4.03.2006

65!

Boot Camp

I advertised myself as an organizer of life. Women called me at every level of desperation. I stuffed five different colored flyers under her door before I got her attention. I knew I eventually would. Her tendency toward chaos was as deeply ingrained in her DNA as in mine. I knew that she would eventually come to me. Call me she did, one Thursday night. She didn’t sound fifty. The voicemail recorded her words; I hadn’t answered because I knew I’d want to listen to it over and over. “I’m interested in your Weekend Boot Camp for Slobs,” she murmured. I called back and said I’d be over on Saturday. I arrived at Apartment 5D wearing a green T-shirt that said, “Your mother wears Army boots.” An inside joke between me and myself.

She opened the door. I stared at her face and it was better than any circus I’d ever seen. The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd. My mother’s face. She wore Capri pants, a pink sweatshirt embroidered with promenading poodles, and flipflops. Even though she’d obviously had a recent pedicure, her feet looked awful. Flaming, angular bunions from years of bad shoes. I winced. She barely looked at me; just led me through the apartment, apologizing for the muddle. We commenced the boot camp. “Drop everything and give me ten… books,” I ordered, trying to affect an attitude of snark. She obediently brought me a pile and we sorted with a vengeance. Read, donate, discard. We sorted through the mountain of objects on her bedside table. A brooch shaped like a diamondback terrapin: Donate. A postcard from Scotland of a marshy will-of-the-wisp. Discard? A bookmark for writers that said, Galleycat: Grow Your Mind. Ah. So she was a writer, too. I pinned it onto her bulletin board. “I have a hard time letting things go,” she admitted. She had kept everything she’d ever touched. Everything except me. Discard number one. I slipped the little turtle brooch into my pocket. Keep.


I'm amazed at entire stories that manifest in 338 words!

Scoring to come

9 comments:

JLB said...

ooo, this one is great, I really enjoyed it! On to the list of favs it goes!

Sam said...

High on my list of likes!
Love the last line.
LOL

C(h)ristine said...

very clever! amazing incorporation of the "requirements," plus a real story here to boot.

Self-appointed scorekeeper said...

oh no! A -20 for Bat Segundo!

Otherwise, great story!

melanie said...

The last line wins me over too! I can't believe it's only 338 words - amazing.

Salza Sal said...

Very clever - really liked this one.

McKoala said...

I'm dropping behind...darn the need to work and earn dollars. This one's great.

Miss Audrey said...

I'm sold.

lucy said...

Really really good. Contains some emotional depth. It makes me wonder what happens next. For me, those are 2 requirements of a good read.