Blogging 101: ” What a Twist!” Make A Prompt Personal
Today’s Assignment: Publish a post based on my own, personalized take on a Daily Prompt.
Today’s assignment is to assist me in learning how to get past writer’s block, to provide me some stimulus to get me to thinking about what my own personal take is on a suggested Prompt provided by WordPress.
For the reader, it will provide you some hopefully interesting content, and you may never know that I thought I had nothing to say, but only needed some Prompting to get the words flowing again.
I chose: Daily Prompt September 9, 2013 What a Twist!
Tell us a story — fiction or non-fiction — with a twist we can’t see coming.
Run For Your Life
“In the year 2025, the best men don’t run for president, they run for their lives.”
― Stephen King, The Running Man
Charlene slammed through the back door into the kitchen. The dog barked, the baby cried, the cake fell to flatness.
“ I have decided to kill myself.” she cried.
Her face was a tear streaked distortion of it’s beautiful self, her voice harsh and uncompromising.
“Let’s go for a walk.” I said, turning from the bread making, announced to my nephew in the next room he must mind the children, that I needed some fresh air. Taking Charlene firmly by the arm, I propelled her trembling body back out of the house and towards the dirt farm lane that ran between two large expanses of tomato and pepper fields to an acreage of hardwoods with a strong running stream.
Charlene sobbed and gasped as she spoke of her life having no value, her two children, which included a three month infant, having better lives without her. That she was washed up, exhausted with life, had no money to purchase canvas even if she did have the time to paint. Her agent had called wanting new work for a show in the city, and she had none to offer. Her husband’s people hated her, believed her not good enough to be part of their family. She knew James could have married better surely, someone with more talent, more education, a career, and more attractive. No one had any clean clothes in her house, she fed them tuna-fish sandwiches and potato chips for dinner last night, and breast-feeding meant having milk leak all over her blouse at the grocery checkout counter while the baby screamed and the red faced adolescent cashier dropped the eggs. She had two flat tires on her car in one week, a real indicator that she was going no where in her life.
“When was the last time you had a full night’s sleep?” I interrupted.
By the time we had left the lane and entered the woods,
she was worked up into a wailing, recounting all the times she had disappointed her mother and father, her great uncle who she had been told may have attempted suicide, proof positive suicide ran in her family, certainly not Jame’s family. They were wealthy, had no stress, and besides God loved them.
Charlene was almost out of tears by the time she was telling me that within a year of her death her son would be in the gifted and talented program at school, her infant daughter would be bonded with the drop dead gorgeous new wife who not only was a gourmet cook, had made partner in a law firm in Philly, volunteered at the humane society, and both she and James were active in the POW/MIA movement, and sang in the choir at their church. No one even would remember who she was, and people remarked all the time to James how much the baby resembled his perfect wife.
If she wasn’t so spine chilling distraught, this new perfect life story for James and the kids could be comical, one of the many funny stories Charlene entertained people with.
“I think what you really need is some sleep,” I said. “Your hormones are so out of wack and you have got some serious baby blues. Get yourself to the Doctor this week and for cryin out loud Char, get some sleep.”
Charlene was a strong, vibrant, resilient woman, and while we both shared all manner of crummy days and foul moods with one another, often over them in the simple telling to one another, this complete wretchedness was just not her. I put my arm around her, kept us moving towards the stream and prayed for Guidance.
Charlene was getting very calm as she mused in detail the timing, place, and options on method of her forthcoming suicide. At this point I began to cry myself, my prayer for guidance turned into silent pleas to just save my friend. Charlene meanwhile had decided on pills. We were both exhausted.
“Well, Charlene*” I sighed, “It really is your life, and I guess you do get to choose whether you live it or take it.”
Halfway through that mean irresponsible sentence, I saw at eye level, a hornet’s nest. A great huge orb with hundreds of delicate layers of paper, black veins lacing throughout the gray color.
“Look Charlene. Over there. I’ve always wanted one of those.” I called as I dashed to it, grabbed it up, my coveted prize so large it took both arms to encircle it. A deep vibrating rumble suddenly came from my treasure. The realization of a really bad choice buckled my knees, stole my breath, raced my heart.
“Run,” I yelled, dropping the nest just as the first of the hive arrived fully mobilized. I’m turning around as the first punch smashed into my face. “Run Charlene!” I am screaming.
“Run for Your Life!”
I could not find her. I could not stay to look for her, as now burning fiery punches began to strike my face, head, and shoulders. By the time I was out of the woods my head was ablaze, stomach bilious, the taste of metal giving way to flames as a hornet breached my swelling lips. The sound, and relentless pounding attack of the hive confused me. I was on the lane, running, one eye completely swollen closed, and no where in my limited vision was Charlene.
By the time I stumbled onto the back step most of the hive had their piece of me and returned home. What remained were the hornets up my sleeves, in my socks, climbing inside my jeans at the back of my knees. On autopilot, I stripped off my clothing, smacking my own self around until the vibrating drone of hair tangled hornets stopped. Stumbled through the back kitchen door, where this day had began. I laid out face down on the coolness of the brick floor. Through my burning swollen ears. I could make out the voice and laughter coming from the living room.
“I had no idea a fat girl could run so fast!” It is Charlene and she is in full story telling bloom, laughing the loudest in a room full of laughter.
Well, I just ran the entire way back from there. That’s right. I ran. I had no idea I could move that fast! And this little piggie ran wee wee wee all the way home.
Can you believe I actually was down there feeling so sorry for myself I thought death was my next best move? We are down there at the stream and you are not going to believe this, but now I have Josie crying right along with me, she is missing me already. I am soundin soooo serious. Next thing I know she runs to what has got to be the biggest damned hornets nest on this planet. And I knew. I just knew what she was gonna do. This girl was just flying out of those woods and up that lane, these two size ten feet kicking up dust I was movin that fast.”
“I was running for my life I tell you, running for my life”
At the emergency room, while waiting for the staff to finish with me, Charlene ran into her obstetrician in the hospital lounge. She told him about the days events. He examined her, ordered some tests, prescribed some pills, scheduled an office appointment and spoke to her and James about post partum depression, sleep deprivation, and hormones. He said that run of hers definitely would help push off the depressive mood with a chemical dump into her system, and help her get some good solid sleep. He further expressed how fortunate the friend was that James arrived looking for Charlene, and found the friend unconscious on the kitchen floor. That just scooping me up and bringing me in to hospital had saved my life.
Six Weeks later James and Charlene threw a huge holiday house party over Christmas. Charlene, James, and their children were dressed up as Santa’s elves, their house lit with a thousand lights. Friends and family came from great distances, their home overflowed with food and drink, we had all brought gifts to share, there was music, Santa came for the children.
That weekend, Run For Your Life became Charlene’s new funniest story. She told and retold it several times, each time pushing it further into a hilarious exaggerated cautionary tale about baby blues, bad advice, and our human limited understanding of events and perspective. “We never know the bigger picture, do we? ” Charlene asked her guests, as the speed and distance she had run grew to miles. “We must love every day that we are here to tell our story.”
The following week I got the call that James and Charlene
had been hit by a drunk driver, who pulled into their lane of traffic at a high rate of speed, hit their vehicle head on, and they were both dead.
(*Charlene and *James are pseudonyms.)