A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The "Daily Doodle" concept is intended to warm up my creative engines, and is essentially free writing, poetry or prose, usually accomplished in under an hour with a minimum of corrections. From time to time, I will post the results here. 

In some cases, the piece will also be a special commission, prompted by a particular buyer. Readers can still custom order their own quick short-short stories: details here.

This particular assignment was to write a story based on a particular photograph, a film still from the 1933 movie, Female (which I have never seen, but based on this photo, would love to). 


She was pretending to search for an ashtray, but in truth, she was using the mirrored table as convenient cover to check herself. Her hair hadn’t had enough time to set properly, and there was a legitimate fear that her curls could tumble down and make the night before look like the morning after instead. A quick fluff confirmed they were holding up fine, nothing to worry about, and there would be none of the gossiping about her vanity like there might have been had she been seen giving herself the once-over in the hall mirror. And don’t even mention the powder room. If she disappeared from this party of jackals for even a second....

His shadow appeared from behind moments before he spoke. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Looking for an ashtray,” she said, sticking to the lie. She had felt him creeping up, and she wasn’t surprised that he was the one who had followed her.

He indicated the cigarette balanced between her painted lips. “It looks like you need a light, as well.”

“Naturally,” she replied. “It’s just, I’m thinking ahead. Everyone has a light, but then where does that leave me? Running around looking for a place to discard the remains. Speaking of a light....”

She motioned with two fingers toward her mouth. A gentlemen should not have left her hanging. 

The man fumbled in his coat pocket. He produced a gold lighter, flipped its top, sparked the wheel. “Sorry,” he said.

The woman took a deep drag. Newly formed ash glowed at the end of the cigarette. “And you see?” she asked, indicating the powder as it turned from orange to gray. “Whatever shall I do with all this rot and decay?”

No words were spoken, but the man lifted a hand, palm raised, and held it under the tip of her burnt tobacco. He reached with the other hand and gently tapped the cylinder, letting the hot embers land on his skin. He smiled as if to say, “And do you see? Was that so hard?”

She smiled in return. “Now if I could only get you to roll them for me, you might actually be as useful as you think.”

Then she moved on, leaving him holding the evidence. Let the wags report these facts: there had been a woman here, she had smoked a cigarette, and then she vanished. Surely that would keep the rest of the pack talking for days.


Current Soundtrack: Laetitia Sadier, "Find Me the Pulse of the Universe/There is a Price to Pay fo Freedom (And It Isn't Security)"

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All text (c) 2012 Jamie S. Rich

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