So the other day I churned out a three word creative exercise. I asked my good friend Lawrence (the racist) to give me three new words. I cranked this out last night at 2am. Half way through I found the right voice. You might notice the change in tone from serious and edgy to kind of child like. I think in the future I'll tone the complexity down and send it to my sister to read to my nieces. So Lawrence, buddy, this one is for you: Pixie, Snow, Universe (plus one neologism).
He shuffled through the cluttered room, amongst candle sticks, stringless guitars, furniture, boxes full of who knows what. Some would call it junk. His eyes had a tinge of red and his nose had an endless dribble of clear liquid trickling down his lip. The dust was playing havoc with his hay fever. He messily took off his glasses, dropping them on the floor in the process.
Where in blazes is he? So bloody unreliable.
The job was too big for one man – but Anthony had said he’d be here – and he had believed him – for once. He’ll be here any minute now. The light slanted in through the blinds throwing their geometric beauty through the floating jetsam of the air.
He tilted his head back and took two antihistamines. After placing his glasses on the ledge – he only needed them for driving anyway - he started again to shift the boxes and junk. He was supposed to get to a small obscured door at the back of the room. The new owner had inherited the house – and junk - from his grandfather. Apparently he wanted it all shifted from one side of the room to the other and for them to sort what was beyond the petit door. He sifted through the stuff nearest him. How did I get involved in this anyway? This was bloody Anthony’s idea.
He had gathered all the stringless guitars and leant them in the one free corner. Folding the electric piano and its rack, he balanced it precariously on top of the guitars. If it falls, it falls. Must’ve been a music teacher or something. This created some room to move. He started gathering and tetrisizing the boxes unevenly against the wall. He had moved another metre closer to the small door. Half an hour later he was getting bored with the arbitrary labour and curiosity snagged him. He started looking through the draws of a bureau that was squarely in his way. It looked old. Is that oak? He pulled down the heavy door to reveal a desk with an ink well. It was lined with red felt. A little aged but very nice condition. This’ll fetch a few yen for Mr Evans I’d say. But for now it was his to explore. There were several small drawers up the side of the desk. The top two were filled with keys, dozens and dozens of keys. Different sizes, shapes – some looked very old and had the green markings of oxidization. The bottom drawer was locked. He pulled at the handle a little harder and the handle pulled free. Shit. He hid it in the drawer with the keys. A few yen less I guess. The bigger drawers below the desktop were loaded with random tools and items; screws; doorknobs; bent nails. He picked up a strange little grey box with a dial, a power level and an auto switch on it. The dial had four options. A picture of a sun, a leaf, a flower and a snowflake. He turned the knob a few times and flicked the switch. Some kids toy. There was a load of paper work - Accounting documents from long ago which Japanese characters scribbled on them – scattered amongst them were photos. One of a family portrait at a zoo. A mother and father with two kids in front of a miserable looking zebra. It looked old – it was on some stiff photo paper. On the back was some illegible hand writing. He threw it back down and kicked the drawer shut.
“Right,” he said resolutely.
40 minutes later he was at the door and had a two-metre radius around him with which to work in. Sweat trickled down his face as he checked the small door handle. Locked - shite. Scratching his head he knew what he needed to do. With a sigh he pulled the two small drawers out of the bureau and tried every one of them – there must’ve been at least fifty keys. He jiggled each key in its lock just a little, just to check. None of them fit. He went back to the bureau grabbed a screwdriver and set to jimmying the small drawer open – scratching and ruining the woodwork in the process. If Mr Evens wants in to that room he’s going to have to pay the price. He pulled the drawer open. Revealing a small key and a small porcelain figurine. Looked like a sleeping elf. It was maybe three or so inches long and resting on some cotton. It was beautiful – the detail was so intricate. He daren’t touch the thing. It was so magnificently detailed. The door. He grabbed the key and pushed it in the lock. He slid it in and turned it smoothly.
“Can I help you?” said a loud deep voice from behind him. Assuming it was Anthony he spun around. “About time you got here! You’re so unreli-” There was no one there. “Huh. Must be hearing things.”
“Excuse me?” Said a deep voice again – the sound was close – it sounded almost like it was on top of him.
Then he saw it – him. Standing on the edge of the drawer was a tiny man - maybe three inches tall. He jumped.
“Wuh! What the! I… WHAT?”
“Are you okay?” Said the little man quickly. He wore a brown nightie with yellow trimmings and no hat.
“I – er – what are you?” he stammered.
“Who’s asking?” aske the little man curtly.
“My name is L-Lawrence.”
“Lalawrenns” His accent was strange – he’d never heard it before. He had a tiny moustache, a point in the front of his hair like Dracula and a very deep booming voice.
“I’m sorry – I just –“
“What ye-arr is it?” the miniscule man interrupted?
“Excuse me?” Lawrence said, still gathering his wits.
“The ye-arr? What ye-arr are we in? 1950? 1951?” said the tiny man rudely.
“Oh the year. It’s 2011. How long have you been there?”
“Look Lalawrenns, this is no time to play si-lla games. What is the ye-arr?”
“I’m not playing any games – um little man – it’s 2011 – er June.”
“Well something has gone wrong. I was supposed wake up for 1950 to swap shifts with Jig-Jon.”
“You’re running very late me friend,” Lawrence surmised with a little laugh. “That’s 61 years ago.”
“What did you do?” Demanded the micro fellow with a deep rumble.
“I didn’t do anything! I’m cleaning this room and unlocked your drawer to get into the cupboard here,” said Lawrence motioning at the small door that was now ajar. He swivelled his head and double took. Snow blew through the open door and was gathering on the floor near the open door.
“Eh! Snow?” Must be from outside. Wait – Snow in Tokyo. In June? Looking out the window he saw the sun still streaming through the shades. It was a balmy 35-degree day today. Then he realised the window was on the same wall as the small door.
“Now that’s weird,” he remarked his face scrunched up in confusion.
“What’s weird is me sleeping for 50 years. I’m supposed to wake up yearly to check everything is okay. The elders will be extremely angry with me – my shift ended 50 years ago.”
“What elders? There are more of you?”
“Oh come on. I don’t have time to talk with – What!” The pocket-sized person spotted the blizzard blowing out the door. “What is all that snow! Wait - what month did you say it was?” He thundered.
“Um it’s June,” Lawrence replied.
“It’s summer in our universe – why is that snow blowing out our door?” he boomed. “Where is the thermostat? What did you do?” he said as he jumped down from the drawer onto the red felt desk
“Oh that little grey box?”
“YES! YES! WHERE IS IT?” He roared.
“Here,” said Lawrence – picking it up and giving it to him gently.
It fit into the little mans hands perfectly and he flicked the switch back to auto. The blizzard immediately died down with the last of the snowflakes dropping softly to the hardwood floor. The tiny man sat down on the red felt and sighed – it sounded like a heavy gale.
“I am in trouble. Big trouble. I was already doing a double shift as punishment for sleeping through the alarm in 1947,” he said sadly.
“Can I help?” said Lawrence?
“No!” the little man snapped. “Go. Please. I need to sort this mess out with Jig-Jon and the elders.”
“I’m sorry I just thought it was a toy.”
“It wasn’t” said the tiny fellow manner of factly.
“Can I help you tidy up?”
“GO!” the three-inch man bellowed.
Lawrence carefully walked through the jumbled room and quietly pulled the door to.
He rested against the wall with wide eyes and shook his head.
“What in blazes?”
He popped his head back in the door to check what he had just seen. He heard a soft drumming of muttering and cursing coming from the end of the room. He left.
A moment later Anthony came energetically bounding up the stairs.
“Okay. Let’s do this. You ready buddy?” said Anthony grinning.
“Um… It’s done,” Lawrence said leading Anthony down the stairs.
“Oh. Well done. Anything cool in there?”
“Just junk,” Lawrence replied softly looking back at the door. “nothing at all.”