Friday, March 08, 2013

Lost souls

Once upon a blog, I began a writing prompt which came to be known as Three Word Wednesday.  It feels like a lifetime ago now.  The premise was simple: I would post three words, and people would write something -- a poem, short story, whatever -- including the three words in their piece.  After a few years, with forty or fifty people participating each week, it became a bit more than I could handle, trying to read and comment on each post every week.  But as I was thinking of ending Three Word Wednesday, another blogger, who I knew as Thom G, offered to take it over.  That was a few years ago.  Today I checked to see if it was still going on, and was happy to find it alive and well.  So I decided to participate, if only for old time's sake.  If you're looking for a writing prompt, I encourage you to check it out here.

This week's words were: brutal, grope, transfer.


I say it with a tone of disbelief.  All along I had taken her to be thirty-ish.  I tell her as much, I think.  Oh God, was my tone offensive?  I mean, thirty-six isn't old.  It's just, in a place like this...

Ah yes, I can see it now.  A little age in her face.  The lipstick slathered on a bit too thick.  I had been too preoccupied with her body to notice.  It's not hard to imagine she knocked them dead back in her day.  Not that her day has passed.  What am I doing?  Is any of this out loud?

"You want a beer?"  She saves me from my over-thinking.  Damn, I probably should be the one asking her, right?

"Uh, sure."

"What do you drink?"

Um, chocolate milk?  Mountain Dew?  What's a popular beer?  Name a beer, any beer.  I look over at the bar.  There must be twenty beer signs.  I pick one.

"Uh, Guinness?"

"Wow, a real man."  Uh oh, I don't like the sound of that.

She orders the drinks.  She knows the bartender.  I surmise she comes out to a place not all that different from this every weekend.  Maybe more.

Thirty-six and single.  I want to save her.  I want to tell her it's gonna be hard.  But who I am to say?  I'm certainly no expert on the topic.

The beers come.  I take a healthy gulp of mine.  Holy S-word!  That tastes like used motor oil!  Who drinks this?  Vikings? 

I feel like I'm gonna throw up.  I manage to hold it down.

"Um, I don't have any cash for the beer, but I could transfer some money into your account?"

What am I saying?  Who says that!  She giggles.  Is she laughing with me or at me?  "It's fine, really.  You have a card, don't you?"  I nod.  "You can buy the next round."

And I do.  I buy her drinks all night.  It's clear she can out-drink me, especially with me pretending to sip on my Quaker State 10W-40.  I want to drink.  I want to forget about life for a few hours.  Or a few days.  I wonder what she wants to forget.  Or who.

She's at ease here.  Alive.  In the dives and the bars.  Places that used to be smoky.  But for me, this is brutal.  I don't like the crowd and the noise.  But mostly the crowd.

Whenever I catch myself leering at her chest, I immediately divert my gaze to a nearby table.  There's a kid in a backwards baseball cap who looks to be about fifteen groping a blonde.  He's wearing a shirt that says "I never sleep 'cause sleep is the cousin of death."  And all I can think is I could so go for a nap right now.

I glance at my phone.  It's 11:35.  It feels like 3 AM to me! 

I'm beginning to survey the crowd and decide to myself who I could take and who I couldn't if a fight broke out.  I decide I probably have an unhealthy sense of how tough I am.  Once again, she rescues me from myself.

"You wanna get outta here?"

And once again, I'm thinking I should have been the one to say that.

It's the perfect situation.  She's at that point of being just drunk enough to be fun but still sober enough to be fairly lucid.  

And why shouldn't I?  I've never had a one-night stand.  The closest I came was making out with some girl in the gazebo at the park when I was sixteen.  She was hot, but I forgot to get her number and never heard from her again.

But I know me.  I'll get too attached too soon.  That's why I can't have a one-night stand.  It's not some ethical, gentlemanly choice.  It's that I can never leave it at one night.  I'll be in love before the sun comes up.

But my God, that body.  And it will not quit.  The things I could do to her...

"Did you hear me?  Do you wanna go to my place or something?"

I want her.

I want to save her.  But I'm no savior.

"Yeah, let's get outta here."

Hell, I can't even save myself.

"Suddenly between sheets and eyelids / I am reminded why I don't do this / I fall in love far too quickly / I never want her to forget me..."


  1. #whistles...
    Completely forgot about 3WW until just now - and totally excited you took one on.
    A great post exposing some of a man's inner workings. LOVE THIS.

  2. I want it to be real so I can shout things at you about never having had a one-night stand and how Guinness will grow on you and how wait-'til-thirty-six-hits-fifty-and-then-you'll-rethink-quick-love

    and, so, um: well crafted, chum.

  3. I think I participated just once.

  4. This is hilarious, and still there is something a little tragic underneath. I kind of want them to have a happily ever after. This is a very cool take on the prompt, and a good read.

  5. Prompt expertly tackled: none of the three words jumped out at me (which is always a risk with word-prompted pieces, I think). Glad Three Word Wednesday's still going strong.

  6. I would've never known this was a prompt are so gifted. You need to write a book, Bone! You make it effortless. Oh, and Guinness? Blech!!

  7. Robyn - Thank you! I don't get many whistles around here. Always appreciated.

    Jocelyn - You can still shout. I'll relay the message to fictional me. But I can already tell you neither of us are buying your Guinness story.

    Renee - I think you did. You were always more partial to my sports posts anyway :)

    Heidi - Thanks! I think I had it in my head that it was all going to be slightly tragic. Then the hilarity happened by accident :)

    J Adamthwaite - Yes, that's how I always viewed it, too. Though I gotta tell you, "transfer" was bit tricky to fit in for me.

    Sherri B - Wow, what a nice boost of confidence! Thank you so much, Sherri.

  8. You reminded me of life in my mid-20s... I have missed 3WW; it was always a good way to get something down on paper. Maybe I should check it out again--after I finish some stuff I need to do this weekend.

  9. Wow Bone. How your writing has matured.

    This story is incredible--get to know the guy completely and the girl from his POV

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Nice story.

    I forgot about 3WW. I'll have to go check it out.

  11. This made me think about all of my old 3WW posts :)

    Guinness in Ireland isn't so bad, but I don't recommend it anywhere else :)

    36 and single doesn't seem that far away anymore...and now I know what guys really think about girls who are ;-)

  12. TC--remember the "narrator" is a person who wants to order Sundrop or more probably milk in a bar :)

    When I did I stopped feeling insulted!

    Not really kidding Bone--it was kinda endearing

  13. Sage - I agree about 3WW. It forced me to write when I would've put it off otherwise.

    Pia - Wow Bone. How your writing has matured.

    That's the nicest way anyone has ever told me I'm getting older. I'm kidding. Thanks!

    Vanyave - Yeah, it made me feel good to see that it was still going strong.

    TC - 3WW was probably the best idea I've ever had. Not that there's a lot of competition there.

    As for the Ireland Guinness, I'll take your word for it.

    Pia - Yeah, I don't know what this narrator guy was thinking. If it were me, I'd have gone with green Kool-Aid.

    That's me, kinda endearing.