Monochrome

“I remember color, but it’s a blur.  Like all memories you can’t quite remember,” Ay told her sister Bee as she picked at a loose thread unraveling from the gray circle rug. They were sitting in the middle of their main room, waiting for the truck to deliver dinner.

“We still have prescribed “Vibrant Zones”; there’s plenty of color there.” Bee reminded Ay.

Ay knows about the Vibrant Zones, where you walk in and are handed a shirt at random – she liked the yellow ones the best but for some reason they always handed her red.

It is probably because of her hair color. The same hair she’s supposed to start dying this year. Entering the workplace requires monochrome.

“What was it like when there was color everywhere?”

The memories are a blur of people on buses, purple next to gold next to brown next to orange. “It was beautiful.”

“But distracting,” Bee supplied, dutifully.

Ay nods in agreement because she should, because together, nodding, they are both the same.


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Written for Blog Propellant’s Picture Prompt #15

Liar’s Delight

“My mother died when I was six.” It is a lie, a fun new lie for me to play in. I watch their faces transform into sympathy and a thrill of excitement shoots up my spine.

“I would have lived with Daddy then, but he’s still in prison.” My father is a security officer, but this crowd does not need to know about my boring reality.

“What do you do for Holidays?” A boy my age asked.

I thought for a moment, but not too long. The point is to make it look like a memory. “Well, whatever I want.”


Written for Warmup Wednesday. Prompt: Include a Bad Habit

Sibling Sprint

“Slacker!” She yells from across the field. Yes, my little sister was outpacing me on the track…again.

I inhale before cracking my knuckles, shaking the tension out of my hands. I need to catch up, need to beat this squirt who thinks she can be my verbally abusive trainer just because I am a little overweight.

But, it is hot. My stomach cramps and exhaustion cloys at my gut. With every step forward, my body aches. My sister is now at the finish line laughing. The only small mercy is that my flushed skin prevents the world from witnessing my embarrassment.

I may puke.

In fact, I am going to puke.

My sneakers skid on the track as I reverse in the direction of a hose I remember seeing a couple strides back. The pewter nozzle shoots out cool, amazing, gloriously refreshing water.

My brat of a sister shows up moments later, stepping in a way that blocks me from the sun. She’s already in her jeans and her eyebrow judges me enough that I don’t need to look at the rest of her face. I want to tweak the nozzle and leave her like a bedraggled wet dog, just to shut up her judgmental face – she still hasn’t said a word, though.

She is browsing her phone instead.

“You did better,” she tells the screen.

“Shut up.”


Wordle #62 – Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem. The words can appear in an alternate form:

Tweak; Cloy; Jeans; Browse; Reverse; Pewter; Nozzle; Bedraggled; Stria (a slight or narrow furrow, ridge, stripe, or streak, especially one of number inparallel arrangement:); Truculent (fierce; cruel; savagely brutal); Knuckles; Slack;

Heels and Taboos

“Sexual acts are usually more shocking because of taboos and have nothing to do with the experience level of the person.” I’m sick of her voice, the know-it-all tone that won’t accept criticism or contradiction.  She will only wait, for a moment, for my agreeing nod.

I’m not sure what will happen if the nod never comes, but I’m sure I won’t like it.

She made me leave my shoes on the side of the road, my red penny loafers Nan had bought me for my sixteenth birthday. She told me only children wore heels that short and she didn’t associate with children. She forced me to leave them next to the shoe store and blow three months allowance on uncomfortable tall heels instead.

My heels click along the cobblestone carefully now. I balance listening to her and not catching the heels in a crack of the sidewalk. It’s difficult.

She, on the other hand, floats along, continuing her comments like they are gospel. “So it doesn’t really matter if you’re a virgin as long as you do something daring.”

My ankle curls, soft skin scrapes the cobblestone. I wince but barely pause in my stride to adjust the heel. She wouldn’t wait for me anyway, probably.  “What do you mean daring?”

She looks back at me then and I cheer inwardly that she did not witness my near fall; I am floating now too, just as cool and calm. But her eyebrows rise at my question and I feel like I’m sinking below them, a shame rides up my spine that I cannot explain.

My face must be as red as my abandoned penny loafers.

“You know,” she manages to make the whisper ring along the street. “Mouth and butt stuff.”

I have no idea what she was talking about but an image of Jimmy Chen holding a stick and poking my backside comes to mind. “Right…”

According to her dramatic sigh, my uncertainty must be transparent. “Oh come on, Jamie. You’re so…. bawdy.”

That word does not mean what she thinks it means. Words are my thing, and if anything, she’s the vulgar one, talking about butts and mouths right outside the shops.

Her hair whips around like a shampoo commercial as she turns away from me to continue down the sidewalk. She was wrong about something and it thrills me. I almost call her out on it but then I notice the boy inside one of the shops rubberneck her as we walk by.

I want to be rubbernecked. I want to be a cool sixteen year old that knows what taboos are and how they relate to Jimmy Chen, I want to be bawdy and have hair like a shampoo commercial; so, I nod and continue to follow her along, heels clicking.


This piece was inspired by two separate challenges. The first is #FinishThatThought and the second was from over at Mindlovemisery’snagerie,Photo Challenge #61, Red – to use this image as inspiration for a poem or short-story:

Photo Credits: Zvaella

Treachery in the Kitchen

“Those dishes won’t clean themselves.” Momma reminded us with a hip perched against the doorframe. She watched over her horde of offspring as we licked the last of the syrup off our plates, lips smacking into sticky smiles.

“I made breakfast.” Rich, my older brother, replied. He knew the sentence removed him from dish-duty and crossed his arms smugly because of it.

My younger sister shouted. “I wash them!”

It wasn’t that she loved dishes, she just hated everything else.

Momma nodded, approving Jane’s enthusiasm with a tired smile. She took a moment to watch the seven year old lather up the sponge before turning back to the remaining four of us.

“And the rest of you?”

Saturday was chore day in our household. It was akin to Sunday gamenight, in that it was just as horrible but for completely different reasons. No one wanted to spend hours around the dining room table with their siblings (especially ones that acted like complete dorks) any more than they wanted to clean the gutters – at least, that’s how I felt about game night. Jane and Charlie loved it.

“I’ll mop.” Anne told the pages of her book.

Crap.

Mopping, dishes and cooking were officially taken and if I didn’t say something soon I’d end up mowing the –

“I got the bathrooms!” Charlie, barely ten, shouted triumphantly in my face before walking to the bleach. My teeth clenched.

I looked out the window to where the summer rays had grown the grass nearly a foot, where heat rose from the ground to blur the green blades, where the unrelenting sun would be laughing at me for the next couple of hours. It was a sweltering eighty-five degrees outside and my siblings just tossed me into the Pit of Carkoon.

Traitors.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Those Dishes Won’t Do Themselves.”