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Writing Class 4
by Jan Ackerson 
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Lois steadied the paper plate on her lap and looked around the room with growing desperation. It appeared that Carianne’s family had all come—there was Carianne, laughing with a plump aunt, one hand resting on Jason’s back. Lois watched her son with Carianne for a moment, then glanced at the door again. Still no sign of anyone else from Jason’s family—all fashionably late.

She fingered the pearls at her neck, and noted with a slight sniff that Carianne’s family were dressed very causally—that plump aunt was actually wearing stretch pants that only emphasized her generous bottom. Lois tried to imagine Jason fitting in with this family: Jason, who had never been served a meal on anything but china, and who had always worn starched shirts and pressed chinos to his private schools.

A sigh escaped Lois’s throat as she toyed with the dough-wrapped wieners on her plate. She tried to imagine what dire circumstance of starvation might bring her to actually eat such a thing.

“Dude, you’re like, Jason’s mom, right?” A teenaged boy took the folding chair next to Lois and plopped a bottle of Mountain Dew at his feet. “Jason’s like the bomb, and Carianne’s really like into him, y’know?”

Lois cleared her throat. “Yes, I’m Mrs. Pettigrew.” She looked anxiously over the boy’s shoulder to the front door. “Are you related to Carianne?” Lois noticed that the boy was wearing camouflage shorts, flip-flops, and a shirt that read “Repossessed”.

“Dude, she’s my sister. This is like an awesome engagement party, huh? You gonna eat those pigs in blankets?”

Shaking her head in befuddlement, Lois thrust her plate at the teen, who popped a whole wiener in his mouth and, to her dismay, continued to talk.

“Jason and Carianne say I get to like do something for the wedding. They’re not sure what yet—either play my guitar in the church or deejay the reception. Whadda you think, dude?”

Briefly closing her eyes, Lois remembered her own formal wedding—the pipe organ, the twenty-foot train, the orchids. “Why, I’m sure that either would be…lovely.” A burst of laughter from across the room drew Lois’s eyes back toward Jason. He was whispering into Carianne’s ear, his dark curls contrasting with her auburn waves. They were a veritable picture of young love.

She pictured Jason standing at the altar, this absurd young man beside her wearing—what do teens consider “dressy” these days? A tie with some cartoon character, perhaps, or—heaven forbid—sneakers.

“Mrs. Pettigrew, can I like bring you something?”

No one from her family had yet appeared at the door. Lois grasped one hand in the other; her fingers were trembling. A vodka martini would be nice. “I’m fine, thank you. I’m sure you’d like to visit with your family. Really, you needn’t stay.”

A headache was beginning to form behind Lois’s eyes.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Elizabeth Gomez 30 May 2009
I liked this piece. And yes, even women call other women "dude" (at least they do here in California). I like the way you took us into the mind of the mother's struggle. I wish I could have read more. Keep it up!
Faithful Okoye 09 Mar 2009
You're a very good writer. "Very good" is an understatement. Keep writing. Publish soon. You deserve to be an author. Thanks anyways for writing for God!
David F. Palmieri Sr. 31 Mar 2008
OK...so you hooked me...Reminds me of the beginning of my own love affair of 37 years...Her family were the average, "Ozzie and Harriet." Along came me...Navy veteran, Cowboy boots, jeans, flannel shirt, denum jacket, cowboy hat. I understand today how they must have felt at that time. Praise the Lord He saved us and kept us together all these years. I love the teen's, down to earth-be yourself language. Sounds like my pre-teen grandaughters. Lets have at the rest of the story soon...great job...
Lesley-Anne Evans 31 Mar 2008
I liked this too. It was entertaining and believable... but I also wanted more. Are you writing towards a longer story, or is this it? Also, wondering if teenagers are gender-specific in their use of 'dude'... I've never heard my boys call a woman dude, but maybe that's just our little sub-culture here in BC? Anyway, great story with lots of potential. Lesley-Anne
Helen Murray 30 Mar 2008
I get a great sense of culture shock as this mother finds it so difficult to cope with the son's choice of bride and in-laws. Her own gentile life had put such a scene beyond her wildest imagination, and the headache was real. She was actually looking at her own future links with these people, and finding it impossible to connect with the bride's brother who was trying so hard to include her in what was, for the moment, his family party. I think it's a graphic depiction of a great tussle!
Sally Hanan 30 Mar 2008
You did brilliantly on the setting and atmosphere. It's really obvious that she does not want to be there, which is getting across what she wants to us, even though no one else realizes it. I even see the last part of it, which is how she tries to get what she wants from the other person in this scene--she wants them to go away. I can see what you are saying about it not being complete--it does need more to make it whole--but it's a fabulous intro.
Chely Roach 29 Mar 2008
The conflict was understated, but was still the elephant in the room for Lois. Her disgust for the lowly future in-laws was well told, as well as her sense of solitude; like a mansion in the middle of a trailer park. I am sure you could've drawn it out with a larger allowance of words...(I had to trim 156 words off a kid whining in Walmart:) I wish we could've read more; it did drop off a bit at the end, but I think it was still characteristic of her uppity attitude. I liked it!
Mary Stockler 29 Mar 2008
Like, where's the rest of the story? Your setting drew me in till I could see, hear, smell, and taste . . . and then just ended! What happens next? Do members of her family arrive? I found the beginning a bit confusing as to characters and occasion (did not notice until the second read-through that 'her son' and 'Jason' were the same person) but perhaps that was just my haste. Also, while the contrast between the classes is clear and believable, the point of view (even though seen through Lois's eyes) seems that of an outsider to both. Perhaps you could strengthen the sense of identity (the since of 'this is normal and comfortable') with one class or the other? Just my tupence! Blessings, Mary
Gerald Shuler  29 Mar 2008
Considering the type of conflict you are highlighting, I don't think this is understated at all. You did a great job of keeping it strictly a conflict of class and nothing more. Even the quick end added to the classy classlessness of the situation. She apparently is upperclass enough to think that a headache is the polite way to snub potential future in-laws. It's almost Romeo and Juliet without the lovers ever having a chance to get in the play.
Catrina Bradley  29 Mar 2008
I definitely see the conflict here. I was confused as to who the characters were at first - I figured that Jason was her son, but you say that no one from Jason's family had come yet, so I had to back up a few times. Isn't Jason's family her family too? That's my only nit-pick. I like that the mom wonders how Jason will ever fit it, when it's clearly HER who has the problem. Nice job. :)


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