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Taknovrthewrld
July 16th, 2014, 10:08 PM
Margery and Diggory, her aloof husband, walked into the Couples Counseling Group with matching unease. Also matching were the color of her dress and his tie; her purse and his belt and boots; and their wedding bands, untarnished, still shining bright.

But during the first few months of their marriage, their relationship had come to be slightly duller than before, a film of boredom and petty arguments covering an otherwise pristine courtship.

Diggory cared and wanted to maintain and strengthen their bond, but being aloof, rarely set plans into motion and allowed Margery the discretion on most decisions, big and small.

The Couples Counseling was recommended, and at Margery’s discretion, they went.

The room was in the back of an art gallery, so upon walking in they were instantly distracted by the decorated walls. The gallery had been running an expose of artworks based on The Letter “F”.

One painting showed “F”s of various colors and design melting across a family eating dinner around a diningroom table.

Another was simply a framed essay of one paragraph that had been written by the artists nephew. The grade was a beautifully imposed, calligraphic “F” inscribed in a fat, red marker just below the title. It could have been brushed on by a Confucian monk. The real artist, a 7th grade teacher, did not accept credit.

Margery and Diggory circled the room once, stopping at each piece before continuing to the back, where a circle of chairs, most taken by nervous couples, circled a circular coffee table, coffee, cups and creamer included.

Feeling dizzy, Margery and Diggory sat down. The chairs were tied together by the pair. The couples were introduced by the group leaders, a man and woman who were not a couple, but were the curators of the aforementioned exhibit.

“We will begin the session with something fun,” the female curator group leader began. “Has anyone ever done a trust fall?”

The group murmured replies. Margery and Diggory took their spots with the other couples, arranged into rows by the group leaders so that nobody would collide during the exercise.

The first fallers and the first catchers were decided: Geoff would catch his husband, Michael; Susan would catch her husband, Fred; Tristen would catch his wife, Ida; Nicole would catch Sasha; Aaron would catch Penelope; Monique would catch Brian. Diggory was to be caught by Margery.

The couples lined up for the game with silly smiles, feeling childish. The exercise was working, loosening the shoulders of each individual, strengthening the group during this most important first encounter.

“Sure you can catch me?” Diggory teased Margery.

“Sure can, Bony.”

Diggory was very angular, and taller than Margery, but Margery outweighed him. Not only that, but their habits differed in that Margery attended a biweekly yoga class and took regular trips to the gym, and Diggory did not. Diggory was, in fact, pretty lucky to be with a woman who was so active, him usually being so inert.

“Alright,” the male curator group leader said, “everyone ready?” The group murmured replies.

“Sure am,” Diggory chimed, winking at the instructors, then turning to wink at his wife standing behind him, giggling from the comically heightened tension in the room full of business-minded adults.

The group counted together, “ONE, TWO, THREE! GO!”

The front row of spouses tipped backwards on their heels. For a moment Diggory was suspended in a free fall that would end at best with a moderate concussion on the linoleum flooring, at worst with a fractured skull if not for Margery, his significant other, waiting there at his back to catch him.

Margery bent her knees, preparing to catch Diggory. She cut her giggling short, inhaled quick and sportily as she braced for the exhale of the catch, and at the last moment, just before Diggory landed safely in her arms, juked to the side.

Tall Diggory fell like a pine tree, but more accurately like a man expecting his own bed behind him. All that met him when he fell was linoleum, cold and unforgiving.

The landing blow knocked the air from his lungs with a sound that has no word, but onomatopoeically sounded something like: ‘Goooffuaaugck’. This was followed by his head smacking the floor with a solid thud. Everyone in the room jumped back at the sound, including Margery. Diggory’s gangly arms and legs settled around him at awkward angles.

The Couples Counseling Group all stared in horror for a brief moment at the unconscious man, perhaps dead. Then all eyes were on Margery, who started from the sudden attention, blushed, shrugged mischievously and burst into mad and ridiculous laughter.

No explanation was ever given.

In the future, the curators decided, the Couples Counseling Group would never again begin with an exercise in Trust.

Kieran S
August 27th, 2014, 09:36 PM
Solidly and confidently written, but the plot left me a little bit flat.

Perhaps a more rounded ending to complete the circle could help. Or maybe another 100 words to move the main couples' story on a bit.

As it is, Margery's twist sticks out and doesn't really fit. It's a well-paced and unexpected twist, but needs to have a conclusion or meaning for her and Diggory as well as the effect it has on the Counseling Group.

Just my opinion of course - congrats on the style and putting it out there.

anthonyjmcgirr
August 28th, 2014, 03:12 AM
I enjoyed reading this :) I would tighten up some of the sentences (as they're longer than they should be). Other than that, great job :)

MissTerious
September 5th, 2014, 11:08 PM
The end left me a little like, "What?" but it made me giggle nonetheless! I liked it :)

qwertyman
September 6th, 2014, 09:41 AM
A nice piece with good visual humour. At the moment it's only an idea and not yet a story. For what it's worth these are my suggestions on the structure of the humour. (IMO there is further work to be done on sentence structure).

Establish a couple of times through the story that it is solely Margery who is bored.

There has to be a reason she does what she does and it's not clear.

Also the ending is weak, I have made a suggestion to tighten it...It's only my opinion.

Margery and Diggory, her aloof husband, (Unnecessary, as it is repeated later - or use a different word) walked into the Couples Counseling Group with matching unease. Also matching were the color of her dress and his tie; her purse and his belt and boots; and their wedding bands, untarnished, still shining bright. (Consider, it is Diggory's clothing that matches, implying Margery wouldn't be so boring.)

But during the first few months of their marriage, their relationship had come to be slightly duller than before, a film of boredom and petty arguments covering an otherwise pristine courtship.

(If you are making the connection 'wedding bands, untarnished, still shining bright' and 'duller' pull them closer together or the connection is lost.)

Diggory cared and wanted to maintain and strengthen (You can’t maintain something and change it at the same time.) their bond, but being aloof, rarely set plans into motion and allowed Margery the discretion on most decisions, big and small. The Couples Counselling was recommended, and at Margery’s discretion, they went.
The Couples Counseling was at Margret’s discretion and they went.(same as before the two discretions are too far apart.)

The room was in the back of an art gallery, so upon walking in they were instantly distracted by the decorated walls. The gallery had been running an expose of artworks based on The Letter “F”.

One painting showed “F”s of various colors and design melting across a family eating dinner around a diningroom table.

Another was simply a framed essay of one paragraph that had been written by the artists nephew. The grade was a beautifully imposed, calligraphic “F” inscribed in a fat, red marker just below the title. It could have been brushed on by a Confucian monk. The real artist, a 7th grade teacher, did not accept credit.

All of the above in blue is incidental and doesn’t contribute to the story. Consider, the exhibition theme is a Spanish Bullfight. With much blood and excitement depicted.

Margery and Diggory circled the room once, stopping at each piece before continuing to the back, where a circle of chairs, most taken by nervous couples, circled a circular coffee table, coffee, cups and creamer included.

Feeling dizzy, Margery and Diggory sat down. The chairs were tied together by the (in) pair(s). The couples were introduced by the group leaders, a man and woman who were not a couple, but were the curators of the aforementioned exhibit.

“We will begin the session with something fun,” the female curator group leader began. “Has anyone ever done a trust fall?”

The group murmured replies (and nodded). Margery and Diggory took their spots with the other couples, arranged into rows by the group leaders so that nobody would collide during the exercise.

The first fallers and the first catchers were decided: Geoff would catch his husband, Michael; Susan would catch her husband, Fred; Tristen would catch his wife, Ida; Nicole would catch Sasha; Aaron would catch Penelope; Monique would catch Brian. Diggory was to be caught by Margery.

I suggest you don’t name them but mention that they were paired so that there was no doubt the catcher was capable of catching, Health and Safety(?).

The couples lined up for the game with silly smiles, feeling childish. The exercise was working, loosening the shoulders of each individual, strengthening the group during this most important first encounter. Lacks flow and sense. 'Some preliminary exercises too loosen the shoulders helped to strengthen the group....'

“Sure you can catch me?” Diggory teased Margery.

“Sure can, Bony.”

Diggory was very angular, and taller than Margery, but Margery outweighed him. Not only that, but their habits differed in that Margery attended a biweekly yoga class and took regular trips to the gym, and Diggory did not. Diggory was, in fact, pretty lucky to be with a woman who was so active, him usually being so inert.

“Alright,” the male curator group leader said, “everyone ready?” The group murmured replies.

“Sure am,” Diggory chimed, winking at the instructors, then turning to wink at his wife standing behind him, giggling from the comically heightened tension in the room full of business-minded adults.

The group counted together, “ONE, TWO, THREE! GO!”

The front row of spouses tipped backwards on their heels. For a moment Diggory was suspended in a free fall that would end at best with a moderate concussion on the linoleum flooring, at worst with a fractured skull if not for Margery, his significant other, waiting there at his back to catch him.

Margery bent her knees, preparing to catch Diggory. She cut her giggling short, inhaled quick and sportily as she braced for the exhale of the catch, and at the last moment, just before Diggory landed safely in her arms, (with a Matador's flourish) juked to the side. Shouting, “Ole’”.

Tall Diggory fell like a pine tree, but more accurately like a man expecting his own bed behind him. All that met him when he fell was linoleum, cold and unforgiving.

The landing blow knocked the air from his lungs with a sound that has no word, but onomatopoeically sounded something like: ‘Goooffuaaugck’. This was followed by his head smacking the floor with a solid thud. Everyone in the room jumped back at the sound, including Margery stood her ground in the arabesque position. Diggory’s gangly arms and legs settled around him at awkward angles.

The Couples Counseling Group all stared in horror for a brief moment at the unconscious man, perhaps dead. Then all eyes were on Margery, who started from the sudden attention, blushed, shrugged mischievously and burst into mad and ridiculous laughter.

“Why?” asked the councellor

“I was inspired by art,” said Margery clicking her fingers and breaking into a passo doble’.
No explanation was ever given.

In the future, the curators decided, the Couples Counseling Group would never again begin with an exercise in Trust.

Just my opinion, good luck with it.
qwerty

offtrack
September 9th, 2014, 01:13 AM
Wow! Qwerty - what a fantastic critique! Reading it was very educational.

As for the story - it reads more like a snippet - an anecdote - rather than a story - even a short one.

I actually loved the F theme - I loved the F circled in red - because I think it is a wry look at the ridiculousness of art and perhaps what the couple is trying to do - and it is failure - again, where the couples are headed?

The other commenters are correct in that we are left hanging regarding her motivation, which is unsatisfying. If she did it because she is bored, then perhaps a few more leading remarks - but it is also mean - and there we have no clue.

I enjoyed it - snippet or no - and it made me laugh, which was it's intent - so thank you for making a rainy Monday a touch more bright.

Taknovrthewrld
November 28th, 2014, 07:41 PM
Thanks for all the read and advice! All very helpful!

ChrisChandler00
December 2nd, 2014, 11:15 AM
Well written, fun to read. I agree with the general feedback so far, in that Margery moving out of the way should lead to a stronger conclusion. Either that or finish with revealing the reason. Although, I did like the 'no explanation was ever given' line.

Also, ‘Goooffuaaugck’ got a laugh from me!

mw1406
February 6th, 2015, 06:55 AM
I enjoyed reading this. Looks as though qwerty tightened it up for you nicely. Reading that critique helped the story flow and brought some clarity that allowed the humor to come through more quickly. Loved the fall! Haha

Lone Wanderer
February 8th, 2015, 08:01 AM
It was well written, easy to follow, and not overly flashy or bogged by unnecessary description.

I thought it was rather funny and the idea could easily be expanded into a longer story detailing other events at this group therapy mumbo jumbo.