Broken Record

The Race

image courtesy of comicpie (via Flickr Creative Commons)

Maurice Nigaud lay dying; sun burnt, starving and dehydrated.  He was sandwiched between blue sky and bluer sea.  His food rations were nothing more than a sweet memory and his water long since evaporated along with all possibility of survival.

Maurice had always dreamed of doing something great; to list himself in the archives of the human race, becoming immortal.

His first endeavor was to cross the English Channel using no hands, but when he plunged into the ocean he lasted a hundred metres.  The water was freezing, jellyfish were abundant and he was under shock before the murky bay water subsided into the clear ocean blue.

He had then attempted to scale Everest alone.  No teams, no guides, no companions.   Hypothermia got him and had it not been for the satellite phone his friends had convinced him in taking, his corpse would still be there today, not-decomposing in some frozen crevasse.

The third project Maurice tried his hands at was crossing the Atlantic in a rowing boat.  Albeit the fact that the Vikings had already achieved that feat millennia before his ancestral line was even an itch in humanity’s loins, his friends did manage to persuade him that it would in fact be suicide.

It was now the fourth undertaking that Maurice was attempting.  On November 1st he took off from New Zealand in a race to cross the Pacific in hot air balloons.  Two weeks were schedule for all the contestants to land in Chile where medical aid and the world would be waiting.  But after five weeks Maurice’s balloon was hovering, losing hot air faster than his body was losing sweat.

Maurice bitterly remembered the taste of a memory; the excitement and glory that had filled his lungs when the sound of the shotgun reverberated and three hundred air balloons cut their chords and floated up like dandelion seeds riding on the breeze, the cheers fading, silence slowly conquering Maurice’s world.  Of course, he was alone in his balloon, and thus striving to be the first man to cross the Pacific solo.

What being alone had achieved Maurice so far though was getting him lost when his GPS malfunctioned.  His navigation-by-the-stars skills were as foreign to him as ancient Greek and thus Maurice lay dying.  His balloon dropped so low that the dangling rope graced the water surface; making ripples that crisscrossed those produced by the circulating fins following his shadow.

It was then that Maurice heard a whining sound approaching.  He concocted inhuman strength and fired a flare gun; a useless effort considering that it was broad daylight and his balloon was a bright red blotch in the middle of the blue plane.

Maurice was rescued while grazing the International Date Line off the territorial waters of Japan and with that he was remembered.  The news feed from his rescue scored the most viewed Fail Compilation video on You Tube since the invention of the internet.

The World Map

I have written this in response to the Write at the Merge: Week 2 photo prompt challenge.  Technically it is both a photo and a song prompt, but check out the link and you’ll see.  This is the first time I’ve participated in this challenge and I’ve really enjoyed it; so there will be more!

I will put a disclaimer here though.  Everything written above is completely fiction.  I did not check the Guinness Book of Records for previously completed feats, so it could be that some of the projects mentioned here might have been attempted at some point or other – no judgements.    Neither did I check if a Maurice Nigaud actually exists; although I doubt he does.  I just started writing and waited to see where it got me… I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it 🙂

14 comments on “Broken Record

  1. Kir Piccini says:

    Sooooo good! Wow you just opened up that picture and took us on all his adventures. Even the tongue in cheek ending, how he became famous or infamous, was wonderfully crafted

    • Sandra says:

      Dear Kir,
      I went through my spam folder today and found two of your comments. I am very sorry for the late reply! I still haven’t adopted the habit to check the spam folder daily!
      Thank you for your encouraging comments, I can tell you that they are very appreciated!
      best wishes

  2. cait says:

    A great and interesting piece! I felt sorry for Maurice, though, with so much failure following him. But at least no one can say he didn’t try! I love this paragraph: “…to list himself in the archives of the human race, becoming immortal.” Well written.

    stopping by from the link up

  3. Angela says:

    I enjoyed reading this! I think you did a great job of showing us the hugely lofty dreams Maurice had along with his inability to really think through his potential record-breaking endeavors.

  4. Tina says:

    Poor Maurice! Stuck with his head in the clouds a bit too often. I enjoyed this. The tone was matter of fact, but allowed the insight to pour in for everyone but Maurice. Great job!

  5. iasoupmama says:

    I love this line, “three hundred air balloons cut their chords and floated up like dandelion seeds riding on the breeze” — great description!

    And poor Maurice… he sounds like he’d fall for an hare-brained scheme to come his way…

    • Sandra says:

      That is actually my favourite line in the story too 🙂 And as for Maurice – anything to be remembered…not unlike the many reality TV shows these days. Thank you very much for visiting and commenting 🙂

  6. If Maurice had set sail in 1492, his name would be Columbus and he’d’ve missed India gloriously and be forever remembered for ineptly discovering the Caribbean islands. But I suppose being remembered forever with an Epic Fail…I suppose that could be worse. Poor, misguided, lovable Maurice.

    Excellent piece this! Well done!

    • Sandra says:

      I understand that taking five whole days to reply to this comment is like light years in this world wide web era, but this comment was somehow stuck in spam, which is a pity because it is a really funny (and true) comment. Thank you very much for reading and I am glad you liked it. Sorry for the delay.

  7. Cameron says:

    Oh, Maurice.
    Though he did earn his fame…
    Thanks for linking up. We hope we’ll see you again!

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