Near 500 Words: Wedding Bell Blues

“Wedding Bell Blues” by the Fifth Dimension

Leaving his fiancee’s apartment after four-hundred-and-fifty-seven arguments over the wedding, hurrying down the stairs with the feet of Mercury, tripping on the crack in the sidewalk, picking his frustrated body off the ground, rushing toward the car, Owen caught sight of the flat tire on his Honda. Not stopping to change the tire, he rushed past the car, anger in each of his steps.

He dashed through an intersection, barely dodging a fortress of a truck. Down an unlit street and  toward the unknown, his fingers squeezed tightly against his palms. Coming to a dead-end, he turned onto a side street, then stopped in mid-stride. Standing there alone in the dark, gazing through the window of a house, seeing a couple arguing, he realized he had one more thing he wanted to tell Louise, his fiancee.

He glanced at his watch. It said three a.m. Where had the last two hours gone?

He turned and began the effort of retracing his steps. After several bad choices, he found himself back at this car and its flat tire.

Leaning against the red vehicle, taking out a cigarette for a quick smoke, lighting up the tobacco, drawing in one long drag after another, dropping the butt to the asphalt, he pulled on his emotional armor, readying himself for the combat about to come. He headed up the stairs two steps at a time. Arriving at Louise’s door, he pounded on it until he heard a movement inside.

From several apartments, neighbors shouted, “Cut the noise.”

The door opened. Louise stared up at the man she’d thought she was going to spend her life with. “What the hell do you want?”

“Okay. We’ll have a church wedding.”

“(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep” At All by The Fifth Dimension

Prejudice

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

Ellie’s mother was irate when Ellie told her she was engaged to Eddie.

“He’ll never do,” her mother said.

“But why? He’s wonderful to me. And on top of that, he has a position at a prestigious law firm. What more could a mother want for her daughter.”

“And I suppose he was an Eagle Scout?”

“How did you know? C’mon, Mom, tell me why you don’t like him.”

Her mother held back, ashamed at her prejudice. But she knew Eddie was not the guy for her daughter. She’d been through this with her other daughter and she had been right. Her marriage had not worked out.

“Call it a mother’s intuition. I don’t think he’s right for you.”

“Mother, please.” Ellie had always given into her mother’s idiosyncrasies. But not this time.”I love him, and I’m going to marry him, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So there.”

“Mark my words. It’ll be the worst decision of your life.”

Ellie shook her head, got up and washed her cup in the sink. “I gotta go.”

She went to the door and stopped. “Tell me. What do you have against Eddie?”

“it’s not Eddie. It’s you.”

“It’s me. What does that mean?”

“I mean it’s you two together. He’d be perfect for somebody else. He really would.”

Thinking she had some disease she didn’t know about, she asked, “What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing’s wrong with you. You’re perfect the way you are.”

“But you just said.”

“All right. Sit down and I’ll tell you.”

Sitting across from her mother, Ellie waited for the truth.

Finally her mother let it out. “You both have the same alphabet letter at the beginning of your names. You’re both E’s.”

“What? That’s crazy. What does that have to do with anything?”

“Your names will confuse the reader. Pretty soon they won’t be able to tell Ellie from Eddie.”

“You think we’re characters in a novel?”

“That’s right,” her mother informed her.

“That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of.”

“Haven’t you ever wondered why you don’t have a birth certificate. Or you can’t remember elementary school or your first date or whether you’re a virgin or not?”

“Of course I’m not a virgin.”

“Who did the deed?”

“Why…uh…well, it was…Darned if I can’t remember. You mean?”

“Yep. We’re all characters in a novel. We just don’t know it.”

“So what do I do? It’s Eddie or it’s no one at all. I love Eddie with all my heart.”

Her mother thought about the dilemma for several minutes. Finally she asked, “Does Eddie have a middle name? I know you don’t.”

“Yes, and he hates it.”

“What is it?”

“Roscoe.”

“Well, that will never do.”

A mismatched couple

To all the mismatched couples out there.

Those shoes she bought me
They squeezed my feet
That hat she gave me
Didn’t look so neat
Those pants she brought me
They’re way too tight
The shirt she sewed me
It’s much too bright

We’re a mismatched couple
She and I
Yet our romance
We can’t deny

That car I bought her
Broke down in a week
That candy I sent her
Was much too sweet
The rose I brought her
It made her sneeze
The book I read her
A “No thank you please”

We’re a mismatched couple
She and I
Yet our romance
We can’t deny

The house we bought
Fell down on our heads
The garden we planted
Weeds pronounced it dead
The fights we’ve had
Win, draw or loose
But here we are
We’re the one we choose

We’re a mismatched couple
She and I
Yet our romance
We can’t deny

Near 500 words:Elgar

The farm was dying. Elgar knew it. His wife, Beatrice, knew it. His son, Jock, knew it. The question was what to do with it. After all, it had been his great grandfather’s, his grandfather’s, his father’s. For three generations before him, the farm had prospered. Fed the family. Kept them happy. Now he had failed. But not one of his forebears had had to deal with the droughts of the last several years.

Elgar’s feet were rooted in the soil like a tree. Elgar wrestled with the what-to-dos like Jacob wrestling with the angel long ago. To pull up and seek a new life, Beatrice and Jock knew would kill Elgar.

The farm was dying. God had abandoned this land Elgar loved so much. As the other farmers sold out and moved away, Elgar became lonelier and lonelier. When you’re the last of your kind, it’s hard to avoid the isolation, the alienation.

The tall, thin farmer walked his land one last time. As he did, he came upon his father’s old tractor seat, that “seat of power” where Dad ruled his domain. If his father had taught him anything, it was not to dominate the land. But to be its steward. It was still not too late to return to his father’s ethic.

He reached down and took the seat from the tractor, raised it above his head and began to dance. It wasn’t a rain dance. It wasn’t a folk dance. It was the dance of a man who loved his land.

Near 500 words: Bridges

Another bridge. That’s what P C thought. How many bridges was he going to have to cross to get to Ellen’s house? It seemed that the bridges were placed in his way to prevent him from getting to her. But the more bridges there were the more desirous she became. Someone that hard to reach had to be desirable. Very desirable.

He found her on the internet. She posted a profile on a dating site. Her profile wasn’t any thing special. Nothing about her stood out. The face that stared back at him wasn’t beautiful. He liked it because it wasn’t doctored. It was quite ordinary. It said, “Accept me as I am.”

Her resume didn’t show her to be smarter or healthier or more talented. Quite the opposite. She bragged about being a C student. Gabe liked that too. He was a C student as well. He knew that C students had to work harder than the ones for whom everything came easy.

Ellen had an average kind of job. She was a bookkeeper for an auto dealership. Nothing special there, he thought. But it said she knew something about taking care of money. The debits and credits kind of thing mattered to a marriage.

The resume offered up something else. She hadn’t been popular in high school. She wasn’t into athletics or good books or great art or even music. Occasionally she went out dancing. But she admitted she had two left feet and no sense of rhythm. She made the comment, “I am pretty good at faking the steps.” Just an average kind of girl.

Then there was the smile. She had one heck of a smile. So Gabe sent her a post. She answered and mentioned her favorite movie. It was “Gone With the Wind”. That almost ended the relationship. Then he saw her photo again with her smile and her eyes. Though the eyes were gray, they smiled as well.

After a month of back-and-forths, he asked her out. At first, she hesitated, saying she was getting a lot of requests for dates. He persisted. Finally, she gave him a yes, but he was going to have to come by and meet her family.

And now there were these bridges. Well, he was not about to give up just because there were a few obstacles. After all, he had not let an obstacle course prevent him from getting the job. There had been other suitors. But he had beat out all the competition for the job of Prince Charming.