A few days ago, Jennifer J. Bennett announced her latest writing contest – a curious challenge to write a monologue of an object in your home. Of course, you can’t indicate what the object is, you can’t go beyond 1000 words, and you must provide a photo of the object. The contest ends on October 1st – at which point the voting begins (ending on October 4th)! The winner receives a Barnes & Noble gift card, courtesy of the generous Ms. Jen.
The last time that Jen ran a contest, I was unable to participate, so this time, I jumped at the chance. The name of my story is “Always a Nook or Cranny” – and per the contest instructions, I’m sharing it with you today. Also, per Jen’s instructions, I’m refraining from posting the photo of my object – which is hard for me, as I have yet to post words without at least one photo – if not more. But there’s a first time for everything!
For a long time, I sat in a store, waiting. Admittedly, it was a spacious store, with tall ceilings and plenty of other waiting objects, but it was hard nonetheless, sitting amid others like me – alike in material, if not in color – waiting for someone to take me home.
Then, one afternoon, about nine months ago, an eager couple came into the store, made a beeline for my section, and picked me out from all the rest.
The woman seemed particularly excited. I even overheard her say, “I’d like to see the mess she makes now!”
The man, however, wanted a variation on my design – something even bigger and more contained. But, since the woman would be tending to me on a daily basis, her vote overruled his.
“That one’s way too big,” she said. “How can we travel with it? And it’s way too expensive. This one will do just fine... for now.”
The others of my kind glared at me. Why him, they were probably thinking. Why not me?
If I could’ve shrugged in reply, I would have. Deep down, I knew that I was special – that I could please the nice woman if only I tried hard enough – but I didn’t want the others to feel bad for not having been chosen.
As the man carted me to a checkout counter at the front of the store, I took one last look around. Since I’d first entered the place through the back door – after being plucked from a delivery truck – I’d never seen this part of the store before. Filled with shelf after shelf of assorted containers, scrumptious treats, and animated oddities, it was truly a wonder to behold – if only for a few minutes.
After the man paid for me and a few other items, he carried me to a minivan, tucked me inside, and started the engine. Once the woman had positioned her seatbelt, we were soon whisking down the highway and meandering through the narrow streets of the French Quarter – apparently in search of a parking space, which I soon realized was not easy to find.
Not long afterward, the woman lugged my lightweight but awkward frame along several blocks, through two outer doors, and up three flights of stairs. It was then that I had my first glimpse of the couple’s temporary apartment, the tall windows of which overlooked bustling Decatur Street. I also had my first glimpse at the third family member, a rowdy kitten named Ruby Azazel, who did not seem pleased to have been left behind, locked in the bathroom to muffle her cries from the neighbors.
Soon, the nice woman had arranged me inside and out, tucked me in a corner of the small room, and left me to do the only job that I know how to do – more sitting, more waiting – but at least I felt welcome in this new place. Every day, the woman made sure that I was neat and tidy, free of unnecessary debris.
“So, how are things going?” the man asked her one afternoon.
“Terrific,” she said. “The messes are much smaller now. Think we’ve solved the problem.”
“No more screaming and threatening to take her back?”
She blushed. “No. No more screaming... for now.”
Of course, messes still happened. The woman had to use the broom or mini-vacuum every day. Sometimes, plastic bags and deodorizer were required, and once a month, I underwent routine maintenance. But, on the whole, she seemed to be happy with me – so much so that I was invited to travel with the man, the woman, and the kitty to their next destination: an extended-stay hotel room in Los Angeles, where I was promptly tucked beneath a sink.
From my shadowy nook, I witnessed a lot of frenzied activity over the next two months. The ever-curious kitty sliced her paw on a misplaced razor, upsetting the woman greatly. The man made a lot of aromatic meals in the small kitchenette, while the woman tried her best to keep up with the dishes.
Once, a horribly high-pitched fire alarm went off – due, as I later discovered, to someone else’s culinary mishap – and the couple rushed outside to await the fire brigade. Even after the threat was neutralized, the alarm wouldn’t stop blaring, and the woman returned for the kitty, who had apparently flipped over her carrier and crawled beneath the blanket inside, to evade the screeching sounds. This time, the woman took the kitty with her, worried that the alarm might have damaged Ruby’s tiny ears. It saddened me that she didn’t think to take me, too.
Occasionally, the man and woman donned nice clothes, fixed their hair, and headed out to see some old friends – folks with whom they used to socialize more often, back when they were living in Los Angeles year-round. I gathered that they didn’t like the city very much – not that I ever saw anything more than my corner. Supposedly, they were only in town for a film festival that they’d run for several years. I guess that explained the bins of supplies and videotapes that frequently passed through the door, especially toward the end of their stay.
In their next home, a high-ceilinged studio above Bourbon Street, I dwelled beneath the stairs that led to the sleeping loft and kept my eye on the kitty, whose paws were sore from having been declawed. Here, in northern Michigan, I’ve sat in a corner, between a storage closet and the bathroom, for the past five months, and soon I’ll be returning to New Orleans, where my life with this small nomadic pack began.
Even though I’m always relegated to an out-of-the-way nook or cranny, I’m rarely ignored for long. My adopted family seems to approve of me – even little Ruby, who incidentally isn’t so little anymore – and I do my job admirably. Moving around the country so often isn’t so bad either – at least the scenery changes – from what I can see of it.
Can you guess what the object is? I didn’t make it too difficult, I must admit.
But, even if it is easy to guess, I loved writing it. It’s fun – and enlightening – to write from a completely different point of view. I do something similar at the Come In Character site, where authors converge to interact with one another’s characters. Writing from the perspective of an object, however, was a whole new experience. Maybe I should do it more often. As Pixar films have done for toys, bugs, monsters, fish, cars, and rodents, this kind of writing might just let me see household objects in a whole new light. Thanks, Jen!
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