So, one of my author friends posted another prompt…By request, a writing prompt: Use the following anywhere in your story. Up to a 1000 words or so.
On a dusty road near Memphis I pulled to the side of the road, turned in the seat and said, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” Here is my response…
On a dusty road near Memphis I pulled to the side of the road, turned in the seat and said, “It doesn’t have to be this way.” I killed the motor, intending to give the issue at least one last attempt at rationality.
Shifting my eyes, I could see the cold blue glare before the ice of her words bore into me, “The fuck if it doesn’t.” Glaring at my hands, I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, tapping my fingers anxiously on the wheel.
“Look,” she plowed on, “You’re the one who got us into the mess, runnin’ that god damned mouth of yurs. Nobody knew shit until you –“
“Alright, alright, please not again…” I threw up my hands in mock surrender, “This is entirely my fault. I realize I may have acted a bit foolishly…” I tried to make peace, but Shayla was all wound up, again.
“May have?” her voice full of venom, “Let’s examine the evidence –“
“NO!” my fists slammed into the giant ring, “We have had this conversation too many times now, and quite frankly I am sick to death of it.”
The car fell silent at the irony of my words. Without further comment, I restarted the engine and maneuvered out onto the rocky path. Seeing the lights of our intended target ahead of us, I could feel my chest growing tight. The car rolled to a stop in front of the bent chain link fence. Still gripping the leather cover, I glanced over at the familiar blue trim on front of the house, trying to muster my courage.
“We better go on in,” she spoke quietly, “No need in getting his dander up before we make it inside.” She was already outside the car as she finished speaking, giving the door a heavy slam.
“I still say it doesn’t have to be this way,” I muttered to myself as I climbed out of the vehicle.
The gate closed with a loud clang as we made our way over the cinder brick stepping stones. Catching her heel on a chunk of grass sticking between the gaps, Shayla stumbled forward, barely able to prevent herself from plummeting to the ground in the darkness. Clutching her oversized bag to her chest, the bottle hidden inside, she cursed as loud as she could, “Why is the damned porch light out, grandpa?”
Seeing the wooden door swing open through the screen, the glare from the entrance was now blindingly bright, and I held my hand up to shade my eyes a bit as we made our way up the rickety steps. So much for not getting his dander up. But that’s my wife in a nutshell, crazy bitch twenty-four-seven. “Hello, grandpa,” I shook the old man’s hand as I entered, noting that she was already headed into the kitchen with her special surprise.
“So, how’s the game?” I quickly inquired, ready to do my part, and keep the old man occupied while she did her thing.
“No damn good,” he replied, wafting a hand towards the tiny screen, “Damn referees callin’ fouls left ‘n righ’. The whole damn mess of ‘em needs to get dey eyes checked.” He paced around, brooding as he spoke. I only nodded, tossing in an uhuh here and there as he fumed. Yeah, I see the resemblance, I thought to myself as his rant went on for a good five minutes.
Coming back in from the kitchen, her now thinner bag slung over her shoulder, Shayla handed me an ice cold beer. “Dat de’ las’ one?” her grandfather shot her an angry scowl.
“No, grandpa, you still have another one. Jesus, you think we come fo’ a visit an’ drink yur last beer?” she was shaking her head as she matched his heated tone.
“You have afore,” he challenged, the deep lines sinking into his crinkled features.
Shayla gave him blistering look, and I reached over to calm her, my arm draped around her shoulder affectionately, “It’s ok, baby, we can share,” and moved to hand her the frosty bottle.
“I don’t think so,” she snapped in return, slapping at the glass container. “You know grandpa, I don’ think you appreciates us, drivin’ all the way out here jus’ to see yur happy ass.”
“You don’ neva’ come out heya lessen you wont sumfin’, so what is it dat you wont, girl?”
It was his turn to receive her icy glare. “Not a damn thing, old man. Let’s go baby.” I didn’t bother to argue, shaking his hand again hurriedly before darting out the front door, allowing the screen to slam with a bang in my haste.
Inside the safety of our car, we both exhaled heavily in relief. “You know, we could have stayed a little longer, I mean considering it’s the last time –“
“Don’ you even say it!” she cut me off, pointing her stubby finger at me. “This is still yur fault. Now we jus gotta hope he don’ take too long to finishin’ up the process.”
“Wow, I never realized how cold hearted you really are.” I gripped and released my fingers for several minutes, as my wife didn’t give me a reply. Glancing over at her I noticed she was staring out into the blackness that surrounded us, and we rolled along in silence, the dust creating a dark cloud that loomed behind us as we flew down the dirt road, making our way back into Memphis.