The most recent “What Will You Write?” over at I Read Encyclopedias was put on hold shortly after being announced to allow for the fact that a lot of people are pretty busy during the month of July with things like Camp NaNo. However, July is almost over, so in anticipation of the challenge reopening I decided to share my entry a little early.
This prompt, offered up by former winner Tara Southwell is a little different than the previous ones. Instead of writing the beginning of a scene and having us finish it, Tara has offered up this concept:
Just write a story, 1000 words or less, which includes one character taking a small object out of their pocket and saying, “It’s time to shake things up a bit.” Any genre, any character, as long as they have pockets.
So with that strange and wonderful idea in mind, I present my entry for the 5th “What Will You Write?”
Jeremy yanked hard on the stiff collar of his brand new black and white suit. He glared at his mother out of the corner of his eye, and although she couldn’t possibly have seen him with her eyes fixed on the road in front of her, she immediately clicked her tongue in disapproval.
“Don’t you give me that look, young man,” she said in her frustratingly high-and-mighty tone. She removed one hand from the steering wheel to smooth her silk floral dress, and then glanced in the rearview mirror to make certain that her perfectly coiffed blond hair was still in place. The look she gave herself indicated that she saw perfection in the mirror. Jeremy saw only a cruel devil woman.
“You’ll be the model son tonight,” she commanded in what only she thought was an authoritative voice. “Or else.”
Jeremy glowered at her and yanked at his collar again. “It would have been easier on everyone if you’d just let me stay home,” he whined. “No one is going to give a damn if I’m there or not.”
“You watch your mouth,” mother hissed as she pulled the car into the hotel’s front parking lot. “This discussion is over. I’ve already told you, this is a very important business party and my boss insisted that families attend.” She chose a parking spot, turned off the ignition, and turned to give Jeremy the meanest glare she could muster. “So you will smile, and you will be polite, and you will prove yourself to be the most well-behaved child here, or so help me!” Here she whipped around with a huff and exited the vehicle, having apparently made what she thought was a point.
Jeremy moved as slowly as he could while still technically following. He frowned as they entered the huge old hotel with its twin lion statues on either side of the front doors. He frowned as the desk attendant greated them cheerfully and directed them to the confererence room where the party was being held. He frowned all the way down the long hall with the super-fancy, super-ugly old antique rug. He smiled as they entered the party, smiled as his mother proudly introduced him to her stuffy, grotesquely overweight boss, and then frowned all the way over to the table that had been set aside for the children in the far corner of the hideously-decorated room.
Jeremy was the fourth child to join the table, alongside a pretty dark-haired girl about his age, and two younger twin boys who were fighting over what appeared to be a parent’s cellphone. Jeremy sat next to the girl and together they stared grumpily out at the room full of adults in their fanciest clothes, talking and laughing quietly while sipping wine and listening to horribly boring music.
“I’m Jeremy,” he offered to the girl.
“Stephanie,” she answered back.
“You bored yet?”
“Dear God, yes.”
Stephanie turned to Jeremy with an expectant look and he couldn’t help but smile. He reached into his pocket – the bulging one that he had been careful to keep out of his mother’s line of site since she’d hustled him into the car. Inside was something coiled into a tight little ball.
“What is it?” Stephanie asked, excited, seeing the look on his face.
Jeremy grinned, and his gaze landed on his mother, chatting it up with her hideous boss. These were the two women whose fault it was that he was sitting here in this ridiculous party instead of playing street hockey with his friends. With a look of elation on his face, Jeremy pulled the object from his pocket and showed Stephanie the snake as it uncoiled and flicked out its tongue.
“It’s time to shake things up a bit.”