The Alphabet Series is an approach bloggers use to infuse new life or creativity into their writing.
“Acerbic” is the first post in my series “New Thoughts For Words”.
“Acerbic” draws on personal experience and is published in FWA, Let’s Talk by Peppertree Press.
The challenge for that Anthology was to use a dialogue format to present your short story.
To tell you the conversation below is between two women in a doctor’s waiting room is cheating.
“Unacceptable! My time is of value, too. Why aren’t you complaining?”
“I was told the doctor was running late when I signed in.”
“This is ridiculous. I’ve been waiting more than twenty minutes. My appointment was for nine fifteen. What time was your appointment?”
“Well, I’m not sure; I think nine thirty, why?”
“It’s better if everyone is out of sorts. I can complain for you, make something up, like your dog is in the car, sick and needs to be taken to the Vet.”
“Reading here is as enjoyable as anywhere.”
“Boy, you people are annoying, must you be so perky and pleasant?”
“You’re upset. Why don’t you thumb through a magazine? There’s a travel article about Hawaii in this one. Have you been there?”
“You think looking at pretty pictures of places I can’t afford to travel to will help me… what? Be happy I have to wait for a man, I pay to tell me I’m sick. And looking at colorful advertisements won’t help either. I’m Acerbic. My parents and grandparents, on both sides, were Acerbic and proud of it.”
“Acerbic? Is that … American or … a religion?”
“Acerbic is a way of life. You got a problem with that? Our dispositions are generally crabby. We find fault in others quickly and enjoy being sarcastic.”
“Golly gee, everyone feels crabby from time to time.”
“Golly gee? Golly gee, we’ve been sitting here over a half hour. Can’t you pretend you’re a little annoyed? That wing back chair looks awful uncomfortable. These doctors are all the same; think they’re better than the rest.”
“His nurse said the doctor had an emergency, it sounded serious. Are you really Acerbic?”
“Our whole neighborhood is Acerbic. We don’t like friendly. People yell, ‘Don’t park in front of my house, jerk’ and threaten, ‘If your dog pees on my grass, I will call the police!’ Although things are changing. Someone, I can’t find out who, moved my garbage pail out of the street on a windy day.”
“You don’t mind if I read my book?’
“Of course I mind. I get it. Why not say shut-up? Add please if you have to. It’s easy; watch my lips, ‘Will you please shut-up!’ ”
“No, tell me about your life.”
“Actually I had a great childhood. We owned a small cabin not far from Route. 95 below the Georgia border. Dad named it Acerbia. It was a retreat where we could be sour and discontent on weekends and during vacations. You know, say nasty things about neighbors and relatives.”
“Was that fun?”
“Are you kidding, of course, the best. By the way, they call me Unfortunately. I’m Unfortunately Fortunato. What’s your name? Not that I care.”
“Unfortunately is a first name? And Fortunato your family…?”
“Mom wanted an Acerbic name, nothing cheerful or common like Hope, Joy or Grace.”
“That had to be a difficult name for a child. Did she think it was a mistake?”
“No, Difficult and Mistake are my brothers. Mother named them good, too, because Difficult is in prison and Mistake, chronically unemployed.”
“Was that a surprise?”
“They still haven’t called anyone. All they do is talk on the phone. Someone else has to complain. You can do it. I like your pink eyebrows.”
“My eyebrows are pink?”
“Yea, they match your lipstick, compliment that bluish tint in your hair, and look cool on a woman your age.”
“My hair isn’t blue! I’m not that old.”
“Isn’t that book you’re reading in large print?”
“It’s easier I don’t have to remember my glasses.”
“Most seniors get a little forgetful. It’s normal, not a problem unless you can’t remember what glasses are. You know glasses magnify things, right?”
“I know what glasses are for and I didn’t forget them. I do not need them to read a large print book.”
“Did you hear that? The receptionist called Ms. Fortunato. That’s me, Unfortunately. Doc’s ready for me. Have a rotten, day”
“You too, and my eyebrows aren’t pink!”
P.S. I welcome your comments.
I really enjoyed this. It made me smile, laugh, frown and everything in-between. I also love the concept behind this. Creativity is the corner stone of good writing and you have that my friend. :-).
Susan, Thank you, Thank you, Claudia
I had to look up the word. I was taken back by the fact that it’s from the 19th century. It’s actually a relative recent word when you think of all the words we use that are much older. You sure did get me thinking.
Glynis, I’m flattered you were driven to such effort and pleased you allowed my thoughts in your head. Claudia
Very nicely done Claudia.. You have a way with words without a doubt.. I think we have all been at one time, or more, one of these two characters in your writting.. Brings back memories of sitting in a Doctors office..
Thank you Marshall, and we’ve not slapped anyone yet…just saying, Claudia
Hi Claudia, I remember the first time I read this at the FWA group meeting. This is truly a nice piece of writing. Like Susan said, it causes the reader to go all over the place internally. That’s great writing…just saying…
It was your encouragement and role model that spurred me to submitted and can edit, edit, edit. Thank you, Claudia
Love it Claudia!! I find myself getting more and more acerbic as I get older. It’s kind of fun tho – especially with the perky young “have a super sparkly day! sales girls!
Miss you – marsha
Marsha, “Have a super sparkly day, sales girls” I may have to borrow that it has a definite ring. Glad I can still amuse you, Claudia
Love the photo of the chairs…they seem the opposite of acerbic to me!
Shelly, So happy you took notice, I was hopping for contrast. That picture was taken in Apalachicola, Florida.
LOVE it, Claudia. Really, really nice writing—especially the bit about the doctor’s office and the place called Acerbia, just south of the georgia border!
Sorry to have been so absent recently. We are selling our house in the US and getting ready to move to Ecuador, and that process is all-consuming. So glad I didn’t miss this post, however.
Oops, having trouble posting my comment.
At any rate, love your writing here–especially the part about the doctor’s office and the place called Acerbia, just south of the Georgia border! Well said!
Sorry to have been so absent recently. We are getting ready to sell our house in the US and move to Ecuador, and that process has been all-consuming. So glad not to have missed this post, however.
So glad you enjoyed “Acerbic” You are never really absent because of your velcro ability to connect with people. A wonderful demonstration for us bloggers. Thanks, Claudia
I was wondering why the word acerbic has been on my mind recently. Your notification has been sitting in my inbox, and that word in the subject line must’ve been piercing my subconscious. Anywho, this was just as enjoyable the third time around!! 🙂
Thank you Jeff. Are we talking susstainability? Acerbic, it’s a great word.
I do believe so. It’s an element of all great fiction, is it not! 🙂