Sunday April 1st, 2012

The exercise:

Let's start off the fourth month of the year with scribblings that have something to do with: fourth.

Started a bunch of tomato seeds in the greenhouse this morning, then spent some time in the afternoon cleaning out and pruning our raspberry and blackberry bushes. Wasn't particularly warm, but that should come along shortly.

Mine:

Lionel watched the medal ceremony from the shade of the grandstands, his uniform balled up in his fist. After a lifetime of training and sacrifices, it had come down to a tenth of a second.

Fourth.

What a vile, heartbreaking word. It meant no medal, no recognition. Just disappointment.

As the first place finisher's national anthem began to play, only one thought brought Lionel the tiniest shred of comfort.

It's still better than finishing second - you can't pass off silver as anything else. A bronze, on the other hand, can look like gold in the right light.

But that just reminded him he'd missed out on convincing college girls in poorly lit bars that he'd won Olympic gold. By a measly tenth of a second.

7 comments:

Greg said...

Tomatoes, raspberries and blackberries – it's clear that the growing season is well under way up there in Osoyoos then! It's making me hungry just thinking about them.
Heh, I love the narrator's feelings about fourth, and that tenth of a second feeling is one I know well. There's little worse than knowing you only just missed out, that it all came down to essentially luck.

Fourth
She didn't know if it would work, but after three boys she would try anything. Locked in a wide cage in the garden were three magpies, and she made a point of looking out at them every day, caressing the bump below her belly.
"One for sorrow, two for joy," she whispered under her breath. "Three for a girl."
She'd picked the name out already, and was dying to go shopping for some of the beautiful little baby clothes she'd seen, but... was that tempting fate just a little too much?
She looked out of the window, and counted the magpies.
"One for sorrow, two for joy. Three for a girl... four for a... boy?"
Where the hell had the fourth magpie come from?

writebite said...

Fourth

Mac stood poised at the Firth of Forth, comtemplating whether or not to jump into the icy waters below.
Being the fourth child of six, he felt like the forgotten one, blending into the background, neither the extroverted oldest nor the cute, likeable youngest. Mac was just one of a number, or so he felt.
What topped off his day was coming fourth in the athletic comp he’d trained hard for. It meant he missed out of the coming Olympics, as he lost a placement in the trials.
He felt useless. Less than, actually. He felt unnoticed. His ambitions had been crushed. He felt no support. Even his girlfriend, his fourth, as it happened, had abandoned him. 

A homeless guy strolled by. He begged for money. Mac checked the loose change in his pocket. He had four coins, totalling €4. 
“Take it, buddy, I won’t be needing it.”
It was Mac’s last good deed in a lifetime of deeds unseen. At least this one was appreciated. 
If this was how life ended up, Mac wasn’t interested.
Mac jumped. 

Iron Bess said...

I hope I'm back!

Fourth

Avis sat at the table watching morosely as her food congealed on her plate. She was the fourth child in a family of ten. Fourth held no distinction in a family this large, she didn’t even have the satisfaction of saying that she was the middle child. She was number four. Not one of the little ones. Not the youngest, not the oldest, not even the second from the front or back. She had no distinguishing duties or chores. She didn’t make the bread, set the table, wash the dishes, or sweep the floor. Her job was to water the plants. Who even noticed? She had gone a whole month once without giving them a drop. Finally even though they were all pathetic and drooping and no one had noticed she had relented and started watering them again. She couldn’t torture anything to death, even a ficus.
“Are you going to eat that?” her brother Dave asked indicating the food on her plate.

She pushed it over to him and watched as he gobbled it down. No one noticed. Her mother didn’t look at her with concern and ask if she was feeling okay. Her father didn’t mention that she needed to keep up her strength. She was the Amazing Invisible Child. “I’m only ever going to have one kid,” she suddenly exclaimed in a loud voice.

All heads swiveled in her direction and the chatter died around the table. “Pass the potatoes,” Megan said to Anna Marie in the silence.

“Mom I need you to sign this form,” Jake said.

“Are we getting desert today,” Billy asked.

The chatter resumed full volume and swirled around Avis’s head, she sat morosely staring out into space until a cold nose prodded her hand under the table, she patted Tubby’s head gratefully. At least someone loved her.

Cathryn Leigh said...

Hello I'm in FL now. Back from the wedding fun (three nights of parting, I'm beat!). Anyway I'll try to keep up on daily participation now while at the in-laws. No guarantees until next Monday though; we've got a lot pseudo planned. :}


Fourth

One
Two
Three
Four
Someday, Daria Delany Daisy Drifus would no longer be defined by the fourth letter of the alphabet. Someday, she would get married and change her name. Not just her last name either. Daria was planning on changing all of them... Well maybe she’d at least keep Daria. After twenty-two years she had become attached to it. The rest she could care less about.

Krystin Scott said...

Well all the interesting fourths seem to be taken and not wanting to rehash the already done I went with a small story snippet about July 4th.

<>

The sun was setting as Sam pulled his truck into the easement of the narrow dirt road known as Meadow Street. He turned off the ignition, placed the keys under the visor and opened the door. Happily he skipped his way to the other side of the shiny vehicle and opened the passenger side.

“May I Miss Blankenship?”

“Why of course, Mr. Adare. I’d be delighted.”

Sam helped his companion from the vehicle and together they carefully walked down the embankment. Heading toward a blanket that lay stretched across the grass of the open field. A brown wicker picnic basket was set off to the side. Miss Blankenship smiled at the sight. Sam was ecstatic, he’d spent days looking for just the right place to finally win the heart of Karen Blankenship. He’d even spent the hour before, at this very same spot spraying can after can of mosquito repellant. Just to make sure that their time together wouldn’t be spoiled by the evening bugs that resided near the water’s edge.

As they took their places on the blanket, Sam tried his best to be a proper host.

“May I interest you in a chicken salad sandwich and some sweet tea? Perhaps you’d like a bit of chocolate cake?”

Karen accepted a glass of tea and half a sandwich and the two sat quietly eating while nervously taking turns smiling at one another. Fifteen minutes later Sam’s careful planning paid off. Just as they were finishing their shared meal vibrant colored fireworks of red, blue, green and gold began shooting overhead. Karen’s eyes sparkled; she had thought Sam had brought her here with the intention of spending time with her alone and skipping the Independence Day fireworks. The sight of them now high over head, coupled with their beautiful images reflected off the lake set the stage for an enchanted evening.

Karen smiled and took hold of his hand. Sam’s smile grew and he turned to her and whispered.

“Happy Fourth of July, Miss Blankenship.”


<>

@Catheryn - FL huh? Is that where you've always been? I'm an hour North of Tampa.

Grondzilla said...

Arnold groaned and laid back down from where he was sitting making small noises of discomfort and pain.

“Are you OK?” Asked Meredith her eyes filled with concern.

“I'm not sure, one second I was fine and then this wave of 'ick' washed over me.”

“I should hope so,” she replied, her expression suddenly devoid of sympathy, “that was your fourth piece of pie!”

Marc said...

Greg - haha, oh dear. There's just no fighting it when the magpies start breaking into your cage in order to be counted!

Writebite - that's a whole lot of fourths you managed to work in there! I particularly liked your 'last good deed in a lifetime of deeds unseen' line.

Iron Bess - well, welcome back for now, and I hope you manage to stay a while :)

Jeez, I totally feel for Avis. At least the dog seems to understand her plight!

Cathryn - some parents just pick the cruelest names. I don't blame her for wanting to rid herself of all those 'd's!

Hope you're enjoying your time away :)

Krystin - that's a sweet story, has a sort of Jane Austen ambiance to it :)

GZ - haha, but who can resist that fourth piece when the third one tasted so good?

Not I, not I...