Writing Challenge — “The Peacocks”

Because I’m bad at consistently motivating myself to put pen to paper, I’ve decided to challenge myself to set aside a half hour or so every day I can to write as much as I can, then set it aside and not touch it again.

I’m learning to live with imperfection because, by definition, creativity is imperfect.

from May 26, 2020

“The Peacocks”

ONE

You never knew the Peacocks in Pendleton.

[wry chuckle]

They were loud. Had a lodge down the street, down a hill.

TWO

A lodge?

ONE

Not quite as foreboding as a fortress. You could hear the yelling a mile away.

TWO

What did they yell about?

ONE

Oh, all sorts of things. The weather, for one—they were never satisfied with the sun, always complained at the clouds. And when it rained [blows out a breath], you’d think the very world was ending.

TWO

Did it ever?

ONE

Ever what?

TWO

End.

ONE

The yelling?

TWO

No, the world.

ONE

Not to my knowledge.

TWO

Hm.

ONE

I feel I’d remember that. Wouldn’t I? Don’t you think something like the world ending, or the sky falling would stick in one’s mind?

TWO

I s’pose.

ONE

Fire and brimstone, and locusts, and all that. If you believe what they say.

TWO

What who says?

ONE

Exactly.

[T tucks his chin to his chest, thinking. After a moment, he sits up with a satisfied smile]

TWO

Ah, I understand—the Peacocks!

ONE

No, that’s what I was saying; you don’t understand, you didn’t know them.

TWO [to himself]

I’m sure they’re who said what they said, else I have no ideas. Who else could’ve known?

ONE

Known what?

TWO [aside]

The world ended.

ONE

Did it?

[peers at the sky]

Why, you couldn’t tell just from looking at it.

TWO

Why else would they have said it? No, no, it must’ve ended.

[O frowns, peering closer at the clouds]

ONE

Ended? no. Perhaps it’ll rain, and this whole thing will blow over. That’s what we need to freshen things up, a nice warm rain.

TWO

Did they say that?

ONE

Who?

TWO

You know.

ONE

Do I?

TWO

Yes, of course, you told me yourself—the Peacocks.

ONE

Ah, the Peacocks. You didn’t know the Peacocks.

TWO

No, of course I didn’t—I don’t—well, I know what they said, and that’s good enough, isn’t it?

ONE

What’d they say?

TWO

That the world ended.

ONE

Did it?

[peers upwards]

You couldn’t tell just by looking at it.

TWO

That must be what they were yelling.

ONE

Oh, how the Peacocks used to yell. Why, have I told you how they used to-

TWO

-to yell, yes. Down the street.

ONE

Not just down the street! They’d yell into the sky, into the ground—into anyone who stood still long enough to be yelled into.

TWO

From their fortress.

ONE

Less of a fortress, more of a lodge.

TWO

Their lodge.

ONE

Not quite a house. Never seen a house with that many gargoyles. Nasty things, gargoyles. Even the birds hate them.

TWO

But not the peacocks?

ONE

What? Oh, no, the Peacocks loved them.

TWO

I thought you said birds-

ONE

I did say birds, my dear friend, but I’m not speaking of birds, I’m speaking of the Peacocks.

TWO

Oh, of course, I understand.

[He does not understand.]

How did they know?

ONE

About the gargoyles?

TWO

About the world.

ONE

I suppose they read a book or two. They couldn’t have traveled much, you know, the Peacocks hated to fly.

TWO

I mean about it ending.

ONE

They could’ve very well read about that in a book or two, too.

TWO

Do you think they caused it?

ONE

What, with the reading?

TWO

Maybe the yelling?

ONE

Maybe so.

TWO

Did they?

ONE

Did they what?

TWO

Sew.

ONE

So what?

TWO

Well that tone’s uncalled for, I’m only asking if they sewed.

ONE

They had a lovely garden.

TWO [confused]

Were there gargoyle in the garden, too?

ONE

There were gargoyles all over. Every square inch of empty space, gargoyles, gargoyles—as far as the eye could see.

TWO [impressed]

You could see it from a mile away?

ONE

Well, no, of course not. Only if you were close enough to see it. But then, no one got that close.

TWO

Because of the yelling?

ONE

Because of the yelling.

TWO

What did they yell about?

ONE

My dear friend, I do believe you’ve asked me that already.

TWO

Oh.

[looks away, brow screwed up]

Did you answer?

ONE

I believe so.

TWO

Oh.

[tilts his head]

What did you say?

ONE [impatient]

They yelled of all sorts of things, all sorts—the sky falling, the world ending-

TWO

Did it?

[looks up]

Couldn’t tell just from looking.

ONE

You know, I do believe someone recently told me it did. Perhaps it was the yelling? Yes, I suppose that’s where I heard it. That must be. I’m sure it was. The Peacocks.

TWO

The Peacocks?

ONE

Ah, the Peacocks. You didn’t know the Peacocks in Pendleton.

TWO

They were quite loud.

ONE [surprised]

They certainly were! Did you know them?

TWO

I heard it somewhere.

ONE [nodding gravely]

Yes, their yelling did carry. You could hear it a mile away.

TWO

Down a hill?

ONE

Down a hill.

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