May 31: Last One Standing

So. I have written a little something (below) to mark the last day of Story a Day month. I am pretty happy with my output overall — not every day, but 25 days out of 31, so that’s a pretty good percentage.

Also, I am afraid that my interest fell off in the last little while — but it was (mostly) because I have been working on editing several (5) of the stories I wrote earlier in the month to submit to a fiction chapbook contest. (So I think that has to weigh on the positive side of things…)

Today’s short piece comes from today’s prompt — although it is, perhaps, more ending and less beginning!

But the most important thing today is a huge thank you to Julie who makes this possible and who encourages me in this so much.


Last One Standing (252 words)

She sat at her desk, even though there was nothing to look at. She supposed she should leave, but she didn’t know where she should go.
She really didn’t want to go home during the middle of the day. That was just too much.
Besides, it would bother the cat.
She wasn’t really supposed to be here. No one else was. Last week — last Wednesday in fact — had been her last official day. Everyone’s last day. There was not, really, anything for her to do.
Of course, there was not actually a problem with her being here all the same. The rent was paid up — and would be for months to come. Irony, that, that the organization could pay for rent but not salaries.
It was hard, though, for her to figure what she should do next — whether she was here or elsewhere. She could, she supposed, apply for jobs elsewhere. She would have to eventually.
The others had.
Some of them had even found other jobs.
She had held out, though, hadn’t started looking.
Didn’t want to.
But now here she was all alone and she would have to do something. How long did she really want to come in to an empty office?
Even last month she had not believed that this would really happen. She had been sure that something would come up, that it would not really be the end.
The quiet was, she had to admit, stifling.
Maybe coffee.
She would go, now, and get a coffee.

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May 29: The Tribunal

I don’t know why the story I attempted yesterday failed to materialize, but that is precisely what happened. I wrote a beginning (which seemed to have potential!) but I didn’t get past it. I think that it was mostly because I was rather preoccupied (mentally) by a film I saw in the evening about women in Democratic Republic Congo dealing with the aftermath of (and ongoing problem of) rape in conflict. The film (Seeds of Hope) is incredibly moving, if anyone is interested.

Today, I wrote something a bit different (although unrelated to the above). Written in the form of a letter, the material is based on an ongoing human rights tribunal hearing that I have attended sporadically, as possible. The characters are not based on anyone in particular, but are a synthesis. I don’t think it is (as written) very clear, but that is (perhaps) something to work on.


The Tribunal (558 words)

Dear Sheila,
I told you I would keep you up to date with what was going on at the hearings. My summary follows! But before I begin I wanted to ask how you were doing? We miss you in the office. Your replacement, well, he’s a nice young man, but it just isn’t the same. I hope you are liking your new house and your husband his new posting. It must be rather odd, living in a completely different environment, but everyone I know who has lived in the north has liked it well enough. (You’ll have to tell us what it’s like next winter and it’s dark all the time.)
Before I begin with my own particular point of view, I wanted to say that I think things are going well for us (the government that is). I really do believe that the panel of judges will see the situation from our point of view and rule in our favour in the end. Anything else would be ridiculous, quite frankly, and too ‘politically correct’ by far. Although you never what might happen, do you?
It was my turn to answer questions this week — three full days of it, if you can believe it! It really isn’t all that complicated, but you know what lawyers are and they seemed to ask the same things over and over, all phrased a little differently. Did I tell you there are three different lawyers? Craziness.
They asked me — especially the human rights lawyer, whatever his name is — a lot of questions about why I thought so many of the children were being taken into care. I wanted to tell them what I really thought, of course, but it wasn’t the time or the place. So I just said that it wasn’t for me to say, that the agencies make those decisions and we just pay the bills. I’m not sure that I sounded very plausible, but I could not very well say that they are shitty parents and I’m sure the kids are better off in care (even though we know that is almost always the case). That would only raise the residential school issue again, I’m sure, and no one needs that!
Regardless, I think it went well. I think the judges understood how much I want to help these people. Because they need help so desperately and they can’t do it themselves. They need us. I wouldn’t have spent the last twenty years working in the department if I didn’t think so. I don’t understand why they are attacking us now.
I know you feel the same as I. And I can’t help but feel that our work is sadly unappreciated. People — other people, the ones who live in the cities, the ones who aren’t Native —  just don’t properly understand. They would leave these children to the vagaries of fate with these parents they have been stuck with. They can’t take care of themselves, how can we leave children with them? Honestly.
How could we let that happen? Those poor children. I really don’t know why they are bothering us like this. They need to just let us get on with our jobs.
Do write back and let me know how you and Howard are doing. I miss our lunches
More later.

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