I recently found a bunch of sites I love – some designed for wannabe writers; some BY wannabe writers (RJ I’m looking at you). And I’ve been trying to make myself write more. One of the ways I’m doing that is using a random word generator. I like this one. Yesterday I chose the option for six words and I guess that was too many. While I did get a short piece started, I couldn’t use all the words and it’s not finished enough that I felt it was ready to share. I know I don’t have to use ALL the words, it’s supposed to be a tool, not a dictate. It just feels incomplete if I can’t include them all. That’s probably my OCD rearing its head. However, today I opted for only four words and I got: stretcher, aroma, chocolate, perch.
Without further ado, here’s a very short story using those words. Any and all critiques are welcome! Unless you’re just mean about it.
Marlene removed the cookie sheet from the oven, setting it on the counter. She slid in another pan and set the timer. The aroma of chocolate wafted through the warm kitchen, making her mouth water.
To distract herself, she ran hot water in the sink and began washing the breakfast dishes. Sticky egg yolk and congealed bacon grease yielded to her sudsy sponge. Soon the plates were standing at attention in the drainer while the skillet jockeyed for space next to the mixing bowl. Marlene dried her hands and checked the timer. Five more minutes. Taking the spatula she carefully transferred the cookies from the pan to a cooling rack, where they joined another dozen already cooling.
She repeated the steps when the last pan was finished baking, stacking the coolest cookies in the cookie jar. After washing the cookie sheets Marlene put the now-dry plates away. Standing in the kitchen doorway, she looked around the room one final time to be certain she’d finished everything on her list. The last dozen cookies were stowed and the cooling rack washed, dried and put away.
Marlene checked the bedrooms. The beds were all made, clothes picked up. And the bathrooms – clean, spot free mirrors, shiny faucets. In the living room there was the merest trace of dust on the coffee table. She paused over it, wondering whether she should take the time to dust. Instead, she ran her finger through the dust, spelling out her despair. Then she went to the french doors which opened onto their postage-stamp balcony.
The realtor had gushed proudly about the view, as though it was her personal creation. Marlene supposed it was a decent enough view; they could see the ocean after all. But not smell it. Not hear it. Not feel it. With the doors open all she could smell was exhaust fumes. All she could hear was a cacophony of horns. All she could feel was the oppression.
Stepping outside, she gazed from her perch, seeking the glimmer of the sea. Imagining its salty tang, the waves shushing in her ears, the spray teasing her skin, Marlene swung her legs over the railing and balanced there for a moment.
Later, Kyle would wonder about the full cookie jar. Later, after he received the call at work. Later, after he’d rushed to the hospital, and dodged stretchers in the corridor on his way to the ER. Much later, after he’d died a little seeing Marlene lying still and pale on the drawer in the morgue.