The Assignment: Day Nine: Point of View
Today’s Prompt: A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.
We encourage you to give fiction a try, even if that not what you normally do — it can be a fun way to stretch. If fiction feels like a bridge to far, take some element from the scene that speaks to you, and write a non-fiction piece about that.
Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.
Okay, we see what the assignment was. I didn’t want to write anything dealing with death and loss, I didn’t want to write anything to do with relationships ending.
Also in that assignment description were these words: “Shifting point of view can be your best friend if you’ve got writers’ block.” This assignment gave me a severe case of writer’s block. So it’s now Friday morning and I am warning you all to read my answer to this assignment at your own risk. Writer’s block can do strange things to a person, just ask Johnny.
Never Say Never
Sub-titled Something Crazy by Lenee Cobb
(Should I even put my name to this? Probably not.)
It was a beautiful August day in the park in Winchester County, Idaho. Little ol’ Miss Suzie thought to finish the red sweater she was knitting for her nephew Sam while sitting in the park. Most boys wouldn’t appreciate a red sweater their auntie made, but Sam was different. He was in show business. Suzie knew he’d be thrilled to receive it.
Now, this particular park in Winchester County Idaho happens to be located next to the fairgrounds. It’s a pleasant place, a quiet place, normally. But today was the final day of the County Fair and there was a rodeo going on and because Miss Suzie was aware of that, she came prepared. She chose to sit on the bench beneath the leafy elm tree for the shade. It was a long bench and there was plenty of room for her to spread out her knitting supplies. She whipped out that red sweater, tucked her little ol’ transistor radio inside her apron pocket and made herself right at home.
Miss Suzie had her earphones on and was tapping her right toe to the rhythm of a Neil Diamond tune, not thinking much about anything ’cept knit one pearl two when the 800-pound Black Angus bull named Tornado mowed her down. Kabam! Why, she thought as the park bench fell backwards with her in it and a huge pair of bullhorns skewered the ground on each side of her head, God Almighty, I haven’t felt like this since Reverend Love’s traveling Salvation Show passed through here years ago. Why lookie there, there’s cuckoo birds a carrying on and multi-colored stars exploding.
Tornado flipped right over her, landing on his back and ripping up the ground like a plow and loosening his horns as he rectified himself. He looked back towards the fairgrounds, saw what it was he was running from, pondered charging it, even stamped a foot and snorted, then remembered what had happened earlier and blinked his eyes, thought better of charging, and turned, intending to speed towards the cow herd he’d seen coming in here. Only thing was, there happened to be an elm tree in his way he hadn’t anticipated. His eyes were burning red and his vision was blurry. But, Tornado wasn’t the only wild thing roaming loose that day.
Run as he might after that bull, there wasn’t much else rodeo clown Smiley could do. Every gosh-darned thing impeded him. Smiley tripped and fell every few steps due to his over-sized clown boots. “Damned it to hell!” He hollered when it happened again. It didn’t help none that he couldn’t see a damned thing either. “Son-of-a-bitch!” He cried, his make-up running faster than the cotton-picken-blasted bull.
He forced himself to stay sitting on the grass next time he tripped, instead of getting up right away, and took a split second to wipe his burning eyeballs, and shuck off his size-30 open-toe-flappin’ boots. Then he jumped up and ran like a clown-made rocket over the grass in black and white striped stockinged feet after Tornado, his yellow balloon pants whipping his skinny legs above his knees and silly clown-flowered hair bouncing up off his head like it was a ridin’ a trottin’ nag.
Through watering eyes he saw an old lady shake out some red cloth in the distance and knew immediately where Tornado was heading. “Throw it, woman! Throw it away!”’ He hollered, racing to head off the disaster.
“I’m gunna get those sum-a-bitches for this,” Smiley sniffed as his socks slid on someone’s half-eaten hotdog smeared with ketchup that hadn’t made it inside the trashcan.
His compatriots had thought it pretty funny when they replaced the water in his lapels squirt-flower with pepper spray. He’d known something was bad wrong when he’d teased Tornado by giving him a squirt in the face when the bull was penned. Tornado hadn’t taken too kindly to such torment and, much to Smiley’s horror, had gone and climbed the pen gate to exact his revenge. The only thing that saved Smiley was his quick reaction. He’d jumped backwards, right into a barrel. Tornado tossed that barrel so high into the air that when it hit the ground it splintered to pieces, but by then the bull was running loose and the clown was duty-bound to capture him. With all his attention centered on Tornado and the old lady with the red flag, Smiley never looked up, into the elm tree, but even if he had, he wouldn’t have believed it. So he just kept on running.
Crazy Lucy believes she’s Wonder Woman and she loves to fly every chance she gets, which isn’t often. Most days she’s confined over at Valley Glade State Mental Institution a few miles away, but nobody was watching her properly this morning when she made her comic book escape.
Crazy Lucy dresses up like Wonder Woman when she can, but when there is nothing around to use as her superhero costume, she thunders through the halls naked as a jaybird, and that’s how she’s dressed today. She’s been walking all those two miles in her birthday suit to get here and climb this elm tree so she can fly. She’s climbed up pretty high in the branches when she sees Tornado topple the granny and turn towards her tree. “This is a job for Wonder Woman,” she yells.
Tornado plows head first into the tree trunk. The force of the hit shakes those branches and Lucy’s forced into action. She jumps to the ground, twists to her left, grabs the knitting needles, twists to her right, leaps sideways, and just as Tornado turns his head to focus in on her shadow, she jumps on top of his back and plunges those needles between his shoulders—deep, hollering, “Take that, you villain!”
Unable to stop in time as the bull backs up, Smiley smashes into Tornadoes rear-end. The bull releases a sound that’s too loud and too near to Smileys face to be a snort. As the planet warms, Smiley staggers backward, his red and white running lips melt downward from the tears. Tornado spins towards this new pest. Miss Suzie stands up, wobbles towards the clown, and yells, “Sam! Sam! Here, sweetie. Wipe your face with this.” She waves the red sweater towards Smiley. Not seeing what it is, he reaches for it . . .
Some days are like that.
The hardest part of this post is for me to click the publish button…deep breath. Ready? On the count of three . . .