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November 13, 2009

Trying out #Fridayflash


In between a few smacks of gum the cashier at the Piggly Wiggly said, “That’ll be ten fifty.”  Lucille took out her book of food stamps, the ones she called her coupons, and handed them to the girl to pay for the powdered baby formula now being put into a brown paper bag.  Lucille then placed a Hershey’s bar down on the counter and took a dollar bill out of her dainty change purse and handed it to the girl.  Philip had been asking for the last two weeks and she figured this would be as good a day as any.  She finished with the cashier, put the candy bar into the bag with the formula, and walked out into the parking lot to begin making her way toward the main road.

Although it was still October, winter was hissing at Lucille from the trees.  It had been a cold and rainy spell.  Her path along the side of the road was a maze of shallow muddy dips in the ground. The cars blew her dress every time they passed her. She walked for about a half mile to Four Corners.  There was one blinking yellow light in the southbound direction, but nobody ever paid any attention to it, so it might as well have not even been there.  Lucille stood at the corner, waiting to cross.  She hoisted the brown bag from one hip to the other, in one fluid swinging motion. Finally, she got a break in the traffic and started across, right into a hole of thick and dirty brown water which soaked her right foot, sock and all, down to the bone.

After another mile and a half, her foot was so cold she could barely tell it was there anymore.  It felt like her body ended at her ankle.  As she got near her place, she adjusted the tortoise shell comb that she had used to pull her hair back off her face.  There were about ten buildings in the cluster where she lived.  All washed out brick and graffiti.  They called it Airley Gardens. Underneath her shoes she could feel the shattered glass and even though it wasn’t making much noise, in her head it seemed loud as it cracked underneath her rubber soles.  Taking her key out of her dress pocket, the one she usually wore to town, Lucille quickened her pace. The hissing had turned to a heavy cold mist and the brown paper bag on her hip had started to sag and collapse, making the weight and the shape of the baby formula seem even more awkward in her arm.  Her knee felt like it was about to give out, making the last ten feet seem like a mile.

Lucille looked at the small porch overhang with two white columns holding it up.  Right about then, Philip opened the door and started to come out.  “Turn your tail around and get back in there before you catch phenmonia,” she said, hardly opening her mouth.

“Ms. Margaret said I could come out and help you.”

“Hush your mouth and get on back in there. Right now!”

Philip turned and went back in, leaving the door open to suck the cold air inside the tiny apartment.  Lucille stiffened her back and said to herself, “Six more, just six more.”

She took a step.  “Five more.”

13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2009 6:06 pm

    Nice debut piece. Very vivid writing. Really gave me empathy for Lucille.

    If you would like your piece included in The #fridayflash Report be sure to go to the Collector and enter the details. It’s a web form that helps me generate the wrap up come Saturday.

    Welcome to #fridayflash. I look forward to more from you.

  2. November 13, 2009 6:10 pm

    Your writing puts me right there with Lucille, slogging those last steps drenched, aching foot, the bag getting heavier and heavier. Part of a larger piece? Super stuff. Peace, Linda

  3. November 13, 2009 6:13 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, Jon. They’re much appreciated.

    I will follow-up on the web form. I’m still learning Twitter, so I know I have some catching up to do on all of this. But I think it is great that you have come up with a way for writers to support each other and I look forward to reading.



  4. November 13, 2009 6:57 pm

    Thank you, Linda. No, not part of a larger piece. Just someone who got into my head.

    I hope you saw my attempt on Twitter to tell you how much I was moved by Bookends of Life last week (I think it was last week) because I wanted you to know. It was really powerful.

    So thanks for that, too.

  5. November 13, 2009 7:23 pm

    Hey, Welcome to #FridayFlash. You have a great debut here. Really smooth, nice language, easy to read, and it definitely puts me in the mind of Lucille. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Deanna Schrayer permalink
    November 13, 2009 9:29 pm

    Welcome to #fridayflash! I agree with Linda – I could feel Lucille’s bag getting heavier too, and that key part plays well into the heavier baggage that is her life. Good job.

  7. November 13, 2009 9:57 pm

    Very well crafted piece. It had a sepia quality about it, yet was timeless. Lovely debut. Welcome to fridayflash!
    Karen :0)

  8. November 14, 2009 2:11 pm

    Wonderful story. It has sharp description and seamless flow.


  9. November 14, 2009 2:33 pm

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I hope I took a small step toward doing some justice to the women who face life’s hissing with such quiet dignity every day.

    Looking forward to reading more of all of your work as well.



  10. November 14, 2009 4:14 pm

    Welcome to fridayflash, but be warned: it’s very addictive!
    Nice piece, I could feel the weight of those bags!

  11. November 15, 2009 1:27 am

    Great debut! As others have already said, I felt great empathy for her. Your writing is very descriptive. Welcome to #fridayflash!

  12. November 16, 2009 11:21 pm

    I loved your style. It made me sad as I walked with Lucille. That means you connected. Keep up the good work.

  13. November 17, 2009 12:44 pm

    Thank you for the welcome and for the supportive words. I appreciate you all taking the time to comment.

    Reading *is* addictive….so why don’t I have more time?! 😉

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