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Example for Applicants

Example for Applicants

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Dave and Ginni
Challenge prompt: satellite, fiddle, coffee
Word Count: 1,813

Slowly, Sally’s index finger traced the top of the half-empty glass, circling in that lazy motion that soon would be replaced by the quiet tapping of that same finger, as its manicured tip repeatedly hit the table-top. She was indifferent.

It was as if she had been bored, all of her life, in the quiet town she’d called home, for as many years as she could remember.

Scrunching her nose, as she heard the cook’s familiar, “Order up,” in that nasal southern twang, defining Bubba as much as his name, his words rang out from the back. Rose, looking wilted in her waitress uniform, waited for the plastic hospital-green plate to slide down the counter.

The pretty brunette sat in her usual booth watching it all as she had everyday at this same time, well since summer had begun, Sally was a creature or habit, but that was about to change. Sipping on the Martian straw, the last of her water made its way up the green funnel to her mouth. Tourists were forever taking those green alien-headed straws off the tables to keep as souvenirs.

“Coffee dear?" Rose asked by rote, shaking her head when she made contact with Sally's eyes, it had been a full five minutes before Rose made it around to Sally’s booth. Looking down at the now empty water glass, Rose let out a low chuckle. “Sorry dear, been a long shift, not sure what’s gotten into me today. Things are … off.” Rose went on to explain. “Guess it’s the bones, must be going to rain, can call it right every time. NBC should put me on instead of that Al Roker guy. At I least peg it most of the time."

Rose moved on to pour a piping cup of the hot think liquid for the next set of tourists scooting into the only available table in the Crash Down Café.

“This place is so small,” the young woman across from Sally whined above the late afternoon lunch crowd. “It’s nothing like the show, well maybe the Martian straws.” Sally quit listening to her, instead she thought about the upcoming week.

Each fourth-of-July, Sally watched the fireworks on television, imagining each different location: New York, Boston, all the major cities with televised celebratory fourth-of-July specials, music, incredible fireworks, but each a location without anything alien, or green. In Roswell, Independence Day celebrations were always shadowed by the annual Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) convention. Tonight she would brave the crowds, and attend the celebration in the field, tonight was special.

“Want a refill of that water?” Rose’s impatient voice brought Sally back to the now famous Crash Down.

“I’m good, thanks!” Sally grinned back at the older woman. There was something very kind about Rose, but sad. Usually with most people in this town, everyone knew everything about each other. Sally wondered if all small towns were like that. But then this wasn’t a normal small town. Her best friend’s words echoed in her now aching head and she thought of school.

“Nothing’s normal, normal just doesn’t exist. It’s about as common as an alien.” Beth stated as if it were fact, but then she tended to do that. The entire class snickered. “I mean, that is what psychology is about, studying things that aren’t normal.” Beth over emphasized the not normal part in the dramatic way she had when she wanted to take over the class. Mr. Ames always had problems keeping his psychology class in check. Sally was going to miss that class, passing notes back and forth to Beth, grinning across the room at her boyfriend, Josh, but most of all she’d miss Mr. Ames, she loved his class discussions.

Sally continued to sit there in the noisy Crash Down, now her thoughts were consumed by her psychology class, Beth never seemed to get it, she was the definition of vapid, at times, and Sally loved her never-the less; but, for some reason that day in psychology class remained clear and close.

That was the first day she’d begun to wonder about life outside of Roswell, New Mexico.

The loud clicking of coffee cups brought the daydreaming Sally back to reality. Rose always clanked the porcelain cups when she wanted people to vacate tables. The townies knew of this ritual and never interfered, tourists well; many of them got the full treatment. But that was another story.

Realizing Sally was one of Rose’s favorites, and the hint wasn’t aimed toward her, she made her exit anyway, almost getting knocked down, as the next set of tourists plowed their way toward her, attempting to grab Sally’s un-cleaned booth. It got worse every year.

Sally made her way across the street, up the block then turned toward the UFO museum. The show Roswell wasn’t true to the character of the town. Many people hated the show, some townies were amused by it, and others liked the renewed interest in the town’s colorful past.

Satellite pictures of area 51, newspapers, rather common-place paraphernalia covered the walls of the museum, instead of a mistaken glamorized Hollywood image.

For a few days, at this time each year, the town would relive its yearly glory, and then for another 11 months, the town would be put away, so-to-speak, like a picture album that is brought out year after year at the family reunions and then lovingly put away until the next time.

The smell of rain was on the breeze, Sally breathed it in knowing Rose was right, there would be rain.

Dodging the remaining tourists, Sally weaved her way in and out through the crowds to her cute new car. At least her parents were like normal ‘Roswell’ parents giving her the obligatory graduation gift, but her parents, instead of money, had given her a car. She loved her car and it would take her all of the places she’d imagined on those hot summer nights.

Thankful for the air conditioning, she pulled the clip out of her thick dark hair, the curly tresses framing her model-like face. Carefully she maneuvered the small vehicle into the traffic. As she sped by each street, she watched nearby tourists taking pictures of the lamp posts and the garbage cans. Sally always found that so odd, Roswell must have the most photographed garbage cans of any city. What tourist could resist the cute little alien theme?

The heat of the afternoon allowed the breeze to overtake it, promising a much cooler night. That breeze had been promising the relief of rain for most of the day like a teasing lover; light sprinkles hit the windshield like bugs that are drawn quickly to light then flit away.

She wanted to look her best; tonight would be different from any other. Choosing to go home instead of heading to Beth’s, she parked in her father’s spot, and sighing she made her way into the empty house. There was something she wanted to discuss with her mother, they’d discussed it a million times before and still, Sally wasn’t satisfied with the answers.

After napping, showering, and trying on five too many outfits, she meticulously put on her make up, brushed her hair until it shown, and with a smile, slipped on the engagement ring.

The car was still so new to her, each time she left the house and saw it there in the driveway; she would smile from ear-to-ear. Her graduation tassel hung from the rear-view mirror, vibrating slightly as she started her car, and then made her way toward the field.

Passing the high school, Sally grinned again, she’d been waiting for this festival, her parents would let her drink, this night, and she figured it would be wine, the idea of beer she just didn’t get in to it, although she loved her boyfriend’s beer kisses. Her mother had warned her about drinking responsibly, how people changed when they drank, all the common lectures, and some rather uncommon ones, uncommon lectures for most of the girls her age.

Pulling up in the grassy field, she grabbed the blanket, locked the car and then made her way to the stage. Finding just the right spot, Sally unfolded the blanket, carefully spreading it out, and allowing it to gracefully billow out like a parachute, Sally watched it float to the ground.

Pursing her lips, she blew a kiss to Josh, who had just taken his place on stage. As he began to practice, she dropped down on the blanket, propped up on both elbows and watched him.

Closing her eyes as Josh expertly pulled the bow over the strings of his fiddle, his music could take her to other worlds. Josh was a true artisan. Most of his music sounded similar, beautiful yet haunting. One he called, ‘Requiem for the Earth,’ Sally couldn’t distinguish it from, “Requiem for the Moon,’ but it didn’t matter they loved each other.

Arriving later than usual, Sally’s mom and step dad made way too much noise pulling a wagon filled with party goodies. “Good haul there,” was her way of thanking them, as she grabbed some Nachos. Her step-dad poured her some plum wine, a family tradition.

Most of the townies, and tourists alike had settled in for the evening’s festivities, the music, and then the fireworks.

Sally stared up and counted the stars looking for the satellite. As she sipped on her wine, Josh moving in his ‘stealth’ mode cuddled up next to her, sliding his arm around her tiny waist.

Sally’s step dad anxiously looked at his watch, as another band took the stage; Sally knew her step dad wouldn’t wait long on Josh’s parents. Josh, shrugging his shoulders as if he didn’t care, resigned himself to yet another lecture from Sally’s step dad on the propriety or lack thereof, in his parents’ lack of punctuality.

Sally’s step dad was still in the military, and when it counted he was never late. Much like his daughter’s fingers had strummed the table top earlier that day, now his wedding ring hit the wine bottle. Tonight was important and Josh's parents knew it.

The wind picked up, carrying small items from various blankets around the field in a cartoonish manner, as that devilish breeze haphazardly deposited all the things it gathered on the ground, as if each one, in turn, made the wind loose interest. Even the wind was bored here.

Everyone else was too intent on the wind too look up into the sky as Sally was doing, everyone but the people sitting on the blanket with her. Squinting as the satellite was barely visible she strained to see it, at her step father’s command she blinked her right eye, simultaneously the satellite exploded as if it were the flame of a candle on a birthday cake that had been quietly blown out. Her parents smiled in approval, Josh kissed the back of her neck, it had taken him much longer to accomplish that simple feat. Sally could feel the power that soon would be hers, her birthright.

Delightedly, she licked her lips as her tongue skimmed over her smooth pink lips seeking out any remnants of the dark purple liquid.

The wine would change her, it would make her meaner and this was her graduating party. After all what is a normal graduating party if you are really an alien?
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