Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Story-Time Tuesday - Writing Fiction

Jenny Matlock
If you missed where this story started just click here to read it or simply click on the Story-Time Tuesday link at the top of my blog to take you to previous chapters.

Writing Fiction - Chapter 17

Here's where Chapter 16 left you...

Before she said goodbye back, my daughter hesitated a moment, then said, “Mom, you’re such an inspiration! When I think I can’t bear what happened with Dad, I think of you…Love you, Mom…get some rest.”

An inspiration? Me? I can’t even clean under the refrigerator. And my grout is disgusting.

Inspiration? Why did I ever have kids anyway? Now I’d have to try and act like I was actually getting my life under control again. I’d have to not wish I could cry myself to death. I’d have to actually start writing my blog. I’d have to not become a vigilante and hunt down the nasty jerk in the silver SUV to get my dog back.

Darn. Darn, darn, darn! Why couldn’t it have been me who’d ‘taken a final curtain call’?

And now, here's Chapter 17!

That night when I went to bed, it was a repeat of so many awful nights I won’t even bore you with the weeping, wailing and vast expanse of empty sheets on a mattress filled with regrets, remorse, and loneliness.

I forced myself to change the pillowcases to get rid of the cookie scent, but even without that horrible reminder, I couldn’t quit weeping over the big empty spot where Edgar had slept for a few short hours.

My dreams were awful, consisting primarily of being run over by a demon-faced man driving a silver SUV. His maniacal face, framed in the windshield of the car, had me in a panic for most of my sleepless hours. Finally, I gave up and just heaved my weary body out of the rumpled, disheveled bed.

A full pot of coffee didn’t begin to address the gritty dryness of my sleep deprived eyes, but it did give me enough jittery energy to get out all my blog notes and laptop.

Wearily, I retrieved my notes. Viciously, I crumpled the page having to do with “Everything Edgar”. I also decided that ‘mylifeinsideanoyster’ was a stupid name for a blog so I crumpled up all those pages, too.

When my Dad used to call me his little oyster, I never realized how unlike an oyster I really was. If I was really an oyster, I’d have a tough, protective outer shell. I’d be sturdy. And harder. And less able to be hurt so easily. I wonder what they could have named me? Granite? Armor? Spike? Spike made me laugh. I could just imagine my mother, God rest her soul, introducing me to the bouffant-haired women in her garden club, “This is our darling little Spike,” she might have said with great pride.

I tapped my pencil on my pad and wrote down “Spike”, surrounded by all kinds of curlicues and doodles. Hadn’t I already done this once? Hadn’t I already agonized over a blog name? Did I really care?

So I uncrumpled the paper that said ‘Mylifeinsideanoyster’ and decided it was going to be just fine. After all, the blog was going to…

My thought process was interrupted by the ringing of the phone. I answered in a cheerful voice, thinking it was going to be my daughter, but it wasn’t.

It was him.

The dog thief.

And even though he only said, ‘Hello” he sounded just as nasty as the last time we’d spoken on the phone.

Feeling very “Spike-like”, I didn’t say hello back. What was the point? He was probably just calling to see if he could pick up the dog food or something.

He repeated himself, sounding even crankier the second time, “Hello? Hello?”

“What?!?” I snapped, “What do you want?”

“Lady, listen,” he said in a slightly nicer tone of voice, “I just wanted to…”

“You just wanted to what?” I yelled into the phone. “Just wanted to take Edgar without letting me even say goodbye? Just wanted to act like a total, moronic, stupid, ignorant, rude, horrible…” I would have continued, but I realized I was talking to dial tone. He’d hung up on me. Of all the nerve!

The phone rang again. This time I just picked it up and continued with my rant, “…disgusting, nasty, despicable…” and he hung up on me again.

This time I called him back. The little piece of paper with his number was still on the counter by the phone. When he answered, I shouted, “Don’t hang up on me you jerk! You moron! You ignorant..”

He interrupted me, “You already called me those names. Are you about finished?” which really, really made me angry…so I hung up on him.

I was almost panting in my anger. I wanted to beat the receiver to a broken pile of plastic shards.

And on top of that, I was a little humiliated at how out of control I’d let myself become with a total stranger…even though he was an idiotic … ummm…. idiot. So to calm myself, I walked to the sink and threw some cold water on my face. I was patting it dry on a kitchen towel adorned with pictures of smiling citrus fruit, when the phone rang once again.

Taking a deep breath, I calmly answered. I would not revert to his level of nauseating, repulsive, rudeness. I would act like I was mature and in control. And I did.

“Hello,” I said in a tranquil zen voice. There was a moment of hesitation and then he said, “Hello,” back almost pleasantly, “Are you going to scream at me some more?” I pretended to not know what he was talking about. “Excuse me?” I said politely.

“Scream at me?” he replied, “Listen lady, you really have a temper,” but I didn’t even bother dignifying his remark with an explanation. “How can I help you?” I replied.

The phone was silent. I didn’t try to help him out at all. I just waited. Finally he said in a slightly sheepish voice, “I’m calling about Spot.”


“I …ummm… well…”

I didn’t show him any mercy. I just waited.

“OK, well, it’s like this…I … ummm… Oh fine! I probably could have handled that a little better.”

I wanted to blurt out in the most sarcastic voice I could find, “Well, yeah, ya think?”, but I decided not to let him off the hook, so I said nothing.

“Lady? Are you still there?”

“Yes,” I said. “Is this an apology?”

“No. It’s not an apology. I’m just calling to tell you that...”

This time I interrupted him. “If it’s not an apology, then I have nothing to say to you. Please give my love to SPOT,” Then I had said goodbye and hung up.

This time the phone didn’t ring again. I waited for a minute. And a minute more.

I thought about calling him back, but I had no idea what I would say.

Instead I made another pot of coffee and went back to work on my blog.

If it wasn’t for my daughter, I would have just abandoned the whole idea and crawled onto the couch with my BFF, the remote control. Actually, if it wasn’t for my daughter, I wouldn’t be messing with the whole blog to begin with. Actually…

I think the lack of sleep had made me too tired to figure out the whole what, where, why and who made me’s of my blog, so instead I plodded along figuring out all the screens. It was complicated. And very, very distracting. Finally, my growling stomach alerted me to the fact that hours had passed, but before I made myself something to eat, I told myself I’d write a little test post to see if I was doing everything correctly.

I clicked the button on my blog that said ‘new post’ and suddenly I saw a little rectangle labeled ‘Title’, so I typed the word “Hello” into it. A whole bunch of letters and symbols separated the small rectangle from a larger one. I told myself I’d figure them all out later and in the large rectangle I typed , “My name is Spike and this is my blog.”

I’d looked and looked at the screen with those words for a long time until I finally spotted a box that said “Preview”. When I clicked on it I could see my blog! I could see my blog with the green grass and the blue sky and just as I was trying to figure out how to make it so the whole world could see my blog, the phone rang again.

To be continued, Tuesday, January 4th.

(c) 2010 Jennifer R. Matlock
This publication is the exclusive property of Jennifer R. Matlock and is protected
under the US Copyright Act of 1976 and all other applicable international, federal, state and local laws. The contents of this post/story may not be reproduced as a whole or in part, by any means whatsoever, without consent of the author, Jennifer R. Matlock. All rights reserved.

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The Words Crafter said...

I'm kinda glad she let off some steam. Now I wonder what's gonna happen. Maybe that guy is cranky because he's been left behind, too. Hmmmmmmm......

I've been away for several days. I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday!

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

This Pearl is a woman after my own heart, Matlock! I know - big surprise, right??!!

Jeanie said...

I have to say you and Pearl have my mind wandering toward many possibilites.

Willoughby said...

I have a feeling Spot's owner has quite a story of his own (at least I hope so, he can't be such a jerk for no reason, right?). I can't wait until next week to find out!

Tina said...

You're killing me here, Matlock. Killing me. Sigh. Another week to wait...yes, I complain about this every week, but when I read, I usually have to whole book and then can't put it down unless it's a dire emergency. I'm not having an emergency every Tuesday...
On a serious note, this is good, good stuff. Enough detail to make it real, but not so much that we're waiting for some action. Perfect balance, I'd say. Have you picked a possible title of the book yet?

Susan Anderson said...

I can feel the love a-comin'! And I'm liking it!!!


Anonymous said...

Well, sweet Jenny! You've done it again...left me hanging and waiting. :) I am not wishing my life away but sure hope Tuesday gets here soon. Can't wait to see why the man called Pearl I just have to know what he wanted to tell her.

You are my favorite writer and that is the truth!!!


H said...

And here I am again; hopping from foot to foot (metaphorically) desperate to know what is going to happen next! I can't cope with this serialisation business. I normally devour a book. I must learn to be more patient!

Judie said...

Waaaaah!! Pearl is such a bitch! Why did she have to be so mean?? Why couldn't she just suck it up and be nice to that man? Now we have to wait until next week to find out what he wanted to say! And maybe even not then! Maybe it will be TWO weeks! Waaaaaah!

Amy said...

The suspense! I am loving it and the suspense is killing me! I love that she is using the name Spike. How funny! What an awesome personality she has!

Lourie said...

And the plot thickens! I loved when she went off on him! hahaha.