Encounters with the Writing Process
|1, Work the following elements in a single scene: A frightened animal, a civic leader, a small audience.
“Coffee, Hon. Please.” Brian Laramie leaned toward the edge of the table, causing a clump of red curly hair fall on his tanned forehead to add to his youthful look.
The waitress nodded, smoothing her apron and smiling, and turned to the door of the banquet room.
The luncheon was about to lend way to Laramie’s speech. Laramie, a you-can’t-say-no-to guy, had brought together the businessmen of the community who shared a rich mutual loathing for each other, even if they were polite enough in mixed company. Laramie congratulated himself for the knowledge, which would come in handy if a situation arose in the future.
Yet, the audience gathered in this mountainside diner had one thing in common: pets. Each person here lived on large lands outside the town and owned several pooches.
Laramie’s plan for the businessmen was simple: feed them; heed them; get them to donate to the local animal shelter so the place could be moved to a better site and enlarged. Of course, the shelter served as a peripheral cause, since all Laramie’s activities of the recent months targeted his candidacy for the election in two years, but that, no one knew…yet.
As soon as the coffees were served, Laramie arose and straightened his tie.
“Good afternoon, again, ladies and gentlemen of Howell Hills,” he said with a voice bright and bold. “The reason we’ve assembled here is the poor homeless pets, and more than that, our animal control officers who are fed up with the unnecessary chase. As you know, people from all over the country bring and dump their pets here in the woods. When someone dumps a dog or a cat, he doesn’t know that his animal can become a morsel to other wildlife on the hills. Besides providing shelter for these animals, our campaign must be…”
Laramie stopped and listened for a second or two, then he continued. “I think I just heard hoofbeats. Did anybody ride his horse here?”
After a moment of surprise, the audience laughed. Obviously, Laramie was trying to get them in the mood, but when the sounds of a crash and shatter of glass followed his words, they jumped up from their seats. A few went to the window and searched the outside view. Surely, Laramie would not stage something dramatic; or would he?
At that moment, a young buck busted into the room, and ran directly at Laramie who, in a split second, imagined being gored by two sturdy antlers and kissing his candidacy goodbye. No, he couldn’t have that.
Laramie reached for the deer’s antler and tackled him, but the animal resisted, pulling him to a corner. In a blink, a quick-thinking man hit the animal with a chair, and the animal fell on its side with Laramie sitting on the deer as the restaurant workers rushed to his aid. Eventually, the deer was released unhurt, but someone had captured Laramie sitting on the deer with a cell-phone camera.
The next day, Laramie sat in his office sipping coffee and looking at the local newspaper’s headline that said: “Deer attack at the Green Mountain Eatery: Area businessman Brian Laramie tackles wildlife to save other diners.” Underneath the caption was Laramie’s photo sitting on the deer.
Laramie grinned. This had to be the beginning of his campaign. The animal shelter project could wait for another day.
2. Take the short story and find the philosophical basis for it.
Then write a paragraph or two to distill the philosophical basis in the story
Philosophical Basis: When luck shows up, trust instinct.
Brian Laramie took a chance; rather, he couldn’t do anything else. He had no time to escape when the deer was at his face. So he made the best of it, and it worked for him. Is making use of good luck a leap in the dark to success? It probably is, in most cases. In this case, Laramie had nothing to lose by tackling the deer, even if he could have been injured. Still, under these specific circumstances, he is no hero. He is just an egoist who made use of his stroke of luck and it worked for him.
If Laramie’s true intentions were to help the community, he would not choose this or that action haphazardly to impress the residents, as he gave the luncheon to raise funds for the construction of the animal shelter. At the end of the story, he has no qualms about postponing the animal shelter project, since, with the incident of tackling the deer, he made enough headway toward his goal of getting elected.
The real question is: What lies behind Laramie's goal of getting elected? I'd say, search for power, which is an extremely selfish and scary goal.