Tag Archives: greeting cards

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.

=-=-=

(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.

=-=-=

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 — Greetings with Flowers

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Claire turned down the stereo in her sweet little shiny metallic-green Carman Ghia convertible her grandmother left her in her will. As she pulled into the parking lot, she kept belting out her unsolicited accompaniment to Adam Levine’s blessed falsetto in his song “Just a Feeling.”

You left your flowers in the back seat of my car / The things we said and did have left permanent scars / Obsessed, depressed at the same time / I can’t even walk in a straight line / I’ve been lying in the dark / No sunshine, no sunshine, no sunshine…

She parked the car, rolled up her window, gathered her things, and hummed to herself the rest of the stanza. As she opened her car door, her beautiful and athletic left leg which tapered into a classic bone pump was the first thing to exit the car after her humming. She unfolded from the driver’s seat, reached back in for her things, and as she stood up beneath the cement buttress in the cold and antiseptic parking garage, her hair cascaded over her shoulder. she flipped it back, only to be socked in the hip by the chocolate brown leather messenger bag her mother bought her as a gift for her college graduation. Instead of moaning, she continued her serenade,

You’re not even thereeeeeeee….. Just a feeling … Just a feeling … / No I can’t belieeeeeeve that it’sss ovvvverrrrrr…

[go here for the first part of this story: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/friday-fiction-friends-2-0-familiarity-breeds-fonder-over-greener-ponds/ ]

Her voice echoed through the garage, giving vibrancy and life to an otherwise dank and dreary place. Her voice was powerful and gorgeous. She sang for no one but herself and her shower. Sometimes her neighbors would hear her belt out a tune now and then, she liked to pretend she was Bobby Darren singing “Mack the Knife,” into a feather duster. Sometimes she sang when she vacuumed her apartment and could often be spied upon having spontaneous dance parties by herself in her boxer shorts and JAWS t-shirt as she would muscle through a day of housekeeping and bathroom cleaning, her wavy brown hair in a ponytail or hidden under a bandana scarf.

What she was unaware, as usual, was her effect on people. She thought she was bad inside, she thought people saw through her, she thought people thought she was fake; that it was all a ruse: her cheerfulness and her altruism and team spirit. The truth to her, deep inside her though, was that she sang and danced and played to feel alive inside when most of the time she felt like she was an empty shell.

Luther parked farther back in the garage, as he usually did because he felt it was important to give the female employees (mostly Claire) the spots closer to the lights and the elevator for their personal safety although no one knew it. They just thought he liked to park his shiny Mustang far away because he acted like a snob and a jerk.

When he walked toward the building, he could still hear Claire’s voice bouncing off the pilings and gray walls long after she had stopped singing. He knew the song himself and silently played it in his head, gently swaying his head in time with the melody.

The soles of her pumps shuffled along the gritty substrate and her heels click, click, clicked to the elevator, picking up their pace as she heard the bell ding-ding, going down… hurry!

“Hold the car!” Luther shouted, “Claire! Hold the car, please, my legs are killing me.”

“Ok, only for you Luther, and only because you’re supposedly injured,” she said.

Pressing the doors open button blanched her thumb, it was practically bent into a U from the pressure. As he ambled into the car, he looked at the button and her thumb, and thanked Claire.

“You can let go now, Claire, your thumb is begging for some blood, thanks again,” he said.

“You’re welcome. What’s wrong with your legs? Did you do too many squats, too many thrusters? Did you lift too many gorillas at the gym last night?” she said indicating toward his legs with her free hand, which was not free at all, it was holding her water bottle, a purple rubber-covered glass bottle she bought at her yoga studio a couple months before. The doors closed smoothly and silently and the elevator began its ascent.

>Ding< “First floor,” the elevator announced.

“Uh, no. I … uh, I have a … yeah, you’re right, I lifted too many gorillas at the gym last night. It wasn’t so much them, it was the squat thrusts I had to do at the rail yard against those coal cars,” he said, trying to lighten the mood.

“Well, if you jocks would just admit that the football game ended fifty-thousand years ago, your legs might be nicer to you, if you’re nicer to them,” she said, softening her tone, her eyes glancing at the ceiling in the moment of awkwardness.

>Ding ding< “Second floor.”

“That’s quite a water bottle,” Luther said.

>Ding ding ding< “Third floor.”

“Water? This? No. It’s vodka. Shh. Don’t tell anyone. It’s how I get through the day here…”

>Ding ding ding ding< “Fourth floor.”

“This is us,” she said and held the door open for him to leave first.

“After you, really, I’m gonna be a while,” he said.

“Well, it’s ok, I’ve got my water, wink… I will wait for you; look, if you’re sore from working out, I get that, take your time. Yoga was tough the other night, I’m still feeling it in my arms. We’ve still got a couple minutes before the new Greetings with Flowers Just Because meeting kicks off,” she said, her hand covering the door’s bumper to keep it from closing on Luther. “Giddy up, I’ll hold it, really.”

Luther looked at her and smiled a bit, but it was more of a grimace from the effort of moving his body.

Claire, forgetting herself, started singing the song again

I can’t believe that it’s ooooverrrr

And then, terribly self-conscious, she stopped herself almost as soon as she had started.

“Um, sorry,” she said, clearing her throat. “It’s a habit I have, a bad one… I sing when I’m … uh, I don’t know, I just sing.”

Luther looked at her and smiled wide, his teeth showing this time and he nodded, “I know. It’s ok. I have heard … It’s totally ok,” he said as he cleared the threshold of the elevator, the brown carpeting and tan walls, IKEA-inspired artwork and other knick-knacks instantly muted their voices and muffled their sounds and the elevator’s ding! them as they entered the lobby of Hansen’s Greetings, still America’s second-largest greeting card company.

Claire stepped out of the elevator, her heel clicked its last unless she dared leave the office, or used the bathroom or the kitchen during the day.

“See you later, Luther. Five minutes to the meeting,” she said. “G’morning Elise, how are you today?” she said to the receptionist, a new girl they’d hired last week.

“I’m good, thanks!” Elise said in a mousy voice. “You?”

“Me? I’m … I’m good. I’m good so far, thanks,” Claire said, looking after Luther, watching him walk tenderly and slowly. She physically restrained herself from moving to help him with his walk. “Poor jock, some people don’t know when they’ve hit their limit… even Superman has his kryptonite, Luther!” she said to him.

Luther turned back and smiled at her, wincing again, “Yeah, I know. I think I’ll lift only chimps next time… ha…” he said and turned back toward his cube.

It’s the way she seems to stare right through my eyes / And in my darkest day when she refused to run away / From love she tried so hard to save

But it wasn’t Claire singing; it was a beautiful falsetto passing the copier machine just past Elise’s desk.

kelly debie made this. :) www.debiehive.blogspot.com

kelly debie made this. 🙂 http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com

© 2013 Molly Field :: All Rights Reserved.

Ok… here’s the song:

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Here is the next installment: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/friday-fiction-2-1-your-mother-will-see-you-now/

This was fun. I am listening to some music at the moment; can you guess which song? I think we’re gonna see some amazing things happen between Claire and Luther… or are we? And if you’re paying attention, yes, Elise is back. I believe I’m attempting the impossible: making sense of the last three entries for this 2.0 round of fiction.

Many thanks to Sandra over at Bulamamani for today’s prompt:

“The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;”

Inspired by this excerpt from Galway Kinnell’s poem “San Francis and the sow”, you will describe a situation where your character is remembered of her/his own beauty/talent/gift. Let your imagination and words flow this is your blossoming time too dear co-writers!

And a belated thanks to Susanne over at Susanne’s World for her prompt last week!

And a very belated thanks to Kristal over at Clearly Kristal (Moments Matter) for her prompt two weeks ago. We are a team!!!

Go check out the great stuff coming from today’s other participants (as soon as I get their URLs I will list them)!

Friday Fiction Friends 2.0 — Familiarity Breeds Fonder Over Greener Ponds

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“I can’t remember the phrase. Is it familiarity breeds fondness … or is it absence makes the heart contemptuous? My phrasefinder software isn’t linking with our database,” Claire shouted from her stale, noise-insulated, gray, industrial one-size-suits-all cubicle at the Hansen’s Greetings; the country’s second-largest greeting card company, following a hardy, distant and almost impossible-to-beat lead by Mallhark Cards.

kelly debie made this. :) www.debiehive.blogspot.com

kelly debie made this. 🙂 http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com

“It’s pizza is a girl’s best friend, after her vibrator,” grunted Luther, head of Get-well and Sympathy, his neck craning around the side wall of her cube. “Holy cow, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Those all your shout outs?” he asked, his nose and chin doing that weird “hey” nod only the cool seniors did in high school, the silent indicator of awareness of something or someone else’s presence. One of the speakers from his hot pink Dr. Dre headphones was screaming tinny Metallica through their tiny tweeters at his chiseled jaw’s perpetual 5o’clock shadow.

“What? You can’t talk? What’s wrong with your neck? Are you trying to say something? What’s with that twitch and eyebrow thing you’re doing? Why is it always you who answers my legitimate questions with a completely irrelevant comment? How are your headbanger’s balls today?” she said.

“Want some pizza? Clearly you haven’t seen your other best friend…” he said, nodding again at her purse before he laughed and rolled his chair back over the vinyl mat toward his bank of blindness-inducing computer screens and pulled the mini Metallica back over his ears.

“You’re such a d-bag,” she growled.

Claire and Luther had worked side-by-side for about 15 months.

‘Worked’ is loosely used. They had tolerated one another. They had befriended one another. They had confided in one another and now, they couldn’t stand one another ever since Claire told Julie that Luther’s best friend Craig from Graduations and Condolences had a thing for Sam in accounting, but Sam was flirting big time with Convenience Store Division’s Lesley for that opening in Elections and Olympics, and even though Pat from Gift Cards got the promotion that Claire was supposed to have; it would be her last opportunity to get out of Revenge and Congratulations before graduate school began. Luther just let it all happen; he didn’t bother intervening at all with Lesley. Pat was unfit for the job and everyone knew it.

It was Pat’s body and not brain that won the job. “I mean, who gives snarky biennial content to a gift card designer??” Claire would rant. Luther’s excuse was “nonpartisanships; there can be no taking of both greener sides in the company pond,” he said in his defense, mixing so many clichés and single handedly destroying defenseless metaphors that Claire wondered how he could have ever landed any job anywhere ever having to do with writing.

From that point on, she determined she would never, ever, ever, not in a bazillion years, ever, talk to him again about anything, ever, having to do with anything. Ever. She was going all Taylor Swift on his ass. She had the string of men to prove it. She turned around to her desk, moved her current card to the bottom of the pile and pulled the next one at the top.

“I heard about that leak on YouTube,” was the theme. Nope. Back to the bottom. She wasn’t ready.

“So you won the lottery!” was the next one. She considered that one as she took the next one off the top.

“So sorry about your car getting keyed” was the theme. Her right eyebrow tipped up as her posture improved.

The fact of the matter is that Claire was ideal for Revenge and Congratulations. She had the perfect mix of enthusiasm and scorn cultivated through years of making absurdly poor choices: she bought MicroSoft Zunes while she bashed the iPods; she fervently used Yahoo! instead of Google; she embraced the Bank of America fee increase, citing the return of the use of cash instead of credit or debit as “awesome.” Luther liked to tease her that if she was old enough she would’ve chosen Crystal Pepsi or Lawn Darts as the next big thing. Luther saw brilliance and cash in Claire’s predicament: her obvious knack for the clever marriage of antithetical forces. Claire saw stupidity in Luther, which probably meant he was wildly genius, and everyone reminded her of that, especially Luther.

(c) Molly Field 2013

next week: https://mollyfielddotcom.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/friday-fiction-2-1-greetings-with-flowers/

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That’s it for me today. I’m wiped out. My son has been sick for a while and I started this about an hour ago. I want to take it further, but right now, I’m out of gas!

Here is today’s prompt, which I decided to refer to as opposite… Use the cliche, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” in your story (when you are not with a loved one, you tend to miss them more). You decide how to use it and if your character agrees with it or not. As an added optional challenge, use the literary device, “antithesis” (used when the writer employs two sentences of contrasting meanings in close proximity to one another. Whether they are words or phrases of the same sentence, an antithesis is used to create a stark contrast using two divergent elements that come together to create one uniform whole. An antithesis plays on the complementary property of opposites to create one vivid picture. The purpose of using an antithesis in literature is to create a balance between opposite qualities and lend a greater insight into the subject.

Example: When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon it might have been one small step for a man but it was one giant leap for mankind.

Please check out today’s other Friday Fiction Friends!

http://katbiggie.com/friday-fiction-friends-7/

http://worldsworstmoms.com/fiction-friday-part-14-eric-meets-simon/

http://clearlykristal.com/?p=3332

http://susannenelson.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/friday-ficton-16-absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder/