Archive for August, 2011

Curses, Foiled Again!

August 8, 2011

The other night I went to an informal writers’ group of sorts. No serious critiquing of each other’s work, just good clean fun. Anyway, one of the activities was to come up with something, anything, in ten minutes on a totally random topic.
The random topic turned out to be “tinfoil.” Not much to say about tinfoil, you say? Think again. We got several different kinds of foil-related writing, most dealing with all the different things you can do with it. This is what I came up with.

You can never have too much tinfoil. That’s what Marlene, dear maddening Marlene, always said. She had a real thing about tinfoil. We understood why she always loaded up her cart with boxes of Reynolds Wrap every time she went to Donnie’s Discount Delight. Sort of. After all, was her tinfoil fixation so much different from Kenny’s inability to pass a display of batteries without buying a few packs, or Lisa’s obsessive collection of Precious Moments figurines?
But if the truth be told, Marlene’s foil kick Crossed a Line. What else could you call it when she waited impatiently for you to finish your Super Burger so she could lick the melted orange blobs of cheese off the wrapper before carefully smoothing the greasy silver sheet into a neat square to store in one of her many fancy jewelry boxes? Kenny called those jewelry boxes Silver Mines, because all they contained was foil. Marlene kept what little jewelry she owned in an old tinfoil box, reasoning that any burglar would risk a nasty laceration trying to get to the jewelry, assuming he even thought to go looking in that unremarkable hiding place at all.
The funny thing was, Marlene never seemed to use any tinfoil. When she brought a casserole to a party, she either covered it with saran Wrap or else carried the food in a big oven dish with a lid. She wasn’t artsy in the least, so her saved-up foil never got made into Christmas angels or stars. Even her cat, Snookie, refused to bat a tempting foil ball about, no matter how strongly it smelled of Super Burger. Snookie preferred to spend her few waking hours next door tormenting the McGilivrays’ poodle or trying to catch the expensive miniature goldfish in their pond.
Marlene drove us all nuts with that damn foil fetish of hers. At least Kenny was usually generous about sharing his batteries, and Lisa’s figurines often got knocked on the floor and broken. If you needed a piece of foil to jerry-rig a patch for an old mirror, be prepared to whine and beg and offer payment. And God help you if you used a piece of Marlene’s foil to wrap a slab of cornbread to take to work without Marlene’s ungracious permission!
We asked Marlene often why she needed so much foil, sure we did. She always gave the standard hoarder’s response: “Just in case.” If she was in a particularly good mood, she might add “Better to have it and not need any than to need some and not have it.”
As we knelt on the kitchen floor, meticulously wrapping Marlene’s dismembered body in her burger-scented, shiny treasures, we had to admit, she had a point.

Hey, I know it isn’t great literature, but we only had ten minutes! And anyway, didn’t some famous writer say that to be a good writer (like him, he presumably meant) one must “kill your darlings.”?