This week’s prompts are at the bottom. Feel free to seize the prompts, twist them, form them, play with them as you will. All comers are welcome. The words below are just practice for me. I had a lot of fun writing them and, practice makes perfect.
Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.
Elsie hurried around the breakfast bar and picked up the phone. “Hello?” she tentatively spoke. As always, she toyed with the cord that tethered the handset to the wall by the back door.
“Elsie? It’s me.”
It was Adeline, from two doors down.
“Addy, good morning; how are you?”
“I’m just fine, Else. Listen, Cora’s over here and I think you should come over too – right away.” Lowering her voice, she added in a whisper, “Cora might be in some trouble.”
“I’m in my robe right now and I have a coffee cake in the oven. It’ll take me about twenty minutes. OK?”
“Quick as you can, Elsie.” Addie ended the call.
Oh my, Elsie thought to herself as she leaned down and peered into the oven.
In the bedroom, she pulled on her bright floral print shift and exchanged the slippers she had been wearing for her old flats. She looked in the mirror and patted her hair. Grabbed a sweater from the easy chair and made her way back to the kitchen. She checked the coffee cake – almost done.
“Fuck it,” she muttered and grabbed an oven mitt to pull out the cake.
Only fifteen minutes had passed before Elsie pushed the side door open at Addy’s house. She had brought the coffee cake along to share.
In the kitchen, she found Addy and Cora sitting silently at the breakfast table, staring at nothing. In the centre of the table sat a colourful, hand-made, Mexican walking stick. It was beautifully carved with snakes crawling up the shaft. The handhold was the head of an Aztec Eagle warrior with his mask.
Cora’s chin rested on both her hands and a cup of coffee sat in front of her. She had her mouth drawn downward, she looked worried.
“What’s going on?” Elsie asked as she sat her Pyrex dish, with the coffee cake, on the top of the stove. “I brought refreshments.”
Addy grabbed the cane, “Look at this Else.”
“I can see it. It’s beautiful. Where did you get it?”
Cora’s face fell even further as Addy explained, “You know Mr Santiago? He lives on the other side of Edgemere Avenue.”
“I know of him. I see him around. At the market, downtown, he sits at the park sometimes. I wouldn’t say that I know him, though. Oh, of course, that’s his cane. He has it with him all the time.”
“It used to be his cane,” Addy said as she glared at Cora.
Elsie could tell this wasn’t going to be good. She pulled out a chair and took a seat. She studied her two friends and waited.
“Go on, Cora; tell her.”
Cora straightened up a little and clasped her hands, resting them on the table. She still looked worried and now, maybe even a little scared. “Well, you know how I’m always attracted to beautiful things?” Cora began.
Elsie nodded her head.
“Years ago I used to be attracted to Martín.”
“Who’s Martín?” Elsie interrupted.
Cora tilted her head slightly towards her friend, Elsie. Then she continued, “Martín is his first name. His name is Martín Santiago. He was beautiful once, but it didn’t take me long to realize that his beauty was only skin deep. He was mean. Mean as a snake. I broke it off.
“This morning I went to Gayle’s Bakery for pastries. As I was walking home, I met Martín, on Dorado Street, with his cane. True to form he began cursing when he saw me. He has never forgiven me for dumping him, all those years ago. I crossed the street and he hobbled after me, shaking his stick. Finally, I thought I should stop and just have it out with him. After all, it had been years. Why couldn’t he let it go? But, it escalated when he swung his walking stick; I grabbed it and wrested it from him.
“That’s when he balled up his fists. I stepped to one side and swung the stick, as hard as I could, and hit him across the back of his knees. He crumpled. I ran here.”
Elsie made a tsk tsk sound with her tongue, “Is he OK?”
“I don’t know,”
Elsie turned her attention to Addy, “You said ‘it used to be his cane.’ Do you know if he’s OK?”
“I said used to be; because, well you know – spoils of war and all that.”
“Well,” Elsie counselled, “I think we need to get rid of it. I think we need to get rid of it and feign ignorance. Cora, this never happened. Addy, you need to start a fire. Give me the stick.”
Elsie took the cane to the back yard and brought it down hard on the edge of Addy’s brick planter, the one with the geraniums, breaking it in two. She picked up the pieces and brought them back inside where she put them in the fire that Addy had started. They all three stood around the fire and watched the cane catch. Then Addy leaned down to close the screen.
“That sure was a beautiful walking stick,” Addy said.
Her two friends both nodded. After a while, Elsie went back to the kitchen and cut the coffee cake. She gave the biggest piece to Cora.
This week’s prompts are:
- wind carries both the bad news and the good
- bury them naked