Dull To Dramatic: A Writing Exercise

This week’s writing exercise was to write one bland and one exciting story. I loved Houdini-ing words and laying the drama on thick with this one. Pardon grammatical or punctuation errors; it’s an exercise, after all.


With my cart leading and one item on my list to get, I turned the corner, pencil in hand. Bang, into a cart, the pencil drops from my hand. Bending to pick it up, I hear, “Watch where you’re going, old lady.” Pencil in hand I rose, my eyes met hers. A woman or girl rather, with a tattooed neck, wasn’t moving, her arms pushing forward, pushing me back. I was stunned as the pain in my hip pulsed, and I grabbed the cart to stabilize me. I felt like crying, but something in me stopped. In my mind spilled images of years of abuse, and the numb feeling in my chest. In came my Dad’s dark shadow, my brother’s taunts, and my lover’s and bosses’ selfishness. This woman, just one more unempathetic person in a long line, was the last straw that broke them all. “Say that to me again,” I said, hands holding firmly, my veins showing. My eyes widened as I pulled the gun out of my purse, the same one I’d use on my husband before hopping on a plane to Mexico with the briefcase of cash I’d saved. She took a step back, seeing its sight, and I added, “Sweetheart, be careful who you mess with.”


With a package of Foster Farm’s honey ham unchecked box to go, I cut a lane’s corner with my pencil mid-air, ready to strike. Suddenly the nubbin of my number two is raped out of my hand from a violent hit. “Watch where you’re going, old lady.” I dizzily bend and feel my back creak like an unoiled porch swing as I finger for the yellow, teeth-marked pencil. I then use the cart’s metal squares to pry myself upward to a bent stance. My thick spectacles meet her purple lenses along with the ink of her snake piercing a blood-dripping heart that’s strangling her neck. Her arms seize, and her bulldozer pushes me back. I am rendered unconscious by a flicked nerve in my hip and wobbly pull the cart in. To rumple like a rag doll is preferable, but instead, a prison door swings open. The years of abuse, covered up by makeup and casts, and of cat and mouse from Father’s dark shadow, my brother’s “four eyes” taunts, and my bosses slithering ways. Poor dear, she is such a short stretch of highway in this endless asphalt I drive. “Say that to me again,” I vomit, veins burning fuchsia. Then a storm hit; I pulled the Glock 19 from my Versace handbag, the same one I’ll unleash on my husband before taking a taxi to the airport for a one-way on United flight 14 to Mexico with the briefcase of cash. She tripped backward at its freshly oiled barrel. “Sweetheart,” I whispered as sweetly as Betty Crocker herself, “Be careful who you mess with.”

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