The Bigger Picture: A Progressive Story (part 5 added)

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This is a Progressive Story…here’s how it works:Below is a short story I began writing a couple of years ago…then filed away on a back shelf of my computer.

Thanks to comments from Rowan and Mind Doc on Monday, I have pulled it back out and dusted it off in order to offer it as an experiment. (Yes, yet another Monkbot project…am I killin’ y’all with these?)

I’ve provided the basis for a story here…it’s up to y’all to finish it.

Take turns…build on what each other writes. I don’t know how you’ll determine who will go first or next or last, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out…maybe call dibs before you begin writing…or first choose an order…whatever.

UPDATED DIRECTIONS: Here is the list of who will be contributing thus far

  1. Double D (Your contribution is below…I lurve it!)
  2. Ivoryhut (You’re next up, my friend…just e-mail me your addition after reading DD’s below..take your time…no pressure)
  3. Bamaborntxbred
  4. Quossum

  5. Mind Doc (You’re up next!)
  6. Rowan (Finale)

Each contributor should e-mail their part of the story to monkbottalk@gmail.com. As I receive your additions, I’ll repost the story…with the new portion. I’ll leave the comments on for kudos or sharing or discussion…however, I’m taking the current comments down so we can start fresh.

Also, if anyone…at anytime…wants to join in…they are welcome and should let me know…so I can put them in the que.

Remember…take your time…keep it clean…be creative…and have FUN!


The Bigger Picture
Beginning by Shelley Powers
Middle and Ending by the Monkbots

I was reaching behind the bookshelf in my den, looking for some loose change that had rolled away, when I found them.

My fingertips were covered in dust, and I was patting around blindly for the stray quarters when I brushed against the metal and glass. I pulled the object from behind the bookshelf to see what I’d found and there, staring back at me, was a pair of glasses. They were wire-rimmed and the earpieces were bent into hook shapes. The lenses definitely needed dusting, but there were few scratches. Forgetting about my quarters, I took my new treasure to the sink to clean it up. A little Joy dish soap and voila! Good as new.

They weren’t mine. I had never worn glasses. Maybe they belonged to the previous homeowners. I gave them a careful inspection. Shining like new from being cleaned, they were beautiful. The wire rims looked like real gold and the glass had a mesmerizing gleam. Then as I held them up to the light, I noticed the faintest of etching along the inside of the right arm, where the metal flattened out. Written in an exacting script was “We once were lost.”

Creepy, I thought.

Then, like anyone would’ve done, without even thinking, I put the glasses on.

My view was barely changed, save the distortion from the few scratches. Then I felt my pupils contract, like when someone clicks on the overhead light in the middle of the night. A sharp pain ran from my eyeballs to the back of my head as my view of the living room expanded to twice its size. Nothing grew larger. My peripheral vision stayed the same. But somehow everything expanded to where I saw each item in the room in its entirety. Armchairs were fibers woven together with a history of passengers embedded in the work. Books were bound by aging glue and stitching with page after page covered with fingerprints and ink and words and passages and thoughts and emotions. I tried to blink but couldn’t. As if involuntary muscles, my eyes darted from object to object in the room, taking in colors I had never noticed and patterns so detailed I began to get dizzy.

Moving faster than my brain could register, my eyes continued to swirl in my head and I felt myself begin to sway. Fearing that I might faint or get sick, I reached up and snatched the glasses from my face. My pupils dilated and the room seemed to shrink back to its original state. I looked down at the spectacles and realized that these glasses allowed me to see a bigger picture, a picture that I possibly was not meant to see…but one that intrigued me nonetheless…

The following was contributed by Double D

Raggles bounded into the room with the enthusiasm of a Super Bounce ball. The 3-year-old Jack Russell/Terrier mix that I had “adopted” as a timid, 6-month-old pup had evolved into a rather giddy companion, providing hours of amusement. As I watched him playfully chase a dust bunny near the large picture window in the den that was streaming in the late afternoon sun, my mind and my eyes wandered back to the new find in my hands.

Suddenly, I realized that I still had the splitting headache that the glasses had left me with. Moving into the kitchen, I beckoned Raggles, “C’mon boy, let’s see what we can find for this headache.” Raggles responded with a deft tail-wagging and sauntered off into the kitchen ahead of me.

After popping two Extra-Strength Tylenols and pouring myself a large glass of ice cold milk, I sat on the wrought iron stools at the island in my kitchen and stared at the “magic” glasses. My mind went back to the few moments before when I had had them on and exactly what I had seen. Yes, it was definitely the window to the bigger picture. With some trepidation, I decided to try it again, but this time, slowly.

I slipped the glasses over my nose and onto my closed eyes then slowly opened them. Remembering the dizziness and pain of the previous encounter, I decided to focus on one thing. It happened to be Raggles sitting there, head cocked to one side, staring at me and waiting for our next move.

As I stared at the dog that was so similar to the RCA dog, I began to get an odd feeling… somewhere between freedom and carelessness, like sitting on the beach on a hot summer day with the wind blowing through my hair. My legs felt strong and nimble with no sign of the nagging ache constantly present in my left ankle. I have to admit, I had the strange urge to smell the surroundings around me. Resisting what felt like a basic instinct, I suddenly could see myself sitting there looking at Raggles, as if through his own eyes. It was all a bit kaliediscope-ish yet the curiosity of the experience kept the glasses firmly in place.

Then, without warning, I was overcome by a sadness wrapped in fear. I felt cold and as lonely as I ever felt. It was then that I realized that the familiar ring tone of “Takin’ it to the Streets” by Taylor Hicks was beckoning. I removed the glasses, taking a minute to re-focus with a little less tumultuousness, this time.

“Stevie. Hello?…Is this Stevie”, I heard my mother inquire, in her most agitated voice.

“Mother…yes, it’s me”.

After “discussing” for the umpteenth time how much she hates cell phones and can’t hear people talking on them (all the while screaming into her own speaker phone), we got to the real reason for her call. “Son, I think it’s really a shame that I never seen you anymore. I mean, I live all of four miles from you and you haven’t been by since Easter.”

The usual dread of speaking to my mother swept over me and once again, I made excuses then profusely apologized and promised to stop by this weekend. As I punched the red button on my cell phone, I ran through the To Do List that I knew my mother would have ready for me when I got there.

Raggles’ barking brought me back to the glasses. I tried to link my experience back to the subject that I was looking at through the spectacles. Then, illumination!….I was experiencing the bigger picture of Raggles. I remembered how I had found him at the shelter, a shy and tired-looking older puppy. The attendant at the shelter had told me that Raggles had been found down by the docks and had evidently been on his own for a while, scavenging through dumpsters and relying on the kindness of the dock workers sharing their lunches. The sensations that I had while staring at Raggles through the glasses were, in fact, the essence of Raggles.

My mother’s voice played back in my head. Now, for the real test. I had long struggled to understand the causes of my mother’s bitterness and lack of attachment to anything, particularly her children. Could these help me “know” her? See her bigger picture?

I decided that it was worth a try. I went to the Rite-Aid around the corner and bought a $4 case to put the glasses in to prevent any further scratching. Then I placed the case on the bookshelf in the den to wait for my visit to my mother’s on Saturday. For once, in a very long time, I was actually excited about seeing my mother….

The following was contributed by Ivoryhut

The week went by in a blur. They had been painting the office over the weekend, and I walked in at eight in the morning to the wonderful stench of stale paint. Having gotten used to the smell, it wasn’t until the ten o’clock coffee break that we noticed something was amiss. Maybe it was the slight hint of turpentine flavor in the uncovered breakfast muffins that gave it away, but after some coaxing, we finally got the office manager to look into it. So it turns out that a dying furnace smells like cheap polyurethane.

They closed the office for the day, but with project reports fast approaching, I headed to the local library to get some work done while repairs were underway. The musty odor of forgotten books was a welcome one, and called to mind many happy rainy afternoons spent lost in a mystery book, or imagining the alien sounds and textures of a faraway culture brought to life by the fiction writers I idolized. I was hit by a sudden surge of nostalgia. When was the last time I lost myself in a book like that? Before I could even begin thinking back, the library assistant returned with a foot-high stack of old periodicals that I had requested. By the time I finally looked up, neck stiff and fingers gray with old ink, it was already dark outside.

The rest of the days were spent catching up on work I should have finished the month before. I can never develop the kind of discipline that gets things ahead of time. I’m always doing the mad rush to meet deadlines. Oh well. Now’s not the time to start hearing my mother’s voice in my head. It was Thursday night, and I had exactly 10 hours to put together a 20-page report on the securities industry. Just thinking about it was boring enough.

Raggles sat by me as I typed away at the keyboard. Poor boy. I hadn’t played with him all week, and even missed giving him the usual special Wednesday dinner treat because I was held up at the office. I made a mental note to spend some extra time with him at the park tomorrow after work. I could use the break myself.

I dragged myself out of bed Friday morning, thinking only about handing in the report and killing time until a decent hour to leave the office and start my weekend. Raggles seemed to have sensed it too, because he stood by the kitchen entrance as I gave him a goodbye scratch on the head, and as I turned back one more time before shutting the door, I saw his old tennis ball by his paws, all ready for the afternoon of playtime.

The day crawled its way to five o’clock, and wouldn’t you know it, I got a call at 4:30 p.m. to make “just a few minor revisions” to the report. Of course, it had to be done right away. So the 5 p.m. exit turned into an 8 p.m. exit, and their offer of dinner charged to the company had me thinking of 10-pound lobsters and porterhouse steaks just for spite. As I was shutting off my monitor with thoughts of gastronomical revenge, the phone rang. What now, I thought. This better not more last-minute revision requests on the report, or I’m throwing in two soufflés in the mix. “Steve Barraud,” I answered in a slightly irritated voice, impatient to head home.

“Stevie? It’s you mother. I called you at home but there was no answer. I just wanted to remind you to please bring your tool box with you when you come over this weekend. You’re still coming, right? Or did you forget?”

“No, mother, I didn’t forget,” I lied. Darn. There goes my plan to spend the weekend with Raggles doing nothing. And I already missed our afternoon at the park today. “I’ll be there with my tools. Call me at home if you remember anything else, I’m heading out the door now.”

The familiar dread of an uncomfortable weekend washed over me as I prepared to leave, and by reflex, I started going through possible excuses to postpone it for the following week. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see her, just not this weekend. Not after the week I just had. Reaching into my pocket for my car keys, I felt a crumpled piece of paper and pulled it out. It was a Rite-Aid receipt for $4, and I suddenly remembered the glasses! Suddenly the dread was no more, and the excitement returned.

I walked out to an empty parking lot and spotted my lonely car in the distance, the section where late arrivers are banished to so they can suffer the trek to the building entrance and clock in even later. Thoughts of what it would be like to see my mother through the glasses occupied my mind, and it wasn’t until I was halfway to my car that I noticed the sound.

I turned back, but saw nothing. I continued walking, and there it was again. Faint, and, deliberately now, in step with mine. Before I could turn back, I heard it. Stop. A whispered word that floated through the night air to reach my ears. Turning around, the glare of a lamp post suddenly coming to life caught me off guard. At once the light was gone again, and in its place stood a woman. Instinctively, I raised my hand to greet her, like a long-lost friend. Puzzling, this instant recognition that came out of nowhere. Piercing sad eyes and a velvet voice were all I could seize of her, and then she was gone. I looked around once more, and saw nothing.

Morning found me slumped in my bed, half-dreaming of my strange parking lot sighting. There was something strangely familiar about her. Or was it the voice? The sun was streaming through the blinds, and I pulled the blanket closer. Was it real, or did I dream it all? That’s it, no more going a whole week on three nights of rest every night. I must have crashed as soon as I got home. Must remember I’m not a college kid anymore. I bet all this stress and lack of sleep is causing my mind to play tricks on me.

Flinging the sheets from the bed, I remembered Raggles. As excited as I was to see my mother through the magic glasses, I knew I had to spend the morning with my buddy. Careful not to trip over the books and coffee cups charted across the fleecy gray carpet that stank of a week’s worth of takeout food, I stepped into the bathroom to get ready for the day…

The following was contributed by Bamaborntxbred

It is funny how one, seemingly insignificant decision, can change your life forever. This morning I woke to an overloaded schedule at a dead end job, an overbearing mother, and a grim outlook on my future. I couldn’t have imagined how much everything would change in the course of a few hours.

I was 3 years old the day my father and 12-year old brother died. They were on the family’s private jet as it went down during a winter storm. During my childhood, I overheard nannies and other servant’s gossip about what happened that day. My mother and father had fought over her controlling nature and she refused to go on the planned holiday vacation. My brother elected to go with my father while she kept me home with her. After their deaths she became even more controlling and reclusive, refusing even to go their funerals. I became the center of her universe. My childhood was spent inside the bounds of our estate in New Hampshire. The only other people I ever knew were the servants and the endless succession of nannies and teachers.

When I turned 18, I left the walls of our estate to enter Stanford. I had hoped that crossing the country to go to college would give me opportunities to meet new people…and the space I desired from my mother. I never really knew how attached she was until she announced that she would be moving into a home near the university. Still, I counted it something of a victory to be living in the dorms, amongst my peers.

Now, years later, we still live in California, with only a few miles between us.

Lately, I‘ve felt that the walls of my life were closing in on me. I’m 34 years old and I have never seen anything remarkable, been anywhere inspiring. I still jump at every beck and call of my mother. I am consumed with a job I took only because I never dared to dream of anything bigger. I didn’t hurt for material things, but I had long ago tired of amusing myself with shallow pursuits.

It was these thoughts, spinning in my head, which caused me to make the decision I made that fateful day. The stress of being overworked, the fear of living the rest of my days as a drone, and quite frankly, a desire to spend some time with the curious glasses I had found, drove me to pick up the phone this morning and call a local handyman service. Once I arranged to have them help my mother with her demands, I called her and told her that I would not be coming to her house this weekend. I explained to her that I was tired of being her little boy and that she shouldn’t “count on me” any longer. We both needed a separation. She cried, and wheedled, but I stood my ground and eventually, I hung up. “Goodbye, Mother,” I said to myself. We’d had this conversation many times before, but somehow I knew this time was different. On this day, I would make a change.

“So, now what?” I asked Raggles. He cocked his head to the left and looked at me curiously.
“Well, boy, I think we should start with a game of fetch!” After playing with Raggles for a few hours, I couldn’t put off the lure of the glasses any longer. “I’ll be back in a little while, boy!” Raggles was worn out and didn’t seem to mind my leaving. I knew exactly where I was headed: the library.

An idea was forming in my mind, and I had to know if what I suspected was right. I was a little fearful, but feeling so hopeless about life and so starved for adventure, I decided the risk was worth finding out.

I entered the library and headed straight for the section where my favorite author’s books were housed in. Marcus Noble wasn’t a conventional author, but his fiction seemed to be written for me alone. Although he didn’t write serial novels, the same character was featured in every book. A boy named Voyager. A boy that had endless adventures and a carefree, daring attitude about life. As a child I imagined I was Voyager, fighting dragons and walking with giants to find the edge of the world.

I picked up the first novel written by Noble, “Traverse the Horizon.” I found a deserted area on the third floor of the library, opened the book to the first page, and put the glasses on.

Swoosh! A massive bird flew within inches of my face. “What,” I cried, “was that?” Swoosh! The bird flew past me again. Suddenly, I felt myself being lifted off the ground. The huge bird had me in its talons and was swiftly rising up toward the clouds. Normally, I would’ve reacted to a situation like this, as most people would, with utter fear and confusion. But, somehow I knew the bird was a friend rather than a foe and I was filled with exhilaration. “Woohoo!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.

The bird, spoke: “That was too close. Next time I might not be around to pluck you out of one of your scrapes.”

“Atmos, you don’t know what you’re saying!” I cried. “That Cyclops didn’t know what hit him! I had to test my new slingshot on something you know!”

“Yes, well, if I hadn’t gotten there when I did,” said Atmos, “the Cyclops behind you would be picking his teeth with your bones right about now.”

“Oh! Um, well, I uh, knew that he was behind me. I had it all under control. But, you know, thanks anyway.” I managed to mumble.

“Humph!” groused Atmos.

It was a peculiar feeling. Not to be flying through the air in the talons of a giant bird, but to be aware of both worlds at once. I knew I was still me, Stephen Newman…and yet I was beginning to realize that what I hoped for was actually true; the glasses had transported me into the world of Voyager. More than that, I was Voyager….

We quickly arrived at our destination; The Breathing Forest and Atmos’ nest. “You can sleep here tonight. Tomorrow you must begin the journey that Empress Sarai has commissioned you for,” said Atmos.

“I do need a rest. I’ve never been to the horizon before and I’m afraid it’s going to be quite an adventure,” I yawned. I was tired and the nest was lined with warm down and soft grasses from the floor of the forest. I snuggled next to Atmos and began drifting off to sleep.

I opened my eyes to find that I was back in the little corner of the library. I quickly removed the glasses feeling stunned and exhilarated by what I had discovered. Glancing at my watch I realized that only seconds had passed from when I put the glasses on. From when I began my fantastic journey as Voyager.

The enormity of what could be experienced through theses magical glasses was beginning to dawn on me. I could be Voyager. I could be anyone! My mind was whirling. Should I take all the Noble books home? Should I take history books, too? I had always been a student of history and felt compelled to use the glasses to experience history first hand. However, as I was to learn, it is one thing to enter a fictional world, quite another to enter the past. I trembled with excitement and fear.

How could I know that my life would be changing forever?

You see, I met the love of my life today. And it is the epitome of misfortune that she no longer exists. In fact, she died many years ago…as an old woman in the winter of 1908….

to be continued….

The following was contributed by Quossum

I hastily gathered the next three Voyager books and then made my way to the 900 section, almost running into one of the staff who was directing workers hanging quilts throughout the library for a special display. Perusing the stacks, I was struck with dismay by the sheer number of books detailing wars, often battle by battle. It occurred to me that human history consisted mainly of bloodshed. Though the travails of the past did interest me, a sobering thought struck me: Did I dare use the glasses to witness the past?

They caused one to see the inner sense of something, its bigger picture, so to speak. In the Voyager books, the glasses had acted as a virtual reality device and let me experience things that had not and could not actually happen. If I read a history book…would I actually travel in time? Would I be there, at the time and place described? If the glasses allowed me to travel in time…I shuddered. A diet of science fiction stories decrying the insidious nature of the paradoxes and destruction that time travel could wreck gave me serious pause.

There were nicer aspects of the past, too, I reflected, glancing at an antique blue and white quilt hung on the wall near me, times when human beings had shown endurance and nobility in the face of difficulty…but did I want to take a chance that I could screw things up?

Shaking my head resolutely, I took the three books in my arms to the checkout desk and headed home.

Raggles greeted me with typical Jack Russel enthusiasm, bounding against my legs and almost managing to bop me on the chin with his highest leaps. Laughing, I couldn’t deny him a few more tosses of the ol’ tennis ball before finally settling down and fixing us some supper: a sandwich and Coke for me, a chicken leg quarter for him. We ate in companionable silence, though my mind was churning with anticipation.

I had been touched by something otherworldly, something that shouldn’t even exist. Something straight from the Voyager novels I enjoyed so much. I was ready to enter that world again. No history, no deep thoughts, no moral dilemmas, just simple escapism.

At least, that’s what I thought.

Settling comfortably in my chair, the book on my lap, I opened it and, taking a deep breath, put the glasses on.

Again I was immersed into Voyager’s world…again I was Voyager.

Atmos and I swooped through the sky in pursuit of the chimeras who had stolen Queen Sarai’s Jewel of Office.

“Here we go again!” said Atmos. “Couldn’t we have been a little less successful at defeating that Trogledale last year?”

“Oh, Atmos!” I cried, the wind stinging my eyes, my hands buried in his warm, light feathers. “You know you love this!”

Atmos squawked something unintelligible but possibly rude in response, and I laughed. “Maybe this time…“

And suddenly, with an abruptness that completely stole my breath, I was elsewhere.

I stood in a small bedroom lit only by the yellow glow of a bedside oil lamp and the soft light radiating from a small fireplace in one wall. The rush of wind was gone, replaced by a thick and heavy silence; the only sound was an intermittent pop from the fire, which lent only a little warmth to the chilly room, and the sound of ragged breathing from the figure in the bed.

Blinking, shaking my head, I stumbled, almost falling to the wooden planks of the floor. The person on the bed stirred.

It was a woman, very old, face wreathed in lines, surrounded by deep layers of quilts and dwarfed by the huge pillows supporting her in a half-sitting position. On her lap lay an open journal, a fountain pen on the quilt beside her apparently having fallen from her fingers.

Her eyes met mine. “Stephen!” she breathed.

I stepped back. Everything about her reverberated within me, as if her voice had plucked a single chord deep within me. I couldn’t breathe. “How…how…“ was all I could manage, my voice sounding rough in the quiet room.

The woman didn’t rise, but her eyes were alight with more than the gleam from the lamplight, golden on her unbound silver hair. “Oh, Stephen,” she said. “It is true. Your first, my last. It’s true.”

“Am I…is this real?” I said, even as I spoke feeling my self in this room. Not as Voyager. As me. “I’m really here? You can see me?”

A dry chuckle. “See you, Stephen. Hear you. Feel you.” She stretched out a hand.

Cautiously I stepped forward. My fingers trembled as they moved toward hers, though my gaze did not leave her face, her eyes.

Our fingers touched. My hand enveloped hers…her soft, smooth skin, the bones like a bird’s bones in her frail hand. Her eyes closed, and when they opened again, they were bright with tears. “Oh, Stephen,” she said, and with her words I knew that she knew me, deeply.

I moved forward and sat on the edge of the bed, still holding her hand. “Who are you?” I whispered, searching her face for some feature I would recognize.

“Oh, love,” she said, her voice colored with despair, “you yourself told me it would be this way. That I would see you one more time, and that you wouldn’t know me. But Stephen…oh I know you. I know you. I’ve missed you. My heart.”

I shook my head, unable to speak. She blinked, one tear escaping and running down her soft, lined cheek. “I didn’t realize how much this would hurt.”

Instinctively I lifted my hand to brush the tear from that silky cheek, and she caught my hand with her free hand. “I am Lily Jordan, Stephen. Lily Jordan. You told me to tell you to look for me. You told me to tell you that this time. This last time.”

“I will,” I said, speaking through a dry throat. “But where should I look?”

She shook her head. “That I can’t tell you, love. You have magics in your world. Magics I can’t begin to comprehend.” With one finger she touched the earpiece of the glasses.

“Can’t you give me a…a starting point?” I asked, already desperate with desire for what I had to do, what I knew I must do.

“Your starting point,” she said, “is the knowledge that you were successful. Oh, Stephen!” she cried, clutching my hand in both of hers. “I tried for all those years to reach your world, to reach you. There was once, when I thought I had pierced the veil between us. I thought I saw you. I told…“ she stopped. “But I mustn’t. It’s too late for me. That time is gone now. My time is gone. But yours for us, love, is only beginning.” Her eyes were on my face, eager and bittersweet, absorbing my every feature.

I didn’t know what to say. I could only look at her. I didn’t know her, I was sure of that, and yet…everything about her called to me, to an inner part of me that I hadn’t known existed. “Lily,” I said, tasting her name, savoring it.

She closed her eyes again. Her breathing was labored. “That’s what I wanted,” she said, “to hear my name from your mouth one more time. Just once more.” She pulled a deep, shuddering breath that seemed to rattle to the core of her. “And now,” she said, “I must finish this, so that you’ll find me.” She gestured to the journal on the quilt over her lap and picked up the fountain pen. It had leaked dark ink onto the blue and white quilt, but Lily didn’t seem to notice. “You…you can leave now, Stephen. I don’t want you to see this…this ending.”

“No, Lily,” I said. “Please…tell me a little more, give me some more hints…a clue! I can’t find you if I don’t know where to look!”

“You will find me,” she said. “You did.” Her smile was unbelievably tender. Then she reached up and took the glasses from my face.

“No!”

I was back in my living room, the glasses lying on the open book before me. Raggles stood looking at me quizzically.

Desperately, my eyes flew to the open book. There, in between the pages of the novel, was a loose sheet, obviously torn from a bound journal. It was yellowed with age and the words on it had been written in fountain pen, in a neat though shaky script. I had turned the page in the Voyager book and my eyes had fallen on this! Without the glasses on, I read the page:

This the last words from the pen and trembling hand of Lily Jordan, on the day of my dying at 90 years old in the year of our Lord 1908.

The day we met, me at the age of 30, my love and my heart, Stephen Newman, did tell me that he would return to me on the day of my death, and that he would not then know me. The testimony of these pages declares the many efforts I made to bring us together before that could occur.

Now his words have come to fulfillment, and I can die in peace, though God knows I would that there could be a different end to our story for me. I know what I must do now, and what I must ask of Marcus, though he will little understand. So in my ending I set in motion the forces that will bring you to me, Stephen, my love, my heart. I hope that you will find our time together worthwhile…as I did, Stephen.

Forevermore Yours

It was signed with a stylized drawing of a lily.

I stood, the paper clutched in my trembling fingers, my head pounding with the accustomed headache brought on by the use of the glasses. I had to find Lily Jordan. I didn’t care what she’d said…once I was with her, I would never leave. I had to find the journal from which this page had been torn, read it with the glasses on, and reach her. I had to get that journal into my hands.

But how?

To be continued…

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55 Responses to “The Bigger Picture: A Progressive Story (part 5 added)”

  1. Squeebee Says:

    DD…that was great! What a cool way to set the scene for the story! I am looking forward to the next instalment.

  2. Quossum Says:

    Yes!!!! We have a dog in the story now! I can’t wait for my turn!

    BTW…Saturday’s Agility show results: Zero Q’s in four runs, but a good time was had by all. Hobbit ran enthusiastically and Pixie gained yet more fans. The folks came and watched, too–what a nice surprise! Plus, a conformation show was going on, too, as well as obedience, and it was kind of nice wandering over there and watching how “the other half” lives for a change! =)

    –Q

  3. shelley Says:

    as soon as i read about raggles i knew q would be over the moon. 😉

    well done, DD

  4. Rowan Says:

    Oooh, the bar has been set verrrry high by the first two authors! Love the way the story is panning out. High five to Shelley and DD.

    Agree with Squeebee, DD – great cliff-hanger!

  5. ivoryhut Says:

    Rowan, I agree! Verrrrry high. Hmm .. maybe I write the next installment in Filipino?

    I love how she threw that little twist in, then left it wide open. Excited to see what comes to mind.

    Busy busy weekend, so I’ll go print this out and discuss it among my selves. Heh.

    Happy Sunday to all!

  6. shelley Says:

    Dear Santa,

    Please bring me a Filipino-to-English dictionary this year.

    Thank you.

    Shelley

  7. ridearoundsally Says:

    sniff..ok..so I liked Borat…no reason to boot me off the “monkbots write the story” thread. …. yours a very dejected Sally

  8. shelley Says:

    Hey Sally…I deleted ALL the initial comments in this thread and started fresh with DD’s addition.

    Don’t cry! 🙂

  9. double d Says:

    Good stuff, Ivoryhut….

  10. Squeebee Says:

    Wonderful, Ivoryhut! You gals are all so creative!

  11. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Heehee…I’m next. Y’all better buckle up…This is either going to be very good….or exruciatingly bad.

    I’m envisioning strippers, jelly beans and black & white cows….

    Waahaaahaaheehee! Snort!

  12. Shrewspeaks Says:

    3what this about cows striping off jelly beans?

    Ivory excellent stuff!

    This is such a great idea!

  13. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Oooh…Shrew…fabulous idea.

    Monkey’s in pink tutu’s…Leprechauns making donuts…hmmm…my mind is awhirl with ideas….

    Kidding! Or am I?

    Did anyone watch the Rockefeller thing? I didn’t get to see it. How was it?

  14. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Bama, saw both…I thought he did really well. I had fun watching it. Gray has vids posted.

    Oh and for your inspiration…
    Cow and Jelly bean

  15. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I freakin’ LOVE that cow and jelly bean toy!! (Dear Santa….)

    I’ll have to go watch the vids at Gray’s I s’pose.

  16. Shrewspeaks Says:

    I thought White Christmas was so much fun! Worth a look Bama.

  17. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I can’t get the damn thing to load! I guess I’ll have to watch it later!

  18. nolagirl Says:

    I really like the story so far! Good job, everyone! Can’t wait to see what you are cooking up, Bama. 😉

    Side note: How was the concert last night?

  19. Shrewspeaks Says:

    OOOH Yeah…concert review please!!!!

  20. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Nola:

    It was AWESOME! No other words to describe it. Justin (lead singer) is so passionate and he pours his soul into his lyrics and performances. There were tons of people there…it was general admission/standing room only..we were about 15 feet from the stage…

    Being that I’ve followed them for the last 12 years or so…it’s great to see them finally getting some press and accolades. I think there stuff was too hard for mainstream before. He’s softened up a lot as he’s aged, gotten married, etc.

    I also met a good-looking guy at the concert…

    BTW- email me at: lumibug72@yahoo.com so we don’t have to bore people with Kidd conversations.

  21. bamaborntxbred Says:

    If you are interested here is the Blue October myspace page.

    You can see their latest video: Into The Ocean. It sounds very “upbeat” but it’s actually a song about suicide. Sweet, right?

    Warning: The song is kinda “pop”ish, but most of their music isn’t. So if you were to explore further…you might come across some very loud and “screamy” songs.

    I don’t expect any converts…but I love to share what I love…

  22. double d Says:

    An upbeat song about suicide….right.

    Bama, get your derriere over to YouTube and check out Taylor’s BODACIOUS performances at the “Rock”.

    Our boy is becoming a man…I’m verklempt.

    RAWK-natious!

  23. bamaborntxbred Says:

    My faith in mankind is restored.

    That was freakin’ FABULOUS! I got to watch Taylor doing WC, it’s snowing in Big D…what more could a girl ask for??

    I heart Taylor so much!

  24. Shrewspeaks Says:

    You know Bama…you just restored my faith in being a fan.

  25. nolagirl Says:

    So, not to be totally random and change the subject, BUT, I couldn’t not share this. My co-worker sent it to me.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=2690544

  26. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Dare I say…what WILL they think of next?

    And couldn’t this be a real mood breaker?

  27. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I can’t check it now Shrew. You might not understand this coming from the North…but we were just told to leave work for a:

    SNOW DAY!!!!

    I love being in a city that shuts down at the slightest frozen precipitation!

    I’m gonna go home and work on my story!

    Bye for now!

    Y’all have fun now, ya hear?!

  28. nolagirl Says:

    Shrew – My co-workers and I thought of the same thing! “Uhhh, excuse me just a sec honey, uhhh…” LOL

  29. Shrewspeaks Says:

    I sent the article to a male co-worker. He said how romantic…then we had ten minutes of “Spray it, don’t say it” slogans going back and forth

  30. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Bama gets to go home for a snow day and we have the air conditioning on here in NJ…what is wrong with THIS picture

  31. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Okay this is in line with Nola’s article…cracked me up but good.

    Noth Pole Pickup Lines

  32. double d Says:

    Noth Pole…Chris Noth? Mr. Big?

  33. nolagirl Says:

    Shoot – I can’t listen to that right now at the office, but I will when I get home!

    And Shrew, I thought it was “say it, don’t spray it” (however, not spraying it would defeat the whole point in this case)

  34. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Dayum…I bet Noth wishes he had game like this guy

  35. shelley Says:

    Friendly reminder, y’all…MY FAMILY READS THIS BLOG.

    Let’s change the topic, please.

    Also…I think maybe these story posts don’t lend themselves to a lot of conversation. Should I provide an open forum on days the story runs?

  36. ivoryhut Says:

    You guys are killing me! Between “optimizing the vulcanization process” and the elf who can’t reach the bar, how can I ever get anything done here?

    Thanks for the kind words. Shelley and Double D were soooo hard to follow. Can’t wait to see how Bama will fit the jelly bean-pooping cow into the mix.

    Shrew, we have a day or two more of this balmy weather, then I hear flurries on Monday. Fat chance we’ll get a day off work for that.

    Hey, who’s in CA? I may be there next weekend. Already dreaming of In n Out burgers.

  37. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Too right. so sorry Shelley.

    I do think an open question on the story days would be a good idea

  38. shelley Says:

    thanks for understanding, shrew.

    i’ll be sure to do that next time. 😉

  39. double d Says:

    ooh, the plot thickens…nice, Bama. Nice.

  40. ivoryhut Says:

    Ooh is right, DD. Well done, Bama! Great job. Can’t wait to see how this all unfolds.

  41. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Thanks y’all! I had a bunch of ideas and would’ve kept writing and writing…but I figured no one would have time to read all that!

  42. leejolem Says:

    I haven’t gotten to read the last installment yet (too long to appreciate it at work). I can’t believe how talented all of you are. My writing would probably end up sounding like a bad Harlequin Romance. (“I put on the glasses and who appears before me?…My dream man, Taylor Hicks. I get on his tour bus with him.” Heaving bosoms and rapturous sighs follow).
    Moral of the story=Fangirly fiction is ugly.

  43. Quossum Says:

    OMG, great direction, bama. I am actually shaking with anticipation. I *need* motivation to write, and now my mind is going in a million directions. Give me a few days and just SEE what I do!

    *cracks knuckles heartily*

    –Q

  44. leejolem Says:

    Q-I love time travel love stories. It was beautifully written (makes me think of “Somewhere in Time”). I love the way you worked a quilt into the story.
    Hope you had a great Christmas!

  45. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I love it Q!! I’m so curious to see what turn the story takes next..

    I want a pair of magic glasses!!

  46. Rowan Says:

    Woweee! Q, this is soooo well crafted. Fab-tastic!!

    I am kinda nervous…but have an idea for an ending now. Wonder if the story will allow me to head that way? This is all tooo exciting. I had a sneaky cheese sandwich before resuming my diet tomorrow….perhaps it will yield some helpfully intricate plotline-dreams.

    Bama – you can have the magic glasses, if I can have magic pants that take me back to the figure I had for about three months, fifteen years ago…

  47. Mind Doc Says:

    A lOVE story?! Yikes! *gives Q a very hard look*

    Staggers off to find coffee and cogitate…

  48. Quossum Says:

    Hey, I wasn’t thinking in that direction either, but bama left the door wide open… At least you can’t say I didn’t leave you plenty of leads! *big evil grin*

    –Q

  49. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Sorry y’all. I must’ve been feeling all warm and squishy that day or something….

    It sure is lonely ’round these parts this week, huh?

    Hope everyone is having a good holiday!

  50. shelley Says:

    Sorry guys. I promise to rev things up when I get back to Jackson. 🙂

    Though I gotta say…I’ve really enjoyed the time off!

    I think the love story is great…if it’s REALLY a love story.

    Who knows? 😉

    I must admit…this progressive story has been one of my favorite parts of the blog.

    I love that we’re all working to create something fun.

    Great job on everyone’s part.

  51. Mind Doc Says:

    Bama — if you are looking for a little something to read, look at the link that Shelley put up. Rowan and I are feebly attempting to do a travel blog (okay — I am feebly trying and cribbing shamelessly from her). I am pleased with the pictures, though. We were stavaigin aboot …

  52. bamaborntxbred Says:

    What link? Where? Huh? I’ll go a-lookin.

    Shelley- I didn’t mean I wanted you to post stuff this week honey pie! I just meant I missed the chitter-chattering with the Monkbots. Of course I want you to have time off! You need and deserve it!

    I love the p-story too. I think it’s so fun! Maybe we can do another someday!

  53. Mind Doc Says:

    (bama — look down by gc and other links.)

  54. Squeebee Says:

    Bama and Q, you both sis a great job! Looking forward to seeing how it ends!

    Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year!

  55. ivoryhut Says:

    Nice, Q! Lee, I was thinking “Somewhere In Time” too. I love how you never know where the next installment will take you.

    Hope everyone is well and warm. Can’t believe it’s almost 2007. Seems like not too long ago I had to be on call for some Y2K stuff that never materialized.

    Where is this travel blog y’all talking about? Have to go hunting for it too …

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