This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com.Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.
Topic 1 (last week): Monday’s Minutes
Shelly thought the little soldiers were nicely detailed and carefully painted. That was the first thing that attracted her eye. Tucked away on the back of the lowest shelf, you could barely see them peeking out, even if you were perched against the cabinet base, trying to look inconspicuous while your mother was talking about lace frocks with the shopkeeper.
She slid the box out carefully and studied the set of soldiers. There were twelve in a row, but none of them the same. “Dirty dozen,” she whispered, picking up the first, whose sleeve was tipped with sargent stripes. “Or maybe Kelly’s heroes.” She bit her lip and cocked an eye toward her mother. The shopkeeper was carefully opening the lid of a large wooden coffer. Dark green velvet draped demurely over the lip. Shelly rolled her eyes, and tucked the sargent into the bib of her overalls.
One at a time, she plucked the men from their little box and secreted them about her person. The cash register chimed, and she hurriedly felt for the box lid beneath the display. She replaced it, tracing her fingers over the silver letters of the maker’s name: Monday & Sons, Ltd. She smiled briefly as she shoved the empty container to the back of the shelf. “Monday’s minutes,” she said in a self-satisfied whisper.
Topic 2 (this week): Jam and toast.
Gary wasn’t sure about the jam. He never was. I could see him hesitate from my vantage point behind the counter. I didn’t look up, but I could feel it, you know? He paused, considering the impact of triple-berry preserves on his unenumerated attempt to reduce his sugar intake. In the end, he shrugged and dipped the knife in.
Joel called to me from the kitchen, and somehow in that instant, at the moment I first failed to track Gary’s progress, that’s when the glass shattered, splattering berries and pectin across the table. I grabbed a rag from the bus bucket, but as I turned toward the dining area, I barely had time to notice that Gary was slumped across the back of his chair before Joel tackled me to the ground. My head hit the well as I went down. I sat up dazed, pushing against Joel, until I realized his lips were moving and I couldn’t hear what he was saying.
The room was full of smoke, and all I could think about was the toast.