Writing Prompt: More Than One

May 17, 2011 § 2 Comments

Prage at Night

So, I’m preparing to go to Prague, CZ in exactly one week. In exactly one week I’ll pay my first visit to the O’Hare airport and take the ten hour flight to Poland, layover, and a shorter flight to my destination, get picked up by the driver, go the hostel, and… well, I know you don’t want the whole story, so I’ll stop there. I am, however, still preparing.

Yesterday, Adam and I went downtown to pick up the texts I need for the class I’ll be taking while I’m in Prague, and we meant to pick up a phrase book and guide book and sketch books to be my journals, but in the rush of trying to get to the bank before it closed and the pressure of getting a good pair of shorts before I left, we forgot. So that’s what we did today. I got a Lonely Plant Eastern European phrase book, and then went over to the “gifts for readers” section of the Barnes and Noble.

You know what the selection is like, don’t you? Some super pretty graphic filled journals, some huge, expensive, leatherbound journals, and a section of moleskine. Well, I wanted the most practical and useful sort of writing tool I could get, so I went over and checked out the three pack of regular, unlined moleskine journals. They were eighteen dollars. Then I checked the single journal of the same style.

It was twenty dollars.

It makes no sense to me. I don’t even want to get into it. Feel free to get into it yourself in the comments, if you’d like. I bought the three pack.

But it just reminds me that sometimes things are better in bulk. It’s better to get three 120-page journals than one 195-page journal, and it’s better to pay less for them.

That’s my prompt for today: What else is better in bulk?

People? Are people better in bulk? Not for everyone. Birds? In certain situations. Food, we like to buy in bulk, but what happens if we don’t eat all of it? And what if we had to buy pills one by one every morning instead of having a bottle in our bathroom cabinet?

Post your responses to this prompt in the comments! Here’s mine:

Perry thought of girls in terms of quantity and avoided taking Geography like it would kill him if he did. Maybe it would.

Perry knew there was a limit to the population of the world at any given moment. Yeah, babies were being born all the time, but that’s where the second step came in. Perry knew that he’d most likely only date girls within a certain age range. He couldn’t think far forward enough to a time where he’d be old enough to date the babies born today, so he estimated he had about nineteen million girls to get through and he damn well wasn’t going to let a single one go to waste.

He had to touch them all.

Perry spent weekends on the train, brushing up against girls as they got off the train, as they got on, as they switched seats. He spent his time near the door, ear phones on but music off, so they would think he was distracted while he tried to figure out the best way to make contact with every single girl in the car. He didn’t have any time to waste. Who knew if he’d ever see these girls again? Nineteen million. In the United States.

“Nineteen million,” he said to Faye. “Nineteen million girls and you’re asking me to go see a movie with you?” She sat at the desk in front of him. She nodded.

“And sit next to you the whole time?”

She nodded again. “I don’t see what the problem is.”

“I have to touch everyone. If I go to a movie with you, we have to do it logically. See the one with the most people, and let me mill around by the door as people come in so I won’t miss anyone. But even then, that’s two or three hours wasted that I could be out in the lobby.”

“You can have two snack breaks.”


“Two and I’ll go to the bathroom afterward so you can stand by the door and wait for me.”

“That’s an awkward place to stand,” said Perry. He pushed the eraser end of his pencil hard into the top of his desk and chewed on a corner of his lip.

“Everyone,” said Faye, “uses the bathroom after a movie.”

“Fine. What’s opening this weekend?” asked Perry. Faye didn’t answer right away. She was staring down at where the pink nub bent like curled fat against the desk. Her mouth hung open and she took deliberate breaths.

“What?” Perry said.

“And you have to come to my house afterward,” blurted Faye. She looked straight at Perry. His legs felt antsy, but the shine in her eyes glued him to the moment.

“Okay,” he said, without thinking.

“Good,” she said. “I’ll find out what’s opening. And we can go really early to make sure you can touch as many as possible.”

“Wait, why?” He caught up. She had been smiling, relieved, but now looked away. The teacher came into the room. Faye turned around in her seat and looked at the whiteboard.

Perry tapped her on the shoulder, but she didn’t react. He tapped again. He tried again. Throughout the class, he couldn’t focus. Not that he could usually focus anyway. Why waste time in a class with the same girls week in and week out?

He kept tapping her shoulder, waiting for her to turn around. Tap. Tap. Touch. Touch, touch.

Don’t forget to leave your responses in the comments!


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§ 2 Responses to Writing Prompt: More Than One

  • Francesca says:

    After a week and a half, the strawberries had mold on them. I pulled the plastic basket out of the fridge and started trying to sort through them, to discern the good ones from the spoiled. I took them by their leafy green heads and examined them while they dangled in front of my eyes. White fuzz like lint. I tossed them into the trash one by one, or placed them in a separate bowl if they looked okay.

    The day had been unusually hot when I’d gone out with John to pick them. The field down the road was having an open-pick day. Buy whatever size basket you wanted and fill it until you could fill it no more.

    “We don’t need the bulk size,” I told John as we peered at the stacks of baskets. “They’d just go bad.”

    “We’d eat them,” he said, going forward to take the huge basket. “Especially since they’re so fresh. We’ll eat them right up.”

    I looked at him skeptically. “All right.”

    We spent an hour and a half picking strawberries, lost in the rolling rows of green, pushing the leaves aside to find the ripe fruit and passing by the green. When they were ripe they sagged on their stems, plump red and fragrant, snapping off easily when we pulled. John generally stayed a couple of steps ahead of me with the basket, until I couldn’t hold the strawberries in my hands any longer and caught up with him to dump them in. The sun beat down on my face, sweat running down my back in streams.

    When we got home, I had to do some arranging to fit the basket in the fridge. Head of lettuce into the bottom drawer. Block of cheese, six pack of beer shoved to the side. The mammoth basket blocked the light. John told me not to worry, that every morning until the strawberries were gone he would feed them to me for breakfast in bed. He would dip them in sugar first. He left early for work instead.

    The berries we picked were natural, grown without pesticides and untreated by preservatives. They rotted quickly. I examined the fruit that I thought was still good and noticed that many still had small spots of white.

    That was before the divorce. I dumped the whole lot in the trash.

    • Hannah says:

      Guess who rules? Francesca rules. You make me feel squeamish about my fridge and excited about raspberry picking all at the same time! Thanks, Francesca. (:

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