The vignettes that I write are short little snippets that happen in Bellingwood to people other than Polly Giller. It’s fun to write from a perspective other than Polly and to take a little peek into our favorite character’s lives.
Today’s vignette is just, plain fun. While I’ve written it in the middle of the process of publishing Book 16, this conversation could have happened any time between these women, so you won’t spoil a thing by reading it.
In fact, I want everyone to participate in this story. There’s a question I have for you once you read the story. Your response will enter you in a giveaway for one of four signed paperbacks of Book 16 – Memories for Tomorrow.
My preference is that you respond on the Bellingwood Facebook page, but if you can’t, go ahead and post a comment here.
Okay – here you go. Read through to the end for the question.
The Body Electric
She wasn’t expecting anyone this morning, so when Andy’s doorbell rang, she dragged herself away from the book she’d been lost in and dashed through the house to the front door.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, not even bothering to wonder why her best friend was leaning against the storm door, her hands and feet splayed out to the door frame. There was no telling what that woman might do next.
“I’m bored.” Beryl said. She stepped back so Andy could open the door and gestured down at herself. “I have my ‘I’m bored’ clothes on. You have to entertain me before I completely lose my mind.” She knelt on Andy’s threshold. “Help me, Andy-kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
Her ‘I’m bored’ clothes consisted of tight yoga pants in wild galactic colors and a flimsy, flowy, knee-length tunic with crazy flowers all over. She had a hot pink floppy hat on and matching flip flops.
“Your wardrobe might make me lose my mind,” Andy retorted. “Get in here before anyone sees you.” She reached down to help Beryl stand back up.
Beryl spun around in Andy’s foyer. “You don’t like?”
“I like. You’re just a little too electric. Why are you bored? Just last night you said that you had enough work to keep you busy until after Christmas.”
“That was last night. Today I’m bored.”
“Come on in,” Andy said. “I was quietly reading on the back deck. Apparently, I’m finished with that today.”
“Oh joy,” Beryl said. “I’m bored and you’re boring. How are you supposed to help me now?”
“I’ll make coffee and feed you coffee cake. Will that help?”
Beryl flounced along behind Andy, flopping her feet loudly on the floor. “If that’s all you’ve got, I guess I’ll have to suffer. We should go somewhere fun. Do something exciting. Go out and be someone other than ourselves. Please?”
Andy took two matching mugs from the cupboard. “I have to be at the library at one. There’s no time to go anywhere.”
“That gives us three hours. We could be hula dancers or boatswains in three hours.”
“Boatswains ?” Andy asked. “Where are you going to find a ship that needs two old ladies to do that job?”
“I don’t know,” Beryl retorted petulantly. “It was just an idea. Better than your idea.” She pointed at the coffee pot. “Coffee and cake? How boring are you?”
The doorbell rang again and Andy looked at Beryl. “Now what?”
Beryl pulled her shoulders up to her ears. “How would I know?” She gave Andy an ornery grin.
“What did you do?”
“Nothing much. Got more of that coffee cake?”
Andy pushed past her friend and went to the front door.
When she came back into the dining room, Lydia followed, carrying a bag and cup carrier from Sweet Beans.
“I have your favorites,” Lydia said. “And some croissants. They just came out when I got there.”
Beryl looked back and forth from the coffee cake on the counter to Lydia’s bag. “Can I have both?”
Lydia looked Beryl up and down. “What are you dressed for?”
“Apparently that’s her ‘I’m bored’ look,” Andy said. “You two head out to the deck and I’ll bring plates and napkins. So much for a quiet morning of reading.”
“Are you really complaining again about that?” Beryl asked. “Why wouldn’t you rather spend time with your friends?”
“We were just together last night. Now go, make yourself comfortable. I’ll be right out.”
Beryl opened the sliding glass door to the deck. “I think she’s mad at me,” she announced to Lydia, loud enough so Andy could hear. She promptly closed the door to eliminate the possibility of a response.
“She’s not mad,” Lydia said. “She’s never mad. We just disrupted her morning and she needs some time to assimilate it .” Lydia waved her hand at Beryl. “And look at you. Who could be mad at that? You’re a party.”
“I am, aren’t I?” Beryl replied. She floofed out her tunic. “I didn’t think I’d ever find an opportunity to wear this. Picked it up from a street vendor in New York a few years ago. Who’d have thought I’d ever find a good time to wear it in Bellingwood, but here I am, wearing it like a rockstar.”
“From one of the eighties hair bands, right?” Lydia asked, laughing at her friend.
“I’m not wearing a hair band, I’m wearing a hat.” Beryl winked at Lydia. She waggled her hand. “Are you planning to share that coffee or do I need to sit on your lap and beg for it?”
Lydia let out an “oomph” when Beryl dropped into her lap, but promptly wrapped her arm around the woman and kissed Beryl’s cheek. “I love you too, you nut.”
They both looked up when Andy coughed in the doorway.
“What are you two doing? What will the neighbors say?”
Beryl pointed at the cemetery behind Andy’s house. “That we’re having more fun than they are. Do you want to join me here? I can make room.” She scooted around until she was perched on one of Lydia’s legs. “You can have the other leg.”
“You’re my friend and I love you,” Andy muttered as she set plates down on the table. She sat down opposite the two women and opened the bag of croissants, then looked at them. “Is that how you’re spending the morning?”
Beryl craned her neck to look at Lydia. “I’m good. You?”
“Get up. You may be the skinniest thing I’ve ever seen, but your hiney is boney.”
“Fine then.” Beryl moved to the chair between Andy and Lydia and put her hand out. “I’d best start drinking down some of that coffee, then.”
“Because?” Lydia asked.
“Because my friends are old fuddy duddies and … well, I just need coffee.”
“I’m not a fuddy …” Andy started. Then she looked at Lydia. “I really am, aren’t I.”
Lydia chuckled. “Compared to this one, we’re the queens of fuddy duddy.” She handed Beryl a cup of coffee and then put her hand on Beryl’s arm. “Why are you so bored, dear? After what you said last night, I didn’t think we’d be seeing you for weeks.”
“I went out to my studio last night and stood in the middle of the room trying to figure out which project to work on. I was so overwhelmed, I walked out, went inside and went to bed. That usually helps. I use the time before I fall asleep and before I get out of bed to let my mind loose. Something always shows up and nothing arrived,” Beryl said. “I need help.”
“It will come,” Lydia said. “You do this all the time. All you really need is to relax.”
“That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?” Andy asked. “I’m sorry I gave you trouble about showing up.”
“Ahhh, no,” Beryl snapped. “No getting all sweet and sentimental on me.”
Andy pushed a plate in front of Beryl. “Then what in the hell do you want from us?”
“That,” Beryl said, pointing at Andy. “Sass and trouble. I’m feeling so owly, I just want to do something crazy.” She sat forward. “I want a tattoo.”
“You want a what?” Andy asked.
“You heard me. I want to get a tattoo. My mother told me that I couldn’t have one, that only bad girls had tattoos. I want to be a bad girl.”
“That isn’t the way it is these days,” Lydia said. “Both of my younger girls have tattoos. In fact, Sandy has a few. She loves ’em.”
Andy nodded. “Mel has a frog on her ankle. But that’s the last thing I want.”
“It’s what I want to do,” Beryl said.
“Put someone else’s artwork on your body?” Lydia asked.
Beryl cackled. “I’m certainly not putting one of my paintings on this canvas.” She slowly swept her hand down her torso. “It might be skinny, but it would hurt like hell to put something I painted on here. No, I want something fun. Maybe on my boob.” She cackled again. “Oh, how I love the idea of making some poor young man tattoo my old lady boob. I’m doing it.”
“I’d like to,” Lydia said very quietly.
“You?” Andy asked, her eyes huge.
“Yeah. My mother wouldn’t let me do it either, but I’ve always kind of secretly thought it would be fun. That’s why when Jill asked me if she could do it when she was in college, I just said yes. She’d done her research and found a reputable tattoo parlor. It was her money and something she really wanted. How could I say no?”
“You’ll do this with me?” Beryl asked. “Really?”
The two women looked at Andy.
“No way,” she said, putting up her hands. “No freakin’ way.” She pointed at Lydia. “What will Aaron say?”
Lydia waggled her eyebrows and grinned. “Maybe I’ll put it somewhere that he won’t see until he’s thinking of other things.”
“No, no, no, no, no,” Beryl said, laughing as she put her hands over her ears. “Please don’t do that to me when I’m eating. I’m going to choke.”
“There,” Lydia said. “Are you more relaxed?”
Beryl nodded. “Much more. I think I know what my next piece is going to look like. Thank you.”
Question: What tattoos do you think Beryl and Lydia should get? If you find a picture, post it in the comment, otherwise, just tell me the description. They won’t get matching tattoos, I can guarantee that. But you know them as well as anyone, what do you think?
Write a comment under this blog’s post on the FB Bellingwood page. I won’t respond to random posts on the page itself. Look for this blogpost. If you aren’t on Facebook, you can respond here with a comment.
This ends Sunday evening (12/18) around 7 pm when I will choose four winners from the comments. The choice of winners will be random, not which tattoos are my favorites and you won’t know about the tattoos until Book 17 (March 25th). I’m mean. I know, but I’m not re-writing Book 16 at this point.
If you are a winner, I will assume that you want a copy of Book 16 when it is published. If you’d rather have a different book, just let me know.
Entrants release Facebook of any responsibility and this promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.