Thursday, September 12, 2013

Instinct - written by Verlene Schafer

Blend in! Hide! Camouflage yourself!

The old instincts still took over. She couldn’t forget. After all this time it was still second nature to protect herself from enemies. Real or imagined.

A wet sheet an urban house wife shook out overhead before hanging on a clothesline between buildings. The sharp crack hung in the air as she trembled beneath her dark umbrella. Something so simple and she cowered.

The early morning streets were still and damp. The occasional flutter of wings as a pigeon spied some overlooked scrap in the gutter. The cold grey cityscape was an empty stage stripped of the thick emerald foliage which had been her shelter for so long.

“You’re home now.” Mother had been so patient and understanding at first, trying to help her readjust and acclimate to working in an office 8-5, shopping at the grocery store, girls’ night out. Friends had been supportive, but underneath she could sense their discomfort. “It will pass. Give it time.” The doctor spoke as if about a sudden summer storm, or a twenty-four hour flu.
Sometimes she would go for weeks before the snap of someone being overly aggressive with a stapler or the clang of pots in the kitchen would have her pulse racing, eyes searching for a place to hide until the threat could be assessed. She had no problem eating, working, sleeping; the day to day tasks were as natural to her as breathing.

Still, she clutched tightly her flashes of memory. The dark shapes shifting almost imperceptibly in the crowded forest and flora. Filtered sunlight breaking through the thick viridian canopy. The mastery of fear, the controlled breathing, the relationship with one’s surroundings that ensured survival. She clung to these skills, these instincts because she knew. Eventually they would come. The tough cement would grow soft as the moss slowly spread like velvet around the corners and up the walls. The weeds in the sidewalk would give way to towering trees, their roots slowly breaking the foundations of lofty skyscrapers bringing them to a crumbling heap upon the ground.

Eventually they would come. She knew. They would come for her. She was the one that got away.

The Sunday Dress - written by Verlene Schafer

The Sunday Dress

Well, I do think that we sure got a lot of stitchin’ done at our last Tumbling Thimbleweeds meetin’. It was real productive. Those baby quilts turned out real precious.

They certainly did. Why I don’t ever remember a more lovely set of baby blankets. It’ll be real nice when we give them out after the Sunday Services.

Oh, we won’t have to wait that long, there’ll be a funeral on Thursday.

Another? Who? What happened? Why am I always the last to know?

Slow down and I’ll tell you everything. If’n you didn’t always have your nose in a book maybe you’d be knowin’ what’s goin’ on in town. It was last week Sunday when Judith Merewether, Miss “all E’s, if you please, in muh last name, suh” came to church in that wretched fluff she called a dress, sashaying down the aisle like she was going to her coronation, rather than a worship service. All three colors of pink she was, with that ridiculous peacock feather fan.

I thought it was a lovely fan! But I do agree the dress was a bit much for Sunday services.

Well, you know ‘swell as I do, that nobody dresses better than Agnes Eberhart, ‘cept Lucy Wilkins before her.

Lucy was a fine dresser, may she rest in peace, but I must agree Agnes does a dress proud!

Do you want to hear this story or don’t you? You’re a walking case of hiccups, you are!

I beg your pardon, really I do. It’s just that...well, I... Sometimes the words just tumble out without letting me think them out.

Pretend you’re a chipmunk and stuff your cheeks for a minute while I finish. Laws a’mighty you try my patience. So Judith struts around with her peacock feathers swishing this way and swishing that way. And every moment you could see Agnes’ blood pressure rising in her red cheeks. And sure ‘nough, Judith starts in about what a bargain she got on that catastrophe. “What do you think, Agnes? Give me your honest opinion, Agnes,” she says to her, heaven help us all...

She didn’t! then Agnes says to Judith that she doesn’t care about the price of her new Sunday dress. I mean, can you imagine!

Really, what did she do?

Pushed her down the stairs.


Had she pushed her down the stairs before? Of course not, now don’t interrupt. Now where was I? Oh yes. Broke her neck the coroner said. Course, he thought it was another ‘feeble female’ incident, like Lucy, only that weren’t an accident either. That fool! There weren’t nothing feeble about her either.

Well, yes! Lucy was who I was referring to before. But Agnes was one of the Thimbleweeds. Judith was due to become a member! How could Agnes just push her down the stairs? And just over a Sunday dress?

Mabel Louise, start paying attention! It was Judith who tossed Agnes down those steep wooden flights to her death...all over that ridiculous frilly get-up she calls a dress, just as Agnes did to Lucy before. Really now, that dress is hardly worth making Agnes pick turnips with a step ladder. If you want something worth making someone take a dirt nap it’d be my new hat. What do you think? Give me your honest opinion.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Write now, Write away...Write on!

Well, time rushes ever onward and I have let my poor blog sit dormant long enough. I have decided to start posting some of my poetry and fiction that I have been writing (instead of writing in my blog). So that will be forthcoming.

Otherwise I am almost at a year in my new job as Instruction/Circulation/Reserves Librarian at ECU. It has been a whirlwind of trials and adventures. I have really blossomed here though and I hope I will be here for a while. I actually have friends over once in a while which is huge for me the former hermit. And I am trying to get out to singles' activities for church but that so far has been a non-starter. Of course as I am writing this it is nearly six o'clock on Friday night, so I guess I still have some work to do, but ECU is a suitcase college so it pretty well dries up on the weekend. I will be touring the western part of the state next weekend with a friend whom I driving to see his grandparents so that will hopefully make for a good blog entry.

Many of you who read this know that my grandfather (and last living grandparent) passed away this summer. While I am glad that he is not suffering anymore, it is still hard to think that he is gone. He was always my favorite and I hoped that he would be there when I got married but I guess he couldn't wait any longer, so he'll be there in spirit when I get hitched some day.

This summer I got to go to Anaheim for a conference but I went alone so it was not the most exciting event, but I did get to go to Chicago also, and this was with my bosses and a fellow instructor here at ECU. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! What an incredible city! I wish I had more time (and money) to do all the touristy things, but that will have to be saved for another trip, another time.

As I mentioned above, I have been writing again and it feels amazing to put pen to paper and see it come alive with people and places that I didn't know I had in me. I have a goal to write a short story and a poem every month for this semester. I actually made it for the first month, but feel inspiration lagging, though the next month hasn't started yet so there is still hope. I have lots of ideas but I need to do some reading and just throw some thoughts around on paper until I work out some of the kinks.

For what their worth the next few posts will be some of my short short stories or maybe they are story starts. At any rate they are writing exercises that I did with a group of ladies at work. We have a sort of writers' club. And then I will post my first real short story that I wrote that is presently under the working title of The Constellation Prize. If you have suggestions for a better title, please let me know. Feel free to leave comments and whatever. I appreciate feedback.

Thanks for stopping by.

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