Wednesday, May 23, 2012
FLASH FICTION FRIDAY, CYCLE 80: RALPHIE'S WAY
This week’s prompt was to use three words: Frenetic, hobbit and cummerbund. Quite the challenging combination, to be sure. The genre was open and the word limit was 1,000. Here’s my offering--a bit odd perhaps, but I hope you enjoy.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?”
“I have a few minutes before I have to leave, so I’m trying to finish this crosswor…”
“SITTING THERE IN A TUXEDO WEARING A CUMMERBUND? DO YOU HONESTLY BELIEVE YOU’RE GOING TO IMPRESS THAT GROUP OF MORONS WITH THAT OUTFIT?”
“Let’s see now. Another word for excited--starts with f-r-e…”
“YOU PROBABLY WILL SINCE YOU’RE A MORON YOURSELF. EVERY WEEK YOU WASTE MONEY ON A TUX, GO TO DAWSON’S, EAT CHICKEN FINGERS AND PASS OUT PLASTIC STATUES AS AWARDS.”
“Got it. ‘Frenetic‘. I think the ‘t’ is the last letter for the word ‘hobbit’. Haven’t heard that word in a long time. What were those? Small hairy little creatures…”
“YOU ARE A HOBBIT. IF YOU GO TO ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE SO-CALLED AWARDS BANQUETS WITH THOSE LOSER FRIENDS OF YOURS, I WON’T BE HERE WHEN YOU COME BACK. ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, RALPHIE?”
That’s when I shoved my pen in her eye.
“Carol Ann, I told you never to call me Ralphie.”
It wasn’t my fault. She stuck her face right up into mine and she was screaming. She did this every Friday night. She knew how important our awards banquets are to me. Members of my profession are not often recognized for our work, so we took it upon ourselves to do so. From four counties come the members of our club, and we have dinner in the meeting hall at the back of Dawson’s Steakhouse and we present photographs of our achievements. Everyone receives an award, which is only fair, since we are all artists of the finest caliber.
Carol Ann never did an artistic thing in her life. Even the brownies she baked for me once a month always turned out lopsided. Not a creative bone in her body, but I loved her anyway. That’s why I stayed married to her for 45 years. Well, almost 45. Next week Thursday would have been our anniversary…
I know what to do. I’ll put her in my studio for now, and clean up this mess. She wouldn’t like me leaving the kitchen floor all covered in blood. When I get back from my meeting, I’ll take care of everything. She may not admit it, but in my heart, I know she’ll be proud.
I need to get moving so I’m not late for cocktails. Deep breaths, Ralph, and try not to get all upset. True, it was your favorite, but you can always get another pen just like the one in Carol Ann’s eye.
I knew being here this evening would take the edge off. The attendance tonight is outstanding. I had no idea this group would grow so quickly. There’s so many more of us out there than even I realized. What we do takes a great deal of training and I hadn’t known there was such an interest in this day and age. Kids today, what do they know. They all want to be rock stars…
Dinner was superb. Dan Dawson’s mother has the best recipe for chicken fingers in the state. It’s some special herb or spice she puts in the breading. Dan’s a lucky man. He’s got his whole family working with him. His mom, Betty, is the cook, his daughter, Janelle, is the server, and his son, Winston, is the cashier. It must be wonderful to have your family at your side, helping you with your career.
I wouldn’t know. Carol Ann never took any interest in my work. How many times I tried to get her involved, but she would have no part of it. She did have her shows to watch and discuss with her lady friends. I never minded that. But still, it would have been nice if she had worked with me on one small project. Oh well. No sense crying over spilled milk, as my beloved mother always used to say.
Dessert, this evening, was another triumph. Betty’s homemade apple pie. Looking at everyone’s plate around the table, every slice is a masterpiece. Each one exactly the same as the next, all the crusts level and equally browned to perfection.
I like when everything is aligned, be it the tires on an automobile or oatmeal cookies on a baking sheet. There’s no excuse for being careless. For instance, all it takes is a few seconds to make sure your canned vegetable labels are all facing front in the pantry. Otherwise, valuable time is wasted picking up each one for identification. How difficult is it to lead an ordered and symmetrical life? Did I mention Carol Ann’s lopsided brownies?
I’m so proud of the award I received tonight. I was the winner in the ‘most colorful’ category. I do take pride in using a lot of color in my work. When I get home, I’m going to go all out for Carol Ann; she deserves the best. I’m not going to make the same mistakes that boy in the movies made though. Putting his mom in the fruit cellar would have worked if he had just been able to resist putting on her dresses. That won’t happen to me. Carol Ann always wore pantsuits.
Well, time to run and much to do. My colleagues asked if I’d like to take some leftovers home to the wife, and I responded that I‘d make sure she was completely stuffed when I got home. Harry and Leonard laughed until they cried. Most people don’t realize that we taxidermists have a sense of humor. I have been known to be quite amusing, at times.
It’s sure going to be quiet around the old homestead from now on. But there is that nice Widow Samuels from Church, who’s always smiling at me after service. Maybe I could give her a ring after I tell people that Carol Ann’s run off with the handyman. I’ll introduce myself as Ralph Simpson. Ralph. I really don’t like to be called Ralphie…