Cut To Perfection – Friday Fictioneers

It is officially Thursday as of 18 minutes ago.  Hey, what’s a girl to do when she works a 12+ hour shift and gets home at 11 pm?  I had been thinking of this wonderful picture by J.Hardy Carroll and trying to come up with something.  I dunno why, but my drive home gave me an a-ha moment so, voilà.

Thank you to Rochelle for hosting our weekly gathering of fellow fiction writers.  I so love how it challenges me to try to come up with something original.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes, not so much.  However, we keep coming back week after week, don’t we?  Oh?  You don’t yet?  Well, what are you waiting for?  100 words, beginning, middle and end.  Full story.  It’s a challenge, that’s for sure!  If you do want to try, just click on the blue frog below and add your link to your blog.  Easy-peasy.  Not sure what else needs to be done?  Just click on Rochelle‘s name and follow the rules and regs!

©J.Hardy Carroll

 

Get the Frog for your Blog

Cut to Perfection

Bit by bit you cut away at me.  I don’t really notice it at first:  a chisel here, a cut there, nothing significant.  I’m flattered you care enough to better me.  Over time, more cuts, more changes, all in the name of making me perfect, you say. I protest.  You dismiss my concerns as nonsense.

You say I have a great base to work with as my frame is good but just needs some improvements to make the whole me that much prettier.  “Just think beautiful cut-out objets d’art!”

Outside, I look good.  All that was me has been discarded.

 

 

 

 

 

Scenes From the Beauty Parlour

Ever since her bout with cancer, my hairdresser only works three days per week (can’t say I blame her, quite frankly) – usually on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  Occasionally, she’ll switch her Saturday for a Friday.  More often than not, I get an appointment on Tuesdays (nice and quiet), sometimes on Thursdays (a bit more action); I avoid Saturdays because, frankly, I just do.

Last week, I called Françoise to see if she had any openings and she could only give me the next Friday morning at 9:00 am.  I accepted (gawd that is early!) since I usually have Fridays off and if I don’t, I probably won’t start until 4:00 pm which just so happened to end up being the case.  I know for most people 9:00 am is no big whup but when you work the night before until 11:00 pm or later, you just don’t really want to have to put the alarm clock on…

There was just Françoise, waiting for me, and one of her colleagues, let’s call her Yolande, because I have no clue what her name is, and she is taking care of one client whilst another waits in one of her chairs.  Yolande talks loud.  No, I mean LOUD.  And she sounds like a dock worker.  I asked my sister if she knew what her name was and her response was:  “The one with the potty mouth?  No clue.”  😉  So. Yolande it is.

Another customer comes in –  Yolande’s.  The noise level has gone up more than a decibel.  Not long after, in comes Pierre-Luc, owner of the shop and requisite gay coiffeur – walk and talk as one has come to imagine as well as the expressive hands.  What can I say? Stereotypes were not born of the air.

Pierre-Luc’s customer comes in.

During all this coming and going, at the other end of the salon, Françoise and I exchange looks and smiles, with the occasional laugh at the conversation behind us, while she does my own roots in a shade of exactly my natural colour (coz I’m wild like that) and if she wants to speak to me, bends down close to my ear otherwise must shout above the din.  She is not the shouting kind.

Dye applied, she leaves me to read for my 45 minutes as her customer comes in.  Or rather, attempt to read.  I go through comments on my last post, chat with a friend on messenger, and then try to get into my book.  I, at first, keep my back turned to the circus behind me in said attempt.   Finally, unable to concentrate, I give up and turn around to enjoy the show fully.

One woman, who is trying really, REALLY hard to “keep it young” is sitting in the third chair.  Her flaming red hair is standing up in chunks all over her head, while her roots are being refurbished with the appropriate shade of “You Can’t Miss Me”, giving one the impression said chunks are pulling her face up though we know it’s the result of one visit too many with Dr. Nip and Tuck.  Her face is painted to match her hair, clothes appropriately loud – ’nuff said.  Trying hard to look sophisticated and worldly until she opens her mouth and the trash talk that emits is enough to make one take a step back.  She is Yolande’s customer.

The door opens and a man pops his head in, letting Ms Flashy-Red know he saw her car and knew she must be close by and hoped to see her.  Then leaves.  Well THAT starts a whole rush of “What was that?” and she admits the man seems a tad smitten with her and basically follows her around.  The comments of “Did you call the police?” are mingled with the “Look at you with your admirer!”  One can’t help but laugh.  The man is in his early 70’s or well-used late 60’s…

Just as my timer pings, Mr. Loverboy pops his head in to check on his “sweetie”, well hidden behind Yolande, who is just finishing up one of her ladies – you know the type who comes for her weekly wash and set, now properly pouffed and spray-netted and sent out the door..  He says: “I get to see you in your pre-beauty stage!” and leaves.

Ms Flashy-Red says, “Oh my God, he won’t leave me alone and he can’t see me!”

To which I retort:  “If you want to get rid of him, maybe you should let him see you like this!”  Everyone cracks up.

By now, I have had my hair washed and have moved to Françoise’s chair for my cut.  In the mirror I can see Pierre-Luc teasing (they still tease?) the hair of one of his weekly-wash-and-set ladies and find myself wondering if all of this should end up in a post.  Of course it must as here I am.

The conversations are one one top of the other; a true cacophony.  The customers know each other; the hairdressers (we are not in the “stylist” business here) interjecting their two cents’ worth…  I feel I’m in the middle of a mix of “Coming To America” and “Steel Magnolias”.  Everybody knows everybody and their business and I’m just sitting here enjoying the show

Oh… and, before you ask… end result (once I re-wet it and removed all the gunk…)

 

 

The House That I Built – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday morning, my peeps!  What does that mean?  Friday Fictioneers!  Luckily for me, I was asked to switch shifts (from 11 to noon) so I had an extra hour this morning so I could write this now rather than later, when I could have forgotten what I wanted to write.  Coz that happens.  Often.

Thank you always to the lovely Rochelle for hosting this here weekly party and this week, a thank you to our very own Dawn M. Miller‘s grandson, Nathan Sowers, for this beauty of a picture.

Want to join in on the fun?  It is fun.  And addictive.  Just click on the blue frog below to add your link to your 100-word story that you came up with when you saw this picture 😉

Get the frog for your blog

The House That I Built

“Why do you always bug us to keep the house up?”

“You listen to me very carefully.  It took me everything to get where I am.  I worked hard.  But I became a drug addict and a pusher.  I had a house at age 23.  Amazing, eh?  Well, I almost died from those drugs and lost everything.  I owed lots of money and could have gone bankrupt but instead I worked my ass off, ate macaroni and bologna for years as I paid back every single dime I owed.

“So yeah.  It’s really important to me to keep my house up.”

Ridiculously Optimistic or Foolishly Delusional

“See me for who I am, and then you’ll see the real me.”
Anthony T. Hincks

I have had many adjectives assigned (allotted? thrown?) to/at me over the years.  Most, I believe, are positive:  athletic, strong, caring, generous, beautiful, smart, intelligent, cultured, interesting, resilient (why do I cringe with this one?), open, accepting, helpful, talented, optimistic, realistic, honest, funny.  Some, I know, are negative:  bitchy, cold, heartless, naive, disorganized, lazy, delusional, ridiculous, foolish, sarcastic (on the fence on where this one belongs) – there are surely more but why focus on the negative?  And some fall somewhere in-between; or rather, I know they are not necessarily negative per se, but when they were thrown at me, were not meant to be complimentary:  eccentric, weird, different.  Many, as you can see, are contradictory because perception is, well, what you perceive.

One day I will get to the point in my life where I can say this is my philosophy as well.  I am working on it.  I like to think I’m a good 75% there.

What has this got to do with my title?  Everything.  And nothing, to tell the truth.  I am, and have been, at various times in my life, every single one of the adjectives above – and more.  And will again in the future.  Because that is who I am. What you see, is what you get.  No one is all good, all the time, no matter what people say or think (ridiculously optimistic)?  Nor are they all bad, all the time either (foolishly delusional)?

I’m blathering.

Because I have been thinking lately about friendships and romance.  And won’t lie.  Have been rather frustrated and kinda lonely at times.  Maybe I’ve been thinking too much!

We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.

And, much as I say I have no expectations, it’s really hard not to have at least a little…

Friendships:  We form all sorts of friendships with people.  Some are surface-type and of lesser import and others go much deeper.  With the deeper ones, we like to think (and can’t help but expect) the other feels the same way about us as we do, them.  It is heartbreaking when you realise that no, you are not on the same wavelength at all.  Sometimes the other plays along to your tune to make you happy until they finally admit to themselves that this is not what they wanted in the first place and slowly drift away or immediately cut ties.  You are left standing wondering what the hell you did wrong and why the music stopped.  The truth is, you did nothing wrong.  And neither did they.  The other had different lyrics in mind.  To be fair, it goes both ways.  And to be even more honest, there rarely is malicious intent (this may be naive of me but I’ll keep that trait, thank you very much).  Of course, it would be wonderful if each communicated to the other their desires from the get-go…

“When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as
the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.”
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Romance/Sex/Love:  This one is a hard one.  I can say all sorts of things but losing Mick put me in a position I was frankly not that interested in finding myself.  I remember telling him once that I would prefer to keep the devil I knew then to find myself out there on the “market” again.  Thanks a lot, Mick.  What’s a woman to do? 51, working in her own kitchen, all her friends (mostly) are coupled…  How are you supposed to meet people guys?  So I signed up for a couple dating Apps.  Yes, those ones.  And I won’t lie.  I had a lot of fun.  And a lot of headaches.  I was not looking to become part of a full-time couple – not permanently, anyway and not at that particular time 😉  I wanted to go out, do stuff with someone, date.  Not that I have a problem with taking myself to the movies and such; but let’s face it, it is much more enjoyable à deux.  This dating shit is not for the faint of heart, lemme tell you.  I could write a book.  Point is, I go off and on these stupid sites every time I get fed up of being alone and in the hope of meeting someone who wants to do more than have a one-night-stand.  That old optimism thing.  Which I quit again.  Was exhausting.

“…sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get bored. And sometimes all I want, more than anything else in the world, is to go on a freaking date.”
Kiersten White, Paranormalcy

I shall call this my little rant.  It shall pass.  It always does.

 

Woodstock – Fare Thee Well – You Rocked Us

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Last one in my little Woodstock series… Time to wrap it up and move on to the next adventure… Since I didn’t really share any pictures of the official town of Woodstock, I thought I would here as a fare thee well…

Thursday morning came way too soon.  The end of our little getaway-from-reality-and-live-in-the-moment escape was almost over.

We – okay, I – made one last breakfast using whatever leftovers from our little grocery expeditions:  smoked turkey, peppers, cheese, bread, and made a variation of a high-end grilled cheese.  B, of course, had a couple extra crêpes as well.  Any leftovers were going home with him and since I had made a ridiculous quantity, he was sure to have himself another breakfast back home; and, if his daughter was lucky, she might have some too!  (I did learn later that he did share…the pancakes but not the garden vodka!)

We had to pack up and be out of the Airbnb by 11 am so, after breakfast and a shower, we packed up and loaded our cars.  Then, loathe to part so soon, we took one last drive into the town proper, parked the car and strolled, while we chatted and I snapped pics.  We marvelled at how easy our three days had been.  We had become friends on line and our three days together just solidified that friendship.  We had found our beat and went with it.  A suggestion here, an idea there and we were in total cahoots. So very glad I can never say I shoulda, coulda, woulda.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

The town really does have a nice artsy vibe to it and shows how it has been, not just a hippie town (though, of course, it still is) but a town that welcomes artists of all kinds.  They still hold various festivals to this day.

You have the requisite head shops because, you know, Woodstock!

And there are lovely homes and buildings of all sorts.

As well as really funky joints and places to sit.

Though this sign explained the reason for the sad state of the flag, it was the car that drew me.  I had the feeling the car has been there as long as the flag has in memory of 9/11.

One last one before I go…  A lovely stream goes through part of the town, so I had to capture it.

There was still much to see but no more time to do so.  B drove us back to my car, we hugged and kissed and went our separate ways, basking in the memories we created.

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again”
Jimi Hendrix

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Let Them Go – Friday Fictioneers

‘Tis a rainy Wednesday and, as a result, they don’t need me at work today!  Yay! As yesterday was another long one, I am not sad at having the day to myself.  I probably should take advantage of this extra day to do official stuff that needs doing but first, this.

Our fearless leader, Rochelle has chosen this lovely photograph by Carla Bicomong.   See something in this pic that inspires you to write a 100-word, not a word more, story?  Then by all means, click on the blue frog below and add your link!  If you need more info on the how-to’s, click on Rochelle’s name for the rules and regs.

Do have a lovely Hump Day!

©Carla Bicomong

Get the Frog for your Blog

Let Them Go

Sitting on a blanket on the hillside, Clara watched the people below.  She had no idea what they were celebrating but it felt more like a release every time they put one of the floating lanterns onto the water’s edge and pushed it gently out.

Did it bring one peace of mind? Was the symbolism enough to grant solace?

Clara felt her tears well and spill out, one for each of pain, loneliness, responsibilities of kids, house, money.  She named them and let them drift away with each lantern, marvelling at how she felt lighter as she let them go.

 

There’s Nothing Wrong With Me – A Prompt

Karen Craven, over at Table for 1 really loves to send us (Sorryless and me) some crazy things to work with.  Now she’s been a tad busy with her new job and all and is not posting nearly enough – yes, I am complaining – though she did finally share  a few lately.  Anyhow, she overheard this woman on the train the other day and this was part of the one-sided conversation she heard:

“Yes, I really like my box of macaroni.
Give me all my expired things.
I need you to get a job.”

And issued us a challenge to use this.  So, being just the right amount of crazy, we accepted.  Here’s my submission.  Sorryless’ fantabulously wonderful answer to the prompt is here.  Karen’s wonderfully fantabulous submission is here

 

There’s Nothing Wrong With Me

It was a regular Friday commute as folks boarded the 6:02 train towards home.  People jostled, trying to find seats or at least a pole to hang on to while others, as I, just leaned against the back doors or sides.  Books were taken out as well as iPods and cell phones, earbuds firmly in place.  A wall erected by those wanting to remain in their own world, not interested in their surroundings, not inviting exchanges.  I, on the other hand, love to people watch, see what they are reading, guess at what is going on in their lives, create whole scenarios in my mind based on what they are reading.

The students take out their books and papers to try to catch up on homework, business-folk break out the laptops and furiously crunch numbers because the days of doing work at work are over; you are now expected to work on your own time as well to get ahead.  A sad state of affairs, really. Everyone absorbed in their own microcosm.

Suddenly, a cellphone rings with an old-fashioned rotary phone ring.  “Dring, Dring!”  I look around to see who it belongs to and find myself eavesdropping, barely subtly, in fact.  The woman is seated in the single seat facing me, is in her late seventies, maybe early eighties.  She’s slight, her clothes hang on her frail body, two sizes too large and look like they’ve been rescued from a garbage bin.  Her stockings have runs in them and her shoes are laced up and seem the only thing she owns that doesn’t date back twenty years.  Her hands are those of a woman who has worked hard; they are overly large for her wrists with knobby knuckles and jagged nails that haven’t ever seen a manicure. Not that she would ever waste money on such a thing.  Between her legs are a trio of bags, filled with who knows what.  Her purse rests on her lap.

She digs into her purse and pulls out an old Blackberry.  “Hallo? …  “Oh hi, Doris. … Yeah, I’m on the train now.  Should be home by seven-ish.”

“What do you mean, you’re at my house? Why are you at my house?  Who let you in?”

“Right  I forgot you had the key.  Still, I don’t care, nothing is yours to touch.  Those are my things.  I don’t care what the neighbours say.  What smell?  I don’t need you to clean out my stuff.”

“Yes, I know I have lots of cans of beans and boxes of macaroni. They were on special.  And yes, I do need them all.  Yes, I really like my box of macaroni.”

What do you mean I don’t even like the stuff?  Of course I do!  What do you care, anyway?  It’s none of your business.  And no, they don’t go bad.  Don’t you dare throw any of them out. You wait until I get there.  And stay out of my fridge!”

The older woman closed her eyes, a mixture confusion and frustration lining her face.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was really at hand.  There was a feeling that this was not the first time this type of exchange had taken place.

“Just give me all my expired things…they’re still good. Expiration dates are a bunch of hogwash,” she almost whispered.

Voice raised:  “No, it’s not true.  Best Before does not mean no good after!” … “What, three years old?  It’s friggen boxed macaroni, Doris!  How bad can dried macaroni with powdered fluorescent cheese get?  The expiry date is obligatory by the government.  Just stop, already.  Don’t even think of throwing anything out.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear and held it on her purse.  I could hear her daughter’s voice raised in anger, “You are confused, Mother.  I’m worried about you living on you own.  You need to leave your apartment and move into a home for the elderly. I have already found the perfect place for you.  Mother?  Mother?  Can you hear me?”

I couldn’t help but feel for the poor woman and, at the same time, for the daughter.  Experience had taught me that early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s meant there were very lucid moments but also very confused ones.  I imagined the old woman had become a hoarder of sorts and the daughter had a helluva job ahead of her.

The woman put the phone back to her ear.  “Yes, I hear you. No, I don’t need to move into a home.  I visit people there, I don’t live there!  There is nothing wrong with me!  I need you to get a job.  You obviously have too much time on your hands to find  yourself rummaging through my personal belongings.  Get out of my house!”

She threw her phone into her handbag, rearranged the ones at her feet, patted her hair in that comforting manner women do, and placed her now trembling hands upon her purse.  She stared straight ahead, a mutinous expression on her face.

We arrived at the next station and a large bulk of people disembark.  The seat kitty-corner to the old woman becomes free so I make my way there.

“Good evening, Ma’am.  Mind if I sit here?”

She smiled, “Oh hallo.  No, no, please do.  Do you need more room?  Are my bags in your way?”

“No, not at all and thank you.  I’m fine and have lots of room.  How are you?  Are you okay?”

“Why yes, I’m fine.  There is nothing wrong with me.  Why do you ask?”

“You seemed a tad upset with your phone call just now.  I didn’t mean to eavesdrop…”

She looked at me with confusion, “What phone call?”