"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Writing Prompt from Ann Linquist

Writing instructor Ann Linquist has an online site where we go to play.  She gives us story prompts and we fill in the blanks.  Her latest:

Jana knew she had been totally drunk and crazy the night of the high school graduation party.  And that night she hadn’t cared.  “Bring ‘em on,” she’d thought.  Her parents had died in a freak car accident one week before high school graduation.  Their savings and proceeds from the house had just about covered their debts.  Now she lived with Uncle Lars, the monosyllabic old bachelor, on his dairy farm.  After nine months of grieving and her own work at reducing life to monosyllables, she had given birth to a lovely baby girl. 
Three possible fathers circled her life.  Jana didn’t want to see any of them.  Her daughter was unexpected blessing, and spring had come.  She was a mother now.  What was their role in her life, anyway?

 As is usual, the Muse got me out of bed at 2 A.M. for this:

I have no use for any of them, but I am linked to the three of them until I can eliminate two as the father of my precious Kaitlyn.  Until that time, I have to remember their names.  Someday she will want to know who her father is.  

What will I tell her?  Shall I tell her how crazy I was after Mom and Dad died under the lead engine of the CR&NW Railway just a week before graduation?  Is that a good enough reason for acting so out of character at the school’s graduation party?

If I’m honest with myself, as I’ve come to be these past few months, it was more than being drunk.   I just didn’t care about anything anymore.  

First, my date Paul.  We’d dated a couple times—nothing serious.  He’s off at UCLA now, pre-med, I’ve heard.  Schmuck.  He walked away after realizing how drunk I was and so out of control.   Wasn’t even man enough to see that I got back to Uncle Lars’s farm safe and somewhat sound, though no longer a virgin.  He was my first and not because I loved him.  I didn’t.  I did it because everyone else was doing it and I was tired of being a virgin.

Then there was Ben from 5th hour History.  I knew he had a crush on me so I gave him a night to remember, even if I can’t remember it very well.  He’s a stock boy at the Safeway store.   Going nowhere.

And then there was Derek.  Or maybe I should call him Mr. Michaels.  I wonder if you still have to call your Sophomore  English teacher “Mr.” after you’ve had sex with him?   Anyway, Mr. Derek Phillip Michaels is already married.  With two kids.

I can hear Uncle Lars grunting in the next room.  He’s watching “Swamp People” on TV, though what he sees in that program is beyond me.  He never says anything,  just grunts.  When he does have to ask me something, it’s one word.  It’s catchy.  I’m doing the same.

Except with Kaitlyn.  To her, I pour out my heart.

Has anybody here, seen my old friend Paul?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He left me drunk and bleeding and should have taken me home.
But I just looked around and he's gone.

Has anybody here, seen my old friend Ben?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He calls and writes and leaves messages for me,
But I don’t answer and turn off the phone.

Has anybody here, seen my old teacher Mr. Derek Michaels?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I hope he’s not Kaitlyn's daddy
But every day I see her hair turning more blonde.

I have no use for any of them, but we are linked until I can eliminate two.

(There's a link to Ann's site in the right sidebar if you'd like to see more of what happens when a bunch of writers go out to play.)


  1. Love the Abraham, Martin, and John tie-in.

  2. Thanks, Walk. Why don't we see you around Ann's any more?