I turned my head to see who was speaking. There wasn’t anyone near me except the llama. I shook my head and took another sip of my coffee. I sighed as I savored the delectable brew.
“I put coffee in my coffee, today. So what are your plans for the day,” asked the llama chuckling at his wittiness.
“I’m going to…. ” I sprang up from the bench. There’s no way a llama could talk. “Who’s playing practical jokes?” I looked under the bench for a speaker, or a microphone. Anything to explain the voice but I discovered nothing or no one. This is bonkers. I must be losing my mind.
“You’re going where? Is it somewhere fun?”
“No, it’s not fun. I’m going to the hospital to get my Botox injections.”
“Oh, are there a lot of needles involved?”
” How are you talking? Llamas don’t talk.”
“Who says llamas don’t talk. We talk all the time. I believe you’re misinformed. “
I slugged back my coffee. ” I need to leave or I’ll be late. Have a good day.”
“Hey could you answer one question before you leave. Do you think someone will look at me the same way I look at coffee?”
I scurried away but not without turning back several times. The llama continued to sip his coffee on the bench. I couldn’t help but wonder what was in my coffee.
Having migraines with aura’s makes writing and reading challenging. Unfortunately, this past three days have been even more so difficult with an earache on top of the migraine for the last four days. Yesterday, I tried Hyland’s earache drops. Day one was still painful as all get out but I’m happy to say day two is much better. I still have the migraine but tomorrow relief is in sight, I get my shots.
The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.
All night there isn't a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.
My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I'll not be knowing;
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
No matter where it's going.
Lily stood watching the train disappear on the horizon and vowed that one of the times when the train left she would be on it. Her good friend, Sally, laughed and shoved her shoulder before sauntering off. “Get real, Lily.”
Lily shrugged her friend’s negativity aside. No way was she going to let anyone keep her in this no-where town one second longer. She hated living in Trenton. It sucked the life out of everyone that lived there. Just look at her friend, Sally knocked up with her second child. That worthless boyfriend of hers doesn’t keep a job for longer than to get another fix. Sally has more excuses than the dictionary has definitions. But it doesn’t matter, she’s living at her parent’s home, taking care of a toddler with another child on the way.
Lily glanced at her phone, noting the time. She scurried home to get into her uniform. She hated the smell of grease, french fries and onions. The smells had soaked into her clothing no matter how many times she washed them , Lily ‘s room even with clean uniforms reeked of fast food.
She glanced under her mattress to check her stash. The crumpled bills totaled sixteen hundred dollars. She needed two more paydays to have enough but she wasn’t sure her sanity would last that long or that the girl would hold the room for her. Lily was scared that Judy would find another taker before she could scrap the required funds. There had to be a way she could get the money sooner but how. Lily made another vow, she was never going to be poor again after this.
Lily drudged through another shift at grease central. It was all she could do not to tell her boss where the sun shone but she didn’t. She dodged groping hands on her way home from the neighborhood homies before collapsing on her bed. She reached under the mattress to reassure herself the stash was still there before falling asleep.
Clenching her exhausted eyes shut from the sun’s daggers Lily pondered every angle of her plan. The train ride was one hundred dollars, and the apartment was twelve hundred leaving her a measly three hundred to live on until she got a job. What if she didn’t get one. She didn’t have enough to cover month number two. But, if she waited the room could disappear, and then she wouldn’t have a place to stay while she got a job. Lily knew she was running on fumes. Go or stay?
Go. Nothing was going to stop her from chasing her dream. She threw her clothes into a bag. Lily grabbed a couple of bracelets, her teddy bear and her toiletries. She decided to leave her Mom, a lipstick heart on the mirror before leaving the room. She closed the door but then realized that she hadn’t grabbed her stash from under the mattress. She took a deep breath and closed the door on this life.
Lily walked to the train station. She purchased a one way ticket to Manhattan. She smiled thinking the city that never sleeps will soon be home. She looked back at Trenton’s skyline, her Momma was going to be heartbroken. The train whistle snapped her back into the moment. It’s now or never.
“Letting go of the past means opening up to the future, and sometimes the unknown is scarier than the past.”― Tamara Lechner
The mice scattered across the IPad screen and Macavity’s attention was captured. His head bobbled with the mice’s movement until one mouse touched another and squeaked. He jumped back like he had been bitten. He glanced everywhere for the assailant before moving closer again. His hunched body ready for whatever the mice did next. Macavity inched closer to analyze the situation. Another shriek from a mouse. He had to know where the mice were. He pawed the IPad edge in search of the mice before gingerly placing his paw upon the screen. He captured a mouse. Yay, his mission accomplished.
Let’s discuss your biggest concern first and then get to the others.
Your new friend Jimmy, he’s insecure like you are in the ever- changing world of the early 70’s. I know you didn’t consider how fragile male egos are when you stepped into the fiasco that changed the dynamics of your friendship. Insecure white boys bullying the only black boy in a predominantly white school. You couldn’t let three of them hurt your friend, that’s not your nature. In retrospect, you should haven’t gotten help from an adult. But that’s also your nature since the adults you know are unreliable.
It was difficult for Jimmy to have his ego bruised like that. Pretend for a few minutes that you were him, having a white girl jump right into a fight and beat the boys up that you were losing too. You would’ve been embarrassed as all get out too. I’m sure when you weren’t around them tormented him more about having a white girl fight his battles.
Jimmy felt victimized by the bullies and unfortunately you added to the picture. It’s hard for a boy even a man to be rescued by a girl. Sometimes, girl instead of jumping head first into the mess you need to look at the bigger picture. I was and still am very proud of your loyalty to your friends. You’re a fierce warrior.
But then that also was the same thing with that guy Richie, deep down I think you knew he wasn’t going to be there for the long run. He said all the things you needed to hear because he played on your vulnerabilities. He knew about your home situation with abusive alcoholic parents so it was easy for him to seduce you. I know it’s hard to look at things cynically when you’re young but making a pros and cons list has served the adult you very well. Look at the bigger picture and what every angle really is before letting your heart and body get involved.
I’ve stared at this prompt for over an hour nothing comes to mind but I am stubborn so here goes.
The nuns of St. Leon Abbey gathered in the meadow after Mother Superior rang the end of day bell. They paced nervously waiting for the monks from St. Mark Abbey to join them. Both had competed in this odd game of chance by a secret contest that offered them special gifts they coveted from their lives before them went to the abbey. Like one nun, really missed wearing lip stick. Her lips were always dry without the silky gloss. She was ecstatic to find 6 tubes with her name on in her room after winning the challenge. The monks were really annoyed with her winning streak but oh well, she chuckled happily. Mother Superior couldn’t see the invisible gloss at all. In fact, everything they won in the challenges was invisible to their superiors. No one understood how the magic worked, they just accepted it was happening.
But then came the message, that they had to pay a token for the new challenge. What was the token? Why now? None of the other challenges had a token attached. The nuns and monks agreed there was an implied risk now but they couldn’t pin what specifically made them feel like the game had changed. They discussed everything they gained since the first challenge was offered. It had been so much fun competing against each other especially knowing their superiors were none the wiser.
Life at the abbey, was extremely boring. Same old routines, same old food, for that matter same old clothes until their secret benefactor proposed a way for them to have material pleasures without consequences. It was by mutual decision to accept the additional risk by both sides. How bad could it be?
A card appeared in the morning on the altar stating what the additional token would be if they chose to proceed. The nuns decided to look at what they were competing to win. A garden of vegetables and fruit that abundantly produced in all seasons. The nuns agreed never having food shortages was worth the risk. They had to beat the monks. At the same time, the monks were having similar discussions about taking the risk. Food was huge at both abbeys.
Eating once a day might work for their superiors but both the monks and nuns were tired of a grumbling tummy before bed at night.
Neither dared open the other card until they met in the meadow after the night bell rang. They scurried through the days mundane tasks ignoring the hunger. The thought of having ample food made their suffering fade.
The nuns and monks opened the risk card together. There were four levels to the challenge. What made this different from the other challenges was on each level the loser sacrificed their soul. The silence mocked them. Accept or decline. They had never declined but then there had never been a risk like this. Both agreed hunger was a great motivator. Each side secretly agreed they weren’t going to lose. In the morning, the first quest appeared stating each side must choose a competitor to complete a spiritual quest. There are trinkets that must be collected before they return. Suzanne was chosen by the nuns and David by the monks. They were young, energetic and competitive.
Suzanne didn’t return by the time the Mother Superior rang the night bell. The nuns rushed to the meadow, hoping David would be missing as well. David and the monks were waiting for the nuns. David quickly produced the selenite, the grapes, and the book. David handed the book to Naill. He opened the book, to discover it wasn’t actually a book but a cover for a glass box. Naill lifted the glass box out so everyone could see.
“Suzanne! ” The nuns screamed in horror. Their beloved sister was trapped inside the glass box. A note fell beside Naill’s foot. David picked it up and read it. “Soul number one has been collected.”
The jarring dead silence was like a hopeless black void that swallowed them all. This was real. Both sides decided to end the challenge, they would find another way to get the extra food needed to feed them all.
No one slept well that night especially the nuns. They knew Mother Superior was going to ask where Suzanne was. Sneaking around after dark was one thing but thus far they hadn’t lied until now. They couldn’t tell the Mother Superior the truth.
The note on the altar was quickly grabbed before Mother Superior saw it. The nuns feverishly prayed Mother Superior wouldn’t notice the missing nun. The cards fell in their favor for now. Once Mother Superior headed to her office, they huddled to read the note from their mysterious benefactor. “One task was completed, three to go. Declining the challenge will cost both sides more souls than the four potential souls.”
What did he mean more souls at risk? The nuns sent a message to the monks to inquire if they received the same message. They tried to focus on their cleaning tasks. Hours had passed since Sister Heather left, she should have returned by now. Where was she? As soon as the bell rang they fled to the meadow.
The monks shackled by fear watched the nuns reaction to the two books lying on the log. The books were identical to the one that held Suzanne. Neither group had the confidence to open the book. The thought of opening the books made them nauseous. They knew something had to be done, but what. How do they get out of this nightmare?
Sometimes people need to get something off their mind and just spill it all out there. Those moments are referred to as dramatic monologues. Writing them can be intimidating to some and a lot of fun to others. I thought writing a stream of conscious monologue would be interesting since I’m not really in a venting mood today.
In case you didn’t know there are several interesting examples of monologues if you want to explore more about them. Alan Allen by Irene Zahava and Mrs. Saunders Writes Her Name to the World by Lynne Sharon Schwartz.
I decided to try my own version of Writing My Name to the World.
Lyndalee, that’s how I was taught to spell my name but as an adult I saw my birth certificate and I actually have two first names. Old habits die hard, I still write it as one word unless I am signing a legal document than I make the conscious effort. Lee would have been a great middle name but instead I was blessed with my grandmother’s name, not one both. Irene, my father’s mother’s first name and my mother’s mother’s middle name. Irene isn’t an awful name until some one sings you too many times Good night, Irene, Good night Irene I’ll see you in you in my dreams. It got to be obnoxious after a while especially since they knew how creepy it made me feel. This person should never imply seeing me in his dreams but then he lived up to his monster personna.
I didn’t find either of them to be the worst names given a child but if you add in the last name. My maiden name was difficult to pronounce and people continuously slaughtered it. The teasing by my peers was hurtful. But then when I decided to take their power away by only signing with my initials. My initials spelled LIP, that gave others the opportunity for snarky comments. Here’s comes LIP, she’s always got an opinion.
So when married I didn’t think twice about ditching the maiden name but some things don’t change people keep pushing the ones they already know trigger reactions like singing Irene. New people would inquire if I was actually giving them my first name and middle name when filling out documents. We don’t need your middle name. Once I explained then the comment followed. Who gives nobody’s two first names? Excuse, I’m not a nobody.
I decided to change the whole picture as I reestablished myself after divorce my I just go by Lyn and sign my full first name only when necessary. I don’t bother to share middle name anymore. I remember reading this quote “I’m not my name. My name is something I wear, like a shirt. It gets worn. I outgrow it, I change it.”-Jerry Spinelli
And I’ve learned it ain’t what they call me. What really matters now is what I’ll answer to.
Write a story that doesn’t use unhappiness as its narrative catalyst. That is to say, write a happy story, one that is textured, interesting, not overly sentimental, but that is at its core, a happy story, however, you choose to imagine that.
Macavity sprang from the floor to the back of the couch and on up to the shelf overlooking the landing. He batted the crystal heart suncatcher and then tried to capture the light reflections on the wall. His gleaming yellow eyes wide open with the thinnest black lines were more stunning to me then the heart’s glass center. He became distraught when the reflection vanished with his body movement. He spun his head in every direction seeking the vanished colorful prisms
He meowed in protest and then leapt to my chair. I took advantage of the moment and snuggled with Macavity. He nestled in briefly but then noticed the light reflecting on the wall again. He sprung back to the shelf in pursuit of the mysterious light.
Write an interview with a character who invented something that changed the world…years after the change took place.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Cavanaugh. Thank you for making time to respond to my inquiry about your updated article on January 13, 2021 about blow-up dolls.”
“My pleasure, Ms. Crain.”
” In the article, you indicated that blow-up dolls have been around since the 17th century, yet no one has claimed credit for being the creator.”
“Yes, the first documented proof is linked to Dutch sailors in the 17th century who used a doll made of cloth to relieve sexual tension during long sea voyages.”
“Interesting. Is there more documented proof of their existence?”
“The first recorded blow up doll appeared in psychiatrists Iwan Bloch’s book, “The Sexual Life of Our Time”. His book was published in 1908, described the doll to be used for sexual purposes.”
“There was speculation that Adolf Hitler ordered sex dolls for his German troops to keep the men away from Parisian brothels. Is that true?”
Mr. Cavanaugh rolled his eyes and cleared his throat before responding. “Yes, there is indeed speculation but upon further study there isn’t proof of this actually happening.”
“When did blow-up dolls become familiar to the general public?”
“After the sexual revolution of the late sixties, advertisements began to appear in magazines which allowed men and women to select dolls with different hair colors and styles to suit the customer’s desires. Over time the blow-up dolls have become realistic looking and multi-functional offering an interesting sexual experience.”
“Why do you think they’ve gained in popularity?”
“The best thing about blow-up sex dolls is that they provide the most realistic sex experience possible with a sex toy. These are popular among those who are into fantasy games, and also prove to be the perfect gift to a passionate friend.”
“The prices vary drastically by the quality and appearance. One can expect to spend from around one hundred dollars to five thousand dollars. “
“Geez, that’s crazy!”
“It comes down to how much realism you want to have with your sexual pleasure.”
“Thank you, Mr. Cavanaugh for your time.”
“Feel free to reach out anytime if you have questions about blow-up dolls.”
I would sit captivated as grandmother told the story of each charm. Every experience she shared was magical. I wanted to have that kind of magic too. I wished for a bracelet of mine but my mother and grandmother said I was too young to have an expensive bracelet. I had to be patient.
Patient was not something I wanted to be. I wanted a bracelet now.
What could it possible hurt if I borrowed my grandmother’s bracelet ? She didn’t wear it when she was cleaning house and I’ll put it back before she’s done. She’ll never know. I couldn’t wait to show my friends. I’ll tell them all the magical stories, they’ll be so jealous.
I snatched it from the jewelry box and scooted out the back door. I put it on my wrist and skipped to the playground where all my friends usually were at this time. I climbed on the monkey bars, giggling as some of the charms created prisms on the cement. It didn’t take long for my friends to gather to check out my bracelet. I shared my grandmother’s stories and embellished some of my own.
Judy’s older brother asked if we wanted to go down to the lake for a swim. Yeah, that sounded awesome to all of us so off we went. The water was so tempting with the humidity I dove right in. We splashed and swam for awhile before coming out to dry off. That’s when I realized the bracelet was gone.
Where could it be? I looked on the shore. I walked into the lake but the bottom was so murky from all of our horseplay I couldn’t see a thing. My grandmother is going to be so angry, I told Judy.
Judy shrugged and said it’s only costume jewelry, no big deal.
I knew better. My grandmother loved her bracelet and all the stories. I just ruined everything. How was I going to tell her. I sat down on a rock looking at the lake as my friends all left for dinner. I needed to think about what I was going to tell my grandmother. She’s going to be very upset but once my father finds out I’ll be lucky if I can sit in a month let alone today.