Sunday, January 26, 2014

Prompt: Describe a family member

I’ve never known my Dad as a young man. He’s always been “old.” Always balding and grey-haired with wrinkly skin. I was aware of this but used to it. My friends’ parents were always younger. It seemed odd to me. I got to the point where the idea of “old” became a very relative term. Especially when I heard people talking about how “old” there grandparents were. I had a grandmother who lived until she was 102. The only person I ever knew who was born in the 19th century. So I would gauge “old” relative to my Dad. Someone says their parents are old and I’ll ask, “How old?” Anyone younger than my Dad was still a kid as far as I was concerned.

I remember the first time I really thought, “Man! Dad’s getting old.” I spoke to him on the phone from a film set. For the first time I could recall, I didn’t just hear Dad talking, I heard an old man talking. When he moved into an assisted living facility in 2013, I was told that he showed signs of dementia. I wasn’t surprised to hear this since he was 89 years old, but it didn’t really sink in until I visited him for Christmas and he was talking to me and my girlfriend about church and ask me if I was “familiar with the LDS?”

I was surprised by this. I said to him, “Yeah. I was baptized the same day you were.”

Then he remembered. “Oh, yeah,” he said.

We joined the LDS Church as a family in 1983. We were members for over 30 years and he simply forgot. Then my step-mom told me about how he’s been confusing her for my late mother. Mixing up memories and reconstructing them into a different narrative of his life. I’m glad I was able to talk to Dad and record some of his stories while he was still more lucid. I don’t think I could get much in the way of a story out of him now. Which is a pity because he has lead a fascinating life.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Prompt: Write a story about a man who is forgetful

Jack got into his car, started the engine and pulled out of his parking space at his apartment complex. He was already 20 minutes late. He called ahead to let them know he was on his way. He didn’t dare tell them that he had forgotten about the meeting completely. He cursed himself as he turned onto the street and headed down the road. When he got to the third streetlight he remembered that he had left his presentation on a flash drive that was still attached to his home computer.

“Shit!” he yelled, then quickly made a U-turn when the light turned green, almost getting into a fender-bender in the process. He raced back to his apartment building, ran inside, fumbling with his keys and running into his home office. He grabbed the flash drive from his computer, ignoring the warning from his computer that it hadn’t been properly ejected.

By the time he was on the freeway, he started to relax, just a little bit. Then he realized that he forgot to put the physical model for his presentation into his car. “For the love of Mike!” He hit the gas and headed toward the nearest exit, turned around and got back onto the freeway to head back to his place.

He stubbed his tow on a concrete planter on the way into his building and limped his way back to his apartment. He grabbed the model and went back to his car.

Before long he was back on the freeway. The meeting was being held in a conference room at a hotel downtown and not at his regular office. Of course, he didn’t remember this until he had pulled into the parking lot of his employers. “I can’t believe this!” he screamed, as he spun around in the parking lot and headed back to the freeway.

By the time he pulled in front of the hotel, got his flash drive, model and handed his keys to the valet, he was sweating profusely. He ran into the lobby and turned a corner, ignoring the elevator and running up the stairs to the conference room. When he walked into the room, he was greeted with cold stares by his coworkers and their client.

“Hi,” he said as he brought his hand to his face and realized that he had forgotten to shave.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Prompt: The Unexpected Guest

I walked in the front door and put my coat on the rack. I then turned into the living room and there it was. What looked to be an old dog asleep in the middle of the floor. Danica walked in from the kitchen and said, “Oh, you’re home.”

“Who’s this?” I asked, motioning to the dog.

“I have no idea,” said Dani. “I heard him barking outside the front door and when I opened it, he just walked into the house, found a spot on the floor, laid down and went to sleep.”

I walked further into the living room and sat down on the couch, all the while keeping my eyes on the peaceful, sleeping dog. “Where did he come from?”

“I have no idea. He doesn’t look like any of the dogs from the neighborhood.”

“Do you think he’s a stray?”

“No. He seems pretty clean and well fed,” she said as she joined me on the couch.

“He isn’t wearing a collar.”

“Maybe he has a microchip.”

We continued to just sit on the couch together and watch the dog sleep. His paws started to wiggle and he made little noises that sounded like very quiet but high-pitched barks. He was dreaming. Dani and I smiled at this and enjoyed watching him, wondering just what he was dreaming about. Obviously there was some running involved. Perhaps he was chasing a cat or a bird or another dog? Maybe he dreamt of playing with his regular family.

“What should we do?”

“Maybe we should take him to a shelter. If he has a microchip, they can scan for it and tell us where he lives.”

“What if he doesn’t have a chip?”