Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Vignettes by Me, on Themes Picked Randomly: Day 14

Theme 494: Waste

No one was watching fourth-grader Catherine La Grande pace through the sere outfield of Hippias Elementary’s baseball diamond, where half of the fourth period PE class had gathered to play with mismatched gloves and bats from Coach Wheeler’s equipment bucket. But if someone had been watching, the guess might have been that Catherine was imagining herself to be an orator to an audience of woodland creatures or fairies, as her hand was slicing through the air and her brow was furrowed as she clutched her catcher’s mitt to her heart and mouthed rhetorical phrases. That someone would be mistaken, however. 

Completely disinterested in the events taking place past the grassline two hundred and thirty feet away, or in any of the other activities of fourth period PE, Catherine was picturing herself as the self-appointed Empress of North America, who had seized power through her dauntless cunning and the will of her millions of adoring followers.

In her vision, Empress Catherine stood before the representatives and interpreters for the one hundred and ninety three member states in the United Nations General Assembly. She was outlining her bold, bracing plan to confront the apodictically primary existential crisis of her Empire and of the world: the ever-growing population of stupid and worthless people. Many of the Permanent Representatives, including the irascible François Delattre of France and the stoic Liú Jié of China, nodded and groaned in recognition of the gravity of this problem, especially when the Empress reminded the Assembly of the waste of space, time, snacks, and other essential resources by the stupid and worthlessnot to mention their proclivity for annoying and abusing the more intelligent and worthwhile sort of people (thereby distracting them from completing their intelligent and worthwhile deeds). Empress Catherine grew vituperative in her scorn of the burden created by the millions of worthless idiots, and the entire Assembly erupted in applause at her courage for saying so.

The Assembly soon grew hush with anticipation, though, when the Empress pivoted to explain her brilliant plan for getting rid of the problem population. You see, she noted, because these people were so stupid, they would be easily tricked by a simple ploy: they would be told they had all won luxurious cruise vacations! Then when they arrived to claim their prizes, they would be herded onto old garbage scows disguised as cruise ships. These ships would then be sunk in the middle of the ocean, allowing great white sharks and giant octopi to feast on the imbeciles remains!

Mentally, Catherine was basking in the thunderous standing ovation the entire U.N. General Assembly gave in response her proposal when something thudded and rolled off near her feet. She shielded her eyes from the early afternoon rays lancing across the foul line to look up at the kids screaming at her from first and second base. “Oh,” she said and searched around in the withered grass at her feet for the ball. She found it and hurled it at the boy on second base. It thudded back to earth about a dozen yards short of the boy’s waiting mitt.  

“You throw like a girl!” the second base-boy yelled as he ran forward to retrieve the ball. The hitter was now rounding third and heading toward home.

“I am a girl!” Catherine yelled back.

“What a waste she turned out to be,” the girl on the pitcher’s mound sneered.

“This game is a waste!” Catherine declared, throwing her mitt on the ground. She stalked off the field, her cheeks red and her eyes watering. When she pictured all of her classmates faces pressed in terror against the portholes of a sinking garbage scow, though, she managed a smirk.

Explanatory Postscript: When I say “picked randomly,” I mean picked from a Master List that I’ve compiled of 999 themes intended to serve as creative writing prompts (from the following sources: 501 Writing Prompts; 25 Creative Writing Prompts; Examples of Themes; List of Themes; 365 Creative Writing Prompts; 100 Themes Challenge Writing Prompts; List of Journal Ideas; and Top 10 Types of Story Themes). To pick a theme at random, I roll three ten-sided dice (the first for the hundreds place digit, the second for the tens, and the third for the singles) and find the theme under the number I have rolled. If I hit a theme I have already written on, I roll again. If I ever roll 000, I make up a theme. The Master List is a secret, so don’t ask for it.

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