Monday, July 25, 2011

All on a Summer’s Day

The prompt for this week is "summer" or "your favorite thing." We can take our choice or combine the two. Since I love to write and and I love my family, and this is admittedly somewhat autobiographical ; - ), I selected the first page of a short story I plan to put up on Amazon soon. 

Honey held the doll up and stuck her tongue out at it, but the gesture wasn’t very satisfying. She didn’t really have that much against this doll in particular, she just didn’t like dolls in general.
         Actually, this one was rather nice, for a doll. It was a Christmas doll, left under the tree by Santa. A lacy white dress covered its fabric body, and a tiny wig of real hair was stapled to its head. In a lot of ways the doll looked a lot like Honey. In fact, that was part of the reason she didn’t like it. The doll had golden-blond hair like hers, but its hair lay in a long, neat pageboy, while hers curled every which way around her face, with one curl hanging down onto her forehead so people were always saying, “There was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead…” It made her want to puke.
         She tossed the doll aside and stood, hitching up her jeans and settling her holster low on her hip so the butt of her six-shooter brushed her wrist—the perfect position for a quick draw. She pulled her sombrero down on her brow so the glare of the sun wouldn’t ruin her aim.
         “There ain’t enough room in this here town for both of us,” she snarled at the doll. “Draw, you no-good so-and-so!”
         Her right hand flashed down to the pistol and jerked it out, her left hand fanning the hammer as she squatted in dueling position.
         “Kew! Kew-kew-kew-kew!” Then she added a “Ptieu-u-u!” for a ricochet.
         She straightened and raised the barrel of the six-gun to her lips to blow away imaginary smoke with satisfaction. She spun the gun on her finger forward, then backward, then flipped it into the holster. She stuck her thumbs into her gun belt and tried to stand bow-legged. She was the second-fastest draw in the entire neighborhood, even counting the big boys in the sixth grade. There was only one boy she wasn’t able to best. He said it was because he had a poker face, but she didn’t agree. He wasn’t that ugly or that skinny either.
         She bent down to pick up the doll to take it into the house. She wanted to be sure it got back in before evening, because she’d already ruined one doll last summer by leaving it out in the dew. Mom would be P.O.ed if she ruined another.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When the Moon Is Gibbous and Waxing

I love the prompt for this week--I have so many files with "midnight" in them somewhere. Would you guess I'm a bit of a night-owl? Here's the first page of my novel:

When Natalie recorded the final reading for the blood she had drawn from her guinea pigs that afternoon and looked up from her meticulous notes, she realized how quiet the lab was. No wonder. The clock over the door read 11:30. Once again she’d lost herself in her research so completely she’d stayed far past the building’s official closing time. She sighed. If she didn’t leave soon, the janitors would be knocking on the door to chase her out. They got a little testy when students interfered with their work.
She quickly gathered all the slides she had prepared and cataloged them for later study in case she found something she wanted to revisit. When she slipped into her denim jacket and walked out of the lab into the dim, silent hall, the hands on the clock were nearly touching twelve.
As Natalie stepped out of the building, the moist south wind clutched at her jeans and the long braid of her hair, making her struggle for balance. Dead leaves skittered around her feet, then escaped into the darkness across the parking lot. She glanced up and shivered. The full moon always made her anxious. When she was a child, her grandmother sometimes sat up with her until she finally drifted off to sleep—often well after midnight.
            Natalie's eyes misted over. Grammy had died six months ago, and Natalie felt foolish still getting weepy at every thought of her. But Grammy had been Natalie’s only family, and her sudden death left Natalie feeling very alone.
            The feeling of aloneness hovered over Natalie as she walked toward the ‘78 Omni at the far end of the back parking lot. The ten-year-old Plymouth was the only car left. Back here, the full moon's silver light was lost in blacktop, leaving only swarthy ponds created by lights in widely spaced medians.
            Then the feeling of aloneness was gone, replaced by an eerie presence of evil behind her and to the right near a clump of trees. Fear tightened her stomach.
            Natalie walked faster. She glanced back over her shoulder. You're being silly. It’s just the full moon. But her heart continued to pound, and gooseflesh crawled up her thighs. Absorbed in her fear, she stumbled over a pile of damp leaves. The musty smell nearly made her gag. Light glinted off little patches of moisture on the blacktop. She glanced back again.
            Two men had stepped out of the trees and were following her across the parking lot. She gasped and started to run. Get to the car. Just a few seconds. That’s all I need. But now they, too, were running. She could hear their breathing as they drew closer. She reached for the door handle.
            The car was locked. Frantically she tried to open it, but the keys slipped from her shaking hand. As the crash of their fall reverberated in her skull, she smelled the men's excitement and knew they were reaching for her. She sobbed.           
            Then her fear grew cold, and colder, until it became anger and turned to heat that ran through her body like fire, and she realized she had nothing to fear as she turned to meet her attackers.

Scroll down for a poem I included in this book to help Natalie discover what happened to her and why.

copyright 2011 Angela Parson Myers

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Wolfing Moon--Midnight

When the prompt for this week's blog turned out to be "midnight," the question wasn't what I would write, but which of the pieces I had in my files should I post. Should I post a short poem? My long narrative poem? The first chapter of my novel? I kind of did the one stone thing and opted for a short poem I quoted in my novel to help the protagonist figure out why she awakened covered with blood and unable to remember anything she had done since just before midnight.                       

                       The Wolfing Moon

The midnight moon, icy white,
Rides the clouds across the night.
Its leering face is full tonight
Above a world misty bright.

Street lights gleam with swarthy glow
Onto pavement black below;
Ponds of lamplight together flow
Into moons within the stone.

The whimpering wind is damp and cold,
Laden with stench of leafy mold.
Brown leaves race across the stone,
Chased by demons of their own.

In those of us who bear the curse,
Again awakes the ancient thirst.
The changing swells within our breasts
As howling, we lost turn to beasts.

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011


My mother threw another pie into the garbage.

Don’t judge her. She was trying to duplicate her aunt’s piecrust—a nearly impossible task. After this attempt, the last of many, she gave up.

My Great-Aunt Myrtle, just Aunt Myrtie to me, was widowed shortly after I was born. She supplemented her small pension by baking for a local restaurant. She made the best sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted and pies that melted in your mouth like meringue, crust and all. And her meringue—well the only word that comes to mind is mist. People patronized the restaurant just to eat a slice of her pie.

Her home had a parlor and a porch in the front, and a kitchen in the back that ran the entire width of the house. She slept in the parlor, which was heated by an oil stove, instead of using the unheated bedrooms upstairs, sat to read her Bible in a wooden rocking chair beside her bed, and worked in the kitchen, which was warmed by a coal stove right in its middle.

On one side of the stove was the treadle sewing machine where she taught me to make quilted hot pads, and on the other side was the Formica-topped table that was her only work surface. With grey hair in a net-covered bun and an apron protecting her cotton housedress, she set to work.

She covered the tabletop with flour and rolled out the piecrusts with a huge wooden rolling pin. The crusts always came out perfectly round and just slightly larger than the pie pan. Usually the trimmings went back into the dough to make another crust, but sometimes she let me sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon and eat them like cookies after they turned golden brown in her oven. No cookie was better, not even her sugar cookies.

When I was about 10, I told her that when I started junior high, my school would be only a couple of blocks from her house and I could come eat lunch with her. She smiled at me sadly. “I don’t think I’ll be around that long, Angel.”

I hadn’t yet experienced the death of a person I loved, so I shrugged it off. But her premonition was true. She died of a massive heart attack a year later.

I thought of her every time I left school to get lunch and had to walk past the bakery to get to Mike’s Ice Cream Parlor where most of us ate. Sometimes I didn’t even get to Mike’s, but stopped in the bakery for lunch. They made great fancy pastries, but their sugar cookies didn’t measure up to my Aunt Myrtie’s.

Years later, I, too, tried to duplicate her piecrust. Not as much of a culinary perfectionist as my mother, I kept trying and gradually got better and better. I discovered that those tasteless plums that grow nearly wild around the neighborhood make tasty pies, that grapes make a surprisingly good pie, and that yellow crook-necked summer squash make a better pumpkin pie than pumpkin does.

And one day, I pulled a pie out of my oven that looked especially promising. The crust was ugly as a mud fence, with cracks and bubbles all over the top, but something about it made me snap off an edge and lay it on my tongue.

Oh. My. God. It was almost perfect. At least it was the best piecrust I’d tasted since my Aunt Myrtie died. And my family didn’t even complain about how it looked.

I never did learn to make a pretty pie, and I don’t bake much any more. The kids are grown and have their own families that are nearly grown, and Hubby and I both have enjoyed way too much good food in the past. I’m proud of many things I’ve accomplished in my somewhat mundane life. But I will always feel a special rush of exultation when I remember that pie that was almost as good as my Aunt Myrtie’s.

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Tooth, the Whole Tooth…

Ladislas wept as he pulled his limousine into the drive of his gothic mansion. Nothing could console him—not even the song of the howling wind as it blew clouds across the face of the full moon. It was over—all over. How was he to survive?

His dentist’s words echoed, “I’m sorry. I’ve done everything I can. They’ll all have to be pulled.”

Who knew that his favorite food contained so much sugar? And how could he explain to his dentist that he needed two sets of dentures—one with very long, sharp canines?

(Written in response to a GBE2 challenge to write a story in 100 words, including the title.)

copyright Angela Parson Myers 2011