Tag Archives: Fiction Fridays

Friday #Fiction 2.1 — Dr. Dres and Door Jambs

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Luther held his hand out for the keys patiently waiting for his mother to calm down, assess the moment and come to her senses. She insisted on driving from their city house to Nantucket and after the ride he’d endured on the way from the Logan Airport, there was no way; he’d rather walk, despite the nagging pains in his legs.

Editorial note: this is seventh in a series about the relationship between Claire and Luther. Please start here: www.mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/friday-fiction-2-0-beyond-the-edge

“You can’t just come here for a weekend, mister, and tell me what to do. Everyone is trying to control me. We will get there when we get there. And we certainly won’t get there any sooner if I don’t have my Matisse scarf you bought me from the MoMA. And my sunglasses, where are my sunglasses? Have you seen them? Did you check the stove? The iron. Check the iron. Make sure it’s unplugged. Don’t look at me like that, Luther,” his mother said in a lather over nothing, shoveling through papers on her desk, picking them up and reading them, laughing, tossing them and looking through some more.

“Mother, the keys?”

“Why can’t you just relax?! I am trying to get everything done here and no one helps me.”

“Mother. The house looks fine; the timers are all set. I just want to open the windows on the car. It’s sitting in the sun and we have a long ride ahead of us if we don’t get going now. Google Maps is already showing back ups on the Sagamore, so we need to sort of… y’know get mov–”

“I don’t care about any traffic! I don’t care about the god damned Sagamore bridge. I want my sunglasses and my scarf. Here! Here are the keys! Open the windows, move the car, put it in the shade, drive it out of here, go to the Island, I don’t care. I can’t find my book, either. The one about Belushi… do you remember watching SNL with me when you were in high school? “The Samurai Delicatessen”?”

Luther’s mother Moira hurled the keys at him; they careened through the butler’s pantry and knocked his sunglasses off his face. They skidded across the floor and rested against the door jamb leading into the dining room.

Calmly, Luther took in a deep breath, like he was drawing on a water pipe, and bent over to retrieve his sunglasses. “Thank you for the keys. I had my hand out in case you didn’t notice. I don’t appreciate –”

“What I don’t appreciate, LUTHER, is your insistence that we get going. RIGHT NOW. We have time. If you weren’t such a nag, such a pain in the ass, I wouldn’t have had to throw the keys at you. Find the dog; he’s here somewhere. Your precious father wants him on the Island with us. Have you seen my letter from the attorneys?”

“Mother, I just walked in the door with you. Ten minutes ago. And no, I don’t remember watching “Samurai Delicatessen” with you; that was before my time. I’ll be right back; I’m going to go call Skipper. I have no idea what you’re talking about with the lawyer letters. I can’t ….”

“What can you do?” she hissed.

Luther left the kitchen of the cavernous Victorian brownstone house in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. He didn’t bother with the car, he didn’t take the keys with him. He slumped through the dining room and into the front hall where one of Skipper’s beds lay empty. Skipper, like any other sentient being in that household knew that when Moira started up, the best thing to do was to hide.

He called for Skipper as he walked around the house. It had been about a year since his last visit; piles of clutter were assembling in odd places in the house. The closet where leashes, gloves and winter items were stored was becoming modestly overtaken with magazines, old mail, and catalogs. Luther moved a few paper bags worth of mail out of the way and took out two leashes: the leather one for walks and the grosgrain one for swimming. As fantastic a dog as Skipper was, he often got distracted and disoriented when in the water and sometimes it was hard to get him to come back.

Skipper must have heard the rustling of the leashes; his nails clicking along the ceramic floor heralded his approach. His shiny black hair and glistening mauve nose instantly had a soothing effect on Luther.

“Heyyyy bud-dy, hiya Skipps! Were you hiding? Werrrre yooooou hiiiiding when mommmy went nuts agaaaaaaainnnn? Hmmmmm? Buuuuuddddyyyyy…” Luther kneaded his hands in Skipper’s ample neck fur and scruffy chest cavity. “Oof. You need a bath, buddy. You wanna go car soon?”

As soon as Skipper heard the phrase, “You wanna [anything],” he started to prance and bounce off the tiles, his nails clicking and his tail wagging and contorting his body into the shape of a C with every paw tap on the floor.

Their reunion was brief. Luther’s cell phone vibrated in his pocket. It was Claire calling from work. With both curiosity and dread he considered his phone. It was after three in the afternoon; a call at this time of the day on a Friday could mean a crisis at work. Or it could mean a casual conversation with his office mate. He decided to take his chances and answer the call.

With one hand stroking Skipper’s supple and warm neck and the other swiping the phone to activate the call, he cleared his voice and said, “Yyyesssss? Luther the invincible here. What can I do you for, Clarice?”

“Oh, hey. Luther. What’s up?”

“Uhhh, nothing. You called me…. were you hoping for the voicemail?”

“MMno. No. I wasn’t,” she said. “Hi.”

“Sooooo… are you missing me? Do you need me to talk dirty to you? Are you all alone this weekend, Clarice? Can you hear the lambs?” Luther’s insistence on calling her “Clarice” at times, in reference to the Jodie Foster character in “Silence of the Lambs” agitated her; to Luther it was a compliment because he thought Jodie was hot and the mystery of her sexuality was even more of a turn-on for him; another bonus to him was that the Clarice Starling character was strong, smart and courageous.

“Don’t call me that, Luther. Look, I’m just calling because I noticed your Dr. Dres are here and I wanted you to know. I am happy to overnight them to you if you would like them. I know how you need them to aggressively promote your disinterest in those around you,” she said, her voice lilting and sad at the same time. She was standing in his cubicle, holding his headphones over an open FedEx box. “All I need is the shipping address and I can have them to you by morning.”

“Using company funds for personal gain?? Clarice, the Bureau would never stand for this. Thanks for the offer, Peaches, but I’m good. I have my ear buds. As soon as I got on the plane I put them on; there was this girl from a college volleyball team and she started talking and talking to me… it was at that moment that I wish I had my Dres, but, naw, I’m good here. I could use something else here though, if you wanted to overnight that…. ”

Claire smiled, and squinted her eyes but said nothing.

“You there? Clarice? Hello?”

“I’m here. So you put on your headphones in front of that girl? How rude of you. She was probably just your type. Athletic, obtuse and narcissi–”

“Hay! I resent that. No, she’s not my type, besides she’s gone. And she had hers on before I even could find mine; sadly. I’m like 50 years old to her as far as she’s concerned. I eventually found mine in my breast pocket. Listen, this is starting to go in a not fun direction. is there anything else you want? I’ve got to put out a Moira fire and Skipper here needs to tinkle and stretch his legs. Me too.”

“Moira fire? You’re on a cell phone, you can talk while you walk the dog…”

“Yes, I can do that, but I don’t want to expose you to my mother’s … mood … at the moment. Do you want to come to the bathroom with me?”

“No! Eww. No… I don’t. Listen, I just wanted you to know I submitted my creative for the Congratulations and Revenge mocks and pilots. Your not being here was … helpful. Have a good weekend. Bye, Luther.”

Before Luther could reply with a snarky comeback, the phone call ended. He glanced at the phone, shrugged his shoulders and said to Skipper, “Dames. This one’s a tough nut to crack.” The pair walked out the front door into the sunshine. Luther turned on his music and listened to “Drive By” by Train. An irrepressible smile came across his face when he heard

This is not a drive by,
Just a shy guy looking for a two ply
Hefty bag to hold my love
When you move me, everything is groovy,

Luther used that smile to get him through the ride over the backed-up Sagamore as the backs of his thighs stuck to the leather seats in the family land yacht.

He was driving, his hands were on the steering wheel, and his eyes were on the road. Skipper was in the back seat panting with excitement for he could smell the water and that water meant freedom and Luther and swimming. Moira didn’t argue with Luther about driving to the house; she was uncharacteristically docile and agreeable when he returned from his walk with the dog. She was asleep in the passenger seat, her head leaning against her yellow microbead travel pillow and her mouth wide open in the fading early summer sunlight and music from “Porgy and Bess” was softly playing in the background.

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(c) 2013 :: Molly Field

I wrote this in my car on my iPad (which I initially feared and hated when I got it for Christmas) on a trip to NYC for the weekend with the Things in the backseat and all manner of music from Pandora pouring from the speakers. If it stinks, that’s why. 🙂 I initially thought I wasn’t going to post at all, but I want to maintain my commitment to the my fiction friends.

Prompt: This week’s prompt (from the charming Clearly Kristal): If life gives you lemons, don’t settle for simply making lemonade – make a glorious scene at a lemonade stand.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Your character was given lemons, now paint their amazing lemonade stand. Tell us the story of their darkness, their light. Write the story.

Please check out these other Friday Fiction Friends!

http://www.clearlykristal.com/?p=3862
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/friday-fiction-part-19-overdone/?wprptest2=2

Friday #Fiction 2.1 — Gritting Cards

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Claire gnawed on her pencil. As one of the many creative heads for Hansen’s Greetings, America’s second-largest greeting card company, she had to roll out the new Revenge and Congratulations line in a strategy meeting. Despite her penchant for selecting bad bets as investments and having terrible business sense, her keen appreciation for irony made her a fantastic fit for the division, but Luther’s absence made her task all the more difficult because she had no one to project her work onto, no muse, no… catalyst for revenge.

Editorial interruption: This is sixth in a series; please go here for the first “chapter”:https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/friday-fiction-friends-2-0-familiarity-breeds-fonder-over-greener-ponds/

She stood up from her desk and looked around the office-scape for a moment before venturing out. No one was looking around, no heads could be seen, so she casually wandered over to Luther’s cube and started to inspect his space. It was oddly clean and organized; something she had never managed to notice while it was occupied. He had small photos of himself and his family at the beach, on the boat, at the club, on the docks, all in tennis whites, at the track, on the links. No picture of him with a girlfriend. Just family. Who would have him? He’s an ass, she thought to herself, scoffing at the idea.

Revenge and Congratulations. How challenging! How do you connote happiness for someone at the same time be glad they’re getting what’s theirs? This is like schadenfreude on laxatives. Why am I the one who’s heading up this division? What does that say about me

Claire’s eyes rolled in their semi-automatic way as she forced out a sigh. She had recently become aware of the opinion, thanks to her best friend, that she did it more than she thought.

Snap back to the now, Claire, she said to herself.  Looking around one last time… Hmm, he left his Dr. Dre’s here. But he loves those obnoxious things. Why would he? They’re like his asshole crest. This quiet moment was helping her creative juices flow, she saw a copy of What Color is Your Parachute? Which took her as a complete surprise and made her wonder if he were thinking about leaving his job. For a moment, she felt protective, wanting to conceal the book because even though the guy was an ass, she didn’t like the idea of his being let go sooner than he’d expect just because he’s trying to get a better job… But she stopped herself. She recalled his many jabs, his penchant for being The Jerk at Work and she started to imagine…

The Jerk at Work! What a great title that would be for my best seller! Write that down…

What would it be like if he were forced into retirement?

The thoughts started like a flood:

Too bad your career never took off …open the card… Now instead of complaining about the work you had to do, you can complain about the work you used to do.

Too bad your career took off without you …open the card… I hear they have openings at New Coke.

Claire jumped at her own creativity. She tipped up on her toes, pivoted to her left, skipped a step and dashed back to her desk. Her taupe palazzo pants caught wind and their hems swished gently after her, doing their best to catch up; they were always a half-second behind her movements. Completely forgetting the pencil in her mouth, she pulled the pencil in her hair’s bun; when the pencil released, her sable brown locks softly draped her shoulders, immediately warming her neck and she quickly wrote down the lines she’d come up with as she bent over the top of her desk.

She sat down, woke up her computer and began to type. The pencil in her mouth was a dented, chewed and masticated mess. Tiny glistening chips of periwinkle paint dotted over her forearms as her hands flew across her keyboard.

Your stratospheric rise was too much for your career ...open the card… All your hot air has melted the ice cap.

Your career called, it wants its ambition back …open the card… Now you really can talk about the good old days.

She paused, that last one was nasty. But he’s nasty.

Ok, that’s a good start… let’s move on to relationships, something he clearly has no experience with or evidence of manifesting. What would it be like if he got dumped by his girlfriend?  What would be the circumstances? Did he even have a girlfriend? What would he say about it? How would he handle it? Well, I know how he’d handle it… he’d be a dick, that’s how he’d be…

She turned to her purse and felt for her iPod. Maroon 5 was on the cue and and the first song to come up was “Misery” and she laughed at her luck. She sat at her desk, put on her ear buds, hit restart and her body began to chair-dance at her desk. First her neck started dipping left and then right, her shoulders got in on the action and her waist began to twist and groove…

Oh yeeee-ah… So scared of breakin it that you won’t let it bend…
and I wrote 200 letters that I will never send…
So let me be… Now set you free… I am in mis-er-y…”

Congratulations on your weight loss! …open the card… You managed to lose 130# (or #190# depending on the gender) of ugly body fat with a single text…

Sorry about your recent break-up …open the card… it is all for the bitter now…

Giggles emanated from her cubicle, she simply could not contain herself any longer and her enthusiasm was jetting her through the next drafts and ideas…

Now I’m gonna get you back…gonna get you back… yeah…

I heard you got dumped  …open the card… Good news: we are going out for beers. Bad news: you’re buying, you owe me $20 on that bet.

Happy Valentine’s Day …open the card… Go find someone else to love and don’t come back.

She thought of the video for the song; how poor delicious Adam Levine got beat up and abused by his hot girlfriend. His expressions in the video were her favorite part. The methods that the girl employed were her second-favorite part. Too bad the whole band got beat up along the way…

Bad break-up sex is better than great make-up sex …open the card… When it’s with you. Here’s your key back (with a little space for glue to tack on a key).

I’ve got news. …open the card… The good news is no one’s thinking about you as much as you feared; The bad news is no one’s thinking about you as much as you wished. Get off my couch. Your crap’s in boxes by the curb.

“Don’t touch the printer! It’s mine!” Claire yelled through the office as she pressed Command / P on her computer. With a flourish, she shoved her seat out from under herself and took off for the printer hub. “My creative! MIIIINE!” She almost tripped on a pair sneakers that Marjorie left outside her cube.

As she gathered her sheets from the printer, she examined them for typos, and other errors that could’ve appeared. Everything looked good, she was ready to get with design and images to work on collaborating the pictures and illustrations to punch the card’s delivery. Claire knew her strengths, she knew she could do cartoonish sketches and help with concept, but when it came to the real artistry, she left it to the team down the hall and next to the atrium.

She went to the mounting room and grabbed some pieces of black board for tacking on the content. She knew she was skipping a few steps, that she should wait and not mount any of the drafts until people saw them, but she felt good about these concepts and she knew she’d hit at least half of them out of the park. She began to slice the papers using the giant cutter and used spray fixer to mount the sheets to the boards.

If I’ve got this concept down, we are on our way. The bottom line is that if people paid attention to how jerky and arrogant they were, there’d be no fodder for me to put this together, so in some weird way, I owe Luther some gratitude.

Not seeing the irony of her own penchant for paying mind to too many conflicted people and situations, Claire whisked her work off the tables and headed for the “artrium” as she liked to call it.

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Thank you.

© 2013 Molly Field :: All Rights Reserved.

That’s it for today. I’m late, as you can see!

Here is the prompt: You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” –Anne Lamott

Jump on the other great writers’ entries:

http://worldsworstmoms.com/friday-fiction-part-18-eric-wakes-up/

http://clearlykristal.com/?p=3796

http://katbiggie.com/friday-fiction-friends-part-8/#sthash.bFKTqYw3.dpbs

http://debiehive.blogspot.com/2013/05/fiction-friday-challenge-be-nice-or-ill.html

Here’s the Maroon 5 video (it’s very clever and funny, actually, and i LOVE Adam’s eyebrow raise, especially at 1:29ish): 

Friday #Fiction 2.1 — Pants on Fire

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“Your father is getting rid of the dog, Luther,” his mother said after a peck on the cheek under the arrivals canopy at Logan Airport. He hadn’t had a chance to unload his luggage into the way-back of the family wagon.

“Mom, you should get rid of this thing, it’s a pig and you don’t need all this space anymore.”

“He also wants a divorce.”

“What? I just talked to him this morning, before I boarded, what are you talking about?”

Luther was used to his mother’s histrionics. She was an eccentric, a free spirit, and often given to flights of whimsy or bouts of rage.

“I’ll take the dog with me when I leave. This is madness. I should drive, you’re in a state.”

“Why didn’t you answer my call? I called you six hours ago. Why didn’t you answer?”

Luther held out his hand for the keys. “Mom, the keys. Give them to me.”

“You didn’t answer my call.”

Editorial interruption: This is a fifth in a series; please go here for the first “chapter”:https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/friday-fiction-friends-2-0-familiarity-breeds-fonder-over-greener-ponds/

“We were about to take off; they told us to turn off our cell phones. It — it wasn’t on. I don’t have any recollection of you calling. The phones interfere with the communications between the pilots and the tower people,”

Tower people? Luther, speak directly me to me; you’re not making any sense.”

“The people, mom, who operate the … the … the people in the Federal Aviation Administration airport towers who direct planes on the runways and in the air. Those tower people. Mom. The keys.”

“The AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS, Luther. That’s what they’re called. I’m driving; you don’t even know what the flight crews are called at an airport, I’m not letting you drive my car.”

Luther walked to the back of the car, and prepared to lift the tailgate. His mother locked the doors just as he reached.

“It’s ok. You’re perfect anyway. Show me your teeth. Smile for me. I got caps last month, what do you think? Show me yours.”

Luther’s shoulders slumped and he swallowed back a breath. He lifted his face and showed his mother his teeth. His mother lowered her Andy Warhol-eqsue prescription sunglasses and moved in to inspect his teeth.

“Mmmmhmmm. Your tooth, that bicuspid, it still does that doesn’t it? It snags on your lower lip when you smile. See my teeth? Whe I smi li you do, I don hav tha sna, see? Loo, it’s awl flus alo th guhli..”

“I’m not smiling mother. This is embarrassing.”

“Just get that fixed and you’ll be perfect.”

Luther hung his head and looked for a rock to kick.

“You need to move your car, Ma’am,” said a traffic police officer. “His bags are in the car, you need to get going now.”

“He wants to drive, officer, would you kindly tell him that I should drive him? He’s had a long flight. This is my son. Luther, he’s coming home for the long holiday weekend. Isn’t he beautiful?”

“Nice to meet you Luther, let your mother drive. Just get this car out of here. NOW.”

“Yes officer, thank you … uh. Nice to meet you too.”

“We’re waiting for someone else, Officer,” she blurted out. “Get in the car, Luther, no need to make a scene,” she said.

“No we’re not. What are you talking about? Officer, I’d like to drive. I’m not tired. The sun is up.”

Get in the car, Luther,” his mother barked at him, her teeth gritted, and her eyes burning into Luther with an intensity he’d not felt in years.

“What do you mean you’re waiting for someone else? Well, I don’t care. If you are, you need to taxi around the airport. Just keep making a loop. Either way, get in the car, Beautiful Luther,” and Luther did as he was told and got into the car.

“Thank you officer! I’ll do just that! See Luther?”

She adjusted the side view mirror so she could see herself, put her big sunglasses back on, fixed the scarf around her face and slid into the car like a movie star.

Luther hated riding with his mother behind the wheel. She was an angry and anxious driver. She loathed highways and would drive 40 mph in the right lane. She’d drive slower if she could, but 40 was the legal minimum. On two-lane roads, she would slow down when opposing traffic would approach and hug the shoulder of her lanes. Anyone who rode with her needed a nap afterward.

“Why did you lie to that policeman? We aren’t waiting for someone else,” Luther said.

“I liked talking to him. I love the energy of airports. People coming and going. Do you know where my copy of Haywire is?” she asked.

“The John Belushi book? The one about his overdose? No. Mom, I just got in the car. I just got off the plane.”

“Which reminds me, why didn’t you answer my call?”

“I told you that already. It was off. We had to turn off our phones. I didn’t see you call. I turned off my phone before I boarded.”

“Can I change lanes? You need to look over your shoulder, can I? Can I? I need to get over to the right. LIAR! You said you talked to your father before you boarded! He TOLD me you spoke.”

“Yes, it’s clear. After this red Buick, you can go. Oh my God, mom, mother, yes, I did, I spoke to father. But then I –”

“Your father wants a new wife.”

“What? Mom. Pull over.”

The sun was shining, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was one of those fantastic May days when the air is clear, a gentle breeze wafts the leaves of the trees, sometimes the longer blades of grass catch it and wave in its flow.

She switched lanes to get off the highway to take the back roads to the house. They were going to stop at the house in town first to get some things for the weekend before heading to Nantucket to open up for the summer.

At the first red light, Luther reached over, put the car in park, turned the ignition and grabbed the keys.

“Get out of your seat, switch with me. I am driving. You’re not right today.”

“Smile when you say that.”

“Get out of your seat and switch with me. I am driving us home and to Nantucket. There is nothing to smile about right now. Do it, or I throw the keys into the trees.”

“Your mother is not happy about this, little man,” she said, her nostrils flaring and eyes as dead as a corpse’s. “Very well.”

Luther got out of his seat, his mother slid over to where he was sitting.

He walked around the side of the car, pulled open its ancient and heavy door, sat down behind the wheel, pulled his door shut tight, locked the doors, started the engine, fixed the side-view mirror, shifted into drive, just as the light turned green.

“Don’t speed, Luther. This isn’t some hot rod.”

Luther nodded and said, “Yes mother.”

“You’ll be sitting in the hot seat for this unacceptable behavior, young man, when we get to the house.”

“Just enjoy the view, mother. I’m already in the hot seat.”

“Is that a comment about me? That I made the seat hot? Is that some menopausal slam?”

“No, mother. It’s just a saying. I’ll try to not be so witty next time,” he said.

“Smile when you say that, Luther. Show me your teeth again.”

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© 2013 Molly Field :: All Rights Reserved.

Here’s the next installment: Gritting Cards

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Thank you.

This week’s prompt: It is “Liars need to have good memories” ~Algernon Sidney

Please check out our other writers this week! More will be added as the day goes on.

http://incompetenthausfrau.com/2013/05/17/friday-fiction-friends-sophie-sees-the-light/

http://worldsworstmoms.com/friday-fiction-part-17-smooth/

http://susannenelson.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/fiction-friday-19-honesty/

http://debiehive.blogspot.com/2013/05/friday-fiction-challenge-lie-begets-lie.html?m=1

Friday #Fiction 2.1 — Perfect is the Enemy of Good

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Although she was not normally a morning person, Claire relished this time of day: dawn, in the “donzerly light” (as she used to call it as a little girl) and watching the sun rise, crest the tops of the baby green leaves on the tallest oaks and poplars by the river and see its climb to the high noon. It’s when she did her best thinking, her only thinking, really. She felt melancholy, but couldn’t understand why. She felt distracted but didn’t know by what. She felt unsettled but everything was in place in her world.

This is a fourth in a series; please go here for the first “chapter”: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/friday-fiction-friends-2-0-familiarity-breeds-fonder-over-greener-ponds/

She unlocked the boathouse door, walked inside, flipped on the light, unlocked the padlock and hoisted up the roller door to let out the barely lit into the darker. She saw her shell, “Claire-ity” sighed and said aloud, “Girl, it has been toooo long, it’s so good to see you.” The water had warmed just enough for single rowers could take out their shells and go it alone. She wouldn’t be alone though, she had her memories with her and the geese and cormorants and fish and frogs, her long-lost friends. Crickets were still chirping outside the boathouse. She turned to grab a dusting cloth from the musty racks and gently wiped down the shell’s periwinkle fiberglas hull.

“Oars first. With the water bottle, check,” she said quietly to herself. “Being off the water for several months, even though you mostly know what you’re doing, does not mean your first time out will be flawless. Perfect is the enemy of good. Perfect is impossible, clarity, yes. Perfect, no.” She said as she lifted the oars out of the rack, signed them out of the log and headed down to the docks, leaving her water bottle behind.

“How many times do I have to forget to learn?!” she whispered to herself. “Just one more time, Master Bruce,” she answered to herself as Michael Caine. She kept walking down the slope to the dock, she had decided that the water bottle would have to wait.

The dock was barely visible, save for the abrupt reflection of the water when it met its sides. Claire had been to the boathouse so many times though that she could walk to that ramp with her eyes closed.

“End of the dock, smoother push-off,” she said gently to herself. “It’s all coming back now…good,” she had learned to be kinder to herself and allow tiny moments of praise when she had figured things out. The concept of self-congratulation was foreign to her. She grew up in a world where adults abdicated their responsibilities to their children to desperately flee their reality. “If no one dies or winds up under the table with a bottle, we have achieved success. Today,” was how she encapsulated her life as a child, teenager and young adult.

The guilt from being unable to fix her mother and perform her father’s bidding to try to fix her mother was just too much at times. It hung around her neck on a 10-pound choker, like a 100-pound iron weight on a 50-pound chain and Claire weighed only 140-pounds so, it held her down from time to time even now, in her late 20s.

She placed her oars at the end of the dock and as she turned, the sun was lighting the sky although she still saw Venus behind her near the moon to the west. “Venus, you beautiful thing! Go to bed!” she shouted at the sky, laughing to herself and startling a heron perched on the water level sign about 12 feet off the shoreline. She jumped when the heron barked at her, “the feeling’s mutual, bird!” she said to the tail of the great gray bird who silently coasted above the water landing on a log floating on the surface.

“Looks like it’ll be a row in the cove today,” she said to herself, taking notice of the debris floating downriver from the recent rains. “Yup. Not going on that with no one else on the water.”

When she approached the shell, she squatted down to make sure the bolts and riggers were still in shape and to inspect for any signs of rust or bugs. A small red spider dropped down from inside the port hole cover on the bow of the boat as if to greet her. “Sorry chap, no free rides today,” she said to the spider and grabbed its web as she gently placed it on another rack. She checked her boat’s position to the other riggers and her riggers to the other hulls and mentally prepared to remove the shell.

On a mental count to three, she squatted back down, straightened her back, leaned in, shuffled her feet out and lifted the shell. Her bow ball tapped into the floor, sending a vibration through the shell and Claire overcorrected, slamming the stern into a rack. Crestfallen, she apologized to the shell and took a few deep breaths saying to herself, “Easy now. Do NOT let this get to you. First time out is always rusty.” She got her bearings straight and smoothly executed a “lower to the waist, water-side down” so she could exit the boat house with the riggers pointing up and down and narrowing her chances at hitting anything else in the boathouse. With the boat in her hands, she looked down and saw her water bottle, again, all by itself. “You will just have to wait,” she said.

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The sky was much brighter now and rays of the sun’s telltale white glow were shining above the treetops. She was relieved that she was no longer in the dark. Carrying sculls is one thing, carrying a 25-foot, 31-pound racing shell in the dark was quite another. As she approached the dock, she saw a pair of slings ready and waiting for a shell like a cradle waiting for a baby. She put the boat in the slings and turned back to get her water bottle.

Once on the water, things started to click into place. She felt her muscles ease into their old motions and she thought actively about her form. “Press through the heels, straight back, left hand over right, straight back, square the blade, drop the blade, pull the handles, feather the blade, roll back up, press through the heels …” and on and on. Again and again, taking her to her zone, her place where she was most alive and free from the weight of the world. A fish jumped beside her shell leaving the water in ripples and her scull blades did the same. Down, whoosh, slide, up, back, down, whoosh, slide. She was warming up and felt a bead of sweat under her baseball cap. Her skin was cooled by the gentle breeze her rowing provided. She was at peace.

She decided to practice some balance drills.

Lay back, pull in the handles, hover the blades, hover … hover … skimming and shisshing is okay… shisshing is ok, hover … hover… shish…balaaaaance… hands together… silence! annnnd roll back up to the catch, repeat the drive and hover…. balance … balaaaaaaance… skim… roll back up to the catch…

“This. This is MY happy place,” she said with a mild swelling in her heart, a little tear in her eye and an effortless smile on her face. It had been a long winter for Claire and now it was spring and she was ready to begin anew.

© 2013 Molly Field :: All Rights Reserved.

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Thank you.

Next round: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/friday-fiction-2-1-pants-on-fire/

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Here is today’s prompt provided by the lovely World’s Worst Moms: “Let your characters work through the old saying, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” 

That’s it. piece of cake. Cupcake.;)”

Check out the posts from our other Fiction writers today:

http://clearlykristal.com/?p=3532

http://wp.me/p2FdGQ-1mK

http://worldsworstmoms.com/friday-fiction-part-16-the-ties-that-bind/

http://debiehive.blogspot.com/2013/05/fiction-friday-challenge-impossible.html

http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/2013/05/fiction-friday-may-episode-2.html