Thursday, 9 May 2013

Romantic Friday Writers Challenge for May - 'Letters'- [The Match-Makers]



Welcome to Romantic Friday Writers Monthly writing challenge for the month of May.
By popular demand [thanks to Linda of Scheherazade], I have written an alternative version of this story. Scroll down to 'Version Two':

Photo by A. Ch. Wigren Nordeman

Here's my text (First Version):

The Match-Makers

One sunny spring Saturday morning, Penelope and her sister, Miranda, thought they were home alone as they did not see their mother in the house. Her bedroom door was slightly ajar.

'Let's go in and have some fun,' suggested Penelope, and they did just that. No one was there but the computer was on.

'She's been writing emails,' observed Miranda as she climbed up on the high desk to get a better look at what was on the screen.

'Let's write an email to someone for her!' said Penelope, feeling brilliantly creative.

'Yes, a love-letter!' squealed Miranda with devilish joy.

'I'll dictate and you tramp on the keys!' suggested Penelope och giggled.

'But to whom should we send this passionate epistle?' inquired Miranda, poised at the keyboard with her feet on the chair. She peered into the screen as she hit the arrow-key to scroll down the list of contacts. Opening and reading several files about each person, they decided upon an appropriate recipient: Mr Roger Thornbuckle.

'Let's write to this man named Roger. He looks cute and he's about the right age for Mother,' Penelope sagely remarked.

'How would you know what the right age would be for Mother?' said Miranda as she started punching the keys with her fingers and toes. 'What shall we write?' 

Penelope dictated:
Dear Roger, 
I feel I must write a more personal and private letter to you.
As a regular reader of your blog, I know that you are a person for whom I could feel quite fervently. We are soul mates.

'Wait, wait, wait,' complained Miranda, 'Say it slower. I can't keep up with you! It's hard not pressing two keys at the same time.

Penelope began again more slowly. The letter continued:

I feel so strongly for you and I know I would feel the same if I were to actually meet you in person. I think I could even love you.
Please tell me how you feel, Roger. If you feel the same way, could we meet? Say the time and the place and I'll be there.
Yours affectionately,
Catherine

'Perfect!' said Penelope.

Miranda moved the cursor by squeezing it between her two front paws. She alined the arrow with the word Send, and then hit the button with her right paw. 'Done!'

Then Penelope and Miranda heard the sound of footsteps coming from the back porch and leaped off the desk onto the floor and scurried quickly out of the bedroom through the narrow opening. It was Catherine who came back in again after having gone out to the garden to cut some tulips

'What have you silly furry girls been up to?' asked Catherine as she spied the two tabbies walking innocently side by side toward her in the hall outside of her bedroom. They were purring and giggling and held their tails high.


A few days later, Catherine received an email from Roger Thornbuckle:

Hi Catherine,
Thank you for your letter and invitation, but I must decline your offer, as my wife and I have a very full schedule the next coming weeks.  
Yours sincerely,
Roger Thornbuckle 

Catherine was perplexed until she found the email that she had supposedly written and sent to Mr Thornbuckle. Am I loosing my mind? she thought. No, I never wrote this. Someone is playing tricks on me. But no one is here other than the cats, Penelope and Miranda. Catherine wrote an email to Mr Thornbuckle:

Dear Mr Thornbuckle,
I apologise for the strange letter that was sent to you in my name. Apparently one of the servants is a practical joker. From now on, I am locking the door to the room where I keep my computer.
Best wishes,
Catherine  Briare

Penelope and Miranda were disappointed to find the door locked to the room with the computer.

'Typical! As soon as we find a new toy, someone forbids it!' sighed Miranda, stretching and licking nervously her left hind paw.

'Let's go out to the garden and chase some birds!' suggested Penelope.

'Yes, let's!' 

Penelope and Miranda sneaked out through their cat-door and basked in the sun.



[Text copyright 2013 by Anna Christina Wigren Nordeman]

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Word count 702: NCCO [No Critique, Comments Only]

Click HERE to see more of my staff of advisers when writing this story.

Photo by A. Ch. Wigren Nordeman
 ------ 

Here is 'Version Two' of The Match-Makers
(The beginning is the same.)

One sunny spring Saturday morning, Penelope and her sister, Miranda, thought they were home alone as they did not see their mother in the house. Her bedroom door was slightly ajar.

'Let's go in and have some fun,' suggested Penelope, and they did just that. No one was there but the computer was on.

'She's been writing emails,' observed Miranda as she climbed up on the high desk to get a better look at what was on the screen.

'Let's write an email to someone for her!' said Penelope, feeling brilliantly creative.

'Yes, a love-letter!' squealed Miranda with devilish joy.

'I'll dictate and you tramp on the keys!' suggested Penelope och giggled.

'But to whom should we send this passionate epistle?' inquired Miranda, poised at the keyboard with her feet on the chair. She peered into the screen as she hit the arrow-key to scroll down the list of contacts. Opening and reading several files about each person, they decided upon an appropriate recipient: Mr Roger Thornbuckle.

'Let's write to this man named Roger. He looks cute and he's about the right age for Mother,' Penelope sagely remarked.

'How would you know what the right age would be for Mother?' said Miranda as she started punching the keys with her fingers and toes. 'What shall we write?' 

Penelope dictated:
Dear Roger, 
I feel I must write a more personal and private letter to you.
As a regular reader of your blog, I know that you are a person for whom I could feel quite fervently. We are soul mates.

'Wait, wait, wait,' complained Miranda, 'Say it slower. I can't keep up with you! It's hard not pressing two keys at the same time.

Penelope began again more slowly. The letter continued:

I feel so strongly for you and I know I would feel the same if I were to actually meet you in person. I think I could even love you.
Please tell me how you feel, Roger. If you feel the same way, could we meet? Say the time and the place and I'll be there.
Yours affectionately,
Catherine

'Perfect!' said Penelope.

Miranda moved the cursor by squeezing it between her two front paws. She alined the arrow with the word Send, and then hit the button with her right paw. 'Done!'

Then Penelope and Miranda heard the sound of footsteps coming from the back porch and leaped off the desk onto the floor and scurried quickly out of the bedroom through the narrow opening. It was Catherine who came back in again after having gone out to the garden to cut some tulips

'What have you silly furry girls been up to?' asked Catherine as she spied the two tabbies walking innocently side by side toward her in the hall outside of her bedroom. They were purring and giggling and held their tails high.

Catherine was no fool. Seeing how the door was open, she went into her bedroom to see how much damage had been done. No hair-balls on the floor. No torn sections of wallpaper. No gnawed corners of leather-bound first editions. She felt the bedclothes with her fingertips and bent down close with her nose to the sheets. No tell-tale smell of feline urine here. No. Nothing. No damage at all. Or...

What have they been doing? Catherine looked under the desk but found no bitten electrical cords. Then she noticed that the computer was no longer open to her email-page. She thought she had left the email page open. Have the cats stepped on the keyboard?



With a bunch of tulips still in her hands, Catherine returned to the kitchen. Penelope and Miranda weaved back and forth around Catherine's legs as she filled a vase with water and artfully arranged the red and yellow flowers. She spread a new blue checkered table cloth on the antique kitchen table and then put the vase of tulips in the center of the table. The springtime morning sun made her new designer-rustic kitchen look even more beautiful. So clean and modern, and yet so old-worldsy and cozy. Penelope and Miranda drank from sterling silver water-bowls.

Penelope looked up from her water dish at Miranda and meowed: 'Do you think she suspects anything?'

'Not yet. Wait until she looks at her "Sent-emails-box"!'


'Or gets a reply from Mr Thornbuckle!' chuckled Miranda.

’Are you alright, Miranda?’ asked Catherine, hearing Miranda’s giggle, thinking she was choking. Oh dear. Hope I don't have to take her to the vet.


-------

In another part of the same town, Roger Thornbuckle was checking his emails and opened Catherine's feline ghost-written love-letter. He could only register certain phrases: 'feel so strongly... I think I could even love you... Please tell me... Say the time... place... I'll be there'.

Roger was a man with a plan. Good-looking, he cashed in on this in his youth, working as a model and bit-part-actor. But he knew that that income would soon dry up. It’s the dilemma of fashion models, child stars, athletes and dancers: it was time to change occupation. Luckily, Roger had other talents that could be developed. And that was what he was doing; learning to write fiction. He spent four years writing on weekends and could start sending queries to publishers.

But what to do about this strange letter? He had never met Catherine Briare; didn't know so much about her. There are so many talented and beautiful blogging women to choose from, if that was what he wanted to do. If he had the time.  

Why is she throwing herself at me? A neurotic? Maybe I should ignore this. But his curiosity got the better of him and Roger decided to send a reply.
 
Dear Ms Briare,
In all honesty, I don’t  know what I feel about you, because I don’t know enough about you. I think you are either crazy, very brave or very desperate and fool-hearty.
But I would still like to meet you and find out for myself.
Why don’t we have a cup of coffee or tea at The Silver Spoon, tomorrow, Sunday, at four in the afternoon? They have a lovely garden.

Kind regards,

Roger Thornbuckle

When Catherine had finished stacking the sparkling new dishwasher, she left the kitchen to return to her emails. Penelope and Miranda trottade on efter, barely able to contain their excitement about the mischief they had done earlier.  A new email was waiting for Catherine when she sat down at her computer. It was from Roger Thornbuckle, handsome blogger and author-wannabe.
 
Why would Roger want to write to me? thought Catherine remembering all of those cute photos of him on his writing-blog. Cathrine did indeed find him attractive – in his photos at least, but he usually received 50-100 comments for every post and many of them were from very pretty young women who, like Roger, were in the early stages of their writing careers; written a couple of books; were looking for a publisher; were self-publishing or promoting already published novels.

Catherine did not feel that she could stand a chance against such competition. She was not bad-looking. But she was no fashion model. She never posted any photos of herself online. She used flowers or the cats as her avatar. Her idea was that you are always judged and pidgin-holed by your looks. Men fall in love through their eyes; women through their ears.


After reading Roger’s email letter, Catherine understood that someone was playing a trick on her.

'Miranda! Penelope!' Catherine called, but found the two cats sitting right behind her  on the bed. They were purring and 'smiling' at her. ’Have you two been playing with my emails?’ Catherine demanded, incredulous that she was actually asking the cats for an explanation.

Miranda hopped up in her lap and started banging on the keys with her paws. It said on the screen:


’Yes, we confess. We’re sorry.’


’Why did you do this?’ asked Catherine still not believing that she had just received a message from her cats.


Penelope said something to Miranda that Catherine could not understand. Then Miranda spelled out these words with her front paws:


’We were just having some fun. We think you need to have some fun too. We thought you needed to make a new friend.’


’You did?’


’Yes, we did. It’s because we love you.'


’Well, I love you too. But please don’t write any more letters for me.’


’No, we won’t,’ promised Miranda and Penelope.


The next day was Sunday and Catherine went to The Silver Spoon to meet Roger Thornbuckle, as Roger had suggested.


I know what Roger looks like, thought Catherine, but he doesn’t know what I look like. I could stand him up. I could go right past him. I’m invisible, until I introduce myself.


Catherine came early to the quaint little lakeside garden restaurant and cafe.  It was already warm enough to sit out on the terrace. Catherine left the cats at home, certain that they would have liked to have been here, chasing birds and begging for treats.


What if Roger doesn’t show up?   

It was two minutes past four. Catherine ordered a cup of tea. There were still a lot of people in the cafe. He wouldn't recognise her. She would see him first. Maybe she should look for him.

It was ten minutes past four. Catherine stood up and looked around at the different tables, and spied a rather small but good-looking man sitting alone drinking a cup of coffee. It was Roger Thornbuckle, but he didn't look the way she had imagined him. Yes, she could recognise him, but he looked tired. Then he looked up at her and smiled. He had a nice smile and kind eyes. Clear blue.

'Excuse me, sir, but I am looking for a gentleman named Roger Thornbuckle? Would that happened to be you, sir?'

'Yes, that certainly would be me. Are you Catherine Briare?'

'Yes, I am Catherine Briare. How nice to meet you', she said extending her hand.

They shook hands.

'I'm sitting over there', she said, pointing toward her table and tea cup.

'Enchanting. Let me move my coffee to your table.'

As Roger Thornbuckle rose, Catherine discovered that he walked with a cane. She was also several inches taller than he. Why the cane? He was still a fairly young man. Catherine decided to not ask. 

The garden provided them with harmless small talk about spring flowers and the order in which flowers bloom in spring and summer. Catherine was happy to have found a topic that she knew something about, horticulture. Roger was not a gardener, but seemed to enjoy listening.

Then Catherine stopped talking about plants, and asked Roger about his own interests. Has he any good news from a publisher? 

'Please tell me a story, Roger', Catherine asked. And Roger talked a long time about the novel he had just finished writing. Catherine was enthralled. Roger was a good story-teller and could make Catherine laugh.

None of them talked about the email that Catherine had supposedly sent Roger. How could she ever explain the cats, Penelope and Miranda? 

'Thank you for a lovely afternoon, Roger' said Catherine when they were to part at her door.

'May I see you again, Catherine?' asked Roger.

'Yes, of course. Whenever you have the time. I'm here working on my garden book. I have a part time job on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But you'll have to clear it with my two social secretaries,' she said as Penelope and Miranda came to greet them.

'Oh what beautiful kitties! I love cats!' said Roger, scooping up both cats at the same time.

Miranda said something to Penelope that neither Catherine nor Roger understood: 

'Didn't we do well?' 

'Yes, brilliantly! This is just what Mother needs!'

The Match-Makers is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.


[Text copyright 2013 by Anna Christina Wigren Nordeman]
----------------------------

This is how this challenge is described on RFWers' Challenges Page:


LETTERS will be the central theme of our new challenge. You can use letters any way you like. 

Multi-generic writing is popular ATM, probably always has been. Multi-generic writing includes embedding other text types within your prose/poetry. Within prose you could add letter/s to/from lovers, letters could form the bulk of your story. You could add other text forms  -- death certificate, diary entries, appointment calendars, a found note..be as creative as you want!  Your entry will be a free-flowing story interspersed with whispers from the lives of the lovers. A poetic entry could be interspersed with the same type of texts -- let your imagination have free rein.
HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS:

*One of the lovers may have gone away - to work, to war, has left the relationship, wants time out...
* Someone has been left at home - fretting, upset, determined to save the relationship, determined to have revenge
* Perhaps one of the lovers wants a holiday by themselves, (not unusual these days), and the one left at home is furious, feels unloved, or relieved to have some time out too

These are scenarios that just pop into my head. Your entry may use all/none of these suggestions. It is your story, your way, your era...just let's go back to a romantic element in whatever form we write for this challenge.

The Timeline will be -- Inlinkz Submit List will be posted on May 1st. You will have until May 24th to post your story. 




Best wishes,
Anna



 


First Commenter:
Denise Covey















16 comments:

Denise Covey said...

Ha ha Anna! You had me going there for awhile! What mischievious little kittie cats! I wonder what they'll get up to next?

Thanks for your entry for letters...and for following my Free English Resources blog. Tell me if there's anything you'd like help with.

Denise

Yolanda Renee said...

Such a lovely tale! Made me smile, love Miranda and Penelope!

I needed a smile today, thank you!

Donna Hole said...

Lol; catty :) Excellent voice Anna.

Thanks for participating with RFW this month.

........dhole

Scheherazade said...

That was pretty sneaky-clever and fun. I don't know why my cats have never composed such emails for me! You should have taken this further and had him take her up on her offer.

Anna said...

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Dear Denise, Yolanda, Donna and Linda,

Thank you so much for visiting, reading and for writing such kind comments.

Thank you, especially , Linda/Scheherazade, for your suggestion. I have decided to write an alternative version to this little story, as you have described. It can't hurt. It will make the cats happy! [::Meow, meow!! Mreow!!:: 'You bet!' :: Purr::]

It's Friday today, so I may be able to swing it. Won't have time next week when I am teaching.

Welcome back tomorrow, Saturday, folks! I'll leave a comment on the REW-blog. The link will be the same; all you have to do is scroll down to 'Version Two'.

Best wishes,
Anna
oxox

Nilanjana Bose said...

That was a fun read, made me smile. Very clever the way you have worked in the identity of the writers. Look forward to the second version.

Scheherazade said...

Wow. You really got into the story on the second go-around. It's a cute story and very enjoyable. I see this as a picture book story for children with illustrations of the cats, etc. That probably wasn't your intent but it just strikes me as something that should be illustrated.

Linda

Denise Covey said...

This is a very warm story, Anna. The second version was a very nice touch. As Linda said, it has the feel of a lovely picture book. Your love of cats comes through. I'm just reading 'Coast Road' by Barbara Delinsky, a fairly old novel, and obviously this author loves cats, as there's been lots of cats in both her last books I've read. I'm a bit of a fan of her writing.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on my Letters story. I'm sorry that you didn't really like it, but it's up to each writer whether there's a happy ending or not. Who's to say she won't get married in the future? But Jason was portrayed as a selfish, uncaring man, who would not have made her happy. She will have Jake's baby, so that's a happy time for her and lots of lovely memories.

Denise

Sally said...

What clever cats. I like your second version best.

Donna Hole said...

The updated version was very clever. Has a beautiful happy ending :)

......dhole

Charmaine Clancy said...

I definitely liked the second version. It was very cute!

jabblog said...

I liked both versions. Miranda and Penelope have a lot to answer for but judging by your second version I think Catherine is going to be very thankful to them.

mmwriteradwilson said...

Interesting... I must admit in the first story I thought the two typing were little girls. I didn't catch on that it was the cats doing the typing till the second version. While a bit strange that also gave the story some added character. Very nice.

Anne said...

Haha, that was cute... and naughty :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Anna,

What a charming and fun tale... At first I thought Miranda and Penelope were children and I thought the vocabulary was quite advanced for kids, but ever so subtly you introduced them as cats. Very clever.

Their mischievous ways worked beautifully. Such purrfect little match makers.

You worked in the prompt with such an original spin. Well done!

I have mine up FINALLY if you get a chance to drop by my blog.

I hope all is well.

Nilanjana Bose said...

The second version has my vote! So appealing, both of them, but the second espicially lovely.

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