Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Flash fiction - Valley Girls Episode 4798

Greetings Trifectans and fellow readers. It's a perfect writing day today - grey and drizzly - and I thought it was time to post once more over at Trifecta. They give us one word, its third definition and 332 other words to write. Go over and have a read of the other entries. There are some brilliant writers over there: www.trifectawritingchallenge.com 

This week's prompt word is MASK:
3. a : a protective covering for the face
    b : gas mask
    c : a device covering the mouth and nose to facilitate inhalation
    d : a comparable device to prevent exhalation of infective material
    e : a cosmetic preparation for the skin of the face that produces a tightening effect as it dries

My effort is called Valley Girls Episode 4798.

Valley Girls, Episode 4798

The adverts arrived. That would have been 15 minutes, Doris decided. She tucked her thick, white nails under her chin and slowly, carefully, started to peel away. She wanted to keep the mask intact, like a peeled apple skin that winds back into the perfect fruit. 

Ralph glanced over and huffed. He felt giddy watching his wife taking off that thing – it made her a ridiculous mannequin, dead except for the eyes. She would usually have commented on Jean’s terrible behaviour in Valley Girls – Jean was always trying too hard – but Doris couldn’t speak. So Ralph had said something. It wasn’t right. He sighed. He didn’t like change.

Doris felt the flaky paper pull away. She hooked it around her jaw, up her cheeks. She imagined her wizened face being gently lifted away, leaving something wise and worn, but smooth and elegant. Valley Girls started again. She kept creeping her fingers underneath, keeping her old, ancient face whole. She listened to Jean from Valley Girls. She was behaving terribly again. Marcus the painter was never going be with her. She was being a fool. Poor Jean, suffering the same as every woman. Doris should be kinder. 

Ralph said, “Are you watching this or not?” His voice was low and faraway, childlike. He didn’t look at her. 

Doris laid her old face on her lap. It was creepy, staring at the dirt and little grey hairs. Doris patted her own face with her fingertips. Yes: plumper and firmer. Softer. She hadn’t expected that. She settled back smiling and finished watching Valley Girls. She didn’t comment on Jean’s silliness.

When the credits rolled, Ralph groaned out of his chair and shambled over to his wife. Already bent, he slid his glasses up his nose for inspection. Doris closed her eyes. 

“Well. You look exactly the same.”

Her eyes shot open. “No change at all? Oh, Ralph!”


Ralph shuffled towards the kitchen. “And that’s the way I loved you yesterday and will tomorrow. Tea?”


332 words


18 comments:

  1. "Likes a peeled apple skin that winds back into the perfect fruit." How resonating! Enjoyed reading.

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    1. THANK YOU.

      Means a lot because your piece I read today was awesome :-)

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  2. I loved how you described the peace that her routine brings to Doris. I also appreciated the humorous reality from Ralph. While I am not old, this is a very familiar scene! Great job taking an ordinary moment and making it more.

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    1. I've only published one of your comments, I hope that's OK!? Hehehe
      Thanks for your kind words. Ordinary is beautiful and crazy and magical too.

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  3. I like the finish! Very well done.

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  4. Really nice. Especially the part where she doesn't comment about Jean! :D

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    1. I think deep down, Doris knows she is kidding herself as much as Jean... Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Ha! I liked it! We were definitely on the same wave-length on this one. Good job, mate! :-)

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  6. Love the foreshadowed 'he didn't like change'!

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    1. Thanks for the read, Kymm. He's a stuckler, ol' Ralph.

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  7. Doris lay her old face on her lap... great description! Sweet ending. Nice scene, well done.

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    1. Thanks for the read, Steph. I just read yours and am going to comment. It's brilliant.

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    1. There I was thinking you'd be a Doris the Dreamer fan, but it turns out you're in Ralph the Realist's corner ;-)

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  9. Ralph's all right. Doris made a good choice marrying him, even if her choices in skin care are questionable. Thank you for linking up!

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