Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

Written word

A challenge? Oh, how I love me some challenge!

I call this one ‘Rita’ and it goes like this:

Everyone knows, there are some buildings in your community which ooze authority. Ever dreamt of having a slumber party in a jail? Throwing confetti on a graveyard? Well, if your mind works like mine, you have, but hardly anyone considers this The Norm. There are things you simply do not do. Under no circumstances. Punishment would be severe if you didn’t follow the rules.

Rita knew this, when she entered the Castle Rock library this morning. She grew up around books and literature ever since her mom read her about leprechauns and fairies. She changed to Pennywise and Werewolves when she was 11. Pity the fools who dreamt about Bella and Edward, she had Randall Flagg and the Lone Ranger in her mind when she was 14. Tolkien changed to Trotzky in the years of her ‘rebellion against the man’, but her mind always stayed open for a good read regardless of its origin or background.

She did not like to keep all these books to herself, though. There was this thing about buying books, reading them and forgetting them on a shelf at home which she never got used to. She loved the worlds of libraries. The vast and sheer endless amounts of knowledge and worlds of stories blew her mind any time she walked through the aisles. There was something about the French Revolution. About the reasons, the Chinese Boxers fought. About a world where trolls lived on bridges and were friends with elves and dwarves.

She got her own library card at the age of seven. Ms DeFleur handed her the piece of cardboard when Little Rita was not even able to reach over the counter. She got the green one – the one for the grown ups – for her sixteenth birthday. And when the library walked the walk into the web2.0 she got her ID before anyone else in town.

So, yeah, she knew the routine of this place. She knew it very well, indeed. Walk in, find a desk in the hall, leave your belongings there and make your way to find anything that hits your mind. Even though she rarely saw Ms DeFleur, she knew the old lady was there. Wandering through the building, watching. The woman was old. Even in Rita’s memory she was never younger than at this day. Nearly it seemed as if she belonged to the library. Or did the library belong to her? Nearly it seemed, Ms DeFleur would be the lone keeper of the knowledge here. Even Rita’s mom could not tell her, when the head-librarian actually started her work. All she could tell her daughter was, that she was there. Every day. Every year. Her glasses and her cardigan fitted the typical image of her profession. But when Rita got to know her, she did not think of her as an evil person. Not a demon or a witch as in those horror stories of Lovecraft, Poe or King. No, Ms DeFleur simply was there. A rock of authority, unimpressed by the waves of stupidity and immorality of this world.

This is not a story about the librarian after all, though. This is going to be about Rita. The woman who nearly disappeared inbetween the racks full of books deep inside one of the library wings. Today, she found herself in the section of classical british literature. William Caxton, John Prise. Oh, the wonderful world of sonnets and early beginnings of the english language. Rita found an arm full of books within a minute and got back to her desk in the main hall. “If someone took hours, days or even years to write a book“, her mother said when she was young, “you should at least give him fifteen minutes to convince you, my dear. If you do not like the book after that, it is no shame to put it back“. Those were her precise intentions right now. The Castle Rock library was perfect for this exercise. Especially in the morning, the reading hall was flooded with sunlight which was so much more powerful than the artifical lights on the ceiling. Coming through the window glass the light felt warm and cozy (Rita tried to read about the nature of light when she was fiteen. One of the books she put back quite quickly). The chairs in front of the desks were comfy. Not too comfortable to fall asleep in, but your butt would not hurt even after reading for hours nonstop. The desk itself was made of dark brown wood and was vast, compared to her little table at home. She loved and adored sitting here reading in silence.

Edmund Spenser was great. The Faerie Queene – even though inclomplete – was exciting and lovely written. Rita did not understand Thomas Sackville’s Gorboduc, but she never liked the great playmakers anyway, so she was not too disappointed. She found another three books she would take home today and was nearly at the end. And then she came to Alexander Wedderburn. His Anthology of poetic wobbles of the night caught her eye when she scanned through the rows of books. “What or who were wobbles“, she thought. Some weird kind of ancient term for literature? She didn’t know, but that never stopped her from plunging into topics.

Applying her 15-minute-rule, she got through the first chapter. She was confused. There was no sense in the sentences. She could not understand the sense, Mr Wedderburn tried to express here.

Babbling through building blocks,
porpling about to wobble along.
The brute hobbled forth,
along the sabbered fence,
observit the flarce,
in the summer lense.

Yeah, right“, Rita thought. She was nearly ready to break her mother’s rule. And she should have done it. It would have saved her so much trouble. But, oh well, even Pandora’s box’s warning was ignored, right?

She flipped the page, ready to be confused some more when she discovered the note. Later, she swould remember that the hand writing was really neat. As if someone had written the thin lines with a feather with style to the right of the book’s text. Hardly anyone could read her own handwriting, so she envied that person’s abilities even before she actually read the note itself.

Now, for some extra entertainment, read again, but in the voice of Rowan Atkinson (That’s Mr Bean for you). Enjoy and remember where you are!

At first, she didn’t know what the notes scribbler meant. Rowan who? Who was Mr Bean again? Then she remembered her childhood. This weird and awkward Englishman. Not the nine-O’clock-News was one of her favourite comedy shows when she was young and Atkinson was one of its stars. A second later, it was all too late. She heard him in her voice, reading the poem aloud again and again. Louder each time and exaggering his very own style.

Like too much water breaking a damn, hilarity got loose in her mind. Exaggerating the b- and p-sounds she found it funny first. Smiled then. And lost control finally. Her first grin was slient, she could hold back the first loud laughter that followed. But then Rowan started again. He was shouting in her head now.

Babbling through building blocks,
porpling about to wobble along.

She could not hold it anymore. The sound that left her, was half way between a snort and a laugh and caught everyone’s attention in the hall. Rita looked around, deeply embarrassed, but that did not help her at all.

The brute hobbled forth,
along the sabbered fence,
.

It got worse now. Rowan was on a run here and got Rita all geared up. She gave up as her urge to laugh overcame her very last reserve of decency. She did not need to read anymore, Atkinson had learned it quickly and recited enthusiasticly as if on a hunt for the next BAFTA. It had to get out of her. Like a maniac she started laughing loudly. Tears shot into her eyes as she and Rowan continued.

observit the flarce,
in the summer lense.

He seemed to scream. Of course, nobody could understand a word as Rita could not stop her laughter. When Rowan started again, she tried to open her eyes. With the last pieces of her normal thinking mind, she expected to be stared at, she was ready to die of embarrassment, but found this extremely hilarious. What she didn’t expect was Mrs DeFleur.

The old woman stood in front of her. At any other day, her expression would be ready to stop the loudest and meanest gang of teenagers. Right now, Rita looked at her, stopped laughing for a second and continued even louder. Her eyes closed again, her Rowan restarting for the gazillionst time in her head, she was not ready to be stopped that easily. Even as the librarian crossed her arms to signal her final warning, Rita did not care. She couldn’t even if she wanted. She was in her own world. Narrated by Rowan Atkinson, telling about hobbling brutes along a sabbered fence.

That did it for Mrs DeFleur. It was always the quiet ones who discovered this utterly disgraceful book. Always the nice women even who were so eager to read, so they discovered the note. What an evil joke of Mr Alexander Wedderburn who not only wrote the poem, but also the note. As she walked away from Rita’s desk to call the ambulance, she wondered once more how this author could have heard about Atkinson nearly 500 years before said comedian was born. Now, nothing else could be done than to call for medical help.

It was a shame. And when Rita was taken away – still in tears and inside her own world if laughter – , Mrs DeFleur brought the woman’s books back to the shelves. Nobody saw her small and short little grin.

Disclaimer: I have taken the names of some authors of the early british literature to help me with the story. I hope, you don’t mind, that I also took some liberties with the poem itself. I don’t know if all the words actually exist. But in my world – where everyone talks like Mr Bean – they definately would.

Also, for those who have not heard Rowan Atkinson lately, follow this link.

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11 thoughts on “Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

  1. Pingback: litadoolan
    1. Thank you very much for your kind words! Maybe, one day, this short little thing receives an extension. But only after I have wrestled that big grizzly bear, I also would like to 🙂
      Thanks again!

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