Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Friends and Strangers

Sometimes you think you know people, but then you find out you were terribly wrong. That everything you thought you knew was a lie. When it happens, your whole world is turned upside down, and, since the very friends you counted on are the ones who caused the problem, you have nowhere to turn. 

It was a cold November night when my preconceptions were shattered. All of us, Cheryl, Tracy, Shelly, Melba and me were dressed to the nines and ready to hit the town. We’d been going out every Friday night for years, each woman taking turns picking the spot. That night, Tracy picked The Purple Peacock. The name suggested a fun, colorful experience, but instead brought a nightmare from which none of us fully awoke.

The trouble started when Cheryl hooked up with a man on the dance floor. She threw herself all over him, and nothing we said could stop her. All of us tried to warn her of the dangers in going home with a man you just met, but she was adamant that he was harmless. Turned out, he was far from it. Two hours after she left, Cheryl stumbled back into the club, dress torn, makeup smeared and tears running down her cheeks. We all gathered around her and demanded to know what had happened. When she told us Prince Charming had forced himself on her, I can hardly say I was surprised, but Tracy’s rebuke was uncalled for and cruel. She practically told Cheryl it was her fault she was raped. 

Melba wanted Cheryl to go straight to the police. Cheryl refused, insistent that she was fine and didn’t want to make a big deal out of her stupidity. I thought the stupidest thing was to refuse to go to the authorities and told her so. In hindsight, I realize she was just lashing out from grief and pain, but at the time, Cheryl hurt me beyond words when she slapped me and told me to mind my own damn business, that until I had been raped, I didn’t have any right to tell her anything. I had never seen that side of Cheryl, and didn’t care to witness it again. I’ve stayed out of her business ever since.

Tracy left, disgusted with the whole situation, instead of trying to help Cheryl, she just threw in the towel. Shelly was no help at all because the whole incident brought back memories of her own attack as a teenager. She simply shrunk into herself and said she couldn’t talk about it. Melba left with Tracy when she couldn’t talk Cheryl into going to the police, and, although I was still there, Cheryl didn’t want anything to do with me. In the span of a few hours, our friendships went down the drain.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Here's my story for the Three Word Wednesday prompt. I managed to not kill anybody in this one.

My whole childhood was a struggle. A struggle to find something interesting going on, some mischief to get into or some way to torture my parents who were too lenient and thought I could do no wrong. Little did they know, I hardly ever did any right. 

I acted up in school, but the teachers did nothing about it because my father was the principal. Of course, that gave me license to try to find the one thing they couldn’t ignore. Ours was an old school establishment in which all twelve grades were in the same building. I tried for twelve long years and never managed to be sent to the Principal’s Office once. I think the teachers were more scared of what my father would do to them than to me.

As for my father, he was too busy sleeping with the school secretary to care what I did during school hours. He only cared whether I told Mother about Mrs. Johnson, which I never did. I thought if my mother was too stupid to figure it out on her own, she didn’t deserve to know. 

My mother, now she was a piece of work and a half. She spent her days reading fashion magazines and going to the beauty parlor and her nights with cucumbers over her eyes and some stinky green goop smeared all over her face, trying to be beautiful for a man who was screwing a woman twice her size, but who baked killer chocolate chip cookies and called him sir. 

And my brother, well, he was a spoiled rotten brat from the time he could walk. I plotted his death numerous times while growing up, but my plans always were foiled at the last minute. I swear that boy lived under a lucky cloud, while I lived in a fog of misery.

I couldn’t wait to leave the town of Rockchester when I grew up. You see, we never went on vacation. We never went anywhere. My father wouldn’t leave Mrs. Johnson for any length of time, and my mother wouldn’t leave her sewing circle, aka gossip group. I begged them to go to the beach, which was only twenty miles away, every summer to no avail. 

I didn’t even make it to the beach as a teenager like most kids in town did because my parents refused to buy me a car and I had no friends to hitch a ride with. I had no friends period.

The suck ups who tried to be my friend because of my father I ridiculed until they cried, and the outcasts were scared to be my friend because of my father, so I was left alone, which suited me just fine. Most of the time.

Sometimes, I wished I had a friend, you know, because misery loves company. 

Despite it all, I managed to grow to adulthood. I never did leave town though. I went to Rockchester Community College after high school where I met my husband, James. We have been married for ten years. 

My mother and father are still together. Mrs. Johnson has lived with them for the last five years since my mother had a stroke and can’t kick her out. My brother spends more time in the county jail than at home with his wife and six kids. 

As for me, well, I’m the principal of the new Rockchester High School, and the assistant principal makes the best cookies in town.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's Imperative!

 This writing prompt was challenging. I know the second one isn't really a story in any way, but it was another way to do the prompt. Let me know what y'all think, please.

 "Write a fragment of a story that is made up entirely of imperative commands. Do this; do that; contemplate the rear end of a woman who is walking out of your life. This exercise will be a sort of second-person narration (a "you" is implied in the imperative). 500 words.

Story 1:

“Brush your teeth. Put enough toothpaste on the brush. Don’t skimp or your teeth won’t get clean. Get all the way to the back. Go up and down, not in circles. Don’t choke! Spit and then brush some more if you’re not finished. Don’t forget your tongue. Use the mouthwash next. Swish it around good and then spit it out, don’t swallow. Look at me and let me see if you did a good job. Go to school, you passed inspection.”

Story 2:

“Get all the ingredients and cooking supplies together. Don’t forget the cooking spray or they’ll stick. Mix the peanut butter, egg and sugar together in a bowl until it’s thick goo. Dip twelve tablespoons onto the baking pan a few inches apart. Bake the cookies for twenty minutes. Eat and enjoy!”

 Story 3:

“Take your clothes off.”
“Strip or I’ll do it for you!”
“Slow down, I want to enjoy this. Take your time. Fold the clothes when you’re done.”
“Dance for me. Make it sexy. Move to the music and make me believe you mean it. Do it right and this might go easier for you.”
“Take your time; we’re not in a race here.”
“Do that again, I liked that move. Turn around.”
“Do as I say!”
“Hold your arms up. Don’t strain against the cuffs or you’ll bruise your wrists.”
“Quit jerking so much or you’ll…Oh, I guess it’s beyond your control now…”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brought to Your Knees

For today's story I mixed the Three Word Wednesday prompt with this prompt:

Happy Monday, everyone! Today's prompt comes from "Now Write! Fiction Writing Exercises from Today's Best Writer's & Teachers."

"The Wedding Picture exercise can be an evocative one-page fiction assignment. The exercise is to ask students to color copy their own wedding photograph, that of their parents, or an anonymous wedding picture, and to write a one-page fiction inspired by the image."

I hope y'all enjoy the outcome.

It seemed fitting, Sarah thought, that they should end up on their knees. It was a place they were familiar with, having been brought there on numerous occasions throughout their life together. She knew the outcome wasn’t certain, that with God anything was possible, but Sarah believed evil was going to finally win.

“Forgive them, Father,” Sarah started to pray, but was cut off when the taller one hit her, knocking her over backward. She saw Paul strain against his bonds to get to her and tried to tell him she loved him, but her jaw no longer worked. She couldn’t even scream, but had to endure the agonizing pain in silence. 

Sarah remembered another time when she couldn’t talk to Paul, although that time it was all on them. They were the cause of the problems back then that had almost ended their relationship. Sarah had never regretted the sleepless nights spent blaming Paul for something out of his control more than she did in that moment. 

She came to believe the doctor’s, and knew that Melissa would still have died, even if Paul had gotten home on time, but it had taken her way too long. Sarah knew she wasted months of their lives that could have been spent growing closer, pushing him away. Paul had forgiven her, after he forgave himself, and they worked their way back to each other. 

They had both spent hours on their knees thanking God for saving their marriage, and later, Sarah remembered her knees being bruised from all the kneeling during her second pregnancy. Paul was right there beside her, holding her hand. She wished she could hold his hand again.

The intruders had made sure that wasn’t possible from the start. They rang the doorbell, and when Paul answered, burst through the door so quickly they knocked him down. Before he could get up, the smaller man hit him over the head with the butt of a rifle. Sarah screamed and ran to Paul’s side, begging the men to take whatever they wanted and just leave. Little did she know that what they wanted was everything.

As far as Sarah could tell, there was no reason for the attack. She tried to cling to the small hope that a neighbor had heard her screams earlier, but as the night wore on, it became harder, and finally, there was no hope left. 

Both Sarah and Paul watched the strangers murmur to each other and then look their way. Paul inched closer to Sarah and she pushed her head into his shoulder and cried. When they heard the hammer cock, Sarah raised her head and kissed Paul one last time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Here is my story for the Three Word Wednesday prompt this week:

Becky knew she had to resign herself to the fact George was gone. It had been two months, but she still clung to the hope he would return. That one day he would come to his senses and leave the bimbo he was shacking up with, but so far, his libido was overruling his brain.

“Twenty years down the drain, and for what?” she muttered to herself while she threw another pair of George’s pants on the fire. “A skinny piece of ass half his age.”

She would never understand what he saw in a woman so young. They couldn’t have a decent conversation because the silly girl wouldn’t know half of what he was talking about. After all, for most of it, she hadn’t even yet been born.

Of course, Becky was smart enough to know it wasn’t the girl’s brains George cared about. He had always had an eye for the ladies, but Becky never thought he’d act on it. He had seemed happy and content with the life they had built. The wife really is the last to know, she thought as she held a match to one of George’s bulky winter sweaters. 

Becky cried as she watched smoke curl into the air. She wondered what she could have done differently. Would George have stayed if she’d lost ten pounds? Dyed her hair instead of leaving it gray? Learned some new moves in the bedroom?  

Still contemplating what she could have done that might have kept George at home; Becky was startled when she spied a figure coming out of the mist of smoke surrounding the burn barrel. She wiped her eyes, not only to hide the tears, but because she didn’t believe what she saw. 

As the most gorgeous man on two legs walked toward her, all Becky could do was stare. She could actually see his muscles bunching under his shirt, which until that moment, Becky thought was something romance novelist made up. 

When the man smiled, Becky looked over her shoulder. She was sure someone had come up behind her, but nobody else was around. The two of them were alone behind her house, the glow of the fire warming the night. At least that was what Becky was going to blame for the heat coursing through her body.

The man stopped right in front of Becky, smiled and gently brushed a strand of hair from her cheek. His touch electrified Becky. Her knees almost buckled and her heart rate tripled. She would have fallen had she not grabbed his arm to steady herself. 

“Hello, beautiful,” he whispered. 

“Hel..lo,” Becky stammered. “Can I help you?” she asked, sure he was looking for one of her neighbors.

“I sure hope so, darling,” he replied. 

Becky found herself standing up straighter and wishing she had taken the time to put some makeup on before coming outside earlier. Still, she mustered the courage to ask the sexy stranger what he needed.

“I’ve been watching you,” he said, which made Becky feel a little uneasy until he added, “and I decided it was a damn shame that such a fine woman was crying in the night.”

He stepped closer, took Becky’s hand, and asked, “What can I do to dry the tears from your eyes, darling?”

Becky would have pinched herself had he not been holding her hand. She was sure she was dreaming. No man that looked like he did had ever been interested in the likes of her. Her suspicions roused, Becky asked the stranger, “Did George send you?”

“I don’t know George, but if he’s the one you’re crying over I’d sure like to meet him and find out what kind of man would upset such a good woman.”

“You don’t know I’m a good woman.”

“Oh, but I do,” he said and took her other hand. “I could feel it clear across the yard.”

“Are you real,” Becky squeaked and pulled her hands away so she could catch her breath.
“Of course I am, darling,” the man said and chuckled.

“This is just too weird,” Becky told him. “Some strange man coming up out of the blue.”

“Well, it’s not entirely out of the blue,” he confessed. “Emily, your next door neighbor, is my sister. She told me a little about your situation.”

While Becky mulled over the fact her neighbors were talking about her shame, the man added, “Your husband should be shot,” which should have scared Becky, but instead made her laugh.

“Now that’s more like it,” he said. “Forget the bastard and let me take you to dinner.”

Becky couldn’t believe her ears. “Are you serious?”

“Yes. Why wouldn’t I be?” he asked.

“Because this doesn’t happen to me,” Becky said and waved her hand up and down his body in case he didn’t know what she was talking about.

He laughed. “Men are stupid, what can I say?”

“But why would you want to take an old lady like me to dinner instead of some young thing?”

The man looked Becky square in the eye and said, “I like a woman who knows how to treat a man, not one who is only interested in what she can get from one.”

Becky didn’t know whether to believe him or not, but when he took her hand again and she felt another shock, she no longer cared. She smiled and told him to let her get her coat. At her front door, Becky looked back and sighed. She finally understood George.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Expectations Fulfilled

Here is the writing prompt this piece was generated from:

"Write a first-person story in which you use the first-person pronoun (I or me or my) only two times - but keep the I somehow important to the narrative you're constructing. The point of this exercise is to imagine a narrator who is less interested in himself than in what he is observing. You can make your narrator someone who sees an interesting event in which he is not necessarily a participant. Or you can make him self-effacing, yet a major participant. It is very important in this exercise to make sure your reader is not surprised, forty or fifty words into the piece, to realize that this is a first person narration. Show us quickly who is observing the scene. 600 words."
How do y'all think I did? I've never tried this particular style before.

I knew this would be fun.

The chase had been exhilarating. Watching her run, her legs tangling with the branches, pulling her down. She didn’t stay down though, oh no, she scrambled right back up. What fun! 

Scratches mar her beautiful skin now, but that is a small price to pay for all this excitement. It’s hard to contain the pure, simple joy her screams bring. She has a lot of fight in her, that’s for sure. More than you’d think in the circumstances. Not that it matters. She can fight all she wants, but it will do no good.

That last cut was a little deep. Her cries are not as strong now. Have to remember that for next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time. This feeling is too good to resist. Best get back to enjoying it before it’s over.


That was messier than anticipated. It’s done now though. The fun is over. But the memories will be spectacular. 

Maybe tonight will bring dreams about that final, breathtaking moment when the last sigh escaped her lips.

Oh yes, I knew this would be fun, but never this much.