For the month of June, I’ve challenged myself to answer one prompt out of 642 Things To Write About. So far, so fine. Writing short form is hard for me, so I’ve focused instead on imagery and making interesting word connections. Only one of those things has happened so far, but the rest of June lies ahead. Thanks for being a part of this accountability project.
Be your character’s fortune teller. Tell their future.
She shuffles the cards until they begin popping out of their own accords. I blink in surprise, not expecting this little show. Card by card, she lays them out in front of her until there are eight in two tidy rows of four. “Alright, let’s see what we have here.” She investigates the cards like a doctor pouring over a patient’s chat, humming as she goes. “Overall, doing okay. Health is looking good. Stress is a little high. Relationships need work.” She looks up and winks at me. “We’ll talk about that.” Back to my soul: “Mom and Dad are a real pain in the ass, aren’t they?” Whose aren’t? This isn’t news. “Dad’s cancer is getting aggressive, isn’t it?” Well, maybe not everyone’s parents. I sit up a little straighter.
The smell of a place you love.
Rainwater smells wet, and I don’t mean that in a funny way. It smells wet, and sniffing too hard will make you sneeze. Deep down in that scent is a small clearing where a girl drinks Earl Grey tea weakened with milk. She pushes herself to drink, going “ah” after every sip because she likes the sound and the way grass feels after it’s rained. The smell of it gets mixed up with laundry detergent and paperback pages. The book isn’t good, that much is true, but the sound it makes in her head carves a memory near her ear.
She was crazy that way.
In the way that the wind is crazy and wild and unpredictable. She’d run into the woods and disappear so deep that I can’t tell you how she managed to live. She said she was a vegetarian, so maybe she ate on mushrooms, and that’s why she’d go for so long, too busy dancing with faeries and gnomes and whatever else lives beyond the veil. She was wild about water and disappearing beneath the waves because she was always trying to get to the other side. People like that are never really happy, trapped on this side, and unsure which way is up. If you could be with the faeries, why would you be here? She was wild, crazy, like waves were crashing in her ears, making it impossible for her to focus. When you think about it that way, she was a lot less crazy and more in search of herself. She never cried, never complained, just disappeared from time to time, and that was the sanest thing any of us could do, holy even, for those with any faith.
Recall a recent dialogue between you and a friend.
I’ve been feeling really anxious lately. Hard to focus.
Is that why you’re doing my dishes?
I’m doing your dishes because clutter equals chaos, and chaos equals I can’t think.
Whatever you want to tell yourself, kid.
Do you have any better soap than this Seventh Gen shit?
Everything else is terrible for the environment.
Okay, well, there’s no ethical production or consumption under capitalism, so…Dawn?
Under the sink…
Sometimes you just need some blue liquid to get through the bullshit.
Is that what we’re calling it?
You best believe. What the fuck is this?
You’ve been caught cheating at a casino. Explain to the pit boss why this is all just a big misunderstanding.
“My man, my man, just hold on a second. What’s going on here? What do you think I’ve done? Cheating? Cheating at what? The only thing I’ve ever cheated on is my diet, and we can all see the truth of that right here, can’t we? Counting cards? Me? Sir, I’ll have you know that I can’t count to ten. One, three, eight—wait, sorry. See? It’s a medical condition. Really. Don’t believe me? Call my mother. She’ll tell you what a disappointment I am. My brother, on the other hand, is a real whiz kid. Literally a rocket scientist. Wouldn’t want that guy in your casino, I’ll tell you that much. Me? A loser, through and through.”