Monday Matchup Writing Challenge: The revelation, the magazine, the nostalgia

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WRITING PROMPT: Monday Matchup #10—Nostalgia, No More
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Write a scene featuring a book or magazine, a startling revelation, and one of your favorite things from childhood (be it a toy, a person, a pet, a place, etc.).

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3 thoughts on “Monday Matchup Writing Challenge: The revelation, the magazine, the nostalgia

  1. Mark James

    Sam Spade didn’t look happy. The Maltese Falcon—the book, not the million dollar diamond studded bird—was swollen, fat with age and sunlight. Trapped between the Phantom Tollbooth and Grimm’s Fairytales, Sam’s face leered at me from the shadows of boxes stuffed with abandoned toys and faded dreams. I asked the kid minding the garage sale how much for the detective story. She scooped it up from the grass, pigtails flying, and thrust it at me.

    “You can have it,” she said. “I don’t think we should be selling that.”

    I slipped a crumpled dollar bill into her small hand, twice the going rate according to the price scrawled on the masking tape over Sam’s lips.

    She grabbed onto my hand, tapped my wristwatch. “You’re a whole hour wrong,” she said. “We’re saving daylight.”

    Her front tooth was missing, freckles were a fine mist on her smooth face, and her blue eyes had never seen anything that would steal her sleep, or kill her dreams. Not yet. I glanced at my Timex. Everything in my life updated itself— laptop, microwave, coffee maker, cell phone—but my watch was a holdover.

    From the house a woman’s voice said, “Emily, you let that man go on his way.”

    Emily rolled her eyes.

    “What if I don’t feel like setting the time right?”

    She shaded her eyes, squinted against the setting sun. “You’ll miss all the good TV shows.”

    I was late for the cemetery, but I had to hear this. “Like what?”

    “I don’t know,” she said, “but come seven, mom acts like TV is the moon, and she’s late for takeoff.”

    A sudden cool breeze made the leaves whisper, blew wisps of blonde hair across her face. “What do you do at seven?” I said.

    “Visit with dad.” She made herself busy, stacking books on the grass, tucking foam into a twin set of bears. “He doesn’t talk much, but he listens.”

    I knew what she meant, because I’d done the same thing. “How long’s he been gone?”

    “You mean like time on your watch? Or time in my head?”

    She meant her heart. I understood that too. “The minutes in your head don’t really end, do they?”

    “Why didn’t you set your watch right?”

    I met Sam Spade’s eyes and decided it was okay to lie to someone who barely came up to my hip. “Forgot.”

    “You must not have any place to be.”

    Just the plot next to my wife, but that would keep. I held up the book. “How did you know this was a detective story?”

    “It was dad’s favorite. Sam Spade. Mom says she can’t stand to see it anymore.”

    In the falling twilight, I reached deep into my pocket, felt for my silver half dollar and pulled it out. “When I was little like you, I talked to my dad too. This helped. It used to be his.” I took her hand, dropped it on her palm.

    I left her standing there with the weight of silver I’d carried for decades. I’d suddenly realized I didn’t need it anymore. It was time to reset my watch.


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