Blog Chain

Absolute Write May Blog Chain

It’s blog chain time again! I enjoyed my April Blog Chain experience so much I decided to join in on the fun for May too. The link in the chain before me was provided by LadyMage and xcomplex will follow me. Check the end of my post for a complete list of participants. They are all talented writers, you’ll be in for some great reading.

Here are the parameters for this month’s challenge:

“Show a character’s approach to relationships in a short scene. A harmless exchange between mother and daughter? A submissive character overwhelmed by a dominant partner? A passionate lover’s quarrel? A forlorn, unrequited letter?

Use your characters’ interaction to show the dynamics of their relationship, show how they’re growing together or growing apart, or just have silly fun. Character descriptions at the beginning are forbidden this time around–let them speak or act for themselves!”

I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and this little idea popped into my head. So I decided to run with it. This month’s snippet isn’t a part of any current WIP…but maybe it could be.

_______________

Leah (the narrator) and Ben

“Oh!” I gasp, touching the zapped spot on my thigh. Just my cell phone buzzing. It scared the crap out of me. I pull it out of my front pocket and look over my shoulder. We’re not supposed to use cell phones at work. But it’s a text. From Ben. I have to check it. No one’s coming, so I read the text.

Blue panties today.

I feel myself blushing. Even though he’s not talking about my blue panties, I check anyway, just to make sure. Nope. Mine are nude today, like almost always. He’s talking about Melinda’s. She’s the checker in the lane to the right of mine and her pants are always see-through. Our employee guidebook at Sherman’s Farm Stand Grocer says we must wear white pants with our red Sherman’s polo shirts. Melinda hasn’t seemed to realize the only color that isn’t visible under white pants is nude. I can’t see Melinda’s lower half from my register, since the conveyor belt is in the way, but Ben can see, since he works in the lane to the right of hers. There’s an opening on the right side where the cashiers have access to our registers. Ben gets a perfect view from his lane. He likes to give me the report of Melinda’s panties daily. It’s our little joke.

I wonder if it reflects her mood? I text back. She’s been kind of grumpy lately.

I set my phone down on the counter. A woman has come into my lane with a cart full of groceries and kids. The kids are screaming and she’s opening packages of food to appease them.

Before paying? Ben’s text is in view as my phone buzzes against the counter. How tacky.

I snort.

“Excuse me,” the woman says, “Did you say something?”

“Um…paper or plastic?” I ask, trying to save face. My phone buzzes again. I want to check the text so badly, but I don’t. I need to be professional. This job is really important to me. Another buzz. I reach for a bag of apples to weigh and cast a sideways glance at my phone.

Seriously. Her kids look like trolls.

The woman is distracted trying to calm one of her kids, so I press the button to see the next text.

But you look hot.

My heart does a little flip. He said I was hot. He’s never said that before. Ben Seiver said I was hot. Yes. I turn my head over my shoulder to see if he’s watching me and he is. I hold his gaze for a minute before turning back to the woman’s groceries.

Her kids are still screaming and she’s trying to calm them down. She notices I haven’t gotten very far ringing up her sale and she makes an impatient noise. I grab a box of cereal to scan. She turns back to her kids. It’s then I notice her daughter. I’m not sure what it is, but I can tell the girl must have special needs. The other kids are fighting for attention while the woman tries to take care of her daughter. I start to feel a bit bad for the woman and I scan her items a little faster. She’s just doing her best.

The woman pays and leaves and I look back to my phone for another message from Ben.

Now that the freak show is gone, back to Melinda. You might be right on the mood. She’s hoarding tissues over there.  

It’s not really right for Ben to make fun of that family. And I see Melinda dabbing her eyes behind me. I wonder why she is so upset. Ben makes a silly face and imitates Melinda behind her back. He’s just trying to be funny. I should laugh at this. There’s no harm in a little joke, right?

I can’t think of anything else to say so I text back, LOL.

I slip the phone into my pocket and look over at Ben. He winks at me as he starts to scan another customer’s order. He makes an obscene gesture with a sausage when the guy’s not looking. Yeah. Funny. That’s it. Ben’s just really funny. Hot and funny. And his texts have gotten so flirty. I need to get over myself.

_______________

Be sure to check out the other participants in this month’s chain:

orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Proach – http://desstories.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Yoghurtelf – http://thefarseas.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
AuburnAssassin – http://clairegillian.com (link to this month’s post)
aimeelaine – http://www.aimeelaine.com/blog (link to this month’s post)
Della Odell – http://dellaodell.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
jkellerford – http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
LadyMage – http://www.katherinegilraine.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pezie – http://www.erinbrambilla.com/ <—-YOU ARE HERE
xcomplex – http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Inkstrokes – http://drlong67.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
ElizaFaith13 – http://www.girlspwn.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
dolores haze – http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
juniper – http://www.katjuniper.com (link to this month’s post)
Steam&Ink – http://steamandink.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)

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26 thoughts on “Absolute Write May Blog Chain

  1. Yay! I get dibs on the first comment. :p Leah seems like a likable character while Ben may be on the jerk side. I like how Leah came across as a real person. Even I’ve caught myself thinking something not so nice before realizing the extent of the situation. Nice entry! 🙂

  2. Thanks, Della. You’re fast! Must be a night owl too :).

    You nailed it! Now Leah will just have to stop kidding herself and realize Ben is a jerk too.

    And I think we’ve all done that–thinking not-so-nice things and passing judgement too quickly. It happens, unfortunately, but I like to think we learn and know better the next time.

  3. Very nice. I see a conflict in her emotions there at the end … like she can’t decide if he’s really funny or crude. But he said she was ‘hot’, so that makes up for it all. 🙂

  4. Ben is trying too hard, he really likes her. This was a cool spin on the challange, interaction via text. Sometimes it lets us see the truth, sometimes it’s a carefully constructed mask.
    Well Done.

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  6. I really liked this. At first I thought Leah was insensitive and rude and Ben was trying to be too funny at the wrong time.

    By the end, I really felt for Leah and still thought Ben was trying to be too funny at the wrong time. 🙂 He’s also a little bit of a jerk. I wish Leah had told him so.

    Great characterization. I thought you did great! Thanks for the read

  7. Thanks, Jen. That’s pretty much the arc I was going for. If this is something I decide to pursue as a story, Leah will have to come to that realization fully and stand up for people, won’t she?

    Though Dale’s take is interesting. Maybe Ben isn’t such a jerk and he’s just trying way too hard. Trying to be funny via text (even if he is only a few feet away) allows him to mask how he really feels. Definitely something to consider if I move forward.

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  9. Typical teenagers. Ben knows he gets Leah’s attention by being funny. He’s got a guaranteed laugh everyday in the color of Melinda’s panties and he uses it with Leah so he’s obviously smitten. But…like my own sons hasn’t fully learned empathy and subtle boundaries yet. Leah’s stock went up a gazillion points when she noticed the special needs kids and Melinda’s tears in contrast to Ben’s juvenile sausage gag. (Though I’m feeling guilty for drinking my sodas while grocery shopping and holding the half drunk bottle out for them to scan. Oops.)

    Nicely done characterizations!! 🙂

    • Thanks!

      And I am totally the mom who opens the bag of goldfish crackers (or box of granola bars) prior to check out. Sometimes we do what we gotta do (even if it’s just quench our own thirst 🙂 ).

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  11. I really like the subtle shift that goes on in this piece, from Leah and Ben having a private joke to Leah’s (and the reader’s) sympathies transferred wholesale to Melinda and the nameless shopper. Ben went from hero to heartthrob to heartless jerk in the reader’s eyes, and that takes some doing.

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  13. Love that she already is realizing Ben’s true colors. A well-painted contrast of Leah’s emotions on this one, and I’d like to know how they will interact after this scene.

  14. Nice characterization in a short piece. I know about Leah … she has a good heart, underneath that red Sherman’s polo shirt. But oh she loves being singled out as special.

    “Yeah. Funny. That’s it. Ben’s just really funny. Hot and funny. And his texts have gotten so flirty. I need to get over myself.”

    That last sentence is just right. She’s convincing herself.

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