The people in a writer’s life soon learn a couple of fast, hard rules.
1. Nothing is sacred.
2. Everything is open for scrutiny and expansion into a full-length story.
My daughter, Dora, knows this firsthand, and never more so than after this morning. The moonroof on her car was stuck in the open position. Again (although just a crack). And that prompted memories of the good old days (a year and a half ago), when she first purchased the car used. The previous owners told both me and her point blank, “You shouldn’t open the moonroof because sometimes it sticks.” Now, I heard, “don’t open the moonroof,” and took it as a warning that the device needed some mechanic’s attention. Dora heard, “sometimes it sticks.” I’ll bet you can even guess what happened next! She had to touch the switch. The moonroof got three-quarters of the way open and then stopped. She tried to close it. Nothing. She tried to open it…it moved another inch open. Close…nothing. So, being the helpful mom, I suggested at least it wasn’t raining. My point being she had a little time to get someone to look at the thing. She heard, “Don’t worry about it until it rains.” The short version is that we had a very wet fall, and because her hours were cut, an actual car mechanic was not an option. Her brother looked at it but only succeeded in making it open the rest of the way.
Enter….the bright pink umbrella and a ShamWow! Dora was able to open and close the inner door of the moonroof but that has no seal and also rain water tends to collect on top of that inner door, meaning when it was opened, water poured into the car. Driving with an umbrella was out of the question (and I really don’t want to know how she figured out that would be a bad idea, but my black umbrella mysteriously went missing around that time). So she crammed a ShamWow into the edges of the inner door, and always kept a dry spare so she could change it out once her makeshift “seal” became saturated. And whenever she parked, if it looked like it was going to rain, she poked a bright pink umbrella through the moonroof and opened it to protect the interior of her car. She finally found someone to help her get the moonroof closed (until this morning) but the pink umbrella rests in her backseat “just in case.”
Today, while we were reminiscing about the black Neon and the pink umbrella, I said I thought it would be really cool to start a romance between two people based on that scenario. In the space of a 15-minute ride between Walmart and home, here is what we came up with.
1. The above car/pink umbrella/moonroof circumstance.
2. A sweet and steamy-appearing new neighbor, who notices the umbrella and uses it as a way to approach this cute but flaky girl.
3. Steamy Guy fixes Cute Flaky Girl’s moonroof and it operates perfectly.
4. When they have a disagreement that threatens to permanently tear them apart, the moonroof stops working.
5. Steamy Guy notices the umbrella sticking out of the roof again and it BUGS him, but he is determined to ignore it. But it’s an unusually wet spring. So he sees it a lot. Grumbles: At least she could use black or some color that wouldn’t draw his eye every time he pulls into his own driveway.
6. Finally, unable to stand the lure of the umbrella, Steamy Guy stalks across the yard in the rain and begins fixing the car.
7. Cute Flaky Girl sees Dreamy Guy’s nice rear end hanging out of her car. Oh, no! He’s not fixing her car again! Look where that led last time! She runs out and asks him what he’s doing.
8. Steamy Guy hides behind sarcasm–what does it look like he’s doing? Fixing her car since she obviously can’t take care of herself.
9. “You broke into my car to fix it?” “I didn’t break into your car.” “How were you able to get in then?” “You still don’t lock your doors!”
10. Hot kiss and make up scene.
Do your friends and family have to be careful with what they say and do around you unless they find a recognizable situation suddenly in print? Come on, you know you want to confess…
Coming from Astraea Press, April 2011