Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Games We Play

By Ginny Padgett

When our writer’s group gathers every few months for a social evening, three standards mark the meeting: 1) good food; 2) camaraderie; 3) a writing exercise.

At our most recent soiree we were asked to write an opening for a story. The prompt to that exercise follows in bold face; my paragraphs ensue.

This activity really massaged my creative muscle, so I challenge you to use the prompt and, as our host Alex Raley said to us, “…see where it leads.”

“Mr. Witherspoon, a Susan Matthews is on line one for you.”

“Okay, thank you.”

Bill closed the office door and pressed the line one button. “Susan, I told you never to call me at the office.”

“Bill, we have to talk. Can you meet me for lunch?”

Bill hesitated for a moment before responding, “I’ll pick you up in twenty minutes beside the dry cleaners on the corner two blocks from your office. We still need to be discreet.”

After returning the handset to the phone, Bill took a key from his briefcase and unlocked the bottom desk drawer. Retrieving a Sig-Sauer P232, he tucked it into the waistband at the back of his gray flannel pants. He donned the single-breasted jacket and went into his private bathroom.

The full-length mirror assured him his weapon didn’t disturb the svelte lines of his $2,000 suit. He leaned forward to study his face and then concentrated on relaxing the tense muscles that showed the stress from the last two weeks. Taking a cleansing breath, he tried on several smiles until he found one that would convey trustworthiness and compassion to Susan.

Locking his office door behind him and then turning toward his assistant’s desk, he said, “Elaine, please cancel all my appointments for the rest of the day. The assisted living facility where my mother lives just called. She’s suffered another stroke and I need to go to her right away.”

“Sure thing, Mr. Witherspoon. I’m so sorry. If I can do anything, just ask. Don’t worry about anything here.”

“Thanks, Elaine. I appreciate your concern,” he said as he strode toward the reception area and the elevators beyond.

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