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Monday, February 4, 2019

FIRST 28_ IWSG & WEP Post



We insecure writers have to stick together. 

I know insecure: my latest book is thick with cyber-cobwebs!

It's cheap, ah, inexpensive, with 13 interior pictures and everything!  :-)

The IWSG helps all of us to persevere.  


 So I am shouting out the WEP February writing challenge in which the IWSG is participating.

HOW?

Letting you guys see my own WEP post a bit early to whet your interest to join in.

 So meet Hazy:


FIRST TWENTY-EIGHT
{995 words}

High School is a spork.  

 It's a crappy spoon and a crappy fork. In the end, it’s only an exercise in keeping your temper while what you want slips away.


Most people call me Hazy as if it were original with them.  Mother never has, not even in her worst “Dirty Thirties.”  

 What are those?  I wish I didn’t know myself.  I’ll tell you later.


Mother always calls me “Hon.” Unless she’s sizzling furious, then she calls me …


“Hazel Lee Hunnicutt!”


Jeez, the feces just kamikazed into the fan … again.


I eased into the front room to face the lioness without one chair or whip.  Not that it would have mattered.  

 When the caveman looked up at the lightning in the skies and thought MOTHER Nature, he must have had a mother like mine.



But the only home I’ve ever known is Mother.  I would deal with it. 


She was in this alone, too.  I bet I came with no book of instructions. 

Father left the day I was born.  He must have used up all his cojones with the sperm deposit that sparked me.


Mother was shaking her cell phone in a fist. 


“I’ve just had to beg … beg! …  Dean Reynolds of Laughton Academy to accept you back!”


What she said in one of her “Dirty Thirties” and decided not to say was: 

“After I had to sell my wedding ring to pay for your tuition!”


That stung.  I didn’t know that when I smarted off to the school counselor. 


Her voice sank to that whisper I dreaded.  “What did you say to the counselor?”


“S-She asked me what I made at my last school.”


Mother groaned, “Oh, God.”


 “I told her: ‘mostly mistakes and inappropriate comments.’”


She lunged at me.  I didn’t move.




You see, I’m a freak … not in body but in mind.  I see ahead in time 30 seconds.  Think that’s cool?

It sucks.


Time isn’t a river.   

It flows into a thousand tributaries all shaped by the erratic decisions of unfocused minds.  I see 30 variations of the same springboard moment.


No cell phones for me: I hear 30 different replies.  There’s no way for me to know which one to answer.


I know what I must look like.  I’m keeping track of what’s happening, what’s likely to happen, deciding what isn’t likely to happen, all in a window of a few seconds. 


I stiffened as Mother’s knuckles rapped the top of my head.  “Oh, Hon, I know you put up a wall of snark to keep sane.”


She sighed, “But tomorrow is my first day teaching at the university.  I have to impress my Dean just as much as you need to impress yours.”


 She said, “People make up their minds about us after the first 28 days of interaction …”


(Mother’s a psychologist so she uses words like that with a straight face.)


“We have under a month to win over those who could make life … hard for us.  You understand?”


“No Do-Over’s.”


Mother patted my cheek, murmuring, 

“This is it for us, Hon.  I spent the last penny of … our savings on your school uniform.  I could only afford the one. Take care of it.  Play it safe, hear?”


“I will.” 


I swear at the time I meant it.


The next day I trudged into school with all the joy of going to my execution.   

No matter the high school, your status depends on who you’re able to persecute. 

 I was usually the first rung on everyone’s ladder.


Walking into a crowded hallway was true hell what with thirty different views of each moment to 
 navigate through. 

 Oh, God, let me not walk into anybody important or worse into …


 “Crazy Hazy!”


God must hate me.


The Elite Petites from junior high: Beverly and her two cohorts, Stacy and Ciss.   

What sneezing was to surgeons, Beverly Philips was to me: not life-threatening but extremely annoying. 
 
Beware girls in threes.  They were all so tanned they looked like 3 Rotisserie chickens in pleated skirts.


Beverly gave me a glare that would have cowed lesser girls … much lesser … like 3rd graders. 

 “Oh, Hazy, what an almost adequate uniform your mother could barely afford.”


“Bev, can you die of constipation? I ask because I’m worried about how full of shit you are.”


 In a “Dirty Thirty,” I saw her lunge, ripping my jacket.  I twisted aside, thumping into a tall man.  I looked up.

Dean Reynolds.  He undressed me with a disapproving eye-caress.  Obviously, I wasn’t his type.  I was so disappointed.


“Honeycutt, you’re late for Gym.  A bad start.”


In another “Dirty Thirty,” I heard Bev say, 

“That’s right, Old Man.  You better back me up.  In my locker I have copies of your trophy photos of our intimate consultation as you called it.  I bet your wife would just love to receive those in the mail.”


Even Bev wasn’t stupid enough to choose to say it.  What she did say as she started to unlock her locker was to me: 


“I’ll see you in Gym class.  Too bad your uniform won’t survive it.”


I lost it, starting for her throat.  I pulled up short, “seeing” Dean Reynolds expelling me for attacking a fellow student … just like Bev planned.


Bev winked, confident that she would get rid of me yet.  The eddies of students rushing to classes swirled about me.  What to do?


 I smiled wide. 


 I’d seen the combination to Bev’s locker in that last “Dirty Thirty.”  I let the hall go empty.  I walked to Bev’s locker. 


With the photographs in my inside jacket pocket, I turned to go see the Nurse.   

Female trouble I would say.  It would be … for Bev and the Dean … after I did a little Show and Tell for Mother when she picked me up.

Twenty-eight days to make a lasting impression?  I’d do it in the next twenty-eight minutes.



Want more of Hazy?  

$2.99 Kindle; $7.97 Paperback
 
In the lagniappe short story at the end of RAZOR VALENTINE is a 6,000 word adventure from her sophomore year: 

One by one the girls of Laughton Academy are disappearing without a trace 

and Hazy’s mother fears her daughter will be next.   

The bad news: her mother is right.

65 comments:

  1. I remember those trim, taut and tanned rotisserie chickens. With less than no affection.
    I didn't have Hazy's gift/curse to help me deal with them either.
    An excellent take on the prompt.

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    1. I thought of them and still do as the Elite Petites! :-) Thanks for the kind words. I gave it my best.

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  2. What a great tale, Roland. Quite poignant with fresh,humorous imagery and enough snark to make it very teen.

    I'm half way through Razor Valentine, so I look forward to reading more about Hazy at the end.

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    1. Lee, I hope you like Razor. :-) I gave your name to Hazy for her middle name as you know.

      May her lagniappe tale be twice as enjoyable as this one.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and staying to chat a bit!

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  3. Clever girl. She used her trick well that time.

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    1. Her mantra is: When you have one problem, you have a problem, but when you have two problems, you have possibilities! :-)

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  4. I was here, I didn't read the whole story. Maybe because I was a teenager in a different time and place/country, I didn't get it. Maybe if I had read the whole thing, I would have.

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    1. At least you visited! :-) I would have thought that the alienation that teens feel would be universal. Guess that shows how much I know, right?

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  5. Excellent voice! I wish all authors could master that.

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    1. Thanks so much, Diane. That means so much coming from you. :-)

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  6. Mean girls are the worst, where does that DNA come from? Very nice, Roland, and you nailed that teenage angst. I'm sure the book you've written will be another interesting read. . .razors are never a sign of good things.

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    1. Especially when a psychotic actress carries one for "fun." Ouch! Happy Mardi Gras!

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  7. Nice! Hazy has a heck of a problem with the Dirty Thirty. Fascinating premise :)

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    1. Thanks, Jemi. Sorry for the delay in the reply, but it has been an 11 hour 300 mile blood run day for me. Whew!

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  8. I definitely like the idea behind this. Great start.

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  9. Wow. Brings back memories I'd rather forget. Nothing really changes, does it. What a great premise!

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    1. Thanks, Lee. No, as a high school teacher I saw this kind of petty meanness all the time. :-( I decided to do something about at least in my fiction world!

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  10. Hi Roland! As always, you have given us your unique take on things...Hazy. Definitely give us more. Nice to give people who flounder around not sure what WEP is a peek into the flash fiction process.

    Now do you want us to add this address to the DL link?

    Congratulations on yet another publication! I'm hoping to start publishing this year, so you're streets ahead.

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    Replies
    1. Best of luck with your own books! I am sending a digital version of Razor Valentine your way so you can scoot to the end and read another tale of Hazy! -)

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  11. Don't worry. Someone's already added your DL.

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    1. For the life of me, I thought I had added the DL myself Monday! :-)

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    2. Maybe you did. There's no way of knowing which of us does it! Long as it gets done!

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    3. And Roland never received my digital version...thanks all the same...:-)

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  12. That left an impact. Not only terrific voice, but the pacing hit home.

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    1. Just received a surprise in me email. Thank you. Can't wait to dive in :)

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    2. I hope you enjoy the new chapter in Hazy's story. Give the Mardi Gras thriller before it a browse, too. :-)

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  13. What a clever take on the prompt. I liked the story concept too. Hazy has a pretty cool gift/curse. I'm glad she found a way to use it to her benefit.

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    1. It more often works to her detriment! :-) But you can't keep a sassy girl down for long. Thanks, Toi, for liking Hazy's tale.

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  14. Hazy is awesome!
    "They were all so tanned they looked like 3 Rotisserie chickens in pleated skirts." LOL.
    Great post :-)

    Ronel visiting for Feb's IWSG Day Being an Insecure Writer -- And Happy About It

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    1. Hazy makes me laugh, so it is fun writing through her eyes. :-)

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  15. It took me a little time to figure out what the 'Dirty Thirties' meant, but quite an enjoyable story.

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    1. Thanks, Bernadette. Hazy got her nickname for a reason. :-) Glad you liked it,

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  16. Fascinating concept, the "Dirty Thirties" as is Hazy, herself. Love the humour, as well, like "rotisserie chickens in pleated skirts".

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    1. When Hazy faces the dual threat of first love and a serial killer in Razor Valentine, life gets even more "interesting." :-)

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  17. I like how she decides to tackle her problem in 28 minutes - and that she has a choice between those dizzying dirty thirties.

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    1. Hazy is the sort to take her destiny in her own hands. :-) But sometimes she guesses wrong at what possible future will happen. Time and People are like that!

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  18. Oh, yeah, high school is a tough time for most of us.

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    1. High School was definitely a crucible for me! Ouch!

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  19. I absolutely loved the snarky tone of this persecuted, angsty teenager. Voice done to a turn!

    Liked your use of the prompt, cool. Your flashes are always a pleasure to read.

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  20. This was brilliant! I loved the opening to this piece, and it only got better from there. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to have Hazy's ability to see 30 possible outcomes at once. I loved her snark throughout, as well.

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    1. Hazy either snarks or goes mad. Maybe a little of both! Your comment made my day.

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  21. Ha, what a character. Love the "dirty thirty" phrase. Well written Roland.

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  22. Hi,
    My heart went out to Hazy. I hurt for her. To be different, to stand out like a sore thumb, to be a subject of ridicule from others hurt.
    Excellent job. You drew me in.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Hazy sends her best to you, though she is still puzzling out the 30 different comments from you instead of the one I read! But they were all nice she says.

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  23. A realistic portrayal of a high school outcast, who is more then she appears. Well done.

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    1. Thanks for liking this flash of mine, Christopher. :-)

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  24. Hi Roland - Hazy certainly has her work cut out for her ... as she's deciding which idea or answer to turn to and continue on her life. No wonder she wants to be alone. I can quite easily feel for her - loved the telling too - cheers Hilary

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  25. This is such a clever concept, and you nailed Hazy's voice. It must be a difficult ability to live with-both a blessing and a curse.

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    1. Hazy would agree with you! I am so happy you liked my feisty heroine. :-)

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  26. Hi Roland, it's been awhile. New computer. So I'm back. Loved the bad ass teen and her mom who doesn't know how to deal. Well written as always.
    Nancy

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    1. Single motherhood is never easy. But with Hazy, it is double trouble! So happy you got a new computer and can surf the net again. I've missed you. :-)

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  27. I much prefer the outcast type of heroine to pretty people with petty problems and perfect teeth. I like your heroine very well.
    I found that high school was nowhere near cool enough to be Spork. High school was a bad convenience store sandwich.

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    1. LOL. High School for me was a crucible of bullies. Hazy says thanks for liking her. :-)

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  28. Revenge is best served with a rotisserie.

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  29. I'm still doing the WEP rounds. Better late than never, right?

    I love the voice... it's spot on! It was such a smooth read.

    Aaaaaargh! Bullying - my pet peeve.
    Can't escape those 'Rotisserie chickens'. There's a group in every school, strutting their stuff.
    Really enjoyed this, Roland!

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