Arts and Farts and Crafts Week 4 – Naked in NYC

Arts and Farts and Crafts is a weekly artistic challenge. Every Thursday, a new prompt will be posted here on Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude. Then, you will create some sort of media based on the prompt. Is it a rhyming couplet? A ten-page story? A photograph? A drawing? A recipe? Whatever you’d like. As long as your piece of art is a new creation and it’s vaguely inspired by the week’s prompt, it’s in!

To enter, post your entry on your blog. Then, e-mail me at MSTrox@gmail.com with a link to your entry. I will then make a round-up post sharing your art on my website, as well as the requisite linkage.

This week’s theme?

An amnesiac man wakes up naked standing in the middle of Times Square at rush hour. He doesn’t know how he got there, and his only clue is an iPod strapped to his arm in a runners band. It contains the audiobook of Dante’s Inferno, a jingle for Wrigley’s, every work done by Beethoven, and the sound of a door shutting on an infinite loop.

My goal with this piece was to take the clearly “zany” prompt (chosen by my friend Nichole) and turn it into something poignant or at least serious.

Because symphonies are involved in the prompt, I decided to write in symphony form.  I lost my interest in following symphonic form somewhere along the way, mainly because this is supposed to be a fun freewrite.  I don’t believe I’ll be expanding upon this entry, but I’ll definitely keep the “symphony” form in mind for future writing–especially poetry.

Here is my entry.

Unfinished Symphony

First Movement (Allegro)

Overture. Open eyes. Pavement. Flesh. Strings swell.

Confusion. I look down and see my protrusion. Praying that it’s all an illusion; no obvious conclusion.

Motion. Locomotion. No emotion. Nothing but an ocean of commotion. Hustle; bustle; rush; no hush. I look down and blush. A nude, lewd dude waiting to be booed by some prude. Screwed.


Second Movement

So this must be amnesia. I know that much. In fact, for somebody who has forgotten everything, I seem to know quite a bit. I know that ball of feathers over there is a pigeon. I know that lump under the blankets is a homeless person (and I know that if I had money to give them, they would just spend it on alcohol). Nobody is reacting to my hideous nakedness, so I know that I am in New York. I can read the letters on the side of every building. “Toys ‘R’ Us” on my right; “TKTS” in the middle of the road. How can I know all of this, but I don’t remember my name?

How does the brain know what to forget?

Do I need some sort of visual stimulus to remind me? If my father is still alive and I see him walking down the street, will I recognize him? Does my brain file things in a “vault”-a sort of elementary school permanent record, locked away and never to be seen again? In amnesia, does my brain automatically forget personal information? Does it not want to remember?

You only “remember” the stuff you think about anyway. You don’t walk down the street and “remember” a duck, or even “remember” the fact that ducks exist. When you see a duck, you know. That’s when you truly believe. That’s when you truly believe in a duck. So maybe my brain is normal. There’s no vault. There’s no forgetting. There’s just me. I don’t want to think about my past, and so I do not remember my past. I don’t believe in my past, and I don’t believe in myself.

There is no Cornelius Weatherberry (which, for all I know, is my given name). There is only Naked Man, resplendent in his opalescent, paste-white glory.

What happened to my clothes? Don’t know, don’t care, don’t want to think about it. Why do I have this MP3 player strapped to my arm? Don’t know, don’t care, don’t want to think about it. I shuffle through the music like a coroner picking through the wallet of a body at a grisly crime scene. Every piece of available information can be used to identify the corpse. In my case: slim pickings. The abridged Inferno by Dante, divided into nine tracks to represent the nine circles of hell; the sound of a door shutting; the complete works of Ludwig Von Beethoven; the complete collection of Wrigley’s gum commercial jingles.

The eclectic mix of words, music, and sounds? Don’t know, care, et cetera. It’s the statement of a great mint. It’s Doublemint gum.

I chose Party Shuffle, because I bet I liked to party in my previous life.

Track one.

For such defects, and not for other guilt,
Lost are we and are only so far punished,
That without hope we live on in desire.”

Great grief seized on my heart when this I heard,
Because some people of much worthiness
I knew, who in that Limbo were suspended.

“Tell me, my Master, tell me, thou my Lord,”
Began I, with desire of being certain
Of that Faith which o’ercometh every error,

“Came any one by his own merit hence,
Or by another’s, who was blessed thereafter?”

Boring. SKIPPED.

Track two.

A door closes.

Track three.

Four notes. Over and over again. Beethoven’s fifth symphony. Boring. There are other notes, you see, than those four. Dum dum dum DUM! Dumb dumb dumb dumb; SKIPPED.

Track four.

A door closes.

Track five.

A door closes.

Track six.

When the exasperated soul abandons
The body whence it rent itself away,
Minos consigns it to the seventh abyss.

It falls into the forest, and no part
Is chosen for it; but where Fortune hurls it,
There like a grain of spelt it germinates.

It springs a sapling, and a forest tree;
The Harpies, feeding then upon its leaves,
Do pain create, and for the pain an outlet.

Like others for our spoils shall we return;
But not that any one may them revest,
For ’tis not just to have what one casts off.

Track seven.

Freedent Gum won’t stick to most dental work.

Track eight.

Of a new pain behoves me to make verses
And give material to the twentieth canto
Of the first song, which is of the submerged.

Boring. You are boring me.

Track nine.

So kiss a little longer
Hug a little longer
Stay close a little longer
Longer with Big Red.

I remember. A door closes.

Third Movement (Minuet and Trio)

Eyes. Blue-grey. Hair. Dark-brown. Kiss. Too-wet. Laughs. Too-dry. Smile. Wide-gapped.

Gone for-good.

Drink too-much. Strip to-none. Climb too-high. Jump too-far. Land on-head.

Fourth Movement (Rondo)

So laugh a little longer
Make it last a little longer
Give your breath long lasting freshness-
With Big Red!

____________________________________
Here’s Nichole’s entry for this week. It pairs nicely with last week’s entry, and maybe they’ll all come together like in Heroes and save the cheerleader!

Okay, I wasn’t intentionally trying to direct this piece, but for some reason it decided at last minute it wanted to be a part of last weeks challenge. Oh well. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with Norse mythology, here’s a little bit on the ones I mentioned.

Loki is the god of mischief. He is often portrayed as an evil god or at the very least, one that has a screwed up moral compass. He is often the nemeses of Thor and Odin.

Odin is the Norse equivalent of Zeus. He’s the head of the pantheon and father to Thor among others. Odin is the god of War, Death, Poetry and Wisdom.

Muninn is one of the two ravens that belong to Odin. Muninn is memory and the other, Huginn, is thought. These two travel the world everyday and return to Odin every night to sit on his shoulder and tell him what they saw and heard.

Thor is the god of Thunder and while that does not sound particularly powerful, Thor is one of the most powerful gods in the Norse pantheon. He is also a well liked god because unlike Odin he does not require human sacrifice. Thor is known as a protector from evil for both human and gods.

And now to the response…

I found out that hard way that shutting your eyes is not an effective way to hide. But it was my only defense. It worked for five year olds, it could work for me…right? My head ached in tune with my heart. Thump, thump, thump. Wait a minute. What the.

The wind picks up a bit shivering around my dangly bits, and slaps a small cord against my arm. A small cord that leads to a iPod strapped high up on, if I may say so myself, a well muscled bicep. My headache intensified as I concentrated on the thumping which strangely enough was not that of my heart as I first assumed, but that of what sounded like a door. A door that was stuck in a permanent loop of slamming shut and then open and then shut again.

Flashing light caught my attention and I looked up to watch two patrol cars screeching to a painful, jolting halt. Three cops pushed through a Japanese couple who were tacking frantic pictures in my direction and a teenager with an obscenely color blinding combination of clothing chomping on a rather large wad of gum. I watched them stomp closer calmly. Why was I calm? Why shouldn’t I be? It’s not like I could successfully run away and hide. I was naked. Completely and utterly bare. And I had no reason to feel guilty. I didn’t even know where the hell I was, not to mention all the other minor things in life. Such as a name, a history, I.D., etc.

(Skip rest of scene – to police station – finish later)

The station on 43rd was as cold and barren as one would expect. It was also raucous which completely eclipsed the slightly guilty feeling creeping up in my throat. Did I do anything bad recently? Not anything I knew about, but hell, feeling guilty must be what normal people felt when they entered a police station and I wasn’t going to be any different than anyone else. (At least I thought normal people felt such emotion upon entering a station, but as things stood I really had no idea.)

Officer McAllister, a petite woman with flint grey eyes gave me a look that made my testicles pull up underneath my scratchy emergency blanket. I am pathetic. I stood up straighter towering over her quite unintentionally. And then stepped back as her look became every scarier. This woman probably ate alligators live…for breakfast. Breakfast of champions.

The remaining two officers (out of the three sent to arrest me), including the alligator lady, directed me towards a room on the far end of the station. We had to step over two fallen chairs (victims in a war involving a man waving a stapler in a most threatening fashion) and detour around a lady that had managed to stick an entire wad of dripping toilet paper to her forehead. It slid slowly towards her right temple. I don’t think a naked man is the police’s biggest concern at the moment. And to be fair. I’m no longer naked. I have a toga…made out of a scratchy wool blanket, but still a toga.

Two men in cheap black suits swung from suspended fluorescent lights. I craned my head around Officer Nielsen (a hulking example of broad muscles and blonde hair) to watch a complicated release maneuver that failed and landed the man directly into a small trash can, butt first. My fascination with the stuck man faded though when I was shoved directly into the small room and shut the door.

Okay.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” A tired voice second my unspoken thought of ‘what the hell.’

A man giggled. “Nope.”

I gave a brief look to the nondescript man in a colorful tie standing in the corner. He was giving me an unsettling grin so wide that I could see all four of his canines. Just a bit creepy. I quickly shifted attention to the other man in the room. Tired brown eyes watched me before switching to the creep.

“He’s going to help me stop Ragnarök?”

Hold up…what? What does that mean?

The creepy dude cackled and the hair on my arms stood up and did the hula. No I’m serious. They did.

“Loki.” The man at the desk was angry. I was confused. And concerned. And a tiny bit cold. Hey! I’m half naked here.

The iPod sudden switched to a monotone voice. “There is no greater sorrow/Than to be mindful of the happy time/In misery.”

“What the hell?” I scrabbled at my makeshift toga unintentionally flashing the creepy man in my haste to reach the long forgotten iPod (that had still been opening and shutting a door continuously). I twisted my arm about and looked the display safe in it’s clear plastic case. It read.

Dante’s Inferno. Longfellow Translation. Inferno (V, 121).

I glanced at Loki who had suddenly become solemn. He directed his next phrase to the tired man. “He’s one of Odin’s, Muninn.”

The other man sighed. “An amnesiac man. Ironic.”

An amnesiac man wakes up naked standing in the middle of Times Square at rush hour. He doesn’t know how he got there, and his only clue is an iPod strapped to his arm in a runners band. It contains the audiobook of Dante’s Inferno, a jingle for Wrigley’s, every work done by Beethoven, and the sound of a door shutting on an infinite loop.

Next week’s theme is as follows:

Use a character (or characters) from a preexisting work of fiction in next week’s entry.

Entries can be submitted in any medium. The end-date for submissions is Thursday July 17. Be sure to notify me at MSTrox@gmail.com!

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3 Responses to “Arts and Farts and Crafts Week 4 – Naked in NYC”

  1. Have not read present entries. Just got back from campus (night classes blow)… wanted to bang one out by midnight but just got invited by friends to go watch a fire poi performance. Hard to turn down, no?

    Forgive my lack of real commenting, but I don’t want to read your guys’ until I write my own. I’ll probably have mine up sometime tomorrow, and will of course ping/trackback (I can never remember the difference, if there even is one) here, so y’all know.

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

  2. You made the right choice tonight (but you do have homework).

    I hope you appreciate my dashes in this piece, if nothing else! Look forward to reading yours.

  3. […] BTW See here for a fun endnote to the Wrigley’s Gum-related antics of AFC Week 4. […]

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