Last week was an optional week where we create a challenge to be run later. You’ll probably see my idea sometime later in the game, that is if I survive that long.
This week, our goal was to take any kind of invention which is widely accepted today, and pretend it had never been invented (or at least for its current use) until now. A whole bunch of ideas tumbled around for most of the week, like toilet paper and sexual intercourse (humans were asexual until now, somehow). While I was doing dishes, an idea struck. Here it is.
The minister finished the eulogy, failing to lift the pall that was oppressing the room. “Is there anyone present that would like to say something about Eric?”
Eric’s wife continued to stare into her lap while their son tried to comfort her. A man in the back rose from his seat. “I would,” he said. It was Daryl, Eric’s best friend. “I think if one word could be used to describe Eric it would be ‘dreamer.’ He…”
Daryl’s breath caught. Two seconds later, he continued.
“He’s been a great husband for twenty-five years. A great father for twelve. And he’s been my best friend for the past ten. He was also a damn good accountant. But through everything was his music.”
Several people in the room nodded.
“He said his desire to make people happy fueled his desire to make music. I think mostly it was because he hated Enya.” A few chuckles filled the room. “I told him it was hard to argue with eighteen number-one hits, but he wouldn’t have any of it. He insisted that this instrument of his…ah, what did he call it?”
“A guitar!” laughed somebody near the front.
“Yeah, a guitar. He thought it could change music. It really was a poor excuse for a synthesizer, but it sounded good to him. And really, that’s all that mattered. I never saw him so at peace as when he was playing it. I will miss him, as we all will. His courage. His dreams. Even his damn music.”
Tears filled the room, including the minister’s. “Would anyone else like to say something about Mr. Clapton?”
“Yes,” said his son.
“Go ahead, Conor,” Eric’s wife said, giving him a gentle push.
Crying, he rested his now shaking hand on the coffin. “See you, Dad.”
When I landed on the guitar as a topic, it sounded dull as any other. But Eric Clapton sprang to mind, and I thought how his life might have turned out if he wouldn’t have been famous. His son not tragically falling to his death at the age of four most certainly wouldn’t have happened, because that was a kid he had with an Italian supermodel. So, assuming he had a normal, suburban life, his son wouldn’t have been where he was when he died. So I knew I wanted a story where instead of Clapton writing Tears in Heaven for his dead son, his own death would be a crushing moment for his living son.
After that I needed a setting. After debating between his death bed and the funeral, I felt the funeral would be easier to write and have easier potential for someone to talk about Clapton’s love, his new-fangled guitar.
Finally, I needed to show how the world would be different if the guitar had never been invented. I thought of the line, “Well, the guitar is really just a poor excuse for a ukelele” but I knew I wanted a more depressing alternate history. So a perennially popular Enya it was.
And for the judge’s reactions. Scoring was on a forced curve, out of five points, with 17 participants.
Spooky: Oh, Jesus, this is well done. I didn’t see this ending coming, and the writer certainly is aware of my awareness of the Clapton tragedy. This story has an emotional resonance with me that I simply can’t put into words, and I wasn’t expecting drama in any of these period. 4
DK: Kind of similar to the last one in that it didn’t grab me, although it was a little more of a eye-roller for me at the end that brought this one a little down. 2
So adding Conor to the mix provided resonance for one judge and made the other’s eyes roll. Well, that’ll be helpful going forward! Actually, I kid. I thought I could have constructed this better. Originally, I had Conor saying “See you in Heaven, Dad” but I felt that would have been even more eye-roll worthy. What bothered me the most was I had this enormous contrivance in there just for humor (Enya) contrasted with an attempt at writing a dramatic scene. I’m not sure it works perfectly, but overall I’m happy with it.
The Vogons lose their first member due to a non-submission, though it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Despite that, we still finished with the highest scores for the seventh straight week.
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