The Iron Writer Challenge #187
2017 Spring Equinox Challenge #8
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
M. D. Pitman, Josh Flores, Malissa Greenwood
Laughing older couple
Last sentence: “I’m sure they think we’re aliens.”
The man was magical, mysterious, and malicious. Malo Fortuna was a practical joker to anyone who crossed his path. His cruelness was hidden under a teddy bear façade–a lovable, huggable, balding grandpa.
The woman was equally magical while outgoing and cheerful. Buena would always pick up after her husband’s messes. In contrast to Malo, looking at her confirmed exactly who she was: a warm, loving, caring grandma who had baked some cookies.
They had grown old together over the millennia, acquired crepey skin, gained a few pounds, lost some hair, paled in coloring, and shrunk a few inches and yet their love and need for each other stayed true. One could not exist without the other.
Favian knocked on the Fortunas’ door. He cried in pain as a splinter dug deep into his knuckle. “I should have looked before knocking.” He was a chess playing stoic who wasn’t wont to emotional justifications. His appearance relayed his logical fortitude: simple, navy blue slacks and polo, with sensible walking shoes and his hair neat and short.
Malo chuckled. Buena shook her head in resignation.
Athena came up behind her husband. “You should have looked first. Pull that thing out and bandage up. Here’s the first aid kit.” She was a match for Favian in logic, stoicism, and chess mastery. Her visage harmonized with her husband, same outfit and haircut.
As she handed him the kit, a black cat ran out of nowhere and climbed up her pants, scratching and clawing. She dropped the kit. The jolt of hitting the ground split it open, and all its contents spewed across the porch of the old wooden cabin.
Malo’s evil laughter echoed in the cabin. Buena tsked him.
Before either of the visitors could react, Malo and Buena opened the door. As they looked at their guests, they couldn’t help but let out a hearty laugh. Favian and Athena smiled. There is logic in humor too, and this was funny.
After retrieving the kit and bandaging Favian’s hand, the young couple noticed the black and white gingham curtains. That reminded them of why they were here. They asked directions to the hotel where a chess tournament was to be held. The Fortunas obliged.
Buena stared at Malo as the couple drove off. “You’re subdued today. You are going to let them go like that?”
“Well, did you notice them? They aren’t normal folk. Strange-like those two were. I don’t think anything I would do to them would faze them whatsoever. Seems like they’re the type to think everything through and find a reason how THEY caused it. No fun in that. Nope, not if they don’t start to wonder at the magic around them and through them. Doesn’t do my soul any good to waste my time on folk like that. Best to leave them be. Strange people. The way they looked at us, I’m sure they think we’re aliens.”
Generational Integration Day
“Martha? Watchya makin’ over there?”
“I said, What Are You Making!? With the yarn!”
“Oh. I’m fine, it’s fine. Fingers are a little stiff. But that’s ok…”
Martha trailed off, either fully aware that the afternoon’s activities weren’t nearly as necessary as the nursing aids would lead us to believe, or indifferent to the idea of carrying on a conversation.
Today was Generational Integration Day at Meadow Winds Assisted Living. Some cockamamy outreach program designed to keep the residents active while promoting the facility’s “wonderful activities” to the community – you know in case there were people nearby thinking of sending their elders to this god forsaken hell hole.
Myself and ten of the other residents were positioned around the courtyard awaiting the arrival of a group of elementary schooled children. Martha and myself were seated at a picnic table where Christine, our glorified babysitter was tying down a brightly colored checkered table cloth. As if some simple gingham fabric could lighten our spirits by about thirty years.
“Well you just keep at it Martha. I’m sure the kids will love to … learn how to knit.”
Who was I fooling? You can’t teach a kid to knit in an hour. And even if you could, the kids these days wouldn’t be interested. To be honest, the kids these days probably aren’t interested in us at all. With our hearing aids, wheelchairs, our thin and wrinkled skin… we’d might as well be from another planet.
“Okay ladies! Today’s the big day!” Christine said to me, in that sing-songy way she talks.
“Sure is. How nice to be out here in the fresh air and sunshine?” I’ve learned to always stay positive with the aids – much less hassle.
“It is nice, huh Joyce?! The kids’ll be here any minute and you’re my main gal – you up for frosting some cookies with them?”
“Sure, I suppose I could do that.” I always got roped into extra activities. Course, I was much more mobile than some of these other old geezers.
“Here’s an apron – wouldn’t want to get that pretty dress dirty.” Christine winked at me as if we were old chums.
I tied the dingy white apron around my waist and attempted to arrange the frosting and sprinkles on the table when old Marty Mathieson walked over.
“Hiya Marty. How ya doin?”
“Better now I seen your beautiful face Joyce!”
“Oh, hush now. You know I ain’t buying what your sellin!”
Marty chuckled and nudged me with his elbow. “Sneak me one a them sugar cookies, sugar! I need the energy for these children comin’ in.”
“Oh, like you need more energy.”
“Sure I do. These youngins look up to us. We gotta entertain ‘em, ya know? They think we’re som’pin special.”
The kids were getting off the bus now, and every one of ‘em had their head down playing with some electronic gadget. They were probably confused by anything that didn’t fit inside their touch screens.
I looked at Marty – stained white shirt, overweight and old as all get out. Something special indeed.
“Oh, don’t kid yourself Marty. I’m sure they think we’re aliens.”
The Secret to a Long Marriage
Sonia carefully unfolded the red and white checkered table cloth as George brought out the potato salad and glass pitcher of lemonade. As he sat the dishes down on the freshly covered extra-long picnic table, he leaned into his wife of 53 years and kissed her cheek. He’s always stealing a moment to kiss his bride.
“Oh, George,” said the pudgy Italian woman. Her sun-kissed face grew redder, just as it always did when George stole a kiss, or gave a little slap on her backside. She always took offense but her indignation eventually melted into a coquettish smile. She touched her crepey cheek, covering each wrinkle kissed.
George’s broad shoulders always bounced as he laughed when Sonia started her overzealous objection. The 76-year-old tanned burly man knew she liked the attention. And she knew he knew.
Their love grew stronger every year, which is something their three children admired as they grew, married and eventually divorced. They looked for that perfect partner. They didn’t exist for them.
“Ewwww, Grandpa,” said the youngest of their five grandchildren, who was also the only boy of the bunch. He was playing in the yard with his trucks.
“Itsa okay, Bambino,” George said in his broken English. “You’ll like that stuff one day.” He flashed a smile and gave a wink to the six-year-old boy who returned to play.
The other grandchildren and the couple’s kids rushed out of the back door with the rest of Sunday’s supper –rigatoni, oversized stuffed meatballs, garlic bread, green beans and Italian cookies.
The family of 10 sat around the extra-long picnic table. George filling Sonia’s plate with exactly what she wants – two spoonfuls of rigatoni, one meatball, no potato salad and three spoonfuls of green beans. He kissed the top of the 74-year-old’s more salt than pepper woman’s hair. Sonia smiled.
The gingham tablecloth barely covered the ends. The couple’s oldest son, whose two daughters sat on either side of him, asked a question he always asked, “So how do you two do it? You’re like a couple of teenagers.”
George and Sonia always said honesty and church were what kept them together. This time, however, George and Sonia gave a different answer, which forced the kids and grandkids – except for the youngest as he tackled his giant meatball – to lean in.
“Well we do have our disagreements,” Sonia said.
All eyes grew wide (except for the youngest pair of eyes who was still staring down his meatball).
“And,” the kids and a couple of the grandkids said almost in unison.
“And we always fight in private … you guys didn’t need to see that,” said George.
Sonia looked at George and her husband winked at her as he gave a single nod. “In fact we had a fight last night, but we always make up.”
“Yes,” George said. “But I think we fight just so we can have makeup sex.”
The rattle of silverware on ceramic plates was the only noise, except for the youngest asking, “What’s makeup sex?”
George and Sonia looked at their family, and George turned to Sonia to say, “I’m sure they think we’re aliens.”