Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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The Write Time, Day 10: The Urn

The Prompt:  At a garage sale, your character buys an antique urn which she thinks will look nice decorating her bookcase. But when she gets home, she realizes there are someone’s ashes in it….

—————-

The Urn

I felt something rattle in the urn as I placed it on my bookcase.  I took it back off the shelf and opened the lid.  Inside was a canister and I immediately knew what it was.   I carefully pulled the canister out.  On the end was engraved:  “PFC William Reynolds, 1950-1969”

I immediately put the canister back into the urn.  I marched back to the garage sale at the house around the corner from me.  The man and woman running the sale were starting to pack up.

“Excuse me.”

The woman glanced up at me and seeing the urn cradled in my arm, she said “All sales final.”

“But there are ashes in here.  This is someone’s funeral urn.”

The man waddled up.  “You don’t say.  That must be Billy’s ashes.”

“Billy?”

“Miz Reynold’s boy, only son, killed in ‘Nam.  Kept that urn on her mantle till the day she died.”

“So, she’s gone.”

“Yeah. ”

“Wouldn’t her relatives want this?”

“What relatives?  If we could find any, we wouldn’t be doing all this work,” said the woman.

“Yeah, took forever to get all the court stuff straightened out so we could start cleaning out her place for the next tenant.  Anything not sold today is going in the trash.”

I looked down at the urn.

“Uh… if you want, we’ll take care of that for you, ” said the man nodding at the urn.

“No… like you said, ‘all sales final.’

“Suit yourself,” he said as he pitched a couple of framed photographs in a dumpster.

I walked home.   When I got there, I dusted off the center shelf of my bookcase and polished the outside of the urn.  I placed  in the shelf and stepped back.

“Thank you for your service, Billy.”

ljg (c) 2013


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The Write-Time, Day 9: Bump

The prompt I tossed out for everyone is from Your First 1,000 Days in Writerspark:  One Thousand Tight Writing Exercises, by Bill Weiss.    It is:

“Bump.  That’s all you get for this one!.  Write 100 words or fewer that use the above word as a proper noun, noun and verb all in the same work.”

——————-

Bump.

That one word could evoke a lot of stories. But the image that comes to my mind is this:

Venice High School
The Home of the Mighty Gondoliers
Mid-1970’s
Gym class
Friday afternoons
And we could dance anything we wanted….

So it we bumped the Bump

Sometimes we ended up with a lot of bumps so once in a while we did the Hustle.

And let us not forget the Funky Chicken… well, maybe we should forget that.

But my personal favorite was just plain boogeying…….


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The Write Time, Day 8: The Wedding Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s prompt: The Wedding:  You attempt to cut the cake, but the knife slides into something else. The crowd looks on, and forks start clinking against glasses.

The Wedding Cake

I can explain everything.   I work at a bakery, and my boyfriend, you see, he’s been kinda under the weather for a while and with his being cooped up and all, I  decided I needed to bake him something special, something on my own.  I whipped up the batter and added all sorts of his favorite things to it: chocolate chips, mini peanut-butter cups, and other interesting things.   When my boyfriend’s cake came out of the oven, I set it on the cooling rack.  I was a little lumpy in one spot but that’s okay.  My boyfriend will still like it.

I went about my business with my fellow bakers getting other cakes baked, cooled, frosted and decorated.  That day we had three weddings, two bar mitzvahs and a birthday party for a celebrity.   We were hopping.

A few hours later when I had a few minutes to myself, I decided to frost my boyfriend’s cake.  I went to cooling rack.   My cake was gone.

“Mavis, do you know what happened to the white cake here?”

“Oh, it went into one of the wedding cakes, the second tier I think.”

I was horrified.  “Whose cake?”

“Um, I think it was for the Wilson/Abernathy wedding.  Why?”

“Nothing.   Hey, look, it’s almost time for my lunch break.  Do you mind if I take off?”

“Nah, see you when you get back”

“Thanks.”  I raced out the door, hopped on my bike and rumbled off to the Maxwell Hotel, where the wedding reception was due to start any moment.  I had to do something about the cake because…. well, I would be in big, BIG trouble if I didn’t.

I parked in back next to the hotel’s kitchen dumpsters and tried to make myself look like I belonged there.  I slipped in the back door and looked around.  There were some lockers to one side and a blue shirt with the hotel’s name patch on the front was draped over the back of a chair.  I grabbed it and put it on.   Then I walked into the kitchen.   A busboy was busily loading plates into the dishwasher.

“Hey.  I need to put some final touches on a wedding cake.”

The bus boy motioned his head towards the door.  “It’s already on the floor.”

Great.  “Thanks, man.”   Just what I was afraid would happen.   As I walked toward the kitchen door, I noticed an empty plastic container and lid on the counter.  I slid it off the counter and under my arm.

I headed to the ball room.  I heard a mic-d voice speaking followed by a lot of laughter.  I poked my head through the door and saw that a man in a tux, probably the best man, was chortling on about the lucky couple.  Good.  They were all focused on the front.  The cake was to the side away from the dais.  I eased myself over to the cake and started looking around.

There!  I saw a familiar lump in the side of the second tier.  I popped the lid off the plastic container and picked up the cake knife.  I started cutting into it.  Then I heard a thunk.  Gotcha!  I starting lifting a wedge of cake out of the tier when all of a sudden I heard clinking.  I looked up.  Everyone in the room was staring at me and tapping their forks against their glasses.

The lucky couple were heading over my way.  The groom had a confused look on his face, while his new wife looked like Bridezilla ready to pounce.

“What are you doing?” she hissed.

Suddenly, out of my mouth came the worst eastern European accent.  “My babushka… she always say ‘Is bad luck for the bride and groom to make the first cut.  I do it for you.  Is okay?'”

The groom smiled and nodded his head.  The audience muttered in agreement and began clinking their glasses again.  I was afraid the bride would not buy any of this but after looking around at the crowd, she nodded her head towards me.

I quickly scooped the piece I had just cut into a the container and was heading towards the door before I even had the the lid tightly in place.

I raced through the kitchen, out the back door, and was on my bike faster than a fart.  I was soon heading down the street and back to the bakery.

Before I got there, though, I pulled over to curb and tossed into a trash can the container with the cake slice and the file I had baked into it.

I’ll take my boyfriend another cake next week on visiting day.

ljg (c) 2013


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The Write-Time, Day 7: 7x7x7x7

Heather offered up a link to a variety of prompts.  I chose the first one which is “7x7x7x7:  Grab the seventh book from your bookshelf. Open it up to page 7. Pinpoint the seventh sentence on the page. Begin a poem that begins with that sentence and limit it in length to seven lines.”

A Wilderness of Color

The whole country, full of weeds and thickets,
presented a wild and savage hue.
Overwhelming in shades of pine
and fir, and cornflower blue.
Ochre, dark goldenrod, and olive green
To the wordsmiths’ pens and painters’ eyes
It shows a world rarely seen, and one that never lies.

Note:

The first line, ...the whole country, full of weeds and thickets, presented a wild and savage hue, was written by William Bradford, a passenger on the Mayflower and was his impression of the Massachusetts wilderness when he first encountered it.  This is a quote used by the author of the preface of The Harper American Literature Anthology, Volume 1, p. 7.  

ljg


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The Write-Time, Day 6: Click Here to Continue

Today’s prompt, from Jane, is “Next time you’ll think twice before you “Click here to continue.””

——————–

Click Here to Continue

I walked into a store in Hollywood, a place that sells vintage collectibles.  On a table in the corner, I saw a pair of ruby red slippers.

“It can’t be”  I said.

“But it is,” said the proprietor.  “Would you like to try them on?”

“Can I? You bet!”

I slipped off my ratty sneakers and put on the sparkly shoes.  A perfect fit.  I noticed something written on the side of each heel, and I took a closer look.  It said: Click Here to Continue.

I shrugged my shoulders.  I closed my eyes and clicked the heels of the ruby slippers together at the precise point where these words were written.

Guess what happened when I clicked there?

Coming to theatres this year.


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The Write-Time, Day 4: The Closet

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday’s prompt: When you go to get dressed one morning, you discover that there really is a skeleton in your closet. Write this scene—discover how it got there, why it is there, what to do with it now.

The Closet

“When are you going to clean out the hall closet?!”

I rolled over in bed and tried to drown out the sound of Charlene’s nasally voice with a pillow.

“Leave me alone!” I hollered back.

Ever since my room mate Charlene moved in a couple of years ago, she has been constantly nagging me to clean out the hall closet to make room for her stuff.  I don’t know why she is making such a big deal out of this.  After all, she has the big bedroom with the big walk in closet.  I have to make do with the little bedroom and an itty-bitty tiny closet for my stuff.   She nagged me and nagged me until finally one day, about a year ago, we had a big blow out fight about it.  She let me know what she thought, and I let her know what I thought, and I figured it was all settled.  I would get to cleaning out the closet when I had time.   Still, every once in a while, she would start up again.  Like now.

“You are such a slob!”  I heard her shout.

“Fine!”   I jumped out of bed and pulled on my night robe.    I stomped into the hallway and yanked open the hall closet door.

Several large boxes of Christmas wrapping paper, my tennis racket, a bag of knitting yarn, and my boogie board came tumbling out onto the floor.   Yeah, I guess I really do need to get rid of some stuff.   A couple of more items fell out on top of the heap.

A skull and femur bone.

“I’m sorry, Charlene,” I said to the skull as I picked it up.  “I’ll get to it right away.”

ljg (c) 2013


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The Write-Time, Day 3: A Cinderella Story

Heather’s Prompt:  You are a children’s book writer/illustrator who has been asked to come up with a new idea for a picture book. Do some quick research! Gather some material from the net which you will be able to utilize. Perhaps create a picture board of ideas! Write a brief outline (50 words) of your concept. Source a visual. It might be your own or something found on the net. Create one page for this book. Max 250 words.

(I couldn’t get it down to 250–  it’s about 400– ljg)

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Princess small

Concept Idea:  To create an illustrated book for young girls of revised classic fairy tales that reinforces positive role models of female heroes.

Sample Story:

Cinderella

Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Cinderella who was just as pretty on the inside as she was on the outside because she was kind and forgiving toward everyone.

She lived with her step-mother and step-sisters who said all kinds of mean things to her.  They made her wear old and worn-out clothes because they spent all the family’s money on nice things for themselves.

One day the King and Queen of the land planned a big party for their son the Prince.  They invited all the young people in the land including the step-sisters, but they did not invite Cinderella.  The step-sisters teased Cinderella about not being invited and made her feel very sad.

On the day of the big party, Cinderella’s Godmother, a very kind woman, came to visit.  She saw Cinderella’s sadness.  She smiled and waved her hand and told Cinderella to look out the window.  Cinderella did and saw a fancy carriage and team of horses.  The Godmother told her to turn around.  She did and saw the most beautiful dress she had ever seen and a pair of glass slippers.

The Godmother told her to get dressed and go to the party, but she warned Cinderella that she would have to leave the party before the last stroke of the clock at midnight or she would turn back into her old self.

Cinderella went to the party and immediately the Prince fell in love with her.  They danced and danced until Cinderella heard the clock strike midnight.  She started to run away but then stopped.

“The Prince will have to love me just the way I am, not because of some pretty dress.  If he doesn’t, it is his loss, not mine.”

She went back to the Prince.  At the last strike, her beautiful dress disappeared and she was in her old worn out clothes.

But the Prince was still smiling at her.  She asked, “Sir, don’t you miss my beautiful gown and hate these old clothes?”

“What gown?  You are dressed the same as when you came in.”

You see, Cinderella’s Godmother did not really give her a new gown and glass slippers, or a carriage and horses.  She only made Cinderella think she had.  Instead the Godmother gave her courage to be herself.  Cinderella realized that the Prince had really fallen in love with her true self and not the one in the fancy dress and fancy carriage.

And Cinderella and the Prince lived happily ever after.

—–

Manipulated vintage photo… and a manipulated vintage story.

ljg (c) 2013


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The Write-Time, Day 2: Round-and-Round

pencilToday’s prompt comes from  Your First 1,000 Days in Writerspark: One Thousand Tight Writing Exercises by Bill Weiss.

“You are in a laundromat watching the clothes dryer go round-and-round, and suddenly……”

Round-and-Round and Sinking Down

I sat somewhat dejectedly in the dismal yellowing decay of the Laundromat.
I sat with arms crossed and stared at my underwear going around and around
behind the round glass door of the dryer.
Latex and nylon and cotton, twisting and morphing into shapes that almost looked like faces.
I thought of things going on in my life —
things that were not turning out the way I had envisioned, the regrets of not having done all the things I wanted.

As the dryer ground out a rhythmic beat, suddenly I felt myself sinking,
my plastic chair was melting into the linoleum floor.
I was going down, deep down into myself.
The sounds around me faded into the background.

I saw myself clearly then, in the deep place in my heart
I saw the things I could do, could still do.
I saw my gifts.
I saw my blessings
I saw all the roundness of my life, bursting through and surrounding me.
I felt myself lifting, pulling out of the deep place in my heart,
coming back to the light, a golden light

And saw my clothes going round and round.

ljg (c) 2012


9 Comments

The Write-Time: Day 1, A Stranger in the Living Room

My blogging buddy, Anita Marie, over at Searching for the Toxic Baby, challenged a bunch of us in our writers’ group to a two week writing contest. Everyday one of us will lob out a prompt and we each have until midnight to write a response. The first prompt of the Write Time challenge is to take a movie character and make him or her our arch-nemesis. Here is my response:

A Stranger in the Living Room

Lorelei placed her tablet device on the table.  It would take a few minutes for the movie to download to it so she went off to the kitchen to make herself a cup of coffee.  Her plan was to spend a quiet afternoon curled up with her device and watch her newest film purchase.

As she put the filter in the coffee maker, she heard a loud crash.  She raced back into the living room.

“What the….!”

She froze in place and stared at the strange man standing in her living room.  She instinctively looked towards the baseball bat that she kept near her front door just for occassions like this.

“Don’t move, Dr. Spalko. You make one move towards that bat, you’ll be sorry.”

Lorelei gasped.  It couldn’t be.  Not HIM.

“You’re…you’re….,” she stammered.

“Cat gotcha tongue, doll-face?” He motioned her to move away from the bat with the barrel of his Webly revolver which he held in his hand.

“Um, just put the gun down.  I’m not who you think I am.”

“Right.  Just who do I think you are?”

“You think I’m Dr. Irina Spalko.”

“Right. KGB.”

“No… you’ve got it all wrong.  I’m Lorelei. I live here.  This is my apartment.”

The man glanced around.  A slight furrow showed in his forehead.

“No, it’s another one of your mind tricks.”

“Where do you think you’re at?  What year?”

“Okay, doll.  I’ll play along.  In New Mexico, 1957.”

“No, we’re in California and it’s 2013.”

“You’re full of it, Spalko!”

Lorelei eyed the tablet on the coffee table.

“What’s that?  Another new KGB device?”

“No, it’s..it’s… let me show you.”

“Slowly…”

“Fine.”  She reached over and picked up the device.

“Look”.  Lorelei tapped the face of the device and the video display opened.  The opening credits of the film began to roll by.

“Wait! That’s me!” he cried. “What the hell is this!?”   He lowered his weapon and made a grab for the device.  Lorelei knocked the gun from his hand and kicked it out the way.

He made a move towards the gun, but she countered with a karate chop to his neck.  He fell in a heap the carpet.

Lorelie brushed some hair out of her face and picked up her tablet which had fallen to the floor.  She tapped the face of the device, pausing the film.  Suddenly, the man and his gun vanished.

Lorelie thought for a minute and decided the best thing to do would be to delete the film from the device.  So with a flick of her finger, the film Indiana Jones and the Kindgom of the Crystal Skull was history.

indiana_jones_paperweight1

ljg (c) 2013