Dancing

Leave it to Trifecta to flush out a holiday worth celebrating- National Erotica Day November 15th. The challenge this week is to write –33 to 333 words of erotic writing.  This challenge is open to interpretation.  “It’s, allegedly, not as easy as it looks.” is an understatement. Erotic writing runs the gamut from the audacious pornographic musings with scintillating detail to the tamer bodice ripper regency romance and a whole lot in between. Below is my tame offering opening someplace in the middle of events unfolding.

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Anna left virtue and poverty behind as the ballroom doors opened to her. Her black mask, studded with tiny gold gems, hid her identity. She became a woman of means as she stepped though the threshold of Gavin Hall.

In the foyer, Anna’s borrowed velvet dress clung to her as she lifted her arms to readjust her mask. At her side Sir John coughed behind a mask and held out a hand. Anna recognized him, and presented her hand like a gift. He accepted, pulling her closer.

“And to whom do I owe the pleasure?”

“Miss Simpson from America.”

Sir John’s eyes twinkled with amusement. “Ah, yes. Miss Simpson.”

“And you are?”

“John, Sir John Gavin.”

Music drifted toward them from the main ballroom. “Shall we?” Sir John gesture toward the music.

“Yes,” said Anna, allowing Sir John to steer her to the dance floor, his right hand squeezing her just below the small of her back under the folded drape of her gown. His hand spread; his smile widened with pleasure.

Sir john took her gloved hand in his, and skillfully guided her to him. Anna pressed into him, her body close enough to feel Sir John’s heart beat fast against her, his breath whispering in her ear. “Come with me Anna.” Anna could feel the eyes of the other dancers on them; she could hear their faint murmurs of wonder.

Suddenly a tap on Sir John’s shoulder took him away, and Anna found herself dancing with a stranger in a carnival mask. His grip and passion were more commanding than Sir John’s. Anna composed herself, willing her body to hold firm.

“Lost your partner?” said Anna teasing.

“No. Have you?”

“No. I… You are?” Anna asked.

In reply, the stranger swept Anna toward an open door and onto a terrace above a garden where they danced as one, each step pulling them closer together until Anna , cheeks flush, sighed into a lingering kiss which spread as a white heat through her body.

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Waiting

Photo Credit: Korean War Veteran-georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2006/07/

Going to the doctor is never my idea of fun, but I go. I sit in the crowded reception room with other bodies ravaged by war. But who remembers my war? The Korean War is a short paragraph in my granddaughter’s history book. My teenage granddaughter shrugs when I ask her, “Where is Korea?” On a map spread beneath glass she points an uncertain finger at the Asian continent as though that were a sufficient answer.  “Have you been there Granddad?” she asks. I consider her innocence before answering.

In the waiting room I flip through outdated magazines or yesterday’s newspapers. A television high on the wall babbles. I wait my turn. I am weighed. A nurse, overly cheery, takes my blood pressure. I watch the mercury pulse on the gauge catching the beat of my heart. The sound of my blood surges in my ears; the reading is too high. The nurse ushers me into an office with a view of gray windows. The buildings are only inches apart, and through four panes of glass I see shapes of darkness.

The doc is new, a young man freshly minted from medical school with a tight look about him. Shadows fill the hollows of his eyes and cheeks, a new father battling sleepless nights ignorant that the war has just begun. I spot a small, framed photograph on his desk. A young, beautiful wife holding a brand new baby. I smile and ask, “How’s it going young man?” He shakes his head and shuffles the pages of my chart.

Words betray him the way my body betrays me, and the diagnosis tumbles out of his mouth indelicate, and I wonder if he speaks to his wife with these cool words. “I assure you Mr. Fredrickson, cancer is no longer a death sentence.” His reassurance is hardly reassuring. The diagnosis, the elephant in the room, trumpets otherwise, and we talk gingerly around the topic. Our visit ends. New appointments for scans and surgeons begins.

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The Trifecta Challenge–Your response must be between 33 and 333 words. New 3: having been in a relationship or condition but a short time <new to the job> <a new wife>

The Secret Life

Six months before my husband Arthur celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday I began inviting his old business partners, friends and well-wishers to fly in from Los Angeles for the day. “A gala event,” I told Arthur several weeks before the party. Nonplussed by my declaration, Arthur merely looked up from his book noticing me for the first time as though I were some rarefied animal in a dusty encyclopedia which lay dormant on the shelves of his study. Undeterred, I arranged an outside party on the terrace with food, tables and chairs for five hundred, buckets of iced champagne and a well-stocked bar. I ordered deep red Talisman roses which I had flown in at full bloom, and I hired a band to play Glenn Miller tunes all afternoon.

I measured the success of my party by the number drunken tributes, ribald humor, and geriatric jokes among Arthur’s friends. And what would a birthday be without a cake and candles, but blowing out the candles blew the life out of Arthur because at the end of the party he did the most extraordinary thing—he died. Too much excitement. Too many candles.  After a lifetime of amity, he left me to piece together a new life. Only later did I realize that Arthur was more than just an enigma; he was a stranger.

I arranged a small service at Garden View Cemetery.  The interment was brief; the flowers immaculate.  However, a young man, maybe forty years old, lingered on the periphery. I recognized him several days later as the same young man who stood knocking at my studio door. Visitors annoy me when I’m painting. My painting studio is off-limits to everyone including Arthur when he was alive, but somehow this young man-made it his business to disturb me. “Enter,” I said. The young man walked into my studio with a sunny air of familiarity and ownership that unnerved me, but his smile caught me by surprise. “Arthur?”
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Trifecta: This week’s word is enigma; noun \i-ˈnig-mə, e-\–3: an inscrutable or mysterious person

Café

A spring rain fell all morning bring with it relief from the heat and the red dust that chokes our café, turning our white tablecloths a pale rust. Early afternoon when the rains stop, my father and I rush to set tables, chairs, and fresh tablecloths around the café patio.

Today my father assures me, “One day Sanjay, you will inherit this café from me and care for me the way I care for you.” He turns away from me to spread a table-cloth, but I know his eyes are glassy with memories of my mother, so he quickly laughs to hide himself saying, “Yes, I can see you now Sanjay, A young man married with a plump wife who will care for us both, and perhaps, god willing, bear your children and my grandchildren.” He tells me this last part ruffling my brown-black hair, exchanging his sorrow for the wide smile of an optimist, and I am happy for us both.

Patrons begin to arrive and we are both busy. My father’s café is walking distance from the train station, and it shares a wall with the Commissioner’s Office. “Easy protection in a violent town,” my father says.

The door to the Commissioner’s Office closes hard, and my father pushes me quickly to wait on the Commissioner and his friends. The Commissioner come for tea every afternoon. Once he asked me if I could read, but I shook my head no.

“Do you plan to live here always Sanjay?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Don’t you want to go to school? Go to the university and study?”
“No,” I said.
“Good boy.”

My father helps me balance a tray of eight tea glasses, and I weave my way through the near empty café to the Commissioner’s table. The conversation is tense and hushed.
“It is true? Did the opposition push for a vote of confidence, parliament dissolved, and new elections called?” the Commissioner asked.
“Yes,” said one of the commissioner’s friends.

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The Trifecta Challenge: confidence (noun)

A Trifecta Meet and Greet

Looking out my back door.

1. What is your name (real or otherwise)?
My name for a this adventure is Latitudes of a Day   

2. Describe your writing style in three words
Training Wheels in Use   

3. How long have you been writing online?
Six months-fiction/creative writing.     

4. Which, if any, other writing challenges do you participate in?
I’d do more writing challenges if I had the time, but I’m already stealing time from the rest of my life to participate at Trifecta.     

It rains a lot here.

5. Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.
A. Relearn the finer points of grammar. B. Reread my favorite short stories with pencil in hand. 

6. What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve been given plenty of advice over the years, but none about writing.  

7. Who is your favorite author? 
Who ever I’m reading that hour or that day. My favorite genre is short story.   

8. How do you make time to write?
I write when I should be doing something else. My house is a mess, the kids unfed, and the garden overgrown. Chickens run wild in the yard. I write in the car or library when I’m waiting for a kid to finish an activity. One day I’m going to have a room of my own with a door, but until then I snatch a few minutes through out the day, and I write with a laptop  at the foot of my bed, my trusty cat curled and sleeping at my side.   

Pushkin, my trusty cat.

9. Give us one word we should consider using as a prompt. Remember–it must have a third definition.
Columbi Bueno. inspired my word choice.

Enigma~enig·ma (i-ˈnig-mə, e-); noun

1: an obscure speech or writing
2: something hard to understand or explain
3: an inscrutable or mysterious person

10. Direct us to one blog post of yours that we shouldn’t miss reading.

None at this time.

Wildflower

Widow

The young widow clutched the floral dressing gown to her throat, then slipped her heels from the stirrups at the end of the doctor’s bed, white paper crinkling beneath her as she shifted to sit up. She scanned the doctor’s broad face for a hint of hope. Instead she saw her distorted face reflected in the high mirror on his forehead.

“Congratulations!” he beamed. But she came to him already knowing; she calculated her dates. She calculated the difference in age from her baby at home. She calculated the cruelest number: the weeks since her husband’s death, and the weeks it took for her to become pregnant by another man, a man she did not want, but things were different now. She listened from a distant, automatic well in her mind as the doctor told her in earnest how to care for herself, but she place a hand on his arm and shook her head “No.

He frowned. “I don’t do those. I don’t do abortions. I don’t take life. I don’t know anyone in the city that does.”

The widow slumped. Silent tears dropped onto the floral gown.

“There’s always adoption or a clinic down in Mexico,” he said. She nodded like a small child.  “You can’t wait much longer, or it will be too dangerous.” She took a deep breath and slipped behind the mask of wife and widow.

Pushing grief away, she thrust her chin forward, “I’ll be fine. Thank you.”

At the appointment desk she looked out into the waiting room. She saw her suitor and watched as she might watch a stranger. He was a slim, young man full of promise dressed in, he declared to her, “A suit to be married and buried in.” A cigarette dangled from his right hand. Impatience creased his smile too deep. He’s attractive but not her type, yet time alters everything. Memories pale. A babysitter waits. The suit eager for her news, waits. “We’ll do it right,” he promises. “A scandal averted.”

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Prompt by Trifecta ~Week 22

Use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Responses with alternate forms of the word (pluralized, different tense, etc.) will be disqualified. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words.

The Word: scan·dal noun \ˈskan-dəl\

3   a: a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it
b : a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality <a scandal to the profession>

She Who Laughs

Julie-Anne didn’t feel like talking. She especially didn’t feel like talking to the cheery young assistant, Ms. Gates, who smiled at her with unnaturally white teeth and cherry red lips. But Julie-Anne acquiesced when Ms. Gates motioned for her to be seated while opening her mother’s file and spreading the papers across the desk between them.

“Yes, here it is. You mother, Mrs. Harold Hastings, preselected our most popular urn—Poppies. Let me show you.”

Ms. Gates rose from the desk and, with mincing steps, inched her way across the office floor. Julie-Anne smoothed her black pants, sat up straight, nested her hands in her lap as she had been taught, and watched Ms. Gates progress across the room like a hobbled calf in her narrow skirt.

“What was Mother thinking?” Julie-Anne said to herself.

At the long shelf of urns, Ms. Gates selected a large porcelain orb circled with bright, red-orange poppies supported by dark green, feathery stems against a glossy white background. Instinct compelled Julie-Anne to bring her hand to her face, shielding her widening eyes and mouth from Ms. Gates’s approving grin.

“How could Mother!”

“Did you say something?”

Julie-Anne coughed and said what her mother had trained her to say in such a situation, “It’s beautiful, really much too beautiful for my mother’s remains.”
Ms. Gates set the urn down in front of Julie-Anne and settled herself behind the desk with a triumphant smile. Looking into that smile, Julie-Anne understood the cunning behind her mother’s motives, understood the full impact of the cheap urn and the garish Ms. Gates. Julie-Anne closed her eyes and saw her mother laughing.

When the paper signing was complete, Ms. Gates handed Julie-Anne the urn filled with her mother’s remains and ushered her out the door. Julie-Anne wobbled in confusion at the abrupt ending, but their business was done.  Julie-Anne hugged the urn close across the parking lot until she caught her heel on the curb.  In a rain of her mother’s ashes, Julie-Anne fell laughing.

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For Trifecta Challenge Week Twenty.

The word: cheap adj \ˈchēp\

The definition: 3   a : of inferior quality or worth : tawdry, sleazy <cheapworkmanship>      b : contemptible because of lack of any fine, lofty, or redeeming qualities <feeling cheap>

The Challenge:

  1. Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  2. You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  3. The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  4. You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  5. Your post must include a link back to Trifecta.
  6. Please submit your post’s permalink, not the main page of your blog.  For example: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2012/03/trifextra-week-eight.html not www.trifectawritingchallenge.com.