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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Funny (10/04/12)

TITLE: Gush of Flush
By Arlene Showalter


“We’re going where?” I asked Sally.

“To a friend-of-a-friend’s home,” she answered. “She’s an artist — specializes in modern.”

“Sally, you know I don’t understand art,” I complained, with an exaggerated groan. “Especially freaky lumps of metal that are supposed to be horses, or humans … or whatever.”

“Expand your horizons.”

“You just like to see me squirm,” I said.

Sally grinned.

We arrived at a trendy walkup. Sally opened the main door. Oversized sunflowers splashed across the entry and marched up all four levels of stairwell before halting at a certain door. She lifted the knocker, which looked like a snarling snail, and allowed it to drop against the wood.

“Come in, come in,” gushed a person — between hair and clothes, I couldn’t guess gender — and ushered us into a large, well-lit room. “My name’s Robin.”

“Great,” I muttered under my breath, “that name goes either way.”

Sally elbowed me. “Female,” she whispered.

I elbowed my thanks.

Robin flitted from room to room, fluttering and twittering as she showed us her “pieces.”

“This is called 'Day’s End',” she said, caressing — yes, a lump of metal with strips poking from one side. The sunset? I wondered, but kept my own tongue still. I felt myself shrinking with unworthiness.

“Here’s my latest,” Robin continued, sidling up to a lamp that resembled gigantic marshmallows tiered to scrape the ceiling. “I call it ‘Angel’s Refuge.’”

Soon, my befuddled brain could not process another object.

Nature chose that moment to insist on a visit to a very necessary room.

My cheeks burned as I asked Robin where the powder room was located. She waved an airy hand to the right and then left.

Incomprehensible art accompanied me on my journey and spilled into the room in question. I sensed a bit of dizziness as I sat, overwhelmed, amid circles, and twirls and ovals and oblongs.

Mission accomplished, I pressed the toilet’s handle down. Nothing. Nothing? I pressed again. Not so much as a clink.

I lifted the porcelain lid, laid it carefully against the wall and bent to examine the toilet’s interior.
Handle. Check.
Floater. Check.

I plunged my hand into the cold water, lifted the flapper for a proper amount of time and then let it drop back into place to refill the tank. Unworthiness flowed out with the retreating water and confidence with the refill.

“I might not be able to create fabulous art,” I said, grinning into the mirror, “but I sure know how to fix a toilet. Art may beautify the world, but common sense runs it!”

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This article has been read 404 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 10/13/12
Flushed with success! A terrific snapshot with good characters and dialogue, with a touch of mystery to keep the interest. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/13/12
This is an enjoyable read. I could definitely relate to your MC. Art leaves me a bit befuddled too. The opening showed a hint of mystery that made me want to find out where the characters were headed.

The one thing I might suggest is instead of tag lines like she said or I whispered, use that space to paint a picture for your reader. For example take the first line. Instead of I asked Sally try something that will show the reader maybe something like I clung to the armrest as Sally pushed her foot down on the accelerator.
Just by switching it a bit you can get rid of the tag line yet still let the reader know who is speaking and it also gives the reader a glimpse of the characters' personalities.

I truly enjoyed the ending. You took me where I didn't expect to go. I figured when the toilet wouldn't flush that it was a piece of art mistaken for a toilet. However your ending is more realistic and also tells a great message. You did a nice job of writing on topic and handled it in a fun and fresh way. This is a delight to read. Nice job.
Ellen Carr 10/13/12
I really enjoyed your story with its toilet ending. I did wonder if the toilet was actually a 'work of art' too. Like the MC I sometimes feel perplexed by some works of art. A bit like 'the emporer's new clothes' no one dares admit they can't 'see' the artistic in the art. Well written.
C D Swanson 10/15/12
I really enjoyed this very much. I especially thought this was a good line:

"Unworthiness flowed out with the retreating water and confidence with the refill." This I almost felt was sort of a "parable" - almost like a renewal of self. Good line.

Nicely done. God bless~

Hiram Claudio10/16/12
This was simply ... funny! I could identify with the MC as I too have often had difficulty with modern definitions of ... art. I like how you showed the internal conversations the MC was having. This overall flowed so easily. Well done!
Janice Wappel10/18/12
I am not much for the world of "Arts" myself so I could identify! Thanks for sharing your talent for words!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/19/12
Congratulations on placing 6th in level 3 and for placing 17th overall!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/19/12
Something I noticed while reading the other comments is that we authors who are also artists all admitted we didn't understand art. Kind of ironic. I love that your story gives us a glimpse of why not everyone will understand our stories. You really opened my eyes on this one. Again congratulations!
PamFord Davis 10/19/12
Thanks for laughable moments expressed by your MC. I too prefer realism in art over modern. A tree is a tree and portraits should look like the person who posed! I hate nervous moments in strange bathrooms and can say, "Been there, done that."

Wing His Words!