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Sunday, March 25, 2007

 

Mandy Vicsai Writes on our Contest Prompt!

As you may know, we don't allow the First, Second, or Third Place Winners to submit to our flash fiction contest for three seasons. It keeps things fair that way and also takes the pressure off the contestant who won! But of course, we're always interested in reading your stories, so even if you did win the whole enchilada and want to submit your story to us to keep those fingers tapping, we'd be happy to publish it.

Next Sunday will be April 1st, and we're excited! Not just because it's April Fool's Day, but because that's when all our contest winners are published. And no, there will be no joking around about that! So, to warm you up and get you in the spirit of the wonderful entries you're going to be able to read soon, Mandy Vicsai gave us her permission to post her take on our Winter 2007 prompt. Of course, she cannot win anything, so this is just for fun. Enjoy!

To refresh your memory, the prompt: You have made the last payment on your car. You want to celebrate in a unique way, because...well, what would be more unique than paying off a vehicle these days? You have your credit card in hand, decide to pick one person and take off for a week. Whom do you choose and where do you go?


Independence Day

by Mandy Vicsai


I beep the horn three times. Ida Forsyth steps onto the porch.
“She’s all mine,” I tell her, running a loving hand over Betsy’s steering wheel. Betsy is a 1998 Dodge Neon. Sure she’s got over 85,000 miles on the dial, but she was priced right. And she’s my new favourite colour – silver.

“Your first car,” Ida coos.
“Exactly!” I say. “Cel-e-bra-tion time! Let’s christen this baby. Pack a bag and leave a note. We’re goin’ down the highway!” I wave my credit card.
Ida disappears inside.
“Only ten pieces of make up,” I call after her. “That’s individual pieces, not suitcases full. You don’t need to hide every wrinkle you think you have.”

Ida needs a take-it-as-it-comes, anything-goes road trip after those idiots at the grocery store told her she was too old to price cans of beans. I swear if you’re old enough to earn more than three bucks an hour you’ve priced yourself out of employment. There’s a trucker’s bar just out of town. Quite frankly we could both use a drink.

It’s my family that’s driving me nuts. Ida’s are over-protective; like she’d snap in a light breeze. Mine list isolated instances of youthful exuberance and claim they’re proof I can’t manage my own life.
“The civic fountain is not a swimming pool.”
“Fried taquitos and chocolate cake are not dinner.”
“And stop making gooey eyes at the new pastor. It’s embarrassing.”

“I’m just their live-in babysitter,” I tell Ida as we cruise. “I baby sit for other folks on our block too; seems nobody has time for their kids anymore.”
“Still, you’ve earned enough to buy a car,” she says.
“Yes, I’ve at least done that.”

I park at Trucker’s Rest. A sign reads, “No Minors.” Ida and I giggle. Inside we plonk ourselves on two bar stools.
“Bartender, we’ll have Sex on the Beach, please.”
“Mary Clare!”
I can feel the warmth of Ida’s blush and whisper, “It’s a drink.”
“I’ll need some ID,” the bartender says seriously. He examines my driver’s license then peers at me.
“Just got that last month,” I tell him.
“Congratulations,” he says.
“Bought her first car, too. Paid off and everything,” adds Ida proudly.
“Had to,” I explain. “I need my independence. Family can be very . . . confining.”
The bartender nods and sets our drinks on little white napkins. He winks playfully.
“On the house.”

“Ida,” I say thoughtfully. “Move in with me.”
“What about your daughter and her family?”
“It’s my house Ida. They’ll have to leave.”
“They think you’re still grieving.”
“I’m not,” I say. “Life’s too short. One year’s enough. Drink up. Let’s hit that road.”

We settle into Betsy’s charcoal seats. A pimply youth in a rusty pick-up honks his horn and shouts, “Come on Grandma, don’t die with your foot on the brake.”

I shake my silver curls. Young people today. I flip the whipper snapper the bird and singe his adolescent nostril hairs with the acrid stench of burning rubber.

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Mandy Vicsai's Bio: Mandy divides her professional time between copywriting and creative writing. She aims to entertain, inspire and empower with her stories and is currently finishing her first novel. Mandy believes you are never too young - nor too old - to fulfil a dream. In fact, she has recently begun the journey to a long-held ambition - learning karate. Together with her husband Peter and feline friend, Pussycat, Mandy calls Melbourne Australia home.

Note: Mandy is the First Place Winner in the WOW! Women On Writing Fall 2006 Flash Fiction Contest. She also wrote an article for our March issue's HOW 2 Column. She continues to amaze us with her creative fiction and non-fiction writing.

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