Thursday, May 21, 2009

Idea 40 - The Summit Of Our General Discomfort

Hemingway ain't got nuthin' on me. I mean, he does, or did before he bought it -- you know, he had actual talent, and an amazing collection of experiences, and he was good in fights and stuff. But that doesn't mean I cant write a terse, spare short story in which the matter-of-fact depiction of extraordinary lifestyles seems to somehow judge the reader for living so boringly. See if you can tough this one out:

McCutcheon neared the summit with Gabongo trailing. He knew he would have to leave the damned Sherpa behind and he was angry. "Mister Mac, you slow down some, you will die of the height sickness."

He knew the silly fool was right, of course, but there was climbing to be done and the peak beckoned and he would either survive it or he wouldn't.

"Go back to the village, you old donkey. Tell Missus Mac to go shopping in town, tell her I'm simply resting." McCutcheon burned from his last failed attempt at summiting, from the scorn he either received or imagined from the fellows at the Antler Cafe on the Rue de la Montagne, where the last light of the heartless arctic day reached through the Pass and reflected gaily off the small tables where the soldiers sat over their grappas and wept.

"Useless bugger," he muttered, as his ancient guide shambled down the slope.

A moment later, he observed how cold the night had become when his fingers fell off.


I'm the one who wrote this, and even I feel like I'm on that mountain with McCutcheon, or perhaps in the cafe with those soldiers, those old-young souls whose wounds will never heal.

Crap! I'm still writing like him! What if I'm stuck like this?! I'll be such a dick!

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