Saturday, April 13, 2013


Storch-BadgeMaster Class 2013-Motherhood and Desperation

The Master Class is back in session!  It was my honor to choose this week's prompt.  I went a different direction than my usual "weird and twisted"   Any feed back is welcome!  And now...

Professor Stephanie says "I asked Renee to open any book of her choosing, open it to page 152, and give me the second line of the last paragraph.  She chose T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. Your line for this week, to be used anywhere in your story is:

“Desperation had given him authority.”

Wake the muse and get to work. Time is a-wasting. All assignments are now due by 9:00 pm EST on TUESDAYS. The new Master Class will go live every Wednesday (and to keep you on your toes, I’ll leave the time open. (: )
I expect to see a link up to YOUR story by Tuesday, April 16th, 9 PM EST.
The link up is live. Ready? Set? Write!!"

Joe huddled in the corner of the bench, his hands wrapped around the greasy brown bag that wrapped around the bottle.  His once olive green jacket, now faded to grime streaked gray, was stiff with old sweat.  Dirty nails tapped to a silent melody playing for him alone.  He stared vacantly at the traffic mauled street as lunch hour pedestrians hurried by, intent on seeing anything but him. 

Whether it was the squeal of several sets of brakes harmonizing with the rip of metal, or the orange that rolled jauntily across the sidewalk to his feet, Joe's attention suddenly focused on the scene in front of him.  

an elderly woman frantically tried to free herself from her car, that now straddled the curb. The middle aged executive slumped over the steering wheel of the BMW embedded in her sedan's rear quarter panel. the young Latina lay on the sidewalk, her groceries scattered around her.  The toddler with her recovered from his shock and began to scream in confusion and fear.

The people of lunch hour stood watching, uncertain what to do.  Their mouths pursed in O's of concern, eyes darting from one to the other.

Joe leaned forward, waiting, watching.  He tucked his bag in the corner of his bench.  As the toddler stumbled in widening circles around his fallen mama, Joe stood.  

To the passers-by, he simply materialized from the air.  With a voice so unused it sounded like the grinding of gears, he pleaded for someone to call 911.

They looked at him, then each other, and waited.  His desperation gave him authority.  Joe grabbed the shoulder of a khaki clad young man, his thumbs sliding across the touch screen that was his world. "Do you know how to make an actual call on that thing?  Call 911!"

The boy looked up, only then seeing the chaos.  "Holy shit!  Holy shit!" he pressed the keys and put the phone to his ear.

"Good boy!  Tell them holy shit there's been an accident with injuries"  Joe moved to the mother on the sidewalk, she moaned and tried to get up. "No, don't move, wait for the paramedics." he soothed.

"Bebe!" was all she said.  Joe located the boy and brought him to his mother, "He's okay, don't move."  He reached for the hand of a girl with bright blue hair, "You!  Come sit with her, talk to her! Hold the boy next to her!  Don't let her get up."

Regaining his feet he leaned into the window of the sedan. "Help is on the way.  Are you alright?"  

"I can't get out!"  she cried.

"They'll get you out...are you hurt?" She shook her head, "Then wait for help, you'll be alright."

The man in the BMW was beyond help.  The cars still on the street vied for lane space to get around the wreckage.  Horns blared and voices cursed.  Joe yelled at two large men, "Help direct the traffic, get the looky-loos moving before they cause another accident!"  The men moved into the street, working together, they restarted the flow.

Joe heard the sirens close in.  He stopped once more at the BMW,  shook his head, then glanced at the sedan.  The boy of smart-phone and khakis was holding the old woman's hand, keeping her occupied.

On the sidewalk, a man in nurse's scrubs was talking to the woman on the ground in Spanish.   The blue haired girl continued to cuddle the toddler, who was enamored of her nose ring and several necklaces.

Lunch forgotten, the pedestrians became minor heroes.  They'd have pride in remembering their quick responses.  

As the emergency vehicles arrived, Joe backed to the bench.  He picked up the orange and put it in his pocket.  Sliding onto the seat, he retrieved his bagged bottle and melted back into the corner.  His grubby fingers began tapping the rhythm. Summoning the melody that would block the sirens and loud voices, that would return to him his invisibility.   


  1. This was so wonderfully written. "Summoning the melody that would block the sirens and loud voices, that would return to him his invisibility." Oh man, that line is chilling and amazing

  2. I love the premise of this story, the whole idea of an invisible hero. There were some repetitions (opening line, wrapped is used twice), and the story could use some tightening, but your visuals are stunning. I'm so totally standing on that sidewalk seeing it all unfold, right down to

  3. (my iPad cut my comment) right down to Joe's return to invisibility. It made me want to know more about Joe, while telling me everything I need to know about him anyway.

  4. Great piece - really really great. I loved the pacing, the characters so elegantly created, and the tone of the thing.

  5. Wow, how spookily prescient this story is. I'm reading it after Boston. And that is exactly what happened. People rose to the occasion to help. Nicely written, and well paced as others have said. Nice work, and eerily timely.