FF - Torn wallpaper

Fast Fiction is fiction written fast. The object is to get your brain thinking about a given subject without interference from “reason”. Go for the 30 minute time limit.

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FF - Torn wallpaper

Postby JillStar » Thu Dec 30, 2004 11:03 pm

jillstar wrote: Fast Fiction is just that... fiction written fast. Please visit What is FAST FICTION for more information.

Look at the subject for today's Fast Fiction at the end of this post... once you have the slightest beginning to your story… begin to write. Don't stop to ponder the meaning behind your writing or try to "fix" it so it's perfect... just write.

If you want to include your Fast Fiction finished product on WordTrip, simply add it to this thread. We would love it!

REMINDER: Please keep your stories PG13 if posted on the site. If you want a critique after you are complete, please consider using your writing group for help in that area or send a PM to one of us.

... try to stick to the 30 minutes time limit... ready, set... WRITE!

SUBJECT: Torn wallpaper.

The best thing to do is write yours BEFORE reading anyone elses finished work posted below.
Last edited by JillStar on Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby timberline » Fri Dec 31, 2004 4:49 pm

Torn wallpaper is just a cleverly disguised metaphor for the chasms that divide man and woman. Here's one such, told seamlessly and based on decades of marriage:

Torn Wallpaper

Jason told me that marriage was a delicate balancing act, particularly in the way you and the old lady will want to avoid certain events, particular activities and—definitely—joint projects.

“I’d say you’re gonna find it tough dragging her to see rock concerts,” he said. Jason was basically a layabout who had the philosophy that work was evil. He told me early on that employers pay you in reverse proportion to the amount of pain you have to take.

“What do you mean? We both like concerts.”

“It’s just that she’s gonna want to stay home and put up curtains while you want to hang with your friends, call ‘em up and see what they’re having for dinner. You know. And women don’t like that."

I shucked Jason off by telling him I had to run an errand before the stores closed. While I walked away, I wondered about his slacker advice. Janet and I had been married for two weeks, and we both gave up our apartments for a place with a locked front door and a doorman. We left most of our furniture on the street for the scavengers and bought new with the gift certificates from the wedding and with the cash from her father.

“I really like the idea of having a country look,” Janet said immediately. “Maybe you can hide all your radio stuff, your computers and things.”

“Hide them? How come? They’re an essential part of my daily life.”

“But, does that mean I have to look at them every minute of the day? Can’t they make curtains for the screen?”

“Curtains?” I scratched my head. “What’s curtains have to do with a computer?”

“Duh, Mike! Your computer has Windows, doesn’t it.”

Janet was loveable but sort of pre-technical. I left and went to get a cold beer to think that one over. Janet’s father had told me you have to sometimes let women have their way. “I know they can sound irrational, but sometimes they may be right. And sometimes, even if your wife’s wrong, it keeps peace in the family to let them have their way. That’s been the secret of my marriage’s success.” He’d been married for about a century, so I conceded him this point.

In the end, I allowed her to put a kind of teapot cozy over the PC and drape a piece of cloth over the stereo. Several situations like this came up, but after the first month I had to put my foot down.

“Wallpaper! The wall’s white. What do you want to cover it with paper for? Hang a picture, okay—but wallpaper!”

“Mike, I want a decent place for your friends, and my friends, and our friends to come. A civilized place.”

The next day was Saturday, and Janet woke me up by covering the bed with rolls of wallpaper. “See,” she said, “all you have to do is soak it and it sticks to the wall and gives you a professional look. And, I got all the tools.”

By noon, I had bitten my lip through but I kept my mouth shut as the paper went up in the living room. I stood on a chair and dropped the paper roll down to Janet, and she'd cut it with a razor blade, roll it up in a pan of water and hand it back to me. By the time the first wall was done, I stepped down to have a cigarette.

“Know something?” I said. “Your flowers are upside down.”

“No, the paper you hung is upside down. Mine is right side up. Are you trying to sabotage my decorating? I mean, if you want to live in a hovel like you had on Avenue B, you can go back to that fleabag, but my mother's going to visit and I want her to be proud,”

“Maybe two-thirds of the flowers is a pretty good average,” I said choking back the anger.

“Oh, no, you either do it right or don’t do it at all. I know you didn’t like my choice of flowers....”

“Pansies and daisies in New York City? I’ll give you green stuff like you see in Central Park, but pansies are kinda inappropriate....”

“Oh, Mr. Ivy League Botanist, you know flowers! Ha! If I hadn’t married you, there’d be naked women on your wallpaper!”

“Or maybe no wallpaper at all!”

“Just get out of my work space! I’ll do it myself!”

“Janet, I offered to help you and I will help. Give me that sponge and roller.”

“No, I bought them. That’s my seam roller.”

I lunged for the seam roller and sponge and put my foot in the plastic thingy full of water. Lurching backward, I grabbed for Janet’s arm, the chair, anything. She saw me tilting and swinging my arms and clutched at me. Her long red fingernails missed my arm and caught the wet paper, and together we fell backwards while the paper unrolled itself from the wall, a falling curtain of pansies and daisies that covered us in a pastoral shroud.

I thought Janet had been knocked out, she was so quiet, and then I saw she was crying, the silent sobs that can make a tough guy turn to jelly.

“Ah, Janet,” I said, “I didn’t mean it. You can have the wallpaper. I like it. I really do.”

“No you don’t. You hate flowers!”

“I don’t have all flowers. Just some. I think it’s just that I really like paint. I must’ve been affected by paint when I was kid, ‘cause I just can’t get enough of it.”

“Now, look the whole wall has to be redone. It’s hideous!”

“Well, just the part that I did upside down. Or, we could leave it like it is.”

“Leave it? Are you out of your mind?”

“I mean, leave it as a testimonial to our first fight. Jason told me there’d be times like this and I didn’t believe him, and your old man told me to stop being stubborn and meet you half way.”

“Aw, that is so sweet, that you’d leave this paper on the walls as a memorial.” She gave a little snort of laughter.

“Yeah, well, that way when we look at it we’d say ‘I guess that’s where I screwed up and forgot I loved you.’”

“Oh, go on. Stop it.”

“No, I mean it, Janet, I’ve never been happier since we were married.”

“Oh, stop it some more,” she said, and punched me on the shoulder. “You didn’t hurt yourself when you fell, did you?”

“Just a little. Maybe you can give my elbow a kiss and make it better.”

“C’mon, we’ve done enough for today. Let’s go in the other room and see if I can make your boo-boos go away.”

“And the torn wallpaper? It really looks ugly.”

“Yeah, it does, doesn’t it?” And she laughed.

# # #

12/30/04
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Postby JillStar » Fri Dec 31, 2004 5:56 pm

Torn wallpaper is just a cleverly disguised metaphor for the chasms that divide man and woman. Here's one such, told seamlessly and based on decades of marriage:

Timber... yes... I felt that "torn wallpaper" could be a metaphor of some sort. Something to show how whatever is seeminly "right" is merely covered by something that can be torn easily.

Thanks for sharing your story!!
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Torn Wallpaper...

Postby luminosity » Fri Jan 07, 2005 8:42 pm

"Jacob Jr.! I told you no more cookies today---now you get down off of that stool right now and march yourself into the corner, mister", Wendy said to her five-year-old son. "And you can just stand there 'til your father gets home. He should be here any time now."

Jacob climbed down from the stool slowly, taking his time at sliding the stool back over to the bar, where he tried to make sure it was lined up perfectly with the other three---moving an inch or so this way, them a half-inch back the other.

"Stop stalling Jacob---I want you in that corner, NOW!"

"I'm just putting it back where it was...the way you like it...nice and neat", Jacob looked up at his mother innocently. "You always tell me to put them back where they were."

"Nice try Jacob. I know your plan though, and you're not getting out of your punishment by schmoozing this time. I've lost count of how many times you've been in trouble today---so don't even think I'm going to let you off that easily. Now, to the corner."

Jacob knew all too well which corner his mother meant. He had spent a lot of time there lately. His mom didn't have much of a sense of humor when it came to his red Kool-Aid experiments or filling her pantyhose with rocks and swinging them over his head---the perfect weapon for killing giants. Using her new lipstick as a crayon in the tub had gotten her pretty mad too.

He trudged over to his designated trouble-spot, where he was supposed to think carefully about what he had done and come up with a suitable apology.

One minute passed---feeling like more like an hour to him. Two minutes..."Can I pleeeeze get out of the corner now? I promise I'll be good!", Jacob yelled to his mom, who had gone back to doing the laundry.

"No", she yelled back.

Hmmm...no luck there. Jacob could tell when his mom meant business. There would be no budging her on this one.

B-O-R-I-N-G. Nothing to do standing in this stupid corner, he thought. Except...what's this?...a tear in this paper covering the wall? I'd better fix it. I'll just pull off the ripped part so it looks better...Uh-oh...it just keeps coming off. Maybe I should just get rid of that whole bad spot and Dad can put some paint or something there when he gets home...."rrrrrip"....

"Honey...Jakey...I'm home..." Jacob heard his father come in from the garage. He heard his mother telling him that he needed to have a talk with his son. He then heard his dad's footsteps coming closer 'til he knew he was right behind him.

"Daddy!" Jacob threw his arms around his dad's long legs.

"Jake, my boy! What kind of mischief have you gotten yourself into today son?" Jacob felt his father's body suddenly tense up and freeze. "Awww...Jakey! Suddenly his dad's voice didn't sound so cheerful. He was looking at the bare patches of wall that were gaping through the ragged tears in the elegant, striped paper his wife had worked so meticulously a few months before to hang just right.

"What are we gonna do, Jake? Your mom is going to bust a gasket when she sees this!"

Jacob hated seeing his Dad look so upset. His face brightened, however, as he came up with what, to him, seemed the perfect solution. "It'll be okay Dad...just use some duck tape. You always say that stuff will fix anything!"
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Postby Tupwen » Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:22 pm

A Scrap of Torn Paper

by Tupwen



I wish I'd never seen it. It's too late for wishing, it's too late for regret, it's too late for anything. I only wish I'd never seen the torn wall paper…

The wall paper was torn back just above the baseboard, such a small rip it was hardly noticeable. Why it drew my attention, I don't know. This deep, irresistible urge ran through my hands and I gingerly brushed my fingers over the exposed sheetrock. I winced at a pinprick of pain and jerked my hand back. Just a sliver.

But wait. That made no sense-- none of the wood peered through, and this house was brand new, barely six months old. There could be no exposed, rotting woodwork. I inspected the area, and all I saw was bit of exposed sheetrock where the wall paper had torn back.

I shrugged and stood, brushing the knees of my jeans off out of habit. I must have imagined the sliver, because my finger wasn't bleeding, and there was no pain.

Fool. Yes, I was such a fool. But mortal eyes couldn't see, no, they couldn't see what is not there, what is too small to comprehend, what is hidden…

I wandered back from the hallway into my bedroom, flipping on the CD player and hit the shuffle command. Humming along with my favorite band, I straightened the mess of cloths and books I had left here earlier.

A sudden, invisible blow to my stomach made me double over with pain and lack of breath. What the--

Something hit me between the shoulders and I dropped to my knees. The air was cold, even though it was the middle of July, and the AC wasn't turned up that high; midwinter ice filled the air of my room, numbing me. My index finger was aflame as though I'd had an allergic reaction to a bee sting in that area. What was happening? My sight spun as nausea filled my gut and I dropped onto my back. I should call a doctor, I thought dimly, something's terribly wrong…

No doctor could have helped me. Pretentious optimism on my part. Aye, and even if I had possessed the strength to crawl to the phone, no one could have come in time.

I opened my eyes to see it was late afternoon. What was I doing on my back on the floor? I stood up, shocked at how full of energy I was and I had a will, a desire to do something… something reckless. I ran outside. The hot sun bounced off the asphalt driveway in shimmering waves and bathed my body in warmth. I sighed, then the unexplainable impulse to go to my neighbors filled me. I trotted over their manicured yard and knocked.

Sally opened the door and smiled at me. "Hey, I just made some lemonade, want some?"

I don't know what possessed me.

Yes, I do. I know exactly why I did it.

My hands were around her neck before she could speak another word.

I was thinking more clearly then than I ever had in my life.

Her eyes bulged and she stumbled back. I didn't know I was so strong. I didn't just strangle her. My fingers sunk down through her throat like knives, cutting tissue, blood vessels, bone. She dropped to the hallway carpet, decapitated.

And I loved every minute of it.

I stared in horror at the blood on my hands, and what I had done. Someone was screaming. I was the one who was screaming.

Not screaming, no, no, laughing! Yes, laughing! It was glorious, so intoxicating I wanted to do it again.

Sally's husband cam running into the hall. He never had time to scream or cry out or do anything. I just looked at him, and he fell to the ground, every bone in his body nothing by charred powder. What was happening? What was I doing?

Only what I was born to do. With everyone who dies by my hands or my thoughts, I grow stronger, I grow more powerful, and I grow more unstoppable. I owe it to a small, invisible splinter hidden beneath a scarp of torn paper.

~Tupwen
Ignorance can be fixed. Stupid is forever. ~Allen Curtis

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Postby luminosity » Sat Jan 08, 2005 3:17 pm

Good story, Tupwen...frightening, but good. :twisted:
I'll be much more cautious about opening the doors to my apparently friendly neighbors from now on... :shock:
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Postby Tupwen » Sat Jan 08, 2005 11:19 pm

Lol, thanks. :)
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Postby timberline » Sun Jan 09, 2005 10:18 am

Luminosity and Tupwen, both good takes on the Torn Wallpaper theme. I like 'em. What's remarkable is how people can approach an idea from so many angles successfully. Writing's a rich experience!
 Cruising the Green of Second Avenue is available at Barnes & Noble and other online book sellers. More good stuff at http://allotropiclucubrations.blogspot.com
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Postby JillStar » Sun Jan 09, 2005 5:58 pm

I absolutely agree timberline... it's neat how everyone takes a prompts and comes up with something so completely different. It's great to see how the writer's mind works. :)
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Postby mslover » Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:47 pm

Timberline, Tupwin and Lumin - you all made my Monday morning. Thanks for writing!

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Postby Tupwen » Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:51 pm

:D
Ignorance can be fixed. Stupid is forever. ~Allen Curtis



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Postby Quicksilver Wolf » Tue Jan 11, 2005 2:55 am

Damn, nice strangling there.
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