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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Potted Plants

Clouds tighten on the horizon at the end of the six-lane highway. Julie grips the wheel at a precise ten-o’clock-two-o’clock angle and repeatedly demurs to adrenaline-crazed slaloming lane-changers. She tries to shrug the frown lines from her forehead as she considers the neighbors motives. Calling the office to complain, who does that? Yet, seeping through her annoyance is a sinking feeling that she should not take it out on them. Surely they were doing her a favor, probably heading off another five identical phone calls. She wonders if this is how people lose their jobs. That kind of personal commotion at work never goes unremarked.
The tightly-packed clouds have settled over the driveway. Julie feels them twist around her head as she gets out of the car, as she bends to pick up an empty baggie from the lawn. The blood rushing to her head feels purposeful and necessary.
She has only to push and the front door opens. Ashtrays and teacups are strewn around an ancient bong on the attic-door coffee table . Reclining languidly against the oversized batik cushions on the hardwood floor is her flesh and blood, whose  otherwise foggy-eyed face lights up in unabashed pleasure as she focuses on Julie.
“Hey,” she drawls. “How was your day?”
“I had another phone call,” Julie says carefully.
“The Carsons, right?”
“The Carsons, yes.” Through a window Julie catches sight of a beat-up Volkswagen Beetle rolling silently away from the curb. “It seems the Carsons and everyone else in the neighborhood have had enough of you and your hippy-ass friends. They’re tired of hearing the Mamas and the Papas on endless repeat. And they’ve asked me again to deal with those potted plants in the back patio.”
“Busy bodies. They need to get a life. Get tuned in and turned on.”
Julie retrieves her mother’s silk chiffon headscarf from the floor. She takes a swipe at the coffee table with it.
“The sixties are dead, Mom,” she says. “Long live the sixties.”





20 comments:

  1. Without taking away anything from the other paragraphs - I love the second one and those tightly packed clouds. I live in a hippy town and have hippy-ass friends. Professional hippy-ass friends. Though some do grow and smoke pot, but it's all business here. Great writing, kymm, each and every time.

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    1. You are like a perpetual ray of sunshine on my blog, Steph : )
      Funny, I wanted a different-ass word, and hippy-ass spoke to me. Love that you have professional hippy-ass friends!
      And thank you so much for your sunshine!

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  2. Brilliant! Turning the usual mother-daughter relationship on an ear was a perfect idea. Julie's long-suffering tone throughout the piece really pulled it together.

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    1. Why thank you, ma'am!
      Not that they read it, but I figured I'd save myself some grief if I left my daughters out of it and reverse vented : )

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  3. Your details and descriptions create excellent tension. You sketch out just enough setting and create a distinct voice. Great work!

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    1. Those are such nice things to say. Thank you kindly, Margit!

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  4. I LOVE hippy-ass friends. That is great. The imagery is also marvelous here, particularly the way Julie's dread is also used to set the era towards the end of the piece.

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    1. Haha Glad you liked it. Thanks for the love, Jessie!

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  5. Hippy-ass: what a great use of this week's prompt! Great story too.

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  6. That was a creative use of the prompt!

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  7. Ha! Love "hippy ass."

    It's such a strange twist of life when you have to start parenting your parent. You've conveyed that vividly here. I want to buy poor Julie a drink. I think she could use one. :)

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    1. I definitely wrote Julie as someone who would gladly accept that drink!
      Thank you for the love, Ivy!

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  8. I loved how you flipped the script on the stereotypical grown up kid living in mom's basement situation. And this is just thick with description. Love it.

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    1. Yeah, I started out with hippie-ass, so it kind of flipped itself.
      Appreciate the Trifecta love!

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  9. Hippy-ass. Nice. This week's prompt has certainly added to my vocabulary. :)

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    1. Haha I hear ya on the vocab, but don't know that I'll actually use much!
      Thanks for the nice, Michael!

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