Friday, August 10, 2007

Free Write Friday

Two weeks now...ok.

Winning suggestion comes from the wife.

"Sam is late because the 8 ball doesn't give him an answer as to what to do next- he spends most of the days (hours or whatever) before the meeting asking tons of questions and getting answers from the 8 ball that tell him what to do and he is faced with a critical decision directly before going to the meeting and the 8 ball does nothing so he is frozen like a bomb pop in an ice cream truck and decides on his own to..."


Ben was frowning at Sam that night, as Sam sat on the floor, legs straight out in front of him under the coffee table, the Eight Ball resting on the table like it was his dinner. Ben continued to frown at Sam, but Sam just sat resolutely staring at the Eight Ball, so Ben flipped his frown around the apartment. He frowned at the rabbit foot dangling from a hook just inside the door, the only adornment on the walls. He frowned at the impossibly white ceiling and the impossibly off white carpet. He frowned at the closed door to what he presumed to be the bedroom. He frowned at the entrance to the kitchen, frowned at the half-glimpsed refrigerator humming tunelessly, the neat stack of dirty dishes next to the sink. He frowned at his friend again.

"Maybe you should call off on Monday, Sam."

"No, I already asked. It said there would be no need to."

"Sam, nobody really lets those things govern their lives, you's just like rolling a dice, it's controlled by chance."

"No, it's not just like rolling a dice. It's exactly like rolling a dice. Only this isn't your usual Magic Eight Ball, this is the real deal."

Ben bent down and snatched the object from in front of Sam, who looked up with a mixture of anger and fear.

Ben turned it over and shook it, asking, "Is my friend Sam losing his mind?"

Sam shot up and looked as Ben turned it over. "I hadn't thought to ask it that yet," Sam confessed.

The eight ball read, "All signs point to no." Sam sighed in relief and Ben laughed.

"See?" Ben guffawed. "Totally useless. Doesn't know a thing. Couldn't predict the sunset."

"But no, I keep telling you, it's telling me things."

"That's what it's designed to do. It's designed to be a novelty, but there are a select few in the world who take these things too seriously...and if I had known how serious you would take these things, I probably wouldn't have recommended you for the job. Mr. Vanderheyden himself considered you to be kind of squirrely."

Sam set the Eight Ball back down on the table. "Have you ever seen me with one of these before?"

Ben considered for a moment. "No."

"Follow me," Sam said, walking past Ben to the closed bedroom door.

When the door opened, Ben was overwhelmed; piles of books, what looked to be thousands of them, covered six very immense bookshelves. There was no bed in the room. Sam turned the light on and Ben saw even more to surprise him on a seventh bookshelf; plastic bins lined the bottom shelf of one case, each bin full of a different color Rabbit's Foot. The next shelf up contained shoeboxes, stacked three high running six accross, each witha different label. Ben could read only a few, but they said things like Ouija Board Keychains, Worry Stones and Four Leaf Clover Buttons. A Notre Dame Fighting Irish display seemed to occupy the next shelf up, and on the fourth, a row of Magic Eight Balls, many still in their boxes.

"Jesus, don't you ever throw anything away?" Ben looked at Sam, who was making the sign of the cross.

"You shouldn't use the Lord's name in vain, it's bad luck. And it's also bad luck to throw out a present somebody gives you. So I keep them all. But I know what's real and what's not." He pointed to the shelf full of Eight Balls. "Those are toys, useless for making decisions." He pointed towards the living room. "That thing is real. It knows things. It says things no other Eight Ball has ever said. It knows my name."

Ben had asked the Eight Ball a dozen questions already that evening, and each time he had recieved a standard response; it had never once displayed Sam's name, or Ben's name. Ben was still wondering what was wrong with his friend when Sam ran back out into the living room. He returned, to Ben's disappointment, with the Eight Ball he was obsessing over.

"You said you couldn't see it? Fine, we'll try again. Eight Ball, can Ben see the same answers I do?"

The Eight Ball said, "No."

"That doesn't prove anything," Ben said.

"Can anyone else see the answers I can?" Sam asked, not paying attention to Ben.


"So there are others!" Sam exclaimed, but the Eight Ball seemed to think it had been a question. As Ben turned away, the "Yes" display changed.

"This Is Getting Tedious, Sam."

"There!" Sam shouted, reaching for Ben and jostling the Eight Ball in his enthusiasm.

"What?" Ben said skeptically, looking around.

"There!" Sam shouted again, pointing at the Eight Ball. But as he looked, his face fell.

Where a second ago the display had read, "This Is Getting Tedious, Sam," it now read, "Can Not Predict Now."


I apologize, readers. I am not yet finished, but it is dinner time, and time to go out for my Friday evening. I promise you I will finish this in the next twenty four hours. Promise.


Molly said...


Becca said...

Elliot, the suspense is KILLING me!

marty/bridget said...

did you say the next 24 hours? hmmmmmmmmmm...someone can't tell time!

the wife said...

my bad- I kept him out to late-
I will tell him to finish it soon- loving it thus far though:)

Elliot said...

I was going to argue that I am well within the bounds of 24 hours if you're using metric time, but a quick google search proved that I am even late by those standards. I will finish this later today, but right now, I am sore and at work.

gerald said...


marty/bridget said...

it is now tuesday afternoon.
promises, promises! b.