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The Spot Writers – “The Drought” by Chiara de Giorgi

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s theme: awakening from a bad dream or, even worse, a nightmare. This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has a lot of fun.

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The Drought by Chiara De Giorgi

The alarm went off. Half awake, I tried to sit up as I heard the news on the radio.

The drought had lasted for so long, that Gap Lake had dried up, revealing a body. After the necessary examinations, it appeared that it belonged to a young man who had gone missing fifteen years ago. There was evidence that he had been killed: someone had hit him on the head with a hammer, or something similar. Then the murderer had dumped the body in the lake. The police stopped considering the young man as missing, and started investigating his murder. The reporter never mentioned the dead guy’s name, but he didn’t have to bother, I knew it was Liam Hunter.

Who would have thought that the lake would eventually dry up? How long would it take for the detectives to come knock on my door?

***

We had been dating, Liam and I, that summer of fifteen years ago. It was really just a fling, I was twenty years old, for God’s sake!

I used to work the late shift at the pub overlooking the lake, and he used to jog for an hour every night after work, before stopping by for a beer. He was always alone, as was I, so of course we started talking, then he started waiting for me to end my shift, walking me home… One thing naturally lead to another.

We were both only temporarily staying at Gap Lake City, that’s one reason why I considered our relationship nothing more than a summer interlude. My hometown was miles away, as was his. We would just be there for a couple of months, to work and save money for our ambitious projects. He wanted to go study law in Paris; I wanted to become a singer. A famous one, I mean. Most people can be decent singers, if they try, but to be extraordinary, well: that takes work. And money. Money for singing lessons, money to support yourself while you tour to find the right agent, money to maybe bribe someone into giving you a chance… If you have money, life’s so much easier.

Anyway.

One time the condom broke and I got pregnant. I asked him to split the doctor’s fee, to get rid of the baby, and he flipped. He claimed I couldn’t do that, it was his baby, too. He wanted us to get married, give up our dreams, and settle down at Gap Lake City, which was the perfect place to raise a child and start a family, with the woods, and the lake, and the friendly community. I could keep working at the pub, he would keep doing whatever it was he was doing at the time (I honestly do not remember), and we would be a happy family.

When I told him I’d do nothing of the sort, he threatened to reach my parents and tell them. I said that I didn’t care, so he promised he’d ruin my career as soon as I had one, telling everyone who would listen what an awful person I was, to put an unlikely dream before my own child and love.

I didn’t mean to kill him, I just wanted him to shut up. Or maybe I did want to kill him. After all, that was the only way to make sure he’d shut up forever.

I hit him on the head with a hammer I found on the pier, he fell into the water and stayed there. I tied a rope to his chest and filled his pockets with rocks, then took a small boat and dragged his body across the lake. When we reached the middle of the lake, I let go of his body. He’s been resting in peace for fifteen years, and I’ve become a famous singer. What would happen now?

***

The alarm went off and I woke up. I listened to the radio, but the reporter never mentioned a drought, or Gap Lake, or the dead body of Liam Hunter.

I called the studio and cancelled all my recording sessions for the week, then took my car and drove all the way there, just to make sure.

The lake’s still there, I am safe.

*****

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

 

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].
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Writer Wednesdays – Jane Doucet

This week, Writing Wicket showcases Jane Doucet, author of The Pregnant Pause.

Jane Doucet photo by Rachael Kelly (2).jpg

After earning an honours journalism degree from the University of King’s College in Halifax in 1993, Jane Doucet began her career in Toronto at FLARE, Canada’s leading fashion magazine. She spent the next six years working as a staff writer, editor, researcher and copy editor for several award-winning national magazines, including Chatelaine and Maclean’s.

In 1999, Jane decided to pursue freelance writing and editing full-time in Toronto. A year later she returned home to Halifax, where she expanded her freelance clientele. She wrote dozens of feature articles on health, parenting, gardening, entertainment, education, business and more diverse topics for national magazines and newspapers. In 2015, she joined the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University as a communications specialist.

In 2003, Jane wrote the first draft of The Pregnant Pause, her debut novel. Following a negative experience with a literary agent in London, England, she shelved the manuscript for 14 years, dusting it off in the fall of 2016 and choosing to self-publish it in order to maintain creative control. While the story is loosely based on some of her own experiences, it’s also representative of many women’s journeys.

“I wrote my novel to empower women who assumed they’d have children but, for whatever reason, it didn’t happen,” says Jane. “It’s really for everyone, though—women and men, parents and non-parents—because it’s about relationships with romantic partners, family, friends and coworkers. People will be able to relate to different parts of the story.”

I asked Jane:

Q: Do you try more to be original or deliver to readers what they want?

I try to write a story that I’d like to read and hope the readers who like the genre and topic will also enjoy it.

Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I’m almost finished the first draft of a manuscript for my second novel.

Q: What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

Not paying authors more. Except for the big names, ordinary authors don’t receive much money from each book sale.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

A novel about a married couple in their late 50s who open a sex shop in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. It has some racy bits, but it’s really about love—long-time mature love, love in a rut, new love, lost love, unrequited love, even the love of beloved animal companions.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be?

Until Grade 7 a teacher, because both of my parents were. Then when I was 12 I started taking ballet lessons, and I wanted to be a ballerina. I earned a dance performance studies diploma at George Brown College in Toronto, then did a short stint at the Washington School of Ballet before enrolling in journalism school when I was 20. I’ve been writing ever since, and I turned 50 in September.

Q: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Hardly! I find it painful.

Q: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

Everything.

Q: What do you like least about writing?

Revisions, and feeling like you could still improve it even after it has gone to the printer.

Q: What’s your favourite part of writing?

Finishing! Seriously, though, rereading certain passages in my manuscript after taking a break and thinking, “Hey, that isn’t half bad.”

Q: How many hours a day do you write?

I have a full-time day job so I don’t have a writing schedule. I write when I have the time, energy and ideas. I never watch the clock, but I’m obsessed with checking word count. I rented a house in Lunenburg the first week of October solely to work on my second novel and averaged 1,500 words a day over five days.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

To entertain and educate with humour.

Q: What’s the most you’ve ever edited out of a book? Did it bother you to do so?

I put the manuscript for The Pregnant Pause in a drawer for 14 years before I self-published it. When I went to revise it, I was a stronger writer than I had been since I had written the previous draft. I cut 20,000 words out of it and the flow was much tighter as a result. So, no, it didn’t bother me; it felt necessary.

Q: What motivates you (in writing or otherwise)?

In writing, when an idea won’t leave me alone. Then I’m like a dog with a delicious bone—I won’t let go of it till it’s good and done.

Q: Are you ever upset when you’ve finished a story, that your characters have said all they’re going to say?

Not at all. It’s a release and a relief—and time to send it out into the world and see how it’ll be received (hopefully well).

Q: What books have you published?

My debut novel, The Pregnant Pause, in 2017. I’m proud to say that it was shortlisted for a 2018 Whistler Independent Book Award.

Jane’s Website

Facebook: @thepregnantpausenovel

Twitter: @allmywords2017

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If you are an indie author and would like to be “showcased” on this blog, please send a request to writingwicket at gmail.com.

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

 

 

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Writer Wednesdays – Tom Robson

This week, Writing Wicket is showcasing Tom Robson.

Tom says this about himself:

Eighty-two and still writing. And most of it makes sense. Not bad for an only child raised in World War Two.

Sixty years ago last week I started a teaching career in Jane Austen country in England. I learned nothing from this, even after just two years of training. The two years prior to that had given me more useful, never to be forgotten life experiences at sea.

My formal schooling had me writing as notetaker and regurgitator, in essays and exams, of what had been taught. Creativity was ignored in favour of facts, grammatical accuracy, correct spelling, and good penmanship. Writing was a chore. Reading was the escape. History was the adventure, and mysteries always had a solution.

The year before I got married, I lived and studied in Liverpool. Another unforgettable experience with the “living” outweighing the value of the study.

Not wishing to remain as a teacher where I had grown up, I quit teaching at thirty to work with delinquents removed from their homes for custodial reform. After five years in suburban Surrey, I was recruited to do the same work in Quebec. My wife welcomed the move. Our three children offered no opinion but loved the snow of the 1971-2 winter.

In much of these ten years, I was involved in writing and editing detailed reports, assessments, and recommendations on the needs of the non-conforming clientele. The ladies of the typing pool were editors par excellence. I did a lot of specialist writing where some histories were more incredible than fiction.

As I burnt out at work, my marriage disintegrated and I returned to the classroom and a second forty-plus-year marriage. Somewhere in those years I completed another three years of study. The degrees that the British system, at eleven-plus, said I might get and at sixteen determined I was not competent to achieve, was wrong—again.

I thrived as a student and teacher when we moved to Nova Scotia in 1979. Children were encouraged to express themselves—even in writing. Ideas were welcome, and the errors and omissions could be fixed later. Even the teacher enjoyed writing, and I began to do so for the sheer satisfaction, at age forty-five.

My wife tolerated this foible. My new daughter loved her father’s stories. My grade six’s (well, the girls anyway) enjoyed and learned the story-writing process and performed in plays I’d written. They weren’t as proud as me when I won the WFNS award for writing for children for a novel. Motivation—a class of demanding pre-teen girls expecting the next chapter read to them each Monday. I kept pace for ten Mondays and my ego followed their demand that I submit “Am I Dreaming” for competition and publication.

After my grade six teaching days and into retirement, I continued to write and to run early-writer workshops. My own writing was for my enjoyment until I joined the Evergreen Writers Group. I had a receptive audience that wasn’t my wife. They pooled their ideas and skills on publication. My writing could “go” somewhere. Short stories fitted into two anthologies we published. I collected autobiographical and family tales into a patchwork memoir titled Written While I Still Remember, some thirty stories and poems long.

And then my ego rose above itself. How many writers believe that somewhere inside their creative souls is a novel waiting to be written? I reached my eightieth year, convinced that my novel had to be written now, before time betrayed it. My reading tastes indicated I favoured history or mystery. My character has no tolerance for the amount of research a book in either genre demands.

Then my inflated ego heard someone say that a short story I shared could be the first chapter of a romantic novel. And so it became, but the plot was reaching for infinity and had to be curtailed. The ego believed there was a compensatory sequel. This writer knows he should have reached for a better, more conclusive ending because the sequel is a struggle at eighty-two.

Tom for web

Q: What’s the most you’ve ever edited out of a book?

A: Before I had a chance to submit my prizewinning teen novel, Am I Dreaming, to publishers, it needed a rewrite. The fickleness of my target audience had turned the adored, real-life pop singer into one of the most despised has-beens in a matter of months. Rewrite one had to create a generic boy-band to replace the actual original and provide a new, anonymous romantic target.

Rewrite two had to change the venue of the concert to which the heroine had won tickets (plus a hotel stay) from the Montreal Forum after it closed. I had to do quick research and relocate much of the action to the Bell Centre. Rewrite three never happened. The cellular phone radically altered teenage and other telephone communication, even before texting, etc. Reading the twice-revised novel from 1990 dates it even after the 1995 revisions.

Q: What motivates you (either in writing or otherwise)?

A: I could make up reasons why I write. Somehow it is connected to the extreme shyness and chronic embarrassment, plus the difficulty with stringing two oral sentences together, as a young teen. For me, it’s no oversimplification when I say I write because I enjoy it. Specifically, I love using words and stringing long, convoluted sentences together and making them work.

Q: Are you ever upset when you’ve finished a story, that your characters have said all they’re going to say?

A: I’m still upset that I got tired of Wait and See and did not develop the story lines, relationships, and characters more.

Now and then I feel I’d like to write another short story featuring some character I created. Too many of my pieces are about real people or family. I reminisce too much and don’t invent people to populate my stories and create fiction.

Q: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

A: I am too aware of my limitations as a writer to believe I could ever write like someone whose work I’ve read and admired. Having said that, I believe I have a writer’s voice which is distinctive and was acquired through reading osmosis. There are writers of history and mystery I envy. I admire those who had to write in quill or even fountain pen and ink. Knowledge of these tools retires with my generation. Computers simplify the writing process so the focus is on the words and ideas, not the mechanics of ‘scribbling.’

I felt cheated today upon hearing that a famous, past author had the privilege of dictating his words in the days before this was the norm, the days when a writer wrote. Not fair!

Being aware of the toils and tribulations of pre-typewriter novelists compared with the expensive team approach of researchers and editors and advisers and gofers and problem solvers and sub-editors employed by generic best sellers, I want to redefine writing but wouldn’t know where to start.

Q: What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

A: Historical figures that feature in fact or fiction need a full accounting of their actions, attitudes, and behaviours. Such is seldom available, the truth being distorted by gossip, inadequate recording, political or class bias, envy, and blatant lies designed to discredit. Having said this, the task is nigh impossible.

All a writer can do is tell both sides of a historical figure’s story and not use inflammatory terminology. What is essential is that actions, especially those being condemned, are told in the light of conditions and beliefs of the age.

Q: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

A: Don’t know what an avatar is or a spirit animal. My knowledge base is not expanding. Mascots bring you luck and/or good fortune. At my age? I’ll go with the Liver bird. May I live long enough and write well enough to see it flap its wings.

Q: Do you ever have trouble coming up with a title for your books?

A: I change titles often during or after writing or editing but finding one that suits me and the story is seldom a problem. I have fun with chapter headings (see Wait and See).

Q: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

A: I write for me and I give good, if biased, reviews. Most reviewers haven’t a clue what went on between the book and the writer’s life.

Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

A: Occasionally, I give a name to an obnoxious character of someone who “did me wrong.” Exaggeration of happenings and my role in them will remain a secret.

Q: What was the hardest scene you’ve ever written?

A: I imagined my mother’s day of moving from the house my father had set up for her before he died. I had long avoided this emotional story that begged to be told because her only “child”—me—had abandoned her while she was still mourning. At 59, without a husband, and her son and grandchildren moving to Canada, she moved to be near her sisters. I imagined that final farewell to the house, its memories, and ghosts in “Kitchen Window Memories.” I can’t re-read it without crying.

Q: Have you set goals?

A: Hoping for more time and more inspiration for stories, essays, or poems.

Q: Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

A: I think that everything I write is worth someone, other than me, reading it. This egotistical belief covers an insecurity that has struggled to find consistent success in life. I feel I am a successful writer because I have written and shared and been applauded. I am also more successful elsewhere than my insecure personage allows. I believe my exploration by writing has boosted my ego and made me more content.

Q: Do you Google yourself?

A: I haven’t done that for about ten years. I may do it when I’ve finished this.

Q: When you were growing up, did you ever expect to be a writer?

A: How my generation ever produced writers, given the prevailing education system of chalk, talk, learn, and regurgitate, is a mystery. I loved reading stories. There was no connection in my mind between these creations and me trying to do the same. First class Monday morning, age eleven: “In one hour, write a story on one of the six topics on the blackboard.” Not always said, but generally implied, were the words: “Remember good grammar, correct spelling, and neatness are important.” Further intimidation came later in the week when red-illuminated essays, blessed with an arbitrary grade, would be returned to you. There was seldom praise for ideas or content. I never had any because I was so obsessed with making my Godawful penmanship legible and fearful of misspellings.

Q: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

A: I am the writer that I am at an age where change is resisted and bad habits ingrained. What would I give up for miracles to occur? Can’t play that game if you don’t believe in miracles.

Q: Have you ever cried with one of your characters?

A: I’ve been angry and frustrated at the actions of a character I’ve created. Only what’s happened to real people that I’ve told tales about has brought tears to my eyes on occasions.

 Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

A: “Have you ever thought of how much enjoyment this person had in writing the story or book you’ve just devoured? Why don’t you use that imagination and try it?” Nobody ever connected the process to the product for me.

Q: Is there a genre you wish you could write that you can’t?

A: I am an impatient writer who is too lazy to undertake research. Thus, although I enjoy historical fiction, which takes me happily off at all sorts of factual tangents, I could never write it. I envy Ken Follett, Edward Rutherfurd, Margaret MacMillan, and Simon Winchester but would need to borrow one of their production teams to write in this genre.

Same applies to mysteries. Detailed and accurate research is essential, but beyond me. Pity!

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

A: The thirty pieces in my patchwork memoir, Written While I Still Remember, were written over more than thirty years. Assembling, rewriting, editing, and revisions occupied another year. My teen novel, before the revisions and rewrites, took about seven months. Starting an adult novel in your eightieth year encourages speedwriting, which produces a hurried text that needed time to marinate, develop, and conclude. This too-short novel took only a year. I had time to nurture it longer, but I quit on it.

Q: What books have you self-published?

A: This is a literary secret that needs revealing. In the spring of 1956, the first lieutenant of H.M.S. Concord of the Queens Far East Fleet ordered me to assemble and produce a book detailing the activities, exploits, and journeys of the destroyer Concord and its crew, for the current, eighteen-month commission.

With a lot of help, especially from the Hong Kong Chinese publishers, some four hundred copies appeared before we went our separate ways in June. If you think my sentence structure, spelling, and editing skills are weak now, you should have seen me as a nineteen-year-old editor and compiler. Somehow the 53,000 mile voyage ranging between Fremantle and Yokohama, with myriad stops and situations along the way, was recorded. I have a closely guarded copy, now in its sixty-second year.

Also, check out these books:

Out of the Mist, a publication of the Evergreen Writers Group, has three of my pieces in it. (Published by Stone Cellar Publications, 2014)

Off Highway, the second collection of works by the Evergreen Writers Group, has two stories and a poem of mine on its pages. (Stone Cellar Publications, 2017)

Written While I Still Remember: A Patchwork Memoir. (MacKenzie Publishing, 2014)

Wait and See. A story of a romance and its effects on those related. (MacKenzie Publishing, 2017)

Visit Tom’s blog, Robson’s Writings.

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama with elements of thriller, suspense, mystery, romance, and family dynamics. Buy it on Amazon. Also available locally from the author and at other local retailers.

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Writer Wednesdays

I’ve started a new feature on my blog. Every Wednesday, I plan to showcase one indie author. I’ve sent invites to my writer friends, and thus far, I’ve had a great response.

Of course, this is, I suppose, mostly self-gratuitous as I’m trying to promote my book, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK. But in the process, the authors who participate will be promoting their works, as well. And every little bit of advertising helps, right?

I’m doing this on a first-come, first-served basis. Wednesdays are booked for the next several weeks, but I don’t want “empty” Wednesdays while I wait for people to return the questions/answers, so I’m offering this to subscribers of my blog, too.

If you’d like to participate in “Writer Wednesdays,” send me an email (writingwicket at gmail.com) that you are interested. I will then forward you a list of questions to answer. Return them, along with a photo of yourself and a short bio, and voila! you’ll rate a spot on a future Wednesday. The only “catch” is that you must be a subscriber to my blog, which is a small price to “pay,” right?

I won’t have time to personally let everyone know the date of their interview, but since you, as a subscriber, receive an email every time I post to my site, you’ll see your interview when it appears. Thursdays are designated for The Spot Writers (an online, flash fiction group I belong to–free fiction!!!), and I might post one other day a week. With Writer Wednesdays, that makes, maybe, three posts a week. But the “delete” button is handy if you wish to ignore an email.

If you are reading this post and aren’t a subscriber, please subscribe. And if you want to be featured on a future Wednesday, email me at “writingwicket (at) gmail.com”.  I will  reply with the questions to be answered.

Happy Writer Wednesdays!

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama with elements of thriller, suspense, mystery, romance, and family dynamics. Buy it on Amazon. Also available locally from the author and at other retailers.

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The Spot Writers – “Follower” by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to use these five words in a story/poem – esophagus, carrot, pigeon, lily, moustache. Today’s story comes to us from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers mystery series (among other works). You can find out more at www.CorgiCapers.com.

Follower by Val Muller

Author’s note: I read recently that the YMCA I frequented as a kid was purchased to become an extension of the nearby hospital (the hospital where I happened to be born, in fact), but that the building stands abandoned years later. The news story mentioned that a group of youths was recently caught trespassing there after dark with a camera, prompting my imagination.

Lily swallowed over the boulder lodged in her esophagus. The evening sounds—chirping crickets, distant train whistle, slowing whir of traffic—provided none of their usual comforts. Instead of settling in for one of her last few cozy evenings at home, she stood out here in the parking lot like a criminal. The chill of the Connecticut August made her shiver with its hint of Halloween. Even so, the camera and tripod felt clammy in her hand as she waited for Harold to get the lighting right.

“Ready?” she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

“It’s hard to test the lighting when we have to keep it dark until go time,” he said.

A siren blared in the distance, and Lily froze, as did the others, trying to determine whether it was headed toward them. The sound faded, then disappeared altogether.

“We’ll have to enter from here,” Harold said, briefly illuminating the bright lamp. It was blinding—a genuine lamp from the state university film department—on loan to sneaky Harold for the evening.

The light shocked everyone, and a flutter from a window of the abandoned building made him snap it off. The blinding light was replaced by his phone’s built-in flashlight, revealing the intruder to be only a pigeon startled from its perch.

“Get a grip,” Lily told herself. Then, she raised her voice. “I hope you appreciate this, Margie. We’re all going to have criminal records by the time we’re done.”

Margie peeked from behind her phone, permanently set to “selfie” mode to serve as a mirror. “We won’t have criminal records,” she said. “No one cares about an abandoned YMCA. And I do mean no one.” She flashed a smile and raised an eyebrow. If she were a male, she would have stroked her moustache contemplatively. Everything about her was calculated, from the inflection of each word to the choice of sentences and facial expressions. Calculated the way soap operas are calculated.

Which was exactly the point.

Margie had orchestrated the whole thing to serve as her audition video for a prestigious and competitive film program in New York City. The video they were filming was designed to be one of those hunting-for-ghosts shows, and Margie was the host. The abandoned building, she argued, showed her resourcefulness, while the premise allowed her full range of emotions to be put on display.

And here Lily was, as usual, being dragged along just because Margie was cooler than she was. She longed for college—a mere nine days away. It would be a fresh start, a chance for Lily to be Lily, not just Margie’s friend.

Harold’s expertise, and his use of state university film equipment, further allowed Margie to remind everyone that not only did Margie have a boyfriend, but she had a college boyfriend at that. She was eons cooler than Lily would ever be.

The door to the building opened, and a frazzled Emily poked her head out.

“The props are ready,” she said. Then she looked around at the shadows surrounding them. “I heard sirens.”

Margie shot her a look.

“I know, I know,” Emily said. “But my prints are all over the place now. What if they, you know, revoke my scholarship? Or deny my admission?”

Harold laughed. “It’s not like they have everyone’s fingerprints on file. And besides, that whole ‘colleges will revoke your scholarship or admission’ is more like an old wives’ tale. It’s something teachers use to scare seniors into behaving during the last months of high school.”

Lily sighed. “But we’re not in high school anymore. This is the real world. We’re trespassing. Technically, a college could—”

“Technically, you all need to man up,” Margie said, pausing dramatically. She smiled. “Besides, in exchange for helping me, I’m giving you all a nice chunk when I make my first million.” She paused, dangling the imaginary money in front of them like a carrot. “Except you, Harold. We’ll be married by then, so we’ll have to work it all out in the pre-nup.”

In the darkening evening, the look on Harold’s face glowed. The look on his face said there were so many things he wanted to say, but his twisted lips said he was going to keep quiet. As if controlling him, Margie put her hands on her hips and threw out her chest, accentuating all her curves.

Yes, in her imagined glamour of living the Hollywood life, she had Harold captivated. The same way she had captivated Lily and Emily into jeopardizing their records to give her dream of acting in the big-leagues a shot in the dark.

Speaking of dark, red and blue lights lit up the distance, overpowering the streetlights as they approached. Their sirens remained silent, but their destination was more than clear. Two sets of police cars sped toward the abandoned building.

Emily ran off first, disappearing into shadows. Harold was next, leaving only enough time to secure the expensive equipment he’d borrowed. Lily was frozen to the spot, staring at Margie. If Margie was going to stay and confront the cops, so was Lily, the same way Lily always followed the ringleader. She had flashes of following Margie through terrifying dodge ball games in elementary school, to play auditions in middle school, to awkward dances and boring football games, to nothing Lily had ever wanted to do.

Margie turned dramatically, the colored lighting illuminating her face. “Oh well,” she sighed, pausing to let her eyebrows shift into resignation. “You win some, you lose some.” Lily could just picture the scene fading out on that resigned brow—until Margie took off in an unscripted run, Lily trailing at her heels.

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The Spot Writers:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

 

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