Katy Bourne is the sister of my friends. She wrote a book called Weirdo Simpatico: Little Stories for Short Attention Spans. Amazon is where I got my copy, and I’ve really enjoyed it. She talks about how she started by writing little stories about words which others would give to her.
I was telling a friend about this, and mentioned that I had a mind to try it. Did he have any words?
“Yep”, he said. “Burp, fart, and sneeze”.
“I can’t write about that”, I said.
“Then you can’t write”, he replied. “Those are the words”.
So, my pride and ego on the line, all I could say was, “Challenge accepted”.
You can decide whether I get it or not. Oh, I did add a couple of extra words of my own.
It took the room by surprise. Completely. Thoroughly. The sound roaring like a flash flood raging through a dry creek bed after a torrential rainstorm. Where once only the soft clinking of glassware, and the tinkling music of silver had mixed with the murmur of intimate, close conversation, now came a force of nature, shattering everything in its path—the intensity of the moment so unexpected, so quick. The diners froze in horror as if they had just sat down to dinner in Pompeii.
She wasn’t sure she was that happy about it. Yes, for a moment it had seemed wondrous. The pain was gone in an instant. She felt light. She felt free. She wanted to leap for joy. But now, the consequences had begun to set in. Her eyes burned, and her nose urged her to flee. “Run!” it cried. “Run now!”
It built slowly like soft, white cumulus clouds on a hot summer’s day. At first there was only the tickling of a faint breeze, so faint, in fact, that she could not be sure it was really there at all. But just as the clouds grow higher and higher, so did the pressure. The air turned angry, and the clouds darkened. For a moment, the world held its breath. Then, the flash of lightning, the rumble of thunder, and the rain falling down until it rested lightly on her soufflé.
"Weeds again?”, he said.
"They're not weeds, it's salad. It's good for you. Now stop it and let's enjoy our meal".
The Waiter returned and stood quietly, pad and pencil in hand.
The lady gave her order, including the House salad. With Vinaigrette.
"On the side please", she said.
"And you Sir", said the Waiter.
He hesitated. She looked daggers at him.
"The salad", she hissed.
"I'll have the salad" he said, looking at the Waiter.
"Yes Sir. House or Caesar?"
"Macaroni", he replied.
“Run”, she cried.
So I ran. Then ran some more, staying tight to her speckled white hip and swinging black tail.
“Why are we running”, I cried out.
“It’s what we do”, she called back. “Just stay with me”.
Across the green grass, splashing through the cold water, and stumbling, flailing against the black mud which sucked my feet deep into the earth. Eyes blurry from wind and effort. Lungs on fire. The only sound in my ears, the roar of the blood racing through my veins.
“There!”, she cried. “Over there, the gap in the thicket. Do you see it”? She pushed her nose into my shoulder to guide me to where she was looking.
Where? Where? My mind was on fire and I could not focus. What gap?
Then suddenly I saw it. A dark space. A shadow on the wall of trees ahead. I pointed my nose towards it, pushed hard with my hindquarters and I was through. Ahead of me, the old Appaloosa mare was slowing. I caught up to her and slowed with her.
“But why are we running? I still don’t understand”, I gasped. The mare slowed to a walk and swung her head towards me. “It’s what we do. When we don’t understand, we run. We run first and figure the rest out later. Don’t ever forget it. It’s how we stay alive”.