Wednesday's Words on a Friday

On Wednesday’s, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a 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. glittering
2. nasal
3. superb
4. venting
5. spurious
6. chain

Delores has also favoured us with a phrase, "faster than a lie from a cheating husband"

Here is my short story:

The news spread through the village faster than a lie from a cheating husband. 
Mrs. Jackson's daughter Rachel was back in town. 

"Saw her with my very own eyes!"

The nasal voice of Mrs. Silver caught the attention of every woman lined up at the checkout.

 "I was closing my curtains and saw the taxi pull up in front, so I looked to see who was visiting from so far away they needed a taxi..."

"Of course you did, you're always at your window," muttered Vera Jones.
"Well excuse me!" spluttered Mrs. Silver. "Someone has to keep an eye on things in that street. If it wasn't for me, Mr. Pressing would never have known about those boys picking apples from his tree last summer!"

"They were his grandsons, staying with him for the summer holidays" said Vera. 

"Well how was I to know that, nobody told me they were coming..." said Mrs Silver. "Anyway, a young woman gets out of the cab and Mrs Jackson rushes out and calls 'Rachel, you're here at last', just like she was expecting her."

"Didn't look anything like the Rachel I remember though, you remember Vera? all that lovely wavy blonde hair and the sweetest face..."

"What does she look like now then? " asked Sara Hartwell.

"Skinny as a rake now and her hair all short and black, six years she's been gone, six years since she run off with that Tommy Osbourne."

"I remember," said said Aggie Black, "Tommy was working with my Dad, had just started a month or so, Dad said he was a good worker, had a good future with Black's Plumbing and Repairs if he kept it up, then one morning he just wasn't there." 

"And neither was Rachel Jackson!" said Mrs Silver. 

Pretty soon gossip was flying thick and fast as each woman tried to get her words heard. 

"Fourteen she was when she run off with young Tommy"
"He wasn't so young, twenty he was, and should have known better..."
"How did they meet anyway?"
"Tommy was installing the new venting system for Mrs Forrest's new clothes dryer...."
"Rachel and her Mum were round there looking at the new baby...."

"You know I can't remember a year back then when there wasn't a new Forrest baby, popped them out like peas from a pod she did..."

Nods all around as Vera said, "there's ten of 'em! Six boys and four girls...I don't know how she manages."

Aggie said "I've only got the two and they're handful enough even now they're at school"
"Such an angel she was, Rachel I mean, always helping her Mum, superb school record, never missed a single day...."

Others chimed in with spurious claims...."she wasn't always so sweet and innocent..."
"I heard she and Angie...."   "What about that time..."   "No! Really?" 

The checkout operator just kept scanning and bagging  all the women's groceries, thinking to herself, "If I tried to even say hello they wouldn't hear me"

Once through the checkout, the group of women walked over to the cafe and sat themselves at two of the larger tables to continue their gossiping. 

Rachel stepped out from the canned soup aisle and came to Angie's checkout. 

"Did you hear all that?" said Angie.  "I did," laughed Rachel, "and they didn't even recognise you, all the while going on about the time you and I stole trinkets from the variety store. Think I'll go out there and say hello, give them the surprise of their lives.."

Angie giggled and said "oh please, I'd love to see their faces!"

Rachel paid for her tomato soup and strolled over to the group who were still chattering as they drank coffee and ate pastries. "Hello Mrs Silver, ladies..."

Several jaws dropped open as the women stared in shock at the striking young woman Rachel had become. Jet black hair, short and straight, tiny black leather vest over a skimpy t-shirt dress and a glittering chain linking the stud in her earlobe with another at the top of Rachel's ear. 

"'s nice to see you again Rachel," said Mrs Silver, "we heard you've been living in the city...."

"In Sydney," said Vera, "with that Tommy Osbourne."

"Did he come home with you?" asked Aggie, "my Dad was so cross when he didn't turn up for work, said Tommy was the best apprentice he'd ever had."

"We heard you'd run off because you were pregnant" said Meg Brown.

Rachel laughed at that. "We knew there'd be that kind of talk, but I wasn't pregnant."

"Why did you both run off to the city then? said Mrs Silver

"It was just one of those crazy, wild, love at first sight things," said Rachel, "we wanted to be together and by ourselves, so we went. We hadn't really thought it through.......just packed some clothes and took off."

"Where's Tommy now then?"   "Why isn't he with you?"   "what did you do for six years in Sydney?"

The questions came all at once while Rachel just sat there smiling. 

At last she said, "it was hard for a while, I was so young and Tommy needed to find a job, our little bit of money wasn't going to last very long in Sydney, we stayed with friends for a while, people who had known Tommy's family, they helped him find a job with a construction company and after a few months he was earning enough money so we could rent a flat. We got furniture from the charity stores..."

"But where's Tommy?" asked Mrs Silver. "What's happened that you are back here all alone?"

"I'm not alone Mrs Silver," Rachel dropped a bombshell into the group. "I'm pregnant now and Tommy is coming home too, as soon as he finalises things in Sydney."

She glanced at Aggie. "He's going to apologise to your Dad....and ask about a job....if your Dad needs help."

Then a further bombshell, "we were married last spring."
She walked off and waved at Angie through the supermarket window as the women sat stunned for a moment. 

Then the gossip started again....."well I never...."


  1. Oh River - this is lovely. And very, very familiar. I lived in a country town for a while and they knew (or thought they knew) EVERYTHING. I remember going to buy some milk one morning and being told 'your visitors have left then... saw the sheets on your line'. Which made me realise just how closely I was watched.

  2. You write the MOST interesting stories!!

  3. There's nothing like backyard, clothesline gossip to cause trouble...
    Great job on the prompts.

  4. Elephant's Child; small towns are great for gossip stories, everyone can relate to knowing everything and everyone, the slower pace of life in general. A bonus is that if anything or anyone is out of place,strangers perhaps, everyone is keeping an eye out.

    fishducky; so glad you liked it.

    Delores; thank you, this was one where the story almost wrote itself.

  5. There's nothing like a good old gossip - and there's a group of them in your story. I'm so glad Rachel confronted them!

  6. Wow!! You've written a book! What a wonderful story though. Your characters came to life as I read your story. I don't think you need too much about the people in your writing group. You should knock 'em dead.
    Always great to have a story with a happy ending too.

  7. Brilliant! I've just watched an old BBC series called "Wives and Daughters", based on an Elizabeth Gaskell novel and gosh this reminds me so much of the gossip going on there. Where do people find the time or energy for it all?

    I live in a small town, plus I'm a foreigner (therefore very dangerous...) so I know there are a lot of twitching lace curtains around me. Although I quite like winding them all up a bit. Not too much, because I still have to live here. :-)

    After living in a more anonymous city before, it came as quite a shock to meet people who already "knew" so much about what I did each day.

  8. You've graduated from a vignette to a short short story! Terrific job!

  9. Oh, the gossip line is well and flourishing! Great story--well crafted.

  10. jabblog; Rachel's not a shy hideaway that's for sure.

    Mimsie; not quite a book and it isn't ended yet. There's more rolling around in my mind.

    Marie; I like the mental image of the twitching lace curtains. So you're the object of the gossip in your town? How much time do they need to accept you as one of them? Or will you always be the foreigner?

    Susan; I'm hoping to add to it and get a short story. There are words flying around in my brain.

    Susan Kane; thank you. I quite like a gossipy little group as long as they don't get vindictive.

  11. I'll always be a foreigner here. Even people from the next town are considered foreigners :-)

    They also have a fabulous snooping device called a skvallerspegel (literally a gossip mirror) which is an angled mirror you can set up in the window and see what is going on out in the street. Hilarious. You can google images to see what they look like.

  12. Marie; a gossip mirror?? I'm stunned. Although it explains a bit about my mother who had Swedish ancestry and still has family there now, although mum died 9 years ago.

  13. Well, I'll be! This is a well developed micro and it certainly kept my attention. I want to know more.


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