Camp NaNoWriMo, Prompt Fiction

Make Her Suffer

My lips curled into what I hoped passed for a happy, relaxed grin.

I tuned my girlfriends’ incessant chatter out as I sat and stared at the woman on the platform. The woman began to sway her hips and suggestively gyrate to the club’s bass-heavy music. She arched her back thrusting her breasts front and center immediately drawing the attention of nearly every male in the vicinity of her toxic fumes. She swung her long ebony hair over her shoulder and fixed her gaze on a good looking business man seated near the stage. She licked her lips suggestively and gave the man a lascivious wink as she slithered around a greasy pole.

I hated her on sight.

I imagined my hands around her throat, my fingers giving her a necklace of bruises, her breaths becoming short and choppy as her eyes bugged out of her head from lack of oxygen.

My lips curled into a genuine smile at the thought of squeezing every last drop of life from the bitch.

“Girl, it’s so good to finally see you smile,” my friend Chelsea chuckled while giving me a friendly nudge.

I tore my eyes from the Medusa on stage and turned back to my table of friends.

“What are you talking about, I smile all the time.”

“You don’t smile, you grimace. You haven’t been truly happy in a while.”

I sighed and lifted a shoulder into a half shrug. “What is there to be happy about? Jeremy left me.”

“Now listen here,” Nora started, her hand going up as if to shush the rest of the club so she could say her piece.

“Jeremy,” Tara placed a hand on Nora’s shoulder to quell her tirade, “is a confused piece of shit that doesn’t know his head from his ass. You don’t need that drama in your life. You’re better off without him.

I disagreed. He was the best thing that ever happened to me. “Sure, okay,” I acquiesced with a toss of my head.

“He’s doing his passive denial thing again,” Nora said with a flick of her wrist. “Listen sweetie, he may have been your first lover but he won’t be your last. You have to learn from your mistakes so that you can recognize the real deal when it slaps you in your face.”

“I loved him, Nora.”

She released a heavy sigh and placed her arm around my shoulders giving a small squeeze. “I know you did, love.” She briefly placed her soft lips to my cheek before jerking back. “Girl, did you even shave tonight?” She leaned back and rubbed a hand over her lips.

I chuckled despite my dark mood. “Of course, two hours ago. I’m telling you, I’m Sasquatch incarnate. I fucking hate facial hair!”

“You could always look into laser hair removal,” Tara mumbled behind her glass. She had lifted as if to take a drink but her eyes were focused on something across the room.

“Yeah, I could, but I hear it’s expensive,” I murmured, distracted by Tara’s suddenly pale face. I arched a brow at her to silently ask, “what is going on.” Tara quickly shook her head and took a large swallow of her drink.

Nora surreptitiously glanced over her shoulder to try and see what Tara was looking at and then just as quickly whipped it back around to face our group. “You know what, this place is a dump. Let’s go somewhere else.” She downed the rest of her drink and made to get out of the booth.

Chelsea shook her head at me as if to say, “I have no idea why these two are acting so weird” look.

But I knew. I knew without even turning around what was happening behind me. I could feel the small, but strong electric tingle worm it’s way up my spine and my groin tightened. This was always the reaction I had whenever Jeremy was close by.

“He’s here, isn’t he.”

“Yes baby, he is,” Tara said while reaching across the table to grab my hands and squeeze them.

I looked at Nora. “He’s not supposed to be here, He’s supposed to be on his way to Chicago tonight.”

She nodded. “Something must have changed.”

Nora and I stared at each other, a silent moment in time to give our brains a moment to adapt to the change in plans.

I knew Jeremy’s schedule intimately. I knew where he was at all times. I knew this because he is a creature of habit, he likes to stick to a schedule because it gives him control over his life and helps control his chaotic confusion.

His confusion being me.

I didn’t dare turn around, I knew he was there. I could sense him near. I could even pick out his throaty chuckle underneath the obnoxious music blaring from all corners of the club. What had changed? Why had he postponed his flight? He had been talking about this important meeting, ad nauseam, in Chicago for months. I knew how important it was to him, I knew how important it could have been for both of us.

A catcall from the audience caught my attention and my eyes darted to the girl on stage.

Her. His change of plans had to be because of HER. I narrowed my eyes at the harlot and ground my teeth together to prevent myself from saying anything that might incriminate me later.

“Oh shit,” Chelsea said and subconsciously slouched down in her seat. “I think he saw us.”

All three of heads turned in his direction. I looked at each of my friends’ faces and taking a breath, turned around in my seat.

Our eyes locked across the room. Jeremy was the first to look away. He turned to address one of his friends who slapped him across the back and pointed to the stage. Jeremy smiled and nudged his friend in the ribs. I released a breath not even realizing I had been holding my breath.

So that’s how he wanted to play it.

“What an asshole,” Tara hissed. “He didn’t even acknowledge you.”

I shrugged, swallowing the bitter feeling that had formed in the back of my throat. “I’m not surprised.”

“What do you mean, you’re not surprised? You guys dated for nearly three months!” Chelsea shouted to compete with the music.

“Shut up, Chelsea, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Chelsea started at Nora for a long moment, realization dawning as she turned to look at me. “No one knows you dated for three months”

Tara gasped. “Are you serious? How does Jeremy’s friends know he’s not gay?”

“Because he never told them,” I snapped. “He was trying to figure things out. He wanted to keep it quiet until he sorted it out in his head. No one in Jeremy’s world knew we dated.”

All eyes searched out Jeremy’s posse of friends again as they took a table near the stage. The witch performing paused a moment in her routine to blow a kiss at Jeremy. He caught the pretend kiss and placed it in his pocket. His friends whooped and hollered in appreciation.

“Gross,” I muttered.

“Oh my God,” Tara gasped again, “I’m so sorry, Kyle. We had no idea. No wonder you’ve been so tense lately.”

Jeremy’s chair was positioned so that he was facing our table. Our eyes locked again. I gave him a small salute of acknowledgment.

Jeremy got up from his chair and asked a friend of his to switch seats so his back would be to us. His friend looked toward our table as he took his seat, learned forward to say something to the rest of his table which prompted loud laughter all around.

“His friend knows,” Nora said quietly.

“Yeah, it looks like it. That’s Brian, Jeremy’s bestie. I never met him but Jeremy talked about him. They grew up together and are now working to partner on their new project.”

“I can’t believe he did that to you, Ky,” Tara said.

I sighed and ran a hand through my hair. “It is what it is. I can’t make someone love me. He has to sort it out with himself before he can give himself to someone else. I’m just not that someone else, I suppose.”

“What do you want to do?” Nora said quietly. She was studying me closely and I knew what she really wanted to ask me was, “do you still want to do this?”

I lifted my dirty martini to my lips and watched the witch on stage flirt with Jeremy. She was ignoring the businessman she had flirted with earlier and I could see the man was getting irate at her lack of attention. With a huff, the man stood up, nearly knocking his chair over in the process, threw down some bills and stomped out of the club. Jeremy’s friends noticed and started laughing again.

I gave that man the best three months of my life. I know that sounds melodramatic but it’s absolutely true. I had never felt more comfortable with someone in my life and it was the first time I felt like I could truly be myself. I had never felt more complete and secure and to have that ripped out of my hands was devastating. But I didn’t blame Jeremy, how could I? I loved him. I know how hard it is to come to terms with one’s sexuality and I couldn’t blame him for trying something new and different, it just wasn’t a good fit.

But HER. I shifted again to give my full attention to the whore on stage. She I could blame.

She didn’t come out of nowhere. She-who-shall-not-be-named dated Jeremy in college but things got rough when Jeremy met me. They eventually broke it off. But she never knew why they broke it off, only that he needed some space and to focus on his career.

The bitch didn’t know about me.

Jeremy agonized over their relationship. He felt so conflicted. He knew she was supposed to be part of his plan, according to his family’s expectations, but he just didn’t feel anything for her. She was manipulating and sometimes cruel in some of the things she text him and how she treated him. But he got used to her.

She was safe.

No one, outside of Jeremy, his close friends and me, of course, knew about the bitch’s side job. She wasn’t very bright and when Jeremy broke up with her, no longer supported her, she needed to make money to keep up appearances that she was an excellent catch so she turned to stripping to maintain her “lifestyle”.  I knew Jeremy’s father would be livid with the bitch’s life choice and would pressure Jeremy to marry her to get her off the streets. The fact that Jeremy hadn’t taken that “easy” route spoke volumes.

I could see what was happening now. Jeremy’s father must have been pressuring him to get back with the bitch. He needed a wife to complete the corporate picture, to help him with his all-important career. And he caved. Jeremy was weak.

But I still loved him. I knew, in that moment, that Jeremy and I didn’t have a future together, it was never going to happen. Jeremy’s world would not permit it. But perhaps I could help him find happiness in other ways.

The bitch’s raunchy routine was over and with one last kiss and a kick of her leg, she waved and left the stage.

I shifted my gaze back to Nora. I tightened my jaw and never felt more determined than I did in that moment.

“You know what? I have an early morning tomorrow. I’m going to call it a night.”

That was the cue.

Nora stood up and smoothed her skirt. “Yeah, me too. I’m going to run to the bathroom, I’ll see you guys later.”

“I’ll go with you,” Tara said while slinging her purse over her shoulder.

“No,” Nora said. “Why don’t you and Chelsea go to the bar and pay our tab? We’re treating Jeremy tonight. Besides, he’s been drinking and I don’t want him driving. Why not just take him to my place? he can crash there. He has a key.”

Tara and Chelsea gave me pitying looks and nodded. “Of course.”

As they walked off, I turned to Nora. “If I was straight, I would marry you,”

She smiled and patted my cheek. “And I would accept.” She patted her purse. “Now go. You can’t be anywhere near here when it goes down.”

I leaned forward and gave her an affectionate kiss on the cheek. I whispered in her ear, “Please make her suffer.”

Nora winked. “Oh sugar, it will be my pleasure. I’ll meet you back at my place later and show you the video.”

Post Seven
Prompt Fiction

Fiction: Haircut Hotties

Thursday Thread
Thursday is the day I post a bit o’ fiction.


Haircut Hotties

“Oh come on mom, do we have to?” Dustin whined from the back seat of the car.

“Please don’t start on me, Dustin. I’m getting a headache.” Janet leaned forward to look at the overcast sky. Even though she did indeed get headaches when the weather changed, she highly suspected the real reason her head was starting to pound was because it was time to take the boys to get their haircut.

She hated taking her boys to get their haircut.

“But I just got a haircut,” Dustin lamented.

“That was nearly three months ago, right after you got out of school.”

“Yeah, and?”

Janet sighed and pinched her nose to try and ward off the impending pressure. “Seriously, don’t. You need a haircut, end of story.”

“But this makes like the millionth time,” her pre-teen son said while slumping down in his seat and crossing his arms in a huff.

“Right. So what’s one more?”

Dustin mumbled something incoherent – Janet felt it was wiser to ignore his disgruntled mumblings.

“Where are we going?” Her teenage son muttered in the seat next to her.

“Do I have to actually grace that with an answer?” Janet ground her teeth and made a left turn.

“I mean,” Robert said with exaggerated patience, “I thought that haircut place was the other way.” He sat up a little straighter in his seat and looked around with growing interest. “Where the hell …”

“Robert,” she warned and her son issued a long-suffering sigh. She didn’t exactly oppose cursing, God knew she had a problem with it herself, but it somehow sounded more … obscene coming from her children’s’ mouths.

“Okay, where the HECK are you taking us, mom?” Robert smirked and shot her a cheeky look.

“We’re trying a new place.” She braced for the impact.

She wasn’t disappointed.

“What?!” Robert’s deep brown eyes widened in sudden terror. Her nearly 17-year old son abhorred change of any kind. “But I was used to the other place.”

“Yeah, but they take forever and I don’t feel like waiting around twenty minutes for them to get started on you.”

“That’s only if you don’t have an appointment,” Robert smirked.

“We have had appointments every time we’ve gone there, Rob.” She shot him an impatient glance. “Look. The ladies are nice there, and they do a good job, but you have to admit, they are sloooow. I have things to do. I can’t afford to sit around all afternoon while they gab and snip. Wouldn’t you rather get back home so you can bury your nose in your new game?”

Robert shrugged and Janet savored this one small victory. There weren’t many victories nowadays; she would take what she could get.

“So, this new place …” Robert began, his eyebrows disappearing into his shaggy bangs.

“Is different,” Janet answered and shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She wasn’t exactly sure how her boys would react when they reached the new place.

“What’s it called?” Robert asked.

Janet waved a nonchalant hand and murmured her response.

“Wait, I didn’t catch that. What is it again?” Robert turned to give her his full attention and she sensed Dustin leaning forward from the back seat.

“Uh, well,” she gulped, “I think it’s called ‘Cut by Hotties.’”

Dustin burst out laughing and Robert stroked the peach fuzz on his upper lip. “I think I’ve heard of that place,” Robert said with a grin.

“Yeah well …” Janet wasn’t sure how Robert had heard about the revolutionary barber shop and she wasn’t sure she wanted to know, quite frankly, but she was ready to try anything if it meant she wouldn’t be forced to sit and watch testosterone-driven movies for two hours while the boys got worked on at the other place.

The boys had never liked getting their haircut. Even when they were little, they would bicker, cry and generally throw a fit anytime anyone showed up with a pair of scissors in their hand. And though they had mellowed over time, it still wasn’t top on their priority list. They were beyond the causing a scene stage now, but their stony silence and their heated looks nearly always made the stylists nervous causing them to either not take off enough so that Janet had to trim them up when they got home, or they would take off too much and Janet would be forced to listen to them whine and complain until it grew back to an acceptable (and unruly) length.

As a result of the haircut drama over the years, she took them to several different places, always looking for that one stylist who would cut their hair like they wanted or who wouldn’t tremble under their obstinate behavior.

So far, they had all failed to stand up to the boys’ unrealistic expectations.

She had stopped taking them to her stylist years ago simply because she got tired of having to explain her sons’ behavior every time she went in for a color and a trim. She could understand the boys’ reluctance to have anyone touch them or put their fingers in their hair, but enough was enough. Everyone had to have their haircut at some point – it was no big deal.

She pulled into the shopping center and parked the dark blue Corolla in front of the ‘Cut by Hotties’ shop.

No one moved.

The trio sat in the car, all eyes trained on the activities inside the salon. The place was crawling with pretty girls hovering over numerous men in barber chairs. Several men were sitting along the front wall in various stages of having their hair worked on. One man was in a reclined position and was eagerly exposing his neck for a shave. Another man was talking animatedly and using his hands to make his point while keeping his eyes trained on his stylist in the mirror. Yet another man, his back to his stylist was seemingly staring straight at them.

“What’s that dude staring at us for?”

Janet felt a slow flush creep up her neck and cleared her throat. “I really have no …”

She paused as something caught her attention in her peripheral. Two women, both attractive and both wearing what looked like a skimpy uniform, were ambling toward the front door of the salon. One wore comfortable flips-flops, the soles slapped softly on the warm pavement; the other woman wore three-inch backless baby blue heels and looked like she was about ready to topple over trying to walk in them.

“I, uh,” Janet began while pointing to the women. “I’m assuming he’s staring at them.”

The man in the salon wasn’t the only person staring at the women. Robert was staring so hard his glasses began to steam.

“I remember this place now,” Robert said slowly. “It’s like a place for guys to come and get their hair done and,” he jerked his head back to the salon, his eyes greedily scanning over the girls in short red skirts and tight multi-layered black and red spaghetti strapped tunics, “the stylists are supposed to be hot.”

“Yes, well.” Robert’s interest was beginning to make her feel uncomfortable. “It’s for guys and I thought, uh, you might feel more comfortable here,” she finished weakly.

“Cool, let’s go.”

Before Janet could remove her keys from the ignition, Robert and Dustin were out of the car and opening the door to the salon.

“Swell,” Janet mumbled while dropping her keys into her purse. She rolled her eyes and slowly followed her boys into the salon. She noted the “Please tip the girls” sign prominently displayed on the glass door.

Just what kind of a tip are we talking about here? Janet thought as she approached the bubbly brunette behind the counter. “Uh, hi,” she began feeling immediately intimidated by the pretty girl and self-conscious that she was the only female customer in the place. “Robert and Dustin for one o’clock.”

“Right,” the girl responded while chomping on her gum. “We’re all ready for them. Won’t you have a seat?”

Janet looked around but couldn’t see anywhere to sit down. “Where do I sit?”

“Oh,” the girl waved a manicured hand airily behind her, “Just take one of those massage chairs, if you want. They’re quite comfortable.”

Janet slowly walked back to the red leather chairs and sank down, her buttocks perched primly on the edge. She gripped her purse and stared up at the big screen TV – it was tuned to a sports’ channel.

She had never felt so exposed in all her life. Now she knew how men felt when they went into a more traditional salon.

She didn’t like the feeling.

She cleared her throat and tried to look around without actually meeting anyone’s eyes. Maybe her boys wouldn’t like this place either and they could go back to a more traditional-style salon – one that smelled like hair dye and fingernail polish remover.

Janet finally located her boys. They were side-by-side and caught up in a conversation with their stylists.

They didn’t look unhappy. In fact, they looked like they were in a trance, a silly, sappy grin plastered on both of their faces. Robert caught her eye in the mirror at his station and gave her a thumbs-up sign.

Janet carefully schooled her face into a mask of indifference, yet she doubted if anyone would have noticed the lone, frumpy woman in the red leather chair anyway. She gave Robert a little wave as she blindly dug into her bag for her cell phone. As discreetly as possible, she speed-dialed her best friend, Tonya.

“Tonya?” she began, her voice balanced somewhere between amused and worried, “you know that restaurant Hooters?” She waited until Tonya responded before continuing. “Well, we now have a Hooter’s for Hair. Guard your husband, it’s enemy territory over here.”

Prompt Fiction

Fiction: Caught on Tape

Thursday Thread
Thursday is the day I post a bit o’ fiction.

This was originally posted May 16, 2007.


Caught on Tape

“What in the world does she hope to gain by doing this?”

“I’m not sure,” Sharon replied, her eyes glued on the fourteen-year old girl on the TV monitor. “I honestly don’t know what to think.”

Kathy placed a comforting hand on Sharon’s arm. “I’m really sorry about this, Shar.”

Tears welled up in Sharon’s eyes and she blinked them away impatiently. “I have to say, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it.” Sharon could sense Kathy nodding beside her. She sighed. “What am I going to do? I mean, do I ignore this and hope it’s a phase? Or do I confront her so she can act oblivious and lie to my face?”

“I … honestly don’t know.”

“If it were your daughter going through your jewelry box …” Sharon slapped a hand against her thigh and gestured hopelessly at the screen, “and now going through your purse, what would you do?”

The two women watched the girl pocket three twenty-dollar bills into her jeans and then dangle a gold necklace from her fingers. She appeared to be mulling over whether or not she should take it.

“Maybe she won’t take the necklace,” Kathy offered helpfully. The girl shrugged and stuffed the necklace into her pocket. “Or maybe not …” Kathy’s voice trailed off.

“I simply can’t believe my own daughter would steal from me. I mean, if you hadn’t talked me into planting a video camera in my bedroom, I never would have bought this crap.”

Kathy sighed next to her. “Teresa is my friend, Sharon. I knew she wasn’t the type of person to steal from you. She’s been cleaning my house for, oh God, years and we never had any problems. I just didn’t want you to falsely accuse her of something.”

“So instead of firing my housekeeper, now I have a delinquent daughter to deal with.”

They continued to watch the girl rummage through Sharon’s purse before finally giving up, glancing one last time through the room to make sure everything was in its place and finally leave.

“This is going to break her father’s heart,” Sharon mumbled. “I can’t let her out of the house with her stash.” She spoke the last word bitterly. “Is she going to buy drugs? What else would a fourteen-year old girl need money for?”

Sharon stood up and headed toward the door. She paused and turned around. “Unless …” she swallowed. “She doesn’t need the money for drugs. What if she’s …” Her eyes widened in horror. “And she needs the money for a doctor …” Her hand flew up to her mouth and she hurried out of the spare bedroom after her daughter.

“Sara!” She walked briskly to the stairs and grabbed her first-born child by the arm before she could get away from her. “We need to talk.”



I started a new tweet (I guess that’s what you call them) on Twitter called, appropriately enough, Blog Fodder. Every day I post a writing prompt, just something extra to help you get through the blogging humps. It’s not really a question, per se, but rather something that might trigger a memory, or something you can use as a springboard to write a story, or a blog post. Anything goes. Use the prompt any way you wish.

Prompt Fiction

Fiction: How to Lose a Man

“That has got to be the stupidest title for a seminar I’ve ever heard.”

Ellie and Gina continued to stare each other down. The other customers in the coffee shop began to look in their direction.

“Can you say that a little louder, please? I don’t think the hicks in the next county heard you.”

Gina broke off the stare-a-thon first. She sat back in her chair and crossed her arms. “Seriously Ellie, who’s going to pay to hear you talk about how to lose their man? Don’t we have enough trouble keeping our men nowadays as it is without having to hear tips on how to get divorced faster?”

Ellie ran a hand over suddenly tired eyes. “You’re not listening, Gina. It’s not about losing your man, it’s about keeping your man.”

“Then why the crazy title?”

“To get people’s attention.”

Gina shrugged, uncrossed her arms and reached for her double-shot espresso. “I think it’s counterproductive.”

“And I appreciate your candor,” Ellie said, though the tone of her voice indicated otherwise. “But my sponsors love the idea and since they’re the ones who give me a paycheck every month …”

“Right. I understand having to go where the money talks ALL too well, thank you very much.” Gina said with a grimace. “I still don’t know how you do this though, given what happened.”

Ellie sighed and ran a finger lightly over the crust of her moist, blueberry muffin. “It actually helps.”

“How can giving out advice about relationships help you get over the fact that Jerry was an asshole?”

“It just re-establishes what I did wrong.”

“You didn’t do anything wrong, girlfriend,” Gina said with a snort. “The man had one foot out the door your entire marriage.”

Ellie reached up and tucked a strand of dark brown hair behind her ear. Her gaze landed on the pimply-faced barista behind the counter. The girl looked tired and tense. She also looked a bit sad as she worked alongside the bubbly blonde cheerleader-type girl next to her. She could relate to the tired girl. She knew exactly what it was like to be overshadowed and often times, overlooked, when next to more attractive people.

Ellie’s eyes shifted back on her friend and she heaved a heavy sigh. “I won’t dispute that. I think Jerry was just a restless soul to begin with. He didn’t know what he wanted, let alone what he wanted out of our marriage. But,” she held up a finger as Gina opened her mouth to interrupt her. “I did contribute to the problems.”

“Oh?” Gina cocked her head and looked dubious. “How so?”

“Come to the seminar and find out,” Ellie said with a melancholy smile.

Gina rolled her eyes. “You know I have that conference in Tallahassee that week. I can’t come. Just give me the highlights.”

Ellie sucked her bottom lip in between her teeth and looked uncertain. “It’s not exactly finished. It needs work.”

“All the more reason to try it out on me,” Gina insisted.

Ellie stared at her for long seconds before nodding. “Fine. All right.” She cleared her throat and reached into her over-sized handbag. She cracked her eyeglass case open and reached in for her spectacles.

“Since when do you wear glasses?” Gina asked in surprise.

“Since I can’t see two feet in front of me,” Ellie growled and pulled out a steno pad. She flipped to the correct page before clearing her throat once again.

“How to lose your man,” she began in an authoritative voice.

Gina settled into her seat and crossed her long, thin legs. “This outta be good.”

“I warn you,” Ellie said over her glasses, “it needs work.”

Gina waved a hand to indicate she should continue.

Number One,” Ellie paused. A small amount of red stained her upper cheeks. “Stop taking care of yourself or,” she paused, “in laymen’s terms, get fat.”

“What?” Gina sputtered.

“Well look at me,” Ellie said with a grand sweep over her plump figure. “I’ve gained about 30 pounds since marrying Jerry — ”

“What does that have anything to do with anything? You look great. And you’re not fat for the like the gazillionth time.”

Ellie gave her a sad smile before shaking her head. “I’m not attractive anymore, Gina. I let myself go.”

“Is that what that SOB told you?”

“No, it’s what my mirror tells me.” She lifted a hand to stop her friend’s tirade. “Think of it this way,” she paused and whet her lips, “you married a really good looking guy. You found him attractive, the sex was good and then … you woke up one morning and noticed he had a beer gut. And he didn’t shave as often, or maybe he didn’t wear as much deodorant as he needed to. Would you still be attracted to him?”

“You should love each other no matter what,” Gina insisted in stubborn tones.

“True. But being attracted to one another is a component of love. And if you don’t have enough respect to take care of yourself, how can your partner have enough respect for you? Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can suddenly stop caring about how you present yourself to him or the rest of the world.”

“I still think that’s a cop-out excuse to end a marriage.”

“I didn’t say it would end your marriage, it’s just one of the steps that leads to that conclusion,” Ellie said.

Gina studied her friend for several seconds, “Jerry didn’t leave you because you’ve put on a few pounds, Ell.”

“Actually, he did.”

Gina blinked.

“He told me,” Ellie said. “But,” she continued, “I can understand where he’s coming from.”

“You shouldn’t have to change yourself for anyone.”

“That’s right. I agree. You shouldn’t change yourself — for better OR worse for anyone.”

Gina gave her a hard stare before saying, “We’re never going to agree on this point. Let’s skip this and move on.”

“Fine,” Ellie’s eyes went back to her notes. “Number Two, nag him. Men have a fantastic ability to completely shut us out in the best of times. Start nagging him and he’s sure to shut you out.”

“Well, I can certainly understand that one. My boss nags me all the time and I want to throttle the man.”

“Imagine living with someone who thought everything you did was sub-standard or simply not good enough. How do you think that affects your self-esteem after a while?”

“Not to mention how utterly annoying,” Gina shot back. “What’s number three?”

Ellie consulted her notes. “Number three, belittle him.”

“How is that different than nagging?”

“Nagging is always reminding him he needs to do something, or not do something. Belittling is when you make that person feel like dirt as a person. Men have huge egos, belittling them, or emasculating them, makes thim think less and less of you. Who wants to be around someone who makes them feel bad, or not good enough all the time?”

“Oh come on, you didn’t do that.”

Ellie sighed. “Didn’t I? I used to joke all the time how Jerry couldn’t cook a meal to save his life. Or how I was so thankful for Triple A because if I had to rely on Jerry to fix my car, I’d still be stuck in Iowa.”

“But you were kidding. It was funny..”

“He wasn’t laughing,” Ellie said, her facial features set into a humorless mask. “Number four,” she continued, her eyes still on Gina, “become his mother.”

Gina burst out laughing. “Now that’s just plain sick.”

Ellie allowed a small grin before continuing. “It sounds like that, but you’d be surprised by the number of women who are at their husband’s beck and call whenever he’s in dire need of guidance. While it’s great to make sure he has a good home-cooked meal or clean socks, it can get a little overbearing when it’s starting to look like he married his mother and not the woman he fell in love with. Women need to show their men they have their own talents and that they’re the sexy women they married in the first place.

Number five,” Ellie continued and rubbed her nose. “don’t trust him. Unless he’s given you a reason NOT to trust him, then chill the hell out. To learn how to trust is to learn how to take attention off of him and focus it on yourself. Do what makes you happy and before you know it, unless he gives you reasons to feel otherwise, everything will fall into place.”

“That’s easier said than done,” Gina said with a confident nod of her head.

Ellie reached across and gave Gina’s hand a reassuring pat. “You had every reason to distrust Walt, Gina.”

Her friend shrugged and stared off into the distance.

Number six,” Ellie continued, “Stay silent.”

Gina’s eyes shifted back. “What do you mean?”

“If you can’t say what’s on your mind without your man going off the deep end, something is definitely wrong. Repressing your thoughts and opinions is stifling your self-growth and before long, you’re resenting the fact that you CAN’T speak your mind. It feels like he’s controlling you because you can’t be yourself around him.”

“I agree with that to a certain extent.”

“How so?” Ellie asked and took a sip of her latte.

Continue reading “Fiction: How to Lose a Man”

Prompt Fiction

Fiction: I Had a Problem

Thursday Thread
Thursday is the day I post a bit o’ fiction.

This was originally published March 23, 2007

These prompt fiction pieces were all written in a hurry and haven’t been edited (much). I’m using these prompts to free / speed write – just some warm-up exercises.

You can find a ton of writing prompts at Write Anything. Click over today and write YOUR version!

Writing Prompt:

You’re behind a car in traffic when you notice part of a trash bag sticking out from the closed trunk. What’s in the bag?


I couldn’t help it. I had a problem. I knew it, my husband knew it, my friends knew it, hell even my neighbors knew it.

I worried the inside of my cheek and continued to check the traffic in my rearview mirror. I kept driving. I had no idea where I was going, but I couldn’t stop. Not now. I had pushed the envelope too far this time. I had lied so many times in the past I had forgotten the truth even existed.

I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. It was painful and yet strangely comforting. I was alive! Finally, thank God, I was alive.

I knew what I was doing was wrong. I knew there would be repercussions. But I simply couldn’t stop. I had an impulse, a need to do this. It was strong. It pushed me. It was like being stuck in the middle of a parade. The people kept pushing against me; I tried to fight my way through the masses, but somehow, they always won and I ended up being twirled around and pushed ahead of them.

I finally stopped fighting them. What was the use? This was who I was. This was the only thing that kept me breathing, kept me functioning from day to day, kept me from tearing my hair out night after night and kept the demons from clawing my insides to bloody ribbons.

I pulled off the highway and onto the exit ramp. This section of town was dark, mysterious and dangerous. It was the perfect place to dump the contents of the trash bag in the trunk of my car.

I continued to check my rearview mirror. I didn’t think I was being followed, but I couldn’t take the chance. I drove around several blocks, taking side streets and weaving in and out of back alleys.

I released a small sigh of relief when I was finally convinced no one was tailing me. I lifted a shaky hand and removed a fine sheen of perspiration from my brow. The hard part was over. Now it was time to dump the contents.

I couldn’t help but smile at myself in the mirror. This was my favorite part.

I pulled up to the small security building outside the Greenback Storage Facility.

“Hey Ms. Winter. How’s you doin’ tonight?” The large, burly black man smiled at me from within his cubicle. His teeth glowed brightly in the dim light.

“Hi Max,” I replied in what I hope was a normal voice. I sounded breathless, guilty. I cleared my throat and smiled. “Slow night?” I could feel my heartbeat decrease with each heavy thud. It had a tendency to do that whenever I found myself in dire straits.

Max chuckled and pressed the button that opened the security gate. “The only people out are the punks who’s got something to hide,” he said.

I blinked instinctively as if he had taken a swing at me. I swallowed hard and recovered quickly. “Really. Well, then I better not look too guilty, eh?”

The breath caught in my throat as I waited for his reaction. I nonchalantly placed my hand over my purse just in case he asked any more nosey questions.

“Yeah, right Ms. Winter.” He grinned and waved me on through the gate.

I relaxed my death grip on the steering wheel and drove into the facility. I forced myself to drive slowly though what I really wanted to do was tear around the storage buildings on two wheels.

I finally parked in front of door number 414. I slipped out of the car and made a show of stretching my legs. It hadn’t really been that long of a drive, only 45 minutes, but I knew Max was probably watching me on the security monitor. I fished the storage keys out of my purse and walked to the trunk. I jabbed the key into the lock with perhaps more force than was necessary.

I broke a nail and swore softly under my breath.

I popped the trunk and grabbed the heavy black trash bag. A very distinctive and not altogether unpleasant smell wafted up my nose. I took deep breaths and using every ounce of strength I had, I hauled the bag out of the trunk. Using my elbow, I snapped it shut.

I stumbled a few times but was careful to keep my walk regular and steady. I wanted to run as fast as I could to the shed, but I didn’t want to arouse Max’s suspicions. When I reached the door, I unceremoniously dropped the bag at my feet and unlocked the door. I switched on the light and keeping the door open with my rear end, I dragged the bag into the building. It was only after I shut the door and caught my breath did I relax.

I stuffed the fake ID and credit card into the mail pouch next to the door. I wouldn’t need those again for a few weeks.

I turned and feasted my eyes on the mound in the corner. I could feel myself salivating with anticipation. I glanced at my watch. It was 4:15. I had just under an hour to “play.”

A giggle gurgled up inside my throat and I allowed it to surface. The sound reverberated off the walls and sounded scratchy and … evil.

I frowned and dragged the bag over to the mound. I was determined not to let anything spoil the moment, for these indeed were the happiest moments of my life, the trips to my storage container.

I grabbed a corner of the bag and tugged. The contents began to spill out and mix with the mound. The colors were spectacular: blue, red, pink, yellow, green, black, and white.

I rubbed my hands together and kicked off my boots. I began to try on the various pairs of shoes I had just emptied from the bag. I admired myself in the full-length mirror tacked to the far wall.

I sighed happily at my reflection.

“Now THIS is what life is all about,” I said to my flushed, animated face.

Prompt Fiction

Fiction: Digging It Up


I actually began this story with the intention of using the following three words from Three Word Wednesday: Change, Dizzy and Key. However, it came out so fast that I completely forgot to use the words. lol


“Mom, come here and look at this.”

Hope continued to evaluate herself in the mirror. “What about this one?” she asked her 17-year old daughter while nodding at her reflection and staring at the peach sleeveless turtleneck she held up against her torso. “This one looks dressy.”

“That color is all wrong for you, mom. It makes you look like an albino,” Edie responded without taking her eyes off the scene outside.

“Really?” Hope’s voice trailed off in disappointment. “But I thought this looked good on me.”

“Nope. And you’re whining again.”

“Well, thanks for shattering my self-confidence.” She threw the top onto the bed in a fit of temper and moved to rummage through the rest of her closet. She had lost nearly twenty pounds in the past three months and nothing in her wardrobe appeared to fit her anymore. She wasn’t sure she had very many more clothes she could try on.

“Seriously, mom, you need to see this.”

“I’m sort of busy right now! I need to meet your father for lunch in 45 minutes!” Her voice was laced with tension and she felt a twinge of disgust at her desperation. Since when had she become so desperate to be someone she wasn’t?

Since her husband had been working longer hours and was home a lot less, that’s when.

The children weren’t aware of how shaky things had become between her and William lately. She wanted to look drop-dead gorgeous for their lunch date and remind her husband, if not verbally, then subliminally, how good he really had it.

“There are strange men with bulldozers crawling all over our yard,” Edie said in a breathy timbre.

“What?” Hope continued to grab handfuls of clothes and toss them out of the closet. She felt a bubble of a giggle percolate deep in her belly as she pictured someone walking into the bedroom and seeing various articles of clothing being tossed into the air and no one visibly throwing them. I’m hysterical, she thought. I’m going to have a nervous breakdown and then where will I be? “On my own with four children to support and a medicine cabinet full of prescription drugs, that’s where,” she mumbled under her breath.

She continued to empty her closet and felt like screaming in frustration. She’d have one hell of a mess to clean up later, but she didn’t care. She NEEDED to find something, anything at this point that would accentuate her weight loss. Maybe Edie had something she could wear …


Hope jumped and issued a small squeal of surprise. She paused, her arms over her head, to glare at her daughter. “WHAT?” she yelled back.

“Come here, now.”

“Don’t talk to me like that young –”

“These guys are ripping up our driveway!”

“WHAT?” Hope repeated, only this time, the lone word was yelled in confusion.

Edie disappeared from view and Hope followed her to the window that overlooked the back of the house. Her daughter stood to one side and with one hand, flicked a grand gesture to the scene outside. “Our driveway is gone.”

Hope looked out of the window and her soft blue eyes, the color of aged denim, widened in shock. “What the heck are they doing?”

“Ripping up our driveway,” Edie shot back, her voice laced with sarcasm.

“I can see that, Ms Smarty-Pants. I mean, why are they doing it?”

“Because it’s their job?” her daughter offered helpfully.

Hope ignored her and wracked her brain for an explanation. She didn’t remember talking to anyone about coming out to dig up their driveway. And she didn’t recall William saying anything to her about setting something like this up. Maybe they had the wrong address?

“Um mom,” Edie fidgeted nervously next to her. “You might want to find out what’s going on?” She gestured to a huge backhoe that was positioning itself just before her asphalt driveway, the claw-like scoop lowering slowly toward the edge of their property line.

“Crap!” Hope whirled around and stuck her feet into her floral flip-flops and rushed out of the bedroom.

“MOM!” Edie called after her.

Hope whirled around in a huff. “Edie! You’re seriously getting on my nerves.” She stuck her hands on her hips, “What now?”

Edie smiled and Hope bristled. Her daughter gestured to her bra and panties. “You’re sort of underdressed for a confrontation, don’t you think?”

Hope glanced down at her body and growled. “Damn it. WHERE is my head today?” She hurried back to her bedroom and hurriedly shrugged into a t-shirt and old gym shorts. “I’ll be right back.”

“What, are you kidding me? I’m coming with you. Those guys are hot.”

Hope rolled her eyes and brushed past her daughter. She ignored her as she stopped to primp in the hallway mirror before hurrying to catch up with her.

Hope threw open the doors and half walked, half ran, toward the small cluster of dark, tanned men gathered around her driveway.

“Excuse me!” She said, raising her voice to be heard over the roar of the bulldozer’s engine. “Excuse me!”

One of the men, a heavyset man in his 50’s caught a glimpse of her and motioned for the man in the bulldozer to cut the engine by making a slicing motion across his throat. The noise abruptly stopped and Hope skidded to a halt, Edie so close behind her she nearly stumbled into her.

“Hi.” Hope said, her voice overly bright and cheery. “Um, what are you doing?” She gestured to the large chunks of dirt, gravel and asphalt three feet from where they were standing.

The heavyset man took off his construction helmet and ran a hand over his sweaty brow. “Uh, digging up your driveway.”

Hope felt like screaming. “Yes, I can see that. But WHY are you digging up my driveway?”

A mixture of emotions skidded across the man’s face: annoyance, alarm and confusion. “Because we were hired …” the words came out in a halting flow of Irish brogue. “Tom!” He turned to bark at the impossibly thin man behind him. “Check our work papers.”

He continued to smile and shift his bulk awkwardly from foot to foot as he waited for Tom to walk back to the truck and retrieve the work order. Hope flashed a polite, but tolerant smile and Edie batted her lashes at the cute, dark man who looked like he might be of Latino descent.

Hope gave the man Edie was oogling the once over and a warning look. When the man noticed her glare, he coughed and quickly got back to work. Edie huffed in irritation next to her.

“Okay, here we are,” the man said while taking the work order from his employee’s hands. “Is this 421 N. Pickwick?”

“Yes,” Hope confirmed quietly. She brushed her hair out of her eyes and sighed. “Who authorized this?”

“Uh,” the man squinted to read the name. “A William Stone.”

Hope’s heart sank and she nodded. “Right. That’s my husband. Okay, I’ll call him and see what’s going on. I’m sorry to bother you.”

“No problem,” the man shrugged and waved for his guys to get back to work.

“What’s the big deal, mom?” Edie asked as they walked back into the house. “So, our driveway is being repaved, big deal.”

“It’s not a big deal,” said Hope.

“Then why are you getting so bent of out shape?”

Hope didn’t answer her and instead went right for the phone. She dialed her husband’s office and impatiently tapped her manicured nails against the kitchen countertop.


“Ssh. … hey, it’s me.” Hope said as soon as her husband answered.

“What’s up?”

“Did you authorize some guys to come out and repave our driveway?”

There was a long moment of silence before he responded. “Yeah. It needed it.”

He sounded defensive. Hope softened her tone. “Why didn’t you tell me what was going on?”


“Why?” she sputtered. “How much is this costing?”

“Why do you care? I’m paying for it.”

She closed her eyes and absorbed the barb. Her lack of financial contribution to the family had been a sore spot between them for the past several months. “It would have been nice to have been consulted, that’s all.”

She waited for him to respond. When the silence stretched out for long seconds, she cleared her throat and asked, “Do you really think it needed it?” Though they had lived in their house for the past 20 years, they had been vigilant in making sure everything was properly maintained. And in her opinion, the driveway had been fine.

Several long, silent seconds stretched between them again before he answered, “It adds value to the house.”

She blinked. “Why would that matter?”

His answer was cold and hollow, “Because I just put the house up for sale.”