Wednesday August 19th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: ashes.

Because ashes from the surrounding wildfires were falling from the sky at this evening's farmers market here in Osoyoos. Bit surreal, that.

We were fully smoked in again as I was heading to the market this afternoon. Couldn't even see across the lake. As opposed to last night, when this was the view from our front porch:


It was actually a pretty good market for me. I bothered to do fruit samples for once (it tends to be a pain when I'm by myself but I just wasn't selling much fruit at this market) and the Gala apples sold pretty well. Sold out of blackberries, lemon cucumbers, pickling cukes, and corn. Sold a reasonable amount of cherry tomatoes, onions, regular cucumbers, peppers, and zucchini as well. Oh, and sold three of my cards.

Not a bad way to end things in Osoyoos, as I won't be able to attend next week's final Wednesday night market of the summer due to a scheduling conflict. Can't say I'll mind going back down to one farmers market per week.

Mine:

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust."

There wasn't a dry eye at the funeral. Not because any of us were going to miss Terry very much. No, that had more to do with the mace still lingering in the air from when the police had broken up a small riot at a service nine sites east of where we were standing in the cemetery.

Something about a coveted, hotly contested heirloom going to the grave with the recently deceased, if rumour was to be believed.

A brief pause followed the deacon's words. I was surprised, as I'd expected at least half of the attendees to bolt for their cars at the very first opportunity decorum allowed. To their credit their escape was dignified and to a casual observer may have even appeared appropriate.

I waited until everyone else had left, even the deacon. Then I approached the grave site and looked down at the coffin, partially covered by a shovelful of dirt. Against my doctor's orders I lit a cigarette and took a long draw before blowing the smoke out of my nostrils.

"I could still burn you, Terry," I whispered, holding my cigarette between two fingers. "Just like I promised I would."

I took another drag, looked around. No one was paying any attention to me. I really could do it. My free hand reached into my jacket pocket and touched the small canister of gasoline I'd hidden there. It was enough to do the job.

"Nah," I told the coffin as I turned away. "Better to let the professional do his work with you. Burn in hell, Terry."

2 Comments:

Greg said...

I see you've begun catching up on the comments again... well done! Though I did notice that the first comment you added today was on a prompt that was exactly a month older... again, well done! :)
I really like the Eye of Sauron you've managed to capture in your photograph, it's a really striking image for that. Obviously the causes of it are less good and I'm hoping that you're not threatened by the ongoing fires at the moment. Smoked in doesn't sound good (unless you're preserving fish of course).
I really like the incidentals in your prose today; the riot happening several plots over, the departure of the mourners with unseemly haste, and the choice of religious officiant. It all pulls together in a nicely cohesive way that really lets the final lines hit home. Even I don't like Terry much now!

Ashes
"Hmm. Bitter, a little gritty, hints of camellia. I think," she screwed her eyes up and would be staring at the ceiling if they were open, "I think there's a touch of bleach in there. Smoky bleach. So... Beatrice?"
Suzannah checked the label and said "Yes!" with a broad smile. "Three for three!"
"What's going on?" Lizzie poked her head around the door, brunette curls falling over her face and obscuring her view. She brushed them aside with a pale hand.
"Amanda's identifying by taste," said Suzannah, sounding gleeful. "She's three for three so far!"
Lizzie pushed the door open and came in fully; she was wearing what she liked to call her American Gothic outfit and set the pitchfork down leaning against the wall. "Oh cool," she said. "Well, has she done the bottom row yet?"
We all chorused no, and Lizzie grinned. There was an imp of mischief born in that moment. "Second left," she said.
Amanda licked her finger, dipped it into the little ceramic container, and then tasted it.
"Oh," she said, sounding a little shocked. "Oh wow, that's metallic. There's steel in there, definitely, and... boron? How do I even know what boron tastes like?"
"It's poisonous," said Suzannah. "Don't get to liking it."
"I won't. Huh, there's dairy in here too. Steel and cream? Who could that be?"
Lizzie was trying not to giggle, but it kept coming out as little squeaks.
"Oh wait, wait. I know! That damn cat... after the accident it got put in callipers on its back legs, didn't it? This is Mr. Mustard!"
"YES!" said Lizzie, letting out her laughter. "Oh well done Mandy!"
"Right," said Suzannah, setting the little ceramic urn back with all the other cremains. "Who wants to pick the ashes for Amanda to identify next?"

Marc said...

Greg - and the attempts continue...

That... is wonderfully hideous game to play. Excuse me while I go get a drink of water to clean this taste out of my mouth...