Archive for January, 2014

January 10th, 2014

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by Shannon Fernandez, Learner, Writing Workshops

And then there was the girl in the pink dress. She sat at a huge custom made, wooden lemonade stand, with smooth edges and a built in bench for customers to sit on. The whole thing was painted hot pink with a string of Christmas lights twisted into letters that spelled  “Alexandra’s”.  Alexandra had the biggest smile of all and Beatrice was drawn to the lights.

“Well hello there dear,” chirped the girl in pink as Beatrice approached.

“Hi,” said Beatrice.

“How are you on this delightful summer day?”

Beatrice shrugged, “You?”

“I’m fantastic thank you.”

The girl pointed to the Christmas lights, “I’m Alexandra, would you like to buy a refreshing glass of lemonade?” Alexandra gestured to the hand painted menu which read:Lemonade $2.00/Pink Lemonade $2.50/Sugar Free Lemonade $3.00

Beatrice fumbled around in her pockets, even though she already knew she didn’t have any money. Her fingers stuck to a forgotten piece of bubble gum that she had shoved in her shorts a few nights ago, wanting to save it for the next day. Now her hand was stuck in her pocket, and she left it there.

“No. But do you want to play?” asked Beatrice.

Alexandra’s smile disappeared and she rolled her eyes.

“We don’t play here,” she said, “We sell lemonade.”

“When is your break?” asked Beatrice.

“There are no breaks,” snapped Alexandra.

“Who’s your manager? You have the right to take a break you know,” said Beatrice. “You should talk to your onion representative.” Her father worked for the local 675, and was always talking about how employees legally had to take a break every few hours. She was trying to be helpful, but was met with a glare.

“I AM the manager, besides if you take a break, you lose,” said Alexandra. “One time, Esme’s mom called her in for a snack. While Esme was gone, a bus of German tourists made a wrong turn down Clearview Avenue, and everyone made at least five dollars that day. Esme made zilch,” she said, pointing three doors down at the girl on the towel with Dixie cups.  “She never ate ants on a log again.”

Beatrice didn’t know what to say.  She stared longingly at Alexandra’s tin can telephone.

“Can I try your can telephone?” asked Beatrice.

“It’s called a tin phone,” sneered Alexandra, “and the network is only for Lemonade Girls.”

Beatrice nodded understandingly.

“Well if you’re not going to buy anything, move along,” said Alexandra. “Make room for the actual customers.” Beatrice looked over her shoulder, she didn’t see anyone, but Alexandra was still glaring so she left.

Shannon’s piece was written for Ann Ireland’s workshop introducing short fiction writing: ‘Short Fiction Writing – Level I’ (CWWR 410).

January 10th, 2014

Excerpt from A Workaholic

by Richard Tattoni, Learner, Writing Workshops

I made two mistakes in life. Someone once said that death is not the greatest loss in life. I think the greatest loss in life would be missing out on retirement benefits. Going to school for television broadcasting and then making a career in media were two serious errors in judgment. Not a lie, but just a sane person’s reality. I remember my youthful years when I was a big TV fan. It was a long time ago.

“I want to thank you. That was another great year of internship.” I said in a polite voice. The well-dressed director of programming smiled and shook my hand. He was wearing dress shoes, dress pants and a dress shirt. It looked like he had bought his dress suit yesterday after shopping just to waste time. Maybe only directors wore expensive clothing because other workers always dressed casually.

I was eventually hired after seven years of working for nothing. Another four more years passed while making enough money to pay rent and live in my parents basement. Dad visited me downstairs after dinner one night. The happily retired man wore fancy European denim jeans and a cashmere sweater. I was a little tired from working a ten-hour shift. He said “Sorry I ate the last piece of chicken, son. Do you know who invented the television?”

“No.”

“Adolf Van Strauss in 1939.”

“I really don’t care.”

“The veteran of WWI was sitting in a German monastery in the Bavarian Alps when he transmitted the first live telecast of an expert yodeler attempting the first emergency yodel surrounded by eleven men dressed as Nazi soldiers.”

“Are you crazy?”

“Yes and you’re a chip off the old block.”

There must be some reason why people actually want to waste their time but there was no time to ponder the existence of television in my parents’ basement. I went back to work the next day wearing mended jeans and a soft washed hoodie. Most importantly, I helped produce a commercial about starving kids in Africa.

Richard’s excerpt was written for Cordelia Strube’s workshop: ‘Works in Progress: Writing Workshop’ (CWWR 514).