Saturday, July 13, 2013

Charity

He would be here in an hour. She had sat up all night, nursing a never-ending cup of coffee with too much sugar. She focused on the bird feeder hanging by the kitchen window and ignored the dawn behind it. She was thinking about the odd green coat with the mismatched buttons that he wore. It was the first thing she noticed about him when she first saw him on the street corner.  He had been lost, and seemed helpless like a newborn puppy.

"Can I help you?"

That question had led her to this moment. A question that she had been taught from an early age. It was a life philosophy of service to others that she had embraced and enjoyed.

And she had been able to help him. He was lost and broke and hungry. She rarely felt fear, and this man was harmless. She had taken him with her to eat lunch. She offered to take him to a local shelter. He asked for directions to the park.

"I can drop you off at the park, but they don't like people sleeping there, and, at this time of the year, the heat and mosquitoes are a problem. You need to sleep somewhere inside."

He assured her that he had a safe place for the night, and that he could find it from the park. Still concerned, she had loaded him into the minivan, and pulled away from the curb. It was on the way to the park that he had offered to repay her.

"Just take care of yourself, and if you see someone in trouble, help them."

But no, he had a gift for her. He was going to send her wherever she wanted, whenever she wanted, to meet whomever she wanted. She could spend the day with them. He regretted, however, that she wouldn't remember any of it after the day was done.  They were at the park and he jumped out of the van. He picked up her son's bunny that had fallen on the ground when he got out and handed it to her through the window. He said he would see her after dawn in the morning.

And she believed him. Driving home, straightening her house, tending to her family, eating supper, clearing up, putting her little hearts to bed, she believed that the man would be there in the morning.

And she thought about the fantasy. The dark, hidden fantasy that would surprise anyone who knew her. It wasn't the kind of fantasy that a "nice" girl had. It wasn't the type of fantasy that one would attribute to a woman who was so...white bread. Her husband would never understand, but he wouldn't know. No one would know. She wouldn't even remember, so there would be no guilt.

That night, over her coffee and the one and a half Oreo cookies, she planned. She imagined every detail of what it would be like to meet him and what she would do to him. This was going to be the best gift ever.

A movement in the corner of her eye drew her gaze away from the never really seen bird-feeder. She saw the green coat with the odd buttons. A secret, soft smile, that she had never smiled before played on her lips. She was going to do it.

She was going to kill that motherfucker, Adolph Hitler.

heidi
written 7/13/13 for Kellie Elmore's Free Write Friday

heh heh heh heh heh. I don't know it y'all have noticed, but I fucking love a twist. I don't care how obscure or obvious. I also miss prose. I just haven't had the attention span to really write it. (One of the many lovely things about poetry it that it changes enough to hold my attention span...notice that I am do not write epics.) Then, this morning, I read Kellie's prompt (see it below) and this story hit me. At first I had this interesting "caught in a loop of killing and saving someone awful due to the unforeseen consequences to the time/space continuum kind of story" but when I just sat down and wrote, this is what came out. And I think I like it better. That is one of the benefits of free writing! I still don't know about the title, they usually seem to write themselves, and I am always at a loss when I have to think about it. Anyway, I hope y'all liked it. Thank you Kellie Elmore for the cool prompt. (You can visit her site by clicking the link above.) Below, please find a copy of the prompt.


Here is your FWF prompt…
Today you have been granted the opportunity to go anywhere, do anything, meet anyone, travel in time…whatever you wish, it is yours. Now, there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?) When you wake up tomorrow… you will not remember any of it.
Would you still choose to take the offer? Can you drink in the moment and enjoy it knowing you will have no recollection of what happened? Think about it? How important is a memory? In a time when every moment is documented via social media, photographs and video. We have lost the ability to just ‘breathe in’ and enjoy what is right in front of us because we interrupt the moment by grabbing our phone to post about it on Facebook, or snap a picture and share it on Instagram or try to define the moment in a 140 character tweet. Think about it…

14 comments:

  1. wow...ok, not the fantasy i saw coming...ha...vicious...i love a good twist too, misdirection...you played it well and got me...smiles.

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    1. >:-}

      thanks, brian. my favorite pieces are the ones where i am laughing at the last few lines. i think that i am still a little intoxicated by all of the alliteration earlier this week. i think alliteration is kind of sexy and that may have influenced the way i decided to set up the fantasy of the wish.

      thanks for the visit and happy saturday!

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  2. I loved it Heidi your characters were wonderful. I love the way the main character helped the homeless man, the way she treated him without the usual suspicion and/or disgust it was so refreshing! I have always hated the sort of guilt pity-driven charity that makes us toss out quarters and in the end serves only to create a horrible paternalistic relationship that doesn't generate respect. I am all about education/training/employment opportunities the whole teach a man to fish concept because it promotes independence. I loved the mysterious homeless man and the way you lead me to believe they might have a little romance and then you slapped in the face with an awesome twist. Fantastic =)

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    1. thank you! i was hoping that she would be likeable and kind of ordinary. (i also think that some of my inner social worker was showing). I am glad that the twist worked. hehehe

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  3. Ya got me! What a delight to read.

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    1. Thank you! I hope you're funk is clearing.

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  4. Not the twist I was expecting but I loved it. I need to be in a better headspace next week, I think. I have liked all the submissions and their twists.

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    1. Thanks Heidi! I have been thinking about my cousin since I read your piece. He died in 1997. I agree with you, I would gladly exchange the memory in order to see him again.

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  5. ha! awesome, I loved it. Thanks for sharing, you had such a different take on the prompt, well done!

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    1. Thanks and welcome to the lasagna!

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  6. SO many twists coming out of this weeks prompt! I am so loving this! I may have to do these kind of "thinkers' more often! Great read! Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Kellie! It was a great prompt and I had a lot of fun writing this story.

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  7. Whoa. I like the doses of story here...each sentence more addictive than the last! Great piece!

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    1. Hi xxculture! Welcome to the lasagna. Thank you for the visit, I am going to visit your response to Kellie's prompt if my computer holds up. I love her prompts.

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Hi! Thank you for the visit! Grab a plate and a sweet tea and let's dig in. It may take a while, but I always try to reply and return visits.