In the early days of lockdown, everyone joked about it, seemed to think it appropriate to make mention in Zoom meetings and social media of when they’d last showered. As his friends and family began caving and coming clean he began to take not showering seriously.
That first week had seemed interminably long, and the second longer, but after that he no longer noticed, in fact liked that he could easily comb his greasy hair with his fingers, felt genuine pride in his stewardship of the environment and water resources through no longer partaking in such a wasteful wanton habit as showering. He pointed out the benefits to his immediate family, his bubble people, explaining how he had no problem keeping others at six feet when he got the groceries and the mail.
But maybe that and his mask and his hand washing (he did wash his hands) wasn’t enough against this horrible contagion, for upon arriving home after walking the dog, he saw that members of his immediate family, his bubble people, were dressed in hazmat gear.
When they turned the hose on him he realized that it wasn’t Covid they were dressed for but his own powerful stench, and he also realized they were justified in their actions; but still, as the family gathered close around him, soap and sponges in hand, he fought them just to feel their hug-like tackles.
Denise of GirlieOntheEdge is the host. These are her Hop Rules:
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word.
Link the URL to your post via the blue “Click here to enter” button below.
Link live Wednesday through Saturday night late!
Spread the word and put in a good one to your fellow writers
PROMPT WORD: SHOWER
“If we allow ourselves to believe that nature, to be true, must also be wild, then our very presence in nature represents its fall. The place where we are is a place where nature is not… We thereby leave ourselves little hope of discovering what an ethical, sustainable, honorable human place in nature might actually look like.” – William Cronon- (from Uncommon Ground, Towards Reinventing Nature)
At Carrot Ranch this week the July 23 prompt has been (the week is almost past!) to “write a story to show what it is to protect nature around us”. This shouldn’t have been such a tough prompt, but here I am, past the deadline and with no real story. Then a rare visit from common birds as I sat out on my deck prompted these 99 words:
Privileged, D. Avery
They swept through like a squall, igniting the canopy, alighting on branches that swayed and bent under their weight, climbed tree trunks like woodpeckers. The actual woodpeckers stopped their work and watched, astounded at this swarm of grackles. The surprised robin watched their feeding frenzy from an uppermost perch of a slender maple before flying off. I bore witness. What appears as pillage must surely be feeding on insects invisible to my eye.
Some people say grackles are useless. Others tell me these trees block the view.
I don’t listen. I know a good thing when I see it.
I had already been reminded of an earlier prompt and a fictional story I’d written, Neighbors, when the bird world in front of me erupted with the arrival of the grackles. I was glad to be present for something that was not at all extraordinary for its naturalness; not extraordinary, though I’ve never before seen so many grackles in my bit of yard, have never seen them feeding in the treetops as they did. It was extraordinary enough to stoke my sense of wonder, as Rachel Carson would say. If you want to serve nature, maintain and spread a sense of wonder and respect for all your neighbors, fauna and flora. See it and celebrate it wherever you might be.
The Hopper, an environmental lit magazine, has just published a short story of mine. Check it out: http://www.hoppermag.org/trip-to-town
It’s only six sentences.
But sometimes inspiration gasps for breath, ideas hunch unrecognizable at dark edges.
Still, the cloud cloaked mountain hunches over the lake.
The hunched heron keeps a hungry eye at the water, ready.
The writer hunches over the keyboard waiting, wanting.
The word from Denise at GirlieontheEdge this week is “hunch”, but I have a hunch you figured that out from my Six Sentences. No story, I am not as proficient as that blue heron is. I have been finding it harder to write now that I have more time to do it. I’m not sure what I do all day, but it takes all my time. I do want to take some time now to thank Denise and the Six Sentence Story community for being such a supportive and encouraging group.
Last February Denise gave us “plant” and I apologized for a somewhat sketchy offering then too. But I have declared that my blog is not just a display case, it is also a workbench. I am glad to have put the unfinished plant sketch out for you because of the feedback it received. I might have left it be, but was encouraged by the Sixers to keep working with it. I did and in it’s expanded and more polished form will be published Saturday at The Hopper Environmental Lit Magazine.
I’m thrilled they were interested in that piece, and I am appreciative of its origins here as a Six Sentence Story offering. Thank you!
Okay, one more for the Carrot Ranch challenge:the July 16, 2020, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary Community: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that expresses the phrase, “scream inside your heart.” Who is involved and why is the scream contained? Go where the prompt leads!
Makeup D. Avery
Mother is a proper lady. Me too. We always dress nice. And we never raise our voices.
Mother wears makeup and lipstick that makes her even more pretty. I’m too young for that makeup. Sometimes Mother uses makeup that covers where her skin is blue and yellow. I told her once that makeup makes me angry. What he does. She said shush, never mind.
I was sad then. Shush, don’t make a scene, she said.
Today I got to use that covering makeup. I’m scared. I scream inside my heart, so quietly no one sees my heart is breaking.
Uneventful Flight by D. Avery
After an uneventful flight she’d taken a cab direct to the hospital, carrying only a hastily packed shoulder bag. The nurse’s smile of compassion and encouragement was like that of the flight attendant who had misinterpreted her obvious anxiety for a fear of flying. “You’re fine,” she’d assured her, “Everything’s okay.”
Now the nurse was telling her that he was stable, that there’d be more surgeries; warned her what to expect. “You’ll do fine. He’ll recognize his mother’s voice.”
Taking a deep breath, she went in; spoke soothing words, even over the echoes of the scream inside her heart.
These 99 words of fiction were written in response to the July 16, 2020, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary Community: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that expresses the phrase, “scream inside your heart.” Who is involved and why is the scream contained? Go where the prompt leads!
Head over to the Ranch to read, write, and play.
Over the River by D. Avery
“Everything go okay, Grandma was all right?”
She knew she was later than expected in spite of, or perhaps because of, having taken the shortcut, but nonchalantly removed her riding hood, placed the red cape on a peg by the cottage door. The smell of loaves baking in the small vaulted ovens next to the hearth made her ravenous but she carefully answered her mother’s questions, knowing it would not do to fabricate a story, but to carefully pick her way through the truths.
“Grandma was fine, maybe more than fine— I think she’s sweet on that woodsman that’s always hanging around; he was there and I think they were more glad to see me going than coming.”
Her mother tsk-tsked but it was true, she’d no sooner arrived than the older couple practically shoved her back out the door but she had been happy enough to just drop off that basket and make her way back through the woods. A small smile softened her lips while she distractedly stirred the stew that hung in the fireplace, musing how her mother lived by fear and assumption, believing all woodsmen to be noble and cavalier, all strangers evil and dangerous; behind her her mother’s face went as red as the cape with the small tear in its rough fabric, the tear fringed with frayed threads and clinging forest duff.
There’s my six sentences for the weekly Six Sentence Story prompt, “fabric”. Go to Denise’s GirlieOntheEdge’s blog for the link up to leave your own story using the prompt word in exactly six sentences. Or just go by to read more six sentence stories, but please, read and write responsibly.
Actually, the July 9, 2020 prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary Community this week is to, “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that answers the question, who is Monreal Dorb. You can imagine the life of this fictitious person in any era or circumstance. Is there cause and effect at play? Go where the prompt leads!” Spamming comes up in Charli’s post. So does gardening, little critters, and writing craft. All leading me to the following response.
Canned Goods by D. Avery
“Live around here?”
Wary, but staying planted in the paltry shade of the parking lot tree. “Around.” The constant circuit of shelters and flophouses; what her mother had called ‘da orbit’.
“What’s your name?”
Wondering why that matters. Eyeing cases of canned goods in the cart. Hunger always a dull ache pacing a wire cage but add today’s heat, she’s weak kneed from it. Named for a city her mother’d always tried to return to, she pronounces her first name the way she, with her missing front teeth, had. “Monreal. Monreal Dorb.” Finally is given a can of Spam.