Divine Visions

My neighbour goes to the supermarket pretty regularly, because it’s there she sometimes sees the face of God…

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…or so she swears. She has been known to have moments of Divine visitation. Like the time that she heard angels singing in the attic of our house and kept finding excuses to come round. It took a while to figure out why we were suddenly on the receiving end of the many trays of foil-wrapped lasagnas and chicken a la kings accumulating in the fridge, as if some family member had died and we needed consoling. She was the only one who could hear the singing though.

I am never quite sure what to make of these sightings. She comes back from the encounters glowing, words tripping over each other as she describes her latest vision. The first time it happened I remember clearly that I was trimming the hedge which divides our properties. “You’ll never guess what happened,” she shouted through her car window, not even waiting until she had parked and gotten out.

That time she was convinced that the bergie who helped her wheel her trolley of groceries to the car had had a special aura, perhaps some modern-day prophet who might reveal himself to the first person who treated him well.

“She means well,” says my wife. “No harm done. Wouldn’t be such a bad thing if we all saw the face of God occasionally. The last bit aimed at Mr Harris who lives opposite and who wouldn’t give any of us the time of day.

It’s not all good though. There was the time that she was convinced that the student who had answered the advert for the single bed that she had for sale was channeling angel Gabriel. That didn’t turn out so well when she offered him board and lodging and he disappeared with all her jewellery one Wednesday evening while she was at a fundraising meeting for the SPCA…

This is another Creative Writing/fiction exercise given to us by Christopher Hope:  we were given the first line and had to write 350 words. 

Roger’s affairs

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There were 97 New York advertising men in the hotel, and the way they were monopolizing the long-distance lines, the girl in 507 had to wait from noon till almost two-thirty to get her call through.  She had been using the time well. She had packed her bag, sweeping the hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles into her vanity bag (she had paid for it, after all) and had made up her side of the bed.

There had been the inconvenient bit of blood on the pillow but she had popped it down the laundry chute which happened to be just outside her door.  Luckily there had been a spare on the top shelf of the cupboard and she had put it on the bed. She had washed and dried the glass she had used and placed it on the tray on top of the little fridge. She had even checked the little bin in the bathroom to make sure that there was nothing of hers in there.

Before that she had put her hair up into a few curlers to set while she took a bath. She had made her face up carefully and brushed out her hair. She was now wearing the pale blue skirt suit that Mother had made her pack. Her white hat and gloves were on the chair at the door next to her handbag and little suitcase. As soon as the call was made she would be on her way.

When the phone rang she decided to take it in the bathroom and, clearing her throat, perched on the edge of the bath. Her mother’s voice boomed down the line.

Gloria! We have been worried sick about you. Your father has a bad heart, you know. We haven’t heard from you since you left on Sunday. You did say you would call as soon as you arrived.

Mother, the hotel is packed…some sort of a convention…I told you that it may be a day or two before I had a chance to call.

How is Roger behaving? We can’t believe that you still agreed to go away with him after Muriel told you about the affair he’s been having, and with your best friend at that. I must tell you that nothing good will come of this. Once he has strayed it will just be a matter of time before he runs after the next skirt that catches his fancy. You know I only want what is best for you.

If she didn’t cut her mother short now she would drone on and on.

Mother, you know I can take care of my own problems. Roger will be no trouble from now on. See you soon. Goodbye.

She put the phone down, picked up her bags and gloves and looked around the room one last time.  Roger looked like he was sleeping peacefully. She had crossed his arms over his body on top of the bedspread. She opened the door and hung the “Do not disturb” sign up outside.

Roger would not be having anymore affairs. She closed the door and hurried towards the elevator.

This was a Creative Writing/fiction exercise we were given in a workshop by author Christopher Hope: We were given the first sentence and had to write a short story.