Practicing in Public

September 5, 2018

NOTE: These “prompt pages” are written and posted with little or no editing. It is simply “showing up, butt in chair, fingers on keyboard” writing. I have included them here, NOT for your critics mind to dissect, but show what daily “exercise” writing and rough draft writing can do.

TODAY’S PROMPT: Keywords: emitter – twilight – anger – garage – surprise

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Dust rose up as Mark’s feet scraped over the dirt floor of the garage. He tapped the index fingers of his folded hands together; if they made a sound, the beat would be steady. “Three failures.” Anger seethed in his voice. “I’ve failed twice. With the original source being a failure, there are three failures, and Mr. Mathison expects and idea for the new water emitter tomorrow.”


He jumped at Sally’s voice.

“Dinner is ready. Are you going to come in or would you like me to dinner to you?”

“Not now. I don’t have time to eat.”

“You’ve got to eat.”

“Not now. Don’t nag. Can’t you see I’m working?”

Sally walked out of the garage without another word.

Mark resumed his pacing. The afternoon faded to twilight when his phone rang.

“Yes, Mr. Mathison. No, Mr. Mathison, not yet, but I’m close. Yes, I know you promised the board that you would have a prototype emitter at tomorrow morning’s meeting.” Mark pressed end call.

He grabbed the drawings for all five failures and sat at his drawing desk. The emitter Mr. Mathison wanted would gently water plants on a porch or patio without soaking anything, but would work best with a timer. This way the home owner could go on vacation and not worry about his plants.

“Attempt one. Not really an attempt,” he said as he examined the design of the soaker hose. He noted the pros and cons. The worst cons, he noted, were that the end of the hose rarely emitted any water to the plants and that water was everywhere. “Mr. Mathison wants the water strategically in each plant, but he also wants the consumer to be able to place the plants where they want, not where the hose requires.

“Attempt two.” To allow the customer to place the water to specific plants, he had cut holes into a hose and glued emitters to short pieces of tubing and glued to tubing to the hose. Two cons. Still less water to the end plants and the hose dictated the placement of the plants.

“Attempt three.” Mark had made the holes in the emitters at the beginning smaller and fewer and the holes in the emitters along the hose became bigger and increased in number. Cons. The hose still dictated the placement of the plants.

“Attempt four.” Mark held the hose in his hands.

“Daddy? Can you come out and help me build the wagon with the construction toy?”

He opened his mouth to say he was working, but he set the hose down. “Sure. A break might do me good.”

Craig had laid out all the PVC pipe type pieces to the construction set on the drive. In fact, Mark realized that his son had laid out the pieces as they should be put together. “Hey buddy, why did you my help. All the pieces look like they are in the right places.”

“They are, but I can’t get them to snap together.”

His son’s words began echoing in his mind. “Snap together. Snap together.”

“Ok then, you hand me the pieces and let me know what you want to do.”

The five year old began to hand his dad the pieces. Mark aligned and pushed the pieces together. Craig handed Mark the last piece. As Mark snapped it together, an idea snapped into his mind.

“Like any building toy that snaps together. If we make a kit with pieces that snap together, the customer would be able to put the emitters anywhere on the hose by piecing it all together. Not only that, if the customer wanted to rearrange the plant, he could just re-configure the hose.” Mark hurried into the kitchen to share his idea with Sally and hope there was a little dinner left.

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