Wednesdays can be rough. It’s Friday, right? you think as you yawn and wash the dishes, press play for more Netflix, fall asleep folding laundry, or tell yourself you’ll do that one thing tomorrow. No matter if you’re a bustling housewife or a preteen boy, there’s not always enough time to just sit down and read. Even if you do find 20 glorious minutes to spare, it’s only a tease because the next time you’ll be able to sit down and relax is in 3 months after Thanksgiving–and the family is coming over and you were going to get new carpet and it’s football season and…
Picking up a book for leisure is often moved–without hesitation–to the unseeable bottom of the Okay This Stuff Actually Does Need to Get Done Today list.
Cue, me. I’ll be your novel. (That sounds like a nerdy pick-up line).
Let your imagination go for 5, 10, 30 minutes on select Wednesdays, depending on how much I write and how fast of a reader you are. Short stories, poems, and more. We’ll go on a Wednesday-sized adventure every few weeks, and travel to Fiction Land (neighboring Narnia) where it can be Friday every single day of the week. If you want it to be, of course.
Written on 5/23/15, which was, in fact, not midweek.
Prompt used: 131. Write a description of an object close up.
A small twist of smoke curled up from the end of it, lightly layering the room with the sweet tobacco. She inhaled with fragile, subtle gulps. Her mother had raised her to never be rude in any circumstance, no exceptions. Yet there was something about those small white sticks that she did not trust. Putting one between your lips was a danger, she thought, yet she couldn’t quite place her intuition. She sniffed imperceptibly, daintily wiping her nose with a handkerchief, grateful for the momentary relief she found in breathing into the expensive cloth.
His brows furrowed in confusion.
“Whatsa matter? Ya don’t smoke?” He asked as if personally offended. Everyone smoked.
“I would prefer not to smoke right now, Mr. Garrison, no.” She answered as politely as she could, even offering him a small smile which he did not return. Her gloved hands folded themselves in her lap as they waited.
The man named Garrison muttered something unintelligible and snatched the cigarette between his forefinger and thumb. He drew deeply, eyes closed. The end of the cylinder became vibrant, bright orange coals given the breath of life. Shortly thereafter, he messily put it out on the homemade ashtray fashioned from foil. She gave a little cough. Minutes passed.
He lit another. She examined the woodworking of the clock. She would have read or tried to keep conversation, but she knew it would be fruitless. Besides, she wouldn’t have been able to focus anyway. Making small talk and engaging in social norms were the farthest from her mind.
They sat for an hour. He scratched his nose. She made no outward reflex toward his grimy hands and black nails, but inside she gagged.
He stank. She sighed. Twenty minutes more.
When a quiet, muffled car engine pulled up to the gate at approximately twenty to twelve, they made eye contact.
“I’ll go talk to ‘em,” Garrison growled. “You, don’t move.”
She didn’t think she could if she tried. He was gone all of a minute when her nerves got the best of her. Leaning across the table, she quickly found what she needed. Surely he won’t be mad, she thought. He did offer, after all. Her fingers fumbled on the lighter, and a curse passed shaking lips as she burned her thumb. Eventually the flame found the tinder. She breathed longer and deeper than even he had. The shaking that had started when Garrison left began to ease. Raising her right arm, she saw sweat stains forming beneath the wool jacket. Another drag would help calm the—
A shot rang out. The Tilly’s dogs started barking across the street, and the night was disturbed. She was gone within a moment, out the side door without so much as a look back. Her cigarette landed luckily on the ashtray, abandoned instantly, the air she breathed out ashy and acrid in her wake.
The faintest vapor twirled upward, the second cigarette she had left on Garrison’s table, but the first he would not pick up.
Before You Go
This was written by taking something mundane–a man smoking outside of his house–and letting my imagination run with it. Your writing doesn’t need a great starting point, a great backstory, or a great explanation; it needs you to make something great from them.