Wednesday, June 15, 2022

WEP Please Read the Letter #WEPFF Flash Fiction Story Scene

WEPFF June 2022
https://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com/2022/05/wep-june-challenge-is-on-with-more.html


This month's prompt is based on Please Read the Letter by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - a break up song and a moving plea for understanding at the termination of a relationship. Neither of these musicians need an introduction of course, both have umpteen awards to their names individually. The album Raising Sand where the track is included is a platinum with more than a million sold. The song was first composed and recorded by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and appeared on their album Walking into Clarksdale in 1998. It was rerecorded later again by Plant and Krauss in 2007 and was well received by critics. It went on to win the Grammy for the Record of the Year in 2009.


I never heard this song before, or of Plant or Krauss. Guess I live under a rock.

Anywho, I am using a scene from my WIP. (Another scene was in Write Club. Round 10) It's political fiction. Bess is the main character and narrator. Her name doesn't come up in this scene. Here's a glimpse at part of her character sketch.
Bess Character Sheet


The scene opens with Bess lounging on the upper deck of her house. https://www.pinterest.com/JamieWriter7/double-deck-porch/ I don't know how common double decks are around the world. Better setting descriptions are in the main story. So there's a link to one of my Pinterest boards, in case you've never seen a multi-story deck and are having a difficult time picturing this. It isn't very different from a balcony, except there are stairs outside that link it to a deck, porch, or patio below.

Konnor is exactly two years older than Bess. (He was born Jan 30, 2001. She was born Jan 30, 2003.) Riq has been his friend since childhood. There's some conflict as Riq (and his family) are part of a Christian terrorist group that claims it's a church; whereas Konnor has been exploring Wicca.

The actual story opens in May 2020. This scene takes place somewhere between June to July 2021. 😷 Bess is vaccinated and wears a mask. Konnor and Riq are opposed to Covid protections and are anti-vaxxers. However, Konnor has agreed to keep six feet apart from his sister because her doctors made a big stink about how vulnerable her craniopharyngioma makes her to Covid-19. This scene is NOT ABOUT Covid, but when you see how the siblings move around each other, well, that's why. 

Trigger warning: There is a pro-life/ pro-choice abortion mention. The place mentioned is based on a real location in my area where real protestors were really charged after assaulting a real person. 

Tagline: Hate jumps to conclusions. 
Scene Title: No Longer Yours
Author: Jamie 
Words: 984  FCA



When we were little, I nicknamed Riq "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," after the story of the mongoose. I stopped calling him that when he was about fourteen and I was thirteen. He got weird around me, which is difficult to describe. I felt uncomfortable around him and avoided being alone together. I attempted to talk to mom about it, but she didn't process what I was saying. She went on about what a nice boy he is. Told me that he mowed his grandfather's lawn. 

If today, Riq doesn't want his conversation with my brother overheard, they can go elsewhere. Or tell me to buzz off, as usual. I'm not intentionally eavesdropping. I'm lounging on the upper deck, clearly visible to anyone below who happens to look up.

Riq hands a red envelope to Konnor. "I need you to deliver this tomorrow after I'm gone."

Konnor turns it over. "What is it?"

"I was going to leave it nailed to Valentina's door. But I don't know if I want her parents or siblings to find it. Part of me does. I want to go to her father and tell him why I've broken up with her. Let him deal with that mess."

"What? You're breaking up with your girl?" Konnor puts the letter on the lid of the grill.

"I was going to propose before I leave for Montana. That's when I ran into Mike Bog at the pawn shop."

"The pawn shop?" My brother asks the dumbest questions. Ask why he's breaking up with her!

"Yeah. Figured I could afford a ring there. Anyway, you know how Mike is always protesting and preaching, trying to get people to follow The Word?"

Konnor nods as he scratches his black nail polish.

"He told me things. In fact, he pulled out his phone and showed me proof. Bro, she's been cheating on me. Giving it up to some guy. And then…" Riq hangs his head. "I can't say it. I'm ashamed for her, and of her, and of myself for having dated her. There's no way I can break up with her face to face. I'm too angry, too disgusted. I've been chewing on it for a week."

"Explains why you blew us off on the weekend. Man, that sucks. I thought you two were rock solid. She hook up with someone we know? Anyone I need to keep from sniffing around here?" Konnor tilts his head, motioning to my room, toward the deck I'm sitting on. 

Riq looks up to where Konnor indicated. He spots me and scowls. "How long you been spying on us?"

My spine snaps straight and the hair on my arms rises to attention. "What?" I tug at my ears, pulling out earbuds that aren't really there. "Couldn't hear you?"

"I asked what you're listening to."

"Expectations by Three Days Grace." Yes, I just went with one of my favorite songs. Riq's eyes narrow, then he turns his attention back to my brother.

"I don't know. Talk to Mike if you want. I know you two don't run in the same circles much. Or ask the traitor when you drop that off tomorrow."

Konnor nods. "Keep in touch, yeah?"

They do that guy handshake and half-hug move before Riq leaves. Konnor carries the envelope inside. 

____

I head downstairs to grab dinner. The red envelope is on the steps. "Please Read This" is written on the front. I know it isn't for me, but how can I resist such an invitation?


Valentina, 

Mike Bog saw you at the Women's Clinic on South Commerce. You've been cheating on me. Worse yet, you killed a baby to hide evidence that you cheated and that you aren't a virgin. I could maybe forgive the cheating. I could even maybe forgive you for breaking our vow to wait for each other until we got married. But abortion? I don't know who you are anymore. We don't share the same values. I suspected as much when you went out and got that godless vaccine. Prayer alleviates all and prevents diseases. If your faith was strong enough, you wouldn't need a vaccine, and wouldn't be having relations outside of marriage. 

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

You reap what you sow. I need more in a woman than you can give me. Faith, trust, and fidelity; all qualities I no longer believe you have or value. Our relationship is over. Please do not contact me.

No longer yours, 
Riq


"Put it down!" Konnor hisses when he finds me. 

"Sorry. I saw an envelope that said to read— "

"I know what it says! It isn't for you. Put it down." He takes a step closer. I double-check my mask before setting the letter and envelope on the steps. "He's wrong, you know."

"Riq can break up in a letter if he wants. Not your business."

I come down the steps. Konnor and I keep six feet apart as we switch spots, him heading upstairs. "Valentina goes there for laser hair removal."

"What?" Konnor folds the letter and eases it back into the envelope. "You don't know anything about this."

"Okay. If you say so. But I'm right. It takes a couple of months to do a spot." I place my finger above my lip. "Guess Riq isn't much of a kisser if he didn't notice the change."

"Who would go to an abortion clinic for hair removal?"

I shrug. "Who would call a hair removal place an abortion clinic? The Women's Clinic on South Commerce has lots of other health services. That's like calling a grocery store a magazine stand. Technically you can buy magazines there, but that's not their primary revenue."





30 comments:

  1. I liked the way you've treated this serious, complicated topic with great finesse and a touch of dry humour. Well done. Hate indeed loves to jump to conclusions.
    Btw, it was nice to have the character sketch and the background, but not having them wouldn't have decreased my enjoyment of the story. The excerpt can stand on its own. JFYI. Thanks for writing this topical entry and sharing it here.

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    1. Thanks.
      The two big criticisms I took from Write Club were 1- people didn't want to hear about covid/ vaccines and 2- (quote) "There is no description of the characters. I don't know how old the MC is, or even gender" . Because that scene, like this one, are from the middle of a book. Riq is the only character with any development in this scene. So I figured I could nip this one in the bud here, on my own blog, where there's space to paste in a quick info that the story at large contains. While the book as a whole is due to Covid and the vax debate is central, there is a twist in it, but that's not this scene.

      😊 Thank you for your kind feedback.

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  2. Nicely done. I guess Riq believes faith and trust aren't qualities he needs, only Valentina :) Sounds like she's better off without him!

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    1. Thanks for your comment! 😊

      My ex delivered water (those big water cooler jugs). Along his route were some Amish/ Mennonite barns. Not all, but there were a few (the ones using the water cooler service, which requires electricity for the "hot water" function) that had some modernization. BUT only the men were allowed in there. Because they'd still go to Heaven as long as their wife was obedient to the religion, all properly repressed. 😑

      Some tax-free, sexist, puppy-mill running animal abusers who get painted as ALL of them being "good people" because they're super religious. There are some good, as all religions have some good people. But there's a real bias between what's okay for guys vs girls. (Possibly one reason they're all up in arms over the trans and fluid and genderqueer. How will they know who to repress?)
      So yeah, I definitely wanted to paint how Riq doesn't see his own flaws, but expected her to live up to all his expectations, and immediately doesn't believe she has because another guy showed him a video of her at a place. Maybe she was picking up a friend? Maybe she went for other reasons? He doesn't even stop to ask. Because he's an ass. 🀣 Thanks for catching what I threw out there. 😊

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  3. Assumptions are often wrong, and Riq is an ass! Valentina will surely find someone better. ☺ I enjoyed the story and also the background info.

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    1. Indeed. Thank you for your comment! 😊

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  4. Hi Jamie - we so often jump to conclusions and make life a mess for us and others ... brilliantly told - thank you for bringing aspects to life for us to read. Cheers Hilary

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  5. Conclusions are truly dangerous aren't they? Just the same I think that Valentina will lead a richer and better life without his narrow mind limiting her.
    A rich piece on so many levels. Thank you.

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  6. I like your story. I think Valentina got lucky. Riq is not a guy I would want anywhere near me or anyone I love - he is too narrow-minded, pathetic beyond words. She is definitely better off without him.

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    1. I'm pleased you could connect with the characters.

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  7. Cool take on the prompt. Like the intro info. Story reminds me of the adage, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. In this case, don’t judge Valentina by a video. Wow, Riq was quick to assume the worst and not investigate. He’s deeply rooted in his religious beliefs and quick to quote the Bible. Hmm, wonder what happened to “Judge not that ye not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1-3) For sure Valentina is better off without such a narrow-minded guy. Thanks for a good read.

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  8. I loved this entry, Jamie. It was fun and I enjoyed the twist in the end. I'm curious to know what happened next. I hope Valentina has enough reason to bid goodbye to Riq. It's uncanny how we let our belief system come in the way of love.

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    1. Glad the scene makes you want to read more!

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  9. I think you captured the attitude of your characters really well. And so brave of you to write about such controversial subjects. I peeked at those double decks. The one with a slide looks like fun, but where would I put my walker? LOL
    Nancy

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    1. Lol. Guess you'd need one walker on each level.

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  10. I love how you used humor to elevate this serious topic :) Wonderful usage of the prompt!

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  11. For some it's so much easier to jump to conclusions and be angry than it is to simply communicate. Hate can certainly do that. I'd say Valentina will likely be better off without him and his snap judgments.

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  12. Since Riq was so ready to jump to conclusions instead of finding out what was really going on, it makes me think that Valentina is better off without him.
    A lovely touch of humour added to your piece.

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  13. An excellent story and I like the way the loaded topic of reproductive rights is handled. I think Valentina is well rid of Riq. He's surely the sort of guy who thinks that he's the lord and master of his family.

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    1. Yes, that's an accurate description for sure.

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  14. It's so easy to jump to conclusions and make mistakes that change so many lives. Good job. Thanks for contributing to this month's WEP.

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  15. I love the reply Bess throws out there. Shows she has some sass to her. Fun way to use the break up letter prompt with your WIP.

    I wrote a humorous piece for the June WEP prompt (it isn't adult, though some may mistake it as such at first, depending on your hobbies).
    And I'm contemplating my favorite book worlds for the IWSG July prompt (I'm co-hosting). Any thoughts?
    Over at Operation Awesome, we're gearing up for our Pass or Pages query contest with July's family saga genre. Know any writers who might want to enter?

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  16. Thanks.
    Hunger Games has a world that's... oh wait, we basically live there without the hope of the games.
    The city in Stargate Atlantis?

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