Fancy Meeting You Here

Over the next eight weeks I am participating in a writing class offered through the Literary Kitchen and one of my writing mentors, Ariel Gore. Among our assignments each week is a weekly ‘Quick Write’ practice, which is to be completed in ten minutes or less, in response to a prompt. For this first QW, the prompt was ‘Tell the story of running into someone who you didn’t really want to run into.’ Here’s my reply to QW#1:

It was a Monday like every other. I dragged myself out of bed and stumbled past the family at the breakfast table, tanking up for a day at school. Routine–I rounded the table as I passed them, greeting each with a good morning kiss on the top of the head.

Practically sleepwalking, I was into the bathroom, disrobed and in the shower without thinking about it. Like a million times before, I grabbed the shower curtain to pull it closed. A thud at my feet and sudden movement jarred me from any remaining slumber. An eastern rattlesnake had dropped between my feet. The wake-up efficiency was espresso, squared.

If only a video existed. I somehow went up and out, taking the shower curtain, rod and a pound or so of wall plaster with me as I exited the tub. I screamed something. I don’t remember what, though my wife recalled that it included “Jesus!” and a string of expletives we should expect to hear repeated by the kids.

The serpent and I engaged in a brief stare down. He won.

Naked! I have to tell you, the first thought that crossed my mind was that I was buck-naked and should this snake bite me, paramedics would arrive, and … Underwear! I reached for the briefs. What a relief! Amazing how the thought of dying in your underwear as opposed to out of them makes a difference. Now, what to do?

The serpent was turning circles, rattling his tail, and cussing little snake words no doubt, because he couldn’t scale the sides of the antique tub. My wife kept it scoured–slick, slick, slick. Never again would I complain about how slippery that old tub could get. He had probably worked for an hour to get up in the curtain, moments from escape, when my morning ritual foiled his plan.

All I had at my disposal was a wastebasket and a long handled back scrubbing brush. And my underwear. What more does a man need to protect his family? ‘It’s you and me, serpent! Let’s dance!’

So there you have it. Hope you enjoyed. Have you ever written a short/quick to a prompt like this before? Good practice? Or aggravating? 

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