Thursday, October 6, 2011


This week, I found inspiration in six words offered at Easily Mused. The link gets you to the home page, so that you can explore this terrific forum for writers. You can also bump into some #fridayflash regulars over there. The words I used will be in the labels; I find that telling the words ahead of time detracts from a story. Comments welcome!


"Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes," the contestant sang, botching the melody for the tenth time. Jack threw Jenna a disgusted look. "I don't know how you watch this shit. Reality my ass."

Jenna curled up tighter under the raveling afghan, kept her gaze fixed on the television.

Jack fumbled in the kitchen, complained about the contents, or lack of contents in the fridge.

The contestant walked off the stage to condescending smiles and insincere thank yous from the judges. The host of the show spouted disingenuous platitudes, then issued a teaser for the next segment.

X Factor. X Games. X Box.

A child dressed as Darth Vader tried to make objects move. He flung his hands before him, but the washing machine did not perceive the pint-sized omnipotence. She changed X to EX, tried each one again inside her mind. Yeah, that worked. EX Box got Jenna snorting.

"What's so funny?"

She pointed to the television. Darth flinched, shocked that he started the car. His dad winked at the mom as he held the remote car starter.

Jack sat down, popped the top on a Narragansett. "Shit!"

Jack hopped up as frothy beer foam spewed his jeans. "Aren't you gonna do something?"

Don't giggle, don't laugh, face is stone, my face is granite....

EX marks the spot. Jenna giggled.

"Get me a friggin' towel, whydontya. Geesh."

Jenna went to the bathroom, pulled a damp towel from the bar. She dropped it in Jack's lap. Before she could return to her seat, he grabbed her wrist, pulled her down onto him.

"I remember a time when you woulda dried this for me."

He nuzzled her neck, reached his hand under her shirt.

She slid off his lap. "Hungry?" she asked.

"Huh?" Jack said.

"I'll make popcorn."

Jenna peeked through the cut through. Jack rested his forearms on his knees, stared at the screen. She opened the box of Pop secret, shoved a bag in the microwave, hit the "popcorn" button. Idiot-proof. If only everything was so simple.

The ersatz butter reek filled the apartment. So did feminine laughter.

Jack had changed the channel to HBO. Boobs filled the screen, and a dwarf—no, small person, she'd watched the documentaries, and besides, this guy was considered a serious actor, not a munchkin, not like a token member of a rapper's entourage—he was surrounded by gratuitous nudity until the scene cut to a guy getting beheaded.

"I don't know how you watch this shit," Jenna said, offering Jack the bowl.

He looked at her until she squirmed, then grabbed a handful of popcorn.

Jenna set the bowl on the couch between them, picked up the remote control.

On Demand, maybe there she'd find something they both liked.


Sonia Lal said...

Eh. 100 channels and there is never anything good on.

Linda said...

This scene is probably played in every town in America. Sometimes I wish we were back in the time of gathering around the radio. Great use of the prompts, and I'm addicted to X Factor, too ;^) Peace...

John Wiswell said...

A channel devoted to that Vader kid would be a good place to start. You say nothing good is on, and then pour beer on yourself? Women!

Good pell-mell, Peggy.

flyingscribbler said...

Personally, I'd be tempted to put that popcorn someplace else, that , or the remote. Great slice of 'reality'.

Karen from Mentor said...

I wanted to tell them to just go outside already.

[leave the remote, but take the popcorn]


Anne Michaud said...

Ugh, you've perfectly described the experience to watch TV in this day and age: boobs, reality crap, and more crap. I'd much rather read:)

Deanna Schrayer said...

So much like at our house, except, the hubby would be watching the reality shows (I hate those things!) and I'd have it on some paranormal stuff. :)

Fantastically written scene Peg!

Helen said...

How realistic this piece was! There's never anything on the tv at the same time that both of you like, I know that feeling..

Good story Peg!

Virginia Moffatt said...

Ha, ha. On demand is usually where my other half and I end up...Who said choice is a good thing?

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Sounds like Jack is soon to be an EX, and deservedly so.

Icy Sedgwick said...

When I lived myself, I watched nothing but documentaries about cinema, art history or archaeology. Now I'm back home, it's nothing but soap operas and sport. TV sucks. :-(

Mike Robertson said...

It's called a Boob Tube for a reason. Best I can tell, the process is complete: the boobs are IN the TV, and OUTSIDE of it as well. We are Reality TV, all of us now.