Thursday, May 04, 2006

AMHERST writers group met again last night

The third writing suggestion was to begin the piece with:
"The first time I heard the story..."

Plain Story

“The first time I heard that story the ending was different.”

“Well, sure,” Velma said as she hung the last bra on the line, “there’s always a new twist.” She swung her hips to the left, as if for emphasis, and hoisted the basket off the ground at the same time. “He’s twisted, is it,” she said as she walked back into the house.

I followed her as far as the door, but turned back to look at the road. I wanted to see a car, a truck, anything that would tell me there was life out there.

The house was still, even the air hung lifeless around us. In the kitchen, I felt the dampness rise up on my arms and chest. “What’s the real story?” I asked Velma. “Was anyone there? Anyone except Mason, that is?”

She looked at me, and then posed in front of the fan. “Angelina says she knows. She’s so old now, of course, we can’t trust her memory.”

“He told me the horse was not in the barn, but wandering along the road. No one knows how long,” I said. I looked down the road and pictured how far a horse could walk if given enough time. “The hand was still holding onto the saddle horn.”

“That’s what he said, did he? I told you he was twisted,” Velma said grinning and wiping her neck with a dishtowel. “Lands, I haven’t heard that one.” She turned back to face the fan.

“So just the part about the hand is a lie?”

“A lie? I didn’t say it was a lie,” she said into the fan, and it blew the red hair off her shoulders. “We can’t say what’s the truth.”

“The body just vanished, then. Is that what everyone believes?” I wanted to believe it, either that or the body would turn up and probably not in any place we were likely to expect. Vanishing bodies seemed good to me in this case. Last thing I wanted was to spend the summer in this muggy hell hole waiting for the end of the story to turn up.

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