What was supposed to be a fun story for the Weekly Writing Challenge, turned into something a bit deeper. Maybe later this week I’ll write a second, happier story and actually follow the directions (there was supposed to be a picture of a genuinely happy person attached to this as well. In fact, this is pretty much the antithesis of the assignment). But, this is what came out. I witnessed this scene between my office and the super market last week:
A rusted, blue and white pick-up truck sat in the far end of the super market parking lot under the thrashing shadows of Cedar trees. An elderly man, clad in red checkered plaid and loose denim overalls, emerged from the driver’s side. He carried a poodle like a football underneath his left arm, and it squirmed for a few seconds before succumbing to his grip. The old man set the dog upon the square nose of the truck, and she shivered in the wind.
Rows away, women wriggled shopping carts into the market. Dour-faced adolescents trudged several paces behind their mothers. Couples chatted and loaded groceries into trunks of cars. A girl ran after a capering shopping list. And the old man gripped the poodle’s hind legs as the sunlight caught a glint of metal in his right hand. A yelp pierced the parking lot and bled into a steady whine, barely audible over the swishing cedar branches.
A small girl dropped her mother’s hand and picked up something, like the thick catsear seeds, blown from the fields in summer. The mother swatted it away and scolded her for touching things. The tuft of white fell to the ground, skipping across the pavement to join the accumulating masses of poodle hair.
Shocks of hair tumbled far away from the old pick-up truck – under wheels and feet, covering the parking lot for a few moments before cartwheeling past the gas station and then into the coffee stand across the street. The poodle whimpered, exposed and humiliated in her master’s arms, as he relieved her of the last of her beautiful white locks.
Someone’s grandmother hobbled inside the market on a cane. A ruddy face peered out of a beat up plumbing truck, thinking hard with each drag off a cigarette. Children begged for things not yet in sight. And the old man loaded up the dog and drove away with a sputter, the shorn evidence of his grooming rolling all across the city and into the air, where it would become less remarkable the further away the wind carried it.
9 thoughts on “Truth is Stranger than Fiction”
Poor Fifi…must be several pounds lighter!
Gawky childen, with sticky hands and meretricious 3D glasses, are sure to enjoy The Fluff Ball That Destroyed Planet Earth at the Sunday matinee.
Poor Fifi indeed. A few days later, I saw a man walk by with a yellow bird on one shoulder and a bright green one on the other. Where is my camera when I need it?? Such interesting things happen just outside my boring office building.
Well done Jolene. I found the pacing very tense and taught. Great story telling!
Jeezus, I thought he was going to kill the dog.
See, it went to a dark place! I’m going to try this challenge again later in the week and follow the directions. I just had to get this story out though! Every time there’s a strong wind and the dog needs grooming, this guy appears in the Fred Meyer parking lot.
I like it – well told and leaves room for the reader to think about how the scene came to be.
Thank you, Mike. I was concerned about my tone but ultimately couldn’t bring myself to change it.