Another week, another prompt from Charli Mills, this one on competing priorities (http://carrotranch.com/2014/05/29/may-28-flash-fiction-challenge/).
In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a decision between two clashing priorities.
I like to wait for the idea to worm its way into my subconscious and then scribble a few lines on paper, see where it goes. Does it have the legs; is it too leggy for 99 words? Mostly I don’t have a problem with the idea – plots have come reasonably easy to me in my writing, it is the pulling into shape that takes time (and its toll). This week’s seemed straightforward based on a family joke.
When the Vet was born, the Lawyer wasn’t three and while he walked he wasn’t that mobile as you will appreciate. The Textiliste was undertaking a City & Guilds course in patchwork and quilting and was, at the time, in the middle of a large, log cabin themed quilt. Meanwhile the day job was beginning to drag me to cities in far flung countries.
“What will I do if there’s a fire while you’re away?”
“You’ll run downstairs or, at a pinch, climb out of the window.”
“But which baby do I save?”
“I’ll have the Vet and the Lawyer will need help but then there’s the quilt. I don’t have enough hands.”
So there you go; priorities. But blow me, I have a sneaky peek at Charli’s blog and the story, in all its essentials, has been written. Beautifully. Much better than by me. By Paula Moyer. Please check it out; it’s beautiful.
I can hardly repeat it, can I? Plagiarism for one and, let’s be frank, ego for another.
In the end I had to prioritise – stick with what I had or twist myself somewhere else. As I stood at the top of the stairs, wondering, not for the first time what I was doing here, a new idea came. So I scribbled. And I realised that I couldn’t prioritize which one I shared so, sod it, you can have them both and see which you prefer. Me? I prefer Paula’s.
Art mimics life
She knew it would happen. Which of her babies to sacrifice?
He said it was only one night away, but she was on her own with her one year old and her latest papier-mâché sculpture. So much love invested in both.
She stared at the grass below. She could jump, but she could only hold one of her babies.
Smoke was already seeping inside. In desperation she turned to the kitchenette. It was now or never. She flung open the freezer door, yanked out the contents, kissed the delicate Madonna and placed it inside before running for the window…
He stared at the letter in his hand; he had done it again. Got all the way from car to post box and forgotten to post it. He would forget himself one of these days.
Milton whined from the back; he had forgotten to walk the bloody dog, too.
Sighing to himself, Peter climbed out and made for the phone box. Halfway there he remembered he hadn’t wound the window down. Poor Milton, it was so hot.
He hesitated fractionally and then set off again. He would only be a few minutes.
The stroke, when it came, was huge.