Welcome to the first meeting of WRiTE CLUB. Those simple words began my little blogging experiment back on October 23, 2011 and here we are almost five months later about to crown us a champion. It's been a typical ride, complete with ups and downs, wrong-turns and detours, and some truly amazing scenery along the way. But whatever path this trip has taken has been shaped by the talent of great writers and your unending participation. Thank you for recognizing the potential in what I was trying to do here and keeping the gas tank filled. I'd like to see every generation of WRiTE CLUB be bigger and better than the previous, but that can only happen if we extend our presence to the farthest reaches of the blogosphere, every nook and cranny, and get people talking about...what they're not supposed to be talking about. :)
And one of the things they're NOT going to be talking about is the battle about to be waged here today. Standing before you now are two remarkable WRiTER's, both with something to prove...that they deserve to be the first ever WRiTE CLUB Champion! Remember, the WRiTE CLUB Champion will be awarded (apart from the nifty badge) a signed copy of UNTRACEBALE by Shelli Johannes-Wells, along with a query critique and/or one hour consultation with her about marketing or anything else. Shelli is a marketing whiz and picking her brain for an hour is certainly a prize to cherish. The contestants will pit their new 500 word sample against each other and leave it to you to decide their fate. You will have all week to decide, so take your time, voting will close on noon, Sunday, March 18th. Visit the WRiTE CLUB page and read back over their previous submissions to get a feel for their whole body of work if you like, but ultimately it comes down to today's piece. There is only one voting restriction for this final round, you must be a follower of my blog.
Okay, enough of this stalling and dramatic build up. Good luck to both WRiTER's!
You can’t hurry love, or so people say. But those people don’t have Cupid on speed dial.
Don’t get me wrong – being BFFs with Cupid isn’t all red and rosy. I mean, there are times I really wish my best friend could be there for me rather than the poor girl going through an emotional crisis and four boxes of Kleenex. All in all though, it does have its perks. Like how I get all the juicy gossip on Hollywood couples before the tabloids even get a whiff, or the fact that I’m the only girl in the world who doesn’t have to worry about going stag to junior prom. But there are three things you need to know about Cupid:
1. She’s a girl. Yep, that’s right. In all honesty, can you picture a fat guy in a diaper getting all mushy gushy about true love and soul mates? I thought not.
2. It’s a temporary position. Abby (the current Cupid) has only had the job for a year and the gal before her only lasted four months. I guess you can only watch so many first kisses before you want to gag yourself with a heart-shaped spoon.
3. The bow and arrow might not be real, but the magic sure is. Every month she can put fifty people on the road to true bliss, complete with glitter, red hearts and one of those fruity drinks with an umbrella in it—if she’s feeling particularly generous that day.
But I’ve been waiting sorta-patiently and now it’s my turn. I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to convince my best friend to hurry things up for me and Mr. Too-Gorgeous-For-Words who just moved in last week and is already the star quarterback and runner up for prom king. Talk about dreamboat.
But apparently Abby wasn’t on the same boat.
“You’re not supposed to hook up with Devin,” she said during study hall. “Besides, you’re going to fall hard for Sean in a couple weeks.”
Oh. No. She. Didn’t.
“Sean?” I put as much scorn into the name as I could without drawing the attention of Mr. Phipps. But he was too engrossed in Better Homes and Gardens to notice the scene I was putting on. “You can’t possibly mean the same Sean who once put bubblegum in my hair and used to wear the same Batman t-shirt every day for an entire year.”
“That was in second grade Jess, you’ll get over it.” Then she had the audacity to wink.
I can tell you now though, that was soooo not happening.
At 47, Ed Bowen thought love had surely passed him by.
He watched his friends marry and have children, shipping gifts to them overseas from wherever in the world he happened to be writing at the time. Each occasion reverberated in his mind like some alarm clock to which he was forever running late.
Years passed, and still no woman with cinnamon hair and eyes like the summer sky ever materialized.
But Gully did.
Ed hadn’t planned on getting a dog, having wandered into the animal shelter on a whim, but that had changed the moment he laid eyes on the shivering mutt.
“We’re grateful Gully will have a home,” the man had said. “Looks like his previous owners beat him pretty badly.”
“His name’s Gully?”
“He was found in a dumpster, on a copy of Gulliver’s Travels someone threw out.”
Ed didn’t consider himself superstitious, but this had been too clear a sign to ignore.
Gully came home that night. He refused to sleep on the blanket by the nightstand, where Ed’s own copy of Gulliver’s Travels permanently resided, choosing instead to crouch in the corner in muted misery.
It became a challenge, winning the dog’s trust. Perhaps, Ed thought, heart lifting whenever Gully approached without flinching, there are different kinds of love for each of us.
They began tentatively, progressing from small pats and sniffs to Gully waiting by the door, tail twitching when Ed came home. He still trembled at the sight of long, thin objects – from garden rakes to wooden spoons – but grew bolder, until the night Ed found the dog’s head resting on his knee. It felt like nothing had ever belonged to him more.
People smiled to see them playing in the park, inseparable as father and son. Ed began taking Gully with him on business trips. Together, they explored Canada, Greenland, Morocco – wherever his writing assignments took them.
It seemed that Ed learned something new about his pet’s personality every day, but it wasn’t until Gully began displaying a certain talent for sniffing out money that he became alarmed.
At first, it was spare change: pennies on the sidewalk, quarters under sofa cushions. Then it became dollar bills beneath a café table, twenties strewn in a parking lot, a hundred bucks in a battered wallet the cops said Ed could keep because no one ever came to claim it.
Each time, Gully wagged his tail with a self-satisfied expression. Aren’t you proud of me? he seemed to say.
And so it was that one day, on the shores of the Bahamas, Gully’s barking interrupted Ed in the middle of writing.
“What is it, boy? Can’t this wait?”
But Gully would not rest until Ed followed him to a tamarind grove, where – carved into a thick trunk – was an unmistakable X, with an arrow pointing down into the soil.
Ed looked down at his dog.