Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Only The Pencils Are Sharp - Magpie 18 - June 15, 2010






Only The Pencils Are Sharp - Magpie 18 - June 15, 2010


She was so exhausted, she could barely make it up the second flight of stairs.  There had been
a second Code Blue on the evening shift and, while her patient had survived, it had been such an emotional evening, with at least fifteen family members in and out of his room all night.  She shouldn't have worked overtime, especially since she had the 7AM morning shift but they really needed the money.  Jeff still hadn't found any kind of work, nor had he completed a screen play or his novel.  Three months ago, she had been supportive of his taking the time to finish his book while she did extra shifts to cover their living expenses.  It seemed like he wasn't putting in any time on this lately, coming home instead long after she had gone to bed.  He told her he was "networking" with other writers, getting leads on possible jobs and collaborating on a t.v. movie with two other men. 

For his birthday, after he told her he hated using a computer for his first draft, she had given Jeff two boxes of number 2 pencils, an electric pencil sharpener, and a ream of lined paper.  She'd never seen him use any of it.  Before she left for work this morning, she'd had an angry confrontation with him about his idleness.  He had stormed off in a rage.

The alarm went off at 5:30AM.  She felt as though she hadn't slept at all as she stepped to the bathroom sink and splashed water on her face.  Jeff was sleeping so soundly, he hadn't even budged.  Quickly, she applied makeup and stepped into her scrubs.  In the kitchen, she poured water into the coffee maker and poured herself a bowl of cereal.  Glancing at her watch, she saw that she still had thirty minutes before she had to get morning report and the hospital was only a ten minute walk from their front door.  She poured milk into her cereal and looked in the dish drain for her favorite coffee mug, one that had belonged to her great grandfather.  He had gotten it when he attended the coronation of George VI of England.  It had belonged to Elaine
since she was ten-years-old when her great grandfather had given it to her.  She had admired the crown on it and he said, "Since you are my little princess, you should have it."

Perplexed, she looked everywhere but could not find it.  Suddenly, her gaze fell on Jeff's desk in the living room.  There, holding all the sharpened pencils, was Gramp's coffee mug, her special treasure from which she had been drinking hot chocolate, then coffee, every day for the last fifteen years.  Without even thinking, she grabbed the colored pencils and threw them, screaming at the top of her lungs, all over the room.  When Jeff ran into the room, she sat clutching the mug to her heart, crumpled in sobs.



36 comments:

  1. I thought she was going to stab Jeff with a sharo pencil!
    I sure felt her frustration and anger! Good job!

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  2. "A pencil"...
    It has nostalgia, the warmth of the human heart.

    The touch. Colors. design. ...
    There is surely them in my very front.

    The PC does not have the actual situation.
    The aerial world.

    I feel that the pencil is the treasure.

    Thank you.
    ruma

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  3. Very realistic, evocative, and sad. I hope it isn't true! As always, love the writing.
    Kat

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  4. Powerful scene, and a great lead up. How could he?

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  5. amazing story!

    You are good- writer!

    hugs

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  6. bittersweet..I wonder if Jeff's intention was really to draw some inspiration into his pencils from her cup..but oh how I can relate to her...Great Magpie!

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  7. yikes...perhaps he should start using those pencils soon...though it sounds like he barely notices what is going on around him...nice magpie.

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  8. I love how you weave your former vocation into your tales, Carmen. Nice!

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  9. Wow - what a scene! So much going on inside her - I feel like there's lots more story in her!

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  10. Your Magpie is gripping and I am wanting chapter two! More please.

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  11. since i am pretty new here...is this all we get or is there more to come? :-) i'm intrigued!

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  12. You had me feeling her frustration. And I agree she should have stabbed him with those pencils..Nicely done.

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  13. Enjoyable read! I'd have been mad with him, too! I'm so sentimental with possessions.

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  14. very touchy
    having all emotions of our life

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  15. We should all definitely support the arts..but sometimes we have to kick a "mug" to the curb!!

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  16. Great read. I too would like to know what happens next. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. I think her "fun meter" was definitely pegged.
    Good Magpie- got all her frustrations out!

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  18. Travelingjoan - she definitely should have booted him out of the house. He'd been freeloading too long.

    By the way, I just loved the sweet card you made and sent to me. It brightened my day immeasurably, Joan. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!! How are you enjoying the book?

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  19. Ruma2008 - I am so honored that you visit from Japan and take the time to read my short story!

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  20. Kat_RN - fiction on my part but I'm sure it has been experienced by many. It must be getting VERY warm in your part of the world! Still nice here in the San Francisco area but warming a bit.

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  21. lakeviewer - I think we nurses often take in men that we shouldn't and take far too long to give them their walking papers ( voice of experience! )! Hope your daughter is doing well.

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  22. Dulce - I love seeing your name..it always makes me think of yummy dulce de leche!! Hugs to you.

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  23. soundoffreedom - well, Jeff was taking far too long to get creative and she was footing the bills much too long!!!

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  24. Brian Miller - I think she was getting a little tired of being the bread winner and seeing nothing forthcoming from Jeff but late nights with his friends!!!

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  25. willow - I do find myself taking advantage of 21 years as a forensic nurse in some of my writing efforts, especially in the Magpie area!

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  26. Jennifer - poor Elaine, that may well have been the impetus for her to throw Jeff out and improve her situation!!

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  27. Beautiful, I think people brain is charp too, don't you agree?

    My Inspiration
    My Bangkok Through My Eyes

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  28. Helen - I'm not sure I'll be able to do a second chapter to this Magpie but I'm sure willow has many more for us!


    At 65, I've done it! My poetry book - Life's Journey by Carmen Henesy - is out on Amazon!
    ( Poems about the things that have been important to me in my journey through life, some humorous, some sad, some that may have meaning to you as well )
    http://www.amazon.com/Lifes-Journey-1-Carmen-Henesy/dp/1451547366/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274652997&sr=1-1

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  29. jillsy - I just noticed you're from Atlanta...actually, I'm from Columbus, GA ( 65 years ago ). My brother is in Flowery Branch and my mother, sadly, in February, was hospitalized at Gwinnett Extended Care in Lawrenceville ( age 85 ) - she no longer even knows my brother or me after her stroke.

    As for Magpie, there's a different prompt every week! It's a lot of fun.

    Perhaps if I get to Atlanta, we'll meet! Since I lost my nursing job of 21 years fifteen months ago in San Francisco's massive budget cuts, my travels have become minimal, though.


    At 65, I've done it! My poetry book - Life's Journey by Carmen Henesy - is out on Amazon!
    ( Poems about the things that have been important to me in my journey through life, some humorous, some sad, some that may have meaning to you as well )
    http://www.amazon.com/Lifes-Journey-1-Carmen-Henesy/dp/1451547366/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274652997&sr=1-1

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  30. Tina - it was fun writing that. Stabbing him wouldn't have been good for her but kicking him out certainly would have!!!

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  31. Lena - nice to have you visit from Scotland!!! Yes, Jeff was so unobservant, he didn't even realize what that mug meant to Elaine...time to boot him out and look for a more caring partner
    ( and one who shares the rent! ).

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  32. sm - it's much easier to write about things we experience and to which we can relate!!!

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  33. Lyn - how true...Jeff and his pencils, minus the mug, should be out the door!


    At 65, I've done it! My poetry book - Life's Journey by Carmen Henesy - is out on Amazon!
    ( Poems about the things that have been important to me in my journey through life, some humorous, some sad, some that may have meaning to you as well )
    http://www.amazon.com/Lifes-Journey-1-Carmen-Henesy/dp/1451547366/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274652997&sr=1-1

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  34. Sue J - willow will have a different prompt next week so I guess Elaine and Jeff's tale ends with this Magpie!

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  35. kathew - hopefully, Jeff was gone by the time she got home from work!!

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  36. This surely calls with reality - :) I wish 'her' well!

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