Friday, August 12, 2005
A Picture: Really worth a thousand words?
Silk took over the "Take Two" organizational responsibilities from the lovely Christina and gave it a twist. She proposed that instead of being given a snippet of text from which to draw our inspiration, that we would all view the same photo, or photos, and let them be our muse.

As such, Silk delivered the following pics for this week's literary exercise. We were told that we could draw from a single photo, or any combination of the three. As such, my humble submission follows. (I think you'll soon see where my inspiration came from.)

I don't really know where the story came from, but it flew from my mind as my fingers flashed across the keyboard. Personally, I don't think it as good as my first foray into the realm of fiction (that being my tale of Ariadne) but, it is still enjoyable, I think. Of course, my first story had three weeks worth of revisions and I hardly revised this one at all after the first read-through. If it is rough, blame the amount of free time I've had between work and researching strollers, cribs, carseats, and layettes.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it. Oh, and be sure to check out the other entries in this week's Take Two.

Without further ado...

Missy stood silently in her assigned spot and wondered how adults could be so dumb. She just knew that the dress she would be wearing tomorrow in this spot would be itchy and she’d have to wear those nasty white tights. She watched as her big sister and her boyfriend stood at the altar “rehearsing” with the preacher.

Annabelle and Marcus couldn’t hear what Marcus’s mother was saying behind their backs, but Missy could. How could the old bat be so mean? Missy swore that if she were older or taller she’d call the decrepit old biddy out on her catty behavior. She’d had the gall to sit in the pew with her equally archaic and foul smelling friends, discussing the desirability of her sister to be the vessel that delivered the next generation. Talking about the thickness of her thighs and the width of her hips, Missy recognized the behavior as being the same as what she went through at school, only she was picked on for wearing glasses.

Missy stood in her spot fuming, frown on her face. Mom looked at her sharply from her seat in the pew silently communicating, “Put on a happy face or else!” But then, Mom couldn’t hear what was being said. Missy smiled at the thought of her own mother tearing Mrs. Weatherby’s throat out like the lions do on Animal Planet. The smile pleased Mom and she looked away.

The rehearsal ended in a scrum when Annabelle and Marcus pretended to walk back down the aisle as man and wife. Missy followed the throng out of the church and in no time was seated with her parents and her brother Nathan at their table in the restaurant. Nathan was such a baby; only five and very messy with food. But, Annabelle had needed a ring bearer, so Missy grudgingly accepted his presence.

“Missy,” Mom said, “do you want chicken or fish?”

“Chicken, please, and can I have a Shirley Temple too?”

“I suppose. Nathan:,” she said to her youngest, “Fish or Chicken?”

“Is the fish in sticks? I’m only eatin’ ‘em if they’re in sticks. Fries are sticks, can I have fries too?”

“Hmm. We’ll see.”

The waitress came and took their order, and then left them to their devices. Mom and Dad busied themselves making nice with the aunts, uncles, and cousins that so rarely visited, even making polite conversation with Marcus’s mean mother. When dinner was served by 20 white-coated waiters, everyone returned to their seats.

Nathan was enraptured with his meal of sticks: French fries, fish sticks, and carrot sticks. Missy thought it all extremely ridiculous, but understood that her parents were just trying to keep Nathan happy so that he wouldn’t be trouble.

“You see,” Nathan said quite seriously, “food in sticks is perfect. No fork, no problem. Sticks are easy to hold, easy to bite, and easy to blow.” Nathan demonstrated by swinging a ketchup-laden fry in Missy’s direction.

As with all accidents, time seemed to slow, but not quickly enough to prevent the ketchup from flinging onto Missy’s face and hair. Nathan found this hilarious and could not be controlled. Mom attempted to quiet him while urging Missy to clean up in the lady’s room.

She was furious at this humiliation, but showed Nathan how one is supposed to act by wiping her face with the cloth napkin and gracefully rising from her seat. She was still furious when she arrived in the bathroom. She used the handsoap to lather her face and the side of her hair that had been coated in condiment, then rinsed.

Once presentable again, she made her way into a stall. She struggled with the many layers of her skirt, attempting to keep them out of the bowl while she eased her tights down to her knees.

As she sat there, she heard two ladies enter and begin chatting at the mirror. She stayed seated when she realized that she had been joined by none other than Mrs. Weatherby and Marcus’s vile aunt.

“I tell you, she is not good stock. He should have chosen better,” the lady spoke with a firmness that identified her as Marcus’s mother.

“What can you do? Things are not the same here. He must be given his choice.” The aunt clearly was tying to avoid irritating the old bat.

“Even so, her inadequacies abound! She is pale, skinny, and I am not convinced of her intelligence.”

“But, I was told she is a doctor.”

“She’s studying to be a doctor. Don’t let the distinction confuse you.” Why was Missy the only one ever privy to these observations?

They continued their verbal assault of her sister, unknowingly infuriating Missy to the breaking point. She pulled up her tights, flushed, then smoothed out her skirts.

“Well…,” Marcus’s mother began again, “I suppose she will have to do for his first….”

Missy couldn’t take it anymore. She swung the door of the stall violently open and began speaking before she even laid eyes on the two vicious hens.

“My sister is very smart, I’ll have you know! She graduated at the top of her class at Notre Dame, and they don’t just let anybody into Harvard Medical! She is very nice and will make an excellent mother, something I’m sure neither of you will understand at all. If anything, I doubt Marcus deserves….” Missy’s voice trailed off in shock when she saw the face of her sister’s future mother-in-law. Sallow skin clung to the overlarge head of the alien. It had deep dark shadowed eye sockets that contained dark black, glistening eyes without any white parts. Her nose was only two small slits on a nearly imperceptible bump.

They were aliens. Aliens. She quickly pivoted and walked out of the bathroom, eyes wide open and unspeaking. When she reached the relative safety of the table, she sat, still shocked to her core.

“That’s much better dear. See, everything is fine. Daddy ordered you another Shirley Temple.”

“Th…th…th….”

UPDATE: The other participants' efforts can be found at the following sites...

Feisty Christina's efforts cast mine not in the shade, but in a dark so bleak I can't find my way out. It is brilliant, touching, shocking, and very well done. Read it, you won't be disappointed.

Heather's efforts, too, are very emotional.

Rina's tale is, sadly, someplace we've all been.

Jeffers' story reminds me of a prologue to an X-files episode.
posted by Phoenix | 8:32 AM


>7 Comments:

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous silk said...

While you have your doubt lady, I still claim that you are fantastic. Not the swashbuckling emotional rawness fo the first but certainly more twisty and chilling. Thank you so much.

 
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous christina said...

HA!

Aren't in-laws all aliens?

I loved it!

; )

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Phoenix said...

I will admit that a certain amount of inspiration was drawn from my own mother-in-law's behavior.

The snake.

 
At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Nugget said...

Brilliant!

Reminds me of a couple people and I couldn't help but smile at the end cause it appealed to my sense of humour. Really well done :o)

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger neolithic said...

That X-Files theme is going to follow me a long time. Has for the last 12 years.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger amelie said...

this was good! vivid, and so true to life ; )

 
At 10:47 AM, Blogger That 1 Guy said...

You sell yourself short... very well done! :)

 

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