Thursday, August 12, 2010

The World in Miniature: Red Hat Day

by Jean Airey
www.suncoastwriters.com

RED
HAT DAY


The
hat was too large and the shoes too small. The dress had been on sale
at the Outlet for 90% off plus her Monday discount.

Her
legs felt strange, loose fabric flapping around them. But she would
do. The colors were right. That was the main thing.

She'd
seen them on the street, laughing. Groups. Watching as she sat on a
bench – not long on one, moving to another, watching them order
food at the outside tables. They'd chatter and giggle and only eat
half of it. Waiting for them to leave. Then a quick walk by. Just a
bite of this or that. She didn't eat much.

Today
there were large groups of them. A big party. She could stand up,
walk with them. Just a little behind, though. A smile, a question –
she would run. It had been too long.

This
was for the old cat who needed special food. She could eat anything,
but he depended on her. She'd never let anyone down. Ever. All the
years and the jobs that didn't need someone who could read or write.
A hard worker, they'd say. Always the first to be let go.

At
the corner she turned and walked toward the bank. The small revolver
hung heavy in the dress pocket. It wasn't loaded. Maybe next time.

5 comments:

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

This one I had to read a few times, because my brain isn't wired for poetry (and this is very poetic). But I love the way she feels like a bird - flapping fabric, waiting to swoop in for a bite and then run off. The gun surprised me!

Nicely done!

Matthew Rush said...

Very interesting, the language is simple and yet compelling in a way that feels that it's greater than the sum of its parts. Very nice.

I have to assume that the paragraph formatting is on purpose since I know Bryan knows what he's doing, but that being said I can't wrap my head around what the significance of that might be.

Care to share with us Jean?

Jean said...

Well, the paragraph formatting was from some strange cut and paste with the document. (Can I blame Microsoft?)

However: This was written so I could participate in a poetry "read out" that opened itself to flash fiction. So .... I usually write longer, but was quite pleased with the way this turned out.

And really delighted that Bryan decided to post it.

Mira said...

Jean, like Susan, I read it more than once, and it took awhile to sink in. But once it did - I really like your piece!

What I read into it was the ethical choices that those who are poor and hungry have to make all the time about their survival.

There was a quiet, sad dignity to this that I found very moving.

Frances said...

I thought you managed to convey the sense of isolation and desperation very well especially in so few words. That's not easy. I found myself creating a whole backstory for your character and the cat. Initially I thought the formatting was a little odd but it worked for me!