Styling

prompt-chomp.pngCharli Mills has this thing she calls the ultimate flash fiction challenge, or Tuff. This isn’t it. But that’s because I didn’t check, and my final piece here is 495 words, not the recommended 599. And now I don’t feel like fiddling anymore, so 495 it is. Actually there’s a longer piece over 850 words that did get improved upon from this exercise and that’s the point. 

As I said in my first response to this week’s Carrot Ranch challenge, I’m not sure if this answers the prompt but it’s where it led and it got some work done for some characters who wanted me to write their story. Here is that boy who lost his friend Jimmy and who just made a friend, Jamie.

99 words:

“Do you get picked on?”

“What do you think? Two moms? My style?” She twirled a finger in the long snarly part of her hair.

“You could change your style.”

“I could.” Jamie stroked my hair, “Long hair would look good on you.”

When I chickened out on one of Jimmy’s stunts he’d call me Girlie.

I knew I’d be following Jamie to edges and dangers unkown, knew I’d man up in ways that only this wild girl would appreciate. School wasn’t going to be much easier, but it would be some easier. I’d no longer be sitting alone.

 

59 words:

“Do they bother you?”

She twirled a finger in the long snarly part of her hair.

I knew I’d be following Jamie to edges and dangers unkown, knew I’d man up in ways that only this wild girl would appreciate. School wasn’t going to be much easier, but it would be some easier. I’d no longer be sitting alone.

 

9 words:

Exploring unknown edges, not having to face school alone.

 

495 words:

“So you don’t have a mom, and Jimmy didn’t have a dad. Guess what, Augie Doggie?”

When she’d asked my name she also asked what Jimmy had called me. I told her how he’d mostly called me Gus, so she said she was going to call me Augie. Nobody had ever called me anything but Gus or August.

“What?”

“I never had a father, but I have two moms.”

“But you don’t, your’e not…”

“Why do you want to know?” she asked, looking right at me with an unflinching twinkle in her eye. And then I did pretend to look at a book, I got real busy looking at that book but all I saw was Jamie in her wild checked dress that clashed with her brightly patterned leggings with her small patch of long and unruly hair on the right side of her head, the rest buzzed spiky.

“Do other kids give you a hard time?”

There was that look, so intense, so forgiving. “What do you think? Two moms. My style.” She twirled a finger in the long snarly part of her hair.

“You could change your hair.”

“I could, Auggie, and people could change their attitudes. I have. Changed my hair. Sometimes I wear my hair all long, sometimes I wear it all short. Sometimes I dress like you’re dressed, sometimes like this. I’ve been mistaken for a boy and usually I don’t bother to correct people. One time when I was at a new school I went for weeks as a boy.”

“Wow, why?”

“Why not? Some things were easier, but some things were harder. Boys rank on one another. Actually girls do too. Now I just try to be myself.”

“Is that hard or easy?”

“It’d be the easiest thing in the world except for other people. People can be very unkind, Augie.”

“You know,” Jamie continued, “Long hair would look good on you. Maybe just a patch of buzz on one side. Exact opposite of mine.”

“That’d be weird.” We both smiled.

I’d been thinking of Jimmy and talking about Jimmy all day it seemed. I missed him, but it didn’t hurt as much now. Jimmy’d always helped me get along in the world, showed me how to be cool and be tough. Jimmy used to say sometimes that I acted like a girl, but he was just teasing me like a best friend can. Jimmy was my friend even though when he played hookey I backed out; I would never dive off the highest platform at Mill Pond; and when Jimmy and I would go to the quarry, I’d always stayed well away from the edge.

I knew I’d be following this wild girl to edges and dangers unkown, knew I’d man up in ways that maybe only she would appreciate. School wasn’t going to be much easier, but it would be some easier. I’d no longer be sitting alone.

I wished I could tell Jimmy about Jamie.

 

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Carrot Ranch April 18, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about gender. It can be fixed or fluid. Explore the topic on your own terms and open your mind to possibilities and understanding. Go where the prompt leads!

11 thoughts on “Styling

    • I was going to write something like this anyway, but wasn’t doing it. This process got the job done and the even longer piece is better for it. I don’t always do this but there is something to it, which is why I share the process now and again.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love the exploration of these characters and this situation in this ‘tuff’ experience. Yep, I’m sure Jamie will take him into adventures not yet explored. What a shame Jimmy never got the chance.
    And what a surprise. I don’t think I knew his name and hadn’t even pondered on it before.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent! Love that Jimmy’s friend has finally been named 😀 Look forward to reading how Augie and Jamie’s friendship develops. They have much to offer each other.
    P.S. I like the name August better than Gus. He was never a “Gus” in my imagination 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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