I was reading over Allison Tyler's blog the other day and saw a silly contest (and who doesn't love a silly contest?) The premise was to base a story around a vintage typewrite key that GwenDelicious had tunred into lovely jewelry. Cute, eh? I didn't win, and to be honest the story would have worked better at twice the length, but here it is, anyway:
Pin-Up (or, for the love of proper punctuation)
April was squirming beautifully on the X-shaped cross in the middle of the room, with four palm-shaped circles drawn in red marker on her naked skin. The little tail on a bottom one curled right above her right hip.
“This isn't fair!” She was cute when she whined.
It was true, it wasn't fair but I didn't say that. Instead, I started clipping tiny clothespins to the outline around her left breast.
“Colons are used before a list or a quote. Did you put a colon in the email you sent me to ask if I would play with you tonight?”
I moved on to tracing the bottom left circle with the clothespins. She made the most delicious pained whimpers every time I added one.
“And was it before a list or a quote?”
The circle on her right came very close to her nipple. She squeaked when I put a clothespin there.
“Semicolons separate two independent clauses. Was that what you should have used?”
She was up on her toes to escape the pinching. Apparently the tail was in a sensitive spot.
“So, tell me again why this isn't fair?”
“Because you're not mad at me for that, you're annoyed at all the grammar butchery you had to read today at work!”
This was true, too. Smart cookie. I could have told her that but instead I told her to save her voice.
And she did, in a delicious crescendo, when I yanked the string connecting the pins to pop them off all at once. I think she came right there, I know I nearly did. My jeans were soaked through.
It wasn't fair at all, I thought, when I let her down to collapse all quivery into my arms, but I sure did feel better.