Keyword Challenge 2 Complete-ish


So, for a challenge to myself, I took some keywords people use to get to this blog and created a story with them. Well, part of a story anyway. I think this one needs a better ending…an actual ending, really. And I didn’t get in flickr. However, for a week, it’s not too bad.

Here are the keywords:
-Astronaut flickr
-Old wheelbarrow
-Domino tile line
-Tape sculpture
-Pen empty
-Bumper stick condom

His mom said the car was perfect: only a few years old, it was in near mint condition and it was cheap.

The old woman who was selling it crossed her arms and frowned the entire time Russ was on her driveway inspecting the Buick. She wore gardening gloves and clenched a trowel in her fist. She was alternatingly hilarious and menacing.

Her son was chatting leisurely with his mom. They stood on the grass, under the shade of a large oak.

Russ cupped his hands over his eyes and pressed his face to the driver’s side window. A rosary hung from the mirror. Obviously, that would stay with the old woman – maybe he’d replace with an old CD hanging from fishing wire, like he’d seen in some of the senior’s cars in the high school parking lot.

The car was long and boxy, but it was his ticket to get out of the house and away from his seven-year-old brother Davy and those stupid tape sculptures he left lying around the house and cried over when Russ stepped on them. accidentally, of course. You don’t want a Scotch taped astronaut to get squished, don’t leave him on the floor outside the bathroom.

Sure the car was ugly and boxy, but the only real drawback was the “I break for cats” bumper sticker. Russ looked up at the adults. His mom and the old woman’s son weren’t paying any attention, but the old woman’s glare was trained on him. He tried to nonchalantly pick at the corner of the sticker, to see if he’d be able to get it off once the car was his. The old woman’s eyes narrowed, and Russ moved on to inspect some other part of the car.

It wasn’t that he wouldn’t break for cats – he wasn’t a monster – it’s just that it was like some sort of bumper stick(er) condom. No, condom would imply that he was getting laid and that sticker was a sure-fire way to make sure he wouldn’t. Ever.

It’s probably why his mom like the car. It was all he could afford, so he guessed he liked it, too.

Russ wandered over to his mom and the old woman’s son.

“Well?” his mom smiled at him. He nodded and looked down at the ground.

“We have cash,” his mom said, glancing over at the old woman.

The old woman turned around and pushed an old wheelbarrow across her lawn. She bent down and thrust the trowel into dirt, repeatedly.

“State didn’t renew her license,” her son whispered. “Gotta say, I’m glad that they’re the bad guys on this one.” He handed over the keys and waved until Russ and his mom, in their new car and old van, respectively, were at the stop sign at the end of the street.

Russ didn’t notice that the rosary was still on the rear view mirror until he parked in front of their house.

His dad and Davy were on the front stoop, his dad holding an open beer can and Davy erecting a domino tile line. Both were listening to the baseball game on the kitchen radio. It’s electrical cord snaked through the open door.

“So, you did it!” His father smiled and walked toward him. “Good lookin’ hunk a metal.” He slapped the top twice before leaning in the passenger side window.

Russ’ mom got out of the van, waved at Davy, who was not paying attention, and slipped her arm around her husband. He straightened up and kissed her.

Russ turned away. Who wanted to see that? “I’m going to return her thing,” Russ told the side mirror as he waved at the rosary.

His parents laughed and turned toward the house.

Russ pulled back onto the road. He waited until he was out of sight of his mom and the house before he took his eyes off the road and fiddled with the radio.

“Not that song!” Davy popped up from the back seat.

Startled, Russ spun around in his seat, pulling the steering wheel with him. Davy screamed. The cross on the rosary swung wildly.

The car jumped up on the passenger side like they had rolled onto the curb. Russ spun back to the front, momentarily forgetting how to break. They weren’t near the curb.

The rosary slowed to a sway. Russ stared at the cross, afraid to see what he’d actually hit. He growled, “When did you get in here?”

Davy was on his knees on the back seat, looking out the back window. “It’s tail is still moving, Russ. You didn’t totally kill it.”

“Great,” Russ mumbled, slowly raising his eyes to the rear view. A dark lump was in the middle of the road.

Another car sped down the street, behind them. Russ closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, waiting.

“Do something! Do something! Do something!” Davy screamed in ever-increasing decibles.

Russ was about to open his eyes when he heard a horn blare and pass them. Slowly, he peeled his eyes open.

The lump in the road was still there. No red. No smearing. A tail lifted from the ground and waved like a flag.

Russ jumped out of the car and ordered Davy to open the back door.

It was summer and he didn’t have a coat. He looked in the back seat footwells as he passed: except a pen, empty, so he scooped the cat up in his bare arms and carried him to the car. Davy had moved away from the open door to make room for the wounded.

Russ drove under the speed limit the remaining two blocks to the old woman’s house. He untangled the rosary beads from the rear view mirror and ran up the front walk. He fidgeted and glanced over his shoulder, trying to read Davy’s body language.

His younger brother’s head was bowed. He looked to be totally engrossed in petting.

Russ thrust his hands in his pocket and began fingering the beads. He didn’t know the first thing about animals, except he needed to get this one to a vet, STAT. And he had no idea where to find a vet.

No one was answering the door. Russ calculated how long it would take to go home and ask his mom about a vet. Too long. But calling home was worse. If he said accident or hit, that was it. Panicked mom. Car-less Russ.

He was about to hang the beads on the screen door handle, when the old woman opened the front door.

“Oh, thank you young man.” She didn’t frown as much as when he was here before, but she still didn’t look pleased.

He bounced back and forth between his feet and the old woman’s deep frown returned. She looked at her old car in the driveway and grabbed the door to shut it.

“Wait!” Russ threw his hand in the door’s path. The wooden edge pressed into his forearm before the woman was able to stop it. “Do you know a vet?”

“My husband was in World War Two.”

“No, a pet doctor.” Russ steadied his balance and locked his knees to stay still. “I hit a cat,” he answered her look. “He needs help.”

“And they say I can’t drive,” the woman griped under her breath. She sighed and held the inner screen door handle to steady herself. “Go up to Euclid, take a left. No. That’s too much traffic. Go past Euclid to Pine, then…no. Give me the keys. I’ll drive.”

Russ eyed the old woman.

“Hurry!” Davy shouted out the now open window.

Russ handed over the keys. “Hurry,” he mumbled before walking back to the car in four great strides.

Here’s the result of the first Keyword Challenge.

Did anyone else take up the challenge? Either with these keywords or words from your blog?


2 thoughts on “Keyword Challenge 2 Complete-ish

  1. Hey! Hope you don’t mind that I looked for your blog. I remember when we used to talk about writing, and I thought it might be fun to share in the journey again. 🙂 I’m currently working on a YA contemporary novel, and I’m pretty bad about blogging on regular basis, but I hope we can stay in touch! By the way, is this the same Julia I remember??

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