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life of erin, Two-and-a-half-minute Fiction Prahject

Two-and-a-half-minute Fiction ‘Prahject’: Take 22

Today I took the plunge and decided I would join up with NaNoWrimo. No idea what that is? Well, I didn’t either 24 hours ago. It is National Novel Writing Month. People from all over the world pledge to write 50,000 words during the month of November and come Dec. 1 are the proud author of a novel.

(P.S. NPR posted a few more of their “sneak peaks” for round five of Three Minute Fiction. They are so clever, they make me want to rescind my entry.)

(P.S.S. I should be getting paid for all the free promo I’m sending to NPR’s fiction contest. It’s not like they don’t have the money, they’ve at least got Juan William’s one person’s worth of a salary to dole out. Am I right? AM I RIGHT?)

We’ll see how this goes. I wrote 600 words today and they are…

Silent Treatment

"Silent Treatment" by Lichtenstein

Silent Treatment

She stirred her coffee. He stirred his. She added sugar. He added sugar.

“Would you cut it out?” she said.

“What’s your problem?”

“You’re doing everything I’m doing.”

“No I’m not.”

“You just added sugar after I added sugar to my coffee.”

“I always add sugar to my coffee.”

“But you did it after I…”

“Give it a rest, OK?”

She relaxed her spine and sat back into the two panels that made the back of the chair. She hadn’t realized how tight her back had been until she gave up. She gave in. She surrendered. She admitted defeat. It’s her new game plan. Don’t fight it. It’s not worth it. He doesn’t care. He won’t remember anything we fight over like I will. So it’s better to nip it in the bud.

He took a sip of coffee from the Styrofoam cup, let out a sigh that said, “I’m the best thing to ever happen to this McDonald’s” and sat back in his chair too.

That was too much for her. He sat back in his chair just like she had! He did it to spite her. She knew it.

“YOU DID IT AGAIN!” she yelled.

“Did what?!” he said.

“UGH. Forget it,” she said.

She had gotten sucked in again. Somehow she always confuses indifference for spite. And now he was the winner and she hadn’t even made her point.

“Are you going to be ready soon?” he asked.

“We just stopped. Can’t we finish our coffee first?”

“I want to leave soon. We’ve got at least 4 more hours on the road today.”

“I can’t stand to sit in that car anymore.”

But really, she couldn’t stand to sit in that car anymore with him. He didn’t talk. Even if she sneezed he wouldn’t say, “Gazuntite,” or, “do you need a tissue.” Nothing. Wouldn’t ask if she was too hot or too cold. Didn’t ask if she ever wanted to drive.

At what point had she started to notice these…things…happening? Somewhere between Jen’s wedding and right now, sitting across from each other at this McDonald’s. All she had said was,

“Isn’t it a nice wedding?”

And then he had chugged his vodka and soda and excused himself for the men’s room. But she had watched him walk away, and he didn’t walk to the men’s room. She didn’t know where he went. But it wasn’t to the bathroom.

That’s when it had actually dawned on her. She had never watched him walk away before, or rather, had never checked on him before. Had never tested his actions against his words to see if he was telling the truth. Her eyes had suspected something even before she had.

So she decided the “folding” method wasn’t working. Maybe it was what was making things worse? Maybe he liked the unease. Maybe he depended on it. Now was the time to fight the good fight, she thought, so she said,

“What’s wrong?”

“I just want to get on the road,” he said.

“OK, we will, but really, what’s wrong?”

“I’m ready to go.”

“No, really…”

“I’m going to the restroom.”

She didn’t watch him go. She looked down into her coffee. She gritted her teeth to keep it in. She would not cry in the middle of a McDonald’s. But she felt the build behind her eyes. If she blinked it would all be out. He’d come back and see her red eyes and glare at her. She wondered how she had gotten herself here.


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