Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's A Dog's Life

The prompt:
Is there someone who drives you crazy?
Someone who really gets under your skin.
Now, write a first-person piece - as if YOU are this individual. Write from his or her perspective and include the things that really bother you. 

There's that damn noise again.  I'm going to pretend I didn't hear it and just lie here. 
Maybe she'll hit it again and go back to sleep.

Or maybe she'll get up at this silly hour. 

Alright, I know the drill.  Wait til she puts those wrappers on and head for the bath.

I just had a bath, and by that I mean soaking, last night.  I still feel damp, urff.

I wish she'd talk to me in the morning.  I'd like to let her know I want to go out. 

And I need a drink of water.

But she's busy.  In the bath.  I'll guard the door. 

Here we go!  Food and water!

Damn, I always have to wait til last.  "They" always get served first.
At least my food belongs to me here.  I don't have to share it.  At the other place I had to share.
I didn't get much, the others were bigger than me.

Yay food!  Yay water!

I am not eating too fast.  Yes, I am chewing.

Yes I am! 


Now she goes into the soft chair room.

Alright already, you sit there. 


She's leaving again.  She goes away everyday.  Then she's gone forever.

Tick.  Tock.  Tick.  Tock.

He's finally awake.  We go outside together. 

I don't know why.  It's cold and wet. 

We have all those strange little tree trunks inside.  I don't have to go out.

It's too late anyway.

Tick.  Tock.  Tick.  Tock.

I hear the beastly growl!  Yay!  She came back.


I wish she'd talk to me.

Or not.

I don't have any idea why the chair is rocking.

It wasn't rocking when I got up.

I need a drink of water.

Can we go out now?

Can WE go out now?

OK, I want in.

Where's the treat?

I did too do something!  It's by the bath place.

My ball is under that thing.  I can't get it.  I can't get it.  I CAN'T GEEETTTT ITTT!

I need a drink of water.

I'm hungry.  Damn, I'm always last.   

She lets me sit beside her!  On the soft chair. 

For a minute. 

"They" get to sit on her.  "They" don't even give her kisses.



She's going to the bath.  Wait.  No, the food room!  Yay!

She needs me to go with her.  Just in case.  There might be intruders.  I hear a noise.

OK, so it's just "them".

I'll lie here in the middle of the room.  That way I can see everywhere.


Back to the soft chairs?

Nope, the tops of the funny looking tree trunks.

What is that wonderful smell?

I'm hungry.  He gives me bites.  She might.  She might.  She might.

She might not.

Back in the center of the food room.  She needs to stand still.  If she stands still, she might not step on me.
 Well, at least she doesn't kick me.  The other place that happened a lot.

I need a drink of water.  WE need to go out.  We, get it?


Yay!  A treat! 
Yes, I'm a good boy.


Now, she's going to the bath place.
I will guard the bath.  She closed the door, but I can keep the intruders away better.

Yay! The door opens!
She has a different wrapper now. 

She goes to the soft chair room.
She's sitting in her soft chair.
It's dark.
It's time to go to sleep.  On the bed.  The floor is cold and hard.
I've been lying on it all day.


It's dark.
It's time to go to sleep.

It's dark.  Sleep.

Finally.  She gets on the bed. 

And throws my ball on the floor.  I wonder how it got under the blankets.

Yawn!  It's been a long day.

Good night my people.

I am off of you! 
I can't help it, I itch!
Stay on your own side, then....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Not Just Another Donut

But this week's prompt is simple: write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, inspired by the delicious shot. Word limit is 600.

I'm beautiful, a pink delight
A sugar laden treasure 
Plump and moist and sprinkle frilled
A tasty morning pleasure

Little teeth take greedy bites
Tiny tongues lap icing
Sprinkles stuck on chubby cheeks
I find them so enticing

Another nibble, one more bite
Almost to the goal
Hurry now to chew right through
And breach the donut hole 

I have them now, the little brats
Their cheeks I am embracing
With jaws of yeast and frosting glue
A trap of their own making

I'll bet a bright pink donut
Was not one of their fears
I suck them in with greedy bites
Lapping more than tears

I feel so fresh and whole again
I hope it's not too late
To find another hiding place
On some sweet kiddie's plate 

Those Grimm boys didn't get it right
In fact, they seldom did 
They always want to blame the witch
But t'was I who ate the kids

Monday, March 21, 2011


This week's prompt is about forgiveness. Forgiving others, forgiving yourself. Write about a time of forgiveness.
(Thank you all for your comments. I have edited a bit based on your input. Renee)

All bright and shiny. She sparkled with goodness. She cared about what I said. She comforted me when life was being difficult. 

She was a precious treasure, a golden hearted friend. 

But, then?

She stole from me. She stole from my business. My livelihood. My life. 

She stole my faith in people. And she did it with smiles and sweet talk. 
She manipulated my feelings by confessing to minor mistakes. 

I had trusted her. She became my liaison with the other employees.  They loved her, too. They told her their secrets. 

She took advantage of their trust. She knew things they didn't want told. They closed their eyes to her "indiscretions".

When she was caught?  She was angry. Not apologetic, not ashamed. Just angry, at the person who caught her.  Angry at me, because she couldn't make me believe her lies anymore.   

Now, I am angry at myself.   That I didn't see that the bright and sparkly treasure was base metal underneath. Angry at myself that I cannot forgive her. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Path Chosen

This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?

The eldest dropped at school. The toddler safely at daycare.  Beth headed for her rendezvous.  She'd put it off as long as she could.

Her car nosed it's way down the narrow path. She'd left paved roads and street signs behind miles ago.

The car began to stutter. The track was almost non-existent now. The less defined it was, the less the vehicle cooperated.

"Well, I guess it's by foot already", she thought.

She entered a light woods and found what looked like a rabbit run. She followed it deeper, the trees around her not menacing, but welcoming.

As she continued, she could feel the opening of her heart. Hear the joy as she was recognized. Beth felt them as they felt her. Long before they were in view of each other.

Her steps began to quicken as she got closer to her goal. She hadn't realized how much she missed this place.

When she exited the woods, they were waiting. Asking where she had been. Why she had stayed away so long. Would she stay now. All in a jumble of words and pictures in her head. The only true sound was the singing of birds, the buzz of insects.

Beth sent reassurances of her love for them. They were family, yes. She had missed them, yes. She had taken a different path, she would not be staying.

She could feel the sadness and disappointment like clouds covering the sun. With sighs they began move away.  Soon there was only one.

"Father," she reached for his hand, "it's good to see you."

"Lyabet, you look tired!" he took her hand and led her to sit on a fallen tree trunk. "You need to rest. This life?  This path you've chosen? Doesn't treat you well."

"We've spoken of this before, Father. The outer world is different. Timewise and in other ways. I'm fine, and you know I won't be staying"

"I will never understand!  You choose a man who can't hear or see you as you truly are. You choose to live in silence. In muted light."

"I choose a man who cherishes me."   Beth had heard and said these words before. She had not come to argue the point again.

"I have children, Father. You have grandchildren."  She hoped to see interest at least. Maybe happiness.
What she saw and felt was arrogance.

"Blind, deaf children!  Little animals to wear you down.  You don't need that. Them. Stay here!  Where you belong." And then pleading, "Listen, feel. I know you can feel us. This place. It calls you. We call you. We hear you. They never will."

Beth stood, her anger and grief carefully controlled. She closed her mind. She allowed the feelings surrounding her to fade. She chose to be blind and deaf.

And walked away.

It was dark when she pulled into the driveway. Would they still be awake, it must be very late.

The door opened before she could reach it. Her oldest ran out and threw his arms around her. He was followed by his father, carrying the toddler. Relief showing in his eyes.

"I was afraid. Afraid you'd stay this time. You've given up so much, you've..."

"Shhhh. The little I left behind is nothing compared to what I have now," she soothed her husband, her oldest, still clinging, "Mommy, where were you?"

"I just had to make a little detour, it's alright now"

And the toddler in his fathers arms said, "Me toad dem you comin. I heerd you."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Flavors of Summer's Past

This week's prompt asked us to describe your favorite fruit or vegetable: the first time you tasted it, where it came from, where you were, what memories it brings.

Hot summer days. My brothers and I spent them outside. The half acre field behind the house was our haven. Overgrown, our paths through it well defined. 

Around the house were several trees. All perfect for climbing. 

We ate our first fruits there. 

The old cherry trees, with sappy branches. If we could beat the birds, we feasted on bright red cherries. So tart they made us shudder. 

Wadded up in the weeds were black raspberry patches. We ate them sun-warmed. The berries sweet and smooth flavored, leaving our fingers purple stained from grabbing. 

The old pear tree was stingy. Only producing every other year. Soft yellow-brown fruit. The sugary juices rolling from our chins as we ate. The cores dropped where we finished. 

The old concord grapevine. Almost wild. The skins were eaten first, slightly bitter. Then the meat of the grape. A full, sweet, lightly tart flavor that drew us back for more. 

And on the side of the road behind the field, one neighbor had strawberries. As big as our hands. I think we ate more than he harvested. But he never said a word. 

I miss those days. Eating the gifts of nature at our leisure. The flavors still stamped in my memory. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sifting Thought

This week's assignment is to write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly - and find the beauty in it.

I found a new recipe to try. I read the ingredients list. I read the instructions. I bought the things I didn't have on hand. 

I gathered my goodies on the counter. The ingredients, bowls, a pot, measuring cup, and wooden spoon for mixing. Good to go.
The potatoes were quartered and boiling. The ham cubed and set aside. Sour cream and shredded cheese within reach. It was time to mix, assemble, and bake. 

The last step before going into the oven was sprinkling Parmesan cheese flavored bread crumbs on top. 

I didn't have Parmesan cheese flavored bread crumbs. But I had bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. 

So I combined them, pulled out a whisk to mix them together. 

That wasn't working to my satisfaction. Hmmm. 

I went to my cupboard full of baking pans. There in the back I found the answer. 

It was dented a little bit. It was discolored by age a lot. Dusty from years of disuse. But I knew it would do the job. 

The old hand sifter had belonged to my grandmother. I poured the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese into it. And I began to turn the crank. 

It made a pleasant noise, "shoosh, shoosh, shoosh". 

The crank still had the original wooden ball, worn shiny from use. The metal rod, shaped to fit the sifter canister still brushed the wire sieve at the bottom.  

"Shoosh, shoosh, shoosh."

As I turned that crank, I felt a smile happen. The simple beauty of an old fashioned utensil. Still doing the work it was crafted to do. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Hear People

This is written for
Imagine you are meeting someone for the first time. You want to tell them about yourself.

Instead of reciting a laundry list of what you do or where you're from, please give us a scene from your life that best illustrates your true self.

People tell me things. 
Things they don't tell their mothers. Or husbands. 
They say hello. There is small talk. 
Then, they tell me about their problem. Or the fight with a spouse/parent/child. 
They tell me about the bad thing they did a long time ago. 
They tell me about their wildest dream. 

I don't ask them about the secrets in their lives. But, they think I need to know. They think I can help. 

I can barely help myself most days. 
 However, if I know a resource, a phone number, or if I can say the right thing?  I do that. 

Sometimes, I have to be careful of my reaction. I don't want to hurt feelings. Or seem judgmental. 

Sometimes it seems like a strange curse. Bestowed at birth for some ancient sin I committed. 

And then...

My daughter told me a few months ago about a conversation she had with a casual acquaintance. About his problems at home. With his wife. With his kids. With his job. 

I told her "It's a gift"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Salt Water Birthday

Water gives life. It also takes it away.

Write a short piece - fiction or non-fiction
- inspired by one or both of these statements.

The boy walked through the double doors. Head down. Behind him came his grandfather. 

The old man spoke quietly with the officer behind the counter. After a moment, they were escorted to a small room. A table. Four chairs. Three men. One, authoritative, in blue shirt and black trousers  One barely old enough to be called a young man. The third, an old man, becoming older. 

After prompting by the officer, the boy began to tell his story. Tears coursing down his soft cheeks, bringing to life the betrayal.   

He told of the neighbors. How he took care of their yard work. How they always gave him a soda and snack. Asked him about school. His plans. His life. Paid him when he'd finished. Pat on the back. Until next week. 

How he'd jimmied the back door. Just like he'd been shown. Eased into the kitchen. Going through drawers. Looking for cash. 

Into dining room. The good silver in the china cabinet. He'd been told it was worth something.  

On the table, a gift wrapped package. The tag. 
"Happy Birthday Jeff!" 
They had bought him a present. For his birthday the next day. 

How the lights suddenly came on. The gasp of surprise. 
The gasp of pain as he ran by, pushing the old woman down.  The sound of something hard hitting something hard. 

The gasp of pain when she slapped his face. Called him names. Told him how worthless he was. Coming home empty handed. After all she'd taught him. All she'd done for him. How she'd wasted her life on him. How he'd ruined her birthday plans for him. 

The officer asked more questions. Kept his voice in check.  Kept his stomach in check. 
Then the boy is taken away. 

A few questions for the old man. 
How he'd walked into the room to see his daughter hit her son. 
How he'd heard the things she called the boy. 
How she'd forgotten her father had recently moved in with them. 
How he hoped his neighbor would be alright. 

The officer left the room. 
The old man sat still.  Tears coursing down his leathered cheeks, for the family he used to have. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Evolution of a Room

This is for The Red Dress Club.

The prompt: Think of a room from your past.  It can be any type of room at all.

This room. With fancy pocket doors. Just off the living room. 
It may have been considered a parlor once. Before my grandmother died. Before I was born. 

When I was growing up.  This was my grandfather's room. It smelled of old man and pipe tobacco. 
He put eye bolts through the beautiful pocket doors. So he could lock himself in at night. And lock everyone out when he left. It was an empty room after he died. 

 My brother moved back home after a serious illness. The room became his. Filled with computer and books and cigarette smoke. The doors were no longer locked. But often closed. 
He finally moved into his own home. 

Then my mother chose to make it her room. With her bed and television. The curtain closed.  It took on the smell of alcohol and old woman and urine. She broke her hip in  this room. She chose to stop living. After she died, the room was closed. 

For a while. 

Now. This room has a new purpose. The pocket doors are open. The eye bolts removed.  There is an entertainment center. There are chairs. And people. And pets. 
The curtains are open. Light pours in and out. It still smells of cigarette smoke. And pets. And in the spring, when the windows are open, fresh air.

This is where my husband and I talk. Read. Visit with family. 

We don't call it a parlor now. 
We call it a Family Room.