View Full Version : Jigsaw Pieces (PG)

November 7th, 2011, 03:10 PM

Jigsaw Pieces

‘Where did I put my ear?’ I wondered as I stared into the pile of puzzle pieces, absentmindedly scratching the space that would have made my earlobe. I felt the cool façade of missing flesh and it gave me chills. I had an exam to prepare for, and needed to be at my best, it would not do to go the exam in an assortment of broken jigsaw pieces.

I puzzled over the jigsaw and sifted through its many fragments of shape and colour, eventually finding the missing ear hidden beneath a fragment of my mind. I carefully lodged the pieces into place, and saw there was only one piece left. It was a fragile, weary looking one. I recognized as a fresh idea. I’d heard ideas were a cure for writer’s blank disease- A viral strain that severely blocked words- and picked it up to inspect, turning it over and under, inside and out. Unfortunately, I was not careful enough and let out a horrified scream as my heavy handling caused a corner to just crumble away. An idea without an edge was immediately contaminated and notorious for spreading writer’s blank disease- so I decided to crush the little minstrel away and to carry on with my narrative before I lost it, and I had a portfolio of dreams, all neatly packed in a red polka dot bag, waiting to be received by the world. The world was impatient, judgmental, and not easily pleased, I’d heard of many portfolios delivered in perfect pieces and regurgitated back as vile vomit. I did not want to become a statistic. When I was later informed that there were a percentage of people who felt the same way, I was irritated at my unintended participation in the matter.

Although not everyone had seen the world before, most have met it. I was told this was because there were too many things to see, and you could only see one thing at a time, with two, one or no eyes. One could therefore only ever meet a small portion of the world at a time, and, because meeting a person’s ear was not the same as meeting every piece of their puzzle (all placed in the correct order), I cannot say I’ve seen the world.

Today, the world would meet me in a castle that is dressed in red velvet and carpeted with flowers woven into its skin. It had silver sparrows set around the door that made it look as if it were crowned with sharp thorns. I felt the beating of a heart at my feet, and looked down to see I was standing over the portrait of a king, painted onto the faded, broken marble tiles. “Sorry, your majesty” I mumbled at once, quickly stepping away “I did not notice you there”. The king was not amused, and his expression remained as cold as the stone he was painted on, “It’s bad enough to stand on ones toes” he said “but you have stood on my heart, and that is inexcusable, I’m afraid I cannot let you pass.”

“Then what am I to do?” I asked, “Is there any way around you?”
“Of course” the king replied, “There are ways around everything”.
So I heeded his advice, stepped aside and walked through a concrete wall with a wooden door painted onto it “and remember to wash your hands” the king yelled after me “because you will not cross me again”.

The castle’s interior was upside down. Heavy-set velvet drapes hung up around high walls. A sky was painted onto the floor from which stemmed an impressive chandelier, made of live goldfish. An armchair hung down from the ceiling. As I began to walk to the center of the room, I must have missed a step, because I failed to find ground beneath my foot, and decided to fall. Luckily, the fall was short, and before I was any much older I found myself upside down and inside out, with the contents of my polka dot bag scattered across the floor.
Conveniently, I landed on the seat above me.

I almost jumped down to pick them up, when a deep loud voice from somewhere said, “Don’t move a morsel”, I thought that was rather absurd, as I had no morsels on me. However, the voice sounded important so I listened.

“You’re late” it continued, “Please remain seated, and complete your exam, you’ve only got half the time remaining so you must finish it twice as fast, you will probably get half the marks and be doubly dismayed anyway so it doesn’t really matter, would you like to give up now?”
I didn’t want to offend the world, but I didn’t like the idea of my life’s journey being wasted.
“I’d like to be doubly dismayed” I answered. “Show me the exam”.
A crumpled scrap of paper fell onto my lap. In its middle lay a question, scribbled in blue ink, “who are you?” it asked, and that was all.

The question felt oddly familiar, yet any memory of an answer evaded me. “Who was I?” I wondered. After thinking twice as fast I could only come up with one answer. “I am a jigsaw puzzle”, I wrote in little neat letters. “The way I’ve been broken makes me unique, just like everybody else, and…” I ran out of paper. Drip. A large drop of water fell onto the paper, mixing with the inks and rendering it unreadable. Above me I noticed the nosey goldfish were looking at it with quivering interest. Their open mouths caused them to inconsiderately drool onto the exam paper. Dismayed, I looked around for more paper. There was none.
“The exam is over, please remove your jigsaw mind and place it in the wooden box provided” I did as I was told and immediately felt better. “Do you think I’ll pass?” I asked the goldfish above me. “You don’t care” they said, laughing because now, I was the one drooling. I laughed with them because I could not think.

“Poor dear” they muttered, becoming more serious, “Should we pack her away?”
They discussed this amongst themselves for a while, and, having reached a decision, jumped off their chandelier hooks. I watched as they clumsily hopped towards me, lazy eyed and open mouthed, to begin the mundane task of dissembling my jigsaw pieces and placing them into the wooden box.

I sat there in a daze with one jigsaw piece of mind remaining as the goldfish broke me apart, I assume I would have objected if my mind had not been initially isolated, and resumed to listen to their idol chitchat instead. They spoke of cosmic wool running out and a rabbit that was late. They complained about Alice who apparently disrupted their world, and concluded that children should not wander because adventures were extremely bad for digestion. I wanted to argue that I found adventures digestible when taken on an empty stomach, but I could not speak, they had already removed the bottom half of my face and were currently removing my eyes. Naturally, the world disappeared before my eyes as my eyes disappeared before the world, and I lost all recollection of physical existence. I was reduced to an idea floating through cosmic space. The goldfish advised me to remain completely still and to watch my cholesterol, because of the fragility of ideas, and their proneness to contamination. As I did not want to become contaminated and consequentially cease to exist, I stopped being, and remained very still.

November 7th, 2011, 08:55 PM
This was a treat to read! You had me completely captured and I was compelled to read on out of interest and amusement. So, being absorbed as I was, I forgot to critique the piece. I think that says alot about your writing skills and ability to tell a story in such a creative way.

I had an important meeting and needed to be my best.

Maybe (and these are all just my thoughts) you might substitute "exam" for "meeting" to tie it in where you take the exam later in the story.

Above me noticed the nosey goldfish

Did you mean "Above me I noticed the nosey goldfish"?

Today, the world would meet me in a castle, dressed in red velvet and carpeted with flowers woven into its skin. It had silver sparrows set around the door that made it look menacing, as if it were crowned with sharp thorns.

I wonder if this would be a little clearer if "in a castle, dressed" you removed the comma so that it would read "Today, the world would meet me in a castle dressed in red velvet"...or "Today, the world would meet me in a castle that is dressed in red velvet". Bear in mind it could just be me having difficulty reading, that has happen before.

It was work for me to find anything wrong with this story. Excellent job and a good read!

November 7th, 2011, 10:54 PM
Hello Nerot

Thank you for your wonderful critique, You were right about all of them, Exam fits better than meeting and makes the entire thing connect more. The 'I' I added on a reading afterwards, The last comment was advised to me from other people about being unclear, I thought I would keep it for the confusion, but if you and they mention it then its probably best I change it to 'that is' as the rest of the story is pretty strange anyway. The story continues with the goldfish dissembling my jigsaw pieces and placing them all into that glass container. I want it to end with a nightmarish feel.
Thanks again for the lovely critique :)

November 7th, 2011, 11:14 PM
There were some nice lines here. Loved the first one, made me want to read more.

I think you could tighten this a bit more. The use of 'I' felt over used in some cases. Not a hard fix if you choose. There are times when you could use your words fully rather than add ones which repeat what was shown.

‘Where did I put my ear?’ I wondered as I stared into the pile of puzzle pieces, absentmindedly scratching the space that would have made my earlobe. I felt the cool façade of missing flesh and it gave me chills.

I had an important meeting and needed to be my best.

Since you dialogue his wondering, you don't really need to tell me also.

the space which wasn't my ear - maybe? to keep the missing in focus.

Root words are often stronger in image than those with pre-suffix.

So little things here and there. Part of editing.


November 8th, 2011, 09:53 PM
hello, thank you. it will be more difficult editing it like that because I've become attached to the beginning since I've read it many times. But I will give it a go once I've reached the word count ( which will be soon) I'm going to post my edit again as I've added more words to it.

November 8th, 2011, 11:14 PM
A writer should never be attached too much to their work when offering it up for critique. This limits the lessons one can learn. If you are happy with the piece then submit as is.

November 9th, 2011, 12:18 AM
I mean attached like, when a certain sentence is read over and over again, it is difficult to find to 'hear' if a sentence sounds right because I'd be biased since I've heard it many times. I really appreciate the critique.

December 15th, 2011, 09:05 PM
I really don't have much to offer here that hasn't already been pointed out, but I'd like to say this is great. It's interesting and funny, like all good humor should be. However your dialogue is a bit weak, I would suggest adding more to it. Overall it is a very nice piece!

December 29th, 2011, 02:15 AM
I like the premise that you are aiming for, but it needs more work. The literature is a bit scatter brained and difficult to follow. I know that you were trying to add smidgens of surrealism, but tone it down and clean it up. It was a fun piece, though, and it has potential to be great.