Friday, February 17, 2012

The Stranger

My friend Erin (who shows up often in my posts) got me started a couple days on creative writing.  All she did was mention that she needed to get started on a creative writing post for Write on Edge about a BLT.  I thought "That's a funny prompt!" but then I started writing. . . and it was fun!   So, here it is.  My first 400 word Write on Edge prompted creative writing.  Maybe I'll write that book I've been dreaming of putting together!

The Stranger

The bacon on his sandwich was overdone. It reminded Cyrus of his mother. She used to burn everything.  As he sat, slowly chewing his BLT, he contemplated how he was going to handle the next few days, alone.  Why did he let Alice go on vacation?  He’d have to think seriously about finding a new secretary if Alice kept asking to go see her daughter in Tulsa every month. 

A fly buzzed around his head and landed on his plate where he had left a few tomato seeds and some toast crumbs.  He swatted at the invader but missed by a mile. Across the room, he heard the jingling of the bells on the door and the hostess squeaked "Hello! Welcome to Benny's!" 

Cyrus glanced up to see a middle-aged man, limping as he pushed his way through the door. A patch covered the stranger’s left eye and his hair was slick with oil and slightly disheveled as though he just got out of bed.  His unshaven face was weary.  Cyrus was sure it had been quite some time since the man had touched a bar of soap and warm water. 

Cyrus picked up his coffee cup and threw back his head to get the last of the cold liquid from the bottom.  He wiped his upper lip on his sleeve and started to stand.   The cloud of stench that surrounded the stranger reached Cyrus before the old man made it to his table.  He smelled like perspiration, campfire and stale beer.  Cyrus connected with one piercing blue eye. 

“Sit down.  We’ve got to talk.”  The stranger growled. 
“Do I know you?”  Cyrus eyed him suspiciously.
“No.” he said flatly.  “But I know your mother.” 
“My mother?” Cyrus lowered himself onto the bench.  “She’s been dead for 10 years!”
“Dead?” the man raised one bushy, grey eyebrow. 
“Yes.  Who are you?” Cyrus challenged.
“My name is Martin.”  The stranger mumbled.  “I worked for your mother in New Orleans up until a few months ago.”
New Orleans?  Cyrus shook his head. “My mother would never travel that far south. She couldn’t stand the heat!”  Cyrus again tried to stand.  The man came to stand in front of him. 
He leaned over Cyrus’s shoulder.  Hot, stale breath assaulted Cyrus’s nostrils. The old man whispered, “Your mother is very much alive.  I can take you to her. . .but first?  I need food.”


  1. Oh, a mystery. Why did Cyrus believe his mother was dead?

    I love your description of the homeless guy. I could practically smell him

  2. I'd remove "Sit down" and then the "again" from Cyrus tried to stand. A stranger in a restaurant, even a smelly one, doesn't cause someone to try and bolt without being cornered first. It'll read a little cleaner.For flavor, the stranger could call New Orleans N'awllins as a local from there might.

    I love the foreshadowing: Cyrus just thought of his mother and then a stranger walks in to talk about her. This works. Brilliant start!

  3. Very intriguing. I love a good mystery. I could also smell that guy - the descriptions were very evocative.

  4. I really enjoyed the peek into Cyrus's head with the internal commentary on his mother's cooking and Alice's trips to Tulsa. We know a lot about him in just a few lines, which is great.