Friday, February 4, 2011

Laughter Through Tears

This is the first prompt I've really struggled with. I thought the others would be hard, but they weren't too bad. This one, though. Ugh. Not loving the result; it feels a bit forced. 
Today's prompt was "to write a short piece in which a character told a joke and a character cried. The piece has to be maximum 600 words and must be able to be read aloud in no more than 3 minutes. It is from an NPR contest called Three-Minute Fiction." Let me just say, 600 words, wha? (I squeaked it in with 597.)

My awesome hubby shoveling for the second of five times during the "blizzard" on February 1, 2011.

Laughter Through Tears

•  •  •  •  •  •

"Where is he?" she thought aloud, for the hundredth time. 

The blizzard of 2011 had been hyped up quite a bit, but for once the meteorologists were right. It was hard to tell exactly how deep the snow was since the wind was causing it to drift so much, but it was at least the foot they had called for. Duncan didn't want to leave the police station unattended in case someone called in an emergency in this weather, so he had let Stacey know he was going to wait until the Chief got back from his nightly patrol before heading out. Duncan had even offered to stay overnight at the station with him, but the Chief was a widower and used to being alone. In fact, he preferred it. Besides, Duncan had a beautiful wife to get home to. A beautiful wife who never grew used to the worry that went along with being married to a police officer. 

When she'd met Duncan, she was instantly drawn to his pensive confidence, and she melted when he looked at her with his chocolate-brown eyes. But when she found out he was a cop, her infatuation with him almost screeched to a halt. The last thing she wanted was someone whose safety she’d be worried about constantly. But his kindness and concern for everyone’s well-being won her over.

She gnawed on a nail absent-mindedly as she searched for a hint of the cruiser out the front window. Finally, the red and blue lights could be seen floating along the space that was once identifiable as a road, and the tightness in her chest released a little. She had been taking shallow breaths without realizing it, and finally let out a big sigh. 

He had scarcely come in the door when she threw her arms around him.

"Hang on, honey," he smiled. "Let me get my coat and boots off so you don't get wet from the snow."

"I don't care," she answered, kissing his cold cheek. "I'm just glad you're home. How are the roads? Did you have any trouble?"

He paused. "Actually, I got rear-ended."

"What!" she pulled back from him, his face in her hands. "Are you ok?"

He took her hands in his, squeezed and let go so he could shimmy out of his coat. Somberly, he replied, "I got a crack."

"Where? On the bumper?" 

"In my butt."

"Oh my gosh, honey..." she started. Then she saw the twinkle in his eye. "Did you just say... you have a crack? In your butt?"

He smiled.

"Duncan, that's not funny! I can't believe you! I've been worried sick about you all day, and then you show up here TWENTY MINUTES after you should have been home, and you make jokes!" Stacey's shrieking ended in sobs, and she covered her face. 

Duncan's face fell, "Aw, honey, I'm sorry. You worry too much. I just wanted to lighten the mood." He put his arms around her and pulled her into a warm embrace.

She let a few more tears fall, sniffled, then reached her arms up around his neck. After she let out a couple of big sighs as he rubbed her back, he said, "Feel better?"

Stacey nodded into his chest. Suddenly she started quivering. 

"Stace? Are you ok?"

She looked up at him with a smile and giggled, "Seriously? Butt crack?" They both laughed. "Come on," she said. "Let's go make some hot chocolate and snuggle by the fireplace."

"Sounds like a great way to spend the evening," Duncan said, and followed her to the kitchen. 

Constructive criticism welcome. This one really needs it!


HonestConvoGal said...

Very well done!! I had my hubby read it. His family is all about the butt crack humor! I loved it

Home In The Hollow said...

Isn't he fresh, scaring you like that? It sounds like something I would do!!!!...:)JP

Jessica Anne said...

Hahahaha! I could really feel the affection between these two and her worry, great job. I went with the butt joke this week too. Classic comedy. :)

whispatory said...

I thought you did a great job of describing the frenzy we can work ourselves into especially since he was only 20 minutes late! And I love that he came in armed with a joke knowing she was worried. It was a lovely domestic scene.

Jessica said...

LOVE the crack joke, what a guy!

MultitaskMumma said...

Haha I thought that joke was hilarious

Carrie said...

I thought it was a really cute story. I had a bit of difficulty right at the beginning though. I wasn't exactly sure whose POV it was supposed to be.

Visiting from RDC

Cheryl said...

What is with guys and butt jokes? Although this one WAS kind a funny. ;)

The only thing was the last two lines of dialogue sounded kind of formal for people joking about butt cracks.

Erin said...

That was so cute! So sounds like something my husband would do!

Mandyland said...

I really hope you continue with this storyline. I really liked the play between the two of them and her worry for him.

His joke was a perfect foil for her fears.

Kristy said...

Awww! I didn't think it was forced at all! It seemed a natural part of their personalities and dialogue. It was a good illustration (the joke) for his fun character. I liked it. Very sweet.

Sherri said...

I am struggling with this prompt, too...may not get it done!

I like how you took a situation we've all probably been in (waiting on a loved one) and that feeling of being between tears and joy.

The only thing I would say was already said, about the very beginning. It took me a bit to figure out whose point of view it was.

Great job!

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

A friend once said to me, "I don't need children; I have a husband and a dog." Now that I am married, I SO know what she meant! LOL

Not Just Another Jennifer said...

Thanks everyone! I'm glad it came across as funny. A guy at work actually told that joke last week, so I must give him props.

Great suggestions about the beginning and ending. I reread it today and it doesn't sound as forced as it felt before, but I definitely see what you are saying about those parts. I'll rework them!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

I liked it. I always felt it was her perspective, but I kind of write that way when it's her thoughts, and then using her name that way.

My only bump was the 20 minutes. It didn't strike me as long enough, because initially I was really worried about him, too. But I thought he was mia for a lot longer. Otherwise I found it light and fun to see them interact. I guess I wasn't sure which way you wanted it to head, but it encompassed both aspects as asked for by the prompt, which I know was hard to do. I'd love to see you flesh out their characters and relationship more, if you plan to do so!

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