Mental Mudpies, Vol. 2

It’s time for another installment of Mental Mudpies, our homemade creative writing exercise. Like “flash fiction,” the goal is to be succinct, but it’s a little different since pre-selected words conspire to shape and direct the story.

Use the following words, in order, to create something original:

Dave, silo, drab, lied, Levis, closer, arid, inert, mows, shoes, late, fuse

The words were excised from a crossword puzzle’s across clues, in order. Paste your own story in a comment to this post.  If you decide to play along, try not to read the other posts until after you’ve written yours…it will keep you from being influenced as you write.  Word nerds unite!

(Click here for Mental Mudpies, Volume 1.)


One Response to “Mental Mudpies, Vol. 2”

  1. The name on his shirt said, DAVE, and the cursive font on the patch looked out of place on the worn, stained fabric of the work shirt. I’m guessing he was in his 50’s. He swayed back and forth in his chair and expelled a light cough every few seconds. Curiously, he was covered in grass, dust, and hay shoots, like he had been through some kind of trying ordeal. I sat and tried to imagine what had happened to him, maybe he had tumbled off a cliff or was buried alive in a grain SILO and had clawed his way out.

    I was there in the clinic’s waiting room, waiting like I was supposed to. My wife and mother-in-law were back there somewhere seeing the doctor in charge of this dumpy little establishment. It was a small DRAB building, neatly inserted into a forgettable strip mall and was a medical last resort for locals. A lady came in having chest pains and was given a clipboard of forms and escorted to a chair by the porky little nurse. The nurse eased her down and LIED, “The doctor will be with you shortly.” I knew better. I had already spent 3 hours in the place. The little old lady with chest pains would have rigor mortis before she got a prescription.

    I sat there with a “Field and Stream” and shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I was running out of magazines and patience and I started to wonder if my wife and mother-in-law had escaped out the back door and begun a new and exciting life together. Dave sat across the room from me and continued to cough. It seemed like an automatic function, a small cough every five seconds, like some kid of reject kid’s toy. He pulled out a handkerchief from the back of his LEVIS, hocked up something from down deep, and spit it into the cloth. After wadding the handkerchief, he put it back in his pocket and offered an “excuse me” to no one in particular.

    The old woman continued filling out her forms, inching CLOSER and closer to the clipboard. Soon her head would hit paper. Though it was the middle of a hellish summer, it felt like the clinic had the heat on. It was a thick, ARID atmosphere and you could almost see the germs and bacteria stretching out on their beach chairs and taking in the invigorating warmth.

    Behind the plate glass window, I could hear the nurse gabbing to someone on the phone. She giggled into the receiver and I looked at my watch for the hundredth time. Dave had stood up and was now gazing out the window into the parking lot, swaying slightly. The old woman was completely INERT, slumped against the wall like a bag of rice.

    Another nurse opened a door to the waiting room and called out louder than necessary, “David West?” Dave jerked around at the sudden noise and marched towards the nurse who was beaming at him like he had brought her flowers. “So how are we feeling today?…” and they disappeared down the hall behind the door. I strained to hear what else the nurse was saying to Dave but it was a retreating mumble interrupted by the crisp sweep of a privacy curtain.

    I got up and walked up to the front desk window to ask, again, what could possibly be taking so long, when I overheard the little fat nurse still talking on the phone…”The guy is a landscaper, you know, MOWS yards and weedeats and stuff. So he goes to work drunk, apparently, and completely passes out while he’s dumping the bag of his lawnmower and falls face first into a huge pile of grass. He sleeps there for over an hour when a coworker finds him, but he won’t wake up. No. Passed out cold. They pushed him here in a wheelbarrow and dumped him out on the sidewalk. I’m not lying. I don’t even think he’s hurt, they’re just trying to get a doctor’s note or something to scam their boss. This place is crazy. Absolutely! We have another woman here that has Chlamydia but won’t leave the examination room because she didn’t get it from her husband. Yes! He’s here in the waiting room. I know! You remember the time I…”

    I allowed her voice to fade and stood there looking at my SHOES. It wasn’t too LATE for me to turn around and walk away and pretend I hadn’t heard anything. I could simply return to my seat and start flipping through my magazine again, fantasizing that the nurse was talking about another patient and another husband and another marriage. But I just couldn’t do it. I had been waiting too long. The FUSE had been lit, lit long before this visit to the clinic. I opened the door and entered the hallway leading to the patient rooms, ready to start fresh.

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