FFF – Accommodating Lindsay

Posted on March 12, 2010. Filed under: My Writing | Tags: , , |

Okay, so I’ve been paying attention when Ganymeder writes about Flash Fiction, and last week I posted my first attempt at flash. This week I thought I’d be good and attempt to actually do the Friday Flash Fiction thing.

I’m not on Twitter yet, so I’m not doing it as part of the Twitter group Ganymeder is a part of, but I’m just experimenting and seeing if I like writing it. And because I’ve gotten a thing for badges, I made one for myself for the flash fiction.

My Friday Flash Fiction (FFF) Badge!

So? What do you think? Anyway, with no further ado, here’s my FFF for today!

***

Accommodating Lindsay

“Before I take roll, I want to tell you how my classroom policies work,” Mrs. Mason said from the front of the room. “You’re all growing up rapidly, and I believe you should be able to handle more adult rules.”

Lindsay frowned. Sixth grade must be all about growing up, she decided, slinking down into her seat as she fiddled with the pencil on her desk. She glanced around the room, taking in the new faces and noticing when some of those faces were glancing her way. They quickly turned away when she caught their eyes, but she knew they were wondering who the new girl was.

“I do not allow mischief in my classroom,” Mrs. Mason continued, leveling a stern gaze on the class before her. “You will be given two warnings before I will send you to the principal’s office. Is that understood?”

The class stared at her, Lindsay included. When her gaze turned to a glare, some of the students rapidly nodded their heads.

“Class,” she began again in a sugary tone, “when I ask you a question, I expect an answer. ‘Yes, Mrs. Mason’ will do nicely or ‘no’ if you don’t understand. Now, let me ask you again. Is that understood?”

A rumble of voices in stilted unison replied, “Yes, Mrs. Mason.”

Lindsay looked at the boy sitting next to her. His bright green eyes were lit with amusement as he pulled a piece of gum out of his mouth. She could see it was from a Bubblicious package with how large it was. He turned slightly her way when Mrs. Mason’s back was turned and gave a crooked grin as he stuck the gum underneath the desk.

Lindsay made a mental note that this boy was not someone she should be playing with if she didn’t want to get in trouble.

“I’m going to take roll now,” Mrs. Mason said from close by. Lindsay looked up in surprise to find the woman with the slightly blue perm standing next to the red-headed boy’s desk. Her large lips had flattened in a very ugly way, and she was staring at him as he squirmed, one hand over the top of the desk where his gum was stuck beneath.

Yes, Lindsay decided, it would be a bad idea to disobey Mrs. Mason. Especially after moving from Georgia. Her blue eyes followed the woman’s movements as she marched back up to the front of the desk.

Picking up a folder, she said, “When I call your name, you will answer ‘Present’ and raise your hand.”

With that she began calling names. Lindsay’s face soured. Soon she’d hear it and have to answer. She really didn’t want to, but she’d have no choice. She wished her brother were here to explain to the teacher.

“William Barstow,” Mrs. Mason called.

The brown-haired boy in the front row raised his hand. “Present,” he began and then added, “but my mom always calls me Will.”

Mrs. Mason paused in her checking of the roll and raised a gray eyebrow at him. Will squirmed. “I do not call students by nicknames,” she said in a grave tone of voice. “If your parents named you William, you should be proud to be called that. I will call you by full first names only. Is that understood?”

A second, quieter chorus of “Yes, Mrs. Mason” echoed in the room. William shifted further down in his seat. Lindsay followed suit with a suppressed groan. How was she going to get out of this now?

Mrs. Mason continued taking roll, and Lindsay held her breath as the names drew closer and closer to the J’s. Back home it would have been a simple thing to explain to a teacher that her mother was crazy and she shouldn’t be called by–

“Decatur Jones,” Mrs. Mason read.

Lindsay cringed and put up a hand. “Present,” she said in a meek voice.

Mrs. Mason nodded, made a notation in her folder, and moved on.

Lindsay, on the other hand, wished she could crawl in a hole. The other students were snickering. She rested her elbows on her desk and put her chin in her cupped hands.

How would they like it, she wondered, if their mothers had named them after the city they were born in? It was really very rude to laugh at someone who couldn’t help how she was named. Lindsay glared at the red-headed boy next to her who was crossing his eyes at her.

At least Charleston had a good name, she thought. Her brother, Charleston Timothy, was named for the South Carolina city he was born in. He didn’t really mind and had never been teased for his name. Most people who met him thought he was named after some actor Lindsay didn’t know, so he just let them say what they wanted. And now that he was in high school, Charleston thought he was cool and wore his unique name as a badge.

Now she sat in the classroom in Ohio with her new classmates and the teacher who would not call her by her middle name, and she pouted. It was all well and good for Charleston to be proud of his name, but she was named Decatur! She slunk even lower in the seat. Who wanted to be called Decatur anyway? It was a stupid name for a city.

“Decatur,” the teacher called, shaking Lindsay from her thoughts, “would you please help me pass out these books?”

As she stood and answered, “Yes, Mrs. Mason,” Lindsay heard the whispers of her classmates. Walking to the front of the room, she knew it was going to be a long year.

***

Silly, I know, but I had this idea and wanted to use it, so I jotted down some notes and created Decatur. I figured she’d be perfect for a flash fiction piece, even if she doesn’t like her first name.

So, feel free to leave comments on my badge or my story. I like critiques as much as the next person. 😉 I’ll be back tomorrow with more for your viewing pleasure.

-Rae-

P.S. The badge and the story are © Rae Reneau 2010. Please do not use either without asking first. Thanks!

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4 Responses to “FFF – Accommodating Lindsay”

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I thought your story was great. I really felt for the poor girl. Nice job!

Oh, there is also a #fridayflash group on Facebook, but if you want I’ll tweet the link to your story today.

Thanks! I’m glad you liked the story! And I’ll have to check out the FB group. As far as Twitter goes – I’ll just plan on tweeting my FFF once I’ve got my own account, but thank you for offering! It’s going to be a hectic couple of weeks, so I’m not sure how well I’ll do at the Friday Flash stuff for a while.

Decatur? I think that’s cool name. At least here in GA, Decatur’s is the boheme/hipster hang out of choice. It’s also near Virginia Highlands, where the true iconoclasts dwell. That’s where I’d like to move when I get published.

Charleston is the one I’d be snickering at. Anyone who’s been online has seen at least one of those sped up Charleston gifs.

Good story. I’m not great at critiquing,(please keep that in mind), but if you’re like me (probably not) when I ask for feedback I’m secretly hoping someone has something constructive to say that I may need to change. Or, if it’s positive, then they can mention specifically why.

That way I can really know where to go back to the “drawing board” and what doesn’t need perfecting.

You’re very good at wrenching out natural body language: e.g. “She rested her elbows on her desk and put her chin in her cupped hands.”

I think your descriptions are strong, but you want them to be powerful!

ex. “raised a gray eyebrow.”

Be bold and visual.

Experiment with color/action/metaphor/hyperbole i.e. “raised a silver eyebrow.” or “a curious wrinkle strayed across her brow.”

Or instead of William shifted further down in his seat.

“Will sank in the shallow depths of his chair.”

Not only are you accentuating a character’s eccentricities, you are also painting pictures so your readers don’t have to.

These may be terrible examples, but I hope I made myself clear.

But that’s my two cents.

Remember, I am an unpublished heathen. Feel free to take it or leave it, lol!

-Ed

Heh – Decatur’s not a bad name, but I was trying to imagine it from her POV as a new student in Ohio. I figured most of the students wouldn’t get it and would make fun of her for being different.

I’m all for constructive criticisms on my story! And I appreciate your suggestions! You’re right – I need to use more powerful vocabulary. I’ll have to work on that a bit more. It would be worth my while to get things more exciting and vibrant in my story.

Your examples were great, and you made yourself clear. LOL. Unpublished heathen or not, I’ll always be open to advice on my writing!


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