Friday, August 17, 2012

100 Word Challenge: "Ready?"

Velvet Verbosity's 100 Word Challenge is still extant, not yet having been asked to report to the coach's office and bring its playbook. This week's word is "Wrought", and this story is called "Ready?"

"What hath God wrought," I said. She was playing with her hair, tying it back.

"What?," she said.

"It's Biblical."

"It sounds like something Sam Jackson said in Pulp Fiction."

"It kind of does. It's also what Samuel Morse sent as the first telegraph message."

"You know a lot of worthless shit."

"Yeah. It's a gift."

"What does it mean?"

" 'What hath God wrought'? What has God made. It expresses wonderment at beauty."

"You talking about me?"

"You're beautiful."

"I know. You ready?"


We pulled out our pistols, cocked them, and walked into the bank.

100 Word Song: "Idiot"

Leeroy and his humanoid pal Lance challenge one and all this week to write a 100 word tale based on Diana Krall's version of the jazz standard "Peel Me A Grape". This story is called "Idiot".

My wife, bleary with fatigue, headed for the coffee maker, stopped dead on her way across the kitchen.

"You're peeling her grapes?," she asked with incredulity.

Eva, our 4 year old granddaughter, had heard me walking by and said from under her rat's nest of tangled hair, "Want grapes, Poppy." I prepared a bowl of grapes, setting it on the table before her. She looked and said, "No, Poppy. Peeled grapes." So I took the bowl back into the kitchen and began removing grape skins.

"You're an idiot," my wife said, using the same tone Eva had.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Trifecta Writing Challenge: "For Shy"

Those fans of the three base hit at the Trifecta Writing Challenge have issued a challenge centering on the word "home", and a story from 33-333 words. This story is called "For Shy"

I'm not a crier. I have my moments. But I'm not a routine crier. Some women are- a sad story, a bad review at work, and boom- waterworks. But me? Even at my PMS flame throwing best, not a tear. So I was genuinely surprised, almost angry, when I felt the tears welling as I left the table.

"I'll be right back," I had managed to stammer as I pushed away from my penne alla arabiata, backing out and away, walking delicately in my peep toe pumps across the soft tan carpet of the restaurant.

I had asked him what I thought was an innocuous question. "If you could live anywhere, where would you want to go?"

"New York...LA....Dallas....I don't know," he had said, his eyes twinkling with mirth. "Wherever you are."

I pushed myself though the faux leather of the bathroom door and found an empty stall. My tiny clutch found the floor, and I slid out of the teetering heels. I turned and sat, staring at my bare feet. I grabbed some tissue and dabbed at my eyes.

I told myself all the time that I didn't need anybody. I made enough money, I had friends, I dated, I had fun, I had no one to worry about but me. It was my life.

But this one was different. He didn't push, he let me be me, but he was so easy to be around, so nice. I felt a security I hadn't felt since elementary school. I felt comfortable and at home. Erica teased me with the M word, and I denied it, of course, but more and more, I was starting to think she had a point.

I looked at the floor. A few items had fallen out, a couple of folded twenties, a lipstick, and a wrapped tampon that I was waiting to have a need for. I bent over and gathered the items. Not yet, I thought. Maybe someday, but not yet.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

SPE/FFF: "My Moon"

[For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Cheney gave me this prompt: "I'm so glad to see that you thought of me." I gave Laura this prompt: ​'No one ever does, and there is no final judgment, and we never reach the end of the marble bridge.' - Glenn Carle]
{I'm also double dipping this week, submitting this as my Flash Fiction Friday piece, this week centering on the moon.}

Shari brought the popcorn into the living room, placing the big bowl in the middle of the couch. I sat on one side of it, curling my legs underneath me, and Shari sat on the other side, sitting on one foot and sticking the other leg straight out. I could see the bright pink polish on her toenails as she flexed her foot in front of me. Shari had already started the DVD, and we were waiting for the previews to cycle through before putting the sound on and watching the movie itself.

"I'm so glad you thought of me," she said. She was fingering the necklace I had gotten her, which I had fastened around her perfect long neck before we changed into pajamas to watch the movie. The full moon was behind us, shining through the picture window, big and fat and white.

"It was your birthday!," I said with mock exasperation. "Of course I thought of you!"

"But you didn't have to," she said, looking out at the way the moonlight glistened on her parents' pool. They were out, but they made sure we understood they could be home at any time to discourage us from inviting company over. It was a little ironic- they thought I would do that, but I knew better, that it was their daughter, of the two of us, who might try it. Shari had a look in her eye, a look that was part I don't care and part I care too much.

Her phone trilled, and she shot her hand into her pocket. I had my phone, too, but it hadn't gone off all day.

"Hey......Stefan?, just hangin' here with Jenna........oh, yes, totally. We're absolutely sitting here in our underwear," she said, rolling her eyes at me. I thought about the way she looked when she turned her back to me as we changed, sliding the soft night clothes over trim hips and large, full breasts that I would never have. Her body made men, not just boys, turn their heads.

"Yeah? What? Here?.......No, no way........No......My parents would FREAK if they came home and you were here.........No, Stefan. You can't. " She covered the phone and mouthed unnecessarily, "he wants to come over," and rolled her eyes again. Stefan, a blonde forward on the basketball team, tall and firm and very popular, liked her. Heck, everybody liked her. I was just a speed bump to them, an extra player, the third wheel. I watched enough standup comedy to know what "wingman" meant.

"We have our pajamas on and our hair up anyway. You wouldn't like to see us like this." That was laughable. Shari could wear a potato sack and boys would come crawling. I stared at her face. She came alive when she was talking to him, sitting up straighter, smiling, crossing her legs and bobbing the top one incessantly.

"Oh, shut up. You would not," she said. I stared out the window at the moon. I remember my father telling me when I was real little that everyone else in the country saw the same moon I did, and it made me mad. I wanted it to be my moon, nobody else's. I hated sharing anything with anybody.

"Yeah....Aw!.....You're so sweet!.......No. We're just going to watch a movie and talk. Girl stuff......Yeah, you'd be bored." It seemed like Shari was a totally different species sometimes. She heard things I didn't hear, saw things I didn't see. It felt like I was in a play, and I didn't know my lines.

The previews had ended, and the menu for the movie was playing, repeating the same couple of scenes over and over. A woman in a white dress sipped from a cup and looked off screen. A handsome guy with some stubble smiled. Two people were dancing in a big, empty hall, moonlight coming through enormous windows. I looked back outside. The moon was still there, ominous and steady.

"No way, Stefan. Nope..........There's no way...........No.......I know, but Jenna is here........she would TOO care.........You're so crazy!.......... No," she said. Why was she letting him keep arguing? No was no, right? There was a magazine article in her bathroom that said you should always let boys think they are winning an argument, but I thought that was stupid. Why let someone think something that isn't true?

"No," she said in a high voice, bringing both hands to her mouth and starting to flush. I tried to imagine what he could have said. She smiled wide and giggled. There was a patch of red skin, like someone was painting her, right above where her cleavage plunged into the thin tank top she had on. Just do it, I wanted to say. Tell him to come over, and take him up to your room, and I'll just sit here and watch the movie and eat the popcorn. I wanted to apologize for even being there.

"Good BYE, Stefan," she said finally, and disconnected the call, smiling and shaking her head gently. She looked at me. I didn't know what to say. I didn't understand what she was thinking at all. Her leg stopped swinging.

"I'm going to close the drapes, so we can see," she said, and she got up and went behind the couch. I watched her move, her top riding up when she reached up high. I looked at the oval of perfect, flat, bare skin that showed above the waist of her pants, the moonlight shining off it. I wanted to know what it felt like to be Shari, perfect and elegant and long and smooth and desired, even if it was only for five minutes. She closed my moon off from us, the TV now glowing brightly, filling the room with shadows as the beautiful people moved back and forth, acting out the same sequence, over and over, living their perfect lives the same way, again and again. Did they see the same moon I did?

I watched Shari sit down again in the dark.

"Push play," she said, and I did.