Thursday, February 11, 2010

More three-word-madness

Another story prompted by Three Word Wednesday; this week the words were lucid, righteous and salvage. I'm thinking this might actually make a good beginning for a much longer piece of work...


Salvage Job

Jonathan was never at his most lucid at 6 am. It wasn’t even properly light; a pale halo surrounded the window but shadows still clung possessively to the corners of the room. He lay with his eyes closed, drifting and listening to the varied morning sounds - sparrows chattering in the bushes outside, the electric buzz of the milk float and the chink of bottles on stone steps, faint clatters from the kitchen where Marilyn was busy with pots and pans. A tantalising whiff of frying bacon tiptoed in through the partly-open door and sleep receded a little more.

He stretched until his toes popped and rolled onto his back, folding the blankets round him to close out any draughts. It might be late March but the mornings were still chilly and Marilyn hadn’t popped back in to switch the electric heater on. Usually he’d be up and about by now, dressed in his collar and tie, clutching a briefcase, ready to peck Marilyn on the cheek and catch the 6.42 bus to town. Sundays were different, though. There’d be chores later - sweeping the drive, washing the car - and a walk in the park after lunch, but for now he could luxuriate in the bliss of a weekend lie-in.

Until a small bundle of pure energy raced through the door and landed, panting, on the bed. It waited, briefly, then prodded his shoulder where he’d let the bedclothes slip. “Daddy? Dad! Come on, I know you’re only pretending to be asleep. I can see your eyes moving.”

Jonathan groaned and opened his eyes, then groaned again. It was light now, sun pouring in through the thin floral curtains, and that orange wallpaper had definitely been a mistake. “Whaddya want?” he mumbled, trying to shift the heavy lump off his chest. “Worse than a cat, you are, Suzanne.”

His daughter prodded him again, in the tummy this time. “So wake up then. Did you get them? I was out round Mandy’s last night, I didn’t get a chance to ask.”

Jonathan’s heart sank. The tickets. Those blasted, wretched, ruddy, bloody tickets to the Righteous Brothers concert that Suzanne had asked for as a special treat. He wasn’t keen on her going to pop concerts as a rule; she was only fifteen and you heard bad things about what went on. But this was her birthday and she’d made puppy eyes at him and he’d found himself saying yes.

He barely knew who the Righteous Brothers were; only that they weren’t brothers and they weren’t particularly righteous as far as he could see. He preferred a nice bit of Bach himself, but Suzanne had played him one of their songs on her new transistor radio and he supposed the chap had a nice enough voice. And as the kid herself had said, “They’re coming all the way from America and they’re only doing one tour....”

“Uh.” He pushed the blankets aside and sat up, shivering with the sudden chill. A chill of premonition, perhaps, or of guilt. “Look, love, I’m sorry....”

She didn’t let him finish. “Oh, daddy. You forgot, didn’t you? I knew you’d forget! That was supposed to be my birthday present! And now I’ll never get another chance to see them!” The lump moved abruptly off the bed, there was a rush of air and the door slammed on what sounded like a sob.

“Suzanne! Come back here and let me explain.” But a second slam followed as she took refuge in her room. He lay back again, fuming at the injustice of it all. He hadn’t forgotten the tickets - he’d given up his half-day off to go into town and queue for two hours in the pouring rain, only to find they’d sold the last ones to a chap about six feet ahead of him. He’d gone to a pub to dry out and console himself and then he’d missed the last bus home. Marilyn hadn’t been impressed, but she’d calmed down when he told her the worst.

“Never mind, dear, you tried your best. We’ll get her a rabbit instead.”

Jonathan didn’t think rabbits were much consolation for a missed opportunity for a teenage girl, but he’d agreed, and agreed to built a hutch. Which reminded him - he’d have to forgo the walk in the park this afternoon and head for the shed to knock up some bits of wood. He sighed, his euphoria vanished with the early morning sun. Suzanne would no doubt sulk in her room all day and might not forgive him for weeks, and on top of that he’d have to give up next Saturday afternoon to look up plans for hutches at the library. And on top of that, he was sure yesterday’s soaking had given him a cold. He swung his legs out of bed and reached for trousers and a comfortable old shirt. The bacon should be done by now. He’d go downstairs and salvage what was left of his day off.

(c) 2010 Fiona Glass


Tumblewords: said...

Ah, the vagaries of parenting! Well written, the characters are vivid and the imagery is perfectly detailed. Nice read!

fiona glass said...

Thank you! I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

Sepiru Chris said...

Dear Fiona Glass,

What a lovely character driven piece! And yes, I could well imagine wanting to know about these two particular characters. Marilyn is a cut-out still, but Jonathan and "worse than a cat" Suzanne are both interesting.

The topic is mundane, although don't tell WTAC Suzanne that, and that means that your storytelling is vivid and your characters are compelling.

Thanks for sharing these!


fiona glass said...

Hi Chris, thanks for the lovely comments/encouragement. :)