One Thousand Words of More Editing

Another cheat tonight, or rewrite or edit or whatever you want to call it.

This is the continuation of last night’s scene.

I know I should be writing something new. I have something started from the tonight’s workshop prompt. But I want to think about it a little bit before finishing it.

I also a few posts in the works, which is the first time that’s happened in 316 days, and kind of different from what I set out to do when I began, but I think indicates my growth as a writer so I’m going for it.

The main reason I’m posting this edit is because for the first time in months I’m feeling energized about Daniel and my MPBAN and I want to capitalize on it.

When I began the workshop, I was kind of whiney about how it wasn’t what I was looking for and I felt like it was a community I wasn’t a part of, but I think I get it now and my writing has improved. Maybe not because of comments made about my work, but by reading other people’s work and listening to what is being said.

So I’m editing and tightening and feel really great about it. And I feel the need to share.

She broke off a piece of Sebastian’s cookie and popped it into her mouth. “Why wouldn’t I just write my own damn book?”

“Because I’m the one with the interesting story.”

Charlene slid out of the booth with and went back to work, muttering under her breath while she cleaned out the bottom of the oven.

The pastor sucked up the last of his Mountain Dew, watching Charlene’s wide back as she vigorously brushed crumbs onto the floor.

He asked the Lord for guidance and received no immediate response, so he put down his soda and wandered over to the counter.

“Charlene?”

Charlene walked into the kitchen. She returned a minute later with a broom and dustpan.

Sebastian tried again. “Charlene?”

She glanced at him from under her red bangs. “What?”

He leaned on the counter. “What would your book be about?”

“I don’t know. My life, I guess.” She leaned over and swept the crumbs into the dustpan. “We all have interesting lives, Pastor Sebastian.” She dumped the crumbs into the trashcan.

Sebastian frankly doubted that Charlene’s life was as interesting as his. After all, she was the Assistant Manager of a Quizno’s while he had his own ministry and had played professional poker. But he sensed that if he kept her talking, he might get her to agree to write for him. “Tell me about your life. Where did you grown up.”

Charlene poured herself a cup of coffee and took a sip before responding. “Meridian, Mississippi. It’s just twenty miles from the Alabama border.”

“I’ve never been to Mississippi.”

“It’s a pretty enough state, I guess. I couldn’t wait to get out, but that had more to do with my daddy than it did with the landscape.”

“Why did you want to get away from your father?”

Charlene sighed and glanced at the clock hanging above the oven. “Oh, what the hell. I’m here for another hour.” She refilled her coffee cup and got another Mountain Dew for Pastor Sebastian. She took both drinks to his booth and sat down heavily.

Sebastian grabbed a new straw and sat down across from her.

“My daddy was a preacher, too. At the Bucatunna Baptist Church. He still is, as far as I know.” She fluffed the bottom of her frizzy hair with her hand. “I don’t look like a preacher’s daughter, do I?”

Sebastian shook his head. “But you never come to my services.” Maybe he hadn’t worked hard enough to bring Charlene into his fold.

“It’s not you, Pastor Sebastian. I went to church every Sunday growing up. By the time I turned eighteen and moved to California, I’d just had enough religion.”

“Ok, so maybe you do have an interesting story. But I still think you’d make a great ghost writer.”

Charlene stirred her coffee. “I don’t think so, Pastor.”

As she started to leave the booth, Sebastian blurted out, “I’ll play you for it.”

“What?”

“We’ll play one hand of poker. If I win, you’ll start coming to my ministry for Sunday services and ghost write my memoir.”

“What if I win?”

Sebastian’s mind scrambled for an answer, one good enough to make Charlene take this bet. Before he could think of anything, Charlene answered for him. “You’ll take me to Las Vegas and help me win enough money that I can quit this crummy job.”

As much as Sebastian wanted to Charlene to help him write his book, he hesitated. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I haven’t played professional poker in a long time.”

Charlene stood up. “That’s the bet. Take it or leave it.”

“Ok. Ok. We have a bet.”

Charlene grinned. “Now we just need some cards.”

“I have some.” Sebastian pulled a deck of cards out of his backpack and started shuffling.

“You carry cards with you?” Charlene sat back down as Sebastian dealt.

Sebastian shrugged. “Old habits die hard, I guess.”

The Pastor glanced as his cards. They weren’t great. A ten and an eight, but he hoped he could quickly intimidate Charlene into folding.

He dealt the flop and was pleased to see another ten.

“Since we don’t really have chips and can’t up the ante, I guess we should just say if we want to fold or not. Do you?”

Charlene appeared deep in thought, but she shook her head.

The turn was a queen, which didn’t help him, but he pretended to suppress a smile anyway.

“Want to fold now?”

Charlene crossed her arms. “Nope.”

The river was another queen.

Sebastian revealed his hand, praying that his two pair would beat whatever Charlene held.

She dropped her cards on the table. A pair of queens smirked up at him. “When do we leave for Vegas?”

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