Try a Game in the Hall

in #finishthestory2 years ago

This is an entry for Finish the Story Contest - Week #47.

Here is @f3nix's story:

Try a Game in the Hall


"Five.. twenty-eight.. twenty-two.. twelve.. seventy-nine.."

The marker's mottled surface is like that of a glass marble. It's hard to say where it starts and where the woman's fingers end. It flies on the large bingo card: a tablecloth covering the entire table, whose borders move in a capricious Moebius ribbon. Slender curls emerge rhythmically on the plasticised surface each time the marker grazes it. Now, the instrument is obeying to the imposed angle and pressure, producing the sound of a cat tongue licking a window. Between a number and the other, the woman clings to that image like a castaway anchoring to a slimy rock.

"Thirty.. thirty-one.. ninety-eight.. sixteen.. forty.."

The room has no windows but its walls are brightened by an arabesque of pulsating lines. When the plot detaches from the walls, it innervates on the orange rug and converges on a humanoid obelisk in the center of the hall. Thin wrists flex in synchrony, marking the numbers on the tablecloths every time that the obelisk punctuates them in a propagating fibrous echo. The fleshy organ of this creature is the only hallmark in an otherwise completely smooth mannequin's face. Its mouth unfolds through a complete circumnavigation of the dull head. Its lips are the valves of an agonizing oyster.

"Six.. thirty-three.. sixty-six.. eighty-six.. forty-one.."

The woman's slender fingers move a lock of hair back to the ear. In the time of a sigh, a caress lingers on her temple without the marker losing its rhythm. Sometimes, a new customer enters and takes a seat at a table sinking into one of the faux leather chairs. Soon enough, his face will begin to melt, dripping on the card's elusive signs, becoming one with them. In one of those ephemeral moments between a number and the other, the woman was able to raise her head and glance beyond the bingo door. The outside is the mute vowel of a blinding white expanse.

Sometimes, she struggles to remember her arrival. A cat licking a window reappears in her mind until a number sweeps it away. If there were windows in the hall, would that white nothing leak through them and fill the hall?

"Eighty-one.. thirteen." All in a sudden, the electricity of a look runs through her. It's a man from the table nearby. "..ty.. ninety-two.."

The marker hesitates in mid-air barely enough to make her lose a number.


And this is my ending:


Confound it!, she thinks as her cheeks flush. Concentrate, old girl, concentrate!

The stranger's admiring gaze stays on her side, sending a not unwelcome buzz down her spine. But she is unwavering now, eyes alight with anticipation, arms dancing all over the tablecloth, the marker a blur of elegance and precision. The announcer's metallic voice drones on.

"Ninety-five.. twenty-seven.. fifty.."

She chuckles, for that last number reveals her missed number to have been a sixty. She crosses the culprit with satisfaction, her marker purring like a satisfied feline. She is close now, as undoubtedly are several others. She feels her own face become almost fluid, droplets of sweat forming on her brow. She only needs--

"Two.."

Time stops in its tracks. Her arm shoots up as she rises from her seat. All around her, faces coil and reform back from the cards; their expressions are frozen in colorful shades of envy, dismay, and frustration. The pulsating lines on the walls move in concert, abandoning the mannequin. They converge on her instead. The white outside the entrance shines ever brighter. She is the center of attention, the absolute queen of a suspended perfect world, surveying her domain.

With an orgasmic, triumphant voice she cries, "Bingo!"


They are walking back to the car, and she is gesticulating animatedly.

"...and that's when Phyllis Royce started crying," she explains.

"That's nice, mom," her adult son replies while checking his cellphone. His hand is sizzling on contact with the plastic object, like a steak on a barbecue. "I'm so glad you're enjoying yourself with your friends."

"Not friends," she corrects him. "Competitors. Rivals. Fellow fighters in the eternal struggle between karma and causality. In the bingo hall... There's nothing but the present moment, the thrilling here-and-now. Everything else fades: the past, the meds, the pain--"

"Uh-uh," he says, still looking down at the small screen.

"You're not listening to anything your mother is telling you, aren't you." She tries to sound offended, but her amused smile betrays her.

"Very nice," he comments, ever oblivious. He finally puts away his work phone and looks up. "The doctors did say it would help with your special form of synesthesia. So, did you win anything?"

She fishes the coupon out of her bag and raises it to his face.

"50% discount for a 100-dollar-or-less electrical appliance," he reads with a complete lack of enthusiasm. "How useful. Perhaps I should come with you next week. Double our chances."

"I'm sure you'd love it," she lies.

She is looking at the stranger's telephone number, hand-written on the back of the coupon. The characters are clapping and cheering. There are all kinds of games in the hall, she thinks. And I'm about to try a different one.

Sort:  

Dating is also a kind of gamble this day. You give your heart to someone and hope you don't get played. Interesting story

Posted using Partiko Android

Nice Gwil. I didn't expect it and it surprised me. You avoided the surreal scene and the horrid room director to focus on a different setting and a game in the game. It's nice to read you again.

Pictura (Picture): Okay, the Bingo spirit is carried on with each and every entry. They look like poker chips, but just chips stamped with numbers. Truly I like this for how the chips look mighty old instead of the fresh/new or oldfashioned bingo balls. But we be digressing and we must move unto...

La forma (The form): The first part very much keeps in line with the prompt set up, especially with the numbers being called out. Yet unlike the focus of abstractions we do get the focus of details of expressions (albeit the two do intertwine inbetween). And then the absurd focus of bingo itself, the winner screaming "Bingo!" and the total narrator focus to make us feel the ecstasy she feels. Some artistry that would definitely feel well in TV/Video series. Of course, the favorite dividing line mark to skip time and avoid conveniently having to think what actually happen. And then the second half being a comedic joking of what happened in the first half with the "wise-ærs" son with the overjoyed mother implicated with Synthesia being helped with an illdefined treatment method other than bingo being our only hint.

La filosofía (The philosophy): So let's hashtag move on, as the kid would probably say, and talk about the filosofía as I had hinted at before. So I mentioned at what I saw in yer first part of yer ending was the usage of the prompt's mannerism as to focus in on the expressionism aspect. All culminating at the "orgasmic, triumphant voice she cries, "Bingo!"" just because it reveals how emotionally cathartic bingo can be for people. Of which the latter part of the ending gets the full mocking treatment and the forced realism set in by the kid and the World she's anchored in. But also that the narrator is not wholly unified and that stories can be changed upon the material conditions. Or to complexify it further: material conditions influences ideological-cultural relations.

Happy writing and happy steeming!

This was my favorite line:

"Competitors. Rivals. Fellow fighters in the eternal struggle between karma and causality. In the bingo hall... There's nothing but the present moment, the thrilling here-and-now. Everything else fades: the past, the meds, the pain--"

Touching story.

Hi gwilberiol,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

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Hey, @gwilberiol!

Thank you for your contribution to the crowd. We are the Steem community project dedicated to empowering The Wisdom of Crowds. You can find more about us on our official website or whitepaper and you can support us by voting for our witness and joining our curation trail on Steemauto . We are also inviting you to join Crowdmind Discord server. Don't forget to use the #crowdmind hashtag and happy crowdsourcing!

I find it very cute that you make a connection between gambling and dating, both are about numbers ;).
                   
Nice writing to conclude the story and congrats for the curie vote ^_^.

Hey, yer commenting more on @curie upvoted posts other than art! How yah like them FTS entries, partner?

Nice. Like how it switched back to mundane life before getting whacked out again. Meaning the games seem like a flight from reality.

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