The Necessary


Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
It’s Red Writing Hood time again.

I’m torn between feeling pleased with myself, and feeling at a bit of a loss.  The prompt for this week’s Red Writing Hood was to take a tool out of my writers’ toolbox that doesn’t get used as much and needs a bit of extra polishing.  You might not have noticed it, but if you compare last week’s prompt post to the previous ones I’ve done, it’s pretty different.  Even apart from the fact that I didn’t kill anyone in last week’s, I specifically (and purposely) focused on the piece being mostly about conversation.  I’d say that counts as two tools I don’t use often enough.  What am I bad at doing?  Well… “Nothing” comes to mind, I am, after all, pretty awesome.  For this challenge, I figured I would use…

*drumroll, please*

… THE FIRST PERSON.  I realise that 99.999% of my blogging is in the first person… but that’s just talking about myself, something thing I’m pretty awesome at doing in the first person, because, let’s face it, I would sound pretty creepy if I spoke about myself in the third person.

It helps that this story is an idea that stemmed from a VERY weird dream I had.  The kind of dream you wake up from and question whether acid flashbacks can happen to people who never dropped acid.

Check out the rest of the submissions HERE, and mine is below:

***

It all started when I met Joanna.  She was the most unusual person I had ever met, though I didn’t realize nearly how much so until later.

I stood out at my new school in my hand-me-down jeans and flannel shirt.  The packed cafeteria held more students than we had in my entire town.

She looked like a crow, with her wide dark eyes ringed in heavy makeup, her dark hair braided and piled haphazardly and in a tangled mess on her head.  No-one back home would dress like that, black lacy skirt fluttering and tattered at the bottom, tight T-Shirt labelling her ‘The Clash’.

I didn’t hear much rock music back home either.

She grabbed my arm, long red nails clacking, and pulled me away from the cafeteria line.  I made a weak protest, but Joanna was a force of nature.

“You don’t want to eat that crap, come on!”

She dragged me down the hall and into the girls’ washroom.

This is it, I thought, I’m going to be bullied.

“I’ve decided that I like you, so I’m going to show you a secret.”  Heavy purplish-red lips stretched wide as she smiled back at me.

She took me to a stall.

The doorway, despite being just as large as the others, was a tight fit to squeeze through.  I hardly had a chance to register this unusual misrepresentation of proportion before we were leaving the stall.

I blinked in confusion.  I was sure we had been going into the stall, but Joanna was leading me out the way we came, and right back to the cafeteria.

The hall was different, though.  The grungy old lockers were gone, with rich mahogany panneling in their place.  The cafeteria now had solid oak tables and heavy chairs, and the stale-grease smell that had permeated the room just moments before was replaced by the heady scent of roast chicken and gravy.

The people were beyond description, so unusually dressed and exotic.

I looked to Joanna for an explanation.

She spread her arms wide and said, “I call it The Necessary.  It brings you to what you need.  What we needed today was better food.  Fish don’t even have fingers!”  She laughed and added, “Also, it’s a synonym for toilet.”

My first introduction to that magical place was the most delectable roast chicken dinner I’d ever had.

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18 Comments

  1. OH I loved this and since it’s my first time to your space, I won’t gush but I truly enjoyed everything about it, including the mystical jaunt. It was wonderful.

    you did a good job with the first person. 🙂

  2. Very cute, and funny! If only all schools had such a gift! Nice flow, simple wording (which, despite what it may sound, is a good thing). Great job!

  3. Nice! I think you did a great job of showing us how out-of-place your character felt as she was about to meet Joanna. My only concrit is about the line “register the unusual misrepresentation”. In this part of the piece, you’re helping to paint a picture of how your character thought and felt at the time the memory describes. I suspect she wouldn’t have described the phenomenon with quite that language at the time that it occurred. But I really like the idea of communicating that she noticed something “off” but really couldn’t figure it out before being amazed by the things that came next.

    • very true… I didn’t even think about that – I’ll have to work on my first-person writing a bit more, I think. I tend to describe things however I want, but if it’s in first person, it has to actually be described from the character’s perspective.

  4. I love the magical aspect to this. And calling it “The Necessary” is clever.

  5. Nice. I’m wondering if you need the line explaining that “The Necessary” is a synonym for “toilet.” I think most people would know that. Other than that, good work.

    • i wasn’t sure how common the usage is – I had to look up whether it was necessary or necessity on google, so I figured it might not be as clear to everyone. Like local expressions that get blank looks elsewhere.

  6. I’m dumb, I have no idea what happened in the stall, did they do drugs? Is that what the Necessary was?

    I did like the way you placed the character as out of her element, I just don’t get the stall. I’m sorry I’m so dumb. 🙂

    • Definitely not dumb. That is one alternative, just a ‘did drugs, very wild trip’ type thing. I was aiming more for the ‘lion the witch and the wardrobe’ interpretation (the idea of youngish kids doing drugs makes me uncomfortable… though maybe that should be the next ‘writing tool’ i work on – writing things that make me uncomfortable/are completely out of my own ‘vision for the world’!) – more like going through a magic portal (like the wardrobe, or the door in Coraline) to a magical place, only with the ridiculousness of it being a washroom stall.

  7. That must have been some dream. 🙂

    PS When I read the story, I interpreted that they had stepped into another world.

    • It was very vivid… and in the ‘other world’, i bought tickets to some kind of very important dance, b ut it turns out, the tickets I bought were for that dance, two years later than I wanted to go. There was a lot of running around frantically, lol.
      glad you interpreted it that way, i was definitely aiming for the otherworldly scenario

  8. Scriptor Obscura

     /  February 1, 2012

    I love this story. Thank you for sharing it with all of us here.

    • thanks, I enjoyed writing it. Hopefully I’ll expand on it a bit in future, and maybe i’ll be brave enough to put more pieces of it online 🙂

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