The Clock Is Chirping

This is what I do for fun: I’m a member of an online group of writers from all over call The Habit, hosted by author Jonathan Rogers. We meet online to talk, encourage each other, and have forums on a multitude of topics. We enjoy and encourage each other by reading what the others write and submit.

Jonathan also hosts podcasts and teaches classes to high school age and beyond. In our adult cohort right new, we’re enjoying an online class on the writing techniques of Mark Twain. Today’s assignment was fun: Narrate a scene in an unexpected “register,” one that doesn’t match the tone of the scene or the character that you’ve chosen. Hope you giggle as much reading my homework as much as I did while writing it.

Johnny pulled himself along the sofa, then reached out and patted her knee. She absently reached out a hand to stroke his hair, then his cheek.

He patted her knee again, adding pressure at the end, a loving pinch. She moved her hand to his, stroking his fingers.

“Hmmm?” she asked.

“I believe you have lost track of time.” Johnny spoke softly as he squeezed her fingers in response to her loving strokes. She pulled her hand away to turn a page.

“I was wondering what was on the lunch menu today?” He kept his voice low, articulating each word to get her attention. Did she sigh or growl? He wasn’t sure.

“Why did she keep staring at the book?” he thought, trying in vain to rein in his irritation.

“You know how cranky I can get when we deviate from the schedule, dear lady.” She just turned the page and held up one finger in his direction.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Now he was getting cross. Johnny pulled a pillow from the sofa and threw it across the room. He stomped on her foot. She merely pulled her legs from the floor and tucked them under her on the sofa.

“Macaroni and cheese, and some of those really sweet green grapes we got at the store. You had better cut them in half so I don’t choke. And when I finish, perhaps one of those peanut butter cookies—not the Girls Scout ones you have hidden away, but the ones you foist on me. The ones with no sugar or trans fats.” He pulled at her foot, but it didn’t budge.

Johnny sighed as his stomach rumbled and clenched. “You asked for it,” he thought. “Change tactics.”

Bending his knees, he held on to the sofa and held his breath. His whole insides clenched, and his face turned red with effort. He edged a little closer to her and pulled the book from her hands.

“”Wha?” she grabbed for the book, leaning forward to take it from him. “Ooooh, phew!” Now she was holding her breath. “I can’t even…”

The clock chirped 11 times. Late morning belonged to the robin; the loon got to mark noon.

“Do you hear that? It’s 11 o’clock, and I’ve been up since 5 a.m.”

“Ugh,” she said, rising from the sofa, picking him up, and holding him at arms’ length.

“Finally, you remember the timetable,” Johnny said. “First, change the diaper. Then lunch, a little rock in the chair, and I’ll be ready for my early afternoon siesta.”

She coughed as she gingerly laid him on the changing table and unsnapped his jumper. “Oofda.”

For those of you that don’t have an Audubon Clock that uses bird songs to mark the hours…

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