Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The stop sign

As my writing pal and I sat in the café, we didn't see anyone (as we call them victim, target or body) walking on the street. We went to Plan B to find the trigger for the next exercise: read a random sentence from a book. It was "All of this was elementary and the most interesting question...?" We were to fill in the blank and write for 10 minutes.

All of this was elementary and the most interesting question was why.

Jack wanted to know why the mayor had refused to put up a stop sign after the public works and deputy mayor had refused.

Frank asked why he had gone to his his car just then. He could have waited for the hot coffee in his thermos instead of abandoning his intersection three minutes early.

Mrs. Miller the fifth grade teach asked why she hadn't paid more attention to Billy.

Alexandria asked why any mother would let an eight-year old go to school by himself. She'd called the child protection agency, but didn't know the outcome.

Darren asked why his friend wasn't in class.

The mayor asked why he hadn't listened about the sign.

Jason asked why he hadn't slowed at the intersection.

Beige Cowboy Boots

My writing pal and I were at La Noisette. A funeral was taking place at the church across the street, when we saw a young woman, dressed as described in the story. We used her as a trigger for the 10 minutes of free write. This is my flash fiction piece.

MOST of the mourners wore dark clothes. As was the local custom, they weren't dressed-up. Sunday-best for these occasions had long ago gone the way of the dodo.

They all turned to stare when Isabelle bounded up the church steps in a white short skirt, beige cowboy boots and a beige suede fringe jacket that would have been more appropriate on the Texas panhandle.

Isabelle knew that would be the reaction of Jacques' friends and neighbors. 

They had never approved of her, thinking she was after his money. His wife had not been dead a month when she started visiting almost daily.

He had not been that well before his wife of 50 years had died, but it was as if he had staved off his own illness to take care of her.

The French don't have a good word for "floozie" but if they did, they would have applied it to Isabelle.

"Disgusting," one woman murmured as Isabelle entered the church. 

Isabelle heard, but smiled. It was not that she was happy that Jacques was gone except for the fact he was now pain free.

She had deliberately selected her cowgirl outfit to honor their love--not of each other but of the American West.

In his last week he'd told her about the Navajo, Genizaro, Apache and Comanche tribes including their customs. He was an expert on cattle raising although he'd grown up in Paris and had never been near a real ranch. The western flora and fauna were more familiar to him than the plants outside his front door.

When he talked, he forgot his pain.

Isabelle knew, even if the others didn't, he would laugh at her costume, and that was worth their censure.