- a break up
- A promotion
- To try stand up comedy
- She followed someone there
Monday, April 13, 2020
The Audience Adventure - Day 1
This week I am writing a story and letting the audience guide the plot. Here is Chapter One, set in a bath in Bath as dictated by Twitter. Have a read of this chapter, and then there'll be a question at the end for you to decide on that will shape Chapter Two and possibly more.
Vote by commenting on this post.
Emma categorically did not know what to do. Obviously, the only real thing she could do was to just pull really hard and hope it didn’t hurt too much, but her brain seemed unwilling to let her do that just now. Because, really, she felt like there was no way it was not going to really hurt.
She’d replaced the water around her three times now. She had tried hot at first, to keep up her body temperature as it had become clear to her that her big toe was living up to its name and being, well big. Bigger than the tap at least. It hadn’t been bigger than the tap when she had put it in there, otherwise she’d never had got in it and wouldn’t be in this mess. But now that the toe was in there, and had been for the best part of two hours, it did indeed seem to have outgrown the tap. The hot water had not helped and a half remembered science lesson in the back of her mind was strongly trying to imply that maybe being warm was making the toe bigger?
She’d then tried cold water but the toe had not come out and she was markedly less comfortable. So the cold water had also gone and been replaced with new hot water. She’d squeezed all manner of expensive bubble baths and shower gels around the toe knuckle to try and lubricate the ridiculous digit from its stainless steel prison. Nothing had coaxed the reluctant toe from its hiding place.
Emma’s fingers looked like ancient prunes, horrifically white to the point of translucence. She didn’t dare think about what her underside must look like. She could barely feel it she had been stuck on the unforgiving bath metal for so long.
“Ok,” she said out loud, and focused her attention on the offending toe. “You have to come out.” The toe wriggled in response and she winced at the feeling of the knuckle testing the rigidity of the tap. In a battle between the works of Armitage Shanks and her toe, she felt like there was little chance her bones would come off a winner.
Why hadn’t she brought her phone in here? She cursed herself, again. Some ridiculous idea about having a bit less screen time this evening. That had been what it was. Idiot. She’d brought a book in, a book?! Like it was the eighteenth century. She’d brought in a book and a neck pillow and somehow convinced herself she was going to lie in the bath and read. She’d read for all of 12 minutes and then got bored enough to stick her toe in the tap to see what happened.
This wet, mini prison had happened and, if she was entirely honest with herself, she blamed the book and the ridiculous notion that a story written hundreds of years ago about some socialites being awkward with each other could be more captivating than the internet and everything it had to offer.
Blaming the book, however, was getting her no closer to a free toe, feeling in her bum cheeks and a warm dressing gown so she focused back on the offending tap.
“Bloody dictator.” She growled, “If this place wasn’t rented then I’d rip you out in a heart beat.”
Ok, she declared in her mind, I am going to count to three and then just pull down hard with all my might until my toe is either free, detached from my body or both. Oh god what if it really did come off? That would be disgusting. Blood in the bath water. What if she passed out? Yes, yes, all terrible options agreed the more practical half of her consciousness, but really what other choice do we have? Short of staying here and attempting to become a mermaid which, we will not do as beautifully as Darryl Hannah so why even bother trying, we simply have no option but to remove the toe from the tap.
She squared up to the tap again and tensed her thigh to pull down hard. Oh god what if the nail came off? That would arguably be the worst outcome, wouldn’t it? Truly horrible. Worse than just dying here in the bath, naked and pruney because your attention span is so short you’d rather stick your toe in a tap than read Austen? She berated herself. Yes, she thought back angrily, yes - I hate it when my nails hurt. Idiot, she reprimanded, and was temporarily distracted by wondering which of the voices currently arguing in her mind was most genuinely “her”. It felt like they both were, but then again, they also seemed pretty mad at each other. Perhaps prolonged exposure to hot bath water had an effect on one of those important lobes? Or maybe it was all the blood that should have been in her bum racing around her brain and causing her to have extra thoughts?
The tap was mocking her from it’s safe perch on the side of the bath. She could see her own wet face upside down in its bulbous end. Holding her toe and her reflection prisoner.
“Ok,” she said to the tap, “I can see you’re mad. I tell you what, you give me my toe back and I’ll not bother you again for a bath. Deal?” She gripped her calf with both hands and prepared to tug her foot down… “3, 2, 1…” her foot came ripping out of the metal tap with such force that her heel thumped heavily onto the bottom of the bath and water splashed up the wall, into her face and over the side and into the pages of the unaware Bennett family.
“Ow!” She gasped, pulling her foot back out of the water and inspecting the shredded skin around her toe. “Oh my poor baby. I’m so sorry, I’ll never do that to you again.”
Emma pulled the plug out immediately and climbed out of the bath, flinching at the pins and needles simmering away in her newly released foot. She went into her bedroom and dried herself off, pulling on clean pyjamas and a dressing gown and transferring the towel to her hair.
She felt deflated. Stupid. It was her first week in a new city and it wasn’t going well. First she’d managed to turn up late to her first day at work, and now she had spent an entire evening stuck in the bath with her toe in the tap. “Get a grip, Emma.” She said out loud into the silence, “This needs to be going better than this.”
Reader vote question...
Why has Emma moved to Bath?