Mexican Food Stand-off

This blog post is a writing exercise from Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises. This week's exercise: to write a dialog (only dialog!) between two people that includes within it pants and tacos.

"Damn it, why isn't this thing working?"

"Did you try speaking more slowly?"

"Yes, and I even tried retraining it. It just doesn't understand me."

"Here, let me try. 'I WOULD LIKE A TACO.'"

"See? Nothing. The damn thing is busted."

"Je veux un taco. Wo yao yige taco."

"I'm telling you, it's broken."

"Just give it a good whack."

"How many times do I have to remind you that a replicator is not something you whack? Forget it. I'm going to go out to eat."

"Wait! You're not wearing any pants."

"Damn it! I de-materialized them because they were dirty and I wanted to make a clean pair... only now the replicator is busted ... crap, what will I wear?"

"I have a spare pair on, you can have them."

"You're wearing two pairs of pants?"

"Yeah. For emergencies."

"You wouldn't happen to have a spare taco, would you?"

"Sorry, no."

The Garden

This blog post is a writing exercise from 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 me.

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.