Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Every Tuesday, Sandiegomomma gives writers a prompt to help inspire us and make writing fun! Today's prompt?

Please finish the story begun with this sentence:

She lifted the smudged glass to her lips, stopped mid-raise with that familiar lopsided smile and whispered, “This is the last you’ll see of me.”

"I wish," I said, tired of her sassy mouth and the way she always tried to act like she was so mysterious. Truth be told I was tired of being stuck with her and Clyde, in this dirty hideout. We'd been traipsing around the country from houses to sheds to barns, and now we were in this little ole motor court outside of Platte City, Iowa, running from the law and - frankly - worrying about Bonnie's burnt leg. It wasn't healing the way it should.

I had been asking - begging - Buck to cut loose from his brother, now that they'd given him his parole. We could go back to Oklahoma and build ourselves a life with my folks. Or we could go back to Denison - I know Ardis would hire me back at the salon, and Buck could get an honest job.

But here we were - again - on the run with Clyde and W.B, and Miss Priss-pants Bonnie, who looked at me now with a smirk like she was sorry for me - as if I was the weak one, needing care, even though she was the one who couldn't walk, and who cried in the night when the pain came. Like she was somehow better than me just because she'd had some poems published in some newspaper. Okay, I admit that she's prettier than me, and such a tiny little slender thing Clyde looks at her like he loves her to pieces, but there's something mean as a snake about that girl, and I don't like my Daddy* being around her and Clyde.

In the silence, I could hear the insects chirping, and smell the cigar smoke from outside. Clyde and W.B. smoked, and because I wouldn't let Buck come to my bed with cigar smoke on his breath, the three men stayed outside when they drank. "That fuckin' sonovabitch," I heard Clyde say, "Just let him put me in that box again, just see if I'll let him! We'll storm the goddam prison farm and bust everyone out!" I could hear Buck murmur trying to calm him down like he always does.

Bonnie and I were inside one of the two bungalows near the rear of the motor court. We'd been quiet, to keep clear of the law. She was sitting up on the bed with her injured leg propped up in front of her. The water glass stood on the nightstand, with an inch of neat whiskey in it.

"You want me to check those dressings?" I asked. I was always trying to be a good person. It was what my mother had always told me to do. Poor little thing had been hurt in that car wreck, and being on the run made it hard for the burns on her leg to heal. "I could warm up some water for a poultice," I offered, hoping to turn her mood. Like always when she started in drinking, she could turn mean or sweet.

She looked at me, and in the dim light of the kerosene lantern, her thin little face looked like she was about twelve. "Blanche, you're so good to me," she said, and sighed. "I didn't mean to talk the way I do. What is all this going to come to in the end?" Seems like tonight she was being sweet, although I knew it could turn just as quickly the other way.

"You'll get better, don't you fret," I said. "We'll be together a long time - we're sisters now. I went to town this afternoon got me some gauze and some merthiolate. You want some more in that glass before I take off the tape?"

She gulped a mouthful of whiskey and turned her head away while I peeled off the bandages. It was hard to keep a wound clean living the way we've been doing. I soaked my handkerchief in the water I boiled on the paraffin stove, and tried to lay it on gently. The flesh was swollen and corrupt, and it hurt me to see it. Bonnie's eyes were closed and she drew her breath in through her teeth.

The sound of a car engine broke through the chirp of crickets. From the front of the cabin, I heard the men knock their chairs over, their footsteps running behind the building. As I saw the headlights sweep the windows, I turned to look, and from the corner of my eye I saw Bonnie roll off the bed onto the floor away from the door. Car doors slammed, and then there was a pounding on the door.

"Open up in the name of the law!" It sounded like something out of the movies.

Bonnie was gone, I was the only one in the room. I went to the door and put my face near the jamb. "Hang on a second while we get dressed," I cried, and then the night burst open in sparks and shattering glass and I fell to the floor. A bright light filled my eye and I could no longer see what was happening.

* This is my first foray into a kind of historical fiction. I've been researching the story of the outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, and the PROMPT this week made me think about the peculiar relationship all the members of the Barrow gang had with one another. They were young, they were damaged, but above all they were family. Blanche Barrow, who was married to Clyde's older brother Buck, called her husband "Daddy" and he called her "Baby." In January 1934 at the Red Crown Tourist Resort near Platte City, Iowa the Barrow gang was ambushed by local cops. Blanche Barrow was blinded by shattered glass in her left eye. The two couples escaped, only to be ambushed again shortly afterward, where Buck Barrow was killed and Blanche arrested. Blanche never saw Bonnie and Clyde again. Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed in May 1934 and killed. For a very informative website about the outlaws, go to Texashideout.tripod.com


mo.stoneskin said...

Crumbs, all that following on from a smudged glass. Loved the characters.

Kate said...

I'm blown away; you've taken me back to another era. Gorgeous writing, powerful imagery. Loved it!

G, when are you going to write that book?

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

Pretty fescinating, and quite a piece you wrote---you have tremendous writing talent!

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

terrific! kept me going until the last sentence!

San Diego Momma said...

That was awesome. I loved the characters, the "scene," the premise, the tone, all of it, all of it.

I do hope you'll keep going. This genre suits you.

Joanie said...

You did a great job!

Da Goddess