Oct 9, 2009 by

Olaf’s Round 7 Challenge: Incorporate an Astral Projection (taken from Isis’ Story). Word limit: 600.

Read OLAF 6 here (see “Similar Posts” at the bottom of this post for any earlier entries)

Incorporate an Astral Projection

Incorporate an Astral Projection

He’d already gone out fishing for the day when Olga knocked on his front door, alone, early Sunday morning. She was convinced Ron had never received her Facebook message. Aside from the two of them becoming Facebook friends, there was no activity on his page since the day the account was opened.

She’d planned to call Ron first – he was the only Hearth in the phonebook – but after three aborted phone calls decided it would be easier to stop by. It hadn’t helped that the manager of Hagan Harbor Lodge, who had handed her the phone book, told her Ron was single and lived alone.

She was both disappointed and relieved he was out. She set on his doorstep the jug of spiced rum and wrote a brief note stating that, in case he hadn’t received her Facebook message, she was at Hagan Harbor Lodge with her husband and children and would love to see him. She paused and then wrote: “My husband knows. It’s o.k.” After another pause, she signed off, “Please come. With love, Olga.”

While she was writing the note on his doorstep, Ron was steaming along the cliffs south of Hagan’s Harbor, mulling over what to do about Olga. The sun was low in the east and the shadows of gulls gliding across the rising sun moved enormously across the cliff face, distorting upon the irregular rock.

For several years after Olga had moved out and returned to Finland, Ron would occasionally hike out to those cliffs at night. He would go when the moon was low and bright on the water. The clouds drifting slowly under the moon made the night eerie and imminent and profound.  It was a good place to stand and be alone and think.

And it was a good place to not think. The stars were good for that. He would lie with his back on the cold granite and study the constellations and he forgot about himself and all his cares and concerns went out of him and into the stars and the stories of the constellations.

But sometimes, even under the stars, he could not forget himself.  Sometimes he had too many thoughts and felt he could not manage them and nothing seemed worth doing except sorting them out. Fishing was good for that. And if he could not sort them out, at least he could unload them out to sea like a crate of junk metal.

But that was decades ago. Ron hadn’t sorted out or unburdened himself of anything when he returned to find on his doorstep a letter under a jug of spiced rum. Spiced? He wasn’t sure if that was a joke or bad memory. About the only thing spiced rum was good for was abstinence.

Ron read the letter two dozen times that night. “My husband knows. It’s o.k.” That line kept him up most of the night. By morning, he’d made up his mind by a simple process of elimination. If he went, anything could happen. If he didn’t go, he was only assured of more sleepless nights.

He bagged up all the tuna steaks in his freezer and headed to his truck. Five minutes later he was banging the knocker on Apt. 4, Hagan Harbor Lodge.

The door opened. There before him was the Olga he remembered. The same bobbed platinum blonde hair, the same wide set ice blue eyes, the same unflinching gaze. It was Annikki, Olga’s daughter.

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  1. The incorporation of the challenge is tenuous at best Olaf. It think it would have been sured up if you said he felt as though he was up there among the stars. Sending his cares and thoughts out in my opinion was not enough to qualify as astral travel. You set it up so well for a plausible inclusion but then seem to abort at the 11th hour.

    I was thinking Olaf was going to have a moment like in the Danish crime drama The Eagle, where the Icelandic main character sees his old love out jogging – only to find out later on the moments he’s been snatching with her have been after he death.

    It wasn’t an easy challenge to include in your story granted.

    But you do leave us with a nice hook at the ending. I hope for your sake and for all your male counterparts that this doesn’t become an all female competition … but that will depend on the strength of the installments to come and the ease and seamlessness in which they include the challenges into their stories.

  2. Gosh I should re-read what I’ve typed before I press submit. It should read:

    I was thinking Olaf was going to have a moment like in the Danish crime drama “The Eagle”, where the Icelandic main character sees his old love out jogging – only to find out later, the moments he’s been snatching with her and the conversations they have been sharing, have been after *her* death.

  3. I have developed quite the soft spot for you Olaf, and your story never ceases to keep me wanting more! Not voting you off, definitely :)
    Can’t wait to hear the conclusion to this saga. Hope to see you in Round 8!

  4. seldom seen

    annasbones, that soft spot you’ve developed for Olaf probably stems from pity, as his story is getting weeker by each post. honestly, the ancient mariner should stick to sea here don’t you think? the writing is not particularly linear, or, for that matter, interesting. the love struck, washed up fishing guy goes off to woo a married woman with a bag of frozen tuna? sure…
    Olaf- it starts good everytime and just goes south. maybe you should too.

  5. Jodi: He’s been snatching with her? I don’t know what snatch means out in your parts, but it’s not what it means where I’m from. Nora can probably tell you about it. As for all things astral, Ron lying on his back having his cares go out into the stars is about all the astral projecting he can manage. Maybe next time he can think about being up there among the stars. And maybe even stop by the man on the moon’s place for a short one while he’s at it.

    annasbones: I’m with you on the slackers comment. They don’t extend shrimp season if the weather’s bad.

    seldom seen: Weeker by each post? You’re three days off. It’s every 10 days, not 7. As far as Ron being a washed up fishing guy, maybe you should stick to things you know, which as far as I can tell are paper pushing and imaginary seaweed. Although then again, spelling ain’t your strong suit, so maybe just stick to seaweed fairytales.

    • Yep – I realise the intercontinential differences now. It means grabbing in my part of the world – or as I was intending it to mean in what I wrote here, secretely spending short moments with her.

      Love the language differences. Roots means something entirely different in my hemisphere and always elicits a giggle when I hear it on American movies.

  6. I had no problem with the astral projection. After all, this is a metaphoric milieu! I like that Olga’s daughter turns up. Your writing is good and you don’t make spelling and grammatical mistakes, as many of the others do.

  7. I just want to say I’ve enjoyed the commentary here quite a bit. And though I can understand both arguments for the Astral projection not being sufficient or being sufficient, I agree with Jodi in that (for Isis’ sake) I would have liked to see him getting even more astral in his use of metaphor. Seldom Seen, apparently you disagree, but I think Tuna that was caught and brought to my door by an old flame would be very difficult to resist.

  8. I liked this Olaf, there is a reality about it that I think reflects the base uniqueness that defines us all. I feel that you are capturing someones existence and it is interesting as a result, whatever the outcome.

  9. seldom seen

    a base uniqueness that defines us all…

    am i the only one who sees through that? words JD, words.

    woman aren’t impressed any more with seafood, particularly crabs.

    Its his story to write, but Olaf should know they want sustainability, local, free range and organic. of course they’re right to demand this.
    Olaf- think conservation. Not just food either.
    Its yours to win. Man up.

    • You may be right. However, I would suggest that not just you but everything is ‘uniquely’ unique. I think Olaf has captured a sense of this in his characters and there is therefore reality in his portrayal of a simple human story. Words perhaps but I don’t think you are understanding what I’m trying to express. Equally you may just be saying what my wife would say – “well that’s obvious”!!

  10. Most of these comments are going right over my head. I just don’t know where to begin when I’m advised to “get more astral” in my metaphors. Kaylie, it’s good to know that you appreciate stargazing. It’s no small thing to feel your cares lifting out of you. I don’t know what more one could want.

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