Friday, September 18, 2009

#fridayflash: Getting Ready

*****

Monday, it had been the flat sheet with faded yellow cabbage roses, the old one washed until it felt like flannel.

At first, Ruth thought she’d forgotten to wash it. But then she remembered how it had hung up in the wringer. She’d shut the infernal old machine off and wriggled that sheet out like a reluctant calf.

On Wednesday, she knew something was afoot. Two raggedy bath towels went missing—towels she’d washed to get ready for Trixie’s puppies. The old hound’s belly was big as a watermelon, her time coming soon. The towels had hung in the middle of the stretched lines, between Virgil’s work pants, not on the end where they’d be easily grabbed. The discriminating thievery made Ruth stop and think.

This morning, she baited the trap, hanging an old tablecloth Virgil spilled ham gravy on. Even after washing, it still smelled meaty. She sat behind the sheers overlooking the clothesline, her day’s work done, but for the dinner that needed starting. The house bore the clean stamp of settled quiet, beds long made, dishes drying in the drainboard, kids long grown.

She sat in the filtered sun and soaked in the silence. It wasn’t long before the old thief showed up, belly swaying. She waddled ponderously, back swayed from so many litters. Gray hairs grizzled her snout as she tugged the tablecloth gently from the line.

Ruth ticked the curtain aside, watched Trix drag the tablecloth off between bowed legs. Ruth’s heart twisted remembering the hard work ahead. The old girl would struggle, but she knew what to do. Soon, they’d have one last wriggling batch of velvety puppies.

18 comments:

Marisa Birns said...

Oh, I loved your story! Aww, poor Trixie doing her part in getting ready for the babies.

Well done!

Karen from Mentor said...

Wriggling velvety puppies !! such perfect words. I've delivered many litters (and one foal) and they're always velvety.
Lovely story.
Karen :0)

Jodi MacArthur said...

Aw, Greta - your flash wins my vote so far. You weave magic girl (I used to have an Irish setter named Trixie).

Stephen said...

A nice story, Greta. Wonderful images, along with the final note about what living and aging eventually bring us--a house once thriving with life that is now quiet. At least the MC can welcome the distraction through Trixie's last litter.

Laura Eno said...

Quiet, thoughtful, touching. Thank you for sharing this.

dan powell said...

Beautiful in its simplicity. Love the fact that the 'thief' is Trixie. The 'wriggling velvety puppies' is just perfect description. Great stuff.

Linda said...

Wasn't expecting the ending - nice. Love the nesting theme... Peace, Linda

Jane said...

Lovely, Greta. There is so much here that resonates.
Jane

J. M. Strother said...

That's sweet, she's building her own birthing nest. As always, lush rich description. Just lovely prose.
~jon

... Paige said...

why is it that sometimes smells will just not wash out.

Great story!

hojpoj said...

I could picture it all as I read, you did a wonderful job creating this glimpse into a cozy world. Thank you!

shannon esposito said...

What a sweet, sweet moment of time to immortalize with words. Your natural voice and descriptions worked just perfectly to put me in the moment! Wonderful job.

Chris Chartrand said...

Absolutely beautiful piece. I agree with the other comments that 'wriggling velvety puppies' is the perfect description. Loved it.
~chris

Eric J. Krause said...

Not such a thief after all. Very nice story.

Greta Igl said...

Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting. I'm so pleased you found something that resonated in it!

Greta

Michael Solender said...

fun. smart. descriptive. neat write!

J.C. Towler said...

Enjoyed your story, Greta. Sorry to have been such a stranger. Trying to get back in the groove.

--John

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