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His beard was fascinating.

It was a loom, woven with intricate detail and so long it would put any wizard to shame. Each pattern in the coarse mound of hair seemed to share a secret. Perhaps they were memories- I’d heard others collect memories in such ways- etchings on their bodies, collecting objects and even journal writing. Maybe this man was his own journal.

The rest of him seemed positively ordinary. He rested in his chair in a blue business suit- albeit a little outdated for fashion, but suited the character I had begun to form in my head for him. His sorrowful eyes narrowed on a frustrated brow of greying features, illuminating a sense of tiredness. Perhaps the beard in all its might was weighting down. His skin was as rough as sandpaper, blotches and scars etching his hands and face with no revelation to the puzzle of his beard.

I wanted to move closer, debating whether it was rude to ask. The very notion excited me as I built up theories as to why his beard had these patterns. He was an explorer who had woven secret treasure maps into his hair, or a historian creating a timeline he’d never lose. In my daydreams, I pegged him as a time traveller- where the knots were the coordinates to his true timeline before deciding he was a priest, whose religion asked for these hairy chains to be forged, to remember sin. He was a powerful man who made difficult decisions, repenting for each one by casting it visually in his beard.

The beard was fascinating. Too fascinating.

For the entire thought process, I had forgotten I was sat in a doctor’s surgery. A pathetic water feature trickled in the centre of a dull waiting room as grumpy faces of impatience analysed the other patients determined they were next in the queue. The bearded man was juxtaposed to the water feature, directly opposite me. I made sure when his eyes flicked in my direction I focussed on that water until I felt the eyes no longer on me. What if he’d seen me? What if I had discovered his secret?

A door handle squeaked further down a corridor as every head lifted like an excited pack of meerkats. The footsteps of the young doctor crept towards the crowd before cheerily announcing

“Mr Bakely please”

He rose slowly, ignoring the scorns of the impatient patients. The beard was even longer than I first realised and even more exciting as the brown furl unravelled.

“Now that is an impressive beard!” the doctor exclaimed chirpy, “any reason behind such wonderful patterns?”

I leant with excitement desperate for the man’s response. My mouth opened ready to inhale the wander this answer would possess. This was far to exciting, I was surprised I hadn't fallen off my chair in eagerness.

“Me wife” A broad Yorkshire accent emerged. “She likes to knit and gets carried away”

The doctor let out a chortle of delight.

I sank back in my chair, hot with the disappointment and dejection of my daydream.

Updated 11/08/13- could do with a few eyes on this one as it doesn't feel complete.


Day 1: 500 words.

I am rusty.
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:iconbattlefairies:
BATTLEFAIRIES Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2014
HO HO HO! Merry CRITmas!

I read this with much gusto so the least I could do is be those few eyes for you that you mentioned. I have only precious little in the way of critique so what I'm going to do is telling you what I like first, and then do some picking of nits.

Firstly, I like the premise. Everyday object becomes a thing of wonder - not to mention the title is a good hook and I doubt many people would have read it without taking a peek at what the heck you were talking about there.
Then, it's your style: you don't overuse specific words, keeping the vocabulary broad and interesting. I'm not one to wave a finger when people don't use 'he said' or 'she asked', either: announcing, exclaiming, chortling... are all very welcome if you ask me.

I do spot an instance where you got slightly carried away with the verbosity, however. This particular part:
"He rested in his chair in a blue business suit- albeit a little outdated for fashion, but suited the character I had begun to form in my head for him. His sorrowful eyes narrowed on a frustrated brow of greying features, illuminating a sense of tiredness." scrapes a bit. I don't even think the bit about the suit is a legitimate sentence, even. (I think it would have to be: 'Albeit a little outdated, fashion-wise, it suited the character I had begun to form in my head for him.')
I understand frill and embelishment are subject to, er, subjectivity so by all means, make of it what you want.

In your description, you mention it not feeling complete.
Well I don't have that feeling, actually. Maybe the ending is a bit quick, however. Perhaps if you let the narrator take a second risk (one more daring that looking at a man across the room without getting noticed), to make sure the answer to the beard-riddle won't be told out of earshot, it would create that tension needed to really make the knitting explanation really, truly fireworks.

In conclusion though, my concerns are really minor compared to how much I like this. It's a pretty miniature, smart and endearing and I would very much like to see more like this every once in a while.

Cheers, and happy holidays!
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:iconbrietta-a-m-f:
brietta-a-m-f Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

This story is almost too much fun! I adore beards, and I love that the beard seems to be the central character. It's not the man our imaginative narrator is fascinated with, it's his facial hair. To be honest, I can't decide which is more fun, the narrator's fantastical daydreams or the truth behind the knots in the poor man's beard. I also love the fact that, even though the script is focused on the beardy-man, you don't forget the setting or all the other little details that bring this story to life. You describe the waiting room and other people in it exactly as it feels in real life. In fact, it was a little too familiar, as I often find myself lost in outrageous daydreams about the people I am waiting to see the doctor with.

 

There are a couple of areas that could use some polish, but it is mostly typos ("the wonder this answer would possess" instead of "wander." In the same paragraph, "This was far too exciting" instead of "far to.") and a grammatical error (comma splice in the "far too exciting" sentence). You also used various forms of the word Excite quite often. It wasn't enough to be really jarring, but it was noticable. Replacing one or two of those with a synonym should do the trick.

 

A fantastic little story, and definitely a pleasure to read!

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:iconaimless-me:
Aimless-Me Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Now I want to meet his wife! ^_^ They would have to be an amusing pair to be around!
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:icondailybreadcafe:
DailyBreadCafe Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2013   Writer
MERRY CRITMAS!

I liked this piece. It was well written (although i did see a typo but now i can't find it) and has an interesting subject. To be honest, i think i preferred that his reason was something to do with his wife. Oh, and that he has a Yorkshire accent. It pleased me... and it pleased me enough that i showed the nurse who came to check my IV. She wasn't too impressed, but she's from New Castle so... 

I think there could be more tension when we're about to find out why his beard is like that. I mean, i'm intrigued but i think you could take it up a notch and make me really want it (lol, so many dirty thoughts when i reread that sentence)

For me, the biggest thing is the ending. It feels a little too quick, like there's sentence missing that sort of rounds it off. 

Apart from that, awesome sauce. 
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:iconchipchinka:
Chipchinka Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013   Writer
Such a wonderful build-up full of equally wonderful ruminations; there are stories within that beard, even though they're the stories born within the wandering thoughts of the narrator.  Each added to the marvel of the image, and I liked the way that each description totally changed my image of what the beard actually looked like.  I had the feeling, at first, of reading something akin to Bradbury's collection of stories The Illustrated Man only with the potential stories of a beard; I think that the potential stories are what gave this piece such intrigue.  Often in fiction, it's the potential stories that add to that particular written world.  All of it built nicely to the kicker ending; like the punchline to a joke, the close broke all of the tension the story built up, and it did so in the most straightforward, unpretentious way.  It was a marvel to read and enjoy, and this is one of those stories that stands up to repeat readings.  Wonderfully done!
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:icondrippingwords:
DrippingWords Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2013  Student Writer
Haha, this is very funny!
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:iconwolfrug:
Wolfrug Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Some lovely scene-setting here. Doctor's waiting rooms are always such lovely locations for this kind of musing. You've got a nice store of little mini-FFMs in those stories as well, in case you find yourself out of inspiration :D They all seemed equally fascinating.
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:icontannalein:
Tannalein Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That made me giggle :D It's disappointing, though, how life is usually a lot less exciting than our imagination.
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:iconatheshya:
Atheshya Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is quite interesting, and in particular, I like the details of the description. Certain sentences (actually, a lot of them) stand out: "If this wasn’t curious then the world would be overpowered by cats never killed;" "His skin was as rough as sandpaper, blotches and scars etching his hands and face with no revelation to the puzzle of his beard;" "every head lifted like an excited pack of meerkats."

The ending is, of course, surprising and amusing - though I, like the narrator, feel a bit sad that this man turned out to be ordinary after all.
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:iconnamelessshe:
NamelessShe Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This put a smile on my face. I never would have guessed his wife is the person behind the patterns in his beard.
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:iconjoe-wright:
joe-wright Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013   General Artist
I really enjoyed this! All the possibilities of what the beard might signify are like a dozen story ideas on their own =)
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:iconamnesiatoast:
amnesiatoast Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013
Ehehe, that was fun. And it must be a funny sight, to see Mrs. Knitter going at Mr. Yorkshire's beard :XD:
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:iconsurrealcachinnation:
SurrealCachinnation Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013   Writer
I love how you used just a small part of one of the prompts to come up with this. It was a cute story. I found myself becoming as curious as the character about this man's beard. As a knitter, I was amused by the ending. :giggle:
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