Sunday, March 4, 2012

Writer's Toolbox Exercise #3

What I'm doing...

Today's Exercise:  You are given a protagonist (Leora), a goal (get rich), an obstacle (fear of heights) and an action (take up stalking).  Make the story.

As she tossed away yet another unlucky Scratcher, Leora thought to herself, "there's got to be a better way to get rich."

Leora walked through the neighborhood carrying her small bag of groceries; headed home after her shift at the restaurant.  Her feet ached, and the muscles in the small of her back seemed on the verge of twisting themselves into a knot that would take several ibuprofen, half a bottle of wine, and a long hot bath to unwind.  None of which she currently had in her apartment since the last $20 in her bank account had gone for cat food, a box of tampons, her weekly scratcher and a few other sundries which she now carried in the small cloth sack.  Maybe, at least, the water would be turned back on by the time she got home.  She didn't have a bathtub, but a hot shower would definitely help.

Entering the building and starting up the three flights of stairs, Leora thought that in some ways she was lucky to be working the next three days at the restaurant.  Eating at work meant not needing to buy any groceries.  If only Chester could be trained to eat salads, then she wouldn't have to buy cat food either.

As she got to the second landing, Leora remembered that she hadn't checked the mail.  Not that it really mattered.  It would most likely be full of bills that she couldn't pay.  She really needed to make more money, but how?

Chester didn't have an answer for her as she walked in the door. All he seemed interested in was the contents of the bag making their way into the empty ceramic bowl on the floor.  She carefully walked into the kitchen with Chester trying his best to trip her the entire way.  Laying the sack on the small formica-topped table, Leora dug into through the bag and pulled out a can of cat food.  Finally getting Chester fed, she was able to sit at the table and ponder her fate while staring out into the dimming night sky.


"Come visit us in Israel.  We miss you and hope to see you soon!"

Leora excitedly read the letter again as she rushed down the street to her shift at the restaurant.  Her cousin Rebecca had moved to Tel Aviv several months ago to marry her long-time love who was studying there.  Leora loved traveling to Israel.  She hadn't been able to go since she'd moved out of her parent's house five years ago.  

Striking out on her own had meant giving up a lot of the luxuries she had enjoyed, like hot water and occasionally electricity it seemed.  But, the freedom she had enjoyed initially overshadowed her need for stability.  Looking back now, she wondered if her life would ever feel that secure again.

She tucked the letter into the pocket of her jacket which she hung up in the locker area at the back of the restaurant.  She grabbed a clean starched apron, and put her name tag on the front of it.  Checking herself in the mirror and smoothing a loose hair back into place, she briefly smiled and headed out into the dining room.

The first several hours passed slowly as the late lunch crowd fizzled out and the early dinner crowd was still several hours from making their appearance.  Leora was just starting to light candles at the tables for dinner service when the hostess led a new customer to her section.

Leora lit the final candle in her section and then walked over to the customer pulling out her order pad.

"Welcome to La Terraza.  My name is Leora, and it will be my pleasure to serve you this evening. May I start you off with a beverage?"

The customer, hidden behind the menu, softly answered, "Yes.  I think I'll have a Long Slow Comfortable Screw Up Against a Wall."

Leora was absent-mindedly writing on her tablet when the words suddenly registered.  She finally actually looked at her customer and her eyes widened in amazement.

to be continued... (Wow, I can't believe I wrote this much in one sitting.  I'm going to break this in half and continue tomorrow. Hope the good writing vibe continues.  What do you think should happen next?  Who is the mysterious stranger?  Is Leora going to get rich?  I still have to work in heights and stalking;  where am I going to go from here...?!?)

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