Hold the Pickles

18 Nov
This week on Story Dam we were asked to “Show Me Your War Face,” and write a descriptive sequence in which a character is faced with something that requires a distinct level of determination. When I read this prompt, a vision immediately filled my mind. I love when that happens, but the best part about the vision was it starred two of my favorite characters from “Millie’s Rose,” Dan and Stacy. Thank you Story Dam for giving me the opportunity to spend some time playing with old friends.
*   *   *
Hold the Pickles
A series of low curses and a guttural growl rolled from the kitchen, interrupting Stacy’s peace and quiet in the living room.
She stuck her finger into her book to mark her place as she called out, “Dan?”
The only reply was a rapid succession of knocks, followed by a long, hissing, “Sssshh—
It took almost a full thirty seconds before Dan finished the word, “—it!” He huffed and puffed and followed it up with, “Come on, you frickin’ son of a  biii—cch!
Curiosity got the better of her, and she set the book down.
“Are you ok in there?”she called out as she headed toward the kitchen.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,”Dan grunted, but when she got to the kitchen she had her doubts. Hunched over with his back to the door, he was growling again, his neck and the tops of his ears beet red, every muscle in his body practically vibrating in rigid tension as he curled in tighter. “Hurrrgh!”
“What in the world are you doing, kochanie?” Stacy asked as she leaned against the kitchen counter to watch him.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” Dan barked out, then huffed and puffed and hurrrgh’ed some more.
“Ahh…. I don’t think you wanna know what it looks like.” Stacy smiled. “But you sound like a moose in heat.”
Dan straightened up and turned to face her. A bead of sweat tracked from his forehead to his cheek, his chest rising and falling in heavy rhythm as he panted out, “I’m trying to open this damn pickle jar!”
“Well, you look like you’re about to have a coronary. Maybe you better sit down.”
“I don’t need to sit down,” Dan grumbled.
He lifted the jar up to chest-height and held it tight in one hand as he wrapped his other around the cap in a death-grip. With his elbows at ten and four, and his face taking on a shade of crimson that was actually quite pretty, Dan struggled to crack open the seal. The muscles in his neck bulged, the vein in his temple throbbed, his eyes bugged out a little, but the cap wouldn’t budge.
Stacy reached over and stole a slice of turkey off his open sandwich. “You want me to get that for you?”
“No!” Dan spit out on his last bit of air. He sucked in one deep, cleansing breath and let it out, and then, as if he were about to dive into the deep end of a swimming pool, he pulled in a lungful and held it in as he strained against the lid again. His face went from crimson to purple, but that was about all that happened. The jar didn’t open.
“Seriously, Dan, give me the pickles.”
Stacy held out her hand, but Dan shook his head. His cheeks puffed out and perspiration coated his upper lip. The knuckles on both hands turned to white. Little puffs of air escaped his clamped jaw and pursed lips in sharp bursts, alternating in pitch from squealing-balloon to deflating-whoopee cushion, and back again.
“Be careful you don’t poop your pants,” Stacy warned with a smile.
The expired air escaped from his lungs in a whoosh as his arms went limp and fell to his sides. “Shut…up,” he panted.
“Gimme that.” Stacy snagged the pickle jar from his cramped-up hand, set it on the counter, tapped the lid three times with the edge of his mayonnaise-covered knife, twisted the lid off,and held out the opened jar.
His eyes narrowed. “I hate you.”
“I love you, too, kochanie.”

7 Responses to “Hold the Pickles”

  1. gracefullwomen.com November 18, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    I could actually see this playing out through the natural flow of conversation. I enjoyed this.

  2. frommywriteside November 18, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    I'm rolling, with tears streaming from my eyes, my belly hurting from laughing so hard. This is absolutely fantastic. Who knew that trying to open a pickle jar could be so entertaining!!"Be careful you don't poop your pants" Intense giggling ensued. Man I saw this as if I were standing right there in the room. The whole time I'm thinking just use a knife, and half expecting his head to explode at the same time.This was so fantastic. I love it. Thanks for the giggles!~The Drama Mama

  3. bridgetstraub.com November 18, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    We have all seen this played out at one time or another, right? You captured it beautifully.

  4. Martha Rodriguez November 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant and hilarious!

  5. Donna Sturgeon November 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Thank you all for the wonderful comments! I just adore writing Dan and Stacy and I'm so happy I had a chance to share them with you. 🙂

  6. Brandon Duncan November 19, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    I'm interested to read the book now. This was awesome! I wish I had something valid for you, but I really don't. The only think I saw was trivial: "The knuckles on both hands turned to white." Lose the "to"? lol! I really have nothing else.Great job, yet again, and thank you for the laugh. This was a great piece of work. 🙂

  7. Donna Sturgeon November 19, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Trivial, maybe, but losing the "to" gives me an extra word to use somewhere else! Thanks, Brandon.

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