Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge: Birthday Madness

The word count was a challenge on this one.  I originally wrote more elements conspiring to destroy the celebration but they say don't work with children or animals.  For those who wanted more of Maxine, her hot husband Blake and her beautiful friend Lola, here's this week's RFW challenge.

‘There she is’.   Blake waved, took my hand and we entered the fancy garden party.   I shrank at the sight of the decorated table laden with glowing gifts.  Our tray of Guylian suddenly looked pathetic and thoughtless beside new champagne flutes, boxed jewellery and perfumes named for celebrities.
‘I’m so glad you could come.’  Lola greeted Blake with a creepy air kiss then slipped her arm through mine.  She led us to the food marquee where she unashamedly flirted with the caterer before she forced a platter of appetizers under my nose.  The smell of crustacean and asparagus combined to send my head spinning and the momentum of my retreat was so forceful, the whole well- crafted arrangement crashed out of Lola’s hands and down to the decorative tiles.  My own projectile response then splashed to the concrete combining with the already destroyed hors d’oeuvres to create a random collage of modern expressionism.   As if in sympathy, the sky finally carried out its threat, dropping large splashing drops to herald a drenching shower.  A gust of wind picked up all the cowering fancy people and herded them indoors.
‘I’m sorry, Lola.’  I offered.  ‘This is your birthday and I’m sorry it’s turned. . .’
‘It’s always you, Maxine.  It’s always about you.
‘Me? But you’re the one who. . .’
‘You have it all.   You have your perfect life with perfect Blake.  You have everything,’ she spat.
Inside now, we were standing under a chandelier, paintings by the Dutch masters hung on the opposite wall, I could feel the carpet pile at my ankles and I had everything? 
 ‘What about your promotion?’ 
‘I screwed Tom for that.’
My ire rose to meet that shiny chandelier while my jaw fell to the lush carpet.
‘Why you nasty little tramp.’   They were my thoughts but not my words.  Fiona slapped Lola so hard she toppled and fell into the profiterole tower.  The air filled with pastry and the caterer’s expletives.  Covered in custard, Lola rose like a painted warrior to wrestle with Fiona before Tom took charge.   ‘Presents.  Let’s open your presents, shall we?’   The uncomfortable guests were thankful for the diversion.   I found Blake.  ‘Honey, can we go?’ 
‘Are you sure? 
‘I’m pregnant.’  At his excited whoop, the crowd turned in unison.
Poor Lola was right.  It was all about me. 

Word count:   390


  1. Excellent, absolutely beautiful. Loved every sickening moment of the 'modern expressionism' and the fight was the cherry on top.

    You've done it wonderfully!

    1. Hi Yolanda, I'm always humbled when others use words like excellent, beautiful, wonderfully about my writing.


  2. Action packed! Enjoyed it much...very well written and the closing line was great. Brilliant read.

    1. More humbling descriptions of my piece. Again, thank you.

  3. Hi Raelene
    Your description at the beginning was well written and original. I'm going on little sleep at the moment, but I didn't get the whole 'I slept with,' thing. It's probably just me. It really is hard to get everything in in 400 words.

    My story will be up in 7 hours since it is 5:30 pm, Thursday, in Colorado.

    1. Thanks Nancy. 'Slept with' issues are hard for me too.

  4. Hi Raelene. You're getting so good at this 400-word gig. If I didn't have a sore lip ATM I would have laughed loud enough to get thrown out of the library! From start to finish this was brilliant. I agree with Nancy it would have benefited from more words (which you explained at the beginning) but I guess that's true of everyone's stories. Your cutting humour came through, and I see you're still benefiting from our trip to the art gallery. And you're more into the prompt paremeters than I managed this week.
    See you Wednesday at writers group.

    1. Thanks Denise, you are always so encouraging and yes I did find the art museum a refreshing and inspiring trip.

  5. Interesting read. Enjoyed this a lot!

  6. Hi, Raelene,

    You definitely have some GREAT lines in this short piece. You certainly had me laughing. Well done.

    1. I am glad you got a laugh, Michael. My family were just shocked!

  7. Bravo, Raelene! You could submit this for publishing as a piece on its own (perhaps with the bits you might have edited out of the original). Absolutely loved it. Brilliant voice, dialogue and description. Fits the theme perfectly too.

  8. You've captured the prompt excellently. Wonderful closing lines.

  9. thanks Sally. That is encouraging cause I wasn't sure of the ending.

  10. Oh how perfect. I laughed most all the way through. You descriptions are lush and set the scene - setting and characters - expertly. This was a perfect flash fiction, fully self contained. And the end was perfect; having it all doesn't always mean material wealth :)

    Thanks for participating in the Birthday Madness. This was truly a "mad" excerpt, lol.


  11. Dear Raelene,
    Thank you for your encouraging comments about my text.
    Oooh, you have packed a lot into this story. It feels like so much for only 390 words. Great description. I'm right there, looking at the presents and the hors d'ouveres and witnessing this exchange of words between these two women who are envious of each other.
    Wow, what a last line!
    You have all the ingredients for the theme here: madness, jealousy, a birthday party with scrumptious food that the party guests don't seem to appreciate (I'm a little hungry right now), and, of course, romance.

    I agree with Donna's observation: 'having it all doesn't always mean material wealth'.

    Well done.

    Best wishes,
    RFW No. 46 - 'Birthday Madness'

    1. thanks Anna,
      true. perhaps there is reconciliation on the way?