Friday, February 13, 2015

Girl-Next-Door vs. . . . Burnt Muffins?

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to add a gladiator. Whaaaaaat? 

It took all my creative powers, plus an excess of caffeine, and a little head-to-desk thumping, but I finally managed something. Here are TWO stories, widely varied, based on the prompt.

Sorry, No Breakfast Today, Kids

The scarred muffins shatter charcoal across the counter as I dump them from the pan. Their blackened tops are cracked; white, mealy breading peers through the fissures.

I’ve spent an hour and a half waging a losing war,
Encumbered by heavy odds that thicken as the batter swirls beneath the whisk.
The range ticks past the required temperature, and all my efforts to forestall it fall short.

Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt,
Roil and stir and swirl and shake—
I throw up a shield to block the flour that explodes in my face,
spearing the blueberries as they tumble from the box,
purpling the counter in splashes of dewy blood,
their stains evidence of the battle that rages in my kitchen.

Like a mystified kitten, I poke at the recipe,
batting fluffs of white flour from my nose,
scrambling after a runaway egg,

Until at last, the sodden mess slumps into the tins,
And I turn away to survey the remains of the battle,
the field of warfare dotted with chocolate-pasted spoons
and icing-crusted toothpicks.

I toss my spatula to the counter, where it clatters across the burned muffins
In a last, ragged, dying gasp.

I apologize for the above. ;) It was . . . fun to come up with, though.

Next attempt, and a whole 'nother animal.
Over the Fence
The yard next door is empty until your family moves in.
The “for sale” sign tumbles, and the picket fence whitens.
Flowers line the porch, and the front windows light at night like laughing eyes. 

The crisp autumn evenings echo with shouts, leathery thumps refracting from the glove on your hand as you pound your fist into it, waiting for your dad to toss the ball.

The heated steam of summer bakes your bronzed legs. An open book nestles below your shaded eyes while the blazing sun roasts above.

In winter, your parka fluffs around your pinked cheeks like the warm fuzz of a kitten’s fur, and your blue eyes snap with cold and fun.

They think they know you, the girl-next-door.
Button-cute, they say.
Daddy’s girl, they say.
Tom-boy, they say.

They don’t have my vantage point from beyond the fence.
They don’t see the losing battle where you’re alone in your field,
Arrayed with useless weapons
And harmless nets,
A dull spear
And a cracked shield.

The cancer spreads like warm blood,
Soaking your cells with poison and dulling the warrior’s glint in your eyes,

So that one day I wake up,
And the yard next door is empty.


  1. I shake my head, wondering to myself, how you continue to do it, not once, but twice, not once in a while, but every gosh darn week.

  2. I shake my head, wondering to myself, how you continue to do it, not once, but twice, not once in a while, but every gosh darn week.