You, tool . . .

by Pari

I have a friend, D’Lynn Smith, who will have a horror story published soon that’s written from a hammer’s point of view. Ever since she told our critique group about it, I’ve been intrigued. I keep toying with the idea of how a hammer would see the world, what it would think about, what it would sense.

This is also a timely topic because of the new series I’m writing. The protagonist is a misanthropic psychic who communicates with insects, animals and plants. In doing research for the first book, I’ve gotten lost in thick tomes — with tiny fonts — about how animals see and "think," about whether insects sense pain. Much of the information is highly technical and theoretical. Some of it makes for an excellent soporfic.

But readers don’t need that. They don’t want to be banged over the head with science lessons. Sure, flies taste with their feet. But what’s really important is the description of what they’re tasting and why it matters. My protag needs to explain these things naturally. She needs to convey in language what isn’t initially in words . . .

"Well," I says to myself, says I . . . "Why not use the collective creativity right here at the ‘Rati to expand my perceptions, to see how others might tackle a similar challenge?"

Why not, indeed?

So . . .

I’m inviting everyone — writers, wannabe writers and readers — to give it a shot.

1. Pick a tool, any tool.
2. Make sure it’s inanimate.
3. Write a small vignette (Less than 10 lines, please) from that tool’s POV.

Genre doesn’t matter today. Just have fun with it.

Here’s my first try:
I wanted her fingers on my keys, her moods to pierce my world.  Sure and smooth . . . her happiness flowed into me. Hesitant and hard, she sorrowed. Oh, but when her fingers moved so quickly I could barely keep up — my u sticking, my w pausing for breath — the holy joy of it filled me with electric bliss.

Okay. Now it’s your turn.

Come on.

Let’s play.

37 thoughts on “You, tool . . .

  1. JDRhoades

    There’s joy in what I do. The anticipation of being slid from the block, the pride of gleaming, honed and ready, under the bright lights, the simple, sensual pleasure I feel when I slide through the other side and I sever one thing from another, the knowledge that out of all the pieces I make, something good and nourishing will come. And, finally, the satisfaction of being cleaned and shined and slid back into the block, knowing I’ve done what I was made to do. A chef is only as good as his knives they say, and I know he believes it. I am valued.

    But not today.

    I won’t be clean today. Somehow I know this. Instead of the block, I’m in a bag now, and my blade is crusted and covered with things I don’t want to think about.

    It’s never been hot before, what I’ve cut.

    It’s never screamed.

    I don’t think I’ll be back for a while.

  2. Bill Cameron

    Nestled in darkness, I wait. You think you know what you’re going to find. You think you’ll slip up on me while no one is looking and steal into my nest, slip away with me. I’m a treasure, you’re thinking, precious, yet so fleeting, a coin at an arcade, a jewel box. You were told to leave me alone, but you’ve never been one to listen. And so you pick your moment, everyone resting in the other room, stomachs full, minds mesmerized by the television or newspaper. Casually you lift the lid, reach into my hideaway, and, hand trembling ever so slightly, pop me into your mouth. So delightful, you think, the creamy chocolate shell, the luscious syrup, the succulent cherry. Forbidden fruit. But you don’t listen, and you don’t read—or read too late. Because it’s right there on the box, the last thing you’ll ever see. Warning: includes nuts.

  3. Tammy Cravit

    When you aim my lens, you imagine that I see only what’s contained within its myopic narrow view. But you’d be wrong. I watch you fumble with my dials and controls, watch the pretty ladies flash past as you heft me, spin me like a dancer on the stage. The familiar rush of excitement builds within me, a voyeuristic flush that pushes me closer…closer…closer to that exquisite edge…

    I feel the pounding of your heart as we race together towards the breathtaking climax…


    Damn. All these heady sights, and you picked a FLAMINGO??

    That’s it. I’m outta here. Maybe Annie Liebovitz will appreciate me.


  4. Pari Noskin Taichert

    Bill,I love the short story quality — the entire piece in so few words. Wonderful. Thank you for playing.

    As an aside, one of my children goes to an independent school where a couple of the kids have severe nut allergies. The entire school is “nut-free.” For my child, it was a tremendous adjustment since she’s nut-dependent.

  5. Pari Noskin Taichert

    Yeah, Toni,I chuckled when I wrote it.

    But, let me tell you, when a child loves peanut butter — when it’s a staple part of her diet — and the school says it’s off-limits for lunches, well, the crisis that ensues aint purty.

  6. Pari Noskin Taichert

    Here’s another one:Paper

    Oh, the smoothness of its motion, the tickle of its point. I’ve never felt anything so purely fine. He pulls me closer on the table, his fingers leaving traces of oil on my linen fibers. But I don’t care. This is what I was meant for, the all of my of existence.

    I hear him drag the chair away from the table, its legs scratching the floor. There’s a moment of utter silence, then a thud. Then the heavy sound of something swinging slowly from a wooden beam.

  7. gregory huffstutter

    My wait nearly over.

    All the pulping, cooking, bleaching, bonding, creping, embossing, puffing and packaging, and now I’m about to fulfill my purpose. What shall it be? Wiping a mustard glob, sopping up spilled milk, drying the good china? Whatever… my two-ply extra-exorbitant layers stand ready, or my name’s not SCOTT.®

    Next in line, dangling by my perforated seam. Now fingers grasping, pulling me away and I’m free –- oh, how the wind tickles my fibers! –- then stuffed in a coffee maker? Buried in ground Folgers?

    Hey, I’m not a filter, you cheap bastard!

  8. Fran

    Always here, clothed in cool cotton or warm flannel, coated in varying layers of cloth with fluffy, hopeful pillows, I love my job of cradling your body. I try, oh I try on the nights when you can’t sleep to soothe you, to calm you in my warm and comforting embrace. I’ve held you in sickness and health, in passion and sorrow, and I’ll always love you, be ready for you.

    So why are you now lying there so very cold and unmoving?

  9. Carolyn B.

    I am so wasted here in the drawer with the “flatware.” I’m an all-purpose TOOL, damn it. See those little scratches along my tip? Got that tightening the screws on the cabinet door hinge under the kitchen sink. The little warp to my blade? Got that tearing into the new computer’s box at Christmas. I’ve gone digging with the kids in the back yard and helped Mom scrape off her windshield. Hell, I’ve even opened up a plastic clamshell holding a new pair of headphones, and you know what a bitch that can be.

    I’m sleek and smooth where I need to be and full of teeth for the tough jobs. Oh hell yeah, I can handle WAY more than just butter!

    ~ Bobby “Bad Boy” Butterknife

  10. John McAuley

    To the tune of the Rolling Stones “Start Me Up.”

    Rev me upDon’t ever stopSmoke my drill bit’Til you make her flop.

    Rev me upRight through the boneWhen you get her goneWe can be alone.

    Clean me up,Then find that bastard boyfriends number on her cell phone.

    [Ok, in the short time it took to write this dysrhythmic little piece I’ve managed to scare hell outta’ myself. Honest,I’m really a decent human being, with only one ex-wife. She’s alive and well and still calls me on the holidays.]John McAuley

  11. Pari Noskin Taichert

    You know, John,One of the things that’s amusing me about this exercise is how much people are stretching with it.

    I found myself writing alot of erotica from various tools’ POVs.

    What is *that* about?

  12. JT Ellison

    Thirsty.Thirsty.Thirsty.Daylight.Closer. Ever closer, will it be this time?YES! Blood, pouring into me, through me, enveloping me in salty copper.I’ll go into the red basket happy now.

    : )

  13. Zoë Sharp

    Quietly in the dark, waiting to be called upon, this little force is always at the ready. Been together forever, we have. Know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Sharp and multi-talented, our complimentary skills combine for any shout, any task. Our reputation’s built on it.

    See the big guy there – the rough-looking one? Watch him! He’ll gut you without a second thought. And the little thin one, saying nothing? Take the laces from your boots before you know they’re gone. Curly? He’s a drinker, but always pulls his weight right enough.

    But that one – him, there at the back with the hook nose? Well, nobody’s quite sure what his role is in this tight-knit little bunch. Must be among us for a reason – if only taking Boy Scouts out of horses’ hooves.

    Look us up next time you’re in Zurich …

  14. Dr. Paula

    I know you malign my character and can not smile as you use me with that horrible bubble gum flavored goop you say reminds you of your sorry childhood.Every morning you can barely get to your hygeine station to wipe off the smut of the night and rinse whitely into my sparking burst of bristles. I am responsible for bringing you kisses and love. Without me you would initiate the repulsion you deserve. I know someday I will be replaced and only your stingy money ways protect me. I am accumulating germs as you speak. As your bacterial daily purge, I take on what you discard and halitosis be damned, I will not accept the brush off.

  15. John McAuley

    “… I found myself writing a lot of erotica from various tools’ POVs. What is *that* about?… “

    Pari: Last night, in your honor, I slipped a buck into the tool belt of a Home Depot employee.John McAuley

  16. D.A. Davenport

    It’s all in the wrist, the way she manipulates what she wants from me. The smooth rhythm up and down, relentless, persuasive. She knows how to bring me to that perfect state, surrounded by a boiling heat, jogged back and forth until I exhaust myself, left tossed to one side, squeezed dry of all I had to give. Forgotten as she slowly sips the dregs I have left behind.

    Then turns her attention towards the waiting blueberry scone.

    (An Ode to Constant Comment Tea, my closest companion.)

  17. Debbie Lynn Smith

    Holy Cow! I just found this — Pari I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you posted it. I LOVED reading all your vignettes. How fun. The news is that there’s some interest in doing a “Tool Punk” (the original name of this little genre) as an antholoogy. Three of us who wrote these stories have sold them. A murderous hammer, a flirty toolbox, a hungry tablesaw. Again, what fun. My next story along these lines is going to be from the POV of Sweeny Todd’s razor.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *