My lovely and enthusiastic sister-in-law Heidi has started a new blog that seems like fun. It's called Evening at the Authors' Table. When Rob and I first got married we made a trip to Canada to visit his folks (parents and six younger sibs still living at home). It was there that I was first introduced to this tradition of family flash fiction, so to speak. We sat around the table after dinner and, to the ticking of a timer, we all milked our brains and wrote whatever dripped out, and then we had an impromptu reading. Very entertaining. I loved it. And I loved it every time the family had occasion, once people relocated to Utah, to play this literary(?) game.
So, now Heidi's set up an online version of E.A.T. (something I've thought about repeatedly, but never quite turned thought into action) and I've had my first go with her first prompt. I won't call it a great result, but honestly, it never is. That's not the point, at least not for me. It's an exercise in fun.
Would you like to play too? Why not give it a go? Go and have a look at Heidi's blog to read the "rules," such as they are.
Prompt: Write about the meeting of an imaginary creature and an ordinary citizen.
I found my answer in the classifieds, actually. I’d been having trouble with my dog—he’s getting old, you know, and like some unlucky people experiencing their “golden” geriatric years, Blackie seemed to reach critical mass with his aging process, and sort of checked out of the norm. It seemed almost overnight that our rapport vanished. Used to be we could read each other’s minds. I knew when he was bored and just how to coax him into the right kind of play to slap a toothy grin over his dog breath. He could sense when I was sad and those were the only times when he (sweetly) would bring his typical ripsnort speed down to a slow crawl and would eventually curl up quietly beside me on the couch. He obeyed my commands, for the most part. And we shared an occasional joke together. Truly! Dogs were built with a sense of humor! Some of them, at least.But as I was saying, Blackie rounded some dreadful corner. I think some of his brain must have shut down. Did he have a stroke? He was always willful, but this was something different, though it took me some time to understand that. It was like I couldn’t get through to him. I’d tell him something once. I’d tell him twice. I’d tell him again and again and again. Nothing. He’d only stare at me blankly. Occasionally he’d submit and then five seconds later he’d be back, staring blankly again. We lost the ability to communicate. It was as if I was speaking cat to him—no connection.But then one weekend I was thumbing through the classifieds of one of those free papers I get from the health food store. Why do I always pick those up? Some strange fascination on my part, because I’m sure I have no need for a tarot reading or an aura colonic. Something bold among the rainbow-colored ads caught my eye—Woofspeak Translation Services, sporting a great black paw print logo. I picked up the phone and called the number.
Sheesh, my timer went off and I'd barely got the door open to introduce my imaginary creature. Oh, well!