For my creative writing class.
Hey, homedogs! I don’t know why, but my computer browser always wants to correct “homedogs” to “homologs”…
But, anyway, I’m back this week with… not one, but TWO short stories I wrote for my creativity class focused on writing!
This one’s gonna be the first, and it went off a prompt (of course, because it can’t be that creative), and that lil’ snippet went something along the lines of this…
“Compose a short story structured in 3 scenes. Make each quick and in completely different locales. Each scene should have three to six conflicts contained within them.”
So, here’s what I interpreted of that!
“Did you get the dog food?”
Tabby looked between Cal and the stack of tax returns on the counter in front of herself as he spoke.
“No, I didn’t, but—” she began back to him but stopped short when a wobbly 13-month-old collapsed onto her stomach right by Tabby’s feet.
“Oh, shit, Lina…” she grumbled, huffing out a sigh before she knelt down beside the screaming toddler.
“But what?” Cal shouted over the cries, turning around from the simmering onion he had just thrown onto the stove.
Tabby scooped the little girl into the arms of her baggy, stained gray sweatshirt.
“Ugh,” she growled. “Not the time, Cal!”
He paused for a second, looked over the two crouched on the brown tile floor, and then twisted back around. He picked up a wooden spoon from the pile of utensils on the countertop and stirred the crinkling pan.
“It’s okay, baby,” Tabby coaxed, rubbing the baby’s bare, pale back, and then raised her voice once again. “Where’s her paci?”
Cal hammered the spoon on the pan’s edge, then set it down and turned around yet again.
“Here, I’ll take her,” he stated, stepping forward.
“No, no,” Tabby objected, rising with the crying girl still in her hands.
Cal leaned back and placed his hands on his hips.
“Just—where is the pacifier?” she shot a hard glance over at him, and then raised her nose up in the air. “And is that garlic salt, again?”
“You know,” Cal shot back. “If you keep giving her that thing now, she’ll never get off of it.”
Tabby bounced the baby against her chest as the steamy, sweet air from the stove filed in between them.
“Oh, like youknow the first thing about being a parent?” she snarked.
Cal glided his eyes to the bottom of the cabinets by her feet as she stomped around his side.
Before she left the room, Tabby snatched a tiny jar of garlic seasoning off the top of the microwave and hurled it into the overflowing trashcan.
“I told you, Ma, it’s like he doesn’t even want to listen!”
Tabby juggled a white iPhone and Target shopping cart in her hands as she trotted along the wet pavement. Lina sat in the red booster seat above heaps of plastic bags with the hood of her 2T, purple raincoat pulled over her face.
“No, I know what I’m doing,” she continued, rushing across the road in front of a stopped van. “He just doesn’t get it—any of it!”
Her soaked blonde locks stuck to her cheeks as she jogged the cart straight ahead, past a rainbow of parked vehicles. After a moment, though, one wheel crashed its way through a pothole, and Lina shrieked in her seat.
“Oh, baby, sorry,” Tabby muttered, slowing down slightly to rub the little girl’s leg. “You’re okay, you’re okay.”
She grabbed the handle of the cart once more and trudged on through the rain while Lina still cried. Once she reached the side of a blue sedan, she stopped, and then pulled the girl into her arms, the phone still squished against her ear.
“Well, I’m telling you, the other night, I asked him if he could take her to her doctor’s appointment next Thursday, and you know what he told me?” Tabby asked as she approached the driver’s side back door. “He said he can’t because her car seat doesn’t fit in his truck!”
She knelt down to open the door, her arm still wrapped around Lina.
“No, it doesn’t have a backseat, but you can still put it in the middle of the front,” she went on, now helping the toddler into the bulky black car seat inside the car. “He can’t take my car!”
She clicked the few plastic belts around the whining girl, then stepped back and slammed the door shut.
“Please, Ma, I can’t drive a pick-up to the office…”
She sloshed through a puddle to get to the trunk.
“Well, whatever, I’ll just have to take another day off,” she said, raising the lid of the trunk and making her way back to the abandoned shopping cart.
She grabbed a handful of plastic bag handles and began loading them into the car.
“I’m the one who does all the work—the appointments, the running around, the cooking…” Tabby stated, throwing in more bagged groceries. “Yes, it’s true!”
When she finished unloading the cart, she rammed the trunk closed and turned back into the road with the emptied cart, switching the phone between ears as she did so.
“Well, you don’t see what all goes on in our house!” she yelled, running across the way.
As she ran, though, one car let out a long honk and screeched to a stop inches away from her side.
Tabby threw up a flat palm at the driver for a split second as she continued through the street.
Once she made it across, she threw her cart into a group of others.
“Well hail damn Mary!” she shouted into the phone, finally bringing it down from the side of her face.
She turned around and began to pace back into the street, moving much more slowly while she stared at the cell she held now at her waist.
Another car honked her way as she ended the call.
But this one didn’t stop.
“Life’s too short…”
Tabby sat up in her bed as she spoke to Cal, who stood across the bedroom, unpacking and folding a heap of medical compression bandages from a blue duffel bag.
“For everyone but you…” he muttered, faintly.
Tabby threw her cast-wrapped leg overtop a white sheet, and then froze.
“What did you just say?” she snapped at him.
Cal continued stacking cotton packing and tape.
“Nothing,” he said.
“You said something,” Tabby protested, leaning forward as much as she could over her injury.
Cal finally stopped, straightened his back, and raised his hands to his hips.
“Tabby,” he began, glancing over his shoulder at her. “Where’s Lina?
Tabby rested her back against the headboard behind herself and crossed her arms.
“Mom took her for the rest of the weekend,” she stated.
Cal turned his head down to the floor and sighed a deep breath.
“I could have watched her,” he said.
Tabby let out a tiny chuckle.
“I could have, Tabby!” Cal dropped his fists and shouted at her. “Just like I could have taken her to her doctor appointments, but you won’t let me!” He threw his hands out by his sides. “You don’t trust me—not with her, not with anything!”
Tabby tossed an accusative finger his way.
“You never take care of her; you don’t know how!” she yelled, and then flipped her hand open. “And I try to trust you, but if you don’t want my trust, then go back to Jessica.”
Cal glared across the way at her.
“Go on,” she shooed. “You’re not her real dad anyway, and at this rate, you’ll never be.”
Cal looked her over once more before turning to the door.
“If I’m not a father to her,” he said. “Then what the hell are you?”
Let me know what you thought/think… and get excited for part 2 (the 2nd short story for the class), coming soon!