This blog post is a writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com. Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises. This week's exercise: A short story with 2 paragraphs, no dialogue, containing a rusty nail, a tulip, and the word "spangled".
I reached for my glass of iced tea, but it was empty, and even the
ice-cubes had disappeared. I thought about going inside to get more but I
couldn’t move. It was just too damn hot. I played with my empty glass
while contemplating my garden. To be honest, “garden” was a strong word
for it. I never weeded it or planted things. Stuff simply grew there;
that stuff wasn’t grass, thus it was a garden. I knew I should really do
something about the ivy, because it was encroaching on, well,
everything: the patio stones, the fence, the tree, even the house. But
it was just so hot that I sat there contemplating doing something rather
than doing it.
I was out of iced tea and it was getting hotter. I thought about the
front lawn, or “lawn”, now that the grass was all dead from the drought.
There had been tulips growing in the middle of the lawn in the Spring,
but they were long gone and so were all signs of life from that part of
the yard. Only the back yard, with its modicum of shade, withstood this
infernal heat. Only the ivy thrived, encroaching on everything: the
gate, the hedge, heck, one tendril even climbed all the way up the wall
and wrapped around a rusty nail that used to hold up a downspout. I have
no idea how it found that nail. The dog lay complacently on the
ivy-covered stones, and again I looked at my empty glass of iced tea,
and contemplated the lure of the air conditioning on the other side of
the patio door. But it was too hot to move.
The sun’s heat was reflecting off the patio stones and surely baking me
even though I was sitting in the shade. I gazed at my empty glass and my
garden with its lush ivy. The ivy was a rich green colour and its broad
leaves hinted at the coolness of their shadows. I was sitting in the
shade of an ivy-encrusted tree but it was still so hot and my glass of
iced tea was bone dry. The tree was not unique in being covered in the
ubiquitous ivy; it encroached on everything: the patio table, the
barbecue, the eavestroughs, even the dog. I wondered if the dog was cool
under there. I was hot so I took off my hat and placed it on the
table, and I hummed the Star-Spangled Banner
while contemplating the ivy and my pruning shears, which were in the garage, but anyway it was too hot to prune today.
I picked up my glass of iced tea but it was full of ivy and I didn’t
think those leaves would make good tea and besides I had no water. I
couldn’t see the dog and the ivy was now encroaching on my legs. The
heat was dizzying but my feet felt so cool and I wondered why I’d ever
wanted to trim this ivy, which was encroaching on my belt. I couldn’t
see the dog or the patio table or any patio stones, only the ivy, which
was encroaching on my head. At last I felt cool as the ivy closed over
I reached for my glass of ivy but the glass was gone and so was the table and to be honest I wasn’t sure where I was anymore. But it was blessedly cool and I contemplated my garden. Next summer, I thought, I’m hiring a landscaper.