Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Eternity (03/10/11)
TITLE: "Out There"
By Troy Manning
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And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”
--William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”
Rubbing out the last granules of sleep, Arlan picked up the electrical cord near the bay window and lit up the world. He watched as several birds flew by and a few fish swam past. He sat in his recliner with a gaping yawn, and considered the repetitive nature of the events unfolding before him.
He looked on as a flower opened and ejected a pygmy vampire turtle. “The world is positively polluted with them,” thought Arlan. In truth, however, this one in particular was of a less common variety.
An elderly neighbor, Larry by name, retrieved the daily paper, while his dog Kendall waited patiently at the doorstep to receive it from him.
Several children, lunch pails in hand, approached a corner near Arlan’s home to await their ride. “Couldn’t it not be on time just once?” Arlan asked himself. Like clockwork, the boys and girls had barely reached the curb when the long yellow submarine arrived.
Arlan began to nod off. He dreamt he held a remote that could change the channel, sending all the boys and girls down a tributary of no return.
Though sleeping the day away sounded appealing, he entered the kitchen to brew some tea. He was startled at the sound of a knock at his door. “Now that’s strange,” he thought. He opened the door to two young men in white short-sleeved shirts standing beside bicycles.
“Good afternoon, Sir.” said one, as the other dug for something in his satchel.
“What can I do for you?” replied Arlan in a less than altruistic tone.
The second young man withdrew a foam cup as the first answered, “We were wondering if you could help us out with a cup of sugar.”
Arlan sighed then took the cup and went to the kitchen while the men stood at the door. After returning with a full cup and handing it to them, he closed the door.
“Thank you, Sir!” came a muffled yet unified response.
Arlan’s irritation with his intrusive visitors became more acute as he realized the vampire turtle had flown inside. And since there was no dog in the home, he had no newspaper with which to swat it. It repeatedly flew against the window before falling to the floor stunned.
“How could you possibly want to go out there?” asked Arlan as he stepped on the turtle. Seeing no answer would be forthcoming, he unplugged the world and returned to his recliner.
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