Tuesday, February 28, 2012


This week's challenge: Use the third definition in no less than 33 and no more than 333 words.  Have fun. This week's word is wretched.
1: deeply afflicted, dejected, or distressed in body or mind
2: extremely or deplorably bad or distressing

It was only a little after 4:00 PM, but it was already dark as night when Margaret exited through the revolving doors and found herself on windy Michigan Avenue. She reflexively clutched the collar of her full-length mink. This coat attracted many compliments from strangers on the street, as well as the occasional raspberry from silly animal rights activists, but its beauty isn’t why she valued it. Over the years it had proven to be a terrific investment – still toasty warm and she’d only had to have the shoulders altered a bit to keep it fashionable. Also, she learned cabbies were quicker to pick her up when she was swathed in fur.

At the corner cabstand she saw that same homeless man, leaning as always on a railing, rattling spare change in an orange and blue Bears mug. “Your kindness will not be forgotten,” he said to each sap who deposited a coin or two. Even though it was too dark just now for her to see them, Margaret knew from countless previous encounters that his eyes were rheumy and she was certain he couldn’t even see who he was thanking or what they had given him. The “kindness” for which the wretched old man was so grateful could be bottle caps. He annoyed her. If he wouldn’t get his damn eyes fixed and couldn’t get a job, couldn’t he at least find a spot in a publicly funded shelter and stay out of sight until his sad, sickly life ended? The presence of beggars lowered the prestige of the office building she paid very high rent to be in.

Sliding into her cab, she saw a pair of merry shoppers practically sprain themselves, patting themselves on the backs for putting bills into his mug. Yes, so it’s Christmas Eve, so what? Does that mean suddenly tonight he won’t waste their hard-earned money on smokes and booze and drugs? 



  1. I enjoyed this short character portrayal. Well-paced, and you chose good emotional reactions for your MC to paint her snobby, indignant, cold-hearted and prejudice.

  2. Oooh -- I sense a visit from the ghosts of Christmas past present and future to this modern day Scrooge.


  3. Yup, excellent portrait of the wretched...
    Well done!

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  5. Thanks for linking up again. Oh, I love the irony it this. Yes, the man's condition is wretched, she's right, but it's she who is 'mean, miserable and contemptible'. You bring her character alive really well. We hope to see you again over the weekend.


Sorry about adding Comment Moderation, folks. But look at the bright side, at least I've gotten rid of word verification!