I couldn’t figure out the waiting room idea, but I did this instead for 600 words. I don’t know, maybe I need something more compact, intense, and complete. This doesn’t quite do it. (and I don’t think the 600 word limit is really enough of an excuse. Oh well, back to the drawing board. But I submitted it anyway. I guess there’s nothing to lose by doing so. I don’t know where I’m going wrong… I thought I almost had something… maybe I give details in the wrong place? Oh geez, I’m tired, I’m lost. Well, still have until before Dec. 1 to think of something…
The Excitable Arts
Most of the guys had said that the stars were just far away suns. Nothing romantic in a hot ball of gas, nor in ethereal talk. Unexciting.
But Diana had wondered about the romantic poets she had read on the internet. Some were unknown in more than one way, but reachable if a person were crazy enough to take a chance on a stranger with pretensions to be a broken-vernacular Shakespeare. But she liked the most mysterious one who was unreachable, she thought. She’d felt him whenever she could stay in to read a verse or two.
Diana hadn’t planned to go out. She had been real comfortable in bed with her dog Charlie and her laptop, reading romantic poetry, mostly by herself since he didn’t seem that interested, nuzzling under her hand so she would pet him. Charlie was a black Labrador retriever, although Diana always said that when people talk about “black” dogs, their perception is from the black fur, but Charlie’s skin was actually gray. He had been a good lap dog, willing to stay in for a snuggle unless there were things to do.
Unreal things had begun when Diana stumbled upon a certain list of links. Charlie looked up with his nose on the screen. He made a truncated growl followed by a flick of his tongue like he was lapping up water: a sort of gurr-ick and a cough sound or something else.
“Whaa…?” she said. “Charlie, did you say ‘click’?”
“Erreff, woof,” he said. Charlie jumped off the bed and fetched a thin stick near his bowl where he had sequestered it.
When he jumped back onto the bed with the stick in his mouth, she said, “Give!” But he refused to surrender it, turned his head to the side, used the stick to push keys on the keyboard, and with his paw turned the scroll wheel on the mouse. The screen changed.
A star chart appeared. “Welcome to the ‘Mystery Poets’ Official Website,” it said.
Charlie scrolled down the page. He said, “Woof.”
“You want me to go here?” she asked in a quivering voice.
“Weff,” he said.
“Oh God, I’m going crazy,” she said. “You said ‘yes’, didn’t you…”
He barked like a dog and spoke like a dog. “Woof,” he uttered in normal canine parlance.
“Oh geez, I need fresh air,” she said. But she wrote down the information from the screen. There was a meeting that night of “The Romantic Poets Mystery Society,” and pets were welcome.” Her favorite mystery poet was listed as a featured speaker. She ran out the door imagining what she thought his voice was like: “You undress in my river and I kiss your thigh…,” she conjured of him.
Drifting into the night, she soon found herself standing in a clearing with Charlie and the fallen yellow leaves at her feet. Was it not the season for seasoning lust into love, a rare spice he sprinkled into his verses. They had corresponded a little and with a little luck, something could be born out. It was the season. She stared at the stars and remembered, “The romp of love beguiles, a playful horse; my heart a rider gripping spirit’s trip…”
Charlie barked. A large globe hovered over the trees, and a beam of light lifted them into the sky. Seemed a poetic mystery. She met him in the conference room on board the ship.
With the seasoning of desire there would be a hybrid of lust and love born in excitement.
— Douglas Gilbert