Friday, February 8, 2008

Fiction Friday: Valentines Tails

This Week’s Theme: Flip a coin. Heads, and your characters hates Valentines Day, Tails, and they love it. Now come up with the reason your character feels the way they do.

“Yeah it is too gross. And besides you’re too old Mum to so love Valentines Day.”
“I’d watch your mouth Makayla!” snapped Makayla’s Mum, good humouredly trying to emulate the raising of the right eyebrow. “And remind me why you’re not going anywhere tonight?’
“Oh please! I told you, its all just rubbish. Why aren’t you calling this one a Hallmark Holiday like all the rest?”
“Because this one is meaningful Miss Mac.”

“Yeah – whatever,” Makyla tossed off and slid from the stool at the kitchen bench and opened up the fridge door, staring aimlessly inside.
“I’ve asked you to decide what you want before you open the door Makayla. The power bill?”
“Yeah whatever,” repeated Makayla grabbing a tub of yoghurt from the second shelf. “Anyway – tell me then, why Valentines Day is so meaningful.”

She pulled the top off the yoghurt and dug into the contents hungrily awaiting her mother’s answer.

“I won your Dad in a lottery on Valentines day.”

“You what!” exclaimed Makayla, half choking and half spitting her mouthful of yoghurt all over the kitchen bench.
“What’s going on here?”
“Mum’s just telling me how she won Dad in a lotto on Valentines Day Aiden,” Makayla informed her younger brother, wiping the yoghurt from her chin, thankful that it wasn’t another ‘lemonade out of the nose job’. “And can you leave those stinky soccer boots downstairs like Mum told you last week.”

“Yeah whatever,” Aiden tossed off, having picked up his older sister annoying teenragerism.
“Please, can we please not use ‘yeah whatever’ and attempt to exercise the ample vocabularies that I know you both have.”
“Yeah whatever,” they replied in unison.

Ignoring both, their Mum returned to putting the groceries away in the walk in pantry.
“So did you win Dad in a chook raffle?” asked Aiden, innocently enough, eyeing his sister’s yoghurt hungrily.
“No I did not win you Dad in a chook raffle Aiden, it wasn’t like that.”
“Well what was it like then Mum?” queried Aiden, climbing onto the stool beside his sister, dropping his sweaty soccer boots below.

“All this stuff about Valentines isn’t about some guy or Saint called Valentine – or foofy satin and lace cards. It has its roots in a Roman festival honouring Lupercus, the God of fertility. A young man would in Roman times, would run through the street whipping women with a very light leather whip.”
“Sounds kinda kinky Mum,” commented Makayla cheekily with a raised eye brow.
“It wasn’t anything like that Miss Mak and I will pretend that I didn’t hear that come out of your mouth.

“The women would gather in the streets to be whipped. They believed it would make them fertile and help them to have an easy birth. The following day, to honour Juno Februata, men and women would gather and they would place their names in a lotto and whoever they drew would be their lovers for a day or longer depending on how things panned out. This was in the days before the Christian Church ended all the fun and created the abstaining St Valentine.”

“I’m lost Mum,” interrupted Aiden, still eyeing his sister’s yoghurt.
“You would be dip shit,” snarked Makayla, eating another mouthful of yoghurt with dramatic aplomb, well aware that Aiden had been watching her eat.
“I’m not a dip shit Mak,” argued back Aiden, threatening to blow his auburn top.

“Enough!” yelled their Mum, loud enough that both of them sat back down in their seats and stared at her.
“This is ancient history Mum – what’s it got to do with you and Dad?” asked Makayla, her interest waning at the thought she was being subjected to an impromptu history lesson.

Going to the fridge their Mum took out yoghurt and then got Aiden a spoon, before any potential incidents blew up.

“When I was at uni, I went to a party with a guy I was really keen on, called Bert.”
“Bert,” spat out Makayla, threatening another yoghurt incident.
“His real name was Antony, but he was into minimalism so everyone called him Bert. Don’t ask! Anyway – we went to this Juno Februata party together. The idea was everyone put their car keys in a big bowl and the girls drew a partner for the night, by picking a set of keys. I was meant to pick Bert’s keys.”

“And …”
“Well it turned out that your Dad also had a Datson 180B, with a VB key ring - just like Bert. I pulled out the keys but they were actually your Dad’s. I was devastated.”
“And Bert?”
“Some Blonde Arts student drew his keys the turn after me and off they went, without a backwards glance.”

“But I thought you said that you’d organised to get Bert’s keys and go with him.”
“Well so I thought,” their Mum answered, bending down to put two cans of cat food in the bottom of the pantry. “I think I dug him more than he dug me.”
“And Dad?” asked Aiden, his attention now equalling that to his devotion to his latest PlayStation game.

“Well he felt sorry for me and offered to take me out for a burger at Fast Eddies in the City. It turned out his flatmate, a wild chick by the name of Crazy Lucy wanted to go but couldn’t go unless she bought a bloke, so he felt sorry and lonely, and went with her. And that’s how I met your Dad.”

“I’m guessing that you didn’t tell them how I also offered you a jacket from my car because you were wearing that leather thing,” Aiden heard his Dad say later that evening as he was getting ready to go out to dinner, “or how sexy you looked in it.”
“What do you mean looked,” he heard his mother say saucily, laughing lightly.

Aiden glanced over to where his sister was sitting.
“Yeah whatever!” they chirped pretending that they hadn’t heard a thing, nor admit that they had ever poked into the back of their parent’s wardrobe.

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Square1 said...

I love the history lesson in this and I love the little twist of fate that brought Mum and Dad together in this. Doesn't it always go that we dig them more than they dig us? *Sigh* Story of my life. Well... until Mr. Muse that is.

keith hillman said...

That was the best piece I've read for ages.History plus humour. I loved it.

Tammi said...

Very clever piece and the characters are quite real to me. I love the playfulness in this.

The Alchemist said...

So many great stories this week on what I thought was a weak prompt( I couldn't think of a story ) Great story from a great storyteller and thanks for the history lesson...I think I prefer the old days.

b said...

This was just wonderful. It did make me laugh or "whatever"! Thank you.

I read your comment on my blog. (please forgive the publishing error, I fixed it just now)

I had to have my husband read it too. We both laughed. I will link to your blog in my list of favorites.

Thanks again.


pjd said...

Have you seen the movie "Ice Storm"? Probably the only truly good part of it is that Elijah Wood dies, but the situation is based on a similar party.

My favorite part is the kids not admitting that they'd poked into their parents' wardrobes.

Jodi Cleghorn said...

I haven't seen "Ice Storm" - and on your review probably wont bother pjd! The inspiration came from a car ad that we had on Australian TV many years ago - with people pulling keys from a bowl. It seemed to be a fitting modernisation of pulling names from a bowl in Roman times.

Thanks Square1, Keith, Tammi, Paul and Barb for your comments on a story that I thought was pretty weak - I'm glad that you all enjoyed it ... and never thought that I could adequately combine history and humour (though I had a history teacher in Year 11 who was quite good at it!)

Square1 - it's a good thing we've both got guys who dig us!! I'm so over all over the other crap!

Rach said...

It was the last line that got me laughing too... a fun piece!

Yes... very clever use of the 'history lesson'!

Thanks Jodi! :-)

gautami tripathy said...

Jodi, I am sorry to get here so late. This is a great piece. I liked the history part of it. Glad I did not miss it.