Speakeasy #146: Words Last

“My perspicacious perspective apprises me of your disapprobation at my dialectical preferences, Lacey.”

I sigh and glare at Shane. He looks exactly like you’d expect someone who said the previous sentence would: bowl-cut brown hair, thick rubber glasses complete with tape around the bridge, and a pocket protector with enough pens to outfit the proverbial infinite monkeys with enough writing implements to create Shakespeare.

“Huh?” I reply. They say brevity is the soul of wit.

They suck ’cause I don’t feel witty at all.

The stereotype displays the shit-eating grin that makes me wonder why I don’t let the wind from a soft whistle blow his ass down the block. “Are you cognizant of the intelligence that ‘huh’ prevails within virtually all the terrene vocabularies?”

“If you don’t want a girl to beat you up then I suggest you talk like a normal person.” I’m counting the blocks until we reach our street. We’re neighbors, and our moms are besties for life. I’ve let my mom know in no uncertain terms that she’ll disappear if certain photos of me and Shane taking a bath together as toddlers should ever surface.

“Pugilistic inclinations aside, shall you and the matriarch of your clan deign to grace us with your effervescent quintessence?”

Five, four, three, two, aaaannnd here comes the inhaler. Thorn Street, three blocks from school and two blocks until home. He’s like clockwork. A sad, wheezing clock that sounds like it’s on its last legs, but still he manages to sound cuckoo. “I have too much homework to come over tonight. Or any other night.”

Shane studies his shoes. He mutters something I think sounds like, “Don’t be like that, Lace.” For all I know it could have been, “Shut your stupid face.”

I honestly hope it’s the second one, but history leans toward the first. I remember him being more fun when we were younger. We’d play soccer, baseball, hide and seek, and bake mud-pies in pretend ovens.

Then his dickhead sperm-donor took off when we were in second grade, and Shane changed. I’d come over and he’d be buried in books. Comic, paperback, old, new, thesauruses, it didn’t matter. I should feel bad for him, but it’s been years.

He really needs to move on.

“Don’t pout, Shane. It demeans us both.” A red Camaro cruises past, and I wave at the driver, Allen Tomas. He glances at me. He glances at Shane. Then he bursts out laughing and zooms off.

My face burns with embarrassment.

My pace quickens, and Shane scurries after me. I can feel him pushing those ridiculous glasses up as sweat starts to slick his nose.

I break into a run, tired of his pathetic hanging around my neck. His gasps follow me, and he manages to make it to the front of my house without collapsing. “Well, that invigorating constitutional-“

“Shut-UP! God! Do you even know what you sound like? Why do you have to talk like that?” The words tumble out, and I try to grab them. The bastards slip through my fingers. “Do you know why nobody likes you? It’s because you sound like an asshole who thinks big words make him a big person.”

“No wonder your dad left.”

Oh, Jesus. Did I really just say that? I couldn’t get the hurt in his eyes from that one statement if I slapped him a thousand times while burning his books.

“Remember when he left?” His voice, empty of anything Shane, lashes me.

“I’m so sorry-” His lips press so hard they turn white. “When we got our mid-term report cards.”

“I was failing English.” His fists ball. “My…Dad saw my grade, and I saw the disappointment in his eyes. He muttered something about wishing I was smarter.”

“He left that night.”

God, please…make this stop. Send me to Hell, and I’ll go with a smile if you just make him forget my stupidity.

He keeps looking at me with those betrayed eyes. “I thought he left because I wasn’t smart enough.” He trudges past me and I can only watch. “I always hoped if I became smart enough, he might come back. Stupid, I know. But still…”

I manage to break free of my idiot’s paralysis. “I’m sorry, Shane! Listen, come over. We’ll do whatever you want. Please!”

He doesn’t say a word as he goes inside. “Goddamn his dad…”

I slump down on my steps. “…and Goddamn me too.”

I sat there and waited, but he never came back.

Word Count: 750

Speakeasy #146. The prompts: “I sat there and waited, but he never came back.” To be used as the last line. There is also a video prompt:

The rules:

  • Your post must be dated January 26, 2013, or later.
  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • Your piece must include the following sentence as the LAST line: “I sat there and waited, but he never came back.
  • The Speakeasy is for submissions written specifically for the grid. Please don’t submit an entry if you intend to showcase it to another blog link-up. Such posts are deleted without notice, there’s no refund for your ticket.
  • Please don’t post long explanations before your post. We want your writing to be the star of the show. If you need to clarify anything, feel free to do so at the end.
  • The badge for your speakeasy #146 post is found in the sidebar. Add the code to the html view of your post before publishing.

30 thoughts on “Speakeasy #146: Words Last

  1. Persipacious perspective apprises, when I read these words,I remembered a dialogue in a movie where the young woman read the first few words from the letter and handed it to her well educated cousin. “You read it she said,I don’t understand a word here.” I didn’t do it but read on to see if there were words I’d understand. Thankfully there were a few. Enjoyed reading your story.

    • Thank you! Coming up for the dialogue to reference the video prompt proved to be the most difficult part of the whole thing. I’m glad you stuck with it and enjoyed it 😀

  2. Very interesting story, and self-talk. Nice use of the prompt.

  3. Another brilliantly written piece from you. Heartbreaking, though it did make me laugh in parts. I could really feel the emotions of your characters, from the initial embarrassment to the deep shame and the sadness.

  4. This is great! I love the way you led me down a path of humor, and then slayed me with with that sword of shitty human behavior.

    That comment was specially hand-crafted with images of weaponry just for you : )

  5. Excellent job! I like this story very much, and the ending is quite a turn of events.

  6. Oooh, I liked this. Great charachter development in under 750 words.I could see the scenario in my mind like a movie. And we have all had those “I shouldn’t have said that” moment.

    • Thank you! The video prompt had me stumped for a bit on how to incorporate it. Then the sentence prompt sparked ideas of a fight, and Shane and Lacey came to life.

  7. “The words tumble out, and I try to grab them. The bastards slip through my fingers.” I love those lines! I’ve been there and you captured it perfectly. Great piece, Jeremy! Intense and realistic, even with all those ginormous words. 😀

  8. Yes! A bowl cut. Perfect.

  9. That first line is fantastic. I can see why it took so long. As always “Great Post”.


    • Thank you! I started out saying it normally in my head then dug deep into the thesaurus to translate it to its current form 😉 I’m pretty sure if someone said that to me, my reaction would be exactly like Lacey’s!

  10. Excellent story. I loved the way you wove the characters and the emotions and incorporating the video was brilliant.

  11. Your first paragraph made me laugh out loud and the ending finally turned that laugh into sadness…Love the effects you have created with the characters ! Excellent work !

  12. This is a very well-crafted story. Just for a minute, I wondered if I was going to see any depth from your characters and then suddenly, I was immersed in it. Very nicely done.

  13. Suzanne commented on the line that stuck out for me – the words tumbling out and slipping through her fingers. I’ve been there! I feel just awful for Shane. I hope he can forgive her.

    • I’m really up in the air on whether or not he can. On one hand, those that know us the best can cut us the deepest and cause us to shy away. On the other, it may be the kick he needs to move on from his father’s hurtful words and quit trying to live a fantasy so the “real” Shane can come through.
      I think most of us have experienced that moment when we wish we could just jam whatever hurtful thing fell out of our mouths back in, I know I have. Thanks for reading, Janna!

  14. Wow, this is great! I especially like a couple of lines:

    “Are you cognizant of the intelligence that ‘huh’ prevails within virtually all the terrene vocabularies?”
    “A sad, wheezing clock that sounds like it’s on its last legs, but still he manages to sound cuckoo.”


    • Thank you! Honestly, I happened to read an article to some students that mentioned that “huh” is actually an almost universal word, though pronunciations differ. That sounded like a tidbit someone obsessed with factoids might say in response to “huh”, so in it went 😀

  15. So much emotion, and I didn’t see that ending coming. Great job.

  16. The things we say out of spite. Jeremy, this is brilliant. I really like how you told the story of the second turning point in their friendship, so short and so bitter. It’s wonderful.

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