The month of November is amazing for writing. First, it reminds me to be thankful for the wonderful writing, reading, and blogging community that I am a part of (thank you for being part of the family and continuing to be a part of this great journey with me!) and second, it is National Writing Month and while I don't have time this year to do the Nanowrimo, write a book in a month, I've done it in the past and it is a fantastic experience. If anyone is in doubt or doesn't know if this is for them, I highly recommend it. I hope to have a chance to do it again sometime.
Instead, I took yesterday evening to write a short story for The Writer's Cramp on writing.com, a website I also highly recommend to stimulate those creative juices. Every day at noon EDC, a new writing prompt is posted and you have to write a short story 1000 words or less OR a poem in 24 hours, post it on the community forum, and wait for the results, as there are judges who judge daily, give some quick feedback if they have time, and then pick a winner for that day. Entries vary, but the best prompts combined with good traffic give a really steep competition with some fabulous writers. I love to see what people will come up with.
In particular, I love a twisty story, and I love prompts that allow for that aspect.
Today's prompt was:
Someone offers you a cheap rate for a remodeling job.
You eagerly agree, but, then. . .
What goes wrong?
This is my entry, entitled "Perfect." Enjoy!
“Unless you finish remodeling my kitchen for half of the price that you originally stated,” I pause dramatically, “I will make sure that everyone in our neighborhood as well as everyone on my calling list blacklists you and your company forever.”
After a few panicked moments of the woman on the other end of the line sputtering and pleading, the conversation goes my way. It always does.
“You have a deal,” I purr.
I hang up the phone with a smile on my face, glancing up at the large vanity mirror to make sure my coiffed golden hair is still perfectly in place. My glistening lips turn down when I see a flyaway strand on the left side of my hair. With one ruby red lacquered finger, I paste it back down into submission.
“Perfect,” I say.
I hate having all the construction in the house, but it’s a necessary evil. Everyone looks up to me. I am the President of the Cooking Club, and I lead the neighborhood watch. The kitchen is the center hub of activity when we hold meetings at our place, and it has to be exactly right.
Bradley, my husband, bless him, tried to put up a little resistance, but I said, “No hanky panky, until I get what I want.” He knew what was best for him.
The floors have been ripped up and the old cabinets already taken out. It looks like a war zone. In the living room, I pour over the designs again. Polished granite has to go everywhere. Large kitchen island. Finish knocking out a wall into Brad’s study and make it part of the kitchen. Highest grade appliances. Detailed backsplash. Double oven. The list goes on and on, but it has to. This is what it takes.
A few hours later, Brad comes home. Even though he is in his late thirties, he can still turn heads. Dark brown hair, startling green eyes, and a wicked smile. Unfortunately, a furrow is starting to grow on his forehead. I think I should bring up plastic surgery in the future to smooth that out for him. It’s important.
“Hello, darling,” I say. “I have wonderful news.”
He is ruffling through the mail. “What’s that, Lynette?”
I saunter up to him, and then his eyes rove up my body. His warm hand slides on my hip. “Just got the company to cut the price in half for the kitchen. Yes, I’m amazing,” I say, kissing him on the cheek.
“Ah,” he murmurs, hugging me to his body. “I think this calls for a glass of wine.”
I don’t usually drink wine this early in the evening, it can give me a headache. But for once, I decide to relax my strict rules.
“All right,” I say, as I push him away, and he disappears for a moment.
He comes back with two wine glasses, a dark cabernet undulating in the center. His tie is loosened and in disarray. I resist the urge to fix it for him.
My fingers curl around the cool stem of the glass and we clink the edges together.
I take a sip and a heady buzz starts deep in my belly. The wine is perfect, I’m perfect, the kitchen is going to be perfect. The wine disappears sooner than I expect. Brad tops me off.
“Why don’t we do this more often?” Brad says, giving his wine an expert swirl before he takes a sip. If I didn’t know better, there’s a note of wistfulness there.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Brad,” I say airily. “We talk on a regular basis. And if you play your cards right, you might get lucky one of these days.”
His eyes narrow. “Lynn, why does everything have to be a bargain with you? Why can’t we just be a team?”
I laugh. “Brad, there’s no team. You get to make 7 figures under Daddy, and in return, you have to make me happy.”
His mouth purses in a narrow line. “Guess I should have thought longer about what I really wanted.”
My hackles go up. “What did you say?” My voice is shriller than I want it to be.
“Nothing,” he says, pushing his wine across the coffee table. “I’m tired, I’m going to bed.”
“Sounds nice, sweetie,” I say, already turning my mind to more important things. As I hear his footsteps fade up the stairs, I realize I’m becoming dizzy. I probably should have eaten something before drinking that much wine. My eyes become heavy and the room becomes dark.
The noise of scraping wakes me out of my stupor.
“You know, if she had just treated you right in the first place, none of this would have happened,” a familiar female voice says.
I can’t feel or move any of my limbs. I blink. I see two hazy shapes and some bricks being placed in front of me.
“I almost didn’t go through with it tonight.” It’s Brad this time. “But she is such a terrible person.”
The woman laughs. “Did she really think that she could cut the budget in half? She was such a jerk to me on the phone this morning.”
I am starting to feel really cold, and I’m realizing that they are cementing down a brick wall and it’s almost finished.
“Lynn, I don’t know if you can hear me, but your dad got an email from you yesterday saying that you were going on an extended trip to the Cayman Islands as you tend to do this time of year. Plus, you wanted to get away from the rehab of the kitchen, which has been beyond stressful for you,” Brad says. “When you don’t come back, the search will start there. Little will they know you never left your precious kitchen at all.” He laughs. “You’ll forever be part of the study that you so rudely took away from me.”
The last brick is placed, leaving me in inky blackness.
“Perfect,” Brad says.
Thanks for reading, everyone! By the way, I tied for first place! And to celebrate twisty stories, Left Bank Books is partnering up with me again to promote one of my all time favorite authors Paula Stokes and her amazing, dark, and twisty novel, VICARIOUS, which is a beyond terrific read. US only, sorry! Happy Thanksgiving!
Goodreads Book Description: Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.
Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you—for a price.
When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.
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