Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Seven Minute Fiction: Gypsies, Tramps & Ascots

As I mentioned Sunday, I have been a member of an intergenerational writing workshop for nearly nine years but have written less and less for the group as life, work, this blog, my house take up more and more of my time. Fortunately we've gotten back to writing in class exercises instead of bringing in pre-crafted work. Having worked in my early career in noisy, chaotic news rooms, I do my best when being in a public environment and under a very short deadline. So I've enjoyed having to write on the spot more often. I really want to get back into it and have thought about launching a second blog called "7 Minutes Fiction" to display some of my recent and past exercises.

Here is last night's seven minute exercise which is not 100% fiction and is backed up by some facts. In other words, it's not entirely true but also not entirely false... I had had enough of San Francisco and announced to my circle of fair weathered friends over dinner at Boulevard that I was leaving this city that had brought me nothing but alienation and boredom.

Raising my glass of Rías Baixas Albariño I let them know that I was moving to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to open an ascot shop called Knots Landing.

Marianne Worthington de Hamasaki, ever the catty soul that she was, brayed, "Oh, Vivian Skyfe-Sappington has an ascot shop by the same name in Laurel Village. She'll sue you for every wretched penny you've got."

"Just let her try, " I snarled back.

It really didn't matter since most of the people in Coeur d'Alene pronounced the shop 's name as Kuh-naughts Landing and that was just fine by me.

"Why would anyone try to open an ascot shop in Idaho? There is nothing up ther but potato farmers and Mormons," Tarquin Wong Ferguson asked, stroking his own crimson brocade ascot with such smug superiority.

I let him know that I'd already built a healthy online trade and now was ready to open my show room on Oak Street in posh Far North Coeur d'Alene down the block from Restoration Hardware at the corner of Moroni and Fontana.

I also let Tarquin know that Spokane, just 35 minutes away, has the largest Gypsy population in North American and as we all know, Gypsies are obsessive about ascot collecting which they wear to any formal occasion.

"But they'll never pay you for them," Tarquin said. "Everyone know that Gypsies will steal you blind." He began cackling haughtily as I lunged across the table, knocking over wine glasses and half eaten creme brulets that crashed to the floor with a mighty force as I grasped my hands around Tarquin's neck, screaming, "You worthless racist snot!" I pulled the far ends of his ascot as he spat out Viennese champagne, arugula and braised goat cheese all over my Hugo Boss suit.

Marianne hit the back of my neck with a broken crystal goblet, screaming, "Stop before you strangle poor Tarquin with his dickie!"

"It's not a dickie, it's an ascot," I shouted back, as I tightened the knot.

CODA: I was curious to see if there was actually a Tarquin Wong Ferguson out there. Unfortunately I didn't find one, but I discovered Tarquin Thornton-Close (an equally cool name, and pictured on the right) who is a student at Earlman College in Richmond, Indiana. Boy, does he ever live up to that name in the photo!

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At 11:36 PM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

yeah boy: the look on that guy's face pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

Uh, fiction to one side, were you ever a journalist?

At 5:49 AM, Blogger Bryan said...

love it! what a dishy circle of friends you must have. Most of what I write tends to be based on my real life experiences. It always unnerves my friends (the very few that get to read what I write) what I might leave in and what I might leave out. Strange that they get worked up when I tell the truth about actual things that happened but when I go off on my own they call me a liar. WTF?

At 6:55 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rich - That Tarquin's quite a card, isn't he. Yes, I was a reporter/editor in my halcyon days.

Bryan - Well, unfortunately not many of my friends frequent Boulevard. If they did, I'd be more careful about breaking the crystal.

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Well, the Gypsies will need something fancy to wear to the future wakes and weddings, even if you weren't ascot-established in time for Jimmy's demise.
I promise not to break anything if we dine at Boulevard.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Jill - I've heard that Boulevard has been very rude or slow to serve Gypsy customers. As a volunteer with the Gypsy Anti-Defamation League, I try to monitor this regularly. They better watch out, or I may have Jimmy's ghost come haunt them.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Oh my....

At 4:40 PM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

JZDS - ...oh, me.

At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so, let me begin by saying that that is actually my yearbook picture from my freshman year of college. Yes, thats right, this is THE Tarquin Thornton-Close writing this comment. I don't know whats more disturbing, that someone will randomly post my picture on a writing website, or that people will refer to me as a card, and say that my expression says it all. What all does it say? Why am I a card? Whats the deal here guys?

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Anon - I think you're a card in the best possible sense. Besides having one of the coolest names I've ever heard, I think that expression shows a lot of personality and is not the usual bland, formal yearbook photo.


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