Friday, September 16, 2016

Vignettes by Me, on Themes Picked Randomly: Day 16

Theme 422: Religion

An octogenarian woman named Hosia, who had gnarled joints and bulging eyes, hunched up on the public bus benchseat behind the driver. She was clutching a pouch filled with acorns, strung from her neck. She reasoned that because acorns protected against lightning strikes, they would also protect against bus-related mishaps—given that, as she understood it, buses were powered by lightning.

As she rolled the acorns between her thumb and forefinger through the suede of the pouch in order to verify that there were still seven, the bus slowed and swung to the side of the road to permit a howling ambulance to sail by. Upon witnessing this, Hosia hastened to grasp her nose in a pinch. She began scanning through the window opposite for a brown dog. Fortunately, she soon spotted a man walking his chestnut Labrador, which allowed her to release her nose without risk of ill health caused by the passing ambulance.

At the next stop, a woman visibly in the third trimester of her pregnancy waddled onto the bus and slumped down on the bench beside Hosia. After noticing the woman’s abdomen, Hosia started rummaging through her bag of gimcracks, baubles, and charms. She took out a gold wedding band tied to a length of red thread. She dangled the wedding band over the woman’s gestating fetus and watched how it swung.   

“Excuse me, what are you doing?” the pregnant woman asked.

“Mmm-hmm-mmm,” Hosia hummed to herself. The ring resolved to swing in a straight line. “There. Would you like to know if you’re going to have a boy or a girl? I know.”

“I know too. We had an ultrasound done. It’s a girl,” the pregnant woman explained.

“No, it’s a boy. In all my years, the ring-swing’s never proven wrong,” Hosia warned.

“Well it’s wrong this time. We could see the baby on the ultrasound. You know, like with x-rays? Except—”

“Hmph, hex-rays! Hex-rays are the devil’s doing,” Hosia sneered, crossing herself three times.

The pregnant woman tilted her head and looked at Hosia askance, narrowing her eyes. When the bus stopped for a red light, the woman left her seat beside Hosia and lumbered to the back of the bus to find a new seat. Hosia shook her head dismissively and returned to counting her acorns.

Explanatory Postscript: When I say “picked randomly,” I mean picked from a Master List that I’ve compiled of 999 themes intended to serve as creative writing prompts (from the following sources: 501 Writing Prompts; 25 Creative Writing Prompts; Examples of Themes; List of Themes; 365 Creative Writing Prompts; 100 Themes Challenge Writing Prompts; List of Journal Ideas; and Top 10 Types of Story Themes). To pick a theme at random, I roll three ten-sided dice (the first for the hundreds place digit, the second for the tens, and the third for the singles) and find the theme under the number I have rolled. If I hit a theme I have already written on, I roll again. If I ever roll 000, I make up a theme. The Master List is a secret, so don’t ask for it.

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