Okay so I’ve got a start going here. 438 words, half way to a thousand, but that’s irrelevant right now.
I have setting: Starkville Luncheonette at night.
Question: Luncheonette open at night??? Won’t worry about that right now.
Got characters: The narrator, don’t know her name, who has a daughter and she seems to be one in a line of waitresses. Doesn’t want that for her own daughter. Like that. That works. And a stranger who gives off mixed-signals. Wearing a jacket and shorts. No car. Homeless? Is this a fantasy thing? NO!
Story problem 1 (what does the main character want?): She wants out of her rut and her town and into a new life that’s the opposite of what she has.
Story problem 2 (plot and main arc): Don’t know yet. What does this stranger offer her? Does he have the capacity to offer her anything? Is he dangerous? If not what could he teach her?
What stands in her way? Not enough money, lethargy, lack of education, her mother??? An old boyfriend?
Theme: Hmmm… obviously wanting a new life, to get out of the rut she’s born into. But that what she wants . What’s the theme? How does this idea apply to me? Rut. In a rut.
What might the quotation in the prompt give me: It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself. –Salvador Dali
Words not used from the prompt: -DYSPEPSIA-FLUCTUATE-ETON JACKET-ICE BOAT-REVERBERANT Do the suggestion anything? I got pie. Could I sub flatulate for fluctuate? That goes with dyspepsia. Eton jacket? Can I change his plaid one for the eton? Would this girl even know what that was? No. There’s hope maybe for reverberant….
Possible key words: Escape, freedom, self-actualization, taking action…
Okay lemme see what going to happen.
I waitress at night at the Starkville Luncheonette on State Hwy. 41, just down the road a bit from Clancy’s Grease and Lube and about a mile before the first real intersection in town. Donnie lets me wear jeans and t-shirts, thank goodness, not one of those scratchy gold-colored uniforms with the white collars and starched aprons that my mom wore back in the day when she worked the counter.
The place is empty so I’ve got time to ponder what I’m going to do about my daughter. Her name is Beth, she’s twelve, and she’s already got some breasts. I think it’s time we get out of town, leave the river and the coal mine behind, head somewhere that has a winter to it, where blue geese dip through gray skies and old men build wooden houses on icy lakes.
I’m wiping down the counter for the millionth time when a thin guy wearing a plaid jacket and shorts comes in the door. I didn’t hear a car or truck out on the gravel so he takes me a little by surprise. I slip take my own half-filled Pepsi glass off the counter.
“Hey,” he says. “You got pie?”
“Lemon meringue, no berry.” I straighten up, tossing the rag under the counter, and before I can stop myself, I’m smoothing down my hair with a damp hand.
“Lemon”ll do.” Grinning he slides onto the stool opposite to me. Puts his large fists on the table. No wedding ring. Let my eyes flick up to his sun-burned face, green eyes, slightly crooked front teeth. Nice cheek bones. Ditto mouth, though his lips are a little cracked, even flaky, like he doesn’t drink enough water.
“You got herb tea?”
Herb tea? This makes me smile. But my back is turned now so he can’t see it. I pull the lever on the hot water. Grab a basket of tea bags. “Where’s your car?”
“I walked. I been walking all night.” Now that he says this I can see that his jacket is dusty his dark hair greasy.
“Walked from where? Nothing out here.”
“You a hobo?”
“That’s a word you don’t hear these days?” he says.
“Well, the train does go by here. You look like you’re moving through.”
“I’m not. I’m staying.”
“Oh.” I shrug and turn away to get that last piece of lemon pie for him and there’s something queasy going on in my stomach. This guy’s kind of nice looking, but weird too and I’m thinking maybe I need to call old Deputy Dave. When I put the pie in front of him, I meet his eyes and he meets mine.
He says, “You really don’t know who I am, do you?”
I get a little dizzy as the words line up as a sentence in my head. Know who he is? Why would I…
“Kelly, com’ on. Think about it.”
“How you know my name?” He holds his fork like a gentleman. For some reason I thought he’d have that prison grip thing going on. Jail?
“Good pie,” says the guy. “I’d die for a good piece of pie and a pair of long, long legs. ” He smirks and again our eyes meet. And I know who he is. I take a step back away from the counter and the back of my arm bumps against the hot coffee urn, but the heat doesn’t penetrate to my head. I swallow hard and then a searing pain jolts through me.
The man leaps over the counter, his dish and fork clattering to the linoleum, as he grabs me away from the coffee pot. “What the hell? Are you nuts?”
My face is wet as I pull away and clutching my burned arm, scurry down the narrow aisle, but he comes around and stops me, his hand on my shoulder, guiding me to tub of crushed ice near the sink. He grabs the cloth I use to wipe down the counter and fills it with the ice and places it on my arm. Holds it there. We’re standing close to each other now and a shiver goes through me.
Now I’ll never see ice-boats on Lake Michigan.
Now if Ron Carlson were here he would NOT let me stop . I haven’t told who this guy is yet or what he’s got to do with Kelly. But I don’t know, not yet. And since this is public, I’m giving myself permission cogitate. And I’m thirsty and I need to check the mail and do a couple things…