bookishgeek: (hark a vagrant - PO'd Poe)
This is part one in a two-part installment for week 8 of LJ Idol. Part is a direct sequel to this one, so please make sure you've read this first, and then you can read it here!

I have waited for this day all of my life.

Hands fluttering nervously at my sides, I think of the little girl awash in a sea of her mother's makeup, lying on her stomach and flipping through glossy back issues of wedding magazines from when she was marrying my daddy. I would spend countless hours there, licking my index finger between each turn of the page because that's what the adults did on television. My mother would come sweeping through the door with a martini glass in one hand and laugh at me, flicking her cigarette out the nearest window.

"Haven," she would laugh. "let's get your cleaned up." And she would put out the cigarette, pick me up and dust me off, and we'd stand at the sink in her bathroom. She'd let me dip my fingers into her vat of eucalyptus-scented face wash and I'd clean the garish blue eyeshadow off my cheeks, humming the songs from the old turntable we used to sing in the kitchen.

"Mama, I'm gonna get married one day," I had always said, standing on my tip-toes so I could see the crown of my head in the mirror. "And he's gonna be tall and handsome like a prince!" My mother would nod and smile and agree, brushing my hair out of her face, her decorative rings clacking against the metal clip on the hair elastic as she pulled my rat's nest of a brunette mane into a submissive ponytail.

"You sure are, baby doll." She'd say, giving my hair one final yank into position. I'd gallop off, the magazine re-pinned into the crook of my arm.

The day that I brought home Rhett Metcalfe to meet my mother, I knew. We stood arm in arm on the doorstep, his college football hoodie hanging limply on my frame like a dressmaker's dummy. I looked from his face to the doorbell, mentally willing everything to go well. Mom told me that when she opened the door I was beaming wider than Christmas, and that was when she knew, too.

He made his pleasantries between slices of wafer-thin pot roast: twenty-one, an architect, yes ma'am, no ma'am, my mother is a fifth grade teacher and my father is unemployed, a twin brother named Ashley, yes just like Gone With the Wind, no we don't resent it, we are at different universities, we are identical. I kept my gaze glued to my salad bowl, and when I gave Rhett a kiss goodbye at the doorstep and turned back to my mother, she was standing with her back to the doorframe that led to the living room.

"Got you something," she said, flicking a cigarette lighter with one thumb and shooting me a knowing look above the rims of her cats-eye glasses. "for an old time's sake. You're gonna need it." While I loaded dishes into the sink, lovesick and giddy, my mother pressed a freshly-minted copy of The Knot into my side and walked away, light on her feet as ever. I spent that night smoking mentholated cigarettes in bed beside my mother, flipping pages and dog-earing things: dresses, color palettes. We both knew. We just did.

And now? Here I was, standing in a little chapel by the water in New Jersey, half an hour from becoming Mrs. Haven Metcalfe. My mother drifted into the room, quiet as a secret.

"Have you seen him today?" she drawled, dropping a cigarette into an ash tray by the door as I smoothed a wrinkle from my crinoline and shook my head no.

"He's been busy since the bachelor party, but I told him he's twenty five and can take care of himself. If that man has taught me one thing about himself, it's that Rhett Metcalfe can damn well take care of himself." My mother stifled a laugh with her arm and nodded.

"You've gotten your prince now, baby," she said, squinting at my face in the mirror behind me and approaching at last to adjust my veil. "enjoy this ceremony, because it's all so fast. Soon you'll be in bed with him and he's not just Rhetty Spaghetti, your college boyfriend and post-graduate lover, but Your Husband, with capitol letters. It's the big leagues now. I didn't know that, I still played like we were in tee-ball, and well ..." she gestured with her left hand to showcase her bare ring finger, saying all she needed to say and letting my mind complete the story.

Before I knew it, I was being escorted down the aisle, drifting as if I were on a cloud. My feet hurt - these shoes pinched - and I could see Rhett's fuzzy outline up there at the altar. Suddenly, his mother was gone from my side and it was just me, Rhett, and the pastor, murmuring some reassuring words about Jesus' love that I wasn't paying attention to because it was hot in here and my God did my feet hurt.

The words came spilling out of my mouth in a torrent of anxiety and before I knew it, the pastor said something about kissing and Rhett tilted back my veil. I peered up into his eyes with the love I'd held for the past three years, and as he held me in the warm amber pools of his gaze, I felt the faintest flicker of uncertainty. Shrugging it off, I pressed myself into his arms. What could possibly be wrong? This was my Rhett ... right?
bookishgeek: (mlp - twilight reading)
This is the last in a three-part series based on my entries for weeks 4 and 5. :)


"Children are our future?" Gregory laughed in a short, raspy burst, holding out the wafer-thin flyer so that his coworker could see it. "They're what got us into this mess, Debbie!" He dropped it on the floor: just a piece of hospital propaganda, typical in all its normalcy, depicting a smiling mother and child with some polite scribblings about breastfeeding and bonding.

The pale, wispy blonde's skin looked almost yellow, and she shook a bit as she nodded, looking as if she were biting down an oncoming roll of nausea. "Yes, sir," she looked down into her arms and let out a sigh. "But, what shall we do with ... ?"

Gregory strode over to Debbie, two quick bursts of energy, and peered down at the bundle cradled in her lap. "This child," he said, lifting the bundle from the warm safety of Debbie's arms and dropping the blankets from around it, "will be the first of many. This child will know nothing of love. Thank god you found it, Debbie." The infant, suddenly without its warm swaddling clothes, let out a siren-scream of panic. Gregory held it in one large, meaty hand and bounced up and down for a minute. Debbie could have sworn she saw the baby narrow its eyes at him, sizing him up meticulously.

"Yes, sir," Debbie shuffled through the bag at her feet, withdrawing a slip of paper and reading it to herself before saying it out loud. "her name is Piper."

Gregory wrinkled his nose. "From now on, these children will be taken before the parents have a chance to name them. Piper? You don't look like one of those!" he exclaimed to the infant. "Nevertheless, this is the start of something big, Pipes. Just you wait."

Piper McClellan was late for school, and every bone in her seven-year-old's body was worried sick. As she crammed her feet into her soft, shapeless boots she heard another baby begin to wail in the nursery. Piper rolled her eyes and turned to look through the picture window: it was number 206, as always. She stormed to the window and pounded her fist against it: "Shut up!" she screamed through the glass. Not only did number 206 keep screaming, but number 134 and 171 started as well. Great.

"I'm leaving!" she said to no one in particular as she ran down the stairs and out the back door. Luckily school was just a ramshackled house two doors down from her own, so she was a mere ten minutes late as she slid into her seat.

"Piper," her teacher warned as she yanked her books from her backpack and swung them onto the table. She grimaced, but bridged her fingers and fought back tears. "you have got to be on time. You're not starting off on the right foot, now are you, young lady?"

"No sir." she said softly as she opened the cover on her Breeding textbook and traced an image of a woman holding a squirming puppy, both the woman and the puppy were smiling and looking like they were having a lot more fun than Piper.

"We were just about to discuss one of your favorite subjects, Miss McClellan. Boys!" All around the room, the little girls let out nauseated vomiting noises. As the oldest, it was Piper's job to lead by example, so she made a small gagging noise too. "What's wrong with boys, ladies?"

"They smell awful!"

"They don't clean up after themselves!"

"They don't put the wiping paper on the thing in the bathroom!"

The girls turned to look at Piper, who arched an eyebrow before realizing what she was supposed to say, what the phrase was that would bring them all home.

"They get you pregnant."

"Pregnant!" said 24 from the back of the room, conspiracy rife in her little six year old's voice.

"24 is right, as is Piper," her teacher said, pointing to a photograph on the board. "before, when you were born, even, men and women loved each other. They loved each other so much that they would do a very Special Thing, and have a baby. That's where you come from!" Piper felt ill: she hated to be reminded that she was born out of the Special Thing. "But we know better, don't we, class?" a room full of little girls nodded enthusiastically. "What are we doing instead, 32?" 32, a heavyset six year old with curls the color of flame, stood up next to her desk to speak.

"We are starting our own club, where the gross Special Thing only happens when it has to!" she said reverently.

"And what will happen to the men and women who don't do what we do and do the Special Thing whenever they want?"

"Mister Gregory will make them come live with us in our club, where we have all of the money and nice things, because they will be poor and sad. Then they can do the Special Thing, too, at the pre-approved times if they win the lottery!"

"And if they do not come with us?" At that, 32 paused, panic setting in. Piper could see her teacher start to reach for the paddle he kept by the laser board, and Piper vaulted out of her seat.

"They will be em- ... ema- ..." her teacher turned back to the class, a smile creasing his face.

"Yes, Piper?"

"Emancipated," Piper spat the word out like it was vinegar on her tongue. "Emancipated, sir." The teacher nodded approvingly.

"Good girl, yes they will. 32, what does that mean?" Grateful for the help, 32 inclined her head in a nod of thanks toward her friend before turning back to their teacher.

"It means they will not be in our lives any more, they will be free to go away and do the Special Thing somewhere else so far away it's not even on earth!"

"Yes, ma'am," said their teacher, leafing through his teacher's copy of the textbook. "Class, please turn to chapter eight and read silently to yourselves." Piper paged open to chapter eight - Converting the Breeder - and let her eyes wander around the classroom. She was glad to be Mr. Gregory's daughter, even if it meant she had to take care of all the babies he took. It made her safer than many of the other children, who weren't even really his children ...
bookishgeek: (GoT - Cat)
(This week's piece is a companion to last week's, due to popular request. You can find its predecessor here.)

Margaret could not have told you what happened, or why it happened the way it did. She could only tell you that on July 31st, 2043 at 4:30 pm, her water broke. She was standing in the living room, where she had been restlessly rearranging their paper book collection between shelves, when she felt it give.

When David came into the room to see if she'd like to go out for dinner as a special treat, he saw his wife leaning up against the shelves, tears streaming down her face, openly weeping. He paled and swept over to her, stroking her hair as he drew her away from the books. Margaret clutched a battered, war-torn 2015 edition of What to Expect When You're Expecting to her chest and turned to her husband with wildfire dancing in her eyes.

"We have seven and a half hours," she said in a voice so hoarse from crying it hurt to say a thing. "before they will take our baby. We will play their game, but we will not let them take our baby."

David looked visibly confused. "But sweetheart, it might be a daughter! And you're overdue anyway, it won't be a long labor. Don't worry, we can't worry." Margaret pursed her lips and twisted away from his loving touch.

"We must." she said flatly in a no-nonsense mother's tone, ambling off to get her hospital bag. As David watched her retreating back, he couldn't help but wonder if she knew something he didn't.


Sophia hated putting on her shoes. "Why can't I just go barefoot?" she squealed, stomping her pale little foot in her father's general direction.

"We have to go Sophie, come on. Don't you want to go see Mrs. Miller and your friends from school?" Sophia began to make a noise of protestation when he father tossed her sleeping bag at her. She caught it, clutching it to her.

"You can stay up as late as you want." He said quietly. Sophia leaned back her head and looked at her father with reverence.

"I'll do my best, daddy." He kissed her on the forehead and carried her out to the waiting car, one shoe on and one shoe off.


They were given a room to share with another young woman, who was in labor with her firstborn. Neither Margaret's nor her roommate's contractions were too intense yet, and since the outlawing of pitocin to avoid strategic birthing, they could be in for a long wait. Margaret hated that no one got their own room for labor any more, but it had become such a routine process and at this point, babies were born so quickly that the government had given up on regulating birthing areas. Mothers gave birth to their children in their hospital beds, in a room with another woman, all while watching television and eating slushies.

"I'm Bethany," the other woman said, excitement glimmering in her eyes. "my husband's away at work, but he will be here soon. His name is Randall." Margaret waved and politely introduced herself and David, wincing as a mild contraction rippled across her abdomen. Bethany made small talk about the weather, her pet chinchilla, the regulation of spectatorship at sporting events. Then she said something that struck Margaret.

"We don't know if it is a boy or a girl," Bethany said as she gnawed on the straw in her water glass. "we didn't want to. Do you know?" Margaret pursed her lips. Didn't know? Who wouldn't want to know if she were going to have to say goodbye to her baby, as soon as possible?

"It's a girl," Margaret said flatly. How would this other woman have to know, anyway? By the time the baby came out, it wouldn't matter. David looked at her with concern, and Margaret let a small smile trace her face. "I just know it is." David patted her shoulder supportively.


It was 11:32 pm when Bethany gave her final push. Margaret was nearing the end of her labor, but as they drew the thin curtain between the two beds, they knew it was over for Bethany. She squeezed David's hand in sympathy as she heard her roommate scream her way through the pain, and moments later the squall of an infant rang through the air.

"It's a boy!" someone shouted, and Margaret let out the breath she hadn't known she was holding. The nurses kept telling her she was eight centimeters, but eight was not ten, and she was beginning to worry. David smoothed a wrinkle out of her forehead with a thumb, whispering sweet nothings, telling her it was okay, that it was a little girl anyway.

Margaret could hear the police officers out in the halls, getting ready with the bassinets. The sound of a truncheon hitting the floor echoed across the ward. And in that single action, Margaret knew it was to be too late.


She hit ten centimeters at 12:06 am on August 1st, 2043. A line of police officers filed into the room, bringing with them a bassinet and a soft baby blanket. One attempted to smile at her underneath his visor, but it wasn't a very reassuring grin.

Margaret and David's son came into the world at 1:30 am. Margaret couldn't talk, couldn't cry, couldn't speak at all. She gave her final push, the cord was unceremoniously clipped, and the baby was whisked away by the officers in the room, the last of whom gave her a salute and a "have a good day, ma'am."

David crawled into the hospital bed alongside his wife, clutching her to his chest, and they wept bitterly.
bookishgeek: (tv - leverage - parker)
It was midnight on Friday when they heard the question.

"Mom, dad?" Sophia's tiny voice threaded its way into the kitchen where her parents stood. Margaret turned around, a serving platter in her hand.

"What is it, Sophie? You know we've got work to do before the party tomorrow night." She smiled, but it was thin-lipped and wan, and she was just sure everyone would know something was the matter. Her husband, David, draped a supportive arm around his wife and pulled her tightly to his side.

"What's up, baby?" he asked the air around him, though it could have been a question for wife or daughter. They heard Sophia's padded footsteps ambling down the hallway, and she poked her head around the door jamb before the rest of her body entered the kitchen behind her.

"I had a bad dream." She said, picking at a piece of cotton fluff on her pajamas. David frowned sympathetically and gave his wife a squeeze, walking over to Sophia and kneeling on her level.

"That's okay!" he said brightly, taking her hand. "Lots of little girls have bad dreams, sometimes dreams are mean when you're three. Let's get you a cup of water and we'll go back to bed, okay?" Sophia shook her head resolutely, her blonde curls bouncing up and down around her face.

"No!" she said. She jerked her hand out of her father's palm and turned to face her mother. Margaret paled, and went back to scrubbing her serving platter. "Mama?" Sophia asked, shuffling over toward the sink. Margaret sighed and plopped the serving tray down in the soapy water, wiping her hands off on a dish towel resting on the countertop.

"Yes, Sophia Angela?" Her tone was no-nonsense, but this didn't seem to affect Sophia at all.

"Are you sure there's a baby in here?" Sophia turned to her mother and reached up, reverently patting the swell of her belly. "I had a bad dream that the baby was going to never come out!" Her father chuckled, good-natured as always, which hid Margaret's gasp.

"Oh, Soph. You know the baby will come out! It just feels like it won't because he has been in there for eight months! You are almost four now, and when you turn four, the baby will come out. You will have a sister or brother in September, isn't that great?" David walked back to his daughter and scooped her up. "Come on now, let's go to bed." Sophia frowned.

"Okay," she said warily. "but I want to use my fish cup." David reached into the cabinet for the cup and carried his daughter upstairs, tucked neatly into the crook of his arm. Margaret could hear them reciting nursery rhymes all the way up the stairs.

She sat the dish towel on the countertop, feeling as if she'd been stabbed. She had too much to do for the baby shower, too much to do entirely. With shaking hands, Margaret opened the ubiquitous junk drawer and riffled through its contents, pulling out an envelope from its recesses. She extracted the most recent sonogram photo, showcasing her and David's healthy, blossoming son, due August 19th.

"A son," Margaret said to herself, tracing her hands over her stomach. "Why, lord? Why a son?" She had told David that they had never told her the gender, never given her a sonogram past the point of gender identification. "I only get one a trimester!" she'd exclaimed, laughing gleefully over the phone that afternoon. "Don't you want a surprise this September, sweetheart?" David had agreed sweetly, damn him, and Margaret had come home, stuffed the sonogram photograph into a drawer and wept into a tea towel while her daughter splashed in the kiddie pool outside.

A postcard was clipped to the bulletin board on the wall of the kitchen, where appointment reminder cards and calendars and the family photographs were kept. A tiny postcard, really, in the scheme of things. But the text, formatted in a bold, blood-red, said all that would ever need to be said on the subject. A postcard just like all the other ones sent out each year, since the Great Shortage of 2042, but so important to anyone trying to start a family these days.

"This year's cull will take place in August. Any sons born in August will be given over to the authorities immediately. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter."

David would never know until it was too late, and Margaret fervently hoped Sophia would forget she was ever meant to be anything but an only child.
bookishgeek: (MLP - apple bloom writing)
My partner for this intersection is [ profile] banyangirl1832, whose piece is here. :) I think they can be read in either order!


"What's good enough for Rosalie should be good enough for me!" Ella Mae Jessup protested, grinding her heel into her mother's newly-steamed carpets. Mrs. Jessup raised an eyebrow and gave her daughter the stink eye.

"Now jus' you wait a minute, Ella Mae. For the hundredth time, you are the first person in our family to go to a degree an' I will not have you wasting your time with that lazy moonshiner's daughter!" Her voice crept up an octave as she reached for the remote control on the coffee table. "If you would take your shoes off an' think for a minute you'd realize how much better off you're gonna be come graduation when that Rosalie ain't got nothin' but a fancy piano degree." Ella Mae felt her heart sink down to the toes of her shoes and a blush that crept across her face as she thought of Rosalie at that piano, or better yet, draped across it.

"Mama, I just want to learn an art! Jus' for the summer!" Mrs. Jessup stifled a laugh.

"Ella Mae, you an' I both know that's not what you want that shiny lib'ral art class for. Now I suggest you go upstairs an' work on your homework before your father gets home." The matter settled, Mrs. Jessup sank into the folds of her sofa and became engrossed in an episode of Duck Dynasty. Ella Mae crept up the stairs to her room, seething. She hated being home for the summer, hated that she had not seen Rosalie in years, and worst yet she saw how many friends Rosalie had over at Sewannee! She wanted to be the only one Rosalie thought of, the only one ...

It was later that evening when her mother informed her that, speak of the devil, "that Rosalie and her fool father are comin' over tonight for coffee!" Ecstatic, Ella Mae dug into the back of her closet, toward the very depth of the suitcases she kept there, ready for the leaves to turn brown so she could escape to a home where people understood her, at Belmont. Her sorority sisters understood her.

Ella Mae unfolded a tightly-wound slip of paper from the crease of her suitcase, hidden where no one but her could find it. She unfurled the paper and her gaze ran over the text, skimming the words, drinking them in.

"Now Ella Mae, don't you share a word of this with anyone!" Lisa Tucker had said, rubbing aloe on her shoulders where freckles and sunburn peppered her fair skin. "We just can't have someone blabbing the secrets of our sisterhood, it's better if no one knows." Ella Mae had nodded anxiously as Lisa leaned forward so her girlfriend, Ainsley, could daub some more aloe on the middle of her back. "There's a girl," Lisa said, slipping the paper to Ella Mae. "maybe your summer won't be so boring after all."

She recited the incantation to herself, over and over again, as she labored in the parlor and kitchen, getting rid of all signs that her family used to run moonshine, polishing the awards and the framed high school diploma. Rosalie had always been so much better than her, so much more talented, but maybe if she saw Ella Mae's accomplishments she'd realize it's not all about how pretty you sit. Her thoughts drifted back to Rosalie and the piano, and a shiver swept over Ella Mae's skin. Maybe it was about sitting pretty, precisely.

The Jessup's beaten-up truck crunched over the gravel into their yard, sending a starburst of scavenging squirrels and birds up from the grass to drift into the woods off to the side of the house. Ella Mae glimpsed Rosalie's tangle of red hair come up from the side of the house, and she squeezed her eyes shut as she murmured her incantation one last time.

"Ella Mae! Rosalie and her daddy are here!" her mother shouted from the foyer. Clearing her throat, Ella Mae descended the front stairs, pretty as a picture with her wiry brown hair pulled into an upknot. She reached over to Rosalie and drew her close to her, inhaling the scent of her skin and hair: blackberry wine and secrets.

"Long time," she whispered, "we'll have to catch up." Rosalie visibly shivered, but Ella Mae noticed her eyes twitching toward hers inexplicably, almost like she was trying to avoid eye contact, but was unable to.

"Y-yes," Rosalie said, her arms staying clutched around her friend. "perhaps we will." Ella Mae grasped Rosalie's hand and led her into the house, a wan smile creasing her face. There was a piano in their drawing room, and maybe Rosalie could teach her some tricks ...
bookishgeek: (MLP - apple bloom writing)
"We could go on a picnic this weekend," I murmur, my voice heady and rough from our tumultuous rendezvous under the covers. "you've been saying you wanted to for a while now, and it's such a nice day." I tilt my head back into his chest and peer upward through half-lowered lashes, his sleepy eyes gazing softly back at mine.

"Maybe, Genevieve," he slurs back, the liquor having softened his tongue. "I might just stay home this weekend, though, I need to work on my program." A heartbeat passes. "I thought you were going out to visit your family?" My heart hardens and I feel myself sighing softly.

"I did that last weekend, Robert," I don't even have the energy to argue this point, this one time. "I wish you'd keep your days straight. Maybe use a calendar? We had said that this weekend would be for us, ours. We haven't spend time together in so long." Robert pushes himself up on one elbow, effectively sliding me off of him. My head hits the pillow and I exhale sharply.

"It's not my business to keep up with your schedule, Gena," he snaps, his eyes squeezing closed like they're pinched in a vice. "Maybe if you didn't leave town so much, we wouldn't have this problem."

"Oh, this is my fault?" I twist the ring off my ring finger and thrust it at him, shaking it in the candlelight. In hindsight, it seems such a stupid idea. People like us don't deserve things like candlelight lovemaking. Save that for the couples that love each other. "When you put this on my finger, you promised to be there for me. But you're not even married to me any more, you're married to your work and your damn computer."

Robert's face creases like an origami paper, lines spring out I never even knew existed in the folds of his face. I know this man well, down to the marrow of his bones, but it seems he always finds some new way to surprise me.

"I've got work to do, Genevieve," he snaps, swinging his legs off the bed and slipping his feet into slippers. "And maybe if you were more pleasant to be around ..." he trails off, seemingly lost in thought as he stares at the wall. I remain in the bed, recalcitrant, but when Robert gets up and tracks into the kitchen, I follow, pausing to turn back and blow out the candle on the bureau by the bedside. The candle releases a mixture of sweet smoke and dragon's blood resin into the air, and I sigh, breathing it in. I just have to remain calm, it will blow over. Things will be fine, we will be fine.

Robert stands by the kitchen sink, drinking what could be water but might also be vodka out of a pint glass his cousin gave him for Christmas this past year. The air conditioning is off, and my naked body glistens with sweat in the damp heat of a South Carolina July night. Grabbing a blanket off the back of the sofa, I wrap myself in it and come up beside my husband, sliding my arms around his waist.

"I'm sorry, baby," I mumble, planting a kiss on his shoulder blade. Robert slowly twists around and looks into my eyes, but they aren't filled with the love I might have hoped had returned to them.

"If you're sorry," he starts, yanking himself away from me and glowering hotly, "you'll leave me alone!" He chucks his pint glass at my legs and it bursts into pale fireworks by the wan light of the kitchen bulb, tiny shards of glass prick my knees where the blanket has not covered them. He pauses for a moment before wheeling around and blustering into his study to work on his latest program, leaving behind only the storms from his eyes.

I peer downward at the shards, and pick up a piece with some text still left on it.

"1,337?" I wrinkled my nose and turned toward you, showing you the text on your new glass. "1,337 what?" You laughed and put a bright crimson bow on top of my head, planting a kiss on my cheek.

"1337. It says 'leet,' like elite? I'm the best programmer there is, I'm one of the elite. And one day we'll be married and we'll have scads of children, all named Robert, who will inherit our marvelous fortune and live as kings, just like their mom and dad!"

You threaded a strand of garland around your neck and lifted me up on your shoulders as you strode around the living room of your parents' house, my head nearly missing the beams of the vaulted ceiling. "This will all be ours, my queen!" I threw my arms around your neck, squealing as your younger cousins danced around us, small stars orbiting my fiance's moon.

I sigh, and brush my legs off. The dustpan is in the closet, and this mess will surely not pick up after itself.


I swear I am not incapable of writing about anything except domestic unrest.
bookishgeek: (writing - short story)
Week 1 is off with a bang, and the first topic is an intersection, where I write alongside and inspired by a partner. My partner for this first week is the wonderful [ profile] barrelofrain, whose link is here! You can read either thread first, I am curious to see if people who read mine first get a different impression than people who flip-flop it.


"It's got a great porch," you murmur as you lean a little harder into the sliding glass door: it sticks. The interested couple trails you slowly, ducklings following their mother, as you step out onto the back porch and breathe in the sticky-bun warmth of an early summer morning. It's cloying and humid and you can't get enough of it. "We recently stained it, so you shouldn't have to." The husband makes an apropos noise in the back of his throat and his wife "hem hem"s in agreement. They meander toward the steps down into the yard and you clutch the banister on the steps for support. The memories here, now? You haven't thought of her in days ...

The soft swish of a hammock gliding back and forth, gently rocking its occupants. A clicking noise as a croquet ball drifts across the grass before connecting with another. Laughter ringing from around the grill as she holds the spatula aloft, proclaiming herself the Goddess of the Barbecue You wrap your arms around her and kiss her like in that World War II poster where the girl kicks her heel up, and so does she, and you both giggle as she not-so-soberly announces that you are God of the Lawnmower.

"Oh, is that a dog house?" The wife exclaims, and it's the first shred of emotion you've seen her express all morning. "Yes ma'am, just repainted it last week." She grips her husband by the arm and half-drags him away, yammering about how they can finally get that puppy they've wanted for so long!

The top to a bottle of ketchup collides with the toe of your sandal, and as you stoop to pick it up, an empty beer can collides with the crown of your head. She shrieks at you, her mouth moving but words don't seem to be coming out. She is drunk and you are far, far too sober for this conversation, but you can't seem to convince her otherwise. Please, no, you think. Not this, not now, not after all I have done for you. But you can't do anything right, it seems, and in this moment she turns on her bright blue stiletto heel and storms off into the house with the puppy tucked neatly under her arm like a Christmas parcel.

"I think we might just take it!" the husband smiles brightly and shakes your hand, and you grip him back and smile also, hoping it's a convincing enough return. Some business cards are exchanged, some realtor's phone numbers, and the pair slips out through the side gate, gripping hands and swaying a bit in rediscovered marital bliss on the way to the car. You lock the gate and turn to go back inside, twisting anxiously at your wedding ring. One of these days, you'll find the strength to take it off.

Exhibit B

May. 3rd, 2013 08:26 am
bookishgeek: (MLP - apple bloom writing)
I was not satisfied with my participation in Exhibit A, I made $5 off of mechanical turking this month, people have told me all my life that I am a great writer, and gosh darn it I'm pretty!

Let's see what you've got, Exhibit B. I might be the runt of the litter, but I have charisma in spades.
bookishgeek: (p)
They called it "Turkey Creek," and it was nestled in the north Georgia mountains. Each autumn, my grandparents would bundle me up in the tightest clothes possible and drive the three hours it took to get to the cabin, static-laden Roger Whittaker cassette tapes our background noise.

One particular autumn, I was especially excited. I was four, and Beauty and the Beast had been out for a couple of years, long enough to start making knock-off comic books. At a gas station in the middle of nowhere in particular, Papa bought me a beautiful full-color Beauty and the Beast comic book, and I drooled over its pages the entire way up the road, stammering to my grandmother incessantly about the characters and their adventures, asking her what this panel said, that speech bubble.

We arrived, and stumbled out of the car on numbed legs. I threw my backpack of toys onto the ground and sprinted to the muddy banks of the creek that ran alongside the cabin, though I called it the ocean and Papa and Grandma never bothered to correct me.

"Papa! We have to fish!" I crowed, hopping up and down excitedly in the muck. My saint of a grandfather put the bags down in the cabin and came back a few moments later, carrying a pair of his old boots that were entirely too large for me. Undaunted, I stuck my feet in them and stomped into the water, grabbing at the fishing pole he carried under his arm.

"How...?" I trailed off, visibly frustrated. How did this fishing stuff work again? It was too hard, and too boring. It had been a good five minutes, and nothing had happened. I turned around to talk to my grandmother, and in that moment, Papa pinned a small fish to the end of my line and tossed it back into the water. I turned back around stoically, set up to hate the next few minutes, when Papa exclaimed, "Oh, look, Tricia, your line!"

My line! I yanked the fish out of the water and screeched with excitement. Papa clapped me on the back, and showed me how to unhook the flailing fish from the line and toss him in a cooler full of water Grandma had brought out. "We'll cook him for lunch tomorrow, come on." I clomped after him like a water dog after his master, still clad in his excessively large wading boots and gamely swinging the cooler and its one single, sad occupant.

As I lay in bed that night, clean and tired, I thought about my fish. My fish. My fish! If he was going to be lunch ... ! This wouldn't do. I sat up in bed, sweat sticking my hair to my forehead. Not my fish! No way.

I clambered out of bed and crept past Papa and Grandma's bedroom. They were asleep, curled into each other, twin parenthesis who had been together so long they just settled into each other's bodies like sunwarmed sand. Good. Creeping into the kitchen, I found my fish friend, still aimlessly swimming around in his tiny cooler. Gripping the handle and biting my lower lip between my teeth, I ambled to the door and nudged it open, stepping outside and looking around. The creek wasn't too far, and I was barefoot, so hopefully ...

I found out later that the next morning, Papa awoke to me passed out in bed with feet caked in mud, grimy footprints trailing from the front door to the bed, coating the sheets. I had put the cooler back in the kitchen, but left the lid open. When asked what happened to my fish, I stammered something about how he must have gotten away. Luckily, my grandparents simply said they understood, he must have been quite alone and scared in that cooler, and I must have just gone sleepwalking! I emphatically agreed, and that was all she wrote.

I wore my grandfather's fishing boots until we stopped going to Turkey Creek when I was fifteen.
bookishgeek: (stock - gumball machine)
I detest toddlers.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate them. I just dislike the dirty diapers and the screaming and the inability to vocalize their feelings. Which ... admittedly, sounds like pretty much the majority of what being a toddler consists of.

So when my potential employer at a local preschool bridges her fingers and peers at me and says, "We're looking for an assistant for the Fours, and for the Toddlers, do you have a preference?" I have to bite back a laugh - all of my preschool experience lies in after-school programs. Anyone not potty trained is a lost cause to me.

"I'd do much better with the Fours!" I say, smiling brightly.

Two weeks later, I find myself sitting on the floor of the Toddler classroom with their heavily pregnant lead teacher standing across the room, corralling everyone into their Winter coats and toward the door so we can go outside. They look like little Stay Puft marshmallow men, waddling around in exaggeratedly puffy coats considering the mild Georgia winter weather we've been having. Eleven kids, and so they put me in here. And I let them? Am I insane?

I soon wind up in charge of the low end of the ratio: it's just me, and six toddlers. I walk into the room at eight in the morning, am greeted by a couple of gummy smiles, and then turn my back for about 30 seconds to put my purse down. When I turn back around, what seems like the entire room is in shambles: books everywhere, blocks littering the floor, and one particular blonde ankle biter throwing a small, plastic chicken around and brightly shrieking "Ba'!" What is he saying!? What. The hell. Am I doing here?

I come to find out later that their lead teacher doesn't do much art or activities with them - not that you can do a whole lot with eleven toddlers that's anything remotely close to being organized, but she doesn't do much. I test the waters a bit: I cut open a trash bag, tape it to a table, get everyone to paint some tools I've cut out of paper to go with the month's theme. They seem to really like that. Maybe ...

I'm the assistant Toddler teacher at my preschool. If you'd told me this even three months ago, I would have laughed in your face. (not trying to be rude, but honestly, toddlers?) I can change eleven diapers in 15 minutes and get everyone's coats on in 10. Some days, I want to pull my hair out and throw a temper-tantrum of my own, but more often than not I find the mix of "almost-2 independence" and "snuggly baby sweetness" charming, and nobody's ever going to accidentally pee in their pants on my watch.

Today, I stood with them on the playground. My blonde friend comes up to me, clutching a big red rubber ball, delight apparent on his face. "Ba'!" he trills, chucking it as best he can across the playground and giggling with delight as he runs off after it. I give chase, waggling my arms exaggeratedly.


Maybe I am sane, after all.
bookishgeek: (hp - ravenclaw - awesome rack)
"Animagi can only take on the form of one specific animal. This animal form is not chosen by the wizard, but determined by their personality and inner traits. Thus, one's Animagus form is a reflection of one's inner nature."

The Indian Grey Mongoose can often be found near human civilization, but tends to be just on the outskirts - an outsider with convenient access to everything it needs on the inside. You can usually find them either alone or with a partner.

What makes the Indian Grey Mongoose so unique is that it is an extremely bold, curious animal, but also has a certain sense of shyness that prevents it from doing anything too crazy. Because of this, our friend I.G. Mongoose rarely leaves its habitat unless it has to. It's probably very tired from working two jobs and doesn't want to go anywhere. It will eat anything it can get its hands on for the most part, though it does typically stick to a carnivorous diet. Speaking of carnivores, it should be noted here that, unlike me, the mongoose s also completely immune to snake venom.

Lastly, it is important to note that the mongoose makes a noise while flirting, appealing to the opposite sex or just plain doing the deed that is best described as "giggling." And really, what other information could you possibly need?

* Patricia
* 23 years old
* From Atlanta, currently in NE Georgia
* Recent Masters graduate (M.Ed. in School Library Media) trying to find a decent full-time job
* Working two crappy part-time ones in the meantime
* I live alone with my cat, Pixel, who is not a mongoose but is in fact the closest a cat can get to being a Labrador Retriever
* I once stole an eraser shaped like a frog from the book fair in third grade and was so emotionally wrecked over it that I returned it 30 minutes later. The librarians could not have cared less. I still feel bad about it.
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