Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Writing Exercise from 2011- Sandy Dunsford


John studied the pool of blood that had congealed on the carpet. It was like something out of the mystery novels he voraciously read. He had no idea how he was going to clean it. The crimson liquid had sunk deep into the beige carpet and would not be easily removed. He seemed to recall that bleach was often used for this type of removal but how to apply it was a mystery.


Funnily enough the reason for the blood couldn’t have been further from the insidious outcomes of detective novels. It had been a completely ordinary afternoon, John had been curled up on the couch reading, waiting for Beth to come home from the grocery store so they could make a start on dinner. John always had a strong inclination to read when the house was empty. The quiet and peaceful atmosphere of an empty house bore itself to few things besides watching junk tv or reading and John had been taken in by the latest adventure of his favourite detective. He had to keep reading to find out if the man survived a direct attack from one of his enemies or if this was the last of a fine series.

John was so engrossed in the novel that he couldn’t even put it down to refresh his cup of tea. He also didn’t hear the car pull in or the side door open just off the kitchen. He was down to the last 12 pages and by damn he was going to finish before Beth came home and wanted him to peel and chop vegetables for the stew. John was lost in another world as often happened when he read. There were subtle changes in his body language that let an observer know he was not with you but in the world of his novel.

John continued to make his tea by sense memory alone, taking the milk out of the fridge, pouring a bit in his mug, placing the milk back in the fridge, and reaching for the sugar all while still harbouring his nose in his book. He was so out of it that he didn’t realize Beth was home, and putting away the groceries she had just acquired. Any other wife would be put out by the fact that their husband was ignoring their existence but Beth was used to John’s reading antics and had a few quirks of her own.

As John stirred his freshly brewed tea and picked it up from the counter he turned to head back to his seat in the living room and ran nose first into the open cupboard door.


“OOOOOOOOWWWWWWW, Oh Shit!” he cried, “Beth , I bloody hate it when you leave all the cupboard doors open! Wait, when did you even get home?”

Beth could not answer him because, having seen the whole thing happen she was bent over laughing in hysterics.

“ohh ohhh ohh my god that was hilarious John. Do it again please please. Hahahaha. It was like watching the stooges in my own house. Hahahaha”

“really that funny eh? I’m bleeding you realize. And all over your new plush beige carpet.”

Beth looked up and stopped mid laugh.

“not so funny now uh missy.” John replied with as good of a smirk as he could manage while holding his tender nose.

“ no not so funny for you, I am not cleaning that up. Good luck dear, blood is a tricky one to get out.” Beth informed him with her own smirk.

She turned back to the open cupboards and once again began filling them with her groceries, while John stared at the blood gathering on the carpet.

“oh well, it is my mess to clean up.” John conceded after he had snuck off to the bathroom to stem the bleeding and clean up his face, a much easier task than the one that he was to undertake now.
He got down and his knees and began to scrub, thinking about how the detectives in his novels never had to clean up their own blood, humming while he worked.

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