The Charmed Life Of ‘Doctor’ Scroggins (short fiction)

Daily Prompt: Weaving the Threads

Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the another, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.

“Things happen for a reason,” my sister, Bonnie, said.

“No they don’t,” I said. “Things just happen and we struggle to find meaning. And finally we find one and portray it as a sign that something Devine has charmed our lives.”

That little speech was said a few years before Bonnie’s death. It made me feel intellectually superior. After all, I was the one who left this stinking little burg forty years ago and got a college degree. I even teach those moronic dweebs called students. They don’t call me ‘Doctor’ Scroggins for nothing.

I’m finding it difficult to live with my brashness and ego these days. How could I be so insensitive and pugnacious to the sister who changed my diapers for goodness sakes! I loved her as much as my mother.

There was this ring, expensive for it’s time. Merely a trinket by today’s standards She bought it for me when I graduated from high school.

“I don’t need another ring,” I said. “Do you want me going off to college looking like a Gypsy?”

She smiled, but I could tell my insolence hurt her, but she was one to never take offense or hold anything beyond the next blink of an eye.

“Rings mean something,” she said.

“They mean nothing,” I said. “They’re decoration.”

“It means something to me,” she said. “And some day it will mean something to you.”

“Than you wear it,” I said.

“You’ll need it someday,” she said. “You’ll need it when it’s least expected.”

Well there I was three years later, in college, and I hadn’t eaten in two days. I sold the ring to a jeweler. And it was a good thing. I bought a few much-needed groceries, paid my portion of the rent, and swore never to waste my money on frivolous youthful entrapments again. Most importantly the ring had finally come to serve the purpose for which it was intended.

Strangely, decades later I found myself in the very room Bonnie gave me that ring. It was only thee hours ago she was laid to rest. Already I’m missing her; her dull witted ramblings about her grandchildren, the weather, and her view of the world, but I loved her.

I was so out-of-place with my family filling the air with meaningless stories and remembrances; stories that have had their third go-around. I was ready to leave and get back to my world of inventive thought and engaging conversation. No more did I care to hear about hog and corn futures and the lowering water table. I was about to scream and beat my head against the wall.

I couldn’t wait for my wife and I to attend the next gathering of alumni friends and regal them with the events of this weekend. “Yes,” I would tell them. “Those people really exist and I escaped.”

I pulled my coat on, slung a scarf about my neck, pressed my hat tight on my head, and bid all a fond farewell.

I was in the car when Lisa, my niece – Bonnie’s oldest, came running from the house.

“Uncle Will, Uncle Will,” she called.

For a moment I was about to give way to tears. Everything about her reminded me of Bonnie from the voice to her waddling run.

I lowered the window.

“Uncle Will,” Lisa said. “I didn’t want ya to get away without givin’ this to ya.” She handed me an envelope. She leaned inside the car and gave me a tender kiss on the cheek. “That’s from Momma,” she said and smiled. “She said not to let ya leave without a smooch.”

Lisa waddled back to the house. I opened the envelope. There was the ring. The exact ring. How she found it or came about it I don’t know, but I’m inclined to think my dear sister knew more about me than what she cared to reveal, after all she changed my diapers. It was obvious she knew of my condition during those bleak years and knew that the ring would be sold when times got tough. I suspect she held that ring dear for decades and was waiting for the right time to surprise me with it. It had the same engraving, “To Will from Sis.”

I smiled and tucked it away in my lapel pocket.

I was about to crush the envelope. I nearly overlooked a note. I pulled it out and opened it. “Now find some meaning to this you ass.”

I smiled, went back to the house, and shared a few stories about my Sis. The next day they had me milking cows.

I wear that ring now. It reminds me of the meaning to things, the farm from where I came, and the charm brought to my life by a boorish sister who waddled.

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21 comments

    • Absolutely no offense is taken.
      I suppose we could spend hours debating this point, but in my mind I see them clearly. Obviously, in yours it does not. And I think in the grand scheme of life that’s the way things are supposed to be. Dr. Scroggins failed to see what his sister was doing for him until after his death. He failed to see that things have value to some and not to others, but in the end he gets it. Each story appears different to each reader.
      I’m happy you read it and found it in you to comment.
      Which reminds me a few months ago I completely posted the wrong prompt. I apologized to the readers and was quickly corrected by someone. “The idea of the ‘prompt’ is to write something daily.”

      • Not sure I quite get you, but I’m sure you have a point! 😀
        And by the way, the story is very good. I just didn’t know how it was three parts. 🙂

    • Dang!
      I get the prompt and try to write it in an hour. I was really in a hurry on this one. Went way over the hour limit and shoved it on the table before I had a good chance to look it over.
      Thanks for the keen eye and dropping by.

  1. I was moved to the extent that I’m compelled to comment. Yet, perhaps silence is a better expression of the depth of my response. So, think of this reply as that interlude after Chopin presses the final Db chord in the “Raindrop Prelude.” That interlude where the audience doesn’t dare bring their hands together in applause for fear of breaking the disturbing, dynamic, and poignant spell spun by the little “poet of the piano.” (http://youtu.be/Sh03YXzvDF4)

  2. I got so absorbed that I believed until the end that you were sharing your lifestory. Only at the end I remembered it was a fictional reply to the prompt. Beautifully done.

  3. I like that the return of the ring seems to have turned your protagonist from being somewhat arrogant and egotistical to someone who finally appreciates his roots!

    • Thanks for the observation. That was something that was intended but after I wrote it there were a few more things that caught my attention, but you picked out the most important.

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