Friday, April 30, 2010

A Midnight Call to Action

The call came at midnight. A husky voice announced they were coming to visit and hoped I had scraped together something readable by Tuesday the 5th, but then the call was disconnected before I learned who was on the other end. It was a strange call to action. Unfortunately, it came on a night about a week and a half too late to count, but I figured I would give it a shot anyway just to get my feet wet. This would provide a ticket to my first encounter with some good folks, one of whom I like to think of as my best friend with whom I would share my last box of raisins or bit of chocolate, but with whom I have never shared my writing, mostly because many pieces are about her. I went to sleep pondering the challenge and woke up early the next morning.

It was a pall-bearer dropping the casket start to the day. That didn’t mean it had to end that way. If I could redeem myself in her eyes, everything would turn out nicely. I had said some things in the morning, which I later regretted. Those remarks left me feeling as if I had been bound in duct tape and left on the old rail lines outside Scranton. My pride was smashed for one thing, and I felt like a single shoe pocketed in an old felt shoe bag without its mate, an outcast in my own neighborhood. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can sour the whole morning. By noon, I experienced a sense of déjà vu. I was checking out the bookstore’s latest acquisitions and recalled the day in 1985 when we were laughing and joking in Hemlock’s, by Row S, when someone from my past said hello, and she got all uptight about the encounter as if I had arranged for it to happen.

Time was running out. As the day moved swiftly enough to get my work done, but brought no ideas on what to do for this challenge, I struggled with the thought of just calling to apologize and once again playing the fool, begging for a second chance and inviting her for a drink at the Tin Cat Pub or writing a heart felt romantic story about the two of us and this time sharing it with her. Then I stared for a few minutes at a sealed envelope in my In-Box and wondered what news that contained, and it made me think she would receive any thing I had to say at this point with the same sort of trepidation. Attempting to take my mind off my morning’s problem, and that mysterious midnight call, I wrote all the prompts on separate bits of paper and tried rearranging them in sequences that might make some sense. Twice I almost came up with an answer, but then I tossed all the bits in the trash bin and just began writing off the top of my head.

The wait was finally over. While I still had no idea who was coming to visit, I did have a nice little story to share which would put me in a good light with my friend, and so decided to take a break and go sit on a bench on the cobblestone street at the edge of the park across from my office. I watched a man change a tire on his cab with a determination I envied. There was an oil stain on his jacket, but he didn’t seem to notice. It was then I realized there was still one little problem facing me. I didn’t know how to work in the spoon.

The prompts for April, by date, are as follows:

1. A box of raisins, a first encounter
2. 1985
5. Hemlock’s bookshop, row s
6. Time was running out*
7. News, spoon
8. Someone from the past, a ticket
9. The best friend
12. Tin Cat Pub
13. It was a pall-bearer dropping the casket start to the day*
14. Stain, cab
15. The Box
16. A felt shoe bag, duct tape
19. The old rail lines outside Scranton
20. The wait was finally over*
21. Struggle, chocolate
22. Something smashed, a sealed envelope
23. The outcast
26. A bench on a cobblestone street
27. The call came at midnight*
28. Trash, twice
29. A second chance
30. The visitor, use a word, phrase, or sentence in another language other than English

*Starter sentences

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