We had such a fun time at this Mini Sledgehammer! Five participants, four of whom had never before been to a Mini Sledgehammer (and the fifth had only been to one other), and since we all arrived early, we got to talk and laugh before settling down to “work.”
Character: The man with the glint or reflection in his sunglasses
Setting: A doorway
Action: Scabbing over
Prop: Something that has been placed where it should not have been placed
Congratulations, Melinda, on your winning story!
by Melinda McCamant
Christopher told me he placed the dream catcher in the doorway to snare me if I ever tried to leave. He said this over cinnamon pancakes and the scent, something like my old blue baby blanket and a sunset, made me think that I was never going anywhere. I dug in, sweet syrup and butter coating my tongue. Oh yes.
Then I found the panties—no, panties is too kind. Then I found the crusty thong in the glove box of Christopher’s car. They were black and bedazzled, the sort of thong a stripper sheds for her last hurrah.
“Did you find the registration?”
We had been pulled over—sixty miles an hour in a thirty—and Christopher’s voice had a hard edge to it. My fingers started to go numb as I held the panties in one hand and the car’s registration in my other. I could see my lost expression and the pulsing red and white in the police officer’s sunglasses.
“Registration?” It was the cop this time, only his voice seemed kinder than Christopher’s—but maybe that was just me seeing me in the mirror lens.
I dropped the panties in Christopher’s lap and let the registration fall on top of them.
The cop and I stared at Christopher’s lap.
“Those aren’t mine,” I said, and Christopher chuckled as he handed over the registration.
I was holding it together until he laughed. The car smelled like the stale thong and cow hide. As soon as we were alone, I started to cry. Silly scratchy uncontrolled sobs.
Christopher picked the panties out of his lap. “I don’t have any idea how those got here.” He dropped the thong into the backseat. I looked into the rearview mirror and saw the cop open his door, walking slowly back towards the car. I covered my mouth, tried to quiet down. “You’re overreacting,” Christopher said and turned his attention to the officer.
I thought of the dream catcher, how it hung a little too far low and how I whacked my head on it every time I left the apartment. I thought of each small knot holding me in place and how I wasn’t a dream to be caught but a girl with no dreams beyond sweet syrup and heated leather seats. I felt my tears dry, scab over, fall off my cheeks. And as the officer handed Christopher his ticket, I opened my door and stepped out into the crisp afternoon.
“Alright, ma’am?” the cop asked.
The air was cool but the sun though low on the horizon still felt warm on my back and shoulders.
“I’m fine, thank you. I think I’ll walk from here.”
I looked across the top of the car and once again saw my reflection in the cop’s glasses. Only this time my hair was lit up from behind and seemed to glow like a moth escaping a flame. I smiled and the cop smiled back and I heard the click of the automatic lock as Christopher started his engine and slowly pulled back into traffic.
(c) 2012 Melinda McCamant
Melinda McCamant writes about food and drink both for her own blog and for other more reputable and consistent sites on the internet. When not baking or contemplating what to make next, Melinda is either talking to the cat or hard at work on her first novel. You can find her pictures and writing here or on Facebook.