Yard Gnome Boot Camp Update

Earlier on in the week I aired my worries about committing to Jeremy Shipp’s Boot Camp. Looks like all the worry was for nothing. Saturday night, staring down the barrel of handing in five pieces of writing at the 11th hour, I sat down and wrote. Funny how all means of procrastination seem to dissolve when faced with an unbendable deadline. I need to lie to myself more often about the actual deadline for pieces!

The first piece took the longest, as I struggled to find my groove. Once the momentum picked up, it was all go (it must have been you Adam on your pedal-bike for writers propelling me on!). The first two pieces revolved around dialogue – the first involved two people meeting for the first time and the next, two people arguing. Being me, I couldn’t help but link the two. They’re set at a school reunion (not surprising with my 20th High School Reunion looming in February).

The next three pieces related to ‘telling’ prompts which needed to be rewritten as ‘showing’ pieces. They revolved around a dead pygmay dragon called Bob and Charlie the Gnome. Here is the last piece I wrote… and it goes to show, when you go for a walk on the weird side… all sorts of things rattle off the keyboard.

Special bonus points for the person who converts this back into a ‘tell’ prompt to closest resemble what I was working from.

– – –

I stand wringing my hands counting forward to ten and backward again, watching Charlie the Gnome and his mates from the forgotten corner of the bar. They are laughing and clapping Charlie on the back, drunk on his winners vibe and mead.

My mouth is dry like my mother’s mash potato. When I move my mouth mime-like, practicing congratulating Charlie on winning through to the final round of the tennis, it feels all wrong. My lips, stuck to my teeth, refusing to work the way they need to for talking, for me to be cool and confident.

I down the last of my hot, flat beer holding it a moment in my mouth and swirling it around before I swallowed. My mouth tingles.

Yes, I’ll be confident and cool. I chant it over and over in my head, putting the glass down and smoothing the front of my dress. I step away from the bar. Confident. Cool. I put one foot in front of the other. Confident and Cool. And when I get to Charlie I’ll be confident, cool and careful not to let on to having been there every moment of the tournament, every game, set and match, including the practice and warm up session on the back court.

Confident and Cool. One foot in front of the other.

“Hey Charlie,” I say when he is close enough to see and hear me, a  slight non-committal wave practiced in the mirror for the last week.

“Hey Marlene.”

One foot in front –

My heel catches in the carpet and his smile dissolves at the same speed as I fly across the heavy-duty, putrid carpet and land on my knees before him, staring straight into his crotch.

“Got them dropping at your feet,” someone jokes.

“You just get faster and faster with the ladies, eh Charlie.”

“I’ll have what he’s having.”

“You got a friend, love?”

The laughter booms in my ears, the moment drawing into an eternity, the blood rising, burning through my chest and throat, and up into my face.

“I’m sorry,” I mutter, scrambling to my feet, keeping my eyes down, hounded by the raucous laughter and caterwauling, escaping to the sanctuary of the ‘Ladies’ with one shoe on.

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