Beverly Lucey begs to differ with us as The First Annual Peggy Dobbs Write-of-Passage contest continues

Good evening from across the street from Mingle’s and Friendship Square in the Moscow towers that are A Word with you Press!

“In the beggar’s tin/a few thin copper coins/and this evening rain”  – Issa

 Beverly Lucey joins us once again.

Do recall that everyone is entitled to enter this contest three times, and each entry increases your chance of

1) winning five Franklins

2) impressing someone of your favorite or preferred gender

3) escorting someone of your favorite or preferred gender any place that five Franklins will take you.

Beverly’s story has a nice ring to it.

Here is Beverly’s second entry into our contest:

The Chosen Shulamite

by Beverly Lucey

Issa had many reasons to break off her engagement to Neal, but had been postponing telling anyone about it.  After all, plans had been made.  Caterers hired.  She’d learned to smile whenever anyone in her family waxed on about ‘what a catch’ that boy was, and ‘no one ever thought she could land’ such a boy, and ‘it was so much fun to see the look on Pearl, Ida, and Esther’s faces when her mother got to tell them separately, tasting each announcement like a smidgeon of cake.  That’s what her mother said it felt like, and who was Issa to take away such pleasure from someone.  A mother, after all.  It was too late.

Her father had been silent on the matter.  He nodded when Issa first told him, but said nothing except, “It says here that Bell Telephone is a good stock to buy.  I would buy that stock if I had any money.”

For weeks now, since Neal proposed, he had changed.  Or perhaps Issa saw him through a different lens.  His confidence felt like arrogance, and her opinions didn’t matter anymore.  “After we get married we’ll have to…” Neal would say expecting no protests about where they would live.  What kind of place they’d be looking for.  What in her closet she should now throw away.  Perfectly good clothes.  Last week he told her the blue one with short sleeves made her look dumpy.  “After we get married I’ll go shopping with you.  I know what looks good.”

Wasn’t it only last month they’d had a rip roaring discussion about the bandits in the government, whether unions were a good or bad thing, and if television would ruin reading for the youngsters.  Issa loved to argue.  The good kind, when everyone yelled and no one got angry.  Ideas would rise, float, hang around, and then everyone would go home.  “No child of mine will be watching television,” he said.  Issa was quite sure these would be children they would share.  But now she thought, perhaps not.  Perhaps it was not too late.

On this night, they were walking off dinner again at Vitor’s–a place she disliked. “Don’t be silly.  They have a huge menu.  You’ll find something you like.  People try to get tables here but they cannot unless they come very early or very late.  You notice we can always get a table?  That is the taste of the good life, my dear Issa.  You will learn to love it.  Only in your neighborhood do people eat gray meat.”

Mist started to come down, looking like puffs of smoke as it drifted past the lamplights.  Issa did not like to walk in this direction because almost every time they had to pass a man fallen on hard times.  He had one leg.  Half of his face was burned.  This man would sit in a chair, in front of one of the triple deckers.  He wore a sign around his neck that read, “I want to work.”  In his hand, he held a crockery cup that he would shake as people passed.  It sounded like the rattle of a couple of nickels.

“Ugh,”  Neal said.  “I keep forgetting until we turn the corner.  Someone should stop him from clogging the cement where people walk.”

“He is not clogging.  He is sitting.  Tucked in next to the stoop.”

“Really, my love.  You must stop contradicting everything I say.  It is a very bad habit.  We will have to work on that after we…”

“What do you think happened to him?”

“I don’t think anything happened to his leg.  I think it’s a trick.  Some special kind of chair.  And his face?  Probably he fell asleep when he was drunk one night.  So, you see?  It’s his own fault.  Yet, people–silly, naive people–drop coins in his cup.  He probably makes more doing this than taking a real job.  Those kind of people always have money.”

She thought to herself, “I swear.  It’s not too late.”

Neal was looking away, across the street toward a bakery that was still open, but he made sure his words were loud and uttered exactly when they passed the man.

As a result, he did not see Issa remove her ring, and drop it into the cup.

“What was that?  Issa, did you give that fraud money?  Tell me you didn’t.”

“ I didn’t.”   But she was smiling as she removed her arm from his.  “It was nothing.”


13 thoughts on “Beverly Lucey begs to differ with us as The First Annual Peggy Dobbs Write-of-Passage contest continues

  1. Michael Stang says:

    Your story, Beverly, dances with good taste, sound judgment, and inner beauty. Some how makes me want to do the Christmas Jingle. What’s the Christmas Jingle? What the man is doing in his chair.

  2. Chuck Chuckerson says:

    That line about the cake was wonderful, as was the ending, of course. Such a strong action, such a solid way for her to do what she should have done sooner. Sort of making up for the delay with the extravagance of the move.

    I like how you used examples to show us that Neal is a jerk. Also this is really funny but my ex was named Neil and he was opposed to giving people money on the streets. Just the other day my current boyfriend gave money to a woman and her kids outside of the supermarket. It’s tells you so much about a person, if they have the money and just don’t want to give it away. (Personally I was always taught that the money isn’t mine, but God’s, so if I’m being called on to give it away I’d better, but that’s neither here nor there….) Wonderful piece!

  3. barbkeeling says:

    I so “hate” people like that it was hard for me to read it. BUT so well done could not let my eyes stop until I finished it. Loved the ending.

  4. Parisianne Modert says:

    Great, great, great portrayal of saying yes to compassion for the least of us, to oneself as a woman; while saying no to control, arrogance and assumptions of behaviour. Your story is very well written, has a cadence which flows and is one many young women and young men will be able to relate to. The question of who we are considering spending our lives with when all the false manners fall aside revealing the truer person is contained within this tale during engagement. There is a wisdom to cold feet in certain circumstances. We learn that it is not just important to be treated well by our lover, but how that lover treats the most misfortunate of others. We learn how easy it is for another human being to try to run your life upon becoming engaged, committed or married. I love the triumph of decision and the form that decision takes. Your first sentence draws us right in to the story line and your last sentence is decisively powerful with a meaning that splashes ice water in our complacent faces. Thank you for sharing such a brilliant entry with us. I have become a devoted fan of yours both as a reader who is a lover of fine literature and a woman writer who appreciates art well done.

  5. RapierSharp says:

    “Only in your neighborhood do people eat gray meat.”

    GREAT line! Old Neal put the final nail in his coffin with that one. It was funny, though.

  6. Tiffany Monique says:

    Oh her revenge was so sweet and quiet like cream poured in coffee! I wanted to give her a high five! And I wished a bird would poop on Neal. You wrote this story so well, I liked and disliked everyone as I was supposed to. Even Pearl, Ida and Esther – almost afterthoughts as far as characters, were injected wonderfully like just the right amount of juice in a baking turkey. This was so much fun to get into!

  7. Diane Cresswell says:

    Great take on revenge but in a very beautiful way. Had me glued to the story line…will she…won’t she. She did it!!! Good one.

  8. Mac Eagan says:

    The first thing I noticed was the dismissiveness of the back-handed comments in your opening paragraph. No one had appreciation for Issa, which may have been a contributing factor to Neal choosing Issa as his potential bride. She “learned to smile” and accept the berating. Perhaps Neal thought she would smile the same way for him.
    I also liked how you used derivatives of the prompt to show us the courage building up inside her. It was too late. Perhaps it was not too late. And then the delivery of the moneymaker.
    And, yes, I loved that she dropped the ring in the cup rather than politely giving it back to Neal. He definitely deserved it.

  9. trk803 says:

    Wonderful. Despite showing us in the first paragraph how Issa feels about Neal you keep us in suspense about whether she’ll call the wedding off or not. You make Neal easy to dislike and her dropping the ring into the beggar’s cup tells us all we need to know.

  10. Stars Fall On My Heart says:

    That last line…I believe the word the younger generation uses these days is “OWNED”!!! And owned he was! I wanted to sock him so bad, but the end stayed my hand. Good thing too; I don’t have money for a new laptop LOL

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