The Road

Bruno. C. / Art Photos / CC BY 

Skinny legs pumping, Amelia

Rode up covered in dust

I worry ‘bout this child. 

I’s her mama. That’s what we do.

Her eyes gentled me. "Mama,

This just the beginnin' of the road."

Written for Trifextra: Week Fifty-One at Trifectra. The challenge: write exactly 33 words using one of the three pictures provided. I chose this haunting portrait.


Idle Hands


The story below is my first entry to the Trifecta Writing Challenge.

The challenge is to write a 33-to-333 word response to a prompt using the third definition of the prompt word. This week's prompt is "idle."

1: lacking worth or basis : vain
2: not occupied or employed: as
    a : having no employment : inactive
    b : not turned to normal or appropriate use
    c : not scheduled to compete
3: a : shiftless, lazy
    b : having no evident lawful means of support

Idle Hands

 Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.

That was Mam’s favorite, the one she kept right in the front of her over-stuffed mental filing cabinet of Life Lessons where it was handy when needed.

I’ve fought Mam’s homilies all my life, and won the battle with most of them. I no longer worry if my underwear is clean enough – should I be hit by a bus, don’t you know – or feel like I’m at death’s door if I miss my daily apple.

 But idle hands thing? I just can’t seem to silence Mam’s ominous-sounding warning, and it scares the daylights out of me. I guess it must be the Devil’s personal vested interest in any pause my hands may take that makes it so terrifying. I picture him there, hovering, just waiting to swoop in and seize my tarnished soul the minute my hands stop doing, doing, doing.

And, oh, the things I’ve done to keep him at bay. I raised children and kept house. I cooked and baked. I gardened. I painted and threw very lop-sided pots. I crocheted and macraméd. And as I grew older and my hands less dexterous, I knitted. And knitted.

I knitted Christmas and birthday gifts and presented them to my family and friends. I knitted baby blankets and caps, and donated them to hospitals. I knitted scarves and hats, and took them to homeless shelters. And I knitted mittens, endless pairs of mittens. I knitted so many mittens that I can no longer find anyone who will take them. I have the grandest wardrobe of mittens any old lady could want.

My hands are gnarled with age now, unable to wield the knitting needles anymore. I know the Devil is just there, a step behind me, preparing to claim his prize.

At least my idle hands will be warm while I wait.



The Man in the Wood

Are you real?

I glance your way

And catch you

Staring back

With an intensity

That scares me,

And makes me want

To beg your pardon.