Friday, August 8, 2008

A Losing Proposition

Gary and I were sitting in his sister's car, AC blasting to ward off the DC September heat, sharing a Dean and Delucca prociutto sandwich when he turned to me with a conspirational smile. I smiled back, already excited to join him on whatever off the wall adventure he was about to suggest.
"Dude, I have the best idea!"
"Great! What is it?"
"Well, you know how neither one of us has a girlfriend or a boyfriend right now?"
"Don't remind me - I'm trying hard to forget it..."
At that point, my heart was beginning to beat a little faster. I'd never really thought of Gary in that way, he'd always been a really fun buddy who was always game for a party. But he was decent looking and I was crazy lonely. I was beginning to wonder if today was going to be the first day of a glorious relationship - one that could lead to marriage and kids one day.
"So dude, I was thinking that maybe we should hook up, you know, while we don't have anyone else."
"Are you for real! You mean, just hook up, no relationship, no commitment, just until something better comes along?"

Gary turned to me, still smiling, still proud of his stroke of inspiration.

"Yeah, so what do you think?"
"What do I think? I think you're an a**hole, that's what! Take me home, I'm done hanging out."
"What? You don't think it's a good idea? I thought you had nothing to do all afternoon? Why do you want to go home?"
"Just take me home."
"Are you pissed?"
"Why aren't you talking? Are you mad at me? What did I say? Why are you mad?"
"Look - I'm not mad - just take me home."
"But, I thought we were going to go to the music store?"
"Just take me home ... NOW."

And that day marked the end of a beautiful friendship.

The Fiction Friday prompt for today was: Write about a failed proposal.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Beach House Review

Jane Green's latest novel brings together a diverse cast of characters in a big old house in Nantucket. The owner of the house, Nan, is an eccentric old widow who likes to swim nude in strangers' pools during the off-season. In oder to keep the house when her money runs out, she decides to take in boarders thus bringing together Daff, the lonely divorcee, Daniel, the confused recently separated husband, and Michael, a jeweler from Manhattan. The bulk of the story takes place on Nantucket's gorgeous relaxed summer scene.

With the exception of Michael Crichton, I'm not usually a fan of popular fiction. I'll occasionally pick up a James Patterson or a Mary Higgins Clark for the pleasure of a gripping plot to read on the plane, but I often get frustrated by the writing. Jane Green's novel was no exception, but when I persevered, I got hooked by the plot. Once I stopped looking for great sentences to keep in my writing notebook, I started turning to the Beach House like a guilty pleasure, the same way I watch Gossip Girl on tv.

I then feverishly burned through the rest of the book, eager to see whether Nan would manage to hang on to the house, if Daniel would find happiness, and if Daff would stop being lonely. I stayed up until 1AM last night when I finally finished it.

I give it two stars because although I enjoyed it, it's really not my kind of book, but that doesn't mean The Beach Housemight not be your ideal beach pick.

I'm giving away a copy of the Beach House at Chefdruck Musings. Click over to enter to win!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tutu Monstrosity

Jane sat on the hard slatted bench, fidgeting nervously with her shirt buttons. The bench was digging into her legs, undoubtedly making unflattering red marks that would soon be visible to the other moms when she stood up. She looked around, glancing at the wall clock, wondering how much longer she was going to have to wait. She was just thinking that she'd never noticed how grating the peptobismo-pink walls of the dance studio were, when Miss Patti opened the door with a flourish. She beckoned the mothers in with a smile meant to be dazzling but that came off as forced.

Jane quickly removed her pumps and stepped into the brightly list studio. She smiled at Lindsey. Her baby looked so adorable in her black tutu with pink tights - she was the exact image Jane had pictured during pregnancy when she'd dreamed of having a daughter. Jane congratulated herself for having done such a good job with her hair today - not a strand was out of place in the pink chignon pocket. All the little ballerinas looked beautiful, but Lindsey was clearly a cut above the rest as she beamed back at her mother with a broad smile. Even though she was only four, it was already clear that she had a dancer's lean build.

Jane tore her eyes away from her daughter, and turned her attention back to Miss Patti who was addressing the moms from the front of the room. Jane couldn't help but reluctantly admire the woman's toned body as it reflected on all sides in the mirrors around the room. She had to be at least sixty, and her butt and thighs were carved like marble. The definition in her black-spandex clad buttocks became even clearer as Miss Patti bent over to pull out of a cardboard box a sample costume the girls would be wearing at their recital.

It was hard to tell because it was still wrapped in plastic, but it did not seem to be pink. Jane felt a twinge of disappointment which quickly turned to fury when Miss Patti proudly held up a leopard-skin monstrosity. She started gushing about how much fun the costume would be and how well suited it would be to their tap number, but Jane had trouble hearing her over the roar in her ears. There were also a couple of girls crying. The rigid smile on Miss Patti's face grew even tighter as she interrupted her speech to address the growing anarchy. "Now now girls, you are going to be the hit of the recital! You will be wild! This is nothing to cry about. This costume is much more fun than a boring old pink outfit."

Jane swallowed hard, trying to control the tears she could feel brimming on her eyelids. She couldn't cry in front of Lindsey, who was actually oblivious to the commotion, chatting with a little friend. Jane had to have a good attitude, but she felt so powerless to help her daughter. With just a few weeks to go before the recital, it was too late to order more costumes and she couldn't deprive Lindsey of the chance to perform.

She glared at Miss Patti, wondering what on earth had possessed her to pick such a hideous outfit. At that moment, Miss Patti met her eye and her smile faded for a moment as she winked coldly at her. Jane suddenly realized that she was the one to blame. It seemed like her blog wasn't as anonymous as she'd thought after all. Miss Patti must have read her post poking fun at her the other day. She must not have found it funny.

Today's Fiction Friday Prompt: Write about a leopard print dress.