Sunday, February 10, 2013

Another Writing Exercise Story

I wrote a short story during my new creative writing class for an exercise.  It's...  strange.  Not something I would typically write.  But it turned out better than I anticipated.  We were given a list of 6 words, and had to use 4 of them.  We were also given a situation where we were in a vehicle of some kind where we had to imagine someone's mother in the car or truck with us and what we were doing, what the vehicle looked like... etc...  Then we were given a quote (just one line,) from a story we read in class, and try to work that line into our text as well.  At the end I will tell you the four words and cite the line that was worked in.  Until then...

Happy reading.

When you think of a blur of red down the freeway, you tend to think of a sporty little car; sleek and young.  We are not that car.  We are a minivan, clunky, and awkward, same as this ride.  I'm sitting in the far back with my cousins, my mother's mother at the helm, stern faced and unforgiving as Captain Hook, but without the Disney charm.  She turns the radio dial, flipping through stations until finding her usual Christian A.M. station. Her salt and peppered hair blow in our silence that follows.  Her polyester blend elastic waistband pants complete the look.  ...Strangest pirate I've ever seen.

These rides used to be enjoyable.  A ritual part of Saturday afternoons with Grandma, right between the tuna fish sandwiches and bowling pins.  Yup.  Saturdays used to be fun.  Saturdays used to be about family.  But we had grown apart.  We had grown up.  And the adults in my family saw me differently too it seemed.  My love of psychology and rationale made the rest of them look at me like I was unstable.  As if I was going to begin spontaneously lighting things on fire.

Gram-Gram the pirate.

Me, the pyromaniac.

The backseat was making me sick, but it was better than the alternative, up front.  First mate.  That seat had passed to Tommy, the youngest of the cousins.  Still naive enough to not understand my mother's mother's racist or homophobic rants.  Or worse, maybe he does.   ...I worry about Tommy sometimes.

The bowling alley smelled of cigarettes and sweaty stale socks.  I didn't hear the argument that started between the pirate and the simple shoe rental boy but one look at his rainbow bracelet, and the missing pieces of what it was REALLY about filled themselves in.  My cousins remained quietly lined along the counter that turned the corner and lead into the bar, patiently waiting for the scene to be over.  Some of them had the sense to look ashamed.  All of them had the sense to look sympathetic to the rainbow clad young man while the pirate rolled up her eyes, and screwed up her mouth and stuck her leathery thin face into his smooth bland one.

I sighed, losing patience and tried to find the courage to take another stand against our grandmother.  But I halted a second, distracted by young Tommy's stirring.  He picked up a small book of matches from the bar and started toying with it.

I smiled.  Maybe there was some hope for the kid after all.
Four words (or phrases) used:
Tuna Fish Sandwich
Bowling Pins

Line used:
"(She) rolled up her eyes, and screwed up her mouth and stuck her leathery thin face into his smooth bland one."
(From A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor)

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