Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Miami Priest

For this week’s exercise, we again rotated a series of sheets around the group. On each pass of the sheets we wrote an item, creating a list on each one. The items were:

A colour
A number
A place
A type of person
An object

By the time we had written all of these, our original slip came full circle. You might need to change the number of items, depending on how many group members you have.

On my slip I had:

Puce (purple-brown)

The number, in this exercise, was supposed to relate to the object- A person in a place, with a number of objects of a certain colour. I should have written the scene with a priest in Miami with 42 brown apples.

I misinterpreted this! I’m sure you’ll do better.

Father Brian stepped out of the building and into a wall of choking heat. His black robes soaked up the rays like an endothermic sponge.

He liked to watch the people, to observe their differences and eclectic mannerisms- the blacks, the Hispanics, the rich, the poor. Miami brought everyone together in a giant melting pot. He thought the phrase appropriate- the humidity always made him feel like he was going to melt into a puddle every time he left the church. He reached into his satchel. He had no water, but he pulled out an apple that would keep him busy for an hour or so. He strolled through the blaring streets, listening to the cacophony- the stereos from convertibles blaring sweary hip-hop and other languages he didn’t understand.

A member of his congregation had lent him a book- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. An eccentric man, he’d pressed the book on him a few weeks ago, saying the priest would like it.

He bit on the apple, sucking in the vital juices and strolled over to the purple-brown bench on the edge of a little park. The corner of green space seemed to have its own dimmer switch, dulling the blare of car horns and bassy music.

He opened the book. The protagonist was talking to a very powerful computer.

The father wondered if anyone else would interpret the machine as a metaphor for God.

The computer was ready to tell the characters the meaning of life. The priest smiled.


Explanation / plot spoiler: If you haven’t read Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a) you are missing out and b) you might not have totally understood this. An alien race in the novel had designed an all-powerful computer, “Deep Thought”, to figure out the meaning of life. Deep Thought eventually confirmed that the meaning of life was “42”, and that another, more powerful computer would be needed to figure out the question to the meaning of life. It’s a very zany book. The book is far superior to the recent under-financed-and-not-particularly-funny film. Check it out.

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