Writing, Reading, and Smiling . . . It's Contagious.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

"March Madness"



How are you?


I've been so busy this week editing books and redesigning a website, that I'm officially burned out. I've been averaging five hours of sleep each night and this morning when I woke up I realized I hadn't written anything for today's blog. I was irritable at breakfast, sick and tired of EVERYTHING, and ready to go back to bed.

Instead, I regrouped somewhat and took a shower. While trying to gather some sanity, an idea came to me for a short-short. The result is "March Madness" and it was written in about twenty minutes,  real-life inspiration fueling its speed.

You may call the work fiction, but for some of us, it's real.

***


March Madness





She is tired.

She is tired of getting up every dismal morning and facing the same movie poster on the wall. She grimaces. The four-piece slip-on frame on Ginger’s side is always on the floor, hiding behind the chair. After it’s fixed, she twists her frizzy brown hair into a bun. Feet slip into dark blue slippers and arms push into a ratty, quilted robe that’s too short in the sleeves (she has monkey arms).

She is tired.

Bathroom next. Take out the twenty-year-old retainers that ensure teeth do not become crooked, blow nose, wince at the rusty well-water stain in the toilet that is supposed to have a superior finish. Trudge down the hall, pull the rug from the wall because he’s too lazy or whatever, shield eyes from the light glaring through the dusty black curtains.

She is tired.

Plug in computer (thunderstorms can happen in March—no, that would be too different), log in, check the social world. She doesn’t feel social. Everyone talks; no one listens. Get offline.

She is tired.

Now put away the dishes from last night. The yellow mixing bowl won’t fit into the blue one until you pull out the entire freaking mess, including the square, glass baking dishes that are only for corn on the cob or rice squares at Christmastime or Labor Day or one of those holidays. “Do you have to bang those dishes?” he asks. Ping-pang. She throws the last fork into the drawer. They don’t fit properly because both mothers insisted on buying silverware. “I’m going to get me some sausage.” Shut up. Just freaking SHUT YOUR FACE! She doesn’t say it.

She is tired.

Open the fridge (the chocolate stain from his birthday cake is still on the handle), yank out the cotton candy container that’s good for leftovers. Toast half of the bun, throw the other half back in the sack, make faces behind his back. Cold french fries on bun lengthways and eleven seconds later they’re hot. Wait ten seconds, eat, get up, take vitamins (she doesn’t need medication), brush teeth so they won’t rot, take clothes off the line over the heater. Back down the hall and pull the rug again.

She is tired.

Throw clothes on the armchair. Take clothes from dryer, dump them on couch, put clothes from line into dryer to soften. Fold clothes. He’s watching March Madness. Why does no one wear pink jerseys? Arms full, so kick rug in hall and put away clothes and towels and underwear with blue and yellow stars.

She is tired.

Shower. Shave legs but don’t wash hair because it’s Sunday. Put on clothes from yesterday. Who cares? “Did you take your blood before you ate?” she asks. “Did you know they’re not showing women’s basketball because of the men’s games?
he answers.

She is tired.

Hide in office for a while.  Find Sunday Baroque on the radio that’s beneath the stereo because the stereo won’t pick up much even though it has a longer antenna. Get online. Check social media again. No one is listening. “You got a tape for the game?” I hate you. The tape is on the TV. Throw it at him. “This isn’t the bad one the machine ate, is it?”

She is tired.

Go to medicine cabinet. Make cocktail. Takes three paper cups to wash it down and makes the water taste like wax or envelope glue or whatever. Enter bedroom. For the first time the frame on Fred’s side is off. Ginger despises Fred.

“Can you believe they lost?” he shouts from the den.

 She lies on the bed and won’t be tired anymore.


***

As always, I love to hear from you. If you’re in the cyber-neighborhood, drop me a line.

In the meantime, keep writing, reading, and smiling.
It’s contagious.

4 comments:

theinkytwig said...

I like it. You really bring the reader into their lives. I could picture it. What I like is you detail everything in such a way that even the most mundane of some of those tasks is interesting.

J.E. Seanachaí said...

Thank you!

I'm glad you remarked on this because that is exactly what I was trying to accomplish with this short-short. In my current writings, I've been focusing upon the complexity of simplicity.

Not every story has to have a murderer or external antagonist. Sometimes the villian is in the mirror. The same can be said of setting. Not every story takes place on the Riviera. Sometimes they're in our backyards or, as in this story, our kitchens.

Lou Freshwater said...

This is excellent. Almost like a long prose poem. The repetition of "She is tired" is very effective. You built character through concrete details and that is my favorite kind of writing.

I think "no one is listening" are the most important words in the whole thing.

J.E. Seanachaí said...

Thank you! I like that interpretation!

I'm a fan of prose poetry myself and admire the way an author's words build into a crescendo. In a way, prose and poetry are related to musical composition in that both have necessary, logical, and musical elements that create a melodic impression.

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