Short Story Exercise: Tell a Story

(using this book, set the  timer for ten minutes and wrote a short story relating to the phrase “tell a story,” edited lightly)

“I lost them in the womb,” Susann said, making her voice barely audible over the thump-thump music in the bar.

The cowboy seated next to her lifted a brow and took another drink from his beer, then his glassy eyes returned to her misshapen hands.

“Yeah,” Susann continued. “You see, I had a twin. She got my extra fingers! Doctor said they looked like flippers, if you can imagine. Seven fingers per hand, she had, and here I only got three.” Susann wiggled the fingers of her left hand under the man’s nose before taking a dainty sip of her daiquiri.

The cowboy took another look at her hands then pulled his beer from the bar and, shaking his head, wandered away. Susann, accustomed to people making their exit as soon as they got the story of her missing ring and pinkie fingers, swayed her body back and forth, out of time with the music, and scoped the bar for the next man she could catch staring.

She spotted him at the end of the bar. He was a little rough around the edges, but Susann was bored so she picked up her drink and sauntered towards him. “Mind if I join you?” she purred, making a demonstration of her deformed hand by gesturing towards the empty stool.

The man, eyes wide, motioned for her to sit. “That’s some hand you got there, honey!” he drawled.

Oh a southerner! Susann thought with excitement. “You like it?”

“What happened to you, darlin’?”

“Well,” she leaned towards him conspiratorially, doing her best impression of a southern belle, “I was but five years old. My pappy’s farm had this old well, you see. And my job was to bring up the bucket every mornin’, right?”

He nodded somberly.

“So this one mornin’, I’m a-haulin’ the bucket up and wouldn’t you know my brother’s mean old hound dog ran up behind me barkin’ and snarlin’ and I was so scared I lost my grip on the rope. The bucket starts fallin’ so I grabbed at the rope, but it just wound round the last two fingers on each hand, and snap! The rope yanked ’em clean off!”

“Why you poor precious thing,” he soothed. “I hope your brother got a whoopin’ for that dog of his scaring you like that.”

“Worse than that,” Susann said, leaning closer. “Pa made him eat the meat off my old fingers. Raw.”