Margaret Elizabeth Johnson

Maggie tugged at the bottom of her tank top. It barely covered her solar plexus. Royal blue with her name printed in pink cursive letters. The colour combination was better suited to her red hotpants than the outfit she had last worn – lime green and luminous orange. She had felt silly wearing that one. The door to the locker room clanged open. Don snuck his head around the corner.
“Hey, babe. Five minutes, okay,” he winked.
Maggie controlled her breath and started to wind up her warm-up routine; a last couple of slow stretches followed by an exercise she and Don had developed specially to help with movements where extreme flexibility was required. She glanced at the clock. Thirty seconds. Maggie sat on the nearest bench, eyes shut.
Sixteen candles on a cake. Shadows dance across a weathered face. Uncle Fran. Who hurt her more than any other human being; whose torrenting rivers of pain flowed through her and who she would now baptise another in.
Don’s hand was on her shoulder. She opened her eyes, adjusted them to the locker room.
“Good and bad news, honey,” Don grimaced. “Bad news is Evelynn ain’t making it. That gig a couple days ago left her more messed up than she thought. She needs rest. Good news is there’s a young guy available. And they’ll double the dough if he don’t put gloves on.”
Maggie looked at her calloused knuckles.
“Think I can take him?”
“I think you can take him. They expect you can’t. That’s why the fee doubled. They figure it’ll be your last fight.”
Maggie had five brothers. Four of them were older than her. They were all of jobless.
“I’ll do it.”
“That’s my girl,” Don patted her back. He left the locker room.
Sixteen candles. And an ocean of pain.

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13 thoughts on “Margaret Elizabeth Johnson

  1. Pingback: Turner Mack « Filling a Hole

  2. Evelyn

    Thanks for commenting on your writing process. I also only seem able to write short stories. For me I think I fear commitment. lol
    But I also love that concept of telling a story by not telling it. The very idea of the unknown is so exciting to me, the possibilities!
    Excellent stories.

    Reply
    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Yes, the unknown has a powerful allure, especially when it is only alluded to and the reader has the opportunity of filling it themselves.
      Lol about the commitment. I think I’m just too lazy right now. So I’m learning to write a paragraph at a time. At some point I’ll have to confess to myself I’ve written enough paragraphs to fill a book , so I have no more excuses not to write a book. It can be difficult to fool yourself, but not impossible, lol.
      Thanks for your insights and for stopping by.

      Reply
  3. screen_scribbla Post author

    Every morning I get myself a cup of coffee and sit down in front of the computer screen. Then I fight a growing panic for about fifteen minutes. Then I force myself to relax and clear my mind of all thought. And out of nowhere, a line comes. I type the line and then run with it, trying not to think about what it all means. That’s a good day. On a bad day I consider a theme and see what comes up. Or I turn on music and see what images that inspires.

    But be it a good or bad day, each day is work. I am rarely inspired in the true sense of the word. Which is precisely why I do the scribbles, because I believe that writing is work; that a writer needs to write whether they think they are inspired or not; that we don’t have the luxury or time to wait for inspiration to hit, and that when it does it is really short lived and only a precursor to a mountain of pain called hard work.

    I stop the story because I run out of time to write it. I need to head off to work and know that I will be way to tired at the end of the day to continue with it. And I prefer to read other peoples’ blogs then anyway. The story always ends when I’ve finished writing it. I’d like to believe that I could continue in the same voice and develop the story further if I was required to.

    Thanks for your questions and for participating on my blog. I appreciate it very, very much.

    Reply
    1. Kay Camden

      Well, you are very creative. I can’t imagine coming up with so many different stories just one day apart. You’re very lucky the story ends when you’re finished with it. I’ve been struggling to turn mine off for over a year. I’m about to lose my mind! (Or maybe I’ve already lost it?)

      Reply
      1. screen_scribbla Post author

        Lol – there are definitely times I wish I could not let go so easily. I think the story only really begins once you’ve lost your mind, so I guess you’re in the right space. 😉

        Reply
  4. Kay Camden

    How do you come up with these little story shards? Do they just flash in your mind, or do you actually sit down and think, “What should I write?” How do you stop the story from continuing? Does it stop once it’s typed out?

    Reply
  5. sungyim

    I really like this one. “Maggie had five brothers. Four of them were older than her. They were all of jobless.” <—my favorite tidbit.

    Reply
    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Thanks for the read and response. Glad you liked that bit. I’m always looking for ways to tell the story without telling it. Or show don’t tell. But it’s just so hard that half the time I think I’m being corny. In this case, I’m glad you picked up on this little detail for what it was intended to be.

      Reply
  6. somethingnewplease

    Solar plexus is such a strange word. It’s kind of like looking at your feet and realizing they kind of seem strange… five toes? What’s up with that?

    Or am I the only one who does that?

    Dig the stories, especially the form you use in crafting such short pieces.

    D

    Reply
    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Thank you for your words. And no, you’re not the only one who finds words and five toes strange. Happens to me too often, which can of course be pretty embarrassing.

      Reply
  7. Find an Outlet

    Is she going to be crippled? If you survive this, run away Maggie, run as fast and as far away as you can. Plan your escape quietly, don’t tell a soul. Change your name and your identity and never look back. These are your enemies, not your family.

    Well anyway that’s what I want for her. I’m glad this is a short story because I don’t know how much detail of the fight I could take!

    Reply

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