Three Word Wednesday: Jolt, ribbon, and Zeal and One Word: Powder
â€œLike sands through the hour glassâ€¦so are the days of our livesâ€Â The mellow voice on the television promised glamour and drama while Mama did the ironing.Â The powder never seemed to fill the bottom of that glass.Â Â Â Mama was a stickler. Even hair ribbons and sheets had to be ironed with a zeal Katie just couldnâ€™t understand.
â€œBoy that Julie is a pistol!Â Sheâ€™s gonna break her poor motherâ€™s heart if she keeps chasing after that man.Â I donâ€™t care if he does wear a suit.Â That Doug is no gentleman!â€
Katie slipped into the kitchen and eased the lid off the cookie jar, silent, or so she thought.
â€œKatie?Â You stay out of those cookies!Â You will spoil your supper.â€
How did she do that?Â â€œYes Maâ€™am!â€ Katie called as she wrapped two of the fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in a napkin.Â She ran out the back door and walked up the street to the corner, slowly savored the warm cookie and the gooey chocolateÂ being careful not to get it on her shirt.Â Mama would have torn her up if she got chocolate all over her clothes.Â She turned the corner and walked to Robinson’s Drug store.Â It was still a couple hours until supper time.Â She liked to look at the make-up and the magazines. Mama wouldnâ€™t let her wear make-up yet and she sure wasnâ€™t going to let her buy one of those glamour magazines though Katie couldnâ€™t figure out how a magazine was worse than Mama’s stories.
She wandered the aisles picking up packages of eye shadow.Â She loved the names of the colors. Bronze Shimmer and Desert Sunset.Â The fancy names sounded a lot better than tan and pink.Â She thumbed through a magazine, looking at the hairstyles.Â Katie felt a hand on her shoulder and jumped, dropping the magazine.Â Mr. Robinson was standing there.Â He bent to pick up the magazine.Â â€œAre you planning to buy this, young lady?â€
Katie shook her head and frowned.Â “No sir.”Â She went to school with his son. Katie always thought Jack was kind of a jerk but she tried to be pleasant.Â She knew his mom was sick a lot.Â She felt funny about the way Mr. Robinson was standing kind of close.Â She wished he would back up a little.Â There was no way for her to move without seeming rude and she knew her Mama would not be happy if Mr. Robinson told her Katie was looking at magazines in his store and not buying them.
â€œI guess we can just forget this little magazine incident.Â I better never catch you stealing from my store again, though.â€
â€œI wasnâ€™t stealing!â€Â Just then he bent and kissed Katie right on the mouth!Â She backed up with a jolt, almost knocking the magazine rack over. She turned and ran to the door, swiping her hand across her mouth.Â She heard him laughing as she stumbled outside.Â She started running and didn’t slow down until she was nearly home.Â She was half afraid he was following. She was out of breath and glanced behind her but there was no one there. She kept walking toward her home.
Now what should she do?Â Should she tell her Mama?Â What if he said Katie was lying because he caught her stealing?Â Would her Mama believe her?Â He was a grown-up and grown-upsÂ never believed kids.Â He was on the P.T.A. for crying out loud!Â She rubbed her mouth with her shirt-tail.Â Gross!Â How was she going to face Jack at school?Â If she told then everyone would know.Â Now she really felt sorry for Jack.Â His mom was sick and his dad was a perv.Â Jeez how lucky can you get?Â She kicked a stone on the sidewalk.
What could she say if Mama wanted her to go to the drugstore to buy something.Â She never wanted to go back to that place!Â She closed the screen door without slamming it for once.Â Her Mama turned from the stove and smiled.Â â€œYouâ€™re just in time.Â Go get washed up and set the table.â€Â Katie went to the sink and scrubbed her hands.Â She set the table.Â Mama brought the food to the table and they both sat down and Mama said the blessing.
Mama put a chunk of meat loaf on her plate and passed her the mashed potatoes.Â Katie took some and didnâ€™t even fuss when Mama placed a big spoonful of green beans next to the meatloaf.Â Katie ate a little piece of the meatloaf and then made patterns in her mashed potatoes with her fork.Â Her mother watched her as she ate her own dinner. Finally, she put her fork down and crossed her arms in front of her. â€œWhatâ€™s wrong?Â You love my meatloaf and you havenâ€™t even asked for the catsup. You haven’t said three words since you got home.â€Â Katie knew she wasnâ€™t going to let this go.
â€œI went to the drugstore today.Â I was looking at make-up and I picked up a magazine to look at and anyway, you know Mr. Robinson?â€
Her Mama nodded, frowning.
â€œWell, he kinda kissed me.â€Â Katie started crying.Â Her Mama was sitting there with her mouth hanging open. Katie just knew she was in for it now. Any minute her Mama was going to yell at her and she would probably be grounded for a thousand years!
â€œKatie Rose!Â Did he touch you?â€Â She had never seen her Mama look like that.Â She looked mad sick at the same time.
â€œNo, maâ€™am.Â He just kissed me. On the mouth.Â It was totally gross.Â Iâ€™m sorry Mama.â€ Katie started to cry again.Â Mama was out of her chair hugging her. â€œKatie, you are not in trouble.Â Men like Mr. Robinson always think girls will be too scared to tell anyone.Â Â I ought to take my iron to his head.Â Why Olivia has stayed with him all these years is beyond me!â€
The next day Mama was going to the drug store.Â Mrs. Robinson had asked her for her Chocolate Cake recipe and she had written it down and folded it and placed it in an envelope.
â€œYouâ€™re not going to tell her what happened are you?â€Â Katie was mortified at the very thought of it.
â€œNo.Â Â But I will make sure Mr. Robinson sees me hand his wife this envelope.Â He can draw his own conclusions.â€
Maybe Mama had learned a thing or two from watching TV.Â Katie had a whole new respect for Mama and her soap operas that day.
Phew, what a dilema. You handled this well.
Good on Katie for speaking up: thousands who don’t, left with that inner storm all by themselves. The elegance of Mama’s solution seems like something only a small-town Mama would devise. I knew of a similar situation in a small Texas town that was handled in just such a pointed, yet effective, way.
Dee, you pull us into this storm gently, innocuously, just a rolling hmm, where’s this one going?…And then Katie’s experience slams down good and hard, with the accompanying nausea conveyed. On your next read-through, you’ll catch a few places that need cleaning up: looks like you put this one to bed late.
fixed a few things. I must have been more sleepy than I thought 🙂
I’ll read it again – you are correct, I was finishing it late. Wednesday night is church and this week is a busy one anyway.
Things you learn from soap operas!
Dee – I so enjoyed that read. Knew it was coming but was still somewhat floored that it did!
Mama’s solution was indeed elegant – could just as easily see a sequel as see it stand alone.
Dee I truly liked this. Good pace,even better message. Nice dialogue, too.
Couple of things: Would a child know the names of soaps? And I think just a little tighter edit between the kiss and Katie saying she was at the drug store would have helped me get to the climax better.
I’d say this is enough proof that you should make a mandatory thing to do on Wednesday mornings. I love your comments you leave on Larry@(This Blog Of Mine)
Dee, I agree with Thom’s first sentence about the pace and dialogue. I was absolutely spellbound, waiting for Mama’s response and I am glad that she was smart enough to let Mr. Robinson sweat on it.
Would like to see another piece to this, as Larry said!
I think Mama has learned a lot from life.
Dee, the atmosphere was spot on. As a girl, yes, I knew all the soap names, even though I hated the fact that nothing else was on tv. My mother sat in front of her soaps, just as her mother did, and ironed.
This pulled back just enough that the message shone (shined?) right through. I like too how Mom seemed to suspect something about Mr. Robinson even before Katie told. Small town rumors do get around.
Very well done.
Thanks Peggy. I would like to understand a little more clearly what it means to “pull back”. I’m glad I did it but not sure what it is.
Thank you everyone! I went back and cleaned up the sleepy mistakes that Paschal so gently hinted at. I did a bit of tweaking and tightening and hopefully made this a squench better. I thank you all so much for the comments and advice. When you care enough about a piece to actually critique it, I feel more like I’m at the grown-ups table and I do like it there. Maybe someone will even sneak me a little glass of wine!
For the elegant, good pace, nice dialogue and the absolutely spellbound, I am fanning and preening.
For the clean it up and tighter edit – thanks guys. I’m sitting up a bit straighter. You guys rock!
I like how the mother resolved this. It would’ve been easy for you to play this like an after school special, but you gave the scenario a nice twist. Very clever.
Fine write. The meatloaf/mashed potato/green bean menu was right out of the times of the corner drugstore times when ironing was a chore of duty and pride. A common sense mama for sure. I enjoyed the read!
Yeah, I’m with everyone else. What an interesting solution to the problem. All I ever got out of soaps was that no one stays dead and marriage isn’t forever, even when love is.
haha yes and people have children who grow up fast and never cry or misbehave until they are teenagers LOL
caught… have i been here before…hmmm… great storywriting!!!!
Been living on four hours or so of nightly shut-eye lately and falling asleep at the keyboard until I read this. Mr. Robinsonâ€™s a psycho mo-fo! Gross is right! This piece was artfully laid out, kept me going, wondering, with no clues or clichÃ©s, and it settled so sweetly on the ending. A particularly well-told piece of yours, so lovely, enjoyable : )
I’m adding you to my bloglist. I can learn some things from you!
Wow, I’m very flattered! You know the comments are the sprinkles, caramel, and whipped cream on these pieces and you added an extra helping of all of it 🙂