March 30th, 2013


Can You Do That?

I wrote this to lilfluff's first prompt, "What if you did in fact get to choose your family (The old, you can choose your friends but not your family)"

“Well,” said Xenia, “I’m keeping Uncle Henry and Aunty Belle.”

“That’s not the way divorce works, dear.” Grandma Kelsey smiled indulgently. “Your mother is divorcing your stepfather, so you won’t be related to his brother anymore.”

“But Mum’s the one who’s getting divorced, why should I have to give up the relatives I like?” Xenia was old enough to have a sense of fairness and to have half understood the discussions going on around her. “Besides if people are getting stuff ‘in the settlement’ and ‘custody,’ why can’t I have Uncle Henry and Aunty Belle?”

“Because that’s not the way it works, dear,” her grandmother sighed and pulled Xenia to her for a cuddle.

Six years later, on her first day of high school, the two girls in her class from her old primary school and the older girls who’d been trying to push them around looked from the departing senior boys and back to Xenia. “How do you know them?” That was Sybil, the leader of the older putsch.

“Yeah,” her friend Audrey echoed her, “why would they care about a squirt like you?”

“They’re my brothers,” Xenia told them sunnily.

“Tom and Jack don’t have any younger sisters,” sneered Sybil. “Can’t you tell the truth?”

“My mum was married to Jack’s dad for a while and my dad used to be married to Tom’s mum,” Xenia explained. Then she added happily, “They’re good brothers, so I kept them in the divorces.”

The older girls looked at her. It was Sybil who spoke, “You can’t do that, can you?”

Xenia’s friend, Samantha, came back with, “She’s been doing it since we were in kindergarten.”

At her wedding, thirteen years after starting high school, Xenia’s father cringed as he looked at the assembled guests. “It’s like a montage of snaps from all of my weddings.”

“It’s a montage of snaps from our previous weddings,” his ex-wife corrected him. He’d been married to Carla so many years and marriages ago he would probably have lost all contact with her if they hadn’t had a child together. “If you bail now, she has a replacement all lined up to walk her down the aisle.”

“Who?” He looked indignant.

“As Henry Griggson can’t walk very well at the moment, the ‘crazy’ brother of someone you used to be married to. He’s over there, talking to the groom’s father, in the olive suit with the long ponytail. Apparently they know each other.”

Xenia’s father looked at where the two men were talking animatedly. “Crazy Mike and the Colonel? The man will barely give me the time of day.”

“It could be worse,” she patted his arm consolingly. “She invited two of my ex-husbands, the ones she still introduces as ‘my stepfather.’ I swear she has more family than either of us…”


March Prompt Request Closing

I said i would close off my March Prompt Request sometime today, my time.

So, here is the warning post.  It is my intent to close off the Prompt Request by midnight, my local time, but if I fall asleep or forget, it will close off first thing tomorrow morning when I get up.

That gives you nine and a half hours for prompting and signal boosting.  :)

The Collector

I wrote this to meepalicious's prompt "You'll measure my footsteps while I blow through this town."

I stopped being a ‘good’ girl a long time ago, when I realised that I wasn’t getting any credit for it. Not that I smoke or otherwise damage my health, heaven knows that being able to run is a useful trait in my line of work, but ‘good’ girls don’t do what I do for a living. Guns, violence and leather protective gear are my stock in trade as a ‘collection agent.’ I’ll admit I’ve gone to some trouble to make sure my parents think I work in a call centre, ringing people up about overdue bills. As if.

Most of my work is in the city because that’s where the majority of my targets are. When I have to travel for work I try to line up a few jobs in the same place; I believe it saves time in the long run. So I rock up to a town, it could be your town, on a Friday evening in my air-conditioned van and I go to work. Given what I collect, the relevant authorities will have received an email notification that I was coming, sent five minutes after their office closed for the weekend. If your relevant authorities have offices that are open 24/7 then I probably don’t need to come to your town.

I generally park the van in a light industrial area, near the panel beaters and the trade hardware stores, not near the factories with multiple shifts. There are fewer people around to get curious about the van that way. Then I go scope out the sort of bars my targets tend to frequent – I’m sure it’s a punishment for my sins that I never get assigned the targets who like to hang out in hatted restaurants. If things go well, I can usually romance the first target in any given bar all the way to the van and even into its back. If there’s more than one in the same bar, well, my reputation is dirt in a lot of places and for a lot of things.

On a good run, the wanted fish in the pond just drop out of sight, all across town, as I reel them in.

The standard issue restraints, shackles and padding in the back of the van usually come as a big surprise, no matter how I got them there. The reading of their warrant and their rights is usually a bigger shock – you’d think they believe lopping the police budget meant no policing, not doing it smarter with less. That’s usually where the violence comes in. I’m good at responding to violence.

Really, yes, I am the bang you get for your paid-tax buck.