mcsweeney’s prompt #1

Write a scene showing a man and a woman arguing over the man’s friendship with a former girlfriend. Do not mention the girlfriend, the man, the woman, or the argument.
 Frida slinks noiselessly onto the patio, face tilted upwards to revel in the dewy breeze of the early morning. The sun is new, a chaotic splash of pink and orange in the sky. She wonders for a moment why the screen door was left open, but she feels no trepidation or suspicion, simply curiosity. To her understanding, it is considered bad form to leave doors ajar, but whether the paranoia behind these sorts of decisions is steeped in a desire to keep things inside or out, Frida cannot say. She is pondering the glistening grass two stories beneath the faded wooden planks when she hears a phone chime.
Ah, she nods knowingly to herself. She finds the familiar, warm intersection of railing that has no jagged nails or bits of wood poking out, and plants herself down with a contented murmur. Curling her limbs snugly to her center, she watches the similarly familiar display with amused condescension. She is confident of the structure; well-versed in the content; and thus utterly bored with the predictability, but there is so little else to entertain her at the moment, and this spot really is warming up quite nicely.
The first volley. An amiable effort, to be sure. Lackluster, at worst. It is a rehashing of a rehashing of a mangled horse, blood long coagulated and visible skeleton starkly yellowed. Jealousy is a bitter thing, souring the air. Frida yawns, and imagines she can taste the verdant tang on her tongue.
New evidence, fresh accusations. Even Frida can’t resist cocking an eyebrow, eyes darting back and forth in the sudden, tense stillness. A bluejay chortles in a tree nearby, a shrill three notes. The sun grows warmer with each passing minute, miniature beads of dew evaporating beneath its widening glare. A thin film of panic coats the drying wood, slicking every surface, and Frida huffs unkindly. Simple-minded fool, she thinks.
Her thoughts are echoed, violently, and there is a sudden movement and a faintly damp squelch. Frida peers over the ledge to find a small dark shape in the grass that rings, a tinny, sorrowful sound, a telling sound. As dramatic gestures go, a rather desperate one. She wonders if this act heralds the end, if the truth has at last been unearthed and illuminated. The murmured pleas tell her yes. The gasping sobs tell her yes.
It’s too hot, now. Leaping lightly down, she winds her way to the cluster of folding chairs, between flanks of soft skin that have never tensed at her touch, never itched to kick her in a moment of undeserved frustration. Resettling in the cool shade and hissing slightly at the outstretched hand, she curls back into herself and idly licks a paw, plotting her revenge.
She had chosen sides months ago, anyway.

One thought on “mcsweeney’s prompt #1

  1. upstreamer says:

    tricky one that was all-write! intrigues of felines?

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