Daily Archives: February 2, 2014

Daily Prompt: Groupthink – Verbal Voyeurs

Daily Prompt: Groupthink

Write a post that includes dialogue between two people — other than you. (For more of a challenge, try three or more people.)

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The late afternoon sun moved to a more hospitable position, its intense rays were now shaded by oak trees lining the west side of our property. Taking advantage of the cooling shade, we moved from the dining room to the outdoor patio. Jim and I sat on the cushioned swing while Pat, Lisa, Don, Debbie and Hoser scattered themselves on the remaining chairs or steps. Our outdoor speakers echoed top tunes of the times while cigarette smoke wafted through the air and beer bottles occasionally clanged in amusing toasts, almost as if measuring states of sobriety. The more clanging might indicate an approaching state of less sobriety.

Stories were exchanged with humorous embellishments and after one particularly hysterical tale, a big, community “guffaw” burst out with continued, trailing laughter. Moments later, a dim silence spread as we caught our breaths and wiped our eyes of laughing-tears. Some of us struggled to suppress remnants of laughter, chuckling softly between breaths, when suddenly, a thunderous shout jolted all of us to attention. Eyes darting in all directions, we tried to identify the source of the outburst, each of us ready to run to someone’s aid, but, where?

“I TOLD you not to do this but here we go again, why do you insist on defying me? What is it with you? I can’t believe this shit!”  a male voice roared.

“What are you talking about,” a female voice responded in a raised volume a little quieter than a shout, “are you talking about this?”

“Yes I’m talking about that! You know damn well I’m talking about that! What the fuck is it doing out here?” the man growled his disdain.

“Well, after all this time, I cannot believe this! I cannot believe you are still holding a grudge..” before the woman could finish her statement, the man loudly interrupted her, “All this time? All this time? Are you fuckin’ serious? Do you have any idea how long it has NOT been? A-N-Y idea? ANY IDEA?” he screamed.

There was silence, no response from the female. Was she calculating how long ‘all this time’ has been?

Curious expressions blanketed our faces as we sat hushed on the patio until Jim spoke up, “What is that? Who’s talking? Is that a t.v. show?”

Only group shrugs, grunts, hems and haws answered his question until Hoser spoke up, “Yuh, it doesn’t sound like anybody that’s outside, it’s gotta be like a movie or somethin’, right?”

Glances danced between us, as though to confirm Hoser’s deduction.

“Yeah, I think Hoser’s right,” Don offered his thoughts, “there’s no one outside around here, none of your neighbors are outside and even if they were, sound don’t travel that clear, especially out here in the sticks!”

The mysterious voices were quiet while strange sounds filled their presence, as if someone were moving things around on a shelf or counter top. Sniffling sounds grew louder until the female voice spoke in a trembling voice, “Yes, I do know how long it’s been. It’s been six months, yesterday,” her voice was lost to a big wail followed by more sniffling as she tried to regain composure. “You think I don’t remember? My heart breaks every day for him! You’re not the only one who’s hurting! If you remember, you didn’t want him in our lives right from the very start and now, all of a sudden, you’re some kind of martyr because he’s dead?” her voice grew stronger with her deepened emotions.

“Wait one damned minute! What do you mean I didn’t want him? Who put the fence around our yard, the whole fuckin’ acre so that he could run free? Did you do that? NO! I did!” the man accentuated his angry words with occasional fist-pounding on the wall or table, on something hard, but not on the woman, “I’m the one who took him for rides on the four-wheeler I ran with him every night after supper through the valley and what did you do? Nothing! Not one god-damned thing other than get him KILLED!”

“Holy shit! Who are these people?” Deb shouted out loud.

“Yeah,” Lisa whispered, “this don’t sound like no movie, these are real-life people!”

Jim stood up to go into the house, “I’m gonna check if the boys are somehow doing this, I’ll be back.”

The female screamed tearfully in answer to the male’s accusations, “There, I knew it! You finally said it, you FINALLY said it! You blame me for him dying! What the fuck do you think? Do you think I killed him? Do you think he died because I killed him?”

“Oh nooooo, not yoooouuuu, miss prissy-face,” the man mocked the woman’s implied innocence, “you would never do anything to hurt anyone, would you? You’re just ‘Miss Perfect’. Wouldn’t your fan club be surprised to know what you’re really like? Miss Popularity, perfect, clean, wholesome, MY ASS!! Does ANYONE know the REAL you? The REAL you, the ‘you’ that I know? The ‘you’ before you became my wife? Huh? Miss Perfect…” his grumbling trailed off on a lower resonance, becoming incoherent.

Baby sounds, coos and fussing began replacing the angry conversation, growing louder until, “Hey Jeffey! How’s my boy?” clearly replaced the bickering couple, it was Jim’s voice now!

Pat blurted out, “What the fuck is Jim doing with those crazy ass people? That’s Jim, isn’t it?”

“Holy fuck, yur right!” Don agreed with Pat, “What the fuck is Jim doing with those people? We’d better go git him before that asshole guy starts jumpin’ on Jim!”

“Wait! No, you guys aren’t goin’ anywhere. Where is Jim anyway? Didn’t he go into the house? And isn’t that your baby?” Deb looked at me quizzically.

1980BabyMonitorSuddenly, I understood. It was all crystal clear. I reached down by the swing frame and picked up Jeff’s baby monitor. That was what had been transmitting the bickering couple. It was not a t.v. program from inside our home, it was indeed our neighbors who have the identical type baby monitor. We were picking up their private conversation.

Eyes darting among each other, a “Holy fuck!” slipped from everyone’s mouths in unplanned unison at the realization that we had been unintentional verbal voyeurs.

A sound of crashing glass emitted from the monitor, “Go ahead, leave! You thankless, lying, cheatin’ bitch!” The sound of a heavy door slamming shut completed the scene in our minds while simultaneously hearing the screeching wheels of Sherilyn’s sports car leaving the driveway next door and speeding down the dirt road.

“Look who’s up!” Jim returned to the patio and handed Jeff to me, “I changed his diaper, it was a full one! So, did I miss anything?”

“Dude, you got some fucked up neighbors,” Don declared, “fuuuuuucked upppp!”

Jim turned his gaze toward me and I simply, slowly reached for the baby monitor’s receiver and held it up to him. His eyes grew big as he immediately understood to what we had been listening, “I think it’s time to throw this away! Jeff’s old enough now, we don’t need this anymore, do we?”

“No, we don’t need it anymore.”


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Object – Death Star

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object


Object: Death Star
© Susan Craaybeek-Fries

Years ago and in seemingly a galaxy far, far away, I took a photography class. Using my sons’ Death Star Christmas present, I positioned the characters and took a series of photos to practice depth-of-field. This photo was NOT an example of depth-of-field, this was more or less the base by which to compare all subsequent photos.


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