First, Story A Day May is celebrating the May stories this weekend. Follow that link to read nominated stories from this and past years. We were asked to nominate one of our own and were encouraged to nominate someone else’s, too.
Now. People who see the cover of LONNIE, ME, AND…. always want to know about the panda. Well, the panda is a prize Lonnie won for Leona, his wife, at a game of chance at the Festival of Saints Crispin and Crispinian. He also partook of strong spirits and started a fight while dancing. Leona is a hardshell Baptist. She wasn’t there. The narrator is Lonnie’s long-suffering best friend, a plus-size guy who, naturally, is called Tiny.
What About the Panda?
excerpt from “Lonnie, Me, and the Battle of St. Crispin’s Day
by Marian Allen
I could hear Danny’s voice, amplified by the sound system, saying, “Boys! Boys! …And ladies! A saint’s day is no time for violence! Think of the children!” but no sirens.
After what seemed like about three years, when I was backed up against the bingo tables that had been shoved together along the walls, I gave Dutch a good solid wallop and he didn’t come back.
Something tugged at my jeans so hard I was afraid my pants would come off, so I took the advice my legs had been giving me for some time and sat down.
“Scrootch on under here, buddy,” Lonnie whispered.
I scrootched on under, and there was Lonnie, without a mark on him, with that phone of his out and him beeping and booping on it to beat the band.
“Lonnie,” I said, “what in the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed world are you doing?”
“Tweeting with Plaid Girl and L. R. Lee,” he said, like that ought to make sense. “They think you’re doing great. She said she’s going to write you a haiku, and he said for me to take some pictures for him, since he can’t be here to take ’em hisself.”
“Do I know these people?”
“Do you know these people?”
“I mean in real life.”
“Tiny, you just don’t get it, do you?”
I figured I’d already got about as much as I could handle. “I guess I don’t,” I said. “Why don’t you just hold onto it for me and I’ll get it by and by.”
Things sounded like they were sorting themselves out in the world beyond the tables. Danny told everybody to clear the hall until they’d cleaned up and cooled down.
Once everything was nice and quiet, we crawled out. Time teaches wisdom, my mama used to say, and it looked like there was some truth to it. The parish hall hadn’t been decorated at all, and the bingo tables had kept flying fists and feet and people out of the windows. The floor was littered with paper and neckties and ball caps and maybe the occasional tooth, but nothing more valuable than that.
“Time to go, buddy,” I said.
I almost had him out when he said, “Leona’s prize!” We scrounged around and he found it up on the stage, stuffing popping out of its seams and one of its eyes hanging by a thread but, amazingly, no blood on it.
“Somebody’s went and blacked both its poor ol’ eyes,” Lonnie mourned.
“It’s a panda, Lon. It comes with black eyes.”
I would have told him to leave it but I figured with one hand full of panda and the other full of phone, he couldn’t drink anything or play anything or grab ahold of anything, so I let it be.
Leslie R. Lee and Plaid Girl are real people, btw, and Twitter friends of mine. 🙂
Buy LONNIE, ME, AND ….
Or you can buy LONNIE, ME AND THE HOUND OF HELL, which contains the first Lonnie and Tiny story plus about nine other of my odd animal stories, for 99 cents.
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: A character gets into — or avoids — a fight.