The Fifteen Minute Novel 2023: Day 16

Welcome to the Fifteen Minute Novel. Each morning I spend fifteen minutes writing on a singular story line. Each morning starts with the last line of the previous day. The goal is to get a (very) rough draft out of the simple story idea and to avoid letting the story idea languish in limbo forever, actually writing it out. This is the third year I have done this writing experiment and each year I learn just a little bit about myself and the way I write as well as creating a framework for the story. But without further ado…

Day 16: “He yelled at Toby first,” Ashley said.

“He yelled at Toby first,” Ashley said.

“Called him out for stealing his girl,” Mickey said.  “Like it was some sort of duel.”

“Which Toby didn’t take,” Ashley said.

“Ron shoved him across the floor,” someone said.

“He slid across half the dance floor.”

“And Lisa was yelling at him to stop,” Ashley said.

“So he picked up the punch bowl and threw it at her.”

“Covered her in punch”.

“Her mom had to bring her a new dress,” Ashley said.  “I think it was the one she wore to last year’s spring formal.”

Gwen nodded.  “The yellow dress,” she said.  She thought it was somewhat familiar. “What happened to Ron?” She asked.

“Well,” Ashley began.  She abruptly stopped and her eyes shifted to the door.  Gwen turned and saw Lisa and Toby standing in the doorway.  Lisa glanced in her direction and then turned away taking Toby with her to the other side of the room.  No more was mentioned about the dance. Gradually normal talk resumed.  It ceased again when a sullen Ron slunk in.  Seeing Gwen he nodded and then went off to stand at the back of the room.  He stood on the opposite side of the room from Lisa and Toby and refused to look in their direction.  As Gwen was trying not to look at them either, she couldn’t really blame them.

While everyone tried to act normally the tension level was high.  There was an almost universal exhalation of relief when Mrs. Dawson entered the room.  She had her clipboard in her hand and a wide smile on her face.

“Congratulations class,” she said.  “Well done.  Now I am going to call your names so we can all line up in alphabetical order and it will be the last order you will ever have to follow from me.  Won’t that be nice.”

Slowly names were called out starting with John Anderson.  As a Barrett, it wasn’t too long before Gwen took her place.  Toby was a Jensen and Lisa was a Lewis, with Ron being the Wilson at the end of the line so they were all separated.  In previous alphabetical line ups Gwen always lamented she was not able to stand with her friends.  Now she found comfort in the distance.  She would not have to find another group to stand with or another place to fit in.

‘Saved by the alphabet.’ She thought. 

There was some talking and jostling but Gwen paid little attention to it as they waited for the line to advance out of the staging area.  There was the sound of many people shifting about ahead of them.  Gwen knew that in addition to their parents and other family members there were plenty from town who attended every graduation whether they had a family member graduating or not.  Those same people always attended the football games and other sporting events and could always be counted on to attend the annual fundraising carnival.  Their town had grown in the past few years, their population almost qualifying them as a small city, but there were still some holdovers from when they were a much smaller town. Gwen could hear the crowd arrive.

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