Friday, August 31, 2012

Matilda: Part 2 - Thomas

           Thomas had a problem. He had a plan to resolve it, too. His problem was Matilda. When he agreed to marry her, he thought he could work around her barb tongue. Through his growing up years, he watched his father block his mother's persistent yammering and thought he had the auditory sensors' turning-off abilities. Thomas was an idiot.
            At first, Matilda fulfilled a need in him. She gave him attention. Awkward Thomas usually repelled women. Constantly hunched down to bring his unusual height to a less freakish level, he looked like a sinister character in a cartoon. Thomas lacked bulk and when he dressed in tight t-shirts, his bones protruded under the fabric, possibly landing him a spot on a world hunger poster. When Matilda connected eyes with his and smiled, his world brightened. Riding that wave of exhilaration led him to imagine he could spend the rest of his life with her. But when she opened her mouth, the wave crashed against a boulder, and he found himself drowning.
            Thomas had to get out of the commitment, but knew Matilda would not allow it. Finding a way became an obsession for him, a drug he craved. She bulldozed her way into his life and anything short of a miracle would not push her out. A miracle, or a well-executed plan. He spent nights pouring over his journal, scheming a plot that was bound to succeed. He made the proper arrangements, took into account every possibility he could think of. He needed to find the right moment.
The day Thomas walked out of the house, he was ready. The afternoon sun blinded him for an instant before he stepped off the sidewalk. He lifted his hand to shield his eyes, looked left and right and headed to the other side of the street. Thomas hadn't counted on two things happening at the same time. He didn't expect Matilda not to run after him. His plan's success depended on her following him into the street. The fact that she wouldn’t never crossed his mind. Matilda loved him; surely she would go after him. Yet, she didn't.
            The second thing was the sun in his face. When he concocted his plan, he thought he would be able to ignite her fuse for a fight earlier in the day. But it took too long to muster his courage, and when she finally exploded enough to warrant him walking out, the daylight had run away from him. So he shielded his eyes from the sun with his hand. Only that was the signal the truck driver parked at the end of the street waited for. Thomas spelled it out for him in an email when he hired him, neglecting to stress that round Matilda was the target, not the tall thin man.

I tried to include all the suggestions I received in developing the story. If you're up for Part 3, let me know. And of course send me your suggestions, feedback, disapproval or acceptance of this one. 

Friday, August 24, 2012


If there were one word to describe Matilda, it would be "round." Almost everything about Matilda was quite round. From a distance, one could imagine a beach ball with skinny legs as she wobbled down the street. She would have a perfectly spherical head if it weren't for her jutting ears. Sporting a puffed hairstyle that came down to just below her ears, she managed to provide some cover and held that coiffure since third grade. No one who knew Matilda dared to mention her rabbit ears twice. Her sharp tongue shot back remarks striking a bull's-eye, bringing down the poor souls to levels of insecurity that rendered them speechless.
Matilda's first line of defense was her mouth. She vomited every thought that came through her mind without censorship, consideration or hesitation. Needless to say, Matilda did not have many friends. Actually, she had none. She did not care. She forged her way through forty years with the conviction that people who did not appreciate honesty had no place in her life. So she kept company with the written word. She read everything she could put her hands on and collected bits of information about almost anything. Matilda was a well-rounded individual, she thought of herself as knowledgeable and educated.
Her career choice helped little to improve her social skills. A lab technician in a fertility clinic, she spent her days alone in the cold sterile environment and fiddled with tubes and specimens away from patients and coworkers. She went home to nine cats and a house full of ferns. Matilda bought the house when she proposed to Thomas, the shy accountant who looked after the clinic's finances. He was the only man who dared a conversation with her.
Five months later, Thomas, her Tommy, walked out of that house two weeks before their wedding day. Matilda did not wonder where he went. She knew for sure he was in Hell. She sent him there herself the day he yanked the front door open and told her he could take her criticizing tongue no longer.
"Go to Hell," she commanded.
Matilda watched him march out. He started to cross the street but he never made it to the other side. Her Tommy lay broken in a pool of blood in front of the wheels of a truck. He did not die. She knew he wished he had. He told her that every morning when she walked into his hospital room and fussed over his damaged body, chatting away with one medical fact or another she had read somewhere.

It turned out; Matilda's Tommy was indeed in Hell. She read that with her own eyes in his journal, which he foolishly thought he could keep it hidden. Matilda did not believe in secrets, so she found a way into his locked desk drawer. His admission did not matter to her one bit. Her Tommy will remain hers forever. But she found something else in Tommy's journal, something that finally tied her tongue.

This is a short story in the making. If you would like to be involved in how the story of Matilda unfolds, send me your ideas about the following:

- What did Matilda find in his journal?
- What kind of character is Thomas?

Be creative and let's have some fun!