Friday, September 3, 2010

NYC Vines (#FridayFlash)

A response to the New Yorker's comic by Tom Cheney with Tarzan swinging from a vine as he approaches Jane standing on the curb in her jungle dress, talking on a cell phone, saying, "Anyways, gotta go -- my ride's here."

Terry hated Mondays. He believed Mondays were cognizant of his travails and he'd tell anyone over a few beers his theory that although we lived in a world of science we still didn't understand everything, and in particular the gods. Couldn't have those beers tonight, though. The God of Monday hated him. Terry supposed the mutual feeling made it fair. Terry was open-minded, willing to let his hate wash away, but not after what Monday had surprised him with today.

Tick tock. The chatter of his thoughts vanished as he looked up from the paperwork to see 4:30 flash on the desktop clock. Late for his son's game. He dropped the paperwork, the pages scattering across his cubicle's desk. Work would wait until tomorrow. Outside the window beyond Lydia's cube, traffic crawled through New York city's arteries. More of Monday's interference. People jammed the sidewalks and Terry wondered if the subways had failed. No. He saw their faces, upturned as if they were looking at him. Pointing.

Terry tapped Lydia's shoulder until she looked up from her computer and removed her noise-canceling headphones.

"What?" she asked.

"Not normal." His words felt slow as if he'd dredged them from an abyss where they'd gone to hide while he'd struggled with his paperwork. Terry should descend the elevator to fight with the crowd outside and not waste time asking questions. "The people?"

"You want to know about the jungle outside. They're looking at the art exhibit." Lydia turned back to her computer raising her headphones.

Terry felt the world was too complex, too many things were unexplainable. Explained only by gods such as Monday. He stayed to dispel this one minor mystery. "Art exhibit?"

"Today's the grand opening. Where have you been? They've covered this in the news all month."

Simone and Klair's "The Vines". Terry realized he'd fallen victim to a typical Monday MO. Take a day going badly and add a twist to shatter any possibility of success. Terry remembered the exhibit was supposed to be downtown, vines hanging from buildings, but he didn't remember where. "Where's the exhibit?"

"Didn't you see it?" Lydia pointed at a green cable hanging outside the window.

Terry had thought it was a cable for the window washers. He swallowed as Lydia's headphones settled back over her ears. It was time to go. Even if he'd fail to make it in time for the game.

The elevator stopped at the sixth floor and two businessmen talked about "The Vines". "Makes you think about the building differently," said one of the men. "That's art in my book."

"Silly," and the other man. "Just makes me think of Tarzan."

That was it, thought Terry. He stuck his arm in the elevator to block it just before the door closed and ran across the floor towards a balcony. He unwrapped the vine from around a pole and loosened the button on his shirt. He kicked off from the building as his voice ululated. "Mmmm-ann-gannn-niiii!" He passed buses, taxis, and pedestrians gawking at him.


  1. A very good way to travel in traffic-clogged New York City!

    Poor Mondays. Hated just for being the first day in a work week. :)

    Like the definition of art - making one think differently.


  2. Let's hope that the artists secured those vines realistically! Performance art with audience participation :D

  3. This is the most thought and effort a New Yorker cartoon has inspired in our lifetime.

  4. @Marisa, I so want to commute by vine... I still haven't worked out the physics such that "mass" transit for more than one person works, though.

    @TS, Simone & Klair are professionals. There's a sign on the 6th floor in little type that says that the Jungle Inspector has certified the vine for 750 lbs of passengers.

    @John, I was going to say that I've written a couple other flash inspired by New Yorker cartoons and then realized that all my pondering the physics behind this one means your right.

  5. Wow. I *REALLY* hope I don't piss off the god of Monday! Interesting way for Terry to meet the challenge... I'm rooting for him. :)

  6. @ganymeder, I think the god of Monday only really gets offended when people start groaning about how bad Monday's going to be.

  7. I definitely want to stay in Monday's good graces, too ... very cute story - love the great viney escape! :-)

  8. @PJ, thanks. I can see that on billboards: join the great viney escape, you could be home by now ;)

  9. I really like the story- I always thought Mondays were there to annoy people but now I hope I don’t annoy Mondays hehe :)
    I loved how you drew this story out of the cartoon, very original & creative!

  10. @Lua, Thank-you. I've always enjoyed the interplay between artists and the areas that one can find that are new and creative and make you look at things in a different light.

  11. This was a fun, whimsical piece. I enjoyed it! :)

  12. @Stephen, thank-you. I've always liked the intersection of whimsy and business.