Tag Archives: 33 and 333 words

Waterproof (for Trifecta)

Dear Reader, I’m reposting this short piece in the hopes of reminding myself that it needs finishing. I’ve actually already begun working on continuing the story and have high hopes of seeing it to fruition in the “not-so-distant” future. I would love your feedback. Thanks.

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Following is my entry for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge. As is usually the case, I went with the first idea that popped into my threadbare brain. RULES: All entries must be between 33 and 333 words and need to include the following word using its third definition:

cheap adj \ˈchēp\

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I live in a town called Waterproof. Yes, I know it’s a strange name. It’s supposed to mean we’re protected from floodwaters and, around these parts, that’s a good thing. So nobody ever dared to change it.

Waterproof is right on the Louisiana-Mississippi border so it’s no surprise that we’re one of the poorest cities in the state. The last time anybody checked, the average income for a family around here was about $15,000, and that’s usually supposed to take care of three or four people. More than half of us live below the poverty line. And I say “us” because Daddy and I are probably scraping the bottom of that bowl.

We’re also one of the smallest cities in the state. The sign on the highway says we have 693 people living here, but it’s wrong. At least, I know it’s wrong by three. My best friend, Josie, her mother and her little brother, Dewey, moved away last year when Miss Eileen got that job offer in Tuscaloosa. She said she just couldn’t pass up a chance to move her family to a big city with good schools and restaurants and more than one supermarket.

All I know is that it’s 300 miles away, according to Daddy. And that means no visits, just letters. But I have to sneak the stamps. Daddy says stamp prices are so high that you can only mail two letters for a dollar these days. He says when he was my age he could mail six letters for that same dollar and still have a dime in his pocket for bubble gum.

That’s Daddy.

He’s always looking for ways to stretch his pay. I remember eating potatoes for dinner a whole week once because it’s how he got paid that time. He says the only things you shouldn’t scrimp on are shoes and tires. Daddy says you don’t want anything too cheap coming between you and the road. He says every man deserves at least that.

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Fun Fact:

My first real job after college was in Louisiana Tourism. I got to see a lot of small towns in the state with which I would not otherwise even be familiar. And my salary for that job was below the one quoted in this story.


An Ode to 1983

Here’s my goofy, little entry for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge. I often go with the first idea that pops into my head.  This was one of those times.

RULES: All entries must be between 33 and 333 words and need to include the following word using its third definition:

clean (adjective)

1: free from dirt or pollution
2: unadulterated, pure
3 a : free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind <a candidate with a clean record>

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A year in the life of my childhood

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The year was 1983

The times? They were so simple

Cabbage patch dolls everywhere

So hideously-dimpled


Reagan was the president

And Swatch entered the scene

As did jellies, Rubik’s cubes,

And McNuggets as cuisine


My fashion was inspired by

Madonna, Flashdance, Lauper

‘Cause MTV was everywhere

So I looked like a pauper


The music was my favorite

Boom box on every shoulder

From Dexy, Prince or Men at Work

(It so sucks getting older)


For film, we had The Outsiders,

Big Chill and Valley Girl

And Vacation with Chevy Chase

Gave the Griswolds to the world


But I was still a little girl

My parents weren’t mean

They just wanted to be sure

What I saw and heard was clean


Enter Mr. Cosby

And his one-man show ‘Himself’

I must have pulled it fifty times

Off our VHS tape shelf


The jokes, they were all perfect

The dentist chair he faked

I won’t forget the joke about

“Dad gave us chocolate cake!”


Thank you for the memories

Of this, a lifetime chapter

But most of all I thank you, Bill

For all my family’s laughter


In the Large Crayola box that is ODNT, today’s color is … melancholy

It occurred to me recently that ODNT has developed a bit of a split personality disorder.  On the one hand, we’re flexing our writing muscles with challenging exercises like the ones submitted to Trifecta … but, on the other, we’re still doing things like having fun with Alec Baldwin.  I like the broad spectrum of topics we cover.  It sort of makes me feel as though there’s a little something here for everyone … like Jerry Maguire … or a good sweet and salty party mix.

Anyway, for today, it’s time for the Trifecta Weekly Challenge.  My entry is below but it can also be viewed along with all others submitted by clicking here.  All entries must be between 33 and 333 words and they must include a chosen word, used according to the third definition provided.  For more detailed information, click here.

This week’s word (and we’re using definition number three) is …

trail verb \ˈtrāl\

1     a:  to hang down so as to drag along or sweep the ground
b:  to extend over a surface in a loose or straggling manner <a vine that trails over the ground>
c:  to grow to such length as to droop over toward the ground

2     a:  to walk or proceed draggingly, heavily, or wearily : plod, trudge
b:  to lag behind : do poorly in relation to others

3:     to move, flow, or extend slowly in thin streams <smoke trailing from chimneys>

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This week’s Trifecta entry – Powering Through  

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She panicked when the cramping started again. And she wondered how long she had been asleep. She stared, bleary-eyed, at the alarm clock on her nightstand.  5:45am.  It had been nearly four hours since her last waves of pain.  She reasoned that was a good thing … but her futile attempts at optimism were crushed when she felt the ripping pain return in her abdomen.

“Damn it,” she cursed breathlessly, reaching for her phone.  She texted him again. “Things don’t look good.  Please come soon.”

But she knew before the message was delivered that he was still in the air on the plane that would bring him home … too late to help.  Too late to get her to the hospital.   Too late to really do anything for her.

“But what could he really do if he was here?” she reasoned, remembering the doctor’s patronizing words. “Don’t get your hopes up again this time, Sarah.  You know better than this. Your numbers just aren’t what they should be. And it would take a miracle for …”

She forced herself to stop thinking about the doctor’s “miracle” speech again. “Fuck you, Doctor Flannery,” she wailed, “this is my third ‘miracle’ and who are you to take it away from me?!!?”

She labored to pull herself upright.  Lightheaded but determined, she dropped to the floor and began crawling, phone in hand, down the seemingly endless hallway to the bathroom.  She stopped only once to catch her breath but, feeling the waves intensify through her gut, she summoned the strength she needed to drag herself the remaining ten feet.

She felt the phone buzz in her hand as she crossed the threshold into the bathroom. The message on the screen said, “Landed early. On way now. Hang on, babe.”

She stared at the screen until it turned black.  And she shook with sobs as she felt the all-too-familiar first drop of blood begin to trail down her leg.