Thursday, March 22, 2007

Plot Ninja

(Photo courtesy of: )
Feeling a bit lazy this morning, but committed to shutting Stanley up I have decided to write one thousand words in a free writing word association style. I have no topic for this piece, no idea where it will go and neither do I much care. I am simply insisting that I continue with my idea of writing one thousand words per day and posting them here for you to read. (Both of you…) Dang, I had to nix about fifty words because I deemed them too sensitive to place in a public place like this. Sorry loyal readers, but I still have to try and keep my day job and although the likelihood of someone from work actually reading this, connecting it to my Real Life persona and then informing management is infinitesimally small I don’t like to take chances. Not that it was about any huge crime, or something completely dishonest and criminal. Like I said, I am all about managing risk and that means (at least in my book) eliminating it. So I ramble on about nothing at all instead of risking my family’s livelihood to entertain you. (Both of you…)
Free association can be fun, but it can also be somewhat frustrating. Such as when your brain is still half asleep and refuses to engage in word spewing mode. Therefore, I must turn to some time tested word padding tricks learned from the NANO experience in order to get to my thousand words before noon. Plot ninjas…
Suddenly, a bright light flashed at the window of Will’s office. A millisecond later, the shock wave of a small explosion reached him carrying millions of shards of glass that a moment earlier had been his office window. He flinched instinctively, a million tiny points of pain suddenly arcing through his consciousness. Smoke filled the office, and Will became conscious of human forms moving swiftly and noiselessly around him. The acrid smoke burned his lungs, and he coughed weakly, his mind still reeling in an attempt to grasp what had turned this mundane Thursday morning into a sudden maelstrom.
The smoke began to clear, and his eyes focused on a human shape crouched on the office chair against the opposite wall. It was covered entirely in black, with a narrow slit where the eyes should be. The jet black handle of a wicked looking katana protruded from behind the form’s back, and other menacing shapes were positioned along the belt line. Will had never before encountered a real ninja, and never expected to in his lifetime. And certainly not at the office. What had brought this oriental mercenary to his desk? A thousand similar questions pounded through his harried mind until the dark shape lifted a hand, and placing a single upright finger where his mouth should be signaled silence. Will was still too baffled to disagree, and sat frozen in his chair, staring at the demonic vision before him. The ninja’s other hand reached out and flicked the door to the office shut, the latch snicking softly closed. Cool damp air poured in from the shattered window, and Will’s burning lungs ached to take a long deep breath to clear out the smoke. But he dared not move, waiting for the ninja’s next move.
What happens next? Does the ninja assassinate Will right there in front of his spreadsheet? Or does he introduce himself as Will’s long lost twin brother and invite him on a quest for adventure and treasure away from the dreary world of computer monitors and service level matrix reports?
I don’t exactly know. I didn’t start with anything but a need for a plot ninja, and there he is. Sitting across the room from me. The office door is locked, but I can hear hurried footsteps on the tile floor outside. Worried voices, inquiring about the explosion and the smoke. Still, the ninja sits in his feral crouch, one finger signaling silence, the other resting lightly on the door handle.
My heart is pounding in my chest, pounding so hard that it hurts. Am I having a heart attack? What is happening? I open my mouth in an attempt to say something, but the ninja’s hand flashes off of the door handle and up towards me. I flinch, expecting a razor edged shuriken to bury itself in my skull, but he only holds his palm towards me, once again signaling silence. I obey, the image of the shuriken still foremost in my mind.
Someone knocks on the door, a worried voice asking if I am alright. A slight shake of the ninja’s head emphasized by his outstretched hand keeps my voice silent. The tension is awesome, my heart pounds even harder and the room begins to spin. Never in my life have I faced death in this way. I always imagined that I would be brave when my time came, that I would turn and face it with dignity and poise. Right now however, I am wondering if I have soiled myself in fear. I can’t tell, because my body is somehow numb and I cannot feel anything. Except the weight of those steel blue eyes peering out of the blackness of the mask.

Dang! I was sure that would be over a thousand, but it is only 800 and already I am tiring of this ninja. I guess there could be a story here, but I don’t want to get started on something that will need several thousand words to resolve. I only need two hundred more. I think I can ramble on at least that much right?

The voices in the hall become even more frantic as they fail to open the door. Unfortunately, the only key is in the office with me. They have been threatening to make a copy for months, but never seem to get around to it. They will have to find someone with the tools to jimmy the lock, or knock the door down. Someone has gone outside and is now trying to look in the window and see what is going on. The ninja gestures at the floor, and in one swift movement is himself on the floor beneath the window. He gestures at me again, impatiently to join him. My body obeys despite screaming alarms of impending doom. Clumsily I slip out of my chair and crawl over to the wall, collapsing on the floor next to him. One hand reaches down and grasping my shirt pulls me upright. I am now sitting beside the ninja, I can smell his spicy odor and hear his quiet breathing behind the mask. He leans close and whispers in my ear. At first, my terrified mind can not comprehend what he is whispering, and I shake my head in confusion.

YES! 1166 words! I made it! Sorry I didn’t resolve the whole plot ninja thing. You do understand it was just an exercise right? I never meant it to turn into a complete story…

Thursday March 22, 2007 - 10:00am (EDT)

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