So there’s this character I’m working on, right? He’s a bit of a dreamer, a tad impatient and prone to rushing into stuff without thinking things through. As a result, he gets into strife occasionally. Even gets hurt. Here are some scenes from storyboarding his life:
Australia Day 2008
Setting: Front of house. Car with fully laden trailer.
Mr Bump is doing a bit of backyard blitz landscaping that involves hauling a trailer load of railway sleepers to his house with a mate. Trouble is, the friend is recovering from a motorcycle accident and needs a break. Mr Bump doesn’t do waiting well, so he decides to unload solo. All goes well until the tail end of one of the sleepers, the largest of the lot, jams against another piece of timber in the trailer. Mr Bump gives it a heave and it jerks free, all three metres of it. The tail end hits the ground so violently that Mr Bump’s end leaps from his grip and lands on his foot. He hops about for a moment, relieved that he has workboots and not thongs on. He drags the sleeper down the driveway, limping. He fully unloads the trailer and sends his friend home. Then, when Mr Bump stops for lunch, he takes the boot off. The foot swells. So much so that the x-rays just show a swollen mess. A CT-scan 5 days later reveals at least two broken bones.
Anzac Day 2008
Setting: Home office/bedroom to be
Mr Bump is shifting furniture between rooms. The piano has castor wheels but they just chew into the floorboards. Solution. Lift the piano, slide a folded towel underneath and then slide the instrument much easier. QED. So Mr Bump lifts the piano up and bends slightly to check the towel is in position. There’s a sharp twang and it’s not a piano string. Back spasms begin.
Australia Day 2009
Setting: Campsite beside surf beach
Mr Bump is body-boarding. The waves are serious dumpers, perhaps 2 metres high. Catch them at the right moment and you get a brilliant ride in. Miss the moment and you get pounded into shallow water. Mr Bump is waiting, displaying some semblance of patience. Beyond the break the waves rock gently, lulling him into a meditative state. He chooses a wave, paddles forward. Too fast. He falls 2 metres off the face of the wave, head first. At one point his ankles seem to pass his ears and he wonders whether a spine should bend that far backwards. Then his face hits the sand, his nose seems to splatter and a meteor field flashes through his vision. He wonders if his back has snapped. Thankfully, no. His face is ripped from forehead to chin. He has two fat lips and a swollen nose. The lifeguard says Mr Bump is lucky; a surfer snapped his leg the previous day. The surf is smaller the next day. Mr Bump’s face is significantly larger.
Setting: Suburban doctor’s consultation room
Mr Bump catalogues his injuries. The doctor advises him to stay home and sit on the couch on public holidays. X-rays reveal spinal “wear and tear” typical of an older person but Mr Bump bounces back to a full recovery.
Christmas Holidays – Jan 2010
Setting: A modern beach-house
Mr Bump is sitting at a dining table inside a newly renovated beach house. A child enters the room, carefully closing the six-foot screen doors. Mrs Bump (AKA Mrs Sensible or Mrs Ask Someone to Help You With That or Mrs You Shouldn’t be Doing That) screams. One of the screen doors somehow makes a bid for freedom, leaving its rails and falling gracefully toward the dining table. Mr Bump’s head saves the table from damage. The timber frame hits him mid-scone and leaves a 4 cm gash. There’s blood, headaches, dizziness and neck pain. Mr Bump looks like he’s been in a pub brawl.
Mr Surgeon (standing conveniently nearby) says wound not quite deep enough to merit hospitalisation and does impro surgery using glue and Mr Bump’s hair to tie the scalp together. Mr Bump turns Mr Grumpy for a while – cranky he can get hurt sitting down but mighty pleased the Junior Bumps had just left the table. And that the door wasn’t solid timber or glass.
Landlord inspects the house and determines that while this occurrence has never been reported before, the door is indeed faulty and could fall out easily. No mention of the word “sorry”. He opts for the phrase “unfortunate accident”. Unfortunately Mr Bump is sore and can’t swim for most of his holiday.
Most story arcs would see Mr Bump learn something. Take up meditation, dress only in bubble wrap and strive to keep his skin intact. Then again, perhaps the safety-first-at-all-costs approach is void if he can get injured indoors without demonstrating any obvious stupidity.
Maybe he curses the fates and rebels, switching to BASE jumping, ice-hockey and Paris-Dakkar racing.
But what should he do before his lesson is learned? Should he engage Ms Injury Lawyer and seek compensation?
Over to you, dear readers. What’s next for Mr Bump?
And here’s wishing you a safe and serene Australia Day 2010.