The Arcade Awaits

Dorothy cautiously sniffed the air. The vaguest hint of an offensive odor tickled her nostrils, but she couldn’t quite place it. It was the craziest thing, though, for some reason, it reminded her of sugar cookies. She shrugged and retreated back into her bedroom for a reprieve.

She napped fitfully for about an hour and a half before she heard her sister Lyra’s deathtrap of a car rattle into her driveway. She always hounded Lyra to buy a new car and get it over with, but Lyra shrugged it off, preferring, she said, to keep the car she’d owned for eighteen years because even though its behavior is erratic, it’s like family. Dorothy often considered having the rust-bucket towed, but out of love for her sister, never followed through.

Lyra pounded on the door with her closed fist. Cop-knocker, thought Dorothy. The thought felt silvery-blue and wholesome. When Dorothy sat up she remembered the strange smell in the rest of the house, but she blocked her nose to it and went to let Lyra in.

“What’s that amazing smell?” Lyra asked, before even setting foot inside.

Dorothy raised an eyebrow. “It’s not amazing, and I don’t know,” she answered. “What on God’s green earth is wrong with your nose? It’s horrible. I’m thinking about moving.”

“But it smells just like Grandma’s sugar cookies,” Lyra protested. “How can you call that horrible? I mean, her cookies weren’t the best, but her house sure was. Remember that time you hid in the attic and fell asleep and we spent six hours looking for you?”

Dorothy chuckled. “I’d forgotten about that! Mom wanted to call the cops so bad, but Grandma gave her a Valium and sent her to bed. She knew I hadn’t gone far because I wasn’t tall enough to reach the chain locks on the doors.”

“Anyway, smell or no smell, you’re not ready to go. I’ll just sit on the couch while you finish up. Were you sleeping? Those look like pillow marks on your face.” Lyra was talking as she rounded the corner and plopped down on the couch. file000301547401

“No, not sleeping, exactly. I’ll be done in a sec,” Dorothy promised, and returned to her bedroom for mascara and shoes. In precisely seventy-one seconds, Dorothy came back out, slammed her bedroom door to signal Lyra that she was ready to go, and stood by the front door, tapping her foot and waiting for Lyra to come on already.

“Jeez, I’ve never seen you so ready to go win some tickets.” Lyra seemed confused.

“It’s just that smell,” answered Dorothy. “It’s gotten under my skin, and I have to get away from it. Let’s roll.”


Note Taking

I found this prompt today:

31. Take a small, boring moment that happened today and write as much as you can about it. Go overboard describing it, and make this boring moment exciting by describing it in intense detail with ecstatic prose. Eventually connect this small, boring detail with the grand narrative of your life, your bigger purpose and intentions.

mz2gtsdhI snake my hand out from beneath the comforting weight of my heavy  comforter and grope the corner of my bedside table where my phone belongs until my fingers close around its expensive flimsiness.

Why do we pay so much money for these marvels of technology that honestly, aren’t that necessary at all? I can’t answer that question right now; I have more pressing issues on my mind. I tap and swipe, tap and swipe, until  notepad opens.

The list of sandwich requests from Arby’s stares me in the face. I don’t need that anymore; I don’t remember what night we had Arby’s for dinner, but it’s not tonight–tonight I’m making chicken and dumplings. I press and hold; select all and delete.

And now the fun begins. I type furiously, thumbs softly tap-dancing across the tiny keyboard. What is this masterpiece? It’s the first outline I’ve ever attempted for NaNoWriMo. Tippity tap, tippity tap. I summarize, sentence fragment after brief sentence fragment. Details spring to mind right and left: add scene, add scene.

I’m excited; this is working out so much better than I had expected. I’m a pantser, I’ve always been a pantser. I don’t plan for NaNo–that’s crazy talk! And yet here I am planning instead of napping. It feels good. I’ll have no problem winning in twenty days or less, as is my goal this year. Maybe I’ll even finish this one!

I finish up my pseudo-outline; that was a lot of typing on my poor little phone, but I’m used to it. My finger slides up to press the lock button, and I lay my phone back on the table where I got it from in the first place.

I pull the cover back up over my shoulder and snuggle in as my hand returns from the table, sliding softly beneath my pillow, and I nap.