Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bonita and Joe

A brief explanation . . . I've been asked about this writing exercise I do. It's freewriting. I close my eyes, take a book off my bookshelves, and with eyes still closed open the book to a page and put my finger down. Whatever sentence is there is the prompt for what I write. I just write, don't do paragraphs, don't go back and rewrite. The sentence I find becomes the last sentence in whatever I write. It's just an exercise in creativity. Here's what I did today.

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, p. 55:

“Joe bit down hard on his cigar and beamed all around, but he never said a word.”

Bonita Mae said that Mr. Joe B. Easterday satisfies her every need but she failed to provide details on exactly what those every needs might be. Bonita Mae’s hair had just been curled and tinted the color of carrots and she walked with a wiggle in a baby blue dress with white polka dots, a low neckline, and row of ruffles. She was leaving Luanne’s House of Beauty and she handed Luanne a 50 dollar bill and told her to keep the change. As Bonita Mae walked toward the door, Luanne spotted Joe Easterday standing outside. He was leaning against the rear fin of his big shiny new white Cadillac, smoking a cigar, wearing white pants, white shoes, and a baby blue sports jacket that exactly matched the blue of Bonita’s dress. Luanne said, “Well, Miss Bonita Mae, is that Joe Easterday waiting outside for you?” That’s when Bonita looked back over her shoulder and waved like a beauty queen at the girls in the beauty parlor and made the pronouncement about Mr. Joe B. Easterday taking care of her every need. Then she giggled and said, “He’s such a lovely man.” The door closed behind Bonita Mae. Ethel Franklin, who was getting a permanent wave, said, “He might be a lovely man but I do believe her every need is C-A-S-H, cash dollars.” The ladies had held a grudge against Bonita Mae Tucker for years and years, even before Bonita landed the first of her four husbands. The grudge went way back to the time Bonita did that modeling and they all saw her in the magazine ad for the bum booster panty girdle. No one ever verified that it was Bonita in the ad, but it sure looked like her from behind, even though her face was barely visible in the photograph. And they were certain that she had a lifetime supply of the infamous panty girdles and she used them to her advantage. Mr. Joe B. Easterday had no idea that he was walking right in to her trap. Joe Easterday had recently retired from the family funeral business. His sister, the former Esther Easterday, met Mr. Leroy Jenkins at a conference on the crematory business and married him at the tender age of 56 after a brief whirlwind romance. Joe didn’t agree with Esther and Leroy about moving into the cremation business so he sold his share of the family business to the newlyweds and retired. Joe had driven black cars and he had worn black suits nearly every day for the past 60 years. The day he sold his share of the business he bought all new clothes and a white Cadillac. And he started courting Bonita Mae Tucker. He felt like his life was just beginning. He opened the car door for Bonita Mae and patted her on the bottom as she slid into the front seat. Joe bit down hard on his cigar and beamed all around, but he never said a word.

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