Joe shook out his shoulders and surveyed the half-dozen gathered around him in a semi-circle. Their faces were all the same, maybe not in the clothes they wore or their hairstyle, but in their eyes. All were desperate, all hoping for a miracle–even the ones that stuffed their desperation down under half-closed lids. He had no sympathy left, no sense of connection. No one in this group was worth tapping.
He’d been working this gig since he dropped out of high school and had long since given up hope on his own big break. Still handsome, he looked closer to fifty than his actual thirty-eight. This gave him a certain advantage with the older, newly-divorced female clientele. Not ready to declare themselves cougars, but still up for a good time, his graying temples and deeply etched smile lines implied a safe maturity he had yet to master.
The familiar patter, a flash of teeth carefully bleached, a playful twist of the end of his mustache, and Joe split the deck and began, “Every day I’m shuffling.”
Joe pushed his shoulder against the door of the Dorothy Day senior center. It was early afternoon before the streets sidewalks had been cleared of snow, and salt and sand scattered to combat the patches of ice that always made walking with his cane difficult.
After his last slip and fall, his daughter begged him to give up his neighborhood home and come live with her in the suburbs, or if living with her and her two boys was too much for him, consider a nursing home. But they both knew that was never going to happen.
It was the struggle for mobility that kept him going.
He pushed against the door again, then felt it give way as the warm air of the Center embraced him. The usual crowd were gathered around two tables, pushed together for their Monday Rummy Tourney and they called out his name. He took the ribbing for being late, their comments about how he’d better buy himself a caddy, or at least a senior bus pass.
Unbuttoning his coat, he grinned and replied “Every day I’m shuffling.”
Liz Husebye Hartmann
This Week’s Challenge: Write a paragraph of exposition followed by one sentence of dialogue. Write a second paragraph of exposition that contrasts with the first paragraph and follow that with a sentence of dialogue. The idea is to match the dialogue with the character you’ve developed in the expository paragraph.
Weekly reminder: Don’t forget to recommend an article that you like (to learn why, read Ann Marcaida’s article Attract More Writers and Artists to Gather!). Also, try to place a comment on at least one article and say more than you liked the piece. Tell the author what worked and what needs work.