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Friday, August 27, 2010

Red Writing Hood: Quite the Conversation Piece

This week's Red Writing Hood writing challenge was to begin a work of short fiction with an identical cold open ( in bold below). This took me in a different direction than I expected. 

As always, your thoughts and feedback are welcome. 

 
Quite the Conversation Piece

An art opening at a lavish downtown gallery. A car crashes through the plate glass window. The driver's door opens, and an eight-year-old girl steps out.

Olivia turns to her companion and murmurs,  "This old chestnut." She sips her wine, continues, "You tell me, Bernard. A commentary on the actualization of feminine power?" 

"Perhaps," he says, "But that's been done, and done better. I mean, a broken window? If it was a broken glass ceiling, it would be a cliche, yet a bit of a lark, at least." He gazes at his empty glass, "What does it take to get a refill around here?"

"Oh, Darling, the waiters are all attending to the girl," she says, gazing at another installation, a mobile made from rusty forks. "World hunger, very good," she murmurs. "Put a sticker on that one." She turns to her husband,  "Bernard? Are you even listening?" 

He gazes towards the entryway. The glass, splattered across the bamboo floor is almost  jewel-like. Deliciously dangerous. An homage to Pollack, perhaps? 

He faces Olivia, "So sorry, Darling. I am simply enchanted by that girl's performance." He stares once more at his empty cup. "Although I wish somebody had clued in the help. How much?"

She sighs, twisting her earrings. "How much what, Darling?

"The piece. The girl. She's got the crying thing down. Very authentic. I like the wailing. I like the blood. I especially like the broken glass. Quite the conversation piece, don't you think?"

She lifts an eyebrow. "You can't be serious." She stares at the girl, presently shaking in the arms of the bartender.  "I mean, are you sure the shattered glass is included? Where would we put it?"

She considers the geometry of their home. It could go in the sun room. There is lots of light, and good, solid, soundproof doors. Yes. That would work. She smiles and purrs,  "I thought you said this was 'done and done better.'"

"You know as well as I do that good art can be surprising. Please, Darling. For me." He clasps her elbow, whispers, "You can have the World Hunger forks, but let me have this piece. I am begging you."

She nods briefly, and wags a finger towards the scene, "Well, go on then."

She watches as Bernard strides past the ocean of shards, past the emergency technicians and places a sticker on the girl's forehead. 

"We'll take it," he says. "And when you have a minute, please refill my glass."

26 comments:

Shell said...

Oh, I love this! A very unique take on the prompt!

cristina said...

I LOVE it! this was really good.

Ms. Moon said...

They already stole what I wanted to say. But I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!
Big, big love.

Angelia Sims said...

Heh! That is too funny. Enjoyed the detachment of the buyers and the callousness. Very well done!

:-)

Traci said...

Well, I may be scared to attend a dinner party in your town but I love, Love, LOVE what you did with this. You are quite a writer, lady. I am inspired!
:-)
Traci

Aging Mommy said...

Once again you hit this one out of the ballpark (see how American I am being in my enthusiasm!) You are so ready for your first novel, I for one would love to see a book of short stories written and really evidence where your fictional flights of fancy take you. I'll borrow another phrase and say "just do it already."

The Drama Mama said...

I really thoroughly enjoyed this. It was interesting to read it from a patron's perspective. I wonder what happens next?

Kori said...

That is amazingly well-done!

shortmama said...

Loved it!

dek said...

That was awesome. Bidding for the art installation will start at $250,000.

Jenny said...

Wow. Just wow.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Scary to think anyone could be THAT clueless! :)

MiMi said...

You are SOOO good!!

Jessica Anne said...

Ha! I had to smile at their self-absorbedness (yep, made up a word there). Great job!

Unknown Mami said...

I am really tickled by this. I want to put a sticker on it!

Mrsblogalot said...

This was fabulous!!!

Mommy Wis(h)dom said...

That was great, I could see them standing there having a quiet discussion among the chaos.
Really great!!!

Bekah said...

Kinda horrifyingly funny. Well done! Please write the next chapter!

Erin said...

Wow, Nancy! You took this and ran with it. Love what you've done with what I thought was an impossible prompt. I've chickened out in the last several weeks....ugh. How do you do it?!?!

Kristy said...

I love your take on it! I love the hoity-toity details in the characters.

Cheryl said...

Hysterical! You pegged their self-absorption perfectly!

Ericka said...

Quirky and thought provoking. Definitely sends home a message and you've managed to do so in a captivating way. And I think I know that couple!

only a movie said...

Love it!! Really well done, Nancy. :-)

adrienzgirl said...

I've said it before, I will say it again. You are such a talented writer! Really you are!

FabuLeslie said...

Oh my lord, you are a creative GENIUS! This piece is stunningly original and smart. Crafty. Great fun to read!

The Blue Zoo said...

Wow! Great job!! I love how you did that. I would have never thought of it.