Woodchipper What-Ifs

I almost dove into a woodchipper this morning. No, not the way you think.

They’re doing some road repair in the neighborhood (better late than never, right? Right?) and part of it is trimming trees that have grown wild for about a decade or so. Which meant some of my morning run was spent dodging mad Arboreal Technicians and sprays of sawdust. The run itself was dire–some days the body is heavy and unresponsive, and hauling it through multiple miles is on par with cleaning the Augean stables. You just reroute a river and hope for the best.

Anyway, coming home, I saw the gigantic truck-hauled woodchipper they were using to eat chunks of tree as large as my body…and I had a number of thoughts.

Really, to be a writer and to play the what-if game so constantly it becomes a reflex can lead one into some interesting mental morasses. This particular one led me to Fargo, and thinking huh, what would a body do in there?

Look, to have a brain is to not fully be in control of it. Really it is.

At that moment, walking Miss B past the spitting, grinding machinery (she was uneasy at the sheer volume of noise, but too tired from keeping up with me to really protest) I thought, what would happen if I suddenly ran up there and dove into the thing? Or anyone, really? If you started a story like that, where would it go? Hmmm…

After a few seconds, I realized a couple guys in heavy work clothes and a coating of wood shavings were eying me curiously. Because I’d stopped and was staring at the chipper’s dark maw, Miss B edging away from the huge noisy thing and giving me a Very Concerned Look. I thought of trying to explain, but the Arboreal Technicians already visibly thought I was half off my cupcakes, so why bother?

There are a number of moments in one’s life where one just has to smile nervously and walk quickly away. This was one of them.

Still, the image won’t leave. I have a fuzzy idea for a zombie apocalypse story now that starts with just that scene…

…which is a plot bunny I am trying not to feed any carrots to. Sigh. People laugh when I call the urge to write a socially acceptable mental illness. I’m beginning to think they perhaps shouldn’t.

  • midnightblooms

    People laugh when I call the urge to write a socially acceptable mental illness. I’m beginning to think they perhaps shouldn’t.

    Other writers laugh because we know how very true this is. In my case, writing is less expensive than therapy.

  • martianmooncrab

    the gigantic truck-hauled woodchipper

    *oooh* I got to use a shredder that would take chunks of 2×4, but a really big woodchipper starts to give a girl *Ideas*

  • Margaret

    Please don’t take this the wrong way… but I’m kind of glad that you do things like look into wood-chippers and see story possibilities. I’m glad because I do the same thing, and it means I’m not alone. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Summer

    Ok first…..LOL! I totally feel the Fargo scene every time I see a chipper. It was my favorite part of that movie. There is something fantastically dark about that blood all over the pristine white snow.

    Second, who is to complain where someone’s mind wanders? Its not like you were actually going to take a dive into the machines spinning depths. You did the right thing and just walked away. Long as the guys didn’t have telepathy they can’t really be sure what you were pondering.

  • “Off my cupcakes.” Bwahaha.

    That’s a fascinating, and horrible, line of thought re: woodchipper. I’ve had similar speculations about the garbage disposal… -_-

  • E. Anne Knight

    Lili? You are not alone. Of course, only others who write “get it” with complete understanding. The rest of the world would haul us off to a nice, comfy padded room if we said anything.

  • Katie

    A Zombie apocalypse story would be awesome, my roommate is writing a book on surviving one and we just got done doing a Zombie Hunt shooting competition last month. (no there was no real zombies)…sigh…but as a tactical medic and firearms instructor it makes for good fun. Now that I sound like a total Dungeons and Dragons psycho I will leave you in peace. 🙂