I’m thinking of putting together a couple more collections of my short stories. Like LONNIE, ME AND THE HOUND OF HELL and THE KING OF CHEROKEE CREEK, they would include some previously published stories and some new ones.
The following excerpt is from “Brave Andrew and the Crop-Haired Lass”, a story I wrote when I was doing Locks of Love. I let my hair grow out three times and got it cut for Locks of Love. But my hair is old, unlike me (shut up!), and I don’t do that anymore. This story was published online at the now-defunct E2K, a magazine that specialized in stories of 2000 words.
Brave Andrew and the Crop-Haired Lass (excerpt)
by Marian Allen
Once upon a time, there was an accountant named Andrew Cashel, which is a funny enough name for an accountant, and you may be sure he heard many a joke on the subject. Andrew had clear and attainable career goals, but the desire of his heart was to find and marry his one true love. Unfortunately, although he could force himself to attend school and interact in class and to function satisfactorily at work, the young man suffered from severe social anxiety which made dating unpleasant, to say the least. By the time he reached the age of thirty, Andrew’s career was right on track, and he had resigned himself to bachelorhood. He was not the man to believe in magic carpets, yet there was one in his future, as you will soon see.
One day it chanced, when Andrew was sorting through the newspaper sections in search of the financial news, that his hand fell upon a K-Mart ad, and one of the items advertised was a “three-by-five-foot Persian-type area rug carpet, many patterns available.”
Andrew’s principal reading had long been the newspaper, biographies, and Westerns, but his childhood library had consisted mainly of the works of another Andrew: Andrew Lang’s rainbow of Fairy Books. The words “Persian-type area rug carpet” conjured up visions of barefoot princesses draped in layers of film and brocade, their knee-length hair spilling from under bejeweled turbans, their bare arms encircled with spirals of gold, marrying Serpent Kings and pointing accusatory fingers at cringing Evil Councilors and whatnot.
Andrew prudently clipped the advertisement with its promised discount price, tucked it in his pocket, and drove to K-Mart. There, he not only found a rug of intricate design that couldn’t have matched his living room colors better if it had been woven to order, he also found a clerk who told him the price would be reduced a final time the next day, and that he could bring his receipt and be given the difference in cash.
That night, Andrew dreamed of a figure in a black cloak carrying a rolled-up area rug. The figure unrolled the rug at Andrew’s feet, and a fortune in jewels scattered across his penny-loafers.
It was with a shock of recognition, then, that he saw the woman in K-Mart’s parking lot the next afternoon. She wore a black pants suit, and her waist-length hair veiled her lowered face as she rummaged in her purse. Under her arm, she carried a rolled-up rug the twin of his own. She pulled out a set of keys, unlocked her car door, heaved the rug into the back seat, and turned, tossing her head so that her hair flipped behind her shoulders.
She looked up. Her eyes met Andrew’s.
She had, he thought, eyes like emeralds, lips like rubies, teeth like pearls, and her skin had the soft warm gleam of ivory. Every other part of her was probably like something else precious and beautiful. His heart turned over in his chest, which was not something you would want to have happen all that often.
She laughed as she gathered her hair and clipped it with a gold doo-dah from her purse, fastening the black mass at the nape of her neck. “I’m getting it cut tomorrow after work. The Shearing Shed is having a cut-in for Locks of Love.” As she spoke, she opened the driver’s door of her car and slid in.
Then she was gone, and Andrew had neither spoken nor moved nor breathed, from the moment he first saw her.
And it goes on from there.
This was actually a writing exercise I did for a class I was teaching. I was showing them how to do grab random things and make a story come together, and it happened. 🙂
WRITING PROMPT: Grab a few random things, put them together, and write a story arc.