Wednesday's Three Word Wednesday

The words over at Three Word Wednesday are cadence, humble and resolve. The idea is to take the words, craft something and let the world critique it. I invite everyone to play along.

Just Passing Time
If you could measure time by how long it takes to fill a 10-pound, rusty coffee can with pebbles tossed while sitting on a plank sidewalk, then Toby Weller was a three-quarters of the way into the grave.
He swung dusty brown boots in the space between the wooden walkway and the ground; the cadence of pea-sized gravel hitting the tin, slowly ticking time off his time, sounded as if someone kept making pops with an index finger snapped against the corner of their mouth.
People passed, the ebb and flow of commerce, city business unaware the resolve it took to fill that rusty can, to mark time in such a way. No one asked, pressed. The wounds too fresh. He’d come around, come out of it, they’d suppose.
Plink. Miss. Plink, plink, miss.
Ever since his parents had died, Toby Weller brought the can to Main Street at noon, settled it with a twist into the dirt, jumped up on the sidewalk, plopped down, swung his legs at the knees, pulled stones from pockets, got down to business.
Plink. Plink.
Locks of filthy black hair usually blocked one eye, throwing off his accuracy some; he’s toss the hair back as a mare shoos flies with her mane. This usually was followed by a pause, where Toby Weller would roll a stone with the fingers of his right hand and sigh in wounded gulps.
Boys in mended knickers, their untucked shirts flapping like flags in the wind, would sometimes run back and forth across the rough-hewn boards, trying to throw Toby Weller from his cadence, the countdown to his demise. They’d laugh as they passed, cuss at him, if there wasn’t a grown-up within earshot.
Toby Weller gave them nary a mind.
Plink. Plink. Plink.
“Say mister, what happens when you fill that stupid can of yours with them there rocks?” a boy finally asked.
Toby Weller cleared his throat, dipped his hand into his pocket to pluck another stone and in a humble murmur, spoke just a word…
“Rapture.”
Plink.

16 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

Now for a while I will keep on saying plink. plink. plink...

BTW, my comment does do not show at 3WW.

Fledgling Poet said...

You paint a vivid picture of a grieving Toby...I really enjoyed this!

Tumblewords: said...

This is SO FINE! Great!

floreta said...

your very first sentence drew me in. good job!!

quin browne said...

makes you think... what rapture? his over finishing, or, 'the' rapture?

J.C. Montgomery said...

What struck me most was the perceptions here. The perception of passing time by the narrator, the boys, and Toby.

For what is time and how is it to be measured? In the head, heart, soul - all three?

I like this Thom. A lot.

Linda Jacobs said...

I wasn't expecting "rapture" but it's the perfect word!

I love this little story!

missalister said...

Yessir, yet more great strides. Your detail is getting “chewier” and more satisfying to the word-lover’s mind’s eye. Index finger pops, settling the can with a twist into the dirt. Interspersing the plinks, an awesome effect. Rapture. Plink. Brilliant.

Ann said...

Very cool. I love the imagery here, and all the things that are told without having to be said.

watermaid said...

I wasn't expecting 'Rapture' either. There's much more here than the tale itself.

ThomG said...

It was an interesting exercise. I wrote the first sentence a week back in a notebook and kept trying to figure out where to go with it. I decided to just open up a new document and let the words take me wherever. I wasn't happy with it at first, but it has grown on me. A piece worth tinkering with.

pjd said...

I love that the words included "cadence" this week but that you changed the rhythm from what I'm used to. This one flowed through the sentences, which I think worked really well against the plink plink. And of course "Rapture" is the perfect answer, the perfect singular word for him to speak. It reminds me of a short story by Arthur C. Clarke I read a million years ago called The Nine Billion Names of God.

one more believer said...

for me it was the public display of his feelings, for all to see and participate just by his presence..instead of hidden away... reflected in the rusting can...

angel said...

I love your use of description in this one! Very nice!

rebecca said...

You captured the feeling that he is alone and feeling alone in this world, despite being surrounded by people well. I liked the 'plink, plink' and that one word (rapture) at the end was perfection. This was so well written, Thom....so descriptive and beautiful in its sadness. It is nice when the mind, inspired by a few words or a sentence, can create something like this.

rebecca said...

BTW, at the top of my sidebar I have links to the best stories/posts that I come across each week. I will be posting this if you don't mind.