Friday, May 21, 2010

Dancing with the Stars

Today's muse:

I was going through some old writing and came across this piece. I don't recall the muse, and barely remember writing it, but I rather like it. And I assure you that it's fiction! I seem to be obsessed with writing in the first person lately.

* * *

Dancing with the Stars

When Vanessa returned the iPod she borrowed, she mentioned that she had downloaded some music for me.

“To expand your musical library,” she said. I guess she wasn’t fond of my selection of one-hit-wonders.

I forgot about her little gift until this morning, when I put my iPod on before vacuuming. Turning the volume to an ear-splitting level to drown out the angry whir of the upright makes the chore tolerable.

I vacuum the second floor, my hips keeping rhythm to classic dance tunes I remember with fondness from my teenage years. As I move down to the first floor, the music fades from a catchy disco tune to a provocative tango. Ah, good ol’ Vanessa.

Without hesitation, I take the lead and spin the vacuum around, throwing my arm out with flair. I reach over and snatch a flower from the bud vase and clench it between my teeth. We strut across the living room floor, cheek to handle, twirling with finesse. I dip the upright in a provocative move, gazing at the worn handle with love, my eyes promising more.

As the music fades, I hear cheering and whistling, mingled with wild applause. I whirl around and see the construction crew that is installing our swimming pool. They are lined up along my porch, hardhats tucked under their arms, cheering madly at my performance.

After a moment’s pause, I do what any respectable artist would do: I graciously bow and make a hasty exit to hide downstairs in the den for the remainder of the day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Speeding Ticket

Today's muse: Recent news.

* * *

The Speeding Ticket

“Slow down.” Though it is whispered like a caress, the meaning is clear. It’s a command, not a suggestion. “Slow down, child.”

I shake my head. “I don’t have time,” I mutter, and slap my hand at the air, as though I can make the Voice go away. It’s been nagging at me for months now.

“You can’t fool me,” I challenge the Voice. “If you wanted to take me out, you would have done it years ago.” God knows I’ve done things to deserve it.

I stare at my computer screen, careful not to glance away. If I make eye contact with anyone, I know I’ll cry. I’m barely holding it together these days.

I heard the doctor’s warning. Not only heard, but listened. There’s a subtle difference between hearing and listening that few people understand. Listening involves comprehension and digestion. What he had to say didn’t go down too well and left a bad taste.

The numbers are high and if you don’t bring them down there is a heavy price to be paid.

I don’t know what the price tag reads, but I’m certain I can’t afford it. I also can’t afford to stop. Stopping, in my mind, is an admission of failure. And that’s something I cannot do. It’s just not part of my DNA.

So, I lower my head like a bull in battle with a toreador, prepared to charge through the day.

“Slow down,” the Voice whispers.

“Get lost,” I snarl, as it squeezes my chest.