Writing Prompt Wednesday: The Curmudgeon List

These were the words to be used in our stories or poems:

tower, rotten, bribe, diamond
—————————————————————– Here’s my story:

man wearing plaid dress shirt and black pants sitting near brown brick wall
Photo by Jeffrey Reed on Pexels.com

~Curmudgeon – (noun) a bad-tempered person, especially an old one.~
This was the “Word of the Day” printed on his homeroom chalkboard.
“What an awesome word!”, Tony thought.
He rolled it around on his tongue. “Cur… mudge … eon.”
By the time the first bell rang, he had a list of real life curmudgeons forming.
-The rotten vice principal who considered all kids as criminals and spontaneously inspected backpacks. How was he to know a cat skull wasn’t a school- approved item?
-That lady who reported his Mom for letting him walk alone to school. Geez! He was almost thirteen!
-The curator at the museum who pulled his ear for shouting in the clocktower exhibit. It was completely worth it, though. He’d found an echo chamber extraordinaire and those places are rare!
And, the old man who lived down the street. His mailbox said, “Strange”. PERFECT.
The man actually had tried to bribe him with Oreos to come inside to see his rock collection. He claimed to have diamonds, too! Creepy stuff!
Tony was walking to class looking at his feet while revisiting that invitation. “Yeah, right.”, he mumbled.

By day’s end, Tony came to realize that Mr. Strange didn’t actually belong on his newly created “curmudgeon list”. He’d added a few new candidates throughout the day. One was his father’s boss who made him cancel their summer trip to the beach because the boss had decided to go to an Indian Sweat Lodge “seeking Truth”.  Dad was stuck with covering the office and Tony was stuck with the community pool.
But, his odd neighbor wasn’t at all bad-tempered even though he must have been pushing one hundred! Strange had even waved to Tony yesterday with a generous smile and shouted, ” You’re welcome any time, young fella. You don’t have to come in.”
Thoughts began to flood his mind.
Perhaps, Tony would ask his mom about that neighbor?
Mr. Strange might actually have an interesting collection?
I wonder if he’s lonely?
One more thing also occurred to Tony. His snap unkind judgement of an otherwise nice old man made Tony a true curmudgeon.
So?
He added himself to the list.

Writing Prompt Wednesday

 

Wednesday Writing Picture Prompt

humphrey

His mother was forever telling him, “Don’t listen to those kids, Baby. You have a big heart.” Fact is, he WAS gutless. A coward. The taunts of , “Yellow, Yellow, made of Jello!” were true.
Guy could pretend. He’d laugh when the other “class weakling” was the object of torment but he didn’t want to. He was even too gutless to walk away!
Writing poetry and mimicking Fred Astaire on TCM defined his childhood. When the other boys weren’t chasing him, they built tree houses and egged trailer trucks from the overpass. Guy was too terrified to go along even if he’d been asked.

His first wife wasn’t fooled for long. She’d said his gentleness was charming and refreshing, at first. After six months, she’d packed her bags and claimed she felt unprotected. Vulnerable.
He wanted to tell her that her mother’s revered spaghetti pie was mushy and disgusting! But, as usual, he couldn’t find the nerve. His head pounded, his stomach twisted, but his knees shook and the yellow monster grabbed his tongue.
When she slammed the door for the last time,  screaming at the top of her lungs, “Pathetic Girly Man!”, he just closed the drapes and cried.

Tragically, Donna would end up a true victim of his cowardice. Donna, his second wife, gave him hope. She’d literally waltzed into his life at the Downtown Arts Center. They were paired up at the Tuesday night Classy Dance Class and she swept HIM off his feet. She was a delicate flower, four years his senior. They weren’t married a week when he realized she was more a mother figure than a lover and companion. That might have actually worked anyway if his yellow cowardly monster hadn’t taken over.
Donna had a long hidden drinking problem. Psychologists labeled it “high functioning alcoholism”. He gave her a wide berth, and tender hugs from behind, hoping for the best.
The night she was killed, he’d asked her not to drive. Tears ran down his cheeks as she’d taken the keys and said, “It’ll be fine, Baby. It’s just down the street.”. He’d never argued or even raised his voice. What if he’d overpowered her? Taken the keys? Demanded she’d stay?

Today, his doctor ordered stronger meds. They were working alright. His poetry and dancing were gone but so was the big yellow coward that had ruined his life!
Once in a rare while, the monster would come to him in a dream, or flash behind him in a mirror. Fear was haunting but separate from him now. It would be okay.
He didn’t mind the overwhelming hollowness because hollowness wasn’t going to kill anyone who mattered.