Again

Prompt: Excitement

Red-tailed_Hawk_with_moon_over_Estero_Bay_CA_-_composition_red-tail-moon-composite-2630s_(323660913)

There was nothing more exciting than absorbing the heat of the sun for an hour or two, then swinging from a rope and plunging into the deepest, coldest lake in the country.

The lake was in perpetual shade, surrounded by rocky hills leaning inward as if in conference with one another. At lakeshore, dusk came quickly, dawn was delayed, and there was always a constant shimmer of shadow no matter what the sky said.

On that day, there were no clouds, nor any haze to dilute the moon blueness of the sky. Cicadas buzzed. The air smelled like dust.

When they arrived, the cicadas halted and made note, then continued their chorus.

One of them, with very long black hair and brown skin, took the rope first and jumped from the ledge and screaming, let go and seconds later splashed into the cold waters. From above you could see her teeth flashing as she grinned and shouted encouragement.

The crows heard her, and came to watch from the trees.

The catfish stopped their glide along the lake bed and came too close to the surface, where they were quarry for the osprey.

Someone in a blue swimsuit flew across from the ledge and tumbled into the water. Her cries of delighted shock echoed back to her from the dry scrub hills.

A red-tailed hawk took a hesitant vole from a weed-choked shore.

“IT’S MEEEE,” a boy shouted as he let go of the rope, and landed in the black water so close to the brown-skinned one that she lost her breath and felt water in her lungs.

In the tall grass at the water’s edge, a juvenile seagull gathered its wings around itself, wounded, hungry, and fearful.

The last one took the rope and swung out from the ledge and forgot to let go, and came near to the ledge but not near enough to let go again, then swung slowly out until the rope hung straight as a plumb bob and the last one dangled and a crow flew up and around him, scolding.

Quail chicks were herded back to the nest by the hen, missing their afternoon forage.

The last one let go and when he came up for air he was surrounded by voices, skins, hair, scales, fur, shells, feathers, leaves, shadows, squawking, silence, and hands.

They all cried in unison, “Again!”

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Repeat After Me

Prompt: Repeat Fortune

lucy and ethel

I was watching a rerun of I Love Lucy on TV. I was watching a rerun of I Love Lucy on TV. The one where she and Ethel worked the factory line, and the chocolates they were meant to be wrapping kept coming faster and more and more again and again until Lucy and Ethel had no choice but to stuff some of them in their mouths. The chocolates were not all different, oh no. They were not unique but chocolate-coated replicas of previous centres: praline, caramel, cherry, strawberry cream.

I ate popcorn: first one kernel, then another just like it, and another. Repeat until bowl is empty and only the identical outcast, salty shards of the unpopped remain!

My mother walked into the room. Walked out and then walked in again. She wondered what I was watching. I told her I was watching a rerun of I Love Lucy on TV. The one where she and Ethel worked the factory line, and the chocolates they were meant to be wrapping kept coming faster and more and more again and again until Lucy and Ethel had no choice but to stuff some of them in their mouths. The chocolates were not all different, oh no. They were not unique but chocolate-coated replicas of previous centres: praline, caramel, cherry, strawberry cream.

Oh, she said. Oh.

I have a recurring dream where my mother walks into the room, then walks out, then walks in again.

If as I child I misbehaved, my mother would say, “Repeat after me. I will not copy my homework from Susie.”

“I will not copy my homework from Susie,” I would repeat. “I will not copy my homework from Susie.”

Susie is my twin sister. We both liked reruns of I Love Lucy, especially the one where she and Ethel worked the factory line, and the chocolates they were meant to be wrapping kept coming faster and more and more again and again until Lucy and Ethel had no choice but to stuff some of them in their mouths. The chocolates were not all different, oh no. They were not unique but chocolate-coated replicas of previous centres: praline, caramel, cherry, strawberry cream.

 

Guess what our favourite movie is?

 


  • Fortune is the same prompt as December 20, 2016.