2015 Kurt Vonnegut Short Story Challenge

This story won the Kurt Vonnegut Bracket in the Iron Writer, Spring Equinox Challenge. The challenge was to write a 500 word story using the following elements, Artemis, A Dilettante,  Jello Wrestling, and A Moon Rock. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Tangerine, Tangerine

gast_station_night-1In the blue wash of fluorescent light, she changed out of jeans and into a gold lame’ body suit. White silk wings sprung from the back of her costume. Even in the grey din of the Chevron restroom, she looked other-worldly.

Her purse was clinched between her front teeth while she dressed. No part of her clothing touched the filthy concrete floor. It was after all, mostly white..

Meanwhile, a man waiting on a gas pump watched her emerge from the restroom. Long blonde hair swung back and forth as she used her hips and elbows to open the door.”Artemis” was stitched across her chest. Feathery wings caught the wind, fluttered. She strutted across the cracked asphalt parking lot, stacked platform heels causing her knees to bend a little, invoking the appearance of a giant bumble bee.

The man, fascinated, stepped out of his car, ran his hands through his hair and made his way toward the freaky, waspish woman, now at the back of the parking lot.

“Excuse me,” he said. She was digging for something in the front floorboard of a conversion van.

“Ma’am?” he knocked on the window.

She slid backward and stood up, dusting off her knees and thighs.

“Yeah?” she said, hands on hips.

“I’m Jack,” he said.

She crossed her arms and said, “Artemis.”

“You live in this van or something?” he asked.

Piggly Wiggly bags were seat-belted like passengers into the back seats. Tupperware, Nilla Wafer boxes and Mountain Dew bottles poked out of their tops.

She slammed the door.

“Sometimes,” she said. Mascara was smudged under her blood-shot eyes.

He nodded.“I love a good road trip, too.”

Dogs barked inside the van.

“I’m on a cross-country Jello Wrestle-a-thon,” she said. She wiped at her face with her sleeve and looked away.

“Oh, yeah?” he said.

“Yeah,” she raised her chin. Her wings flattened as she leaned back against the van.

“I’m a professional Jello Wrestler, hence the outfit,” she checked his expression.”But I’ve lost my good-luck charm.”

“Really? Wow.” He let his eyes wash over her.”Pro, huh? I would’ve definitely taken you as a dilettante.”

She smiled.

“What exactly are you looking for?” he asked, glancing into the van.

“Moon rock,” she said,”about this big.” She held up her hands, made a circle about the size of an orange.

“You lose it in there?” he thumbed toward the van, where the dogs had worked themselves into a frenzy.

She smiled.

“You volunteering to go in after it?”

“Maybe,” he said.

“Because the last guy never made it out,” she warned.

He nodded, considered the challenge.

“Is there a particular flavor?” he asked.

“Flavor?”

“You know, for the jello wrestling,” he rolled up his sleeves, prepared to go in.

“Oh.Tangerine. Sometimes there are marshmallows.”

As he crawled over the front seat, she called, “Watch out. They bite.”

He wasn’t sure if she was mad or just a world-class heart breaker.

But there was only one way to find out.

Tangerine, Tangerine

I was her love, she was my queen…*

 

* “Tangerine”, from the album, Led Zeppelin III, c. 1970

For more information on the Iron Writer Challenges, please visit www.theironwriter.com

3 thoughts on “2015 Kurt Vonnegut Short Story Challenge”

  1. Mamie, this is a wonderful little story. The setting you chose and the telling details you include make me want to know Artemis and Jack better, and to know what happens next. Your crisp, no-waste dialog reveals character and personality and propels the story forward. Something mysterious and human begins in an unlikely place. Very impressed-congratulations!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *