Well, this is it. I have been saving the last three prompts from my Final Portfolio for Creative Writing for a day when I really didn’t have time to blog, and this is it.
I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Oh, and just so you know, Ididn’t follow all the prompts exactly. Sometimes, I changed bits around so they would be more fun.
Prompt 2 – Monster Under The Bed
When you were little, you could swear there was a monster under your bed–but no one believed you. On the eve of your 30th birthday, you hear noises coming from under your bed once again. The monster is back and has an important message to deliver to you.
The night before my fifth birthday, the monster under my bed started talking to me.
He’d never said anything before. All he’d done was making strange noises that sounded like someone turning their radio dial back and forth over and over again. Little bits of what might be words, but what also might be nearly anything else. It was impossible to tell.
And of course, I tried telling people about him, and of course, nobody believed me. But I didn’t really mind. It just made me feel like he was my monster and nobody else’s.
I didn’t really want to share him with anyone anyhow. I liked going to sleep listening to the sounds he made. It was soothing, and it gave me the best dreams.
But then, that night, he started using words. Small words all by themselves at first, but then bigger words, then sentences, and then he was making sense just like anyone else.
He said “Good, good, we’re finally making contact! Ahem…. ATTENTION EARTH LIFEFORM. I am Telepathy Engineer Stratus-5-ELBO. It is my sad duty to inform you that within seven hundred orbital rotations of your life-rock, your planet will be bombarded with a form of radiation as yet unknown to your knowledge-field. The effects of this radiation are unpredictable, but it is known to cause insanity, rage, uncontrollable lust, and a powerful desire to destroy. This radiation has been known to destroy entire civilizations, and it is imperative that your people be warned of the danger in time to build the necessary shelters and protect yourselves before it’s too late! If you understand what I am saying, please indicate this by thinking a clear affirmative!”
I said, “Uh….. what does affirmative mean? “
He said “You mean to say you don’t know what an affirmative is?”
I nodded and said “and I don’t know what imperative means either. Or lust. “
He said “It can’t be…. the knowledges clearly state that no life-instance of insufficient mental complexity can even interpret…. wait. EARTH LIFEFORM. Please state your maturation status!”
My what? “I’m five!” I said proudly. I was only lying by a day. That didn’t count.
He said “And approximately how many of your solar orbits does…. I am being told that you are unlikely to understand that question. Switching protocols. Young maleform, do you know how old your progen…. um, Daddy is?”
I knew this one!” He is thir-ty years old!” I had just learned to count past ten, and I was extremely proud of the fact.
He said “Let’s see, that means the reproduction maturation process must take twenty five solar orbits. IMMATURE MALEFORM. We will contact you again in twenty five sola…. um…. ye-ars? Years! We will contact you in twenty five years. BE PREPARED!”
And now those twenty five years have passed. It’s the eve of my thirtieth birthday, and I am looking back at all the years in between, where I learned what imperative and affirmative and lust – especially lust- meant, and the series of relationships that always ended the same way, with someone telling me that they couldn’t stay with someone who never seemed to be really present, who they could never truly get close to, who always seemed to have something else on his mind.
They never understood (because I knew better than to try to explain) that everything I did was to be ready for the next message. All my schoolwork, the university I chose, the doctorate in exotic radiation I completed in record time… all was to prepare myself for the big moment.
And that moment is tonight.
I just hope they haven’t forgotten all about me.
Prompt 3 – Valentine’s Day
You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One That Got Away.” What happens?
I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. What are the odds? What are the freaking odds? What are the odds that I would bump into the man of my dreams (that I let slip through my fingers, goddamn it) on any day, let alone Valentine’s day?
And in some random A&P in upper Michigan, no less. A place I had never been to before and will never be to again. I’m just innocently driving to see a friend who lives in Windsor when I decide I need more Dove bars, candy corn, and Mandarin Slice (food eaten on road trips doesn’t count, okay?), so I pull into literally the first place I see that looks like it will have those things, and there he is.
Ray Traviato, looking angelic and perfect as always, subbing for a cashier who got into a car accident on the way to work (nothing serious, more of an insurance thing than anything else), and managing to make being a cashier seem noble, fulfilling, and fun.
Turns out he manages the store. Of course. People trust him implicitly on sight (I sure as hell did) and he never lets them down. There’s something about him that makes people eager to turn over the kingdom to him, and he is far too gentle and kind to ever say no.
Was that all I ever was to him? Someone who had asked him to be her boyfriend, and he was too kind to say no? Or was the problem me?
Because I know why I sabotaged the relationship like I did, being all petty and demanding and mercurial and impossible to deal with.
I did it because I couldn’t make myself believe he actually liked me. I mean, seriously. What could a demigod like him possibly see in flat-chested sports-obsessed little nutjob like me? The girl with the super high grades and a discipline record thick as a phone book? The tomboy punk in the leather pants, jean jacket covered in spikes, and earrings so big you could use them as anchors? The girl who couldn’t sit still, never stopped talking, and didn’t pay attention? The girl everyone assumed was a dyke (I disappointed so many butch girls back then) and everyone knew was a basket case who was sure to self-destruct at any minute?
What could a demigod like him possibly see in a girl like me? It had to be some kind of trick. It had to be pity, or a dare, or something like that.
So I ended up driving him away. And the sad part is that when he dumped me (very gently, of course), I actually felt relieved. Hell, I felt great. Finally, the world made sense again.
It was two whole weeks before I realized just what I had lost. And by then it was too late. He had transferred to a school in the city, my parents practically had me under house arrest, and there was no way we were ever going to see each other again.
Until today. Until fucking Valeltine’s Day. In the middle of nowhere. Completely by accident.
I mean, fuck me, right?
So I get my stuff (they didn’t have my Slice, but they had orange Faygo, which it turns out is pretty good) and nonchalantly get into his line and then when I see him, I am all “Oh, hey, imagine meeting you here, hey, how ya doin’?”
Like I hadn’t recognized him the instant I walked in the door and hadn’t been freaking out about what I was going to say to him the whole time I was shopping.
We must have talked for half an hour. Nothing major, just the usual boring catching-up bullshit people who only have the past in common do when they meet. But we kept getting interrupted by this guy who worked for him, some stockboy or something, who kept coming to him with what seemed like totally bullshit questions about bananas or pallets or something, and they would trade insults in a lighthearted way, and then that would be it.
And every time this happened, it would bother me more. Who was this asshole, anyway, and what right did he have to keep hovering around and interrupting us and joshing around with my former boyfriend and acting like a jealous love….
And that’s when I got it. That’s when it all made sense. Why I was the only girl in high school he had ever shown the slightest interest in. Why he had always seemed so unattainable. Why I had always felt maddeningly safe around him.
It was simple. He was gay. And I was the most boyish straight girl in Ellen Landers High School.
After that, everything was cool. I was super relaxed and we talked like we had been friends forever. Jason backed off, and we ended up hugging and promising to stay in contact with each other.
And you know what? I think we actually will.
Prompt 4 : Wrong Printer
You’re at work and you print something personal (and sensitive). Unfortunately, you’ve sent it to the wrong printer and, by the time you realize it, someone else already scooped it up.
To the person known to their beloved as “Nookums” :
If you are wondering what happened to that rather extraordinarily personal missive you decided to print out at work (no doubt for private enjoyment), I can tell you :
It printed out on my desktop printer.
And I am afraid to give you further bad news, but I read the whole thing. Normally, I would not dream of being so intrusive or indiscreet, and indeed, I would have normally stopped reading the moment I divined the extremely intimate nature of the document.
But in my defence, it was a very slow day in Receiving. And you have to admit, objectively speaking, that there are aspects of the – narrative, shall we say? – that make it unusually compelling.
Still, I felt compelled to write this building-wide memo to assure you that your secrets are safe with me. I have discussed the contents of your email with only one person, my husband, and he neither works here nor knows anyone who does, excluding, of course, myself.
Even then, I was careful not to include anything identifying. He has not read it, and he never will. He has only heard my account of the highlights, and that was only for the purposes of the sort of stimulation and novelty all long term relationships need now and then.
Thank you, by the way. It was quite an evening.
I do feel compelled to offer some advice, however. The activity the document described involving the fine bristled brush and a length of medical tubing is very inventive, but please make sure that all surfaces involved are thoroughly cleaned before and after, and that you take things slowly at first in order to give everyone involved time to adjust.
Also, as a lawyer, I must advise against the activity proposed involving the entity referred to only as “Pappy”. While I confess I am a corporate lawyer and therefore not up to date on the criminal bylaws and statues of this particular jurisdiction, I can say with certainty that such things are at least a misdemeanour in most places on this side of the Atlantic, and even if they weren’t, there are certain activities where no amount of privacy and discretion can possibly be enough.
Still, thanks to you, I now know what a capybara is. So there’s that.
Anyhow, rest assured that your myriad proclivities will remain our little secret indefinitely.
Unless it’s you, Dave, in which case, fuck you.