Thursday, August 20, 2009

500 Words V—The Luckless Mr. Bloom

We are in week five of 500 Words, a game Lynn and I devised in which we write 500-word stories based on a literary sentence provided by Dive. Here is my story for this week, with the provided sentence in italics.

The Luckless Mr. Bloom

Mr. Bloom set down his money on the counter, and he picked up a cardboard cup of hot coffee with steam rising so high up into the air from its oily surface that a film of moisture clouded the face of his eyeglasses. Mr. Bloom was not a tall man, and the close proximity in which his face generally appeared only slightly above the counter nearly guaranteed an eyeglass-fogging with each morning coffee.

“You see that old wreck of a boat tied up out there, Mr. Bloom?” said Maura, the coffee shop matron. “See it there, the bucketdredger?”

Mr. Bloom turned to look out at the docks and to see the boat of interest. It was of rusty construction but still looking sturdy and suited to its task. He nodded to Maura to signal he did indeed see it.

“It’s historical, they say,” Maura went on. “It’s survived some horrible storms or something and has cleared more canals than my cousin the dentist over in Blackpool. Well, I heard just this morning they are making a grand voyage over to Ireland to clean the thing up and to make it part of a museum or something like that.”

Mr. Bloom, looking only mildly intrigued, took a sip of his coffee, his glasses now perched atop his balding head.

“Well, Mr. Bloom, I also heard they were taking a few passengers for the fun of it, sort of a pleasure cruise, and I say you put your name on the list. Get yourself on that boat and see what you can see for a day or two. Then you come back here and tell us all about it.”

At this intelligence, in which he seemingly evinced little interest, Mr. Bloom gazed abstractedly for the space of a half a second or so in the direction of a bucketdredger, rejoicing in the farfamed name of Eblana, moored alongside Customhouse quay and quite possibly out of repair, whereupon he observed evasively:

"Everybody gets their own ration of luck, they say."

“They do say that.” Maura wiped a few spills from the countertop over which she presided and rested her hands widespread upon it, her elbows locked and her shoulders hunched as she glared at her customer.

“And it’s about time you put in for some of that luck, Mr. Bloom. You’re long overdue.”

Mr. Bloom nodded in agreement, the reality of his empty pockets and empty flat and empty head weighing heavy on him as he breathed and stood upright and drank his coffee, only barely holding up his head enough to see straight ahead.

“You say I am overdue, Maura? Do you think I could get my name on that list, get myself on that heap of a boat and find at least a slight adventure?”

“I do think you can, Mr. Bloom. But, honestly dear, I hope you don’t make the return trip. I hope you find the luck you need on that other shore and never come back.”


dive said...

Ew, Robyn! Oily coffee! No wonder poor Bloom's life is so icky.
A pleasure cruise on a bucket dredger may well make it even ickier. Hee hee.

Good to see a dentist joke slipped in there.
I like the fact that Maura's last sentence could be taken in two completely different ways. I would hope Bloom took it kindly.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

I love the irony of a pleasure cruise on a bucket dredger as well!

This is a particularly nice sentence: "Mr. Bloom nodded in agreement, the reality of his empty pockets and empty flat and empty head weighing heavy on him..."

Dear Prudence said...

Today I feel like you Mr. Bloom. I will take his ticket please and thank you! Nicely done.

neetzy said...

Very believable and convincing language. Why not go for a cruise on a bucketdredger? We take skipjacks around the Chesapeake. (They are a bit more elegant).

MmeBenaut said...

Poor Mr Bloom. Sounds like he did need some adventure. I loved the dentist line - particularly since MB is currently in awful pain with a toothache!!