In this series, I will take the Word of the Day from Dictionary.com and craft a short piece of creative writing around it. My goal is to embrace the meaning of the word in some unique way, all the while trying out different styles, rhythms and characterizations. It is as much an exercise in creativity as it is an exploration of grammar. Enjoy!
– – –
By Alex Seise
The two girls were playing in the fast food ball pit just outside the restaurant’s greasy dining room. They cooed and giggled and rolled around happily, preferring the play time to the inedible nuggets of processed chicken their mothers had fed them moments before. Cynthia loved the red orbs, carrying one in each hand, while Angelina showed no preference for color. As long as she could dive in and feel the odd sensation of the globes rolling around her back, she was happy.
Just outside the pit, their mothers sat on a bench watching over them. They talked about all sorts of grown-up stuff: husbands and family and shopping and reruns of some show about oranges and housewives. The two girls were much too young to care, focusing solely on their play. Mommy talk was boring stuff.
It was a cool November afternoon, and all four were bundled in coats. The gray sky overhead portended fair enough weather for the day, even if the temperatures dipped into the mid forties as the sun slowly slipped toward the horizon.
As Cynthia went in search of a red ball, a gloved hand shot up from the middle of the pit. Startled, Angelina started to cry. The mothers chuckled, unaware of what had spooked the girl. But no sooner than they laughed, another hand appeared and then, a gray-bearded man wearing a four piece suit and old spectacles pulled himself up through the center of the pit. Now, it was the mothers’ turn to scream.
“Jeremiah, Great Scott! What sorcery’ve you unleashed this time, my boy?” the old man said, trying to get his footing among the slippery toys. He was unsuccessful, tumbling down next to Angelina who was now sobbing. The two mothers frantically tried to get into the pit to yank their daughters away from the man dressed in ancient garb, but the entrance was too small for them to wiggle in. The workers inside the restaurant stopped their labors to watch the odd scene unfolding outside.
“Quiet thy tongues, babes,” the man hissed at the girls, watching Cynthia pressed against the far corner with tears in her eyes. “I shan’t harm even a single hair on your heads. With luck, I shall be out of this quandary before you can so much as say the word pumpernickel.” But nothing happened. “T’is safe, quotha! T’is perfectly stable if thee minds not weaving through the fabrics of existence with the blind eyes of a crone!”
Then, as suddenly as he arrived, he sunk out of view beneath the sea of multi-colored balls. The girls teetered to the exit, anxious to leave the scary pit behind. Cynthia took a red orb with her to remember the day’s calamity, and her mother did not stop her.