocked; this was no jolly fat cleric. 'You're not what I expected.
Where's Marian?'
'Never say that strumpet's name. Have you had her too?' Robin came close holding a big knife and
grabbed Clive by his shirt. Clive panicked and closed his eyes.

He peeked.................................................... and the fairy was laying on his blotting pad, whistling. Clive shouted angrily.
'I was almost killed ! Two wishes and both absolute rubbish. You're a poor excuse for a fairy.'
The fairy burst into tears.
'Can't help it....sniff. Didn't want this job. They'll laugh.'
'Who will laugh?'
'Other Elves. I'm not fairy, fairies borin'.... sniff, but they were short-handed.'
'You Fraud. I should report you to some authority, you have authorities don't you?'
'Yes, but please, forgive me, it's my first day, I'll get in big trouble else.'
The Elf sobbed.
Clive knew he was being soft, but the Elf's tears unnerved him.
'All right. Calm down. I won't tell anyone.
The Elf grinned.
'Ta ever so. I'll do you a favour. I'll give you contentment for your last wish. You didn't ask for that
but I reckon it's what you need. Close eyes!'
Clive obeyed. When he opened them again his office was empty, but for a soft,warm glow. He felt
weepy, he loved everything now, even the Ormolu inkstand.

Just over the 1500 allowance. In case it wasn't apparent:
Clive was number 10 on the list, the Fairy was number 49.The Californian was number 14, Robin Hood number 6 and Clive became number 22 at the end.

No comments: