Wednesday October 14th, 2009

The exercise:

Today's prompt comes courtesy of g2: a bowl of petunias.

On that note, prompt suggestions are always welcome. So if you have an idea feel free to either leave it in a comment or contact me directly.


She placed the bowl of petunias at the center of the dinner table with a demure smile, telling me that they were her mother's favorite flower. I nodded and held my tongue, not knowing what to say. Should I have said they were pretty? That her mother would have been proud of the fine collection she had grown in the painted wooden boxes on her front porch? That I was sorry for her loss?

No, definitely not the last. How hollow and meaningless that would have been!

But surely something, anything would have been better than silence? But my lips held firm as she poured two steaming cups of herbal tea, placing one before me and holding the other. She stood, resting her hip against the counter, her eyes as distant as the horizon. I wrapped my worn hands around the tiny ceramic thing, sitting so regally in its purple and gold plate, and wondered why she had asked me to come.

"Robert... I have a favor to ask of you," she said at last.

"Ask and it shall be done," I said, so eager to help that I nearly stood up.

"Come with me, to visit my mother's grave," she said and I practically shouted my agreement. "And, once we're there, I would very much appreciate it... if you killed me. Just as you killed her."


Greg said...

Well, if it's prompts your after, I've had the phrase "the pigeon vigil" sitting around in my head for a few weeks, but the poetry tournament has been keeping me from doing anything with it. If you think you can use it, go for it!

I liked your story, and I was quite tempted for a while to continue it and see why she wants to be killed like her mother, but then I thought of this:

Bowl of Petunias

"So, right, like..., I understand like, right, like we all need, like names like, right?"
"Yes, we do. Otherwise no-one will know that we're a rap group."
"Yeah, right, like right, like. But, like, I don't like, right, like get why we gotta have like these names like. Right?"
"They suit us, and they sound like names for a rap group. What's wrong with them?"
"Like, I don't get them, right? I mean, you're called Dim... Dum..."
"Yeah, that like. But why?"
"It's an obvious sop to the cognoscenti."
The silence that held for several minutes was testament to our newest rapper's attempts to figure out the long words. And then the short ones. But then finally he spoke again.
"Riiiiiight, like, like right, like. So why's he called like Beertraitor?" He pointed at me.
"Because he only drinks wine, and we're spelling it Beretrator to make people think of macho words like Penetrator."
"Oh. Right, like."
'Here it comes,' I thought. He's finally realised there's a problem.
"So, why am I like, right, called like, right, Bowl of Petunias?"

Marc said...

The pigeon vigil, hey? That's got potential. I shall have a go at it... probably Sunday.

I thought you might be tempted to continue mine, but I'm glad you didn't - because yours right like cracked me up :)

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Sorry I didn't get to this sooner, but both my life and my computer were giving me major issues today... none I couldn't handle, however.
- - - - -
I cradled the bowl in the crook of my left arm as I scuttled up the stairs to my apartment. But about halfway up I paused at my favorite neighbor's door and knocked. I simply had to show her my new bowl.
"Well, Mistah Connuh!" Ms. Whiznee cried with a smile when she opened the door. "What a pleasant suhprise!"
I grinned in reply. "I just got back from the store, and I wanted to show you this bowl." I took it gingerly in both hands and presented it to her proudly, as I would with art pieces I'd made in grade school.
"Why, isn' that mighty fine," she said, looking at it intently. "How 'bout you bring it in here, so we can get a proper look adit."
Following her into her homey apartment, I perched myself on a stool at her bucholic kitchen table, rubbing the surface with my hands. I've always loved the feeling of old, unpolished wood under my fingers.
Ms. Whiznee set the bowl in the center of the table, letting the afternoon sun spill onto its glazed surface. It was a jewel of a bowl, really, with its rich blues and purples swirled on its surfaces.
She let out an admiring whistle. "Now that is a mighty fine bowl, yes'suh." She allowed herself to look at it a moment longer before turning to me. "Somethin' gonna make a home of that bowl?"
I shrugged. "I'm not sure, really. I went to the store to pick up crackers or something, I saw the bowl, and I completely forgot about the crackers. Seems to special for cereal or soup or anything. I suppose I'll find something t'put in it sooner or later."
"What if y'put a flower in'it?" she asked. "I have some extras from the boxes I made up this mornin'." She scurried over to the far windowsill and picked up a plastic cup with a rather forlorn-looking petunia plant. "Even got pottin' soil right here."
"Alright," I replied, hopping down from the stool with my bowl. "Petunia's as good as anything else t'put in here."

"Now, would you look at that," murmured Ms. Whiznee in a sort of awe after we planted the sorry petunia and gave it a quick drink. "She looks to've perked up a little."
Now that she mentioned it, the petunia did look a little less pathetic than before. All it needed was a change in scenery; it probably figured the plastic cup was too mundane for a flower such as it, it wanted something different, and this marbled bowl was just the thing it needed. Something about its dilapidated determination charmed me. I smiled.
"Y'know," I mused, "if one didn't know petunias are meant for flower pots, gardens, and boxes, one would think that this was a naturally tenable position for a bowl of petunias."
- - - - -
I suggest a fairly obscure Hitchhiker's reference as a prompt, then apply it to a "Lunacy" framework. Are my current literary fondnesses that bluntly obvious?

They probably weren't until I just pointed them out. Cripes.

TAMmommy said...

Bowl of petunias...

As she drove up to the house, she noticed the flower box in the front of the house overflowing with petunias. She sighed, they always were his favorite, which seemed silly for someone with such a green thumb that could grow anything, he always grew petunias. She parked the car and noticed hugh plnaters of even more petunias on the front porach, and as she got out and walked to the back down, hanging baskets with even more petunias. It almost seemed like a message from the grave to her, but what? She unlocked the door and went into the familiar, but now silent house, and there to her surprise, was a bowl of petunias on the table.

Marc said...

g2 - is that a HH reference? I really ought to get 'round to re-reading that.

And I love that the flowers perked up in their new home :)

Tam - that's... pleasantly creepy :)