Editor’s Note: As most of you know, my blog is non-fictional – mostly autobiographical. However, with a New Year comes new challenges. My wonderful, talented fellow blogger Molly Field has spearheaded a Fictional Friday Challenge for the month of January to a group of bloggers. I am not a fictional writer per se, but always have stories swirling around in my brain – plots, characters and dialogue.
Molly provided a writing prompt and then let us loose to write from our fictional hearts. I ended up a bit on the dark side with a fictional piece entitled “Her Billy.” Hey, it’s primed for a Lifetime movie. ☺
One last item, please don’t’ forget to check out the other bloggers at the bottom of the post who are walking the tight rope with this challenge. I am honored to be included in this fearless group of writers.
Without further ado…
Writing prompt: “Your character thinks he/she is good at something, but he/she isn’t. Something happens that makes your character realize this. What? What does your character do about it? Write the story.”
She rolled the tape around the top of the box for it seemed like the millionth time. Her long artificial pink nail snagged and flew across the room.
“Damn. That’s all I need right now on top of losing my job and having to move out of this dump,” she muttered.
She peered out the small kitchen window. The sun peeked over the horizon behind the trailer park. A lone dog barked in the brisk morning air.
As the sky turned from light orange to yellow, then blue, she had hope for a new day – maybe even a new life.
Photo attribution: Flickr
The beaded curtains in the back of the trailer dangled as she slipped through the doorway. Her and Billy had fondly named it the “disco room” in their one bedroom trailer.
And there lay “her Billy.” She tucked the blanket around his chin. His long thick lashes fluttering with the bottom pouty lip twitching from side to side. He gripped the plastic action figure tight in his fingers like a security blanket.
She gently stroked his soft, buzzed hair. He insisted on the “army haircut,” which was fine since haircuts were not at the top of the budget – ever. Luckily, she had borrowed an electric shear from the neighbor.
“Please, mom, I want a no. 2 buzz cut just like Uncle Mike,” he begged.
Uncle Mike was in his third deployment to Afghanistan. He willingly enlisted at the age of 18. At the time, she didn’t understand why he volunteered to go across the world to be a target of sniper shootings and roadside bombings.
But it later became clear that her older brother “Mikie” was escaping another type of war. Typical days consisted of her dad bashing his head in after a bout of drinking Ernest & Gallo from coffee cups made war look almost inviting.
She flashed to the nights of lying in the top bunk with a blanket pulled over her head as she could hear the deafening shrills of her brother’s screams. Closing her eyes, she prayed that Mikie would not leave her.
At least, she hoped that Mikie could fight back now.
Her mom also grew weary of fighting back. Around age 12, her mom left for groceries and never came back. She missed the softness of her mother’s voice and sweet-smelling skin.
Her dad tried to ease the blow by continuing to drink himself into oblivion and using his fists to release anger.
She also escaped in her own way by becoming pregnant at 17.
She was looking for love as they say – in all the wrong places. As her high school boyfriend was filling out college admission applications, she was delivering a bouncing baby boy.
Her screams of labor blended with the cries of this new baby were mixed with joy and fear.
What would she do? What would her future be like? What are her talents?
She did have dreams. Looking at the stack of used medical reference books on the table near Billy’s sleeping head, she had always wanted to be a pediatric doctor. Maybe she could have saved her best friend.
Her cousin, Alex, who had also been her closest childhood friend had died of brain cancer at the age of nine.
She remembers visiting Alex in the pediatric ward. The pasty hospital walls blended with the smell of urine and ammonia made her gag as she walked down the hallways of the pediatric ward.
Alex’s little body looked so small, gaunt as he sat up in the hospital bed. She handed him his favorite comic book “MAD.” He gave her a small smile as she gently placed the book on his bed.
This would be the last time she saw her best friend.
She lived at her Dad’s house for a while, but he remarried soon after Billy’s birth. His new chain-smoking wife, Darla, cackled with her badly dyed orange hair in constant rollers.
After several drinks and a pack or two of Capri cigs, she would beg to hold baby Billy.
“Come on, I won’t drop him, Leila,” she slurred with thick, hot alcohol-filled breath. She finally relented and let Darla hold the baby. However, that all ended when she caught Darla trying to light her cigarette on the stove with Billy in one arm.
That was the final straw. Leila needed to move out on her own.
“I need to find something I am good at,” she thought. “Something that makes me happy.”
With a string of waitress, telemarketing and retail jobs falling through, she saw an ad on Craig’s List for a dancer.
With a third eviction notice and a bare fridge, she looked at her Billy. He played on the ground with his toy trucks and made pretend whizzing sounds.
The pay was at least $500 a shift on the busy nights. Studying countless YouTube videos, she practiced her exotic dance moves night after night.
She took the job after a trial dance rehearsal. “I think I’m really good at this,” she told her neighbor.
Her long, thin body and blond hair were a perfect look for the show with the stage name of “Courtney.”
Over the phone, she bragged to her Brother Mike about the new job and new money. “During the day, I can spend time with Billy and then work the night shifts at the club,” she explained. “I am actually a very good dancer, Mikie.”
Her boss, Jimmy, had praised her on-stage moves. “Sexy, very sexy, baby,” he told the dancing starlet while blowing smoke rings in his purple silk shirt and a girl hanging on his shoulder.
Big brother Mike, on the other hand, wasn’t thrilled with the new career choice. “Let me send you some money, Leila,” he pleaded.
Her fellow female dancers were as nice – well – as they could be. Their painted faces were hardened. She only knew their stage names of Sheila, Debby and Brittany.
On her one and only evening as a dancer, she worked the stage, straddling the gold pole under the disco ball. She closed her eyes and prayed to be somewhere else. She wanted to pull the covers over her head once again.
Photo attribution: File komonews.com
She thought of her Billy.
Suddenly, she could feel her legs give out as she hung upside down and crashed to the floor.
She opened her eyes to the sound of the crowd jeering and booing. Her boss called the bouncers to the stage over the loud speaker requesting her to be taken backstage.
Limping and shaking, she could see the dark bruises on her inner thighs.
Looking in the mirror of the dressing room, she stared at a person she didn’t know.
Her son awoke as the sun crept in the small trailer window. “Pancakes, buddy?” she asked.
And, that’s how Dr. Leila Anderson found her true talent. Not just for herself, though, but for her Billy.
Of course, I’d love to hear your comments or thoughts on my first long fictional run. (Believe it or not, I had an extended version of this, but had to wrap it up!)
Remember, please check out how these bloggers showed off their fantastic fiction using the same prompt: