Sunday February 17th, 2013

The exercise:

I felt the urge to use the first line prompt today, so I'm just going to go with it. Use the following line as your opener and then take it from there:

It didn't take long for me to realize that I should have stayed home that night.


It didn't take long for me to realize that I should have stayed home that night. The invitation would have been impossible to resist, even if I'd known ahead of time what lay in store for me... but a little warning wouldn't have gone amiss.

The cloudburst that caught me crossing Tenth Avenue failed to send me crawling back to my apartment, but did succeed in making me wish I'd chosen a dress that at least thought about reaching below my knees. At least it was black. That was something, I suppose.

That bug-infested washroom in the gas station at Eighth and Monroe should have put an early end to my evening. If only it hadn't contained just enough paper towel to dry my hair.

I almost managed to reach the party before snapping off one of my high heels in a crack in the sidewalk. Attempts at breaking the other one at approximately the same level resulted in the cheap piece of crap nearly tearing in two.

So I walked through the door barefoot, praying that everyone else would be too high society to look down their noses all the way to the ground.

And that was when I saw Richard, my ex-husband.


Greg said...

That's quite a laundry list of calamity's you've put your poor protagonist through! I can well believe that she was wishing she'd stayed at home that night. It's nicely done, with the way you steadily increase the hardships while almost (but not quite!) redeeming each one. The pile-up works really well.

It didn't take long for me to realise that I should have stayed home that night. The fog was curling its way through the streets, tendrils as curious as a cat (not that any have been seen in this city in the last three years) and the moon, when it chose to show itself from behind its clouds of modesty, was yellow and sickly. There were people throwing up in the gutters and beggars grinning deliriously even as they stumbled and collapsed in stinking, louse-infested, suffocating heaps. The public-houses were barring their doors already, and the shops had their shutters down.
When I got to Church Street, where city bye-law mandates all churches must have their main address, I saw that all the priests were stood out on their various steps, verandas and frontings; even the ziggurat had several loin-cloth clad acolytes stood at the foot of the steps. They were all wailing and incanting, raising their hands and heads, and supplicating... something.
A heavy hand fell on my shoulder and I half-turned. The hand tightened, and a familiar smell of cloves aggressively invaded my nostrils.
"Men-Kalah," I said, not trying to turn my head anymore. He was one of the masked ones, and they took their anonymity very seriously.
"Little one," he said, his voice so deep it seemed to come through my bones rather than my ears. I swear my shoulders vibrated where his hand held them. "I wonder why it was doomed that you would be here at this time, on this night?"
"Can't you say fated instead of doomed?" I squirmed.
"If you wish," he said, with a hint of humour in his sonorous words. "Though have you ever considered where the word fatal derives from?"
I shivered.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

quick note on Greg's: Not only is it all-around awesome, the deep voice in my head sounded something like James Earl Jones down an octave or so. It's kind of ridiculously fantastic.
- - - - - - -
It didn't take long for me to realize that I should've stayed home that night. But, us entertainers have to work the flip-flopped day, don't they? Sleep the honest day away, wait till dark so our tricks and sleights are most conceivable. Then we're up already, so we might as well shoot the breeze, settle some debts, and wait till the sun chases us back. It's expected of us black-box and nightclub crowd, but it's no different for the black tie orchestra flies and the Shakespeare folks, try as they might to tell you.

But I figured there was something a little odd about that night, even before I got off the stage. The crowd sounded a little tight all night. At first I thought the band was having an off night, but Pete assured me they'd been stiff for the first two acts.

"Something happen today?" I asked.

Pete's shoulders dipped a little as he took off his bottle-bottom glasses and rubbed his eyes. "Commissioner's not doing too hot."

That couldn't be good. He was the one who let our jobs exist.

"How bad's it look?"

Pete shook his head. "I dunno what to tell you, cat. I wouldn't tell anybody else, but I'd start getting things straightened up, start erasing some margin stuff, if you're savvy."

"Pete, you know I don't have that kind of cash."

"Well." He put his glasses back on. "I hope that silver tongue of yours can talk as well as it can sing."

Marc said...

Greg - thanks!

Love your opening. Really sets the scene with some awesome imagery. Plus an ending with a character who was captured my imagination.

Excellent stuff :)

g2 - hah, totally :D

Another very interesting scene. I'm curious about where things go from here, though it certainly works well ending it where you did.

Good to have you around with some consistency :)