8 Replies to “9.14.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. Used to be we thought she had it all. She was the prettiest girl in school and had her pick of the boys. And she was nice, too, and clever and her folks were known as good church people. We should have been jealous of her, but we liked her as much as the boys. Her name was Sissy and we thought the world was there just for her to walk around in.

    We all got jobs together at Bentner’s Insurance Company. It was clean there and the money was good and the hours were reasonable. Men in smart offices and smarter suits, with eyes that were always wandering, tried it on from time to time, and we all had our favourites. Sissy’s was Mr Rob Mercer; we called him Mercy-me. He was a looker, like Sissy, but the difference was that he knew it.

    At first it was just harmless fun. He sat on the edge of her desk and asked her about her weekend or he said she was looking real pretty today or he offered to take her away from all this. Sissy had a fish on the end of her line and she could have reeled him in any time she wanted. Only, that wasn’t who Sissy was. You see, Mercy-me was married with kids.

    Then one day there were flowers on Sissy’s desk, all scream and shout and wrapped in pink cellophane. There was no card and so we all got to speculate on who might have sent them. In truth it could have been anyone, right down to the mail boy who always lingered by Sissy’s desk in the morning stuttering out a ‘good day, Sissy’ and a ‘how are you, Miss?’ Mercy-me wasn’t one to let somebody else take the glory that was his, and when he stopped by Sissy’s desk he asked her straight out if she liked the flowers he’d got her.

    Flowers one day and chocolates the next. It was a veritable siege and all we could do was watch. Marianne who sat at the desk closest to Sissy’s was for a few brief weeks the office celebrity with all the gossip she collected and she told us word for word the sweet and sticky nothings that Mercy-me dripped into Sissy’s ear. It was only a matter of time, we thought, and we were all jealous and sorry for Sissy at the same time.

    Mercy-me took her to a motel on Cutler’s Street. It was out of the way and the reception book filled with people called Mr and Mrs Smith. We can only guess what it was like for Sissy behind the closed door of room 231 at The Windsor Green Motel. There were more flowers the day after and Marianne said Sissy swore when she saw them.

    Every Friday night for three months Mr and Mrs Smith took room 231 at the Windsor Green and they drank bourbon from the bottle and smoked Camel cigarettes. They stayed till it was dark and then went home in separate cabs. The flowers stopped soon enough and Mercy-me didn’t sit on the edge of Sissy’s desk like before and Sissy looked tired and kept making mistakes in her work.

    Then there was day and there were bruises on her legs and we all saw them. Sissy said she’d walked into a low table and that was all they were and she laughed when she said it, only her laughing didn’t really sound like laughing. And a scarf about her neck one morning, even though it was mid summer, and we all knew what was underneath the ruffled silk and Mercy-me was suddenly a dirty word in all our mouths.

    I don’t understand men. Not men like Mr Rob Mercer. He’s married for one and we’ve all seen his wife and she’s sweet and clean and they look good together. And they’ve got kids and a nice house and more money than they know what to do with. They’ve got what anyone else would see as perfect. So why does a man with all that go and risk everything for a few hours a week with a girl called Sissy? And then when he’s got Sissy to himself, why the bruises?

    I found Sissy crying in the ladies’ room one day at the close of work. It was a Friday and by then we all knew there was a room booked at the Windsor Green. I took Sissy in my arms and I asked her what was worth all the tears. She came home with me that night and we both got a little drunk on cheap wine and we laughed some and kissed and made a sworn pact in our drunkenness not to ever go back to Bentner’s Insurance. And in the morning we kept to the oath that we’d made.

  2. I had a little trouble with the chronology on this one…I thought they ended after three months, but they just kept going…what ended were the flowers and attention, right? Then it got ugly, apparently. I did enjoy the details, and Mercy-me certainly reminds me of someone I knew once….

  3. I see your point, Judith. Just needs a wee bit of tweaking to make it clear that they kept meeting but all the ‘pretty siege’ stuff stopped… like it was just taken for granted that she’d be there at the motel every Friday night so there was no need for him to make an effort.


  4. Thanks. Have you noticed how a lot of my men in these recent pieces are unfaithful bastards… and the women are willing victims. I need a new string to my guitar, I think.

    1. Of course, one might trace the recurring theme back to the prompts themselves….And there’s always Jessamyn West’s belief that
      “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.”

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