Christmas Morning Memories

VIGNETTTE

December 1987

I sat on the cream-colored sofa and slowly slid my 8-year old body to the edge. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite played in the background as the crackling fire masked the sound of my internal excitement. It was an ice-covered, Oklahoma Christmas morning, and we had opened all the usual presents. The things we needed—socks and shoestrings and hair clips. Our favorite junk foods—bugles and corn nuts and lemonheads. And random foods we couldn’t get enough of—black olives and sweet pickles and chicken-in-a-biscuit crackers.

I kept a calm resolve, but my insides were wired as I watched my brother open his last Christmas present, the big finale. And he unwrapped a television. His very own television. A whopping 13-inch, color television. I was blown away. My big present this year is going to be amazing!

“There’s one present le…” my mom couldn’t even finish her sentence before I dashed off, faster than Santa’s reindeer.

Ripping the candy cane wrapping paper off the large box, I paused and stared inside at a tiny card. Utter disappointment filled my heart. KC got a television! And I have a card?! I looked up at my parents with a weak smile. At 8, I was pretty confident of my poker-face capabilities, but thinking back, I’m not too sure I had that skillset. Yet.

“A card” I stated.
“Well, open it” my dad replied.

With a sigh, I slid my finger under the edge and pulled out an index card. A riddle? I followed it’s directions and ran to the kitchen to discover another wrapped card. And another riddle. On to my bedroom. Then the laundry room. And finally to the bathroom where I whipped open the shower curtain to find my pinnacle Christmas present. A brand new, shiny, neon-green scooter.

So much better than KC’s television! I grabbed it and tore out of the bathroom hollering my love and gratitude in a squeaky pitch. Within seconds, I was zipping and zooming up and down the ice-covered street in front of our house. My heart singing “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, I’ve got a wonderful feeling, everything’s going my way.”



©2020 Angel K Will | Instagram
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A Cherished Rose

A VIGNETTE:

I stepped inside the solitary room and observed her from a distance. It was just the two of us. Her make-up done the way she always wore it. Her short, soft curls cemented by Rave aerosol hairspray. I walked over with her perfume bottle and spritzed it across her neck. Wafting the sweet smell toward me, I breathed in a cinnamon musk with hints of rose.

Slow and rhythmically, I traced my fingers up and and down the bones in her hand, from the wrist to the fingernails and back again. Then I leaned against the casket and studied her face, noticing the bump on the bridge of her nose. Like mine but smaller. How had I never noticed that before?

I took a deep breathe as the pressure built in my sinuses and eyes; tears trying to escape. Glancing toward the ceiling, I attempted to keep my eyelid dams from breaking, or at least slow the pace. But salty water quickly inched from the corners as my mind drifted off to memories.

***

“What are you doing?” she asked as I followed her around my kitchen with a plate in my hand.
“Well, you’re spilling crumbs everywhere,” I replied.

She walked back to the counter and put the last bite of toast in her mouth. She chewed and swallowed and in an unassuming manner replied “when you have guests over, let them do as they want to do. Let them be comfortable as if this were their own home. You can clean up after they leave.”

She placed the plate in the sink and frictioned off the remaining crumbs from her hands, then left the room. I watched amused while admitting I just learned another tid-bit of Mimi wisdom.

***

Pulling a chair away from the wall, I sat beside her in silence. Then I picked up her glasses from the table, the ones with a small rose etched on each of the arms, and slid them over her ears, resting them gently on her nose. I cupped my hands around hers, aged and worn by love and sacrifice. I wasn’t ready to let go. I don’t think we’re ever ready to let go.

___

The memory is from the post Mimi and her toast, a nonfiction vignette. But the above vignette is fiction, inspired by nonfiction. What would that be called, the blending of real and imagined… just, creative writing?

©2020 Angel K Will | Instagram  • Twitter
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Conversations in the Time of Corona

A COMEDIC VIGNETTE

“How ya doing, Franz?” He stared back at me in silence. “I said how are you doing?”

I shook my head and made my way to the kitchen. Opening the fridge, I pulled out spaghetti, shoveled it onto a plate and placed it in the microwave. He doesn’t even have the decency to respond. 31 days together. Locked in this city. No one else around, and he’s giving me the silent treatment. So passive aggressive. Well, two can play that game.

When the microwave dinged, I pulled my plate out and wafted the smell his direction. “Mmmmm, so delicious,” I hollered as I strolled down the hall toward the living room.

Sitting on the sofa, I picked up the remote. At least the doctor’s on Gray’s Anatomy will give me some conversation. Then I noticed my cell phone vibrating and my sister’s picture appeared on the screen. I answered exasperated.

“Franz is being such a jerk.”
“Silent treatment still,” she asked. “Maybe I should talk with him.”

I stomped down the hall and placed my phone on the ground next to Franz, my 8” welcome gnome, and left the two of them to their conversation. Excited my big sister was going to defend my honor.

When I got back to the living room I noticed a new friend. On the fire escape. I shall call her Patty, Patty the Pigeon.

We locked eyes. “How you doing?”

___

©2020 Angel K Will
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Don’t run

VIGNETTE

I backed away, slowly inching toward the river. My breathe calm and steady even as my heart raced. Thump-thump-thump; thump-thump-thump; thump-thump-thump. Doing my best to avoid direct eye contact, I froze when I heard the crackle of the branch under my foot. Time stood still for a fraction of a second that seemed to last a hundred hours. Then I turned and tore away knowing I wouldn’t be able to out run him, but I had to try.

Panic gripped me as I dodged between trees, hearing his pounding body jar across the ground, heaving breath growing closer and louder. His shadow grew over me like a monster as he stood on his hind legs, his clawed paws reaching out. I fell to the ground and huddled in a fetal position, my arms wrapping around my head. Oh God, forgive my sins and…

A piercing scream left my lungs as the fur-laden beast fell across my body. My words masked by a double-echoed shot of a gun. I lay still, uncertain of what had happened. Then I heard muffled words and shimmied out from under his corpse. The beast’s blood covering me. “Are you all right?” the woman with the rifle asked. Still shocked, I just nodded my reply.

And that’s how I met my wife.

___

This writing prompt was “Set the Scene: You are backing away very slowly.”

It is from the the game “Story Slam” available on Amazon by clicking here. It’s a lot of fun to play with others, or as I’ve started doing, using their scene starters and plot twist cues as writing prompts. So, get out there and write, just write!

©2020 Angel K Will | Instagram  • Twitter
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WP: Earl

MONOLOGUE (1-minute): Mia, 8 years old

I have a fish named Earl. People ask why I named him that. I don’t know… I just looked at him and said “Earl!” That’s how I do things. It feels right.

Like if someone looks sad, I give ’em a hug. If someone looks mad, I try to be super nice. If someone doesn’t have a dessert in their lunch, oh my goodness, that’s not right! So I share mine. If someone’s alone on the playground, I play with ’em. I mean, I’d want someone to play with me.

I don’t get why grown-ups make it so hard. It’s easy to do what feels right. I guess they’re just so busy and forget. When I get older I don’t want to forget because that’s just sad.

So yeah, my fish’s name is Earl. ‘Cause it felt right.



This writing prompt was a single word prompt, “Earl.”

It is from the book A Year of Creative Writing Prompts available on Amazon by clicking here. It has single word prompts, genre prompts, midday and evening prompts. All encouraging one to write, just write! Which is the habit I’m creating…

©2020 Angel K Will | Instagram  • Twitter
Photo by Gabriel P from Pexels

WP: Morning Habits

VIGNETTE

Looking down at my fingertips, I notice them black, smudged by the paper. It’s part of my habit. Coffee brewed at 6:30 am every morning for the past twenty years. An English muffin topped with sweet marmalade and three slices of jalapeño. And a single fried egg with bacon. Always with bacon. Some people call it a rut. I call it a habit. And habits can be good. It would behoove more people today to have some good habits. It takes self-discipline. But I guess habits can be bad too. If taken to an extreme. But not a breakfast habit. Most important meal of the day. I still believe that.

So I grab my morning paper off the porch and take a seat at the kitchen table—the table I built with my own hands in 1986. It’s not the prettiest thing, but it gets the job done. With a steady flick of the wrist my paper crinkles open, and I review the news from around the world. Then I remember to say my blessings. Sometimes I forget, but not today. I need prayer. The world needs prayer.

I like to start with the funny pages even though they’ve gotten less funny as the years have gone by. Except Dilbert, boy do I enjoy Dilbert. Been reading that clown and his cronies since it came out in 1989. I was an accountant for 47 years and had some colleagues that, well, let’s just leave it well enough alone. I try not to focus on the reality of people’s stupidity. We all have our share.

News in general seems to have gotten more depressing. But I read on. It’s a healthy habit—staying aware of our world. The grease from my bacon’ed fingertips smudge the paper, leaving them a dull black. But it’s well worth it.

With only crumbs left on my plate, I get up and wash the dish. My fingertips cleaned by the habit of kitchen cleanliness. I wander about my living room with my second cup of coffee before sitting on the sofa. Not quite sure what to do with myself, I grab my word search book. Keeps my brain sharp. After finding five words about cars, my mind wanders to dominoes. Not a game I can play by myself. On a normal Friday, I’d be playing with Smitty, James and Barb. But things are a little different these days. Everything is closed up. On lockdown. Here I am, not so much lonely as alone. So I sit circling words in a book, passing time and wondering when life will get back to normal.

___

This writing prompt was a single word prompt, “Smudged.”

It is from the book A Year of Creative Writing Prompts available on Amazon by clicking here. It has single word prompts, genre prompts, midday and evening prompts. All encouraging one to write, just write! Which is the habit I’m creating…

©2020 Angel K Will | Instagram  • Twitter
Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Pre-Scene: Hills Like White Elephants

The girl leaned into his back, her arms wrapped around his waist as the American slowed the motorcycle to a purr. On the southernmost tip of Gibraltar, the Europa Point Lighthouse stood in the distance, casting a light as if to direct all who needed its guidance. He turned the key, pulling it from the ignition, and stepped off the bike offering her his hand.

“You’ll love the sunrise over the ocean. It’s as if the sun is eating up the darkness.”
“Sounds lovely,” she giggled.

With their fingers interlocked, he led her along the pebbled path toward the sound of crashing waves.

“I’ve enjoyed everything you’ve shown me these past few months,” she stated. “Absolutely everything.”
“Have you had a favorite?”
“Oh, I’m not sure. The gondola rides in Venice. No, the Eiffel Tower. Oh, I don’t know; it’s all been truly lovely. Like a dream. What about you?”
“Right here, right now. You’re perfect Jig.”
“Think so?”

He leaned in and softly kissed her lips.

“I’m so glad Charlie threw that shindig when I got into town,” she remarked.
“He throws quite the party. Good man, your cousin.”

He ran his hand across the small of her back and she flinched.

“Something wrong?”
“No, no. I’m fine.” She leaned into him. “A tad chilly, I suppose.”

As they continued walking, he whipped his jacket off and draped it over her shoulders. “Better?”

“Yes, thank you.” She tilted her head, giving him a coy smile. “I’ll be going back soon. For the wedding.”
“Must you? There’s so much you have yet to see. You could stay.”
“I can’t.”
“She’d understand.”
“She’s my sister. I must be there.”
“Is this just an excuse?” he inquired. “Are you bored with me already?”
“Of course not. I just…”
“All I need is you Jig. Say you’ll stay.”
“You’d really want that?”
“I’d love that. Just you and me. Sailing the Grecian Isles, we’ll visit Rome. But Madrid must be next. This the perfect time of year for…” He stopped. “Dagnabbit.”

He studied the terrain and then broadly leaped over the creek formed by the recent rains. “Take my hand. I’ve got you.” She grasped his hand and jumped across what first appeared to be a large and dangerous divide. Stumbling on the landing, he caught her in his arms.

“Oh, my two left feet.”
“Well, better than none.”
She relaxed. “Why don’t you come with me? You could meet my family.”
“There’s no rush for that, Jig. Let’s just take things nice and slow.”
“I think we’re past that,” she said flirtatiously.
He smiled back in agreement.
“You must stay here,” he encouraged.
“Here—with you?”
“Of course.”
“Are you proposing?”
He choked back a laugh. “Seriously, sweet Jig, you’re adorable.”

He pointed to a low hanging branch. “Look, over there.” A momma bird feeding her three baby birds, mouths gaping.
“Oh, they’re precious,” she stated. They both stared and after a moment she told him, “I bet you’ll be a great father.”
“Nah.”
“But…”

He interrupted her with a kiss.

“Just you—and me,” he professed.
“Carpe diem?”
“Exactly.”
“I don’t know if I agree.”
“We only have today, sweet Jig.”

He spun her around and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Look at that sunrise. Carpe Diem, my love.” He leaned his chin over her shoulder, swaying with her in his arms, the sound of waves in the background crashing against the rocky cliffs. She placed her hands on his and pressed them into her stomach.

They stared silently toward the rose-colored, rising sun. When he pulled back she held his hands tight against her stomach and started rhythmically tapping her fingers against the back of his hands.

He let out a long breath. She turned and faced him.
“Are you certain?”
“Yes.”

Holding her gaze, he took a step back, and then dropped his face toward the ground. The sun, in partial view, rested gently just above the horizon. The lighthouse light faded into the day as nimbostratus clouds turned the sky grey.

“Feels like rain,” she said.

___

The above was an in-class exercise from Gotham Writers. After reading and discussing Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants” we were tasked with writing the scene leading up to his story, while keeping with his characters, style and voice of writing. You can read “Hills Like White Elephants” by clicking here.

©2020 Angel K Will
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Mimi and her toast

VIGNETTE

My grandma, who we called Mimi, was standing at my kitchen counter eating her morning toast. She started to walk around observing my new living quarters as crumbs fell to the floor with every bite. Seeing the mess, I grabbed a plate and followed after her in an attempt to catch the crumbs.

“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Well, you’re spilling crumbs everywhere,” I replied.

She walked back to the counter and put the last bite in her mouth. She chewed and swallowed and told me something I would never forget.

“When you have guests over, let them do as they want to do. Let them be comfortable as if this were their own home. You can clean up after they leave.” She picked up the plate and placed it in the sink, then walked to the bathroom to finish getting ready for our day.

It’s no surprise that her home was the most welcoming place one could visit, a true atmosphere of love and acceptance.



©2020 Angel K Will | Instagram
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WP: Bedazzled

She stumbles toward me on the F-train. Her thin earlobes pulling toward her shoulders by the weight of the iridescent, glitter-sparkling, crescent-shaped moon earrings matching the bedazzled moon charms pasted on her two-inch, rainbow-painted fingernails. A cubic zirconia encrusted tiara shifting toward her gold-speckled eyes as she breathlessly plops into the hard seat next to me.



The above was written based on an IN-CLASS WRITING PROMPT (5-10 minutes): Use descriptive language to set the following scene—her jewelry is outrageous.

The prompt is from Gotham Writers, Creative Writing Class. Check out their site by clicking here. I’ve taken a few courses and highly recommend it—great instructors, great classes.

©2020 Angel K Will | Instagram  • Twitter
Photo by Tim Savage from Pexels

My love life is suffering

VIGNETTE, Humor

Head buried in The New Yorker is not the norm for my morning commute on the Q, but I recently subscribed and am quite enjoying my quiet time with the articles each morning. It seems more productive than staring at random people as I internally bee-bop to the Broadway tunes in my earbuds.

Second stop in, and I’m fully engaged, oblivious to the world around me. So I just shrug and pull my jacket toward my leg when I see a masculine finger pointing toward it. Apparently it’s an inch or so onto the seat next to me. Whatever.

As I scan back through my article looking for where I left off it occurred to me that was a nice looking hand. My curiosity has been piqued. I look to my right to see a very handsome man by my side. And then I go back to my reading.

Two more stops and he’s off. No longer can I focus on reading as I’m thinking about how good-looking he was. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t need to move my jacket for him to comfortably sit down. There was ample space. This was a missed opportunity to strike up a conversation with a hot guy on my morning commute. All because I had my head buried in an article. Maybe I’m not as productive with all this reading after all. My love life is suffering.



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