Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Writing Assignment Two

This week's writing assignment was an exercise in "showing" as opposed to "Telling." I'm a teller - so it was difficult. I was to write a descriptive paragraph that got the following points across:

Loretta and Mick were in a car
They hit a steamer trunk
There was a discussion of drunkeness
They opened the trunk to find a bunch of stuffed animals
They decided to leave the trunk there.


“’Rett? You ‘wake?” Half hoping to awaken her, Mick needed company. He knew what his wife really needed was sleep. A recent money laundering scandal and subsequent round of head rolling kept Loretta working brutal hours at the hospital. The precious little time she wasn’t writing reports, testifying in court, or generally scrambling was spent preparing for her first AMA presentation. Despite the 8-hour drive to an out-of-state hospital, she specifically requested that Mick drive. “I’d only work on the plane, but I’d get sick reading in the car… So if you drive, we can talk – and maybe I can get a little sleep.” She yawned her closing arguments. Mick, always the prudent lawyer, did not object.

Her careful preparations paid off. Although her presentation raised quite a few eyebrows, Loretta’s plan for optimizing ER procedures got her a dinner invitation with the hospital’s board chairman.

As dinner ended, the chairman walked his guests to the parking lot. Mick asked for a hotel referral. “There are closer places – but they’re unsuitable,” said the chairman. Bending, he sketched a quick roadmap on the newly fallen snow. “Easy enough!” With a wave, Mick and Loretta headed to the car.

Mick ushered Loretta into the car. Pulling a credit card from his wallet, he chipped the icy frost from the driver’s side. The cold clawed at his ungloved hands. The half-cleaned view would have to do until the defroster kicked in. Loretta, exhausted, was already asleep in the passenger seat.

The falling snow hitting the half-cleaned windshield was nearly hallucinogenic. Mick cracked the window. Wind rushed around his head. Again, the cold was too much. He closed the window and reached across the lighted dashboard to turn up the defroster.

Without warning, the car hit a something with a hollow, chilled thud. Mick hit the brakes, and instinctively turned the wheel away from the guardrail. Immediately awakening to the sound of rubber skidding across slick pavement, Loretta had no bearings. “What?” she cried. The car spun 270-degrees and stopped. Mick clicked the ignition off. The immediate silence that followed completely engulfed the senses of Mick and his wife.

“You okay?” Mick asked.

“What?” The shock of the collision wasn’t quite enough to shake Loretta from her nap. She shook her head.

“We hit something.”

“Are you drunk?” asked Loretta.

“No! Don’t be ridiculous.” A dent in the car scraped the tire of slush as Mick moved the car to the side of the road. As she stepped out of the car, Loretta’s foot landed in an ankle-deep puddle that revives her senses. “Gaakkk! Brrr!”

They approached the culprit. Sitting squarely in the middle of the road was an old sailor’s steamer trunk. It’s leather exterior scraped, and metal bindings dented with age and hard use. “Where’d this come from?” asked Loretta.

“Do you think we should open it?” She pulled a bobby pin from her failing updo and rattled the tumblers. “Can you do that?” Mick asked.

The lock clicked, combining a dull echo with a warming surge of victory.

Loretta smiled. “I’m a surgeon!”

Mick lifted the lid. The heap of white fur inside seemed to grow long ears, whiskered noses, and crystalline eyes. Loretta lifted one of the plush rabbits from its musty cage. Mick lifted another by the scruff of the neck. In his best mouse voice, Mick’s rabbit quipped, “Kind of a letdown.”

Together, Mick, Loretta and the rabbit closed the lid and drug the trunk to the side of the road. Smiling, Mick took Loretta’s hand and led her back to the car.

“Weird, huh?”

“We’re lucky they were rabbits…”



  • At 8:39 PM, Blogger Sarabeth said…

    Oh, can I participate. Here's what I would write.

    “Great party, huh?”

    “Yeah, but the drive home is going to be a bitch.”

    “At least you’re driving. I took my contacts out in the bathroom before we left. I wouldn’t be able to see a thing as dark as it is.”

    “I wouldn’t let you drive anyway, Mick. When you were talking to Joe and Tony you guys were chucking back the beer. Do you even know how many you had?”

    “No need to get angry. I didn’t have that much to drink. I’m not drunk. Didn’t you have a glass of wine or two at dinner.”

    “Gah! That was at dinner, which was, uh, two hours ago. Why are we discussing this? Just shut . . .Aaaarrrrggghhh.”

    “Holy shit. Crap. My head. Did you hit something?”

    “Yeah. I don’t know what. Oh, God, Mick. I hit the brakes as soon as I saw it.”

    “Saw what?”

    “I don’t know. I hit the brakes. I’m not drunk. I’m not. I hit the brakes.”

    “Alright, alright. Let me see what it is. Just calm down and find your phone, Loretta. Calm down. It’s probably just a deer or something like that.”

    “No, wait! I’m coming with you.”

    “Huh? Loretta, look at this. It’s a trunk.”

    “A what?”

    “A trunk. You know, like the kind they show in the Harry Potter movies.”

    “Wow, a steamer trunk. Geez, it’s hardly damaged. Open it.”


    “Okay, I will.” She laughs. “Mick, come here. Oh, crap. You can’t see well enough without your contacts.”

    “What are all those colors?”

    “Stuffed animals.”

    “Stuffed animals? What the hell?”

    “Come on. I’ll back the car up.”

    “What? Just leave it.”


  • At 5:45 AM, Blogger Kell said…

    I like that you did the whole thing with dialogue. It's an approach I hadn't thought of. :)- I feel like I didn't really know what to do with the stuffed animals either, so I left them alone. I've seen too many diamonds and dime bags hidden in stuffed animals to make that one new!

  • At 8:42 AM, Blogger Sarabeth said…

    I'm the anti-description writer. I have such a hard time making my descriptions real, life-like.

  • At 6:05 PM, Blogger Trixie said…

    Listen to you two writers yaking. You are precious. By the way, I had a ton of stuffed animals hiding in a steamer trunk while in DC for 3 years. They are now free and loved routinely by one little girl (Baby Salsa). Yeah, I would have rescued them. Yeah. Unless they smelled like piss.


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