1000 Words, Part Two

May 17th, 2010 • Kate

Continuing our series of photographic inspiration for writers, which we started on Thursday, here’s the next image, from Flickr user mintyfreshflavour. What does this say to you? (And no cheating! Please don’t click on the link to the photograph on Flickr until AFTER you’ve written your piece!)

surprised

I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

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11 Responses to “1000 Words, Part Two”

  1. Lisa Aldin Says:

    The man waited at the edge of the sidewalk as the woman climbed from the black car, the tan scarf he sent her around her neck, a shiny purse clutched in those delicate hands. She was all smiles, that love of his, and he nearly chickened out as her smile grew wider, but he did it, right there, right then, in front of everyone, under the overcast sky, just blurted it out like a sputtering fountain. "Will you marry me? Will you marry me, Roseline?" She stopped and blinked, squinting her eyes as if she didn't recognize him. Didn't she remember the night at the Chinese restaurant? They had spent the night talking about music, the glory and shame of it, until they were herded out with the closing doors, and that was the night, he would never forget it, she called him "tall, dark, and handsome."

    She tossed her cropped hair, she had cut it since he had seen her last, and then she turned her head and roared with laughter straight from her belly, her mouth open, her shoulders heaving, and he thought she was the most beautiful woman in all of Manhattan. He regretted wearing the suit. But, as she trotted along, slapping her knees, howling, he would never regret the question.

  2. Red Boot Pearl Says:

    “It’s Rhonda,” he smirked.

    “Rhonda!” I snorted, choking on my gum. Something told me it wasn’t the middle aged office assistant. “There is no way she’s sending the letters…It’s someone on the outside.”

    John held the door open for me as we walked into the restaurant. I hoped it was someone on the outside. It wasn’t Rhonda, but what if it was one of the interns sending the love letters to our new boss? The thought was nauseating.

    John sat in the booth and I slid in next to him. I sipped my coke and scanned the menu, but I could tell he was deep in thought.

    “What?” I asked.

    “Keep your menu pulled up.”

    “What are you talking about?” I said confused. John reached over and held my menu up for me. “What’s—“

    John elbowed me and nodded towards the door we had just come in. There he was; our twenty-two-year-old boss Brandon, with his innocent eyes and messy hair. John and I watched him talk to the hostess from behind our make shift menu wall. As he walked to a table, I saw it—the hot pink envelope from his desk in one hand and a long stemmed rose in the other. My mouth dropped.

    “Are you ready to order?” A waitress blocked our view.

    “Uh, John you ready?” I asked.

    “I think we need a few more minutes…”

    “Sure,” she said.

    We peered over our menus for a clear view of Brandon’s table. The waiting game ensued. He played with his tie, his silverware, the straw in his drink. John and I were forced to order, but refused to give up our fortress. Our food arrived carried by a large man. I leaned out the side of the table to make sure I didn’t miss anything, when I saw a woman wearing a black dress, red scarf and large sunglasses escorted to his table.

    “John, look!”

    John squished next to me to get a clear view. The woman unwound the scarf and set her glasses on the table. Rhonda.

    John and I watched waiting for Brandon to run out of the restaurant screaming. But he didn’t. Our food sat untouched on our table as the two laughed and ate their entrees.

    “Is everything alright?” Our waitress asked.

    “Fine, fine,” I said waiving her away. John lowered his menu to the table. I took a bite of my congealed fettuccini.

    They ordered desert–chocolate lava cake with ice cream, and fed it to each other. John ordered a ‘to go’ box.

    “We have to get out of here,” he said.

    “They’ll see us if we leave now.”

    “I’m feeling sick.”

    “Don’t worry, I think they’re leaving,” I said as they got up from their table. Brandon wrapped his arm around Rhonda as they walked towards the door. We hunkered down in our booth, trying to look inconspicuous, when Brandon stared straight at us and winked.

  3. Donald Frederickswon Says:

    “You always have to be thinking George,” Walter said as he pushed the cart up Fifth Avenue. “Business men always have to be thinking. Take me for instance. You see this hot-dog stand. It’s the best hot-dog stand in New York. But do you know why mine is the best George. It’s because I think.”

    “It sure is a nice hot-dog stand,” said George as they stopped and served another customer. And you sell a lot of hot-dogs too.”

    “I built it from the ground up, one hot-dog at a time. Every hot-dog eaten by a happy customer is the potential for a repeat customer. That’s how it works in the restaurant business George. I saw it on Cramer’s TV show; you know the investment guy on at 6:00pm who screams a lot. He said that high repeat store sales are good for business. That means when people come back again."

    “Gee Walter; you know a lot about business don’t you?”

    "Yah, but you always got to come up with a new angel. You know what I’m thinking today George? I’m thinking about endorsements. If somebody important says my stand serves the best hot-dogs in town other people will want to eat one. Endorsements are good for business.”

    “Gee Walter; can you get somebody to say that?”

    “It’s got to be somebody important George. We’ve got to find somebody really important. We’ll go up to the Waldorf Hotel. Important people have lots of money so they stay there. Maybe we can find somebody there.”

    “Look at the limo Walter,” George said as they rounded the corner and approached the main entrance. “That looks like someone important. You’ve got to be important to be in a limo.”

    As the limo driver opened the back door Walter pushed his cart close to the passenger getting out. She was a young lady wearing a fashionable suit with a scarf loosely encircling her neck. Her hair was elegantly styled and accented by large hooped earrings; obviously rich and famous decided George.

    “Welcome to New York,” shouted Walter getting her attention. “I have your free complementary hot dog from the best stand in town.”

    “My god I’m hungry she said to the driver. All they had on the plane was those damn peanuts.” She stopped and smiled in Georges direction. “The best hot-dog in town you say?”

    “Absolutely the best,” Walter said as he held up the hot-dog, the Supreme with everything tantalizingly in front of her. “Open wide.” She held her mouth wide in anticipation just as a news photographer snapped a picture.

    “Delicious. You’re right, it’s absolutely the best,” she said savoring the first bite.

    “We need a sign George,” Walter said as he pushed the cart back toward downtown, “something for the front of the stand. It should read: World’s Richest Woman Ways Walter’s Hot-Dogs Are Absolutely The Best.”

    “Is that an endorsement Walter?”

    “I think so George. I do think so.”

    “Gee Walter; you sure are good at thinking.”

  4. Georgiana Says:

    "Are you serious?" asked Leila. "I'm right in the middle of something."

    "Which is exactly what you said when you called to cancel your last three appointments," said Dr. Finch. "Our office motto is 'If the mountain won't come…'"

    "'To Mohamed", yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the drill but come on, I'm about to start a press conference."

    "My point exactly. You don't want your pearly whites to look all granite gray do you?"

    Leila sighed. "I promise I'll come into the office as soon as I can."

    "No more arguing," said Dr. Finch. "Open up and say ah. This won't take a minute."

  5. Meredith Says:

    I can feel her staring at me. I lower the book an inch or two and glance up. Sure enough, there she is, sitting in the seat across from me, drumming her fingers against the leather seat and looking me in the eyes.

    “Come now, Jessica,” she says, “put that silly thing down and talk to mummy.”

    Mummy. I try not to laugh. My mother is currently filming a movie in London and has taken to slipping British words and phrases into every day conversation. Nine times out of ten, she uses them improperly, which is all kinds of hilarious. Just last night she’d asked me if I was planning on wearing that dodgy, old dress today. I’ve never lived in London, mind you, but I’ve certainly seen enough Monty Python to know that her usage is dead wrong.

    I set the book on the seat and wonder how long it will take my mother to figure out we have nothing to talk about. She reaches over and picked a piece of lint off of her tan pashmina, then starts fiddling with her handbag, a sequined clutch that probably cost more than the GNP of a small European country.

    She glances at my book.

    “So what are you reading?” she asks.

    Ah, the observation tactic. It’s one she’s been employing for some time now. Scan the room, pick an object and ask a question about it. She doesn’t care about the answer, I don’t care about the question, and yet we do this dance quite often.

    “It’s a dystopian fantasy about robots set in a post-apocalyptic world.”

    I catch her nose wrinkling up, but she smiles. “Oh,” she says. “Well, you shall have to let me borrow it when you’re done. You know how I love originality.”

    Right. Because my mother is nothing if not original. This coming from the woman who named me Jessica, the most popular girl’s name the year I was born.

    “It’s for school,” I lie. We’re presently reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which I read when I was eight.

    “How is school treating you these days?” she asks. “How’s your friend … er, you know … what’s her name, darling? Help mummy out?”

    “Victoria?” I say.

    I don’t have any friends named Victoria.

    She smiles again. “Yes, that’s it, Victoria. How is she?”

    “She’s fine.”

    She’s quiet for a moment, and I wonder what the next question will be. I’m placing bets. Twenty dollars if it’s about my clothes, ten if it’s my hair.

    It only takes her a few moments to lean over and start fussing with my hair. “Now, why didn’t you let Maria pull this back into a nice, low chignon? It would have looked so distinguished.”

    Ten dollars it is.

    “And I see you went with that yellow dress. I’m sure I’ve told you black is more slimming on girls of your size, haven’t I?”

    Ooh, thirty dollars!

    “I’m a size seven, mom,” I say. Hardly the whale she makes me out to be, but living in California for so long can certainly brainwash a person.

    She doesn’t hear me, I’m sure, because the limo is pulling to a stop in front of the theatre. I glance out the window and spot the photographers, all lifting their cameras and readying for the shot. She quickly tugs on the sleeves of her custom-fitted pants suit. She plays a lawyer in this movie, so she’s taken to wearing suits to all of the premieres and press junkets. They’re normally very boring, but I have to admit I rather like this one. The jacket has some pretty kick-ass zippers on the sleeves. I wonder if this one is a loaner or a keeper and make a mental note to rifle through her closet in a few weeks. She can keep the pants, but pair that jacket with some skinny jeans? Instant awesomeness.

    “How do I look, darling?” she asks as she throws the scarf around her neck and fiddles at the hoops in her ears.

    “You look beautiful, mom,” I tell her, though I doubt she hears me that time either. She already has her fingers on the door handle.

    She grabs her clutch and steps out. The inside of the limo lights up with dozens of flashes, and I hear them all yelling my mother’s name.

    I duck my head and climb out of the limo as quickly as possible. I start walking the carpet by myself, and I look back over my shoulder after a few steps. My mother is still standing there, laughing with a fan, arm outstretched, acutely aware of the photographer taking her picture. She looks perfect as always. And happy. This is what she lives for.

    I’m completely invisible. Fine by me. I’ve gotten quite used to fading into the background. Such is life when you’re the daughter of Hilary Hayes.

  6. Chris Says:

    Shoes.

    In the end she trades her soul for a pair of shoes. Breath-stealing, jaw-dropping, man-eating shoes.

    Shoes to die for.

    They are one, she and the shoes. She tosses her hair, laughing, a flash of white teeth against honeyed skin. Heads turn. Time slows.

    She imagines long lunches, late meetings. She’ll dine with legends. Order the foie gras and the filet. Use words like pithy and dilettante.

    Every step, every touch of shoe to pavement commands attention. And those heels, those HEELS–four inches of fire and brimstone. Iron. Omnipotence.

    Lesser women in their Choos and Blahniks will fall at her feet. They’ll weep in her presence.

    She will breathe flames, crush mountains, harness nature itself. No force can stop her.

    A heel catches.

    She trips. Falls. It’s miles to the pavement, a slow-motion farce with a lethal punch line.

    Her deal comes due much earlier than expected.

    The dealmaker himself arrives to collect her. To train her. His regret at her terrible luck is mostly for show. She’ll be the collector soon, swapping souls for impossible dreams.

    And she will look fabulous.

  7. Alicia Says:

    No! No! No!

    Did that really just come from my mouth? I haven't turned to look at his face, but from the expression on Chad's, I know it wasn't my imagination.

    I've played my roll perfectly. I look amazing, if I do say so myself, with no help from any of the those guaranteed diets. I've found the only way to lose weight is from good old fashioned starvation. Not eating has given my cheeks nice definition and the dark circles under my eyes really brings out the green. I will admit, it's a lot harder to stay focused at work. I almost passed out on my way up the stairs the other day. But when I feel that familiar dizziness I just drink a little juice or add more sugar to my coffee. Then I perk right up.

    But all that starving might have been for nothing, if he heard that. My flawless performance could be ruined with that one horrifying second.

    I have been preparing for this day for over four months. When I got the email, I knew it was my chance to get him. To show him what a huge mistake he had made by not giving me a chance back in high school. After this weekend, after tonight, he would be the one swept off his feet. This time he would be the one calling a gazillion times just to hear my voice and then hang up. He would do drive bys in the middle of the night just to be within a few yards of me while I sleep. Yes, this high school reunion was my chance.

    And I think I just blew it.

    Maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't care. I mean, we're all fifteen years older, have careers, spouses and children – thankfully, he doesn't. No ring – check. No hovering wife – check. We're all different now, no longer pretending to be grown ups, we ARE grown ups. And he seems to have changed. He didn't seem the cocky jock type anymore. He nice, sweet, so unlike the angry, too-good-to-socialize-with-those of-lower-social status guy he was back then.

    All night he had hung on my every word, laughing at every well rehearsed joke and even complimenting me on my three-paycheck-sucking outfit. He was mush in my hands, until . . .

    The sound that escaped my throat, the one I intended to be a musical, flirtatious laugh came out sounding just like a fog horn.

    It was so loud, I think I saw a couple a few cars over turn their heads at the obnoxious noise. They were probably looking for the car honking at them to move out of the way.

    It felt like an hour had past, when really it was barely a couple seconds before I reluctantly turned to face his reaction to my nerdy guffaw.

    He was smiling, then laughing, but not in a way that suggested he was making fun, more he was trying to make light of the embarrassing moment. He really had changed.

    I relaxed and laughed at my own expense right along with him. A man I didn't recognize came up behind the love of my life.

    He turned and gestured to the new addition to our little group. "Oh, have you met my partner yet?"

    "Partner? As in…" I wasn't able to finish my question before he answered what I feared.

    "I'm gay."

  8. Shannon Says:

    Merideth laughed too loudly, even for the busy streets of New York. Pedestrians actually looked … and New Yorkers NEVER look.

    Jack grabbed her arm and guided her away from the gossipy group of women.

    "Mer, they are going to know. You are being way to obvious." Jack pushed through his teeth as he guided Merideth down the street.

    "They won't know anything. Don't be so worried about this. They are too drunk to even remember their names. Hell, I'm too drunk to remember my name." Merideth hiccupped a laugh. "What's my name again?"

    Jack stopped in the middle of sidewalk and yanked Merideth to him. "I'm sick of being your boy-toy Mer. When are you going to tell your husband?"

    "I told you, Jack. I'm never telling him. Ever." Merideth swayed at she spoke.

    "Then we are done." Jack monotoned.

    "We aren't done until I say we are done!" Merideth said looking a little more sober.

    Jack face fell. "Let me go, Mer. Please."

    Merideth started to make her way down the street. She stopped and swayed as she looked back.

    "Are you coming?" She asked as her eyes blinked in and out of focus.

    Jack dropped his head and crossed the short distance. By the time he reached Merideth, Jack's dazzling smile was back in it's place. He grabbed Merideth's elbow as they made their way through the crowded streets.

  9. A.L. Sonnichsen Says:

    Dominique avoided Cole. Or at least, she tried. His eyes still melted her like a poker held against a wax candle.

    She saw him instantly from the limousine.

    “Are you all right?” Kevin asked. He noticed everything, even the shiver that coursed through her calm demeanor like a pebble thrown into a still pool.

    “Fine,” she said.

    The car stopped. Cole opened her door. As she stepped out, she glanced back at Kevin who was still in the limo. She pretended to think it was the driver who had opened the door.

    “Thank you, David,” she said stiffly, because that was the driver’s name.

    When Kevin joined her, pressing his hand firmly into the small of her back, he said something witty. She barely heard it. Still, she knew from his tone it was meant to be a joke, so she laughed.

    And prayed Cole would feel her laughter like a knife in his chest.

  10. Rachel M Says:

    Smile. Bare your teeth, but not all of them. A thin-lipped smile appears forced. One too broad reveals your anxiety. Laugh, but only if what he says is funny. Phil was always funny. I don’t have to fake this laugh. There isn’t a block in Manhattan that’s safe for me anymore. Each one has the potential for a chance meeting with someone who’s seen me naked. That’s saying a lot in a city this size. Maybe it says too much.

    Too much time has passed; Derek is growing anxious. Deep lines have set in above his brow. Time for introductions. “This is my friend, Phil,” is too vague. I might as well tell Derek that the man standing before him is the one who gave me the pair of panties he adores, the red ones with the lace edging. The best way to cover the truth is with another truth, one that’s acceptable.

    “Derek, this is Phil. He used to work in the mailroom at Fitchburg.”

    “Oh,” Derek says. His expression has eased. “Nice to meet you.” They shake hands.

    Technically, Phil did work in the mailroom. He occasionally delivered letters and received a weekly paycheck for doing so. More of his time was spent in my office. Pants around his ankles, lips on mine, his youthful fingers unbuttoning the top of my blouse. By the hungry look in his eye, I can tell he is remembering the same sweaty afternoons.

    Boyfriends are fine with ex-boyfriends, as long as they are the ones who exist in faded photographs at the bottom of the drawer. They are not okay with the ones who stare at the base of your neck where the top of your jacket meets flesh, as if they can see what continues on beneath.

    “You look great, Anna,” Phil says. I want to tell him he does too, but I can’t.

    “Thank you,” I say. “So what are you doing now?”

    “Nothing much. I’m bartending at Oakley’s, playing in a new band.”

    “Oh, that’s great,” I say. I’ve always had a soft spot for musicians.

    “We’re playing a show next week. You should come by.”

    Derek has stood by politely, a spectator to the conversation, but the lines have returned. He reaches over and takes my hand, pulling me slightly closer into his side.

    “I’ll try.”

    “I think you’d like it.” Phil reaches into his pocket and pulls out a square sheet of yellow paper. I take it with my free hand, look at it for a moment then tuck it into my own pocket. Derek presses his thumb into the back of my hand. He’s beginning to realize that Phil was a bit more than a delivery boy.

    “Well, it was great to see you, but we really should get going. We have dinner reservations.”

    “Oh sure,” Phil says. “Good to meet you guy.”

    “You too,” Derek says. It’s more like a growl. He tugs me down the street towards the restaurant. I take one last glance over my shoulder at Phil. He winks. I shiver. For dinner, I decide I’d rather have a young, blue-eyed musician than a balding financial analyst. I’m stuck tonight. But, there’s always another day, and another dinner.

  11. kt literary » Blog Archive » Final Round of Voting! Says:

    […] W. for Photo #1 Rachel M. for Photo #2 and Alicia for Photo […]