Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Wednesday's Words on a Friday



On Wednesdays, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a word challenge meme which she calls “Words for Wednesday”.

She puts up a selection of six words which we then use in a short story, or a poem.

I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.

It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?

This week's words are:

1. insightful
2. believer
3. testosterone
4. graduated
5. disperse
6. firefly

we also have : little feet with big boots to fill, which I haven't used this week.

Here is my story:
 

No one needed to be particularly insightful. We all knew what would happen when those testosterone fuelled year 12 boys graduated at the end of the school year. They had been making plans for months now. A huge graduation party, a costume party, with all attending to be dressed as a character from the current favourite Sci-Fi TV show, Firefly

It would be a rowdy affair, as it always was, boisterous, rambunctious young men letting their hair down for the night after their toughest school year, and the townspeople were well prepared. Bottle shops would be closed, no alcohol was to be sold, so things didn't get out of hand, vehicles were banned for the day. Over excited young men and cars weren't a good mix. The headmaster was a great believer in firm control where young boys becoming responsible men were concerned.
It was a thirty year old tradition that things should happen this way and none of the young men minded.

They'd all come to Glenwood as shy thirteen year olds, to attend the school for the next six years of their lives, and once the graduation party was over, they would disperse throughout the country again, returning to their homes and families. 

Most of the boys had boarded at the school, but a few had been placed with families within the small town, so they had all gotten to know the whole crew rather well. It was the same every year. A new intake of youngsters as the graduates moved out, with last year's "newbies" moving up. Glenwood had seen hundreds of boys come in as children and leaving as men. It was a fine school in a fine town. 


And a surprise entry!
You might remember Delores gave us these extra words last week:

1. inclusive
2. retrofit
3. supine 
4. dangled
5. denim
6. degenerate

and here is what I've done with them:



"I had been looking forward to the day ahead. Then it arrived." (plagiarised from the book "Personal", by Lee Child)
 
All inclusive, it was could have been disaster from start to finish.

As I lay supine at the end of it all, I went over each step. The Warren brothers, Jack and Henry, had promised the retrofit would go smoothly. 

Last year, I'd used my inheritance, (thanks Grandpa Mike), to buy a lovely old art deco home and Jack and Henry Warren had come around last week to remove the ugly, boxy, fittings in the kitchen and bathroom, with promises to start work immediately on fitting the softly contoured appliances I'd ordered. The cabinets and appliances had arrived yesterday and when I had phoned the brothers at their shop, Jack had said they would be here first thing.

The 1950s art deco kitchen cabinets were placed along the floor by each newly painted wall where they were to be installed, the lovely, rounded, cream coloured fridge stood beside the power point, waiting to be switched on. The stove...my goodness, I was in love with that stove. It looked gentle somehow, much nicer than the sharp cornered box it was replacing.

Wires dangled from every ceiling, waiting for the pendant fittings to be attached. 

I'd been sitting at the small, rectangular, laminex kitchen table, waiting for the Warren brothers who were bringing with them the newly re-upholstered three piece lounge suite. A long, long, couch and two large armchairs would fill two walls of the very big living room, with a third wall devoted to bookshelves, styled to match the kitchen cabinets with soft corners, but in a polished walnut finish. The only modern thing in the room would be the digital television and even that had been installed inside a 1950s corner cabinet, also in a polished walnut finish. Together with heavy drapes in a teal and soft melon pattern, the room should look warm and welcoming. And very 1950s. 

I'd sat impatiently, with a fast cooling cup of tea in front of me, wondering where the brothers were, what was keeping them, then I heard the truck arrive. I opened the front door to Jack and Henry, right behind them, I saw with some misgivings, their nephew, Lenny, who held out his hand in greeting, saying "Hello Mrs Francis, how are you today?"

After replying I was "fine, thank you," I glanced at Jack who avoided my eyes and went to the truck to begin unloading the lounge suite. I sighed and went to help. 

Lenny. Why was he here? Lenny was well known in the town as the biggest klutz known to modern man. If something could be fumbled and dropped, Lenny would drop it. The boy simply could not hold onto anything. Including himself. He often fell over his own feet. Admittedly, they were very large feet. At 19, Lenny was still in that skinny, gangly, growing into his bones, (his very long bones) stage. I'd heard that poor Lenny had even been banned from attending his sister Joy's wedding reception, although he had been allowed to attend the church service. He'd sat outside the hall, with various people bringing him food and lemonade and eventually, wedding cake. 

Jack and I handed two of the couch cushions to Lenny, at least they wouldn't get broken if (when) he dropped them. Sure enough, one slipped out from under his arm, and the other one went as he stooped to pick up the first one. He made it to the door without further incident and placed the cushions against the wall under the window where the armchairs would eventually be placed. Then he turned and tripped over the hems of his denim overalls, one or two sizes too large as he'd had to borrow them from an older brother. 

Henry had manouvered one of the armchairs to the edge of the truck and now he and Jack were lifting it off and asking me where Lenny was. "Is it safe to walk? Is Lenny out of range?" Neither wanted to see any part of the lounge suite dropped and damaged. It had taken months for the upholstery fabric to come from the manufacturer. Heavy duty vinyl in an aqua so deep it was almost teal, it wouldn't be easy to repair. 

As I directed the placement of the chair I noticed Lenny standing by the kitchen sink, safely out of the way. He offered me an apologetic grin, asking if I would let him know when he could do something to help. "I had to come," he said, "Dad was going crazy with me knocking over piles of lumber. He told me to spend the day with Jack and Henry."

Once the lounge suite had been placed, Lenny put the seat cushions back on, while Jack and Henry got started in the kitchen.

From then on the day was a blur of dropped screws, spilled tea, pelmets installed upside down, lost hammers, stepped-on sandwiches that had somehow been left in the middle of the floor and one smashed window. A regular window, thank goodness, not one of the specially commissioned lead-light windows at the front of the house. I'd called Bob, the glazier, and he had arrived within the hour with replacement glass. Bob had taken one look at Lenny and said "sit on the front lawn until I leave." He'd know Lenny all his life. 

A cut glass light fitting had been dropped and magically caught again, before it hit the floor. We were all surprised, but not as surprised as Lenny. We figured it was probably the first thing Lenny had ever caught in his life. 

In spite of the mishaps, the fitting of the kitchen and bathroom cabinets went reasonably smoothly, with Lenny standing back and just handing parts and tools as required. He seemed to have a knack for knowing which tool would be needed before it was asked for and I spotted Jack and Henry glancing at each other and nodding now and again, as if Lenny was passing some sort of test. 

I took a closer look at Lenny myself. He still dropped things, as he had all his life, but he seemed to be moving a little less awkwardly. Not yet graceful, but more as if his muscles were becoming used to the size of his bones. Along with his large hands and feet, Lenny was over six feet tall, with wide, wide, shoulders. When he eventually finished filling out, he'd be a handsome man. His overly long hair, the tattoos and the ear piercings, gave him a somewhat degenerate look, but everyone knew that Lenny was a well-mannered, quiet, respectful lad. 

 I decided then and there to keep a close watch on my sixteen year old daughter, Lydia, when she arrived home from her holiday with her grandparents next week.


7 comments:

  1. Two fantastic stories for the price of one....and both of them absolutely terrific.

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  2. Wow. And double wow.
    It sounds as if Lenny might be finding the niche that is right for him. I do hope so.
    Brilliant stories this week River - thank you.

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  3. Poor Lenny...but it would appear in a couple of years when he finally becomes a fully-fledged young man who has "grown into his skin" he'll knock them all over!

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  4. Wow. You are one driven writer! Great stories.

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  5. Loved the second one, I've known a few people like that it's surprising how they often turn out.
    Merle..........

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  6. Delores; thank you. It took me a while to work out the Lenny one.

    Elephant's Child; Lenny becomes a master craftsman, specialising in carpentry and renovations.

    Lee; he breaks plenty of hearts because he only has eyes for one.

    Susan Kane; thank you. I'm not entirely happy with the first one. It's too "nice" I need something happening in chapter two .

    Merle; I like the Lenny story too. I've known people like Lenny too.

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  7. Fantastic use of all the words and I like the quote from Jack Reacher too. What did you think of "Personal"? Phil and I thought it a little different from other Reacher stories.

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