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May 2020 - Writing Challenge

  • 11 Aug 2020 10:42 AM
    Reply # 9158014 on 8946199
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    Timely, scary and uniquely written. 

  • 14 May 2020 7:17 PM
    Reply # 8969819 on 8946199

    Naked Refuge

    George stopped his pickup at the edge of the rickety-looking wooden bridge, hesitating as he did every week, before driving over it to the island. The weathered timbers always gave him the heebie-jeebies, especially in the rain, but he knew that duallys pulling heavy campers successfully crossed the bridge every spring and fall. Besides, the bridge had originally been built for loaded logging trucks before the naturist club had purchased the island. This year, the summer residents had arrived a little early to escape the madness of the pandemic.

    The nudists valued their privacy, so George was the only delivery driver allowed on the property, and he was the only outsider that they trusted with a key to the locked gate on the main road. Every week, he would pick-up their order from the cash-and-carry wholesaler and deliver it to the Community Center, the only permanent building on the island, and accept a check on the bank account of the cooperative store. Then he would load his pickup with their garbage bags to drop off at the dump.

    Nancy, who managed the coop, wore a smock on days when she expected his delivery, and the other residents usually stayed away from the center until after he left. This day she was also wearing a mask and gloves.

    “Wait!” Nancy said as he opened the door to get out of the truck. “First you need to put on these.”

    Keeping her distance, she extended a shoebox containing a paper mask and plastic gloves. George wondered where she had obtained them, but they had a large mailbox on the main road, so she had probably ordered them.

    After he complied, she told him, “Pile all the boxes on the picnic table. We’re going to wipe them down before taking them inside.”

    Some of the items were resold to residents, and the rest was for common use. While everyone fixed their own breakfast and lunch at their campers, they gathered in the building every evening for a communal meal. And there was a bathhouse with toilets and showers built onto the back of the building.

    Two older women stuck their heads out the open door, hiding their bodies behind the wall. He didn’t understand their bashfulness because he wasn’t a prude, and their wrinkled, sagging bodies weren’t exactly provocative. But they weren’t just hiding their bodies; they were hiding from the virus.

    “Did you get everything we ordered?” Nancy asked.

    “I’m afraid not,” George replied. “It’s getting crazy out there. Toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer are almost impossible to find right now. Maybe next week. Meat is getting short too because many of the processing plants have shutdown, but I took the liberty of substituting other cuts. Otherwise, I was able to fill your order.”

    “Good,” Nancy said. “Put your invoice in the box and I’ll go write a check.”

    She stopped just outside the door, and one of the women handed her a Clorox wipe which she used to methodically clean the piece of paper before going inside. She gave George his check by putting it in the shoebox and extending it toward him.

    The next day, George was contacted by the local rescue squad because they had gotten a call to pick up a patient on the island. They needed a key to the gate and weren't sure about the bridge, so they asked George to ride along. Nancy and another woman, both wearing smocks, waited inside the Community Center with the sick person.

    The patient was named Edith, and she wore pajamas as she laid on a folding cot just inside the door. Occasionally she sat up to cough, and then she would lie down again as if the effort had exhausted her.

    George watched from the doorway as the two EMTs checked her vital signs. Then they transferred her to the gurney and slid her inside the back of the vehicle. One EMT rode in the back with her, and the other one drove the vehicle. George thought it odd that nobody wanted to ride to the hospital with her, but he just climbed back into the passenger seat, and they slowly drove down the path toward the bridge.

    The nudists had diligently attempted to keep the virus at bay. Nancy even wiped down every piece of mail before she sorted the envelopes into the pigeon-holes of a cabinet in the Community Center. But last week, Edith had received a birthday card from her youngest girl, and her daughter’s breath had deposited some microscopic droplets on the inside of the card.

    Last modified: 02 Jun 2020 5:49 PM | Michael Worthington
  • 04 May 2020 3:55 PM
    Message # 8946199
    Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)

    Where are you going? Does this old bridge take you to a better place, or taking you back to finish old business? Are you looking back, or moving forward?

    Share your story or poem in one-thousand or less words by uploading it here as a reply. All genres and levels of writing welcome!

    Last modified: 04 May 2020 3:57 PM | Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)
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