Discarded

Nathaniel pauses to let the dog take a leak. He inventories the Johnson's trash heaped curbside: portable hose cart; giant snowflake, weeping glitter; American flag, one of those jobs you wave at Memorial Day parades with a kid sitting upon your shoulders kicking innocent feet.

Last week, while his wife dithered at the window and the house shuddered, the paving crew scraped away the street's dingy gray outfit, scooping it into a truck and carting it off before returning with an outfit of black, slowly ironing it into place before moving on. An improvement for sure. Bound to increase the value of the house.


Fat raindrops fall heavily. The wind picks up. Withered leaves gather like they're at some goddamn convention, huddling against the curve of the curb. He smells earthworms; imagines them meaty and white beneath the leaves.

Over on Betsy's front porch, a skeleton sits with his hands neatly folded in his lap and Nathaniel knows that within two years, that skeleton will be tossed upon the curb with the other discards of life and this makes him feel sick and ashamed. He passes decorations stretched over mailboxes like overcoats: skeletons and candy corn and smiling ghosts.

He feels queer, he tells his wife, hanging the leash neatly upon the hook in the garage. His wife assess him; tells him his color is off and oughtn't he lie down for a bit? She fusses in and out of the bedroom, pressing a warm hand against his forehead, asking him too many questions.

He thinks about the last time he spoke with his son. How he'd stared, unaccepting. He falls asleep to the raindrops thrumming upon the roof.

He wakes before the sun; clips the leash on the dog's collar and steps outside. Crisp air stings his lungs. Steam rises from the dog's urine. Streetlights shimmer on the wet asphalt like looking glass tears.

He wonders if it's too early to call his son.

Wonders if it's possible to reclaim something—someone—you've discarded.



This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was black.

Labels:

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Discarded

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Discarded

Nathaniel pauses to let the dog take a leak. He inventories the Johnson's trash heaped curbside: portable hose cart; giant snowflake, weeping glitter; American flag, one of those jobs you wave at Memorial Day parades with a kid sitting upon your shoulders kicking innocent feet.

Last week, while his wife dithered at the window and the house shuddered, the paving crew scraped away the street's dingy gray outfit, scooping it into a truck and carting it off before returning with an outfit of black, slowly ironing it into place before moving on. An improvement for sure. Bound to increase the value of the house.


Fat raindrops fall heavily. The wind picks up. Withered leaves gather like they're at some goddamn convention, huddling against the curve of the curb. He smells earthworms; imagines them meaty and white beneath the leaves.

Over on Betsy's front porch, a skeleton sits with his hands neatly folded in his lap and Nathaniel knows that within two years, that skeleton will be tossed upon the curb with the other discards of life and this makes him feel sick and ashamed. He passes decorations stretched over mailboxes like overcoats: skeletons and candy corn and smiling ghosts.

He feels queer, he tells his wife, hanging the leash neatly upon the hook in the garage. His wife assess him; tells him his color is off and oughtn't he lie down for a bit? She fusses in and out of the bedroom, pressing a warm hand against his forehead, asking him too many questions.

He thinks about the last time he spoke with his son. How he'd stared, unaccepting. He falls asleep to the raindrops thrumming upon the roof.

He wakes before the sun; clips the leash on the dog's collar and steps outside. Crisp air stings his lungs. Steam rises from the dog's urine. Streetlights shimmer on the wet asphalt like looking glass tears.

He wonders if it's too early to call his son.

Wonders if it's possible to reclaim something—someone—you've discarded.



This was written for this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was black.

Labels:

14 Comments:

At October 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM , Anonymous Jessie Powell said...

Oh my GOD. The use of queer is the ONLY ONLY ONLY whisper of what happened, what really happened. Jesus that's so perfect. I hope he isn't too late.

 
At October 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

You always make my day! Thanks, Jessie.

 
At October 16, 2012 at 5:02 PM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

That line about the earthworms is killing me. So vivid.

 
At October 16, 2012 at 5:03 PM , Anonymous LastMomOnEarth said...

Amazing. Just beautiful writing. I am love with "I feel queer," too. Brilliant.

 
At October 16, 2012 at 5:28 PM , Anonymous Brian said...

So many great images, and his listless guilty mood is reflected so well in all of them. It's nice how you've managed to create a sense of emptiness. I'll agree, though, that the line about the earthworms was my favorite. Nice stuff!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 5:43 AM , Anonymous Debra Ann Elliott said...

Love the images! I was there... thanks for stopping by and your comment. Glad you enjoyed the story.

 
At October 17, 2012 at 6:58 AM , Anonymous Tara R. said...

It's interesting to read how the character works through his loss, and decides in the end to try to reclaim it.

And, I'm with Jessie, your word usage was brilliant.

 
At October 17, 2012 at 8:06 AM , Anonymous Stephanie B. said...

Amazing writing. You've written an entire chapter in 300 words. Vivid storytelling, great images. And the take on the prompt is unique. It is suffused with his sense of loss. Well done!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 8:29 AM , Anonymous Flippa Bird said...

Your imagery and word usage is absolutely mesmerizing! I look forward to reading your stories! :)

 
At October 17, 2012 at 5:22 PM , Anonymous TLanceB said...

Yeah, I echo the whole "whole chapter in 333 words". This is tight and powerful. The details of the dog's business and the trash are very important and you treat them with respect.

great piece

 
At October 18, 2012 at 6:19 AM , Anonymous Draug said...

Excellent entry here. :D

 
At October 18, 2012 at 1:54 PM , Anonymous I, Rodius said...

Great depth for so short a piece. Well done.

 
At October 18, 2012 at 11:07 PM , Anonymous Trifecta said...

Oh, I know that place. The one where your heart is hard, against your better judgement and your will. This really evoked emotion for me. Nice work. Thanks for linking up.

 
At October 19, 2012 at 8:51 AM , Anonymous clueless pixie said...

This is so great. It captures the atmosphere of this season perfectly.

 

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