Thursday, June 21, 2012

Family Dinner

Originally posted March 16, 2012

Here are the instructions for this week's Write on Edge prompt:

Yes, I know. We’ve talked aboutvillains before. For me a villian is a bad guy, a black hat, someone driven by sinister motives. An anti-hero, though, there is a character who stands in opposition to the protagonist, who provides a foil and an obstacle on the hero or heroine’s narrative journey.

The way I see it (and I know not everyone will agree), all villains are anti-heroes, but all anti-heroes are not villains.

Show me an anti-hero. It can be a character sketch or a scene, but try to establish how and why this person is the obstacle to the protagonist’s goals.

You have 500 words. Come back and link up on Friday’s post.

So, here it is! I hope you enjoy this little piece. Comments and critiques are always invited and respected!


 “This dinner’s real nice, Carly.” John gingerly ate the red potatoes marinated in Italian dressing. “Haven’t eaten this well since your grandma cooked for me.”

  Greer put her fork down, her eyes focused on mine, searching for a clue. Always intuitive, never side-lined, she knew there was a greater purpose to this evening than me inviting her over for a simple family dinner. She considered her father for a moment, then asked. “How have things been for you? Carly keep you entertained. Don’t want to hear about you getting bedsores.”

  Like you care, I thought. Greer avoided eye contact with me.

  “I’m real good, Greer. Come visit more often. See for yourself.”

  “I’m a busy woman.” Greer pushed her plate away.

  “Well, time’s running out.” Patting his oxygen tank, he continued. “Just saying.”

  “Daddy, don’t talk that way,” Ilsa pleaded. Greer rolled her eyes.

  “Ain’t any other way than the truth, baby doll. Just the truth.”

  We ate the rest of our meal silent each of us pondering the weight of John’s words. Finishing his meal, John scooted back his chair, attempted to make a quiet exit, but found his feet entangled in the chair. He lurched forward. Instinctively, I jumped up, cushioning his fall and letting him fall into me. His breath was labored, he had begun to sweat.

  “What do you need?” The question exhaled from my lips as a whisper, surprising me. For  weeks I had recoiled from any sort of emotion involving John. Maybe I wasn’t as heartless as I feared.

  Righting himself, he shook his head like a cat recovering from an unexpected tumble. “Need to lie down.”

  After he waddled out of the kitchen, Greer attacked. “What do you want?”

  “Help,” I stated.

  “I don’t have any money.” She pulled a cigarette from her purse.

  “You can’t smoke in here.”

  “Little smoke ain’t gonna soil your home, Princess. Burn a candle.”

  I snatched the cigarette from her lips. “There is oxygen in this house. Open flames can cause an explosion.”

  “Well, then you wouldn’t need my help.”

  “Greer!” Ilsa scolded.

  “You need to lighten up. You have help. Nurses come on a daily basis. Eating my inheritance, day by day. You have that woman next door come and baby sit him, too. When do you do your share?”

  “Your father has been here for weeks. This is the first time you have come to visit. And only because I offered you food.”

  “You deaf? I told you. I am a busy woman.”

  “Smoking your disability checks? I forget, what is your disability? General laziness?”

  “Bitchy little princess, aren’t we?” Greer circled me. Barefooted, we were the same height. Her fizzled grey hair, cigarette-stained teeth and animal hatred for me shook my confidence. Greer was unpredictable.

  I looked over at Ilsa, hoping for help, but instead found her quivering, running the ends of her hair between her fingers over and over again. No question. This battle would be mine alone.

Want to read more about Carly? Click here! 



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