Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Writings #4 - Morning Machinations

Morning Machinations

Gabby groaned as she slapped the snooze button then pulled her thick down comforter up around her ears and rolled over. Her head was thick and heavy. She tried to remember the details of the previous night. She remembered the party, the dancing, the trip to the diner after the party with Julie, Sam and, what was his name? She remembered meeting him at the party and dancing with him. Oh how she remembered dancing with him. But what was his name? She couldn't remember. Grinning, she decided that for the moment, it didn't matter.

She conjured up his face and felt smile widen. The lighting at the party had been dim, but now she threw a spotlight on him for full examination. His black hair was cut short and styled nicely, flowing and bouncing with his movements. His face was long with a tall, skinny nose and pronounced jawline. His lips were full but not thick and she remembered the night before she had caught herself staring at his mouth while he spoke, watching the precise movements of his lips. But it was his eyes that had caught her primary attention.

His brown eyes had a sensitive, caring depth to them. It often looked as though they were closing ever so slightly. Not as though he was squinting, but just an added expression of concentration or concern. His eyes focused on her intently every moment they were together. Whenever she looked at his eyes, she felt as though she were the whole and complete object of his attention. While their glance was dedicated at her and seemed intent on gathering her in completely, the look wasn't overbearing or frighteningly penetrating. Rather, it was full of concern, attention and caring. As he looked at her, she felt, for the first time in a long time, as though someone, him, was genuinely and completely interested in her.

A glaring blast of voices from the morning radio show interrupted her thoughts. With a sigh of exasperation, she forced her eyelids open a slit and pressed the OFF button on the clock radio. Her eyelashes fluttered reluctantly as though trying to pull themselves back to a fully closed state. With a huff, she threw the blanket aside and vigorously rubbed her eyes to add some clarity to the hazy morning scene. Automatically and with a yawn, Gabby shuffled out of bed, plopped her glasses on her nose and ears and wandered to the bathroom.

She watched herself in the mirror as she contorted and stretched her face widely and extensively to get the blood flowing. She watched her glasses wriggle above her nose as she sqrunched up her eyes and forehead and then stretched them out as far as possible while opening and stretching her mouth into strange wide circles and ovals. Her morning exercises ended when she realized how ridiculous she looked and let out a small chuckle followed by a sigh and shake of the head. A few splashes of cold water and she was truly awake.

Checking the hall clock, she decided to have breakfast before getting dressed. Still a bit groggy from the night before, she meandered to the kitchen and pulled out the carton of juice. She should have been more shocked at the envelope taped to the side of the carton, but she was still a bit groggy. She gave it a sideways glance and then pulled it off and turned it over in her hands. It was a plain white envelope, empty except for a long strip of tape and her name written in meticulously well formed block-capital letters: GABRIELLE

Fiddling with the envelope, she glanced around her kitchen and even stared out the small window over the sink. Stepping back to the hall, she looked at the door with its bolt and chain in place. She thought back to the previous night and distinctly remembered riding with the group in Julie's car back to her apartment building and then walking upstairs and into her apartment alone. She couldn't think how anyone could have put the note on the juice. Or why.

Grabbing a glass from the cupboard and pouring some juice, Gabby sat down at the table, grabbed an apple and took a bite. Then she turned over the envelope, slid her finger under the flap and tore it open. Inside was a folded piece of heavy red paper. Unfolding it, a smaller bit of folded paper fell out which she immediately recognized as the color and consistency of a dollar bill. She dropped the red paper and picked up the tightly folded green, yellow and white. Unfolding it, she found that it was indeed money, but not a single dollar bill. With a slight gasp, she dropped the bill on the table and stared at it. Staring back at her with his high bald forehead and 18th century mullet was Benjamin Franklin.

After staring for a moment in disbelief, she remembered the red paper and picked it up again. Unfolding it completely, it was about 7 inches around and was the shape of a bird in flight. Written in vibrant gold ink with the same block lettering as on the envelope were the words: RIVERSIDE PARK. NORTHWEST BANK. MIDDLE BENCH. 6:45 PM

Gabby scanned the message again and again, now holding the note in one hand and the 100 dollar bill in the other. She racked her brain over what she saw before her but couldn't make any sense of it.

A sudden burst of sound behind her made her jump. Jolted from her trance, she quickly recognized the sound as her cell phone notification of a new text message. It was from Julie: want a ride 2 work

The message quickly brought her back to reality. Looking at the time, she realized she was way behind schedule. There was no way she'd be ready in time to catch the bus. She tapped the keys on her phone: yeah thx give me 10 min

She set the phone on the table beside the red bird, the green bill and the white envelope. She still didn't know what to make of any of it. But she didn't have time to figure it out. Taking another bite of her apple and a large swallow of orange juice, she hurried down the hall to get ready for work. Ten minutes later, she was on the sidewalk in front of her apartment, scanning the road for Julie's car. Inside her purse, a crumpled envelope held a folded hundred dollar bill, a red paper bird with a cryptic message and the entirety of Gabby's attention.


Brian Miller said...

oh snap that was leave me wanting more which is the sure sign of a good writer...obviously i am new you continue on next week?

Talli Roland said...

Interesting! Love the title, by the way.

Okie said...

Thanks to both of you. Glad you enjoyed it.

To answer your question Brian, on these "Wednesday Writings", I've been using them more as general writing exercises. However, with today's post, I have a few more things I want to do, so I plan to continue it at least one more week (possibly more).

Fashion Cappuccino said...

You write so well!! It's such a great story! I want to see more! xoxoxoxo

Phoenix said...

This one is my favorite Wednesday Writing so far. I love it! And I want to read more of it! (::whine whine::) ;)

Farnnay said...

and then!!?!?!?

Unknown said...

Hi there, I'm a new follower. I came over to check you out after you joined my blog as a follower and your Wednesday Writings drew me in, so naturally I had to start at the beginning to catch up. I love what you are doing here... the idea of performing a written exercise as a periodic post. The content is fairly interesting and I'm relatively engaged with the character from the beginning. I guess I'm wondering if you want critiques? I'm not sure what your intent with the writings are. In your exercise are you writing spontaneously or do you have an motive set in your mind, along with the actions that you so carefully place your characters in? If so, there doesn't seem to be a theme or objective to ignite the inquisitive motor in the readers mind. You've got a wonderful handle of rolling movement along, but I'm not getting the interior view of the character. Maybe there's a reason for this. Your writing is technically accurate with the exception of a few places, such as your usage of the phrase "glance was dedicated at." Here dedicated should be followed by the word to, not at, and as an added comment I'll say that this is also an example of one of several opportunities in your writing to crank up the vividness by converting to an active voice. In general, these opportunities exist wherever helping verbs are found, such as was, were, is, and are. They tend to illustrate the action of something being done indirectly by something or someone rather than the something or someone owning the action. This creates an unnecessary distance between the story and the reader. To close the gap and make the story more immediately synapsed to the readers mind, one needs the active voice. Look around within the same thought unit it a sentence for a more articulate verb and you've got your spice to rev things up a notch and keep the story running tight. So for instance, in this case, the verb dedicate should be the active verb, and the sentence would be changed to something like "he dedicated his glances to her all evening".
Oh I've rambled. Sorry. Please let me know if this is the type of comments you want. I love what you are doing and would love to see more.

Okie said...

Thanks for the feedback.

The "Wednesday Writing" is basically set up as a scheduled time to make sure I'm actually writing at least weekly and to force myself through the mid-week-writer's-block.

Starting off, I had/have no motive in mind and am generally just writing free form without edits or restraints.

That said, I am always interested in feedback. Even though I'm writing "fast and furious" just to get into the flow, these exercises are still there to help improve my overall technique.

I also hope/expect that at least some of the stuff that comes out of this will be something I like enough to revisit in the future and try to polish it up. In such cases, I'd definitely love to have feedback.

As to the current batch of stories (starting with this post and continuing on for the next few at least), I'm interested in the characters and the plot and want to figure out where they're all going. So far I'm enjoying the path it's taking and will likely try to polish it up in the future.

I definitely appreciate the feedback you provided above. I am all for critiques both on plot/character/story and on general writing style/accuracy/etc.

I am not at all surprised by being called out on "passive voice." That's one trap I constantly find myself falling into and usually have to fix it many, many times when it comes time to edit. I can definitely see how the active voice pulls the reader closer to the action and enlivens the story.

Thanks again for your feedback and thanks for stopping by.

Unknown said...

You are welcome and Wow! I love that you are doing this as a discipline to keep yourself writing to fulfill a quota...something I should be doing myself. Lately, ever since the release of my novel mostly all of my writing is promotional. Don't get me wrong...I love blogging but I need to get back into applying the craft instead of writing about the craft. You've inspired me to perhaps launch a second blog which will entail writing strictly fiction.