Thirteen Ways

My computer is fried. Not the entire computer. Just certain parts of the graphics card that I need working if I'm going to fritter away my free time playing Skyrim - part five of a magnificent PC game franchise that started in 1994.

Rather than jolt along in 1-3 minute play, crash, reboot intervals, we're going to plan B. The trusty blog. However, with nothing noteworthy to discuss (e.g. here's a story about a diaper change that will rock your world), I'm dredging out a writing exercise. 

In his Introduction for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Roger Zelazny mentioned in passing the "Thirteen Ways of looking at a Trash Compactor Repairman Game". Today, I'll be attempting a variant involving garbage disposals...

1. Once there was a man who repaired garbage disposal units in his spare time. The extra cash went to support his unusual hobby - purchasing chickens to feed a local wolf pack.

2. Once there was a man who, quite against his will, compulsively repaired garbage disposal units. At the end of a conversation, it was always obvious, he was trying not to ask. He always failed. "How's your garbage disposal running? Should I take a look?", he would ask. Years ago, everyone would try to deflect with, "Fine, fine. Don't trouble yourself." or, "Oh, I can't complain. Nice weather today, wouldn't you say?" But it was no use and now it was commonplace to have him over for a drink and a tune-up. It all seemed harmless enough, until...

3. Once there was a man who repaired garbage disposal units. He was also a special agent with the FBI. Once he was hired, planting the bugs was easy. The real artistry to his work was getting "clients" to call the repair man.

4. Once there was a man who repaired garbage disposal units. He wasn't the only garbage disposal repair man in town, but he was an artist. A disposal-whisperer as it were. He worked quickly, but it wasn't the component swapping or minor plumbing the others kept busy at. It was all cold chisels, files, and other hand-machining tools. At the end he'd rest his hands on the unit and just lean it this way or that until it purred. To the homeowners who knew him he was a treasure, but for the manufacturers he was a problem that needed fixing.

5. Once there was a man who repaired garbage disposal units. Or at least that's what he told people at parties. And it was true - to an extent. The unusual location of the disposals he repaired is what necessitated his PhDs from MIT (mechanical engineering and math). They were in space. And he was the only human in the universe anyone trusted enough to work on the zero-g food recycling units that could, with one careless mis-adjustment, become shrapnel canons. This is a story about the day he almost made a mistake...

Okay, that last one sucked. This is starting to go downhill. Zelazney can have his thirteen, I'll settle for eight...

6. Once there was a man who repaired garbage disposal units for Howard Hughes. Not the young, cool Hughes either. The old one. The one who lived alone in the desert fueled only by his insanity and desire for cleansing purification. Or at least, that's what everyone thought. But that was yesterday. And now he's back, he's bent for domination, and a humble garbage disposal repairman is the only one who knows what must be done to stop him.

7. Once there was a man who repaired garbage disposal units. Formerly a pizza delivery man, he found that his new occupation was somewhat more effective for his particular desires.

Okay, that's not my thing.

8. Herbert Schrodinger glared across a pale metal desk at the homicide detective. The room was ridiculously well-lit, the detective was unpleasant, and Herbert had been awake for the last 48 hours. The first eight or so hours he had spent fixing garbage disposals, but the last forty had been entirely devoted to fleeing for his life. Fleeing from a killer that this abrasive young detective didn't believe actually existed.

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Meh. I'm calling that done. Rubbing the words together to make the ideas come out is surprisingly difficult. Maybe in ten years I'll do it again and compare my work. For anyone keeping score, this is a three-diaper post.

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