My prompt group met last Tuesday and I wanted to share with you what we did. As always, I’ll give you the prompts first and if you want to do them as well, please link back so I can see what your responses were. I really liked all of them this week and I hope you enjoy as well!
- Use this quote for inspiration: “You can’t tell me not to come to work because roads are bad and then ask me an hour later to come in and expect me to be sober.” (5 minutes)
- Include these three elements: A way of life comes to an end, a snake, and a character going clothes shopping. (8 minutes)
- Describe your experience meeting a celebrity. Then, write the scene from the celebrity’s point of view. (5 minutes for each)
- Include the quote “I only asked for water,” and a white elephant.
My wife is standing there, dressed in only the lingerie I gave her for Valentine’s Day and my boss is on the phone, telling me I have to come in. My computer’s on, I did some work this morning, what else did he want? I’m only taking a short break. I was being more productive today than I had been in weeks at the office. And yes, the vodka helped, thank you. So it wasn’t just that I didn’t want to come in, it was that I couldn’t come in.
“I can’t, man.” I glance up at my wife, her chest heaving as she stood over me. “My wife took my car; I don’t have a way to get in.”
“Mike, you better call a cab and get in here right now. That client of yours, the big one? Yeah, he got the wrong week for the meeting and he’s standing in your office right now and he won’t talk to anyone except you. You understand my dilemma right now?”
I understand it alright, but I don’t think he understands mine. My wife is staring down at my dick which is hanging out from where she just finished a little something, if you get my meaning. So yeah, I’m in a bind in more ways than one.
“She’ll be back in a half hour and I can get the car then. I can see you in an hour, but no sooner.”
“You better call that bitch and tell her to get her ass home as soon as she can.” His voice is so loud Sharon can hear his every word and she frowns.
“Hey man, that’s my wife. Watch your tongue.”
“You better watch your tongue, you idiot. How could you tell the client the wrong week? Something as basic as a week and you can’t even get it right. Jesus Christ, are you stupid, man?”
I throw the phone on the couch next to me and look at Sharon. “Fuck him, he doesn’t matter. Come here and let’s do this. Then you can drive my drunk ass into work so I can fix his shit. Jesus Christ I need a new job. These assholes.”
She smirks and walks over to me, starting just where we’d left off.
I look at dresses and bras in a completely different way now. I’m not looking at the prices or the cut or the style, I’m looking at which will hide a boyish frame with no curves, which has the best coverage for stuffed, fake boobs, and which will still look good on a fourteen-year-old boy. Girl; I have to say girl now. I have to say Jessica instead of Jason and I have to say ‘she’ instead of ‘he.’ I was the proud mother of a son and now I’m the mother of a daughter. I’m not sure I can say proud yet, because I’m still not sure how I feel about it.
I walk through the aisles, touching fabrics, the way I shop for myself, by touch. But now… it all seems so different but he, sorry, she keeps telling me nothing has changed. I’m trying to believe him. Her.
I see a shirt across the aisle, there’s a cobra printed along the bottom seam which will distract from Jessica’s flat chest. It comes up high on the neck and is red, a color that always looked good on Jason and I have to assume will look good on Jessica. I finger the fabric and feel the soft cotton slip through my fingers. I shop with my hands for myself, why wouldn’t I for my daughter?
I find her size, holding it up to make sure the cut is straight. There’s a rack of sun dresses next to it, gingham print in a soft blue that will go great with black flats. I sigh, knowing I’ll never fit in it and grab one in Jessica’s size, walking back to the dressing rooms.
She’s standing there in front of the mirror, looking at her reflection in a pair of jeans, girl’s jeans. Jason had a pair before, but they were cheap, bought at the second-hand store behind our backs. These were nice jeans, the quality I bought for Jason, I mean for Jessica, before Jessica was Jessica.
“They look good,” I tell her. She doesn’t look at me and spins in front of the mirror, seeing how they look from behind. “Maybe a little tight in the… well…” I gesture toward the front of his jeans. Woman’s jeans don’t hide a male anatomy well.
“I know,” she says in a soft voice. “I’m thinking a size bigger might help. The stitching’s cute.” She sticks her hands in the back pockets and looks at me.
I smile. The stitching does look cute. I wish Jason had talked to me about these things instead of hiding them in the back of his closet. I’m glad that I can talk to Jessica about them. These are things I enjoy; feminine hemlines and make-up, doing my hair just to go to the grocery. These are things that were mine in a house with two men. Now, I realize, they can be ours in a house with two women; my daughter and me. I can’t stop smiling.
“Excuse me, where’s the bar?”
I shrug my shoulder in the direction of the club house. “Up the stairs and to the left.”
“Thanks, mate.” He sidles away and I finally look up, watching his broad back saunter away toward the club house. It was the accent that made me look up. You don’t get a lot of Australians in Ohio and I studied him critically. It was like he felt my eyes on his back and turned around, grinning at me. My jaw dropped as Chris Hemsworth winked at me, the sun shining off his blonde hair. I gulped and swallowed, not wanting to be caught gaping and returned to the boat I was cleaning, finishing off the knot to connect it to the dock. Then I stood, eyes trained on the club house and waiting for him to come back. His friend’s boat was docked farther down in a slip I couldn’t see. When he reemerged, I moved behind a big sailboat so he couldn’t see me and started scrubbing the deck. I didn’t want to be caught staring again. He walked to his friends with a beer in each hand, giving one to a blonde girl in a bikini. Typical.
She was short with dark hair and, boy, was she cleaning out that boat. I’d never seen someone care so much about another person’s things and I instantly respected her for it. The T-shirt with an anchor on it identified her as a marina employee so I cleared my throat, trying to get her attention. She only brushed the carpet harder.
“Uh, excuse me, I’m looking for the bar?” Everything I said sounded like a question. I didn’t know what to say when I didn’t have lines.
She pointed to a big white building with her elbow. “Club house, up the stairs and on your left.” She didn’t look up, still concentrating on the grey carpet and a stain next to the driver’s seat. I shuddered to think what it was.
That was when people would always stare at me. I think if I didn’t have the damn accent I’d have half a shot of staying anonymous in the United States, but these American’s can’t deal with the friendly ways of the Aussies. I walked away and knew that she’d looked up, knew that she was watching me walk away and wondering why an Australian was in Ohio. I would only come to this hell hole to film a movie. There is no other reason: ever.
I couldn’t help looking back. I hated and loved the lost look on people’s faces when they recognize me. If I was incapable of remaining anonymous, why not flaunt it? She was staring of course, and not subtly. I turned back to the club house, sent to get my wife the beer she wanted so badly that we had to dock.
It was the worst Christmas Party ever. No one understood the fun of a white elephant exchange, no one. I got a candle and a year subscription to People. Who gives these things? I was starting to sweat, my gift still sitting in the pile. It was supposed to be funny, it was supposed to make people laugh, but I think they were all going to be uncomfortable. And damn it if I would tell them it was my gift.
My boss of all people reached for the box and I flinched. He unwrapped it carefully and pulled out the peppermint schnapps and chocolate syrup. The card fell into his lap. I knew what it said: For fun, mix in mouth and swallow. He read it slowly and looked up with a surprising smile on his face.
“Anyone want a try?” He held the bottles up and my heart started beating at a normal rate again. “Michelle? Adam?”
Michelle, the admin put her hands up in protest. “I only asked for water. I have to drive home.” I rolled my eyes. Admins were always the party poopers of a group.
I hope you have fun with these prompts! Until next time, write on.