Here’s my entry into the 2017 Write Around the Murray Nanostory competition.
The task: write a 50 word (exactly!) story. This year, the theme word was shadow. The title is not included in the word count.
I’m sure you can see what I’ve done. It’s far more obvious that last year’s obscure effort!
Penelope is my boss. ‘Pen Umbra Undercover Protection,’ she answers the phone. Dark and dim are our daily duty. When trust clouds, business shines. The faithless fog their indistinct way, yet we follow. Murk and dusky paths mark our way of gloom.
My employment is under a shadow.
Are you interested in joining this church?
I have lost their web address – or perhaps the website has been taken down. But I did manage to salvage the church’s own description from the page. Here it is:
Welcome to St Marcion’s
Here at St Marcion’s, we love to keep up to date and new. Why? Because Jesus is so good that he makes everything else old and unhelpful.
So we read the Bible! Well, we read the new part of the Bible. (Obviously the Old Testament is old and so different – nothing good there.) No, actually, we read some of the new part of the Bible (even the New Testament has some ‘Old Testament’ hangovers, they’re easy to spot and to ignore).
Yes, we’re completely people of the Bible.
Hmm. Maybe not for me. I’m glad that Marcion was second century AD, now long gone. No one would be so crazy or arrogant nowadays to assume that new equals good. We’re all reading Old Testament as well as New Testament.
Opinions vary. Here is a representative range of voices.
I’m just not sure about the existence of eggs and all that. Obviously I’ve seen shells, and I know how useful they are, but the whole story of yolk and egg-white … I mean, how can you know? I personally know people who are convinced that eggs exist, and I’m cool with that. I can see how it helps them face up to eggshells.
Eggs don’t exist, that’s certain. We all know about eggshells and the shape they give to life. Once we think with maturity, we know that’s all there is – just a shell. The whole egg-myth is a creative back-story. Perhaps it was originally used to explain the need to look after the eggshell, or to explain it to the young. But now the egg-myth is a means of control: ‘You must believe in the egg to explain the eggshell.’ Baloney!
I am convinced that eggs are real. For me, it’s not that the shell forced people to create the idea of ‘eggness’. No, it’s that the existence of eggs gave rise to the shape of eggshells. I’ve heard people say that the simplest explanation is better – that the shell is all there is – but that sounds like a claim that half-reality is better than whole-reality. Anyway, I’m sure about the historic account of the broken egg. I know I didn’t see the yoke run out, but others did.
I’m part of a group of egg-believers, yes. Though I think it’s more out of habit than strong conviction. I certainly like the way we treat the eggshell. I find that my view of the egg itself varies: perhaps there is an egg, perhaps just an egg-white, perhaps nothing. In my heart of hearts, I think it probably doesn’t matter, as long as we all behave nicely about the eggshell. I don’t want to offend the strong egg-believers I hang around with, yet I feel they’re a bit over the top at times, even embarrassing.
- Distraction was not invented by social media, but by a mind trying to pray
- The day you really can concentrate on morning prayer is also the day the fascinating colourful birds frolic outside the window
- The invisible cafe worker collects amazingly loud crockery the instant you pray with your friend
- Eyes closed for prayer causes amnesia for names, starting with people in the same room
- The quietest person when sharing prayer points has the loudest tummy rumbles in prayer time
- The moment for prayer is also the moment for long-lost friends to call or to send a text message – and the phone volume setting is 100%
- Our most accurate and complete shopping lists are assembled during prayer
- While finding the perfect Bible verse to pray for a friend, the copyright notice becomes strangely compelling reading
- We know exactly how many times he said “yeah, Lord”, but have no memory of what he asked God
- Everyone else sounds so heartfelt, and they never stumble in their words
So, says Jesus, stick at prayer!
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
The parable is in Luke 18:1-8.
This is the standard frost warning sign we see in Australia. I don’t know if it’s a universal warning, but I can see that it’s clear.
On holidays recently I saw a different version. No image, just words (and no photograph either, sorry):
Reduce speed when frosty
Perhaps it was a warning about the driver, not the road surface. Imagine if the drove home from holiday with all seven hours chilled by my frosty irritation at some tiny offence. Awful!
So, in the interests of family and driving-partner harmony, I have a series of suggested road signs that alert us to the dangers inside the car.
Stop grunting when grumpy
Don’t blame others when lost
Avoid trans fats when stressed
Indicate when carsick
Count to 10 upon hearing ‘Are we there yet?’
Perhaps these are not the most needed signs. Your experience is essential – what is needed beside our roads? Put your ideas in the comments.
And if you feel like designing a proper sign based on these (or other) ideas, I’d love to see it. Post the link or send it to me to display a properly good-looking image.
I always get a laugh passing this road. I truly hope that the abattoir and the rifle range are not one and the same activity.
To assist in following the World Cup Finals, now consuming South Africa:
- World Cup finals will debut a new and controversial ball.
- Each finals game is to be accompanied by swarms of tuneless plastic trumpets.
- Commentators, if English-speaking, must mention Maradona’s ‘hand of God’ goal from last century.
- The hosts of World Cup finals will play better than their world ranking will suggest.
- The favourite team of the finals will have an attacking focus, the winning team will have a defensive formation. (This law enacted in the mid-1970s.)
- Football being a professional sport, a number of experts will tally the worth (so-called) of teams such as Argentina, Spain and Italy. No one will bother to do this for Australia.
- There will be at least one tear-filled red-card/yellow-card tragedy: a player booked will recognise that he is thereby ineligible for the next match.
- England will dream of 1966, but experience the same tabloid headlines as usual (‘Shame’, ‘Cup empty again’, ‘England expects … heads to roll’, etc).
- Semi-finals will produce better football than the final.
- Though players will constantly claim a throw-in or corner kick when not warranted, they will still fume in outrage when an important decision goes against them. It’s not hypocrisy, it’s a failure of refereeing.
- Lasting images will be of exquisite skill and of the beautiful game showing off its best moments.
There’s a big bike race tomorrow. I will read the reports – of course it’s not televised in Australia. (Yes, I will probably watch the last 10-20 minutes when it gets posted to You Tube. Probably with Flemish or Dutch commentary.)
For the sake of budding cycling journalists, here’s the SI format for a race report (X means insert a number, N means insert a name):
At the start of N Race, X riders rolled out from town N.
Attacks in the first X time kept the pace high until a break of X riders formed that the main field was happy to get away.
The maximum gap gained by the break was X minutes, while team N patrolled the front of the peloton as punishment for not getting a man into the escape group.
By X km from the finish it was clear that (the escape was doomed)/(the escape would succeed). Then began the jostling for position in the (peloton)/(breakaway group).
At distance X from the end, rider N gave his all in search of glory. As it became clear, his all was (good enough)/(not good enough).
After crossing the line in victory, N said, ‘I had great legs today, great sensations. This is a result for the team. It’s great preparation for next week’s race N.’
Runner-up N looked disconsolate, but said, ‘He just was stronger than me today.’
A second post in one day. I felt the need for something less frustrating, more funny.
I was reading a description of a professional bike (here it is) – it’s unlike any bike I will ever ride. It’s a new model, with secret blah blah blah. You know, technical stuff that makes a difference of 0.1%. Fine for professionals, fine for me to look at pictures, but the team/manufacturer go all secretive about the development.
And I read this:
Trek [manufacturer] and Astana [cycling] team staff would not permit close photos of the frame, as it is likely to change going forward.
So here’s a bike frame that, when going forward, changes? Into what? Perhaps a species of frog, or roast vegetables. I wish the journo read the piece before, to avoid such a crazy unintended joke.
Reminds me of one of cycling’s bigger drug scandals in recent years. Operation Puerto blew up just prior to the 2006 Tour de France. The best response I heard, from more than one cyclist and commentator: yes it’s unfortunate, but we must all stay positive.