Works in progress

The writer

Caro Miller didn’t want anyone to question her mental health, which her mother would, if she learned her independent, successful daughter had spent the last two years with an anti-establishment, passive-aggressive creative writer, a never-published author whose piles of drivel crowded shelves, drawers and several boxes. He printed everything out, but never threw anything away.

Did she keep him around because she was afraid of being lonely, of not being loved? This thing with Wick Parker was not love. A man who loved a woman didn’t use her, tell her lies. Didn’t bring “assistants” in to type his precious works in progress. “Word processors,” Wick said. “Frees up my thinking, makes my writing more spontaneous.”

Caro had believed him, until now.

What got her attention was the skimpy panties she found under the sofa. Wick’s bizarre explanation? “Caro, love, I had to run out to the store. Maybe something weird happened when I was out.”

“Like what, Wick, some stranger came in and banged your assistant while you were gone?”

The expression of hurt on his face almost got to her. “Don’t you trust me?”

His cajoling whine was too much. Suddenly she was so angry she could hardly speak. How in hell had she allowed a culture of deceit to thrive in her home? The bitter taste of regret sickened her.

Wick, clueless as usual, went down to the pool.

Caro pulled a drawer out of the dresser. She staggered under its weight as she headed to the balcony overlooking the pool, four stories below. Wick was flirting with some girl. A light wind sent the papers she tossed over the side into a swirling spiral. The pages wafted down like leaves, falling off trees. Caro went back to get another drawer, this one full of Wick’s clothes.

This is a writing exercise from Crafty Writer in which you create a 16-line poem and a 300-word short story about something unusual seen or heard during the course of a day using 20 words based on what you heard or saw. A friend said he’d come across a link where you could see photos of people shopping in Walmart stores. It was a test of my mettle to get through the assignment (you can read the poem here). What do you think? The 20 words are: bizzare, expression, weird, mental, health, taste, mind, creative, speak, aggressive, passive, man, woman, attention, lonely, afraid, anti-establishment, angry, clueless and culture.