Saturday, March 28, 2009

[Fiction] Friday: Wall Flowers and Corner Kicks

This week's challenge:

Setting: An office building - A secondary character says: “Look, somebody has got to make a decision.” Your main character offers a solution.

Rod pushed back further – testing the limits of the chair to accommodate his recline. The fluro light above his desk flickered. He’d requested that someone from maintenance fix it - that was two weeks ago. He was sure if the managers knew the manner in which the flickering of the light interfered with their productivity levels someone would have been up at once to fix it.
He counted the time between each visual tic, silently creating a visual base beat – his own psychedelic doof; the discussion interlacing like sampled tracks.

“You’re not taking this seriously are you Rodney?” Rosalind was on her huff. Like his mother she only called him Rodney when she was pissed at him, incrementally increasing the level by adding names – first his last and then his middle names.

There was a moment’s silence as all eyes turned to him. Taking his feet off the desk and sitting up properly in his chair, he lent in a little, to show his eagerness to participate. It was all about body language.

“Now that we have Rod’s attention…” but his mind was already wandering. Lost in a cerebral landscape dotted with glow in the dark version of his work mates , pulsating to electric tribal sounds; a rave like no other in existence. Occasionally a voice would cut in – like a DJ’s embellishment I think the Crystal Twig .. something classy … Kookaburra Queen … the river is so pretty at night … she’ll be back soon. Somebody has to make a decision.

It was a call to arms Rod was loathe to refuse. He bounced up out of his seat, threw his arms open like the consummate show man his high school teachers insisted he was and looked down at his workmates; Rosalind with her picture perfect hair and cloying oriental perfume, Gretel with the daring flash of cleavage – oh how Rod loved Fridays, and Lois wrapped up in her beige cardigan covered in a rash of lint, chewing on her pencil.

“We’ll hire a stripper!”

Rosalind’s jaw dropped low enough for her chin to kiss the ever present crucifix at her neck. Gretel giggled behind her hand and then glanced sideways to check if Rosalind had seen her. Lois’s cheeks flushed and she worked to shred the entire end of the pencil.

“Rodney Hollows, you are disgusting!” He was certain Rosalind would have added in Leonard Parberry if she was privy to middle names.

Rod smiled. He loved it when Rosalind talked dirty to him. “C’mon it makes sense.”
“May to you – as some whose mind is permanently in the gutter – but to us sophiscated ladies-"
“You all agreed that you wanted to do something that was special for Meryl. Something unique. Well?” He had purposely chosen the exact words that Rosalind had said half an hour earlier when Meryl had left to get lunch and the discussion had kicked off.

“It’s not a bad idea,” Gretel ventured.
“It’s not a bad idea - it’s a terrible idea, the worst ever suggested. We’re going to forget that Rodney ever mentioned it. Strike it from the list Lois. Now!”

“Hold on. Let me explain.” Rod extended his hand to them. He was losing his audience.
“There is nothing to explain. Strike it from the list.” Rosalind was emphatic.
Rod could see Lois’s masticated pencil hovering above her spiral bound note book. He sunk slowly back into his chair and leaned it – as if to tell a secret, drawing the two of the three women in with him, but Gretel got in first.

“I think Meryl would get a kick out of it.”
Rod turned to look at Gretel, who flushed for a moment.
“Girls your age might enjoy that kind of frivolous entertainment - but not Meryl.”
“Hold on.” Rod let his eyes fix on Rosalind’s and then burrowed in. “I didn’t pick you are being age-ist.”
“I’m not!” Rosalind’s hand flew upwards to attend to an imaginary fly away strand of hair.
“So you agree that it’s perfectly OK for either Gretel or Meryl to have a stripper if they want. It’s a woman’s choice? Right?”

Rod loved cornering Rosalind in her own antiquated feminist argument. Rosalind’s hand was working over time to replace the hair she was certain had broken free from the lacquered ranks above her left ear. Lois smiled and put down her pencil.

“I could talk to a friend of mine. Her brother is a stripper. He might do it for mates rates,” said Gretel growing bolder by the moment, her cleavage rising delectably giving Rod a flash of pink lace on milky white breast.

“I have it on good authority that Meryl would not choose a stripper to celebrate this milestone of hers.”
“Really. On good authority?” Rod took a moment to relax back in his chair. “You can say that after the distress Meryl went through last year when Bob – a hum, had his – a hum, operation,” he paused for dramatic effect, “and he didn’t want to have sex with Meryl anymore.”

Gretel giggled again, until Rosalind silenced her with a daggered look.
“Meryl told you that?”
“Yes Meryl told me that.”
Rosalind blanched and Lois remained sitting stock still, a faint pink blush lingering on her pale cheekbones.

Rod leant in again. “Because Meryl, is well – Meryl, you assume she doesn’t have needs and wants like any other woman. You have to admit, she’s a bloody good looking woman.”
“That’s gross,” said Gretel, as though Rod had just suggested being sexually attracted to his mother.
“You know what Gretel – you’re not going to be young, gorgeous and nubile all your life. At some point-“
“Shut up Rod. Just shut up.”

She put her hands over her ears until she was certain Rod had stopped, then reefed her arms around her chest, emphasising the rise and chasm of her cleavage. Rod tried not to stare too long, fixing his gaze instead on Rosalind who was smouldering, incensed at the proposition.
“I for one am NOT paying for a stripper! Much less sitting by, to be offended by indecent gyrations and fake suntans.”

“I have the solution.” Lois’s voice was quiet and a little husky. Rod couldn’t remember having ever heard her speak. “We get Rod to strip for Meryl. I think he’d like that and I know Meryl would love it. And Rosalind, you wouldn’t have to contribute a cent to it. What do you say Rod?”

Rod found all three women staring at him. Rosalind looked smug and had stopped trying to rearrange her nefarious hair. Gretel’s pout had turned to an expectant grin and Lois’s face shone with triumph. She, Lois Gribble had trumped Rosalind La Muire - finally.

It was Lois Gribble who sorted out the quandary of how they would celebrate Meryl’s retirement.


Annie Evett said...

ahhh touche!

M. D. Benoit said...

LOL. Nice twist there at the end. You sure can write a lot in five minutes! I envy you.

Aden said...

Wow, first of all, holy word count in five minutes Batman!

This was fun! I love the change up at the end, and the characters in this are great! With the clevage, cloying perfume and linty cardigan! I had everyone pictured in my head right away.

Jodi Cleghorn said...

I wish that I could write all of this in five minutes - it would make my life as a writer and a mother far easier!

The guidelines for Fiction Friday state Write for at least 5 minutes.

It is the only time during the week that I commit to writing fiction so I make the very best of it - squeeze every minute out of it.

Thanks for the feedback on the characterisation Aden - have had how to build characters whizzing around in my head as a semi composed Monday Column for at least the last week - so tried to use what I've been thinking of in this story ... trying to show not tell so to speak.

Paul said...

I liked the way you built up to the climax. It really had me wondering how they were going to sort this out. Then came the bang. But what I want to know was, did he actually do it?