The prompt was beautiful though:
drip, drop, dripdrop
they splatter from the arch in the wintry sky
iron and angelic and rotting toward nothing.
See? Beautiful prompt. Ugghh.. And then there's my story. Brace yourself:
Sort of the Story of a Mr. Drew Harold
This is sort of the story of Drew Harold, the only man in town with two first names, who lived on a corner just one block away from the courthouse, in a house with gables in the front and a nice summer kitchen out back. The town was small, the kind of place where all the buildings still had false fronts, and hadn’t yet outgrown them. There were still hitching posts in front of all the major banks … and they were still used. In fact, it was a rather stagnant kind of place, but Drew Harold liked it. He liked it because it clearly knew what kind of a place it was, and made no bones about it. There was a sense of self here that was quite refreshing.
Not just the town, either, if truth be told. The people too. Anyone and everyone within a twenty-five mile radius could spout off their entire family tree, including the black sheep robbers who ran away with Kentucky Derby horses in the 1870s, or the California-bound bums of the 1950’s and 60’s. Most everyone, it seemed, could not only tell a man that, but also their exact heritage, even though the town was so thoroughly American that the bloodlines were extremely muddled. Oh, would say one to another while waiting to pay for milk and eggs in the grocery store, I’m Scotch-Irish, for the most park. Though my mother’s mother’s father, well now, he was 1/8 Cherokee, and ¼ French, so I’m a little more exotic than my wife. Because I’m Scotch-Irish-French-Indian, when it comes right down to it.
This was the sort of thing which amazed him. Because he knew nothing about himself. He didn’t even know how he came to live there, or how he came to live at all.
It’s time I interject—I, the author. When I sat down this morning, I had no idea about what I was to write. But I don’t believe in writer’s block, so I sat down, and came up with this poor Drew Harold guy. Very spur of the moment kind of thing. Very creative. Creative genius. Yeah. Yeah, that.
So I figure this Drew Harold character, he’s probably like a soft-boiled version of a Humphry Bogart kind of man. Tall, dark and handsome of course, as all protagonists must be attractive—I have a sneaking suspicion Jane Eyre is in fact about a beautiful but abandoned heiress. But there’s no need for me to lie to you about Drew Harold.
Yes. Humphry Bogart gone soft. That’s the kind of man Drew Harold is. Clueless. We all know the sort. Now I’ve just got to figure out what to do with him.
Drew Harold’s faucet was leaking again. The sound of it jumped out of the kitchen, ran down the hall, and smacked sleeping Drew in the eardrums. Drip. Drip. Dripdrop. He supposed it was time to get up anyway. Where… what had he done yesterday, that he couldn’t remember the purpose of today? Oh well, it didn’t seem to matter much. Well. Time to get ready for work.
He puttered around his house, making ready for the day. His doorbell rang. Drew puttered over to the front door, and pulled it open.
“Morning, Mr. Harold.”
It was the mail carrier, the one with the white boy 'fro, whose family was loosely French. But the guy didn’t hand any mail over to Drew.
“G’morning, Marc,” Drew replied. He shifted from one slippered foot to the other in the doorway. The other man eyed Drew expectantly. He was the type of guy who grinned whenever he wasn’t working, but never while delivering the mail; people had a tough time entrusting mail to a man who grinned.
“Err…” Drew began again, “Nice weather we’re having, hmm?”
“Oh?” Marc-the-mail-carrier looked around, tipping his floppy-haired head back to eye the sky past Drew’s porch roof. “Oh, yeah, suppose it is.” Marc-the-mail-carrier shifted from foot to foot as well, shrugging his mail bag a bit, eyeing Drew just as steadily as he had before this snippet of propriety was exchanged.
“Errr…” Drew-the-soft-boiled repeated, “Is there something I can help you with, Marc?”
The man rolled his lips together tight, just for a moment, so that Drew thought he must have imagined a look of consternation. It was gone that fast.
“Well, isn’t there, oh,” said Marc-the-mail-carrier, “something you want to say?”
“Not about the weather, you—bah!—About…you know, man… ‘splattering from the arch’ and whatnot?”
“What are you talking about, Marc? Start making sense! I don’t have time for this; I’ve got to get ready for work!”
Marc- the-mail-carrier did the mouth thing again and narrowed his eyes at Drew.
“Work, hmm? And where’s that, huh Mr. Drew Harold? Where exactly do you work? What do you do?”
“Me? Oh, well, it’s fascinating, really.”
“Oh, oh yes. Incredibly. You’d probably like doing it yourself.”
At this, Marc-the-mail-carrier had had just about enough. He shrugged his bag onto the wood of the porch floor.
“Look here, dude, why don’t you just say your line already? I’m tired of this boring story and want to be written into something where I can smoke a fatty and hang out with some fine women for once. Get on with it, man.”
Drew looked at the mail fanned in an asymmetrical design across his porch, then up to Marc-the-apparent-stoner in dumb amazement.
“Yeah man, your line! God, didn’t you pay attention at all in the character debriefing? None of this exists, remember? Jeez, you don’t even remember, do you?” Marc-the-apparent-stoner began speaking very slow. “Listen. We are both fictional characters, man. And our writer’s doing a weekly challenge, and she’s completely stumped by her latest prompt. So all you’ve got to do is say what you’re supposed to say, and then we can get out of this pointless story and into a good one! Come on man, my wake-and-bake’s about to wear off; let’s hurry this up!”
But Drew Harold, who is a soft-boiled man, remember, had passed out cold on his foyer floor. Marc, who in reality is based on a friend of mine from college and is not a mail carrier but definitely a stoner, looked to the roof of the porch and sighed.
“Alright, fine,” he said loudly. “I’ll finish the prompt for you, Miss I-Don’t-Believe-In-Writer’s-Block, so this stupid story can be over. ‘In the wintry sky, iron and angelic and rotting toward nothing.’ There,” he added. “That’s all you had left to incorporate, isn’t it?”And it was. So this is the end.