Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March Secret Agent Contest #37

TITLE: The Company of Old Ladies
GENRE: Adult Upmarket women's

The two old ladies sit in the Panera Bakery Café near downtown Denver. Plump Pansy, gray hair in the French twist she’s sported for years, sips a small, Equal-sweetened, hazelnut decaf. Despite her life-long battle with weight, she makes a face and adds two packets of sugar. Friend Esther, tall and bony and strung together loosely as a starved cat, drinks a soy milk latte.

           Pansy resumes the women’s customary discussion, a courteous—if heated—dialogue over the benefits and burdens of advanced age. At sixty-eight, she struggles to accept her deteriorating exterior while her interior still feels about thirty-five. “I simply don’t care what’s proper or improper any more. If I want to be blunt and opinionated, I am. I’m willing to look foolish. A big bonus that compensates for discomfort like the hemorrhoids plaguing me.” She shifts on the hard chair to search for respite.

            Clamp! Instead of rebutting, Esther squeezes Pansy's arm, halting her mid-thought.

            Pansy knows she must freeze in obedience to Esther’s silent command. Esther, the elder by fifteen years, likes to lead in pointing out items of interest, perhaps an especially dirty homeless man, or a newspaper headline blazing panic over a new environmental danger. Pansy slowly sweeps the room with her gaze, never moving her head. Then she nods to indicate she’s seen the curiosity.

            And there it is. At the table next to them. Something truly strange and wonderful. Whether male or female Pansy can’t tell immediately. Starting at the top, a Mohawk.


  1. I love the voice, but there's more telling than necessary here. Eg. "Despite her life-long battle with weight..." we already know Pansy is Plump. Let the dialogue do more of this work, and trust your readers to get it. That said, I can't wait to see what's beneath that Mohawk!

  2. I enjoy the voice here, it’s fun and engaging. The initial introduction feels like the start of a screenplay to me where we’re setting the scene before zooming in on the action and I kind of expected that omniscient witty observer voice to continue through out, but otherwise, I agree with the previous post - can’t wait to see what’s underneath the mohawk.

  3. What’s under the mohawk? I need to find out! I enjoyed the setting and the voice captured my attention. I would agree with the point above to use more show and less tell.

  4. I think some of the description works, and some is not needed...just keep a few telling phrases, like using sugar instead of Equal, and get right to the action/event.
    Also, I'm just sensitive to generalizing about older people-making them quaint, querulous, etc....or generalizing about anyone sporting a Mohawk...
    This is written in third person omniscient...which is interesting...