Pageant

The taxi driver pulls to the curb.  Chrissie hands over two twenties and grabs the suitcase stuffed with sequined costumes and rhinestoned tiaras and cosmetics, oh my lord, the cosmetics.

“Mommy.”  Jessie points to a man lying on a grate in the sidewalk, entirely covered in newspapers.
“Stay away from him.  He’s dangerous.”

“I have a quarter.”
“No.  He can find hisself a job; work hard like the rest of us.”

Backstage, Jessie strips to her underdrawers, dingy and gray, because the judges won’t see those anyhow and with the cost of the costumes, they can’t afford new ones.  “Rassle into this dress, doll.” 
Jessie steps into her costume; pulls it up. 

“Munch on these.”  Chrissie piles a handful of sugar cubes on the table.  She takes Jessie’s right hand and begins applying polish.
 “Your energy picking up any?”

Jessie nods.
“Eat another one”

Jessie pops a second cube in her mouth; chases it with her thumb.
Chrissie slaps the thumb out of Jessie’s mouth. “That’s vulgar.”

Jessie’s eyes widen.  Tears stream down her cheeks. 
“Ah, shit.  You ruined your makeup.”  Chrissie opens the makeup bag and re-applies a thick layer of blush.  “You see them girls?”

Jessie nods. 
“You’re better than all of ‘em put together.”

Chrissie takes a handful of chips from the bag on the table and stuffs them into her mouth.  She wipes her hands on her blue jeans and chews noisily, dabbing blue eye shadow on Jessie’s lids.  She paints her lips a deep red and applies mascara.  “Go and practice your routine.”
The girl stands and walks to a clear space on the floor, weaving between photographers and suitcases and empty pop bottles littering the floor. 

Finally, Jessie is called to perform.
She dances.  She sings.  She struts.

After, Chrissie gathers her in her arms.  “You were perfect, baby doll!  You gonna’ make your momma a boatload of money.”
They leave the auditorium and step over the man lying on the sidewalk, sleeping beneath last week’s news.

This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge.  This week's word was vulgar.

This post has also been linked with Yeah, Write

Labels:

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Pageant

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pageant

The taxi driver pulls to the curb.  Chrissie hands over two twenties and grabs the suitcase stuffed with sequined costumes and rhinestoned tiaras and cosmetics, oh my lord, the cosmetics.

“Mommy.”  Jessie points to a man lying on a grate in the sidewalk, entirely covered in newspapers.
“Stay away from him.  He’s dangerous.”

“I have a quarter.”
“No.  He can find hisself a job; work hard like the rest of us.”

Backstage, Jessie strips to her underdrawers, dingy and gray, because the judges won’t see those anyhow and with the cost of the costumes, they can’t afford new ones.  “Rassle into this dress, doll.” 
Jessie steps into her costume; pulls it up. 

“Munch on these.”  Chrissie piles a handful of sugar cubes on the table.  She takes Jessie’s right hand and begins applying polish.
 “Your energy picking up any?”

Jessie nods.
“Eat another one”

Jessie pops a second cube in her mouth; chases it with her thumb.
Chrissie slaps the thumb out of Jessie’s mouth. “That’s vulgar.”

Jessie’s eyes widen.  Tears stream down her cheeks. 
“Ah, shit.  You ruined your makeup.”  Chrissie opens the makeup bag and re-applies a thick layer of blush.  “You see them girls?”

Jessie nods. 
“You’re better than all of ‘em put together.”

Chrissie takes a handful of chips from the bag on the table and stuffs them into her mouth.  She wipes her hands on her blue jeans and chews noisily, dabbing blue eye shadow on Jessie’s lids.  She paints her lips a deep red and applies mascara.  “Go and practice your routine.”
The girl stands and walks to a clear space on the floor, weaving between photographers and suitcases and empty pop bottles littering the floor. 

Finally, Jessie is called to perform.
She dances.  She sings.  She struts.

After, Chrissie gathers her in her arms.  “You were perfect, baby doll!  You gonna’ make your momma a boatload of money.”
They leave the auditorium and step over the man lying on the sidewalk, sleeping beneath last week’s news.

This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge.  This week's word was vulgar.

This post has also been linked with Yeah, Write

Labels:

41 Comments:

At March 5, 2012 at 8:03 PM , Anonymous Guest said...

This is really good! I really liked the juxtaposition of the mother's frivolity and the homeless man's situation.

 
At March 6, 2012 at 2:08 AM , Anonymous Jodi Lobozzo Aman said...

You nailed it! www.healnowandforever.net

 
At March 6, 2012 at 5:04 AM , Anonymous Lance said...

ugh...I don't know if there's a more vulgar thing on this planet than a bad parent. This was gut punching. You said a lot in 333 words. Most of all you showed how a young heart can be hardened.

excellent prose

 
At March 6, 2012 at 6:05 AM , Anonymous Alison@Mama Wants This said...

You absolutely nailed the prompt.

I totally feel for poor Jessie. Fab writing!

 
At March 6, 2012 at 6:55 AM , Anonymous kerstinauer said...

Wow, those images sent chills down my spine.... great writing!

 
At March 6, 2012 at 10:47 AM , Anonymous Tara R. said...

I imagine many of the mother/daughter duos on that horrid child pageant reality show are much like this one. Great imagery.

 
At March 6, 2012 at 12:14 PM , Anonymous Katie @Chicken Noodle Gravy said...

A perfect example of that word. Well done.

 
At March 6, 2012 at 2:01 PM , Anonymous karen said...

Ya. Um ... That totally aced the prompt. Wow.

What I liked the most was the way that the mom totally trashed the kid for being a kid and then shoves the chips in her mouth. Shudder.

 
At March 6, 2012 at 2:35 PM , Anonymous kdwald said...

Thank you so much! Now I never have to watch Toddlers & Tiaras! I love the last line especially; I practically see the headlines.

 
At March 6, 2012 at 4:22 PM , Anonymous Jesterqueen said...

I've never seen an episode of toddlers and tiaras, and now I feel like I've seen the whole series. Vulgar has sososo many applications in this setting. Well done!

 
At March 6, 2012 at 4:50 PM , Anonymous Miranda said...

Great writing! You do so well at creating imagery that I could see the scene unfold in my mind as I read along. And the story itself is gut wrenching. It's horrible the way some parents treat their children and the resulting lessons that their behavior teaches the child.

 
At March 6, 2012 at 5:04 PM , Anonymous Stephanie Brennan said...

Nicely done. Great depiction of vulgar. The only bits I've seen of Toddlers & Tiaras are from The Soup. That's all I can handle. They rightly lambast it, if you haven't seen it. Where is social services when you need them?

 
At March 6, 2012 at 5:50 PM , Anonymous Mayor Gia said...

Ha! Social commentary too. Very nice.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 12:33 AM , Anonymous The Gal Herself said...

It was the sugar cubes that really got to me! What an important detail to include.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 7:30 AM , Anonymous jlweinberg said...

"I hate you Mommy!!" Very well written!

 
At March 7, 2012 at 8:36 AM , Anonymous barbara said...

pageant moms . . . vulgarity . . . yup

 
At March 7, 2012 at 11:00 AM , Anonymous Trifeta said...

Wow, you've painted quite a picture of the mother: disdain for the homeless man, the bullying of the daughter, the sugar cubes, the pop bottles, the bad temper, the greed. She sounds absolutely lovely. Another great piece, Kelly. Thanks for joining up and looking forward to your next one.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:29 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:30 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

I'm ashamed to say I've never heard of Toddlers and Tiaras, but I suspect I'm not missing much.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:30 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks! I haven't seen it either! (Hadn't heard of it until now).

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:31 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks again for your great site!

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:31 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

I thought so, too. Although I originally stared with a farm and an snobby woman? Not sure how I got here.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:31 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:33 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

I saw a story about a woman who made her pageant kid some drink with mega-caffeine. Then I learned that they also feed the kids pixie sticks - high doses to give them energy.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:33 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading! Maybe she'll lose the competition.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:34 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading! I often see the homeless curled beneath newspapers.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:34 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading, Karen. I wanted to include that potato chip grease!

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Tara - I keep seeing Toddlers and Tiaras mentioned here but I'm glad I haven't seen it.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:36 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading. Kind of depressing.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:36 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Lance. I'm glad you liked it.

 
At March 7, 2012 at 4:36 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At March 7, 2012 at 5:35 PM , Anonymous SisterhoodOfTheSensibleMoms said...

You definitely personified vulgar with a supersized side dish of selfishness and greed. All sprinkled with abuse and sexualization. Ellen

 
At March 7, 2012 at 5:37 PM , Anonymous lizziecracked said...

Nicely done - really good contrast to highlight vulgar..

 
At March 7, 2012 at 5:42 PM , Anonymous Dana said...

Zoiks! Powerful depiction of the pageant life, excellently written!

 
At March 7, 2012 at 7:25 PM , Anonymous El Guapo said...

Excellent job!
And I don't want to hang out with that woman at all.

 
At March 8, 2012 at 12:15 AM , Anonymous Booguloo said...

Nice read.

 
At March 8, 2012 at 6:51 AM , Anonymous christina said...

vulgar indeed! nicely done.

 
At March 8, 2012 at 8:55 AM , Anonymous Heidi said...

Very well done! You got it with 'vulgar'.

 
At March 8, 2012 at 11:01 AM , Anonymous Kim Pugliano said...

Oh god. NAILED IT. Great job.

 

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