Monday, November 12, 2012

F3 Cycle 104 "An Old Dog Learning a New Trick"

F3 Prompt:  Use the following words in your story, or in the title, or both:  Gunshot, train, mime, balcony, monkey, rain
Genre:  Any your chatty little heart desires.
Word Limit:  Let’s keep it tight this week and cap it at 900 words.

The father of the bride stood underneath the patio awning watching the collection of differencing family members file into the small wedding chapel. Even if the pouring rain suddenly stopped and the grey skies cleared, he realized the entire hastily arranged nuptials was an ugly affair that would be laughed about by his family for many years. That is if they ever stopped complaining about having to drive all the way down from the upstate region of South Carolina.

The Palmetto Wedding Chapel of Charleston bragged on its website about providing an all-inclusive experience for the bride and groom. For Joshua Green that was all well and good but his biggest reason for booking his daughter’s wedding there had to do with its low price as compared to other places providing the same services.

One reason for its bargain basement price was that it bordered on a rough section of the city and showed the fact by having ornate iron security bars mounted to every window. Others included a clear need for fresh paint on faded walls inside and a ceremonial balcony above the patio closed due to structural issues. All things considered, Joshua was just happy to be able to provide something of the dream wedding his daughter wanted. The fact that he and his wife being far from wealthy people were almost forced to search behind the couch cushions to find enough money made everything that much more difficult.

What really burned in Joshua’s mind was the fact that his soon to be son-in-law was from a Hispanic family that has settled in his neighborhood about the same time his daughter, Deanne, started her senior year in high school. Juan Sanchez started showing up at his door a week later and they dated until Joshua caught both of them in the boy’s car partial undressed. Everything seemed solved after graduation when Juan left for basic training and Deanne started community college.

Joshua knew his problems with Juan and his family bordered on racism but he could shake the belief that he was better than the Sanchez family and in truth resented the fact they represented a country changing with the speed of a runaway train. All Joshua’s issues with the Sanchez family became moot a year later when his daughter and Juan came to him saying they were going to have a baby. Only Joshua’s respect for the army uniform Juan was wearing prevented him from chasing the boy down the street with his shotgun.

The sound of the patio sliding glass door opening broke Joshua from his reverie. “Mr. Green,” the chapel manager called to him from the doorway, “the minister has arrived, please tell your daughter she has about ten minutes.”

Joshua nodded and followed the manger in and climbed the stairs to the rooms used by couples and their families to prepare. All through the build up to the actual ceremony, the Sanchez and Green families had kept totally to themselves and Joshua quietly slipped by those rooms used by the groom and his party. At the end of the hall was his daughter’s room and after Joshua knocked on the door and not getting any response, let himself in.

The anteroom was empty and Joshua almost turned around and left to search elsewhere but it was the sound of whispers coming from an adjoining room that stopped him. Sensing a sad urgency in what he was hearing Joshua crept silently to find out who was speaking.

Concealed by the door Joshua saw Deanne and Juan sitting on the couch and holding each other. It was obvious Deanne was crying and on pure instinct Joshua almost rushed in to find out what was going on; instead, he stayed silent and just listened. “I don’t what to do about my father,” Deanne said while wiping tears away from her eyes, “he refuses to see what I love about you and your family. I’ve tried to talk with him but he just ignores me says you don’t really love me.”

Joshua half expected Juan to get angry and cuss but instead the boy just stroked Deanne’s face. “Deanne,” Juan said,”I will love and protect you and this baby for the rest of my life, in time your father will see he was wrong about me.” Joshua had prided himself all his life on being above overt displays of affection feeling they were usually phony but deep down he realized the boy did love his daughter and that his attitudes about him and his family were deeply flawed.

Knowing he should not be there, Joshua turned and fled down the stairs telling the chapel manager to inform Juan and Deanne. Minutes went by quick as gunshots with everyone taking positions for the ceremony. Joshua felt like a monkey in his old suit but proudly walked his daughter down the aisle despite the fact he strangely felt like a mime walking in a stiff and formal fashion.

When it came time to give Deanne to Juan the boy seemed nervous almost as if he was worried Joshua would refuse to complete the ritual. Instead, Joshua quickly grabbed Juan in a hug sending a shock through everyone assembled in the chapel. “Take care of her Juan,” he said, “I'm just and old dog learning something new and hope you can forgive me for my foolishness.”



Pixel Peeper said...

A tender moment of hope and optimism in a shabby old chapel - I like it!

Mr. Charleston said...

God stuff BB.

Windsmoke. said...

Bonza stuff.

Mike Williams said...

I wonder what his reaction wold have been if she had wanted to marry a woman. Nice touch with the story but once again I feel like you're channeling Shakespeare. That's not a bad thing.

Akelamalu said...

Oh a happy ending - I love it!

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Very well done!

Randal Graves said...

You big sap, where are the interstellar zombie vampires, dystopian viral epidemics, and irradiated mutant generals?

Ron Earl Phillips said...

Yeah, missing your usual gonzo stories. Good one here, soft and tender. So you're daughter getting married? ;)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Loverly. You brought tears to my eyes.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Very innovative use of 'gunshot'! Not at all what I expected when I read the keywords in your task - just goes to show ...

Beach Bum said...

Pixel: The story is weak, had a hard time getting something written.

Mr. Charleston and Windsmoke: I've done better, but its under the word count.

Mike: Good question about Deanne marrying a women, I based Joshua on a several people I knew who lived/live in the upstate of South Carolina. Rural folks up there can be very Taliban-like in their beliefs. In fact one weekend driving home I tuned into a local radio station where a real fire and brimstone preacher was saying people should be forced to accept Jesus as their savior to save their immortal souls.

Truthfully, this is a bit of a poke in the eye at such people including one of my brothers.

Akelamalu and Jerry: Suffering through a bit of a dry writing spell, the story is weak but I am glad you and the others liked it.

Randal: Good question, in fact I'm in a bit of a zombie mood, will see what I can do.

Ron: Yeah, just not feeling the usual muse lately. It's disturbing actually, could this be a form of writer's block?

Susan and Red Nomad: Thanks, I could have done better though.

Joyce said...

This was very well done and I enjoyed it. It's not dark and disturbing and no one dies, but truthfully, life does have its bright and sunny moments too and it feels good to dig into a story filled with love and hope. I like it. A lot.

lime said...

that's beautiful. i know it's fiction but sometimes growth can come out of less than optimal circumstances. lovely way to illustrate that.