“I can’t believe you’re making me do this. I really don’t have time … what do you mean, ‘make time.’ I’m not your slave. You can’t order me around ….. well, technically, I suppose you CAN order me around, but still, I’m a professional, I shouldn’t have to deal with …”
She holds up a hand, her face contorted into a mask of disgust.
“Let’s get something straight here, missy. Yes, you created me, but I have a mind of my own.”
She crosses her arms and continues to address the person behind her.
“What do you mean ‘you’re counting on that.’ I make my own decisions and nothing short of deleting me will change that.”
She tilts her head to listen for a moment.
“Fine. I’ll do it, but I won’t like ….,” her smoky, dark blue/black eyes widen in surprise.
She notices that people are beginning to stare and she forces a strained smile.
“I didn’t see you there. How long were you…” she pauses before fluttering a hand in impatience. “Never mind. I’m glad you’re here.”
She takes a step back, suddenly feeling very much like she’s a bug stuck to a bulletin board and under close scrutiny by several pairs of eyes.
“I’m, um, not sure exactly what I’m doing here.” she says with a small laugh. “I’ve been forced, er, asked to address you so please, bear with me while I stumble through this.”
She straightens to her full 5’8 height and runs a hand through her spiky midnight-black hair.
“Let me introduce myself. I’m Giselle Pratt.” She waits for the recognition to sink in but becomes discouraged when she realizes that her name apparently doesn’t ring any bells.
“I’m the main character in Karen’s upcoming NaNoWriMo project.”
She shrugs and her voice falters when she notices some of your expressions.
“You … don’t … know about NaNoWriMo? Oh, I’m sorry, let me explain,” she says with an apologetic smile. “NaNoWriMo is the acronym for National Novel Writing Month and it’s a writing project that Karen participates in every November. In essence, because quite frankly the details bore me and I’m quite sure will bore you, it’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. And well, that’s about the extent of what I know. I only just arrived on the scene and I’m sort of stumbling through like the rest of you so …”
She looks over her shoulder and gives a low growl. “Stop pushing me! I’m doing the best I know how given the fact that you just sort of shoved me out here.”
She turns back to the monitor.
“So. Karen is under the assumption that you all care to know more about me. I mean, honestly, I’m like the most boring person in the world,” she clasps her hands behind her back and rocks on her heels for a few seconds before succumbing to her pent-up frustration. “Ya’ll seriously don’t know who I am? Giselle Pratt,” she speaks slowly, as if the enunciation will someone help. “Well, I must say, I’m just a teensy-weensy bit disappointed.”
She gives another exasperated glance over her shoulder before addressing the readers once more. “Don’t ya’ll read the newspapers? Er, maybe not. Since you’re here, online … okay.” She snaps her fingers. “You must have read about me online somewhere, right?” Her brows lift and she produces a hopeful expression.
“Well hell’s bells, this is disappointing.” She exhales slowly before continuing. “Alrighty then, we’ll start at the beginning.”
She rubs the palm of her hand across her nose as if she has an itch that needs immediate attention before continuing.
“As I said, I’m Giselle Pratt, but everybody calls me Elle. I’m the first female NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief,” she finishes proudly. Again, she pauses for dramatic flare. “Geez, ya’ll are great for my ego,” she mumbles under her breath.
“Some say I got the position because my father, who’s a sports’ announcer for ESPN, pulled some strings, but I prefer to believe that I got the job because I’m skilled.” She puts all of her weight on her left leg and uses her right leg to scratch the back of her left calf.
“My older brother is a driver. He races for Howell / Adams. Maybe you heard of him, Parker Pratt?” Again, she raises her brows in expectation of recognition, but again is disappointed by the lack of response.
“Tap, tap,” she says with a chuckle while pretending to hit a microphone in her hand. “Is this thing on? Ya’ll awake?”
She clears her throat and continues.
“Alrighty then. I just found out I got crew chief last week. I have yet to actually DO the job, but I’m not worried about that, I’m quite good at my job. I know these race cars like a police officer knows his gun. I’ll be working with number 46, Shadow Lennox. I know, that’s a strange name, but hey, I don’t name them, I just work with them. Well, technically, I haven’t worked with him yet, but you know what I mean.”
She pauses to take a breath and rub her nose again.
“My mother passed away about three years ago, breast cancer,” she shrugs. “It was one of those freak things. As far as I know, breast cancer doesn’t run in my family but suddenly she’s got it, and it’s malignant and they can’t do anything for her. It was,” she pauses to catch her breath. “Hard.”
She scratches her temple before continuing.
“My dad has been a NASCAR sports’ announcer for about …” she tilts her head to try and remember, “geez, going on 15 years now.” She looks a little shell-shocked at that realization. “I suppose it was only natural that Parker and I would be interested in racing, considering we practically lived on the road and at the race track.”
She looks behind her.
“People are getting bored. Can I stop now?”
She heaves a sigh before turning back to face the monitor. “I have two younger brothers, but they’re trouble makers and not worth mentioning,” she says while looking vastly uncomfortable.
“I’m 27, never been married, no kids and I don’t have a lot of friends. Well, I have Allie. She’s kind of a NASCAR groupie, but I’d never say that to her face, it would hurt her feelings. She tried to get on with NASCAR, but she buckled under the pressure. She’s smart as a tack, but she doesn’t respond well to stress. And working in NASCAR? Is really stressful.”
She lifts a shoulder in a self-depreciating shrug.
“I can handle it. I’m actually really good in a stressful situation, but get me in a room full of people and I sort of freeze up. I don’t have the best people skills, which is why Allie is so good for me – we complement each other perfectly.”
She steps back and begins to unclip her microphone.
“Okay look, I’m done. I’m simply not that interesting and I have a ton of things to do to prepare for my first race on Saturday so, I’m going to gracefully exit stage right.”
Static scratches as she attempts to remove her audio piece.
“Damn it,” she mutters. “I can’t stand this tedious bull ….”
The microphone squawks and falls to the ground with a sharp thunk.
Giselle gives the readers a smart salute before exiting the area.
Confused? Don’t be. I’m writing up little character vignettes in preparation for the NaNoWriMo challenge next month. Stay tuned for more character introductions.