You wake up this morning with one task. There are various other things you could do, so you do them: Shower. Read the newspaper. You even walk the dog, so your spouse doesn’t have to. Finally you put your breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, pour another cup of coffee and force yourself to your laptop.
Something isn’t right. The chair won’t adjust properly. The sun comes through the cracks in the Venetian blinds, right into your eyes.
You pick up your laptop and move downstairs to the living room, where your feet propped against the opposite arm of the love seat give your legs just the right angle for typing. You alt-tab to LibreOffice Writer and hit ctrl-n. A pristine, blank document mocks you. You type:
The Cheese Stands Alone: A Grate Story
Hah! you mutter. That wasn’t so hard, was it. Cheese grater prompt? No sweat.
The pristine, blank document just laughs at you. This is more than you can tolerate. You get up, walk to the kitchen, where your bare feet cringe against the cold tile, and pour yourself a glass of Two-Buck Chuck. Halfway back to your love seat, you return to the kitchen and grab the bottle. Saves trips, you tell yourself. You drink two glasses of wine while brainstorming possibilities. Now the wine glass sits on the coffee table, safely on a plastic coaster. The wine bottle, tightly corked against accidental tipping, stands next to it on another coaster. Avoid the wrath of True Love.
You begin typing.
It was a dark, ominous night.
You select-all and delete. You write:
Sally knew she had to make a salad to take to the church potluck.
That’s promising, you tell yourself. So why is it important that she ‘knew’ that’? You write:
Unfortunately, she hated salads. Almost as much as she hated making salads. Maybe she hated salads because she hated making salads. Or vice versa. She had been down this road before. It led nowhere.
You like that. You’ve got a character, you’ve got a problem. You’ve got some conflict. Words start to flow.
She opened the fridge and pulled out the bag of lettuce.
“Oh shit.” Outdated and all soggy and squishy.
No time to run to the store. There’s half a cabbage. She grabbed the chef’s knife and chopped it fine. Now some carrot.
You want to warn Sally. “Watch out! This is where it all goes south.”
It was getting too close to home. Your home. The one you share with your True Love. True Love who took your entire salad and threw it down the garbage disposal last night. Why? Just because the cheese was soggy and bunched together. And whose fault was that? Her fault. True Love demanded that you do a salad with grated cheese and grated carrots. By the time you got to the cheese, the grater was damp and a bit sticky from the carrots. So of course your grated cheese was going to be soggy and clump together.
You bravely write some more.
She washed the carrot, grabbed the grater, and grated vigorously.
“Ow!” Her mind wandering, wondering what else could go into the salad, she had just grated open her finger. Blood. She dropped the grater, rushed upstairs. Pressure on the wound. Band-aid. Ten minutes it took to stop the bleeding. Then back to the salad.
Gotta hurry. Kayla picking me up in five minutes.
You hear True Love come in the back door. “Whatcha doin’, oh Master Chef?”
You mutter under your breath, Let it go, won’t you? True Love heads upstairs. You know something’s up when your non-answer is ignored. You write:
She grabbed an onion and chopped a quarter of it into the salad. Then back into the fridge for a chunk of cheddar. She grabbed the grater.
“No!” you want to scream.
At that moment, True Love comes into the room with a package. “Present for you.”
Peace offering, you say to yourself. Maybe this whole thing will blow over. You sincerely hope so. You don’t handle conflict well. You open the package. A brand new grater.
True Love preaches, “You use the grater with the red plastic handle for vegetables. You use the other one for cheese. East is east and west is west and ne’er the twain shall meet/Till cheese greets carrots joyfully in one great salad feat.”
You moan and reach for the wine. You don’t bother with the glass. You return to your laptop, select-all and delete.
Originally published at The Weekly Knob. The prompt was (no surprise here) cheese grater.
Also an exercise in writing from the second-person point of view, which is not very commonly used.