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10 Aug

The dialogue is the result of an exercise in a creative writing class.  I tried to keep it pretty spare.  Does it work?  What do you think?

“Just for one day?  You can’t live without it for one day?” I asked.

“What if I had to go somewhere?” my father replied.

“I’ll take you.  Where do you have to go?” I asked.

“I don’t know.  What if I run out of my medication?”  He said. 

“Call the pharmacy and I’ll pick it up for you,” I said.

“No, not having a car makes me nervous,” he said. 

“It’s just one damned day!” I said. 

“Why can’t you borrow Kelly’s car?” he asked.

“She needs it to take Jesse to a birthday party and then to tap,” I told him.

“That won’t take long.  Borrow Kelly’s car,” he said again.

“She has other stuff to do.  Why can’t you help me with this?” I asked.

“I told you I might have to go somewhere,” he said.  He turned away no longer able to look me in the eye.

“I have to take Justin to the dentist and get him to his little league game up in Homewood.  Dad, please.  Just lend me your car for one day.  I’ll get it washed and return it with a full tank of gas,” I said.

“I can’t,” he said.

“What do you have to do?  What’s more important than your grandchildren?” I asked.  I hated to play that card, but it was the only one I had.

“No, no, no!” he said.

“Or who’s more important?  You need to drive Cheryl around?  She need her hair done?  She want to go shopping at the outlets?” I asked.

“No.  My grandkids are more important than Cheryl.  You know it, they know it, she knows it,” he said.

“Then give me your car.  Kelly can drop me off tomorrow morning and pick me up late in the afternoon,” I said.

“No.  I can’t.  I just can’t,” he said.

“You selfish old bastard,” I said.

“Go borrow your mother’s car,” he said.




6 Aug

In my creative writing class, the teacher had us all write the first sentence to a story and then pass that sentence to our left. Just to be sure, I did NOT write the first sentence of this story.

Ruth dragged me into the women’s restroom so we cold watch the old ladies pee from under the stall doors. Lucky for me, the tooth the old lady with the cap-toed oxford knocked out when she kicked me was a baby tooth. That lady did me a favor, the Tooth Fairy gave me a whole dollar for that tooth.

Ruth’s parents weren’t thrilled they had to take her to the hospital when the swelling in her nose didn’t go down overnight. I’m sure she messed with her nose while she was supposed to be sleeping, to hear a little clicking sound when she pressed one certain spot. Ruth was also a hard-core nose-picker.

When her parents asked her how she broke her nose, Ruth told them exactly what happened to her. Her parents were shocked. Her mother literally clutched her pearls. Too bad her dad didn’t wear a monocle like Mr. Peanut; it would have dropped on its cord as Mr. Logan’s eyes widened in surprise.

The Logans called my parents and apologized over and over. My parents, unlike Ruth’s, were used to Ruth’s disturbing behavior. The Logans grounded Ruth and took away her iPad Mini for two weeks. My parents just decided we shouldn’t be allowed to go to the movies without an adult again.


5 Aug

It was already 2:30 and my head was pounding.  A cup of coffee probably wouldn’t stop my caffeine headache, but I wasn’t willing to take a chance on it getting worse.  Walking into the usually busy coffee shop, I was surprised not to hear the usual chatter.  I heard only one voice. 

I was pretty sure it was her.  The woman was on her phone arguing with someone.  Whoever was on the other end of the line was being ripped a new one.  Standing half a head over most of the other people in the room, her voice carried as she ordered someone, a nurse or perhaps an orderly, to give her mother some “fucking” ice cream.  She argued that her mother was 85 years old, experiencing organ failure, and in a great deal of pain.  She didn’t care if ice cream wasn’t a healthy food, it was her mother’s favorite.  If it gave her mother some comfort, she’d make damned sure she got her ice cream. 

After a few seconds of silence, she yelled that she was all her mother had, but she wasn’t going to fly across an ocean just to give her mother some Rocky Road.  As she strode back and forth in the coffee shop on her phone, no one else spoke – not even to place an order.  It didn’t matter what she was arguing about, you didn’t interrupt her – well, if it really was her.

When she finally hung up her phone, she turned her back to me.  I had to stifle a giggle.  I could see orange, gray, and white fur coating her otherwise tailored pant-leg.  Yup.  That was her.


4 Aug

If only the bulletproof glass weren’t so cloudy and scratched.  That’s what thousands, or millions, of tiny hands and noses will do to a window over time.  Of course, sometimes there was the steam on the other side of the window when the lions got close enough to create a layer of fog with their breath. 

On one side of the window, tiny humans gaping and chattering excitedly, pushing and shoving each other for a better view.  On the other side, large, lazy cats napped and groomed themselves.  The children didn’t know how special the beings on the other side of the window were, the adults with them didn’t seem to care.  The children just continued to pound on the window or cry to their parents, screaming when the lions would roar, or just yawn, and display their massive fangs.  To the lions, all the small children in their little jackets must have looked the same, especially if it was true that animals couldn’t see in color. 

Even if the lions couldn’t tell the kids apart, at times they seemed to prefer watching the humans on the other side of the window to staring out at their bleak habitat.  Not that the African plains were full of brightly colored flowers, just the same sparse grasses and dirt the same color as the lions’ fur; aside from the other animals, not much for lions to see.  Here, they could be distracted by the people outside their window or the people walking by the outdoor portion of their enclosure.  Nothing like a stroller parade to pass the time.



Auto Pilot

3 Aug

“I’ve never been to Tokyo,” I said.  “But that’s not the real issue.”  Somehow I’d gotten on the wrong plane.  Guess drinking for five straight hours in the airport bar was a shitty idea.  Now I was on a flight to Tokyo without my passport.

What  really worried me was that I didn’t know the airfield layout.  How was I supposed to land this thing when we got there?

My co-pilot must have sensed something was wrong because I was soon lifted from my seat by a couple of air marshalls who pulled my hands behind my back and cuffed me.  Landing this thing in Japan would be someone else’s problem.

Creative Writing 101

2 Aug

This is something I wrote in my creative writing class at Story Studio this past spring.

I’m not one to undress quickly, and a look at the weather forecast made me even more reluctant to take off my pyjamas and get in the shower. Out the window, I could see the city already covered in snow. The modern high-rises and skyscrapers fared only a little better than their much older neighbors. Snow would slide off the centrally-heated glass towers, but it would hug the ancient buildings in the older parts of the city. The old side streets, barely passable in horse carts, would be impossible to travel by car in this mess. The Parisian drivers wouldn’t help, either.

Sam came in from the other room having started a pot of coffee. In a couple of hours he was supposed to have a job interview, his first after months of unemployment. I looked at him as he started at his feet, clenching and unclenching his right fist. Normally that tic annoyed the hell out of me, but I’d never seen him look so vulnerable.

While not necessarily lazy, the word “tenacious” did not come to mind when one looked at Sam. Today something was different. He looked out the window, swallowed hard, and said, “I’m going to take the first shower today. I have to get to my interview by 9 and I don’t think I’ll get there on time if I don’t leave by 7:30.”

I coughed hard as the coffee I’d poured myself went down the wrong pipe. I rasped, “You mean you’re actually going to this one?”

My New Year’s Resolutions for 5771

13 Sep

This year my resolutions are to:

  • be a better friend.  I will work on my listening skills and I won’t burden my friends with every minor gripe;
  • not take people for granted; and
  • not knowingly put myself in a position to be hurt.

Guess which one I’ve already broken?