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:
Here is my story:
Ellen sat in the passenger seat muttering quietly to herself. Nathan, in the driver's seat, was doing his own muttering about the lack of traction as he slid on the icy road. He slowed down and righted the car, then glanced at Ellen.
"What are you muttering about?"
"My word of the week," Ellen said. "You know I've been going to classes trying to expand my vocabulary, well this week's word is 'parsimonious'. We have to try to use it in conversation at least three times this week."
"Parsi-what?" said Nathan.
"Parsimonious,' said Ellen.
"What the devil does that even mean?" asked Nathan.
"It means miserly, mean, stingy, penny-pinching, cheap. Like those old jokes about Scottish people where they won't pay a nickel for anything if they can get it for a penny."
"Huh," said Nathan, "sounds like my old man; wouldn't even fork over a penny if he could get something for free."
"Yeah, I've heard the stories," said Ellen. "This is like some of the other words we've had in class, really old fashioned, long-winded stuff, like 'obstreperous' last month, it means unruly and disobedient; I'm glad we don't go around speaking like that now-a-days."
Nathan laughed, "imagine the paperwork after a bust, we'd be sitting for hours longer than usual writing things like the parsi-whatsit became obs..obs, whatever, when we informed him he would be spending the night in the lock-up."
"There'd be no-one left on the streets to catch these guys, we'd all be in the office typing up reams of paperwork," said Ellen.
Just then, the radio crackled to life, calling any car in the vicinity to Papa's Cookhouse on Third Street where a fight had begun and a crowd was gathering.
Ellen replied they were on their way as Nathan turned the car around and turned on the flashing red and blue. No siren though, didn't want to attract even more of a crowd.
Two blocks away, in Papa's Cookhouse, things were looking ugly. Chairs had been broken, tables overturned and crockery had been smashed.
Two men, red faced and snarling, faced each other across the open buffet.
Ed brandished a large kitchen knife in one hand while holding his other hand to his misshapen nose, trying to stop the blood which was dripping into the potato salad.
George, on the other side, waved a long, heavy soup ladle at him.
"Come back around this side you sissy!" he screamed at Ed. "Coming in here with your fancy certificate, telling me I'm doing things wrong. Arrange it on the plate he says, make it pretty for the customers he says. I've been putting ribs on plates for ten years here, never had a single complaint!"
Ed grabbed a handful of napkins and burst into tears. "I didn't mean it like that, I just...I just meant.." he couldn't go on and stood staring at George.
Around the edges of the room, huddled into corners were the few customers who hadn't run outside the minute the fight had exploded out of the kitchen. In one corner, Ronnie and Vince, with daughter Katie, sat under a table and kept as quiet as possible. They'd come for a celebratory lunch after Katie had got all A's on her school report. The barbecued ribs at Papa's Cookhouse were legendary, the best in the state, no one knew why, Papa didn't have a secret recipe or anything, but people came from all over to eat barbecued ribs and potato salad at Papas.
Papa himself had tried to calm things down when the shouting had started in the kitchen, then called the Police as soon as George broke Ed's nose. It had been an accident, Ed said something about garnishes on plates and George had swung around in a temper with that big soup ladle, Ed's nose had just been in the way. But then both men lost their tempers.
The string of brass bells above the door tinkled as Ellen and Nathan walked in, looking around to be sure no customers were hurt. There seemed to be no injuries apart from Ed's nose. Nathan walked towards the open buffet, while Ellen began ushering customers outside, where the local investigative journalist, Bull, was taking photos and asking questions.
Most of the crowd out there had gathered from nearby shops and homes and the people had no idea what had been going on. The few customers who had run outside earlier had already given their versions of the story to Bull.
Bull's real name was Richard, but he was well-known for being bull-headed when chasing a story, so the nickname had been given and stuck. Everyone had known him as Bull for years now. An absurd nickname, as Richard was thin and stringy in build with red hair and freckles, yet suitable as he was as single minded as a bull after a red flag when he scented a story.
With Papa's help Nathan had managed to disarm the combatants inside and each one now sat in a chair on opposite sides of the room. Ed's nose had stopped bleeding and a spectacular bruise was forming across his face. George scowled at him from across the room as Nathan took his statement.
Papa tried to cheer things up a little. "Count your blessings," he said to Ed. "The soup ladle was empty, at least you didn't get hot sauce in your face."
Ed thought of the hot sauce George had been about to ladle over the ribs and promptly fainted.
Papa eased him gently to the floor and pushed a folded tablecloth under his head, then began righting tables and sweeping broken crockery towards the kitchen. Three broken chairs were set aside and Papa surveyed the rest of the damage.
"Not too bad, " he said to himself, "not too bad, would have been much worse maybe if George hadn't been taking those anger management classes." He turned as Nathan called him and walked over to give his version of the story. Papa's would be closed tomorrow as cleaning and repairs took place. "Thank heavens for insurance" thought Papa.
Tomorrow all three men would be down at the station, answering yet more questions and signing statements.