Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So, here we go...

Daily Stats:
Words: 1000
Caffeine: morning cup + midmorning cappuccino
Evil Calories: the most decadent chocolate chip banana muffins ever. I've eaten seven in the last 24 hrs. I can't stop.
Reality TV: Flipping Out reruns

Okay, peeps. I have posted the first installment of my take on your ideas. Thank you to anonymous for the prompt. I'm sure you had something else in mind when you suggested "I opened the door and heard the shrieking", but you're talking to a girl who still can't make through a full episode of Ghosthunters without her ears plugged and her head buried in a pillow.

Now for my disclaimer.

I wrote this in exactly ONE hour. It is in, what I like to call, the "bag of poo" stage. It hasn't been edited or proofed. It's full of holes, inconsistancies and may not make much sense. I whole point of this exercise is to just go. Don't stop, don't edit, don't think, just go.

So I went! And here's what happened.

Original prompt left by anonymous:
"I opened the door and heard the shrieking."

My take:

I opened the door and heard the shrieking. It was my mother’s pitch-perfect shrill, usually reserved for Burt Reynolds sightings or half-off sales at Spiegel. I walked into the living room, expecting to find her clutching a new flounced-sleeve cardigan and a glass of champagne. But instead she was clutching my sister Emily.

“May!” came another yelp from my mother. “Or June! Yes, we could have gardenias everywhere!” Her eyes darted around the room, as if gardenias were suddenly sprouting from the walls.

Emily nodded, looking like she had a hanger crammed in her mouth. I considered quietly backing out of the room, hopping a plane for Bermuda and calling in a day or two to find out what the excitement was all about. I knew that plastered-on smile. The result of that pesky little eight year-old inside of Emily, still seeking approval. I wanted no part of that smile.

“Annie!” Finally my mother noticed me. “Your sister’s getting married! I’m thinking lilac for your dress!”

Normally the thought of having to wear a puffy purple abomination would require me to breath into a paper bag. But I was distracted by the words “Emily” and “married”. Something was amiss. Clearly something had happened in the five hours since I shared a plate of crab wontons with Emily at Shanghai Terrace. She left with her half eaten General Tsao’s chicken, on her way to break up with Jeremy once and for all, and apparently I had stumbled into some kind of glitch in the space/time continuum. It was the only logical explanation.

In Chicago traffic, anything is possible.

Jeremy was boring, disrespectful and he cross-contaminated the peanut butter with the jelly. Those were the three ironclad reasons she gave for wanting to bring their two-year courtship to and end. I sat and listened, nodding intently, agreeing. Seedy pink streaks in the peanut butter. Horrible. He should be dealt with for sure. I didn’t bring up the other woman she’d suspected he’d been sleeping with. Or the cash missing from her purse. Or the fact that, every once in a while, he would suddenly don a British accent for absolutely no reason. Kicking Jeremy to the curb was the best idea she’d had in years. I would have hitched my trailer to the most absurd red flag just to see him go.

I looked at Emily, her forced grin looking like it could mutate into a gag at any moment. I waited for her speak. Surely she left Shanghai Terrace, broke up with Jeremy, went for a drink, met Bono, the only man she ever claimed she’d marry in a heartbeat, and, after attending an impromptu fundraising event together, he proposed and now she was going to be Mrs. Bono, assuming his respect for condiments was up to par.

My mother planted her hand on her hip. “Well, for God’s sake, Annie, say something!”

I cleared my throat. “Something.”

She let out of huff. “Oh, don’t be bitter. It’ll happen for you.” She looked around anxiously. “Someday.”

Suddenly I was back to my Bermuda plan. Even before she added the “someday”. “You’re getting married to Jeremy?” I finally managed to say, trying to sound breezy.

My mother sputtered. “Of course to Jeremy! Who else would she be marrying?” She gave me that look that suggested I’d spent my formative years eating paint chips. Then she turned her attention back to Emily, her hands flapping in excitement as she began rattling off tasks. Calling churches, finding florists, picking centerpieces, using heavyweight linen and a transparent sheet of velum for the invitations. With every word, Emily turned a different shade of green. Then my mother was gone, up the stairs. I could hear her dividing her time between digging through the cedar chest in the spare room and commiserating on the phone with my Aunt Nancy.

Emily and I were left staring at each other in silence. She shifted around in place, wringing her hands. “What?” she asked, giving me a look suggesting that I was the one who’d had the colossal lapse in judgment; as if it were I who initiated the launch sequence on the mother-of-the-bride-zilla upstairs. As if our lunch never happened. Did I even bother reminding her that she’d referred to Jeremy as “that little dickweed” several time, or that she had already begun laying the groundwork to sleep with the guy from her accounting department?

But this is what Emily did. She’d mess up, close her eyes, plug her ears, and launch into a rousing rendition of “la-la-la-la” while the world proceeded to fall apart. Only this time I couldn’t just stand on the sidelines and watch. I was going to be right there with her, humming along.

Wearing purple taffeta, no less.


Rags said...

Wow, hun thats fantastic!
An hour?
I dont believe you...too good for an hours work!


Amy Ellis said...


Except I'm Mrs. Bono! :-p

Elizabeth said...

Love these types of things, esp when they develop into something bigger. Purple tafetta?, I had to wear pink once.