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?"
"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!