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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest · #805150
Writer's Cramp entry for 1/22/04
Write a story or poem about how writing for Writer's Cramp affects your daily life.

The Odalisque

         “Be quiet now Phil, and leave your father alone. He’s working.”

         Phil studied the inert figure of his father planted in the chair in front of the computer screen. He had been like that for hours. Occasionally he would smile, type a few words or maybe a five minute flurry of fingers would occur, but mostly he sat there staring.”


         “Yes, Phil?”

         “What do you mean, he’s working? He’s been sitting like that since I got home from school. He hardly moves. And if he's working, shouldn’t he be at the office or something?” Phil walked in a semi circle around his dad, inspecting him like a sculpture at the Art Museum.

         “He was at the office dear. His boss, Mr. Webster, called me earlier and asked me to come get him and bring him home. He said your dad wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t sure where he parked his car. He’s probably coming down with the flu. I tried to get him to go to bed but I couldn’t get him any further than the computer. I guess he must be working on something from the office. It has to be pretty important. Mr. Webster seemed upset that your dad wasn’t getting his work done and I know for a fact your dad’s been on the computer night and day this week, so it must be a pretty important project he’s working on”

         “Mom, do you think he’s going to make supper tonight? It’s his turn to cook isn’t it? I'm starting to get hungry.”

         “Well, you see that’s a bit of a puzzlement at the moment. I figured I’d give him a little break from cooking so I went to the fridge and all I could find was the stew from last week, a quart of milk that had soured and for some reason, your sister’s band uniform. It was stuck in the produce drawer. I still can’t figure that one out, but it appears your dad didn’t do the grocery shopping or take the dry cleaning this week. I’m not sure what we’re going to eat. There’s a half eaten Klondike bar in the freezer if you’re really hungry. Just take the turner and pry it up from the shelf. If your dad doesn’t stop working by six we’ll order a pizza from Smitty’s. Ok?”

         “Smitty’s closed last month mom. The owner just kind of lost interest in the business and wouldn’t show up for days at a time. Bobbie Rumford says he heard Smitty's wife was leaving him. She claimed he had an online mistress. What’s that mom? What’s an online mistress?”

         “You just never mind about that. We’ll get pizza from somewhere else then; plenty of places to order pizza in this town. Now why don’t you go do your homework?”

         “I can’t. I need to use the computer and every time I ask dad if I can use it he gives me this really weird look and growls at me.”


         “Yeah, just like our dog Buck used to do. He looks at me like I’m trying to take his bone away from him. It’s scary mom. I’m afraid maybe dad has got one of them online mistress thingys just like Smitty got. I can’t understand how he got it though. I know dad put virus protection on the computer. He wouldn’t let me do my homework last night either. I had to hurry to school this morning and do it there. Mrs. Reynolds asked if we had a computer at home, and I told her, yes, but we couldn’t use it because my dad’s got a mistress on it. She said “Oh my!” and left the computer lab in a hurry. Maybe she thought she was going to get a mistress on her computer? What do you think, mom?”

         “I think we’re probably going to be getting a call from Mrs. Reynolds. That’s what I think. Now why don’t you run up to your room and I’ll call you when the pizza gets here.”

         Before Phil could respond, his mother left the room to answer her cell phone. She kept it in her purse and it was suppose to be for emergencies only. So, when it rang, everyone assumed it was an emergency.



         “Yes Mary, it’s your mother, who else would you expect to answer this phone? Why aren’t you home yet? We’ll be having supper soon.”

         “Mom, where’s dad? He was supposed to bring my band uniform to school this afternoon. We’re getting on the bus for the football game in fifteen minutes and I don’t have a uniform to wear. Mrs. Peabody said it was all right, since we weren’t marching or anything but I’m going to look so silly, the only one without a uniform. Where is he? Is he bringing my uniform from the dry cleaners?”

         “ Well dear, I don’t think you can count on your father to get the uniform to you. He’s at home and your uniform hasn’t gone to the cleaners yet. So maybe you should just go on the bus the way you’re dressed, Ok?”

         “Why’s dad at home?”

         “His boss sent him home early because he’s sick. I think he’s coming down with the flu. He has all the symptoms. His eyes are watery and blood shot, he has no appetite, he can’t sleep and the muscles in his fingers hurt. The flu’s been going around you know. Oh, and he keeps complaining he has a cramp...

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