Thursday, September 4, 2014
My Response to a Writing Prompt
I occasionally check in on a writing website where I used to hang out regularly. The following prompt motivated me to do a bit of fiction writing.
The writing prompt:
Perhaps my real name is Yanska Slabos, and I’m married to a guy named Zoltan Stepeshi. Perhaps Yanska is a middle-aged famous but ex-tightrope walker on disability because of her sciatica. Perhaps Zoltan now has to support the family. The circus can no longer afford to carry them, since Zoltan’s dancing emu act has never been all that popular.
My question for you is, how is Zoltan going to make enough money for their annual holiday trip to their cabin in Upper Sanduski, especially now that the circus has left them stranded near the Okefenokee Swamp?
A swamp is no place for any living critters other than mud turtles. Now that’s coming from a person who really isn’t familiar with swamps and their inhabitants. I do know that I have no use for muckiness of any kind and I'm pretty sure that most other people and animals feel likewise.
Where am I going with this, you may ask? On a recent vacation with my wife, we passed Okefenokee Swamp. In a field along its western edge, we observed an unusual group loitering under a scraggly yet substantial tree. A woman with a limp was wringing her hands and shaking her head as she walked in circles, apparently unaware of her surroundings. A man, wearing an elaborately decorated cape, was trying to control four, large squawking birds that were raising quite a fuss over, well, I don’t have a clue what it was over.
My wife and I are retired and have more time on our hands than we can tolerate without occasional diversions. Sticking our noses into the business of others has offered us distractions beyond our imaginations. My wife looked over at me and without saying a word, I knew we were both seeing a golden opportunity for a venture into the unknown, ours for the taking.
My wife and I pulled off the road and walked toward the activity beneath the misshapen tree. “I know you’re hungry. So am I,” the man with the cape shouted at his noisy flock.
For fear of catching them off guard, I called out before we got too close, “May we be of assistance? We noticed that you seemed to be in a predicament, er, or two, or more.” Six heads snapped to stare at us.
To make a long story short, my wife and I responded in the only way we were able when we learned of the misfortune that had befallen this couple and their four dependents. Apparently the large birds were emus, recently forced into retirement from a circus dancing act, cast off from their previous way of life as were both the man and woman. They hoped to find a way to get to their cabin up north. (My goodness! Such an unusual predicament. Do you see why we welcome diversions? Dullness disappears).
While my wife sat in the shade with our new acquaintances, I drove in search of supper for all, that is, a large and awkward sack of corn meal and a dozen burgers with the works. I knew we weren’t capable of solving the unemployment issues, but we could help this motley crew get to their cabin in Upper Sanduski. After sitting and eating with them in the shade, my wife and I stood and I reached in my billfold. I pulled out ten one-hundred-dollar bills and thrust them into the man's hands. My wife and I wished them all well, turned, and hurried to our car before they could object.
We waved out the windows as we pulled back on the road. My wife was already reaching in the glovebox for a postcard and pen to send to our daughter in Phoenix, sharing our latest joy.