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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)

TITLE: Competition Heats Up a Bachelor Auction


He introduced himself as Doc-tor Loredo, just arrived from Sacramento. He wore a Panama hat, linen suit, and slip-on loafers sans socks. In his hand, a man purse. To me, he looked like he’d just arrived from a Barcelonan winery. Not that I’d ever been to a Barcelonan winery, but Elise’s family was of European stock, and sometimes she’d get ideas about dressing me.

My wife extended her hand. “I’m Miss-es Gallagher, long ago arrived from Jacksonville.” Elise said it with a tra-la-la air. They laughed. Never mind that I was co-chair for this fundraising event. And never mind that Jake Linderson, the other co-chair, and I had a quasi-friendly side-wager going as to whose bachelor would raise the most money.

“I suppose it’s time to line up,” sighed Doctor Loredo, checking his watch. “Remind me this is all for a good cause.”

“You’re doing a truly wonderful service,” I assured him.

He squared his shoulders, breathed in. “Would you mind holding this till it’s over?” Before I could protest, he gave me his bag and marched off, heels clicking on the linoleum.

Elise pulled her hands behind her back. “Unh-uh—he gave it to you.”

“I didn’t ask.”

“You were going to.”

“How the heck did we wind up with this Doctor, anyway? Mayor Black’s always been our bachelor.”

“Jake had Peg make their calls two weeks early, ergo we wind up with Doctor Loredo—though he wasn’t listed as a doctor on the print-out.”

“That sly dog.”

Elise entwined her fingers with mine and leaned into my shoulder. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

I hadn’t been thinking anything except what a sly dog Jake Linderson was, but her question prompted the firing of synapses or synapsi—whichever the case may or might be. I glanced at the back row of chairs. There sat the Widow Kemp in her customary spot—auction card in ready position. Nobody outbid her for her perennial bachelor of choice—Mayor Black. A man of character, she liked to say.

Elise and I casually meandered toward her. Peg Linderson, however, noted our movement and elbowed her husband.

We all met behind the widow.

Peg smiled. Elise smiled.

“So, this Doc-tor Loredo’s new in town, you say?” Elise kept her voice low—but not too low. On stage the chairman of the board for the Free Clinic welcomed the audience and began his pitch for generosity.

“Yes, he’s quite distinguished—comes from Sacramento,” I answered.

“Jake, dear,” said Peg, “weren’t you telling me he’s not a real doctor?” The widow’s head cocked right.

“That’s right—his degree’s in history.”

Elise’s eyes narrowed considerably. “He’s still a PhD—a professor I'm sure—at the university, in all likelihood.”

“Wrong again. He's at the community college,” said Peg.

Elise’s shoulders rounded—it seemed hackles had sprouted. An audible growl rumbled in her throat.

Easy, Tiger—” I said. “It’s all going to the same cause.” I wedged Doctor Loredo’s handbag under my arm, and picked up a program from an empty seat beside the Widow Kemp. The auctioneer’s gavel sounded. Our boy was first on the chopping block—probably also the Linderson’s doing. Out from the curtains he came, holding his Panama hat in both hands. He bowed slightly at the scraggly applause. Poor guy.

“Is that a man purse?” Jake poked the bag under my arm.

“No, it’s a—bag—Doctor Loredo’s.”

“Right—” He turned to Peg. “A murse. He carries a murse.”

Elise patted my hot neck. “Easy, Tiger—”

I focused in on the auctioneer. “ . . . dinner with bachelor number one, Doctor Edmond Loredo. Let’s make him feel welcome, folks. One hundred dollars, do I have one hundred dollars to start the bidding? Fifty, who will give me fifty? Fifty here in the front row. Seventy-five, who will give me seventy-five?”

The Widow Kemp held up her card. “Five thousand!”

In the vacuum of quiet and to no one in particular, she said, “My Clive was a professor of history—and he carried a satchel—that’s what we called it. Can we shut up about the doctor’s bag already?”

Peg leaned over, eyes wide. “But Mrs. Kemp, you’re bidding on Mayor Black, right?”

“No, Little Missy, I don’t believe I am. Just keeping up with the times. He never did come through with that crosswalk off Main and Birch, either.”

Jake squeezed Peg’s elbow. “Easy, Peg—”

See,” said Elise, “I bet Clive never objected to his wife’s dressing him.”

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This article has been read 844 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon02/04/10
So glad I wasn't drinking something when I started reading this or else my computer would be toast. I don't know why, but the man purse thing just cracked me up--I loved that it showed up a couple times in the story. Your dialogue is so authentic...I felt like I was eaves dropping on the whole thing. Very funny.
Bryan Ridenour02/04/10
Super fun and creative entry. The "murse" cracked me up as well. Great piece!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/10
What a gift you have! Your plot, characters, dialogue, and humor are the "best."
Virgil Youngblood 02/07/10
Outstanding. What a fun read.
Chely Roach02/08/10
I was absolutely hooked by the first paragraph. The voice was so, SO authentic, and the murse references had me in stitches. I also loved that you were on topic, without clobbering me with it. Delightfully entertaining with outstanding comedic timing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/10
Very interesting topic. I giggled here and there. Good job.
Connie Dixon02/09/10
I could sense the small-town, country feel of this story. I guess I'm not sure about the "fluff" effect but I really enjoyed this. Great writing.
Mona Purvis02/09/10
I just so love Widow Kemp. My kind of gal. Decision maker. Takes the stage without any effort.
Loved this wonderful, well-written and on topic entry.
Carol Slider 02/09/10
I'm going to be laughing at this one the rest of the day! Wonderful characters, wonderful story... hilarious! (Murse... I'll have to remember that...:)
Loren T. Lowery02/09/10
If nothing else, this substantiates what I've always thought about a woman's memory - it's inexhaustible : ) Great take on the theme and the way you were able to round out so many colorful characters in such a short span of words is truly remarkable. Hope the Dr. and the widow have a great time together - satchel not withstanding.
Lyn Churchyard02/09/10
LOL I love the whole manbag/purse/murse thing. Each couple trying to goad the widow into bidding for their man to win the bet. A very visual story and well written as always.
Sarah Elisabeth 02/09/10
Haha, this was good! Loved the set up and the bantering behind the widow.

Maybe it's just me, but the italics were a bit distracting from the fanstastic dialogue.

Amazing job as always!!!
Edmond Ng 02/09/10
A classic and hilarious piece! What an amusing way of describing a purse-murse-satchel-bag. This is a sure way of driving someone's patience to the point of annoyance! I like the part when Mrs Kemp said, "Can we shut up about the doctor's bag already?" That's a great way of ending any unfruitful chatter!
Beth LaBuff 02/09/10
I could visualize the whole hilarious story, from the tra-la-la word pronunciations to the "murse". This fluff is heavy on the humor! LOVE it!
Maria Kana Santos02/09/10
Very good writing. It's so interesting that I had to keep going back about to 'who' said 'what'... too many characters. Maybe it's only me, I could not understand some expressions said in the chatter. But I honestly enjoyed the story very much on how you've written it so well. You are a gifted master-writer.

Jackie Wilson02/10/10
Delightful story, rich dialog, wonderful writing, as always!
Noel Mitaxa 02/11/10
Very pictorial writing, in the colors, the humour, the conversations and the emotions. My 'purse'onal opinion is that it should score well.
Mona Purvis02/11/10
Looks like the judges agree with the comments all the way to EC! well deserved.

Beth LaBuff 02/11/10
Three weeks in a row! Wow! I'm glad this well-crafted entertaining story made the EC list! Super Congrats, Lisa!
Pat Guy 02/11/10
My favorite part? When Elsie put her hands behind her back so her husband had to carry the murse. What a gift to put us right there envisioning the whole scenario! I enjoyed being there immensely!
Lisa Johnson02/11/10

I enjoyed this very much... I could picture the whole episode in my mind's eye... I love your talent at putting humor into your writing. Congrats on doing do well in the judging.

Lisa J.
Carol Slider 02/11/10
Still laughing, Lisa! Love this story--congratulations!
Celeste Ammirata02/12/10
Fun read. Lots of great dialogue! Congratulations on EC!
Sharlyn Guthrie02/16/10
I'm just getting last week's EC's read. What a fun entry. The doctor and the widow came alive with your excellent characterizations. Congratulations on your EC!