It’s been a while since we had a random word for our prompt. Were you a little rusty? Heaven knows I was. Yikes!
Good thing I’m not the only one submitting entries for this thing. Some of you people are just downright fantastic. And this week our judge, Nicole Wolverton, @nicolewolverton, picked these five as our finalists:
Congratulations all! Their entries are below so read and vote if you please. Then come back tomorrow morning at 9:00 Eastern to see who wins!
“Lawn flamingos at Christmas? Honestly honey? Can’t we have one holiday where those things stay in their box?”
My husband just doesn’t understand. There is something magical about the delightful pink creatures and their wire legs. He doesn’t appreciate their elegance.
“Take them down if you will, but know that I was up for hours last night hot glueing the tinsel antlers to their little heads. Hours.” I know he would never remove them. He knows it would break my little pink heart.
I smile as I dab hot pink paint on the wall of our foyer, the flamingo stencils I found at the craft store are much nicer than the ones I did in the kitchen. More detailed.
“But you can barely see them with all the snow!” His face is growing pink with his exertions. Flamingo pink. Almost, but not quite.
“I know honey, but I have to have them there. You know that.”
And he does.
The last time he took my flamingos inside was over the Memorial Day holiday. He objected to the little camouflage outfits I’d sewn for all sixteen of them. We had a little platoon all lined up saluting the tiny American flag.
But I showed him what happens when you mess with my flamingos. The following morning they were all wearing a tiny slice of his toupee. Hot glued to their perfect little pink plastic heads.
Darryl rubbed his eyes again.
He was looking out the front picture window. He squinted right and left, and still no change.
“well, I’ll be….” he didn’t get much further than that, because a thud came at his door.
Darryl eyed the door suspiciously. Another thud, and then a battery of whumphs and noises like grating really hard cheese.
“What the…damn!” Darryl finally snapped himself out staying in one spot like deer and threw himself up the stairway. Frantically, he ripped open his bedroom door.
The thuds were getting louder. And then, a crash of a broken window from the kitchen. Quickly he pulled back the sash and looked out the bedroom window. The back yard was… was full.
Yanked the underwear drawer out and upended it on the bed.
“Ammo…. is ….?” No ammo. great. He guessed he could use the gun as a club, but really was that going to help?
He pulled the window up and took a deep breath.
“I’m a gonna… I’m a gonnaaaaaaaa ddiiiieeeeeee!” He screamed, but of course no could hear him.
He vaulted his butt up into the window, with his legs dangling in the room.
Carefully, with his arms shaking, he managed to lever himself up until he was holding the top of the window and standing on the narrow ledge.
It was hard to think. All around him, the noise was deafening. And frightening.
Risking everything, he swung an arm up to the roof ledge. After several grunting minutes, he pulled himself up onto the roof, weak as a newborn babe.
For five minutes, he lay on his back, breathing heavy while the sounds of infiltration and destruction echoed up from inside the house.
Then, resigned, he stood up slowly. He did a quick 360 degree assessment of the island.
Nothing but Pink.
A week later, they found his dehydrated senseless body.
In the hospital, with tubes coming out of him like an octopus, the only thing he said was “Flamingoes. Damn Flamingoes. Get off my damn yard.”
Sunburned, his skin was an incredibly brilliant pink.
It was monsoon season. And that’s when bad things happen.
It was strange seeing him laying there, water pooling around him, the pink neon lights adding a strange cast in the half-light. Like a downed flamingo in the rain. But flamingos weren’t made for this type of place.
I reached out and touch him, to caress his hair one last time, the drops shiny on the ebony curls but stopped and withdrew my hand. He was gone. I stood, tightening the frayed trench coat around my body, feeling a subtle chill in the air and with one last quick glance back toward the body, let myself blend back into the crowd.
They’d seen it myriad times. He was just one more stupid American who hadn’t paid attention to the warnings. I ducked my head to light a cigarette, the match hissing angrily in the light drizzle. A moment of regret and then I let it pass. I knew the way the world worked, and Bangkok wasn’t for everyone.
Besides, it was monsoon season.
“Mommy,” said Danielle, beaming up at her mother, “When I grow up, I wanna be a flamingo dancer!”
Linda sighed a little bit, and then smiled widely at her daughter.
“Sweetie, it’s flamenco. You want to be a flamenco dancer.”
Her little four year-old, with her hair in two long braids down her back, shook her head vehemently.
“Nuh uh! I want to wear pink tights and a tutu and stand on one leg all the time.” She folded her arms, raised her right leg, and smiled proudly… right before the fell over onto the bed. Linda chuckled.
“First of all, dancers usually wear matching leg warmers.” Pulling the rainbow sock off her Danielle’s left foot, she pointed to the white sock she had laid out for her daughter.
“And second, if you want to be a dancer, you should make it to class on time first.”
Leaning down, she kissed that little head, while Danielle struggled to put that sock on right side out.
“Go brush your teeth. We’re leaving in five minutes.”
“Okay.” Danielle jumped down off the bed and scrambled for the door. Linda turned back toward the mirror.
The little stopped suddenly in the doorway, just where Linda could still see her, and raised up on one foot, clapping her hands high in the air twice.
The plastic flamingo melted in the flames, the tip of its beak dripping hesitantly, then in earnest. The wire in its legs was now exposed, the legs having long ago oozed and evaporated.
Carina watched in silence as the blaze sucked and pulled at the air around the house, and imagined fire fighters restraining a frantic woman, running back to save the flamingo. She smirked as the imaginary fire fighters told the imaginary woman, “No, it’s too late. You have to let the bird go!”
The air hotly pressed against her skin. She turned to the imaginary woman and said, “I know it’s not easy. But sometimes it’s really is too late.” She thought of Bill trapped in the house with his lover. “You just have to let them go.”