Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Writers' Community combined effort

This is a piece produced at a meeting in the early summer, where each of us wrote a paragraph/section of a story and then passed it around to continue's other people's starts. I've offset the parts that different people wrote into separate sections, but it's meant to be read as a whole. Will, Rachel Bowers, Bethany, and I contributed, and we really had fun with this activity. Read, enjoy, and let me know what you think--this is especially for those of you who wanted to be kept abreast of meeting happenings. Forgive the awkward formatting: apparently blogspot doesn't believe in tabs.

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“Your silver spoon fell into my oatmeal when you had your back turned,” Mark remarked.
My mother always serves oatmeal when guests come to dine. It’s her way of saying, “Please, do yourself a favor and don’t die like my husband.” I must have picked up the habit of serving it myself, for when Mark told me that I lost my spoon—or, rather, that it had fallen into his bowl—I turned around to face him, realizing that we had been eating oatmeal for every meal since the day we were married.
“Well, what am I supposed to slurp with?” I asked, as I turned to face his shirtless back. I held oven mitts over my hands and gripped a long white spatula that had blackened near the bottom. The sizzling of garlic in the skillet started and I looked at the table. Mark had both of his hands lifted and was gripping the silver spoon that my aunt Melinda gave us as a gift fourteen days ago.

He grinned at me like I was a little girl. “Well, I could wash it off in the sink for you and you could still use it. Or I could grab us a couple of straws and we can both slurp our oatmeal.”
“We might as well eat with our hands.” I mumbled, not in the mood for jokes or his condescending tone.
“Why don’t we?” he said. I ignored him and turned back to the stove.

“Look, the fact of the matter is, your oatmeal is terrible,” said Mark. “I mean really terrible. I didn’t want to say anything, but it’s been two weeks and this stuff is like dishwater with bits of asbestos mixed in for flavor.”
“A simple ‘could we have something else?’ would have been good enough.”
“No, I really don’t think it would have been. You need to understand that this whole oatmeal kick that you’re on is getting ridiculous. Meanwhile, what’s the deal with this spoon? I can’t eat that.”
“It was an accident. I’ll take it out for you. God, you’re such a whiner.”
“I am not a whiner. Look, pasta is just as easy to make as oatmeal, maybe even easier. We could even order a pizza or something. I love pizza.”
“Yeah, well, I love oatmeal.”
“Look, I’m only trying to help you.”
“I don’t want any help.”
“You’re just so clumsy.”

I fought the tears that threatened to well up in my eyes. In theory, I was prepared to come to the realization, thirty years down the road, that my mother had been right all along, but that I would feel it already was entirely unexpected. Of course, Mom’s husband—my father—had died on the tenth day after they were married, so I’d pretty much already outdone her. Thinking about that put me in a better mood, so I went up to Mark and cheerfully put my arm around his shoulders, lightly nipping his ear.
“That’s better,” he said, smiling, and carried me into the bedroom, where we made love three times on the brand new silk sheets his sister had given us as a wedding gift. When we were done, we lay there peacefully, united in our spent passion, until Mark’s body started convulsing, and he collapsed on the floor, clutching his neck. I lay in bed, sadly looking at the ceiling. When it was all over, I picked up the phone and called Mom.
“Finally!” she said, “I expected you to call a few days ago.”
“Well, Mom,” I replied, “I really liked this one, so I lightened up a little on the asbestos in the recipe.”


Ankit said...

haha. definitely awesome. also, it's not blogger, it's HTML that doesn't believe in tabs. of course, there's ways to get around it....