Monday, March 26, 2012

AWAD serial, part 6: sisyphean, Munich, brummagem

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 4/22/10: “sisyphean” , 4/13/10: “Munich”. 6/17/08: “brummagem”.
(turns out I missed some from even before June of 2010. Clearin’ out the ol’ inbox….)

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
MEANING: adjective: Endlessly laborious and fruitless.
ETYMOLOGY: After Sisyphus, a king in Greek mythology who was cursed to push a huge boulder to the top of a hill, only to watch it roll back down and to repeat this forever. Roll, rinse, repeat.
MEANING: noun: A shortsighted or dishonorable appeasement.
ETYMOLOGY: After Munich, Germany, the site of a pact signed by Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany on Sep 29, 1938 that permitted annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland by Nazi Germany. WWII began a year later; Sudetenland was restored to Czechoslovakia after the war.

PRONUNCIATION: (BRUM-uh-juhm) adjective
MEANING: noun: Cheap and showy. Something that is counterfeit or of inferior quality.

ETYMOLOGY: After Brummagem, a dialectal form of Birmingham, UK, where counterfeit coins were produced in the 17th century. Brummie is a nickname for someone from Birmingham.

While the cashier (Daisy, according to her nametag, and wasn’t that just too cute) went to call her friend, Eric ran through possible scenarios in his head. Waving-hands dude could show up, listen to Eric’s apology, accept it, and leave. That was the best way it could go and also the most unlikely.

Maybe he’d want proof of Eric’s sincerity, and maybe Eric would agree to make whatever grand gesture required to be forgiven. He’d never needed anyone to approve of him before, but his life had just made a tire-screeching one-eighty and the look the guy had given him after he’d said the f-word had been like a knife plunging into his gut. Right now Eric was willing to say anything, to enter into a Munich, even, just to get the guilt off his own shoulders.

So if the guy accepted his apology today, then showed up tomorrow with new demands? Whatever. Eric would do his best to comply, even if the guy came back again and again, until Eric’s life became some Sisyphean cycle of apologies leading to bribes and possibly even blackmail, and holy hell, where had that come from? Surely waving-hands guy wouldn’t be that petty. As far as Eric could remember, the guy had been dressed fairly well, no gold lamé track suits. Maybe he was an antiques dealer or owned an art gallery, someone who could distinguish fake from genuine, someone who would recognize a real apology and would know that what Eric was offering up wasn’t mere brummagem.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

AWAD serial, part 5: nescient, bromidic, esurient

A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/23/10: “nescient” , 6/24: bromidic, 6/25: esurient

A Word A Day by Anu Garg
PRONUNCIATION: (NESH-uhnt, NESH-ee-uhnt, NES-ee-uhnt)
MEANING: adjective: Lacking knowledge or awareness.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin ne- (not) + scire (to know). Ultimately from the Indo-European root skei- (to cut or split) that has also given us schism, ski, shin, science, conscience, nice, scienter, adscititious, and sciolist.
MEANING: adjective: Commonplace; trite.
ETYMOLOGY: From the former use of bromide compounds as sedatives. Bromine got its name from the Greek bromos (stench) due to its strong smell.
MEANING: adjective: Hungry; greedy.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin esurire (to be hungry), from edere (to eat). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ed- (to eat, to bite) that has also given us edible, comestible, obese, etch, fret, edacious, prandial, and postprandial.

Eric walked home, his pride stinging from being kicked out of a convenience store. A gas station convenience store. Now he had a) no beer, and b) a face burning from humiliation.

So he’d called that guy a fag, so what. That’s what the guy was. What’s the big deal? All Eric had done was tell the truth.

So why was his face burning and his heart racing, and why did that word keep ricocheting around in his head like an accusation?

“Bullshit,” he said preemptively, as his wife’s words came back to him.

“Face it. You’re gay. In total denial, or maybe truly nescient,” she’d added, calmly packing a suitcase, and God, he hated it when she threw her Ph.D.-in-Literature vocabulary into their arguments. “But you are, and the sooner you admit it to yourself, the sooner you can get on with the life you’re supposed to have.”

Then she'd put the children into the car and drove to her friend Jackie’s house. After one week, she announced she had gotten a job in Phoenix and just up and left, taking their kids – his kids – with her. No trial separation. No tears or accusations. No, that would be too bromidic for someone as unique as Trudi.

Somehow they heard about it at work and told him to take a few days off, but that just made it worse. Without something to occupy his mind, he brooded, lay about the house, and drank way too much.

Which reminded him that he was out of beer. He'd have to get some at the grocery store, since the convenience store was dead to him now. He couldn’t go back there, wouldn’t go back, not if there was a chance he’d run into that guy again.

The shame of that word burned him up. That wasn’t who he was. Or, fuck, maybe it was. But it didn’t have to be.

He could apologize.

He would apologize. He needed to apologize.

He got up off the sofa and grabbed his keys – the buzz from the last of his beer almost gone – and drove to the convenience store to apologize...or maybe the esurient need in him was for forgiveness. Either way, he was prepared to grovel.

Of course the guy was gone by the time he got back, and he had to look into the stony face of the cashier. Medusa’s stare could not have been more deadly, and Eric didn’t even bother trying to charm her. “I need to talk to him.”

“Why? So you can verbally abuse him some more? Or are you looking to make it physical? After all, what’s a little fag bashing?”

He winced but didn’t look away. “I want to apologize.”

She didn’t look impressed. “Yeah, right. One of those ‘I’m sorry if you were offended’ apologies that you can shove right—”

“—No, no, no, I’m sorry I said it. I was wrong to say it, and stupid, and I didn’t mean it. Fuck.” He winced again. “I know you don’t believe me, but I feel bad about it.”

“You don’t even know him.”

“I know.”

She eyed him, her expression not softening one whit. “Wait there.”

Sunday, March 4, 2012

blogging, and serial

I know I haven't been keeping up with this blog, but that was partly due to my various computer woes in January. And partly due to being lazy and forgetful, and partly due to working on actual stories.

But starting now, I'm going to to better, especially because I'm envious that Bryonna got invited to join Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. I'm thrilled for her, or course, but still, harumph. :P

I'm going to continue emptying my inbox of A Word A Day emails that have been backing up because, like the title says, I procrastinate. But instead of writing a random drabble using one word, I've decided to hit two or three words per post and not worry about word count.

I kept coming back to one character in some of the previous drabbles, so I've decided to write his story and post it here as a serial. And in case anyone wants to read the story in order, the links are at this page.