Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

She Told Him That She Loved Only Him

Posted: October 16, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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cleaning up the attic

Post #7 of the “She told him that she loved him” series. How many others were there? Who cares.

Felicia nearly walked right into the attic stairs, pulled down from the trap door in the third floor hall ceiling. She put the bin down. Hair fell into her eyes. She poofed it back. “Hello up there,” she called.

“Hi. Oh, sorry about the stairs.”

“Finding anything we can give to Goodwill?”

“A few things. I’m putting another bin together.”

Felicia checked the hall. She couldn’t walk through it with her bin with the stairs in the way, and the air became suffocating in the attic if you left the trap door closed too long. She sighed. Might as well see what Liam was so fascinated over.

On second thought, the attic could be stifling even with the door open. She coughed. Next to the stairs, Liam had piled four boxes and a trunk. He shuffled over to her. With their peaked roof, it was only high enough for someone to stand right in the middle of the attic.

“It’s mostly high school stuff. Records, comic books, board games, and shirts.”

“Oh my God. Look at all the fluorescents.”

“I looked damned good in it at the time.”

“I’ll bet you did, honey.” A fifth box was still in the corner. The lid was open, but he’d left it there. “What’s that one?”

Liam smiled a half smile. “I was going to tell you about that one. I opened it by mistake.”

She frowned. “What do you mean?”

Liam dragged it over. “It’s all your lost loves.”

Felicia put her hand over her face. That’s what she actually called it, too. A picture of a crying doll was taped to the inside of the lid, with the words “lost loves” written in red pen. She saw what happened. She’d put the box all the way in the back so that no one would see it, and wrapped it in twine. After 20 years, two moves, and who knew how many times rearranging the attic, the twine had frayed and fallen away.

“Oh. Look at this. I should just throw it all away.”

“It’s up to you. Your memories are important to you.”

“Teen Beat magazines and love letters to boys who never knew me?”

“I saw some from when you were in college.”

“Yeah, that’s true too. I stopped collecting after I graduated.” Felicia flipped through them. Tom. Kenny. David. Her heart skipped a beat on some of them. Sometimes you found the right person at the wrong time. She’d had to find herself first. “Do guys keep things like this?”

“Not a box of pictures. I made a list once.”

“How long was it?”

“Not enough for a box. But they were good memories, too.”

Felicia kissed him. “You know what they say. You’re not the first man I loved. Just my last.”

He caressed her hand, still resting on the box. “I know.”

Photo credit: “Cleaning the Attic” by Joe Shlabotnik at Flickr
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She Told Him That She Only Loved Him

Posted: October 15, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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tea and biscuits

Post #6 of the “She told him that she loved him” series. So when is love not enough? When someone wants more than the other person can give, or wants to give… or when said someone won’t give that much themselves.

“I love you. Of course I love you, John. That’s just not enough.”

“What are you saying?”

“I have a career. I have a family. An entire life. You’re asking me to move across the ocean to the other side of the world to leave everything I’ve ever known.”

“I’m offering you true love.”

“John, please. This is reality.”

“This is the age of the internet. You’ll be in touch with your family, all your friends…”

“Not my clients, not my home. Los Angeles isn’t Lancashire.”

“What’s so great about Lancashire?”

Amelia folded her arms. “It’s my home.”

John saw that he’d touched a nerve. How to fix this? He thought about different values he could approach. Family. Friends. Not money. Not travel. Amelia liked being her own boss. She’d already seen the world during her army days and was happy to be home. Adventure?

“I just meant that there’s so much more to the world that you haven’t seen. That we could see together.”

Amelia looked like a chill breeze passed through her. Rollerbladers wearing sunscreen and tanning oil were what really passed by, along with dog walkers and joggers.

“Dearie, ‘A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.’”

John tried not to make a face. That was her quoting Zen again. John respected philosophy, but not when people let it make their decisions for them. “I don’t understand. We met when we were traveling.”

“It means to be patient. I like my world. I’ll see the rest of it when it’s time.”

“You’re asking me to come with you. I want our relationship to move forward.”

Amelia sighed. “I didn’t ask you anything. But I think I need to say something. I love you, but not enough to leave my life. I’m sorry.”

John turned and looked at the ocean. Amelia gently put her fingers on his arm. There had been a time when that touch had comforted him, but this was just… stupid!

“Let’s not say goodbye like this, okay?”

John chuckled. Not looking at her, he said, “I love you, too.”

They hugged. It wasn’t as nice of hug as he had hoped for, but it was better than nothing. He’d imagined hugging her with a glass of wine in her hand, walking off a red carpet. Instead, her hair smelled like tea and fresh-baked biscuits. Maybe she never would have fit in.

Photo credit: “Three cups of tea and biscuits” by Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay at Flickr
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She Told Him That Only She Loved Him

Posted: October 14, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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rock star

Post #5 of the “She told him that she loved him” series. My first thought was that the “only” sounded menacing in this one. Stalkerish. It didn’t sound like fun to me. Maybe I should have written it as a step outside my comfort zone. As it is, I wrote a scene where everyone tells him that they love him, but her love is true.

Justin and Beverly ran from the limousine into the hotel while hotel security held back the crowd. Justin laughed. He took off his sunglasses and held out his arms, basking in the applause. The rest of the band waved. Some signed autographs. Beverly looked like an ant under a magnifying glass stared at by dozens of eyes, begging to be left alone, before security hurried her inside.

“We love you, Justin!”

“Sing ‘Another Night’!”

“I named my son ‘Justin!’ for you!”

Justin jogged to catch up. He waved one last time at the door. Cameras flashed everywhere. He hoped his new laser-whitened teeth were looking good.

The lobby was cleared. “It sounds like a church in here!” He looked around. Beverly stood out of the way with her arms held tight to her body. Justin hurried over to her. “Sorry about that.”

“Is it always like that?”

“Yeah. Is that crazy or what?”


He rubbed her arms. “Hey. You all right?”

“It’s just a lot.” She peered at him. “I’m making sure you’re still in there.”

He grinned. “It’s me. It’s just a long way from Nebraska.”

“Yeah.” Justin’s publicist and his agent came over. Beverly sighed. Before they talked, Justin turned to them and said, “What’s up, guys?”

“You have an interview with the local news at 5:30.”

“And the venue says that we can’t do the pyrotechnics.”

He checked the time. “It’s 12:30. We’ll leave at 3:30. That leaves us plenty of time to get there and do the interview. Handle the pyro. If it’s a safety thing we’ll go without. I’m—”

“Justin, we can’t—”

“I. Am. Going. Upstairs. To. Chill. Out. Handle it!” Justin stated.

His agent straightened his tie. “All right, J. Love you, man.”

“Love, J,” his publicist said.

Justin held out his hand for Beverly. “Want to go hang out?” he asked. Beverly’s face lit up. That was the line he used the first time he asked her out on a date.

He had the largest suite in the hotel to himself. Normally he took a swig from the complimentary champagne or ate a tropical fruit that he couldn’t identify. He ran a bubble bath or he turned on every TV in the suite. With Beverly here, he took her coat, hung it up, and only grabbed a bottle of water.

“Can I get you anything? Water? Juice? There’s a bar, but you don’t drink this early.”

“Give me something they don’t have back home.” Justin found a bottle of papaya juice and handed it to her. Beverly smiled at it. “Were you mad?” she asked.

“I’m sorry about that. Those two bug me sometimes,” Justin said.

“Everyone says they love you.”

“That they do. It’s nice when the fans say it. Some of the others, it’s just a catch phrase. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“I said it first.”

He took her hand. Out of habit, Justin started to put on his stage persona. He forced it away. “I…” Just say it. He repeated the words. “‘Justie, if you’re ever not sure who your friends are, remember that I loved your first, all right?’”

“Oh my God! I sounded like a greeting card.”

“When it gets too crazy, that’s what I think about to clear things up.” Beverly drew her breath. “I really miss you. Y’know, the travel’s not so bad. People screaming your name, that’s amazing. I miss real life, though. I think about Wednesday night roller skating. Walking the dog and meeting you at the corner.”

“My dog misses you too. He barked when I said I was going to see you. He kept looking out the window, then looking at me. ‘Where is he?’”

“Oh, don’t tell me that! Now I’m sorry I didn’t see him!”

“Come down and see him, then!”

“I can’t. We haven’t got time.”

Beverly tilted her head, giving him the look she gave him back in high school when he knew he was bullshitting her.

He couldn’t even try. “All right. Tomorrow morning. Before we leave town.”

Photo credit: “Day 283 / 365” by Jason Rogers at Flickr
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She Told Him Only That She Loved Him

Posted: October 13, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama, Fun Stuff
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cold man

Post #4 of the “She told him that she loved him” series. So what didn’t she tell him? Is she pregnant? Is there someone else? Nah… time to have fun with it.

The same green Volvo was parked outside her house today. Gabby got ready. She moaned as she took the groceries out of her trunk. “I hate these heels,” she said as she came up the front walk. She reached the front door, but couldn’t open it with her arms full of groceries. “Damn it!”

Gabby put one of the bags down and dug her keys out of her purse. She opened the door, put her keys back in the purse, then picked the groceries back up. A quick scan through the crack showed that the living room was clear. Probably inside the bathroom. No more than four.

She pushed the front door open with her foot, walked in, then closed it with her butt. “I’m late, I’m late, I’m so fucking late, Chuck is going to kill me…” She hurried through the living room. The bathroom door was half closed and the kitchen had darker shadows than it would normally have at this hour.

When she passed the bathroom someone lunged out and grabbed her hair from behind. Gabby screamed. She fought every instinct she had and grabbed for his hands. The man shoved her against the near wall. She dropped her gaze down—sneakers. He wrapped one arm around her waist, then she heard a click. A knife pressed against her cheek. “Don’t move, honey. Don’t move.”

Flat blade. Serrated at the bottom, edged at the top. A military switchblade.

She nodded. “Please… please…” She spoke faster. “Just take anything you want. I-I-I-have jewelry, money, take my car—”

“Shut up!” He turned her around.

Another blonde-haired man stood behind the fridge. He smiled at her fear. A third walked out of the bedroom. The others had swagger, but this one had an economy in the way he walked. Coldly aloof.

Gabby imagined horrors, evil monsters in the room, to make her eyes widen even more. She trembled. She breathed shallow, chilly breaths. It made her a little dizzy but it put on a good show.

“I won’t hurt you if I don’t have to, young lady, but we don’t have time. Where is your friend Charles?”

On his way to their dinner reservations, with two gigs of classified data in his phone that he didn’t know he had.

“Wh… what… what are you going to do to him?”

The cold man didn’t waste any time. He walked over slapped her with a hand in a rubber glove. Gabby cried out. As her hair covered her face, she bit down on her tongue to make some tears.

She gasped. Gabby curled her lips down into a mask of terror. He had fast hands. Good to know. Was he a sadist, or were the gloves there for theater?

“That depends on you.”

“Will he still love you if I cut the skin off your face?” the man holding her asked.

“No… no… please don’t hurt me.” If he made a mark she would cut parts of him off for sure. She needed this cover.

“Where is he?”

“He could be at the office. Or at the gym. He works late, odd hours, I never know until I hear from him.”

“Cut her,” the cold man said.

“I can call him! Let me call him!” She forced a horrible smile, with her chin quivering. “I can sound sweet for him. Just like this. See? Just… you won’t hurt him?”

The cold man nodded to the blonde. The blonde took the phone off the cradle. “It’s—”

“We know.”

The blonde man hit the memory dial for Charles’ cell phone. He held the phone awkwardly toward her face. He stepped forward with his left foot. Leftie. The thug moved the knife away. The blonde man pressed the send button.

Gabby stomped on the thug’s foot with one of her work heels, shattering his second and third metatarsals. She punched the blonde in the throat with her left, then dropped as the cold man lunged. He was the real threat. His eyes widened as he overextended with Gabby underneath him. He stabbed the thug in the ribs – Gabby heard the tearing meat. Gabby punched the cold man in the groin, then heaved him over and dropped him to the ground.

Gabby bell-clapped the thug. He fell, still holding the knife in his belly.

Gabby picked up the phone. She stood on the cold man’s neck, deliberately positioning her heel over his jugular vein, then put her finger over his lips to be quiet. Charles finally picked up. “Hello?”

“Hey Chuck! We still on for dinner tonight?”

“Absolutely. Am I picking you up at your place?”

“No, it’s a mess. I have to call the cleaners.” She winked at the cold man. “Why don’t I meet you there?”

“Perfect. See you soon.”

“All right. Love you.”

“Love you!”

Gabby hung up. She smiled sweetly at the cold man. “I love him. You don’t need to know anything else.”

Photo credit: “Kyk noir” by Kyknoord at Flickr
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She Told Only Him That She Loved Him

Posted: October 11, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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Post #3 of the “She told him that she loved him” series. This one reminded me of Romeo and Juliet, the secret lovers from two warring families.

Romero paced back and forth in the parking lot behind the Stop and Shop. He didn’t smoke, but he was so nervous that he’d started chewing gum so that he didn’t grind his teeth instead. The Stop and Shop’s loading dock was empty, except for the employees that came outside to smoke a cigarette now and then. Romero hadn’t seen any in about an hour. He couldn’t think of anyplace that was more private than this in the area that also had good access to the road.

Julie’s car finally came around the corner. It was driven by her twin sister Kate. Romero could tell the difference: Kate’s face was rounder in the cheekbones. They both looked worried, but Julie looked worse. Her face was a mirror of Romero’s.

Kate pulled over close enough to Romero to make him jump out of the way. Julie popped open her door as the car rolled to a stop. He heard Julie say, “Watch it, Kate. He’s driving. He can’t drive without legs.”

“Were you followed?” Romero asked. He saw her Julie’s suitcase in the back seat. He moved to get it.

“Who do I look like? James Bond?” Kate asked. “I kept from speeding so we didn’t get pulled over. Nobody waved to us on the road.”

“Never mind. Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it.”

Julie finally got out of the car. Romero put down her bag and hugged her. He wanted to keep hugging her but they didn’t have time.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Julie asked.

“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.”

“Your parents will never forgive you.”

“Neither will yours.”

“Maybe after we’re married they’ll finally sort things out between them.”

“That’s up to them. We have to take care of ourselves.”

Kate looked around the parking lot. “Guys, come on. You can profess eternal love to each other while you’re driving. Get out of here.”

Visions of brothers, fathers, guns and baseball bats drifted through Romero’s mind. “You’re right. Thanks, Kate.”

He moved to hug her but Kate held up her hands. “Just… I’m too freaked out about all this. Just be careful. Both of you.”

Julie hugged her. “We’ll mail you a T-shirt from the chapel in Vegas.”

Romero loaded Julie’s suitcase next to his in the trunk. He gave Kate a quick wave as they peeled out of the parking lot. No one knew that he and Julie loved each other. But they were about to find out.

Photo credit: “Farewell to good times 2” by elitatt at Flickr
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She Only Told Him That She Loved Him

Posted: October 9, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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business womanContinuing yesterday’s exercise with moving the word “only” around in the sentence “She told him that she loved him” and seeing how the meaning changes.

Maggie threw on her coat. She had her briefcase, her lunch bag, her laptop, and her phone. Her second briefcase was in the car already. She’d checked it twice.

Bruce walked over to kiss her goodbye. Maggie turned away. “No. Don’t. My makeup’s perfect and I have a meeting in two hours.”

“So? Fix it when you get there.”

“I can’t fix it when I get there. People will see.” Maggie gave him a quick hug with an air kiss by the side of his face. “Have a good day. Love you.”

“Love you too.”

Bruce’s hug was half-hearted. He let go without lingering in their hug like he normally did. Maggie asked, “What?”

Bruce looked confused. “I said I love you too.”

“I know.” She gathered up her work supplies. “You didn’t sound happy.”

“Well, I’m not. I like kissing you goodbye, but I can’t today. It’s a bummer. I hope your meeting goes well.”

“Me too.” Maggie pulled on her gloves. “It’s our first annual review with our new parent company. I need to be presentable.”

“I understand.” Bruce helped her pick up her things. “It’s easier for me, working from home. Video teleconference is more forgiving.”

That it was. There were many days that Maggie wished she could trade in her blazer and heels for a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers. Bruce still dressed presentably, but he didn’t have to look flawless.

He asked, “How about if I get take-out for dinner from Dmitri’s, to celebrate when it’s done? I’ll get the alfredo that you like.”

They loaded the car. Bruce hit the garage door switch as Maggie got in and turned the ignition. She closed the door and rolled the window down. “Do they do take-out?”

“Maybe if I ask nicely. They like us.” Bruce backed out of the way of the car.

Maggie smiled. “I’d give you a much nicer hug if I wasn’t about to back up.”

“Go knock ’em dead.”

“All right. See you tonight. Love you!”

“Love you too.”

Maggie waved. She saw him sigh as she drove away. Kissing him goodbye was actually the second-favorite part of her day, after kissing him hello in the evening. Who was the moron who invented makeup anyway?

Photo credit: “Business” by Steve Wilson at Flickr
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Only She Told Him That She Loved Him

Posted: October 8, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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glass of wineI found this writing exercise on Pinterest: write a scene revolving around the sentence, “She told him that she loved him,” adding the word “only” before different words. I’m started with “only” as the first word. A lonely man thinks back on the one woman who told him that she loved him.

This inspired me to write about a nicer, modern-day Ebeneezer Scrooge pining for Belle, the girl he loved as a young man.

I love you, Ben, she’d said.

Ben Marley poured himself a glass of wine as the clock struck midnight. He never drank wine except at business meetings where his guests demanded it. Ben Marley preferred vodka martinis. But not tonight.

“Will there be anything else, Mr. Marley?” Robert, his butler, asked.

“No, Robert, that’ll be fine. I’m sorry I’ve kept you so late. You and Higgins go get trashed. Grab a cab or stay in a hotel and charge it to the expense account.”

“Thank you. Good night, sir.” Robert started for the door. He reached for the doorknob, then stopped.

“What is it, Robert?”

“Sir, would you care to join us?”

Marley laughed. “These old bones, out drinking with you and Higgins? Are you wanting your cut of the inheritance money that fast?”

Robert looked stung. “No, sir!”

“I’m sorry, Robert. The weather’s making my arthritis act up. I’m getting cranky.”

“Can I fix you some tea or draw you a bath?”

“For God’s sake, go have fun. I’ve kept you too long already.”

“I just thought… that you looked awfully lonely, sitting there, sir.”

Marley was about to wave Robert off. Then he heard himself say, “I am, Robert.” Marley blinked. What make him say that? He’d never confided in Robert before.

Robert stepped back into the living room. He took off his gloves. “Well… what is it, sir? Can I help?”

Marley didn’t want to admit weakness. He stared at the glass of wine. He hadn’t even drunk any! But it wasn’t the alcohol that was doing it. Not with drunkenness, anyway. “There was a girl, named Belle. The only woman I ever loved. The only one who ever said to me, ‘I love you.’” He rubbed his forehead. Marley gestured to his tablet computer, left within his reach on the coffee table. “A man with my… resources… has access to better things than Facebook to check up on his old acquaintances.”

Robert looked sick. “You were spying on a girl you loved?”

“Not spying! No. It’s a… program… that compiles publicly available data from all available sources. We use it for executive profiles…”

“You spied on her.”

Marley looked away. The richest man in the world felt abashed by his own butler. “I suppose I did. I don’t even know what prompted me to look her up. But I found something terrible.”

“What is it?”

“She has skin cancer. She can’t afford treatment. But I know, and I can help.” He gestured at the wine glass. “Belle always drank wine. I never drank it again after I walked away from her.”

“So… will you help her?”

“I don’t know. Do I have the right to be such a busybody to barge in and ‘save her’? How do I explain that I was snooping like this?”

Robert folded his arms. “Do you still love her, sir?”

“I…” Ben knew the answer was yes. He nodded.

“Then be a man about it. Pick up your phone, start with an apology, and beg to help her.”

“I don’t beg!”

“Would you for her?”

“They’ll throw me off the board if I embarrass the company like this.”

“Is she worth it to you?”

Marley wrapped his fingers around the wine glass. He squinted his eyes tight. He couldn’t bear the idea of Belle dying anything less than an old woman surrounded by great-grandchildren and comforted by a life of happy memories. “Yes. A thousand times.”

“Then call and flip the bird to the board as you walk out.”

“Thank you, Robert.” Marley picked up his phone and began dialing. Robert started tapping his phone. “What are you doing?”

“I’m telling Higgins I’ll meet him at the bar. I’m staying here to make sure you don’t chicken out.”

Marley laughed. It wasn’t familiar sound. He liked it. “Since when have you been my conscience?”

“Longer than you realize… sir. And I’m not stopping now.”

Marley kept dialing. He just hoped Belle would be willing to listen to him.

Photo credit: “Finishing off a long weekend” by fringley at Flickr
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Everyone Needs Some Laughter

Posted: October 7, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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paper finger puppetHerve Escobedo held up little finger puppets to his three-year-old son Philip. “Look here, Mr. Football, who’s this? Why, it’s little miss Goal Posts! How are you today?”

Philip laughed. Herve wondered why. It was a stupid, cheesy story, but it was all Herve could think of to keep him entertained. They sat in the middle of an abandoned soccer field, in the middle of what used to be Los Angeles. One of the Red Cross workers shone a flashlight on their play. “Can you keep it down, please? We have sick people who need rest.”

Herve touched the young woman’s arm with his fingertips. He leaned close. “Please. He hasn’t laughed in days,” Herve said.

The girl sighed. “Who has?” She looked like she hadn’t slept, either.


“I didn’t say stop. Just keep it down. Or…” She turned off the flashlight to conserve the batteries. “You can go over by the fire pits. Most people over there are still awake.”

“Thank you, young lady.”

“No problem.”

He made his squeaky puppet voice and waved them at her. “Thank you, thank you!” She laughed. Herve nodded. “See? Everyone needs some laughter.”

Herve picked up Philip and carried him over to the fire pits. The woman led the way, stepping around tents and huddled refugees using the flashlight. Herve wasn’t thankful that the Big One had struck, but he was thankful that God had chosen for it to happen in summer. The nights were cool but not unbearable.

Around the fire, a little girl sat in her mother’s arms as her mother read to her. Her mother used a magnifying glass instead of glasses. A bookish-looking elderly man was sharpening wicked-looking arrows using a stone. A man in a Red Cross uniform was teaching someone twice his age how to do first aid. They sat on an air mattress, and nudged over to invite them to sit.

The woman shook Herve’s hand and pat Philip on the head. “You two have a good night.”

“Won’t you join us?” Herve said.

“There’s a whole story,” Philip finally said. Herve covered his mouth. His heart sang. Philip would laugh, but he had barely spoken to anyone besides his father since the earthquake.

The woman noticed the look on Herve’s face. She crouched down and looked Philip in the eyes. “I’ll stay for a quick story. Then I need to go see if other people are okay, too. How’s that?”

Philip nodded. Herve’s eyes sparkled as he began the play.

Tonight’s post came from a roll of Rory’s story cubes: a mask (Herve’s trying to hold it all together), comedy and tragedy (the play), a flashlight, a tree (wood, the fire pits), a magnifying glass, an arrow, a sheep (I imagined a big, white, soft cushion, which led to the air mattress), and then two that I didn’t use: a bridge and a shooting star.

Photo credit: “Paper Finger Puppets” from Scribbled. Used without permission.

Voice Work

Posted: September 11, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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speak up

My chest muscles twitched as I began speaking. I breathed first, then gently said, “John walked to the grocery store to buy eggs.” I eased one word into another, so that “John walked” felt more to me like “Johnnnwwwallllked.” I tried to listen to myself with someone else’s ears. I sounded slow to my own. Someone else would probably say I sounded fine.

My speech therapist said, “That’s good. This time, ease into the word John more, almost like zzzhhhohn.”

zzzhhhohnnnwalllkkkedtttootttthhhe….” I hissed as I drew out the g sound. “…grrooccerryyssttoorre…” I hissed again as I drew out the t sound. It sounded to me like ts. “…too…” Now the hard part. I tried not to close my eyes on the plosive b. Relax the lips. I could feel the flesh buzzing as the sound vibrated over them. To me it felt like I was making a bv humming sound. “…buuuyyysssommeeegggsss.”

“Out-standing!” Julie said. She held up her hand for a high five. I gave one to her, half-heartedly. She noticed. “How do you feel?” she asked.

“Good. Embarrassed.” I focused on breathing out and connecting good to embarrassed. “I hate having to concentrate on every word that I say.”

“Do you feel like you’re making progress?”

I knew where this was going. “Some. Slowly. I know that I’m getting better,” I stopped to take a gentle breath, “but I want to hurry with it.” This felt like separating sugar grains with a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers. Normally I would try to say it all in one breath, and run out of air.

She grinned. “‘Some’? ‘Slowly’? Are you showing off or are you really frustrated?”

I had to smile, too. “A little of both.”

“You’ve made tremendous progress, Will. You know we’re just getting started. What we do here is going to lead to what we do next.”

“I know.”

“Are you ready for the next one?”

hhhllllLet me do some breathing exercises first.” I needed to calm down.

“Go ahead.”

I focused on breathing without being tense, which isn’t easy when you’re focusing on it. My body started to realize it was time to relax. I looked at the sheet of sentences I was reading for this exercise. John and his trip to the grocery store had been number three out of a dozen. A month ago that would have tensed me up and made me fumble the next sentence. Things felt better today.

Today’s post is a spin on today’s daily prompt, “Voice Work.” In answer to the prompt’s question, of course I would love for my blog to be narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, because he’s one bad ass mother f**ker.

Photo credit: “Speak up, make your voice heard” by Howard Lake at Flickr
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I Can Always Write Another One

Posted: September 7, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
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storm prompt

The emergency broadcast system came on. “A severe storm warning has been advised for your area. Affected locations may experience winds in excess of fifty miles per hour and extreme lightning conditions. Residents are advised to seek shelter immediately. Drivers are advised to park and seek shelter or remain in your cars if no shelter is available.”

“Steve!” I heard my wife calling. She came running in holding up her smartphone. “The weather app says—”

“I heard.”

The sky to the west had been growing dark. I saw a black streak on the horizon.

“That’s just the edge. That band should hit us in about thirty minutes,” she said. She held up a radar map on her iPad.

“We should hole up in the basement.” It was underground. I looked around at all the beautiful windows and views. “We’re probably going to get falling trees.”

“Or flying rocks.”

I sighed. There wasn’t time to board it up. “I never put together that disaster kit. I’ll go to and see what we need.”

“You take a look and I’ll get started with water, first aid and food.”

I thought about grabbing my backup hard drive of that novel I’d been working on. Not yet. Focus on the essentials. If either of us died with a hard drive in our back pockets because we didn’t grab batteries or a can opener, I would never forgive myself.

Our dog started barking as we ran up and down the stairs to the basement like madmen. Then it barked more as thunder rolled over the house. He hated storms.

We grabbed batteries. Plastic bags. Tools.

Medicine. Pet food. Blankets.

Everything else on the basic supply kit that we could get our hands on.

The storm was ten minutes out. As I came upstairs again, I saw rain pouring down our windows in sheets. The roof sounded like a hailstorm hit it. The sky to the west looked red. I’d seen sky turn green before but never red. That couldn’t be good.

A flash of lightning blinded me. The thunder hit almost instantly and sounded like a cannon shot. Two rocks hit our windows and made glass spider webs.

“Let’s get to the basement!” I cried.

“Time to go!” Lori agreed.

I grabbed the dog and carried it downstairs. We heard more glass breaking behind us. The power flickered. My wife and I looked at each other as we hunkered down in a nook behind some shelves.

“How long is it supposed to last?” I asked.

Lori checked her iPad. “Internet’s out. But before it went down, it said three hours.”

The house creaked in a way that I’d never heard before. It sounded like its bones were bending. My wife and I held hands.

Photo credit: unknown. Used without permission.