Friday, April 26, 2019

Words for Wednesday

There's a challenge called "Words for Wednesday" and obviously, since this is Friday I'm a couple of days late, but I'm a little slow on the uptake. Actually what I'm a little slow on is how to link into the host's page. I've looked at it for two days without finding a way to link from her site to my blog. So what I'm going to do is put a link to the website where I found the challenge, a wonderful blog I follow, the blog of a fellow Canuck called: The Other Side of Sixty 

The idea is that the host gives a list a words which you then must incorporate into a story. This week's word list is below, followed by my story.

ad hoc*

Preston slouched up the wet stairs of the community hall, holding Sadie’s hot casserole by the handles of its quilted carrier. Knocking against his bony knees. Opened the door, conscious of the torrent of heat and noise, a pulsating beat, voices and laughter that surged out into the night. Stood gawping at the crowd, no good in gatherings.

Sadie wrenched the casserole from his grasp. Snarled something. Brushed past him and into the hall. She hailed a neighbour, shed her bright scarf, slid her wet coat off. A shake of the coat and it and the scarf were thrust on a hanger and shoved between others on the crowded rack. 

“You part of night's entertainment, boy?” A laughing voice behind him on the stairs. He swivelled to see Uncle Billy and Aunt Ginger Swart at the foot of the stairs, and behind them others coming up the path. 

“Sorry!” he said, and because there was no going back now, he went forward through the open door. The din was even worse inside. On the stage at the one end of the hall a band played. Overweight men in pompadour haircuts wearing red satin trousers and shirts and sports coats covered in red sequins. They looked like an ad hoc meeting of  demons and indeed the sign propped on an easel to the side of the stage said “Satan’s Saturday Night Boys”. Their instruments were a drum set, an electric guitar, a steel guitar, and a trumpet. But the decibel level was so crushingly loud they could have been bashing 2x4s and paint cans together and no one would have been the wiser.  

Preston looked around for a familiar face, but saw none, until at the farthest end he spied a bench against the wall, and on it, a couple of the old fellas who came into the store from time to time. Neither of them kept any stock beyond a few chickens. But every two or three months they’d come into the store and buy a bag of cracked grain and a bag of grit for their laying hens. Each brought a dozen eggs, one of the same buff colour as the rose that twined around Preston's grandmother's door when he was a boy. The other brought Auracana eggs, naturally coloured aqua, robin's egg blue, jade, pale lilac, speckled brown, as festive as an Easter basket. He kept the Auracana eggs in his office refrigerator as long as he dared, his secret pleasure, cradled their smooth pigmented surfaces in his palm. 

Preston welcomed the old men's visits. Unlike the farmers who ordered 100 bags of grain by phone, came to town and left their trucks to be loaded while they went off to do other business, these 80 and 85-year-olds always had time to sit down, talk about the old days, and spin a yarn or two. For Preston yearned for the old days, when life was as simple as an aqua egg one could hold in one's palm. He’d disappear into his cluttered office to brew up a fresh pot of coffee and cut a slice of Sadie’s cake or pie to share, and stretch their visits to last as long as possible. 

He made his way through the crowd toward the end of the room with the bench. Stopped at the tables where the food was laid out, picked out a tray, got three coffees and three slices of pecan pie, napkins and cutlery.  Ignored Sadie's piercing look from where she was spooning out her casserole, lips pressed together, brows bunched together in the middle like a navel. Worked his way through the crowd until he reached the bench. The two old men scooted apart so he could sit between them. He handed the coffee and pie around.

“So,” he shouted above the pandemonium of Satan’s Saturday Night Boy’s, “How're you fellas tonight? Hens okay? Wife made an awful good Angel Food cake with eggs you fellas brought. Takes 13 eggs to make that cake, it's on the table there, white frosting, pink flowers. You otta get a slice of it before it's gone.”  Three heads close together...