This is a gift for Harlean
Harlean says she wants a pony. I don't have the wherewithal to give her one. But I can give what I wrote for a writing exercise when I took an Honors English course in fantasy writing, taught by an author who was writing about vampires long before vampires were trendy.
This piece came about in stages. In the first stage, we students were to write a description of some random person whom we had seen somewhere, someone whom we did not know but whose image stuck in our minds for some reason. Then we were to imagine someone else who was in some way connected to this person. Then we were to imagine the thoughts that each person had about the other person. The final step was to create an argument between these two people.
It took me some time to find the things I had written, as I do not understand Pat's filing system. I took this course in the summer 1993 term, and I found a file drawer where Pat has stored a whole lot of stuff from 1986 through 1989, plus some stuff from 1998 through 1999. I actually had to move some furniture to get to the shelf where he has stored the material from about 1991 to about 1995. I still don't know where the 1989 through 1991 stuff is, nor the 1995 through 1998.
You can probably guess by now that these documents don't exist in an electronic form – they're all papyrus or dead-trees. In order to make this project available online, I'm going to have to type it in. As I do so, I will be making some changes, such as replacing brand names with generic terms, and I may do some editing for grammar, but otherwise I will reproduce the passages exactly, unless I make a typo, which I don't plan to do.
He is clean-shaven with short – but not radically short – light brown hair. His face is boy-next-door handsome, wholesome, tanned, with just a trace of crows-feet beginning to show at the corners of the gray eyes. He is wearing a light blue polo shirt that's just tight enough to show that his pectorals and biceps are in great shape, and a pair of tan sweat pants that are so clean and pressed they look like casual slacks. He is showing a customer how to use one of the pieces of exercise equipment at the physical-fitness equipment store at the mall; he pauses briefly to squat down and greet the customer's little boy.
"That reminds me – I'd better get a birthday present for Rachel before I get home tonight. She's six already. Where did the time go? I wonder what I can get. She's asking for a pony – as usual – but Heaven knows we can't afford that. Maybe in a couple of years we can build that house in Cedar Crest that Beverley's dreaming of, and then we can get the pony. But for now, what does Daddy get for his princess? Some princess, actually .She hasn't worn a dress since she got out of diapers! She's not into dolls or dress-up, just keeps talking about that pony. I could get her a toy pony, I suppose. Or a book about a pony. When she was born, we said we'd get her lots of books, give her an 'enriched environment.' Some enrichment she got – two big sisters competing with her for space in that tiny bedroom. It will be nice when we can move someplace with a big yard, give them lots of room to be active in. I don't want to end up with three plump little couch potatoes for daughters. Maybe we can go the playground for a game of catch before the birthday party – Beverley always takes such a long time over the cake, getting it perfect."
Rachel sits on the lower bunk, a large picture book open on her folded legs. Lisa and Emily are in the living room watching TV, so she has the room to herself. She has curly blond hair, cut as short as Mommy will allow, and Daddy's gray eyes. She is wearing a T-shirt with Smurfs on it (Lisa and Emily's hand-me-downs were always horribly cute) and orange denim shorts with a small hole in the seat. She has lost interest in the book and is gazing at the wall opposite, where she has taped up every single picture of horse, pony or donkey, from every single magazine Mommy and Daddy ever get.
"I wonder what Daddy's getting me for my birthday? Maybe a pony? Daddy and Mommy are always talking about not having enough money, and we'd better wait until we get a house in the country so we have room to keep a pony, but I bet that's just stories. When Daddy has a present for Mommy, he pretends he doesn't and lets her think he forgot and then surprise, he has the present anyways. I bet he's doing that with my pony. I wonder if he'll get home early tonight for my birthday? I love it when he comes home early because we can play ball. Lisa and Emily don't like to play ball with Daddy, but I do. When I make a good catch, he picks me up and gives me a big hug, and I like that, too. He smells so good, especially when he's hot. He's the best-smelling grown-up in the world."
Okay, so these are the characters. Stay tuned for the argument …