Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bret wins

Chapter 5

With a speed and purpose that would have astonished a tornado chaser, Charlie's mother coastered her iced tea, deftly nudged Agnes back a step, and stepped toe to toe with Julia. She grabbed Julia's perfectly pressed collar, which folded like paper mache under her fists as the amazed audience edged their seats. "Julia Schindler, I've waited for 15 years for you to step out of line, and now you've officially outworn your welcome!" (Bret)

Demonstrating remarkable strength for so old a woman, Charlie's mother escorted Julia to the door. And with a courteous "Good day," Julia was propelled onto the sidewalk where she smoothed her clothing with indignation, cast a final scathing look backwards, and stormed away. Back in the living room, Charlie felt the drapes in his mind begin to pull back and let in a peculiar light. As if for the first time he saw Julia for who she was. Her receding footsteps dragged with them the shadows of a former life and relief brightened the room. And there was Agnes. His oldest friend. My lands, she made good pies.

The room seemed filled with bright colors. In collective suspense the guests held their breaths. Charlie had never felt shy around Agnes. Now with a strange awkwardness in his knees he turned to look at her. He held out his hand to her. Her diamond ring caught the light as she found his hand. The room filled with applause.

The End

Monday, October 12, 2009


Chapter 4

"Fiance! No one here is going to be married until I've had my say," interrupted an authoritative voice from the hallway as Julia marched defiantly into the house of well-wishers. Julia Schlinder was an austere woman. She came from a long line of respectability - a weight not many can bear. Julia dressed almost entirely in navy blue. She ironed her collars at least twice before leaving her home, a habit which no one ever noticed to her satisfaction. After the death of her first husband, Julia had thrown her energies into her perfectly maintained garden and her not so perfectly behaved neighbors. Julia was a fiercely beautiful woman.

So with hostile self-possession she entered the living room, where Charlie stood frozen, a man who has discovered to his dismay to be in the possession of more female attention than he had ever sought. Julia took in Agnes, the ring on her extended hand, and Charlie's mother without so much as nodding in their direction.
"Charlie, I've waited for 15 years for you to come courting. What, is the meaning of this?"
"Julia, I never meant for this to happen. Agnes. . . " Charlie's voice suddenly lacked the necessary air.
"Hello, Julia." Agnes interrupted. "Charlie, loves me. He's always loved me. No, he doesn't know it yet, but give him a minute and he'll figure it out. I think you should leave. We are in the middle of an engagement party."

The guests at 3407 Magnolia Drive had been watching with interest. This was better than anything they had seen in a good while. Their widened eyes bounced from Agnes to Charlie to Julia to Agnes. Whole glasses of iced tea were tipped out on the carpet, unheeded, their owner's hands limp as the scene unfolded before them. They never could have predicted what happened next. . .

*** This is where you come in, dear reader. In 3 sentences or less, please describe "what happened next." I will choose from YOUR options. ***

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Chapter 3

"Agnes said that when you came to your senses you'd call her. She's staying at your mother's house."

This frightened Charlie even more. Call Agnes? Talk to Agnes? Agnes, who was even now insinuating a relationship with him and staying with his MOTHER? This was outrageous. Maybe he could just go talk to his mother and make her make Agnes give back the ring, the ring intended for Julia, the woman he was ACTUALLY sweet on.

"Mortimer, I'm going to Monkey's Eyebrow. You can hold down the fort here till I get back. And if Julia comes around, tell her I'll make it up to her. And Mortimer? . . . Don't ever let me listen to your sister again." The door jangled in punctuation as Charlie exited "Fix it or Forget it." And before the day was out, Charlie was buckled into his 1967 Plymouth Barracuda, having informed his mother of his imminent arrival, on the fast track to confrontation. And as the Arizona freeway shimmered ahead of him, Charlie had to ask himself how Agnes would stoop to doing such a thing. She was supposed to inconspicuously flaunt the ring until Julia started acting jealous. Charlie had planned to ask Julia to marry him when he knew she had feelings for him. Agnes would then assure Julia that she had been wearing the ring for safe-keeping and would never think to do so now that the couple was betrothed. Charlie pressed into the accelerator and felt his frustration mount.

As he pulled in front of his mother's house, Charlie was aware that his angst was dissolving into trepidation the closer he came to the screen door. He was also mildly surprised to see that he was not the only guest arriving at 3407 Magnolia Drive. Cars were finding parking even as couples in formal wear made their way up the sidewalk. An elderly woman greeted him at the door, exclaimed in welcome, and took his jacket. Strangers filled the hallway, sipping iced tea, milling into the living room. They all seemed to know him. They all murmured congratulations. In a stupor of confusion, Charlie barely made out a particularly enthusiastic voice calling from the living room, "And here he is now! Charles Conway, my soon to be married son!" A smattering of applause filled the spaces around him and Charlie found the source of the exclamation. His mother, holding Agnes by the arm, approached him from across the room, parting a bevy a middle-aged women with tears in their eyes. The only coherent thought that entered his mind found its way to his lips, unbidden, "my very own mother, a traitor." This produced a generally shared mirth, as the guest imagined him to be joking. His mother's eyes twinkled,
"Now Charles, do be a gentleman, and take your fiance's arm. You've so much to talk about!" And there was Agnes, smiling impishly with her hand extended.

a.) Charlie didn't stop to see how many people he had bowled over. He was carrying the screen door with him as he sprinted down Magnolia Drive.

b.) "Why, yes we do!" Charlie responded. "I'm just angry enough to say exactly what I mean, too!" The guests parted in suspended merriment as the Charlie led Agnes to the back yard.

c.) "Fiance! No one here is going to be married until I've had my say," interrupted an authoritative voice from the hallway as Julia marched defiantly into the house of well-wishers.