• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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The Devil Fools with the Best Laid Plans

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In-between-projects jitters. Everything tastes like Diet Pepsi. Can’t find anything. Waiting for the weather to change. Invited to twenty parties, going to none. The dog is hiding in the blue room. I have 38 letters from a high school lover. I have 17 boxes of pictures and ticket stubs and photo booth strips and post cards. My computer is nine years old. I just got a check for $700. I have friends I don’t call. I play bridge in the middle of the night with strangers from all over the world. I have an idea. It’s vague and involves love.

What you got?

 

16 Responses

  1. I’m from a new land
    I come to you
    and see all this ruin

    Hi Betsy – all I have is an idea – it’s set at Lake Ballard in West Australia and about 5000 years from now.
    It’s only an idea but its persistent.
    Reg

  2. I got what you got. 🤓

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. The ticket stubs are beautiful

  4. 40 pages of a first try at fiction. I love it, I hate it, it’s genius and not fit to read. They should make pills for this.

  5. Ryan goes even paler and stares down at the turntable, mortified. His friend gives him a companionable shove on his shoulder and Ryan perks up. He reaches for another record and then his mother is at the folding table, pulling the vinyl out of his hands. “For God’s sake. Do I have to get your father?”
    “I hate this fucking place,” shouts Ryan and his friend nods vehemently in agreement. As if on cue the boys push back from the table and disappear into the crowd.
    In a little while Jerry sidles over to their record box and rifles through, then pulls the record off the player. “Husker du. Not bad, not bad. They’ll do.” Jerry slides a finger along the curve of the discarded record then gently eases it into its cardboard sleeve.
    “Thought it emo shit.”
    “Not if they’re pairing it with Verve remixes,” says Jerry with admiration.
    “Hey, man. Leave our stuff alone,” says Ryan who darts across the crowded pool deck. He’s gripping a plastic drink cup foaming with beer.
    “You’re drinking,” says Jerry.
    “What’s it to you?”
    “Exactly, my friend. Exactly.” Jerry grins widely. His flattened nose skews to the right. He points at the discarded record. “Explain your musical pairing, Ryan. Husker du? Verve?”
    “Fuck you, old man,” says Ryan. His chin juts out sharply.
    “Ryan,” says his mother from nearby.
    “It’s all right. He’s just kidding.” Jerry says in the mother’s direction. Then he steps in close to Ryan, taps on The Clash logo on his T-shirt and says, “First wave, fuckers. Read it and weep.”

  6. “What you got?”

    Betsy, I have too much. My god, what am I supposed to do with it all? More stories than I can keep track of, too many poems to number, unfinished manuscripts great and small, boxes upon boxes of negatives and contact sheets, I can reach to my left, right there, right here, and touch boxes containing art I made twenty years ago and haven’t looked at in ten, on top of crates of vinyl records I’ve listened to once in the past four years, and it just goes on and on, that’s just one corner of this one small room and the books on the shelves in this room and the other room and some of them, Betsy, I am going to die before I get the chance to read them and not to mention the books I haven’t written and will likewise take unfinished to my grave, and the terabytes of information on the portable backup drives. Can’t take those with me.

    And never mind the tchotchkes they just collect dust and who has time to dust and never mind the love letters and V-day cards and photos tucked away in the footlocker and the souvenirs, and the wire mesh bowl of rubber bands on the desk — they’re not rubber! — and the baseball bat my grandfather made and the eyedrops —

    and all the memories and ideas and images trapped behind my eyes

    I am a blade of grass and there is a universe within me and that is all I’ve got.

  7. Dogtags and a deadline. A Memorial Day hangover.

  8. A girl named Sara and her stories.

  9. Something simple. Something southern. 1955. 12 yr old girl. 12 yr old boy. Best friends. Cotton farm. Eastern NC. Death, drought, crop failure, and a summer of reckoning.

    And I’m stuck and overwriting at the moment, but what else is new.

  10. I’ve got two of the shittiest chapters known to humankind, but they exist. Rewrite #2,487 commences.

  11. Man and a woman, friends forever, older now. What they do is periodically go for naked car rides in the summer. There was once sex – how could there not be? -and it was quite good, but made things weird, so now it’s just driving the back roads and completely feeling the breeze. They’ve been through a lot, marriages, deaths, births, health crisis’s and more death Got stopped once by a trooper a few years back, but he just smiled, turned away embarrassed at the shock of their weathered old bodies as they tried to cover up their freedom. He let them be, advising, Have a nice day, y’all.

  12. It’s what I don’t got that’s eating me up. The passion, the piss off, the shpilkes, the blood-shot, the fever, the burning. What I do have are 10 years of research, interviews, files beckoning, notebooks clamouring, and a damn good 3/4 finished manuscript. I’m due for a resurrection.

  13. 70,000 words of me for the past 30 years. New beginning today. One of a dozen. This one starts where it ends.
    Off to copy editor next week…I think.

  14. I’ve got a score of stories to tighten, redraft, change voice, and re-craft. It takes about three years to fall back in love with ideas I’ve known too well before as ill-advised flings (are there really any other kind?).

    The idea can be met on the seat beside me. The story is the old lover whom you meet again at a party while both pretend at an acquaintance unknown.

  15. Diet Pepsi tastes like bug spray. Diet Coke is the bomb. Duh.

    Except the pre-pub jitters, which are hitting me something hard, that’s all I’ve got.

  16. Hi Betsy. I asked my husband to give a response to this, and he gave me one of his blog posts from his LAG series (Less-Intelligent-Than-Average American Guide) which he wrote for a now defunct publication ” Voices.

    https://stevieslaw.com/2014/10/01/is-that-whats-bothering-you-bunkie/

    Karen Deutsch

    P.S. Your book will be the selection for our August Book Club meeting, and I’m going to invite my mom, Bea’s cousin to the discussion.

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