Quote of the Day: On Monday, I’ll be hosting the Whoops! Blogfest, a festival of gaffes, blunders and embarrassing moments from your work-in-progress, a favorite author, film or YouTube. – from Laurel’s Leaves.
So, I decided to particpate.
This clip is from chapter one of my current WIP. The setting is a farm in Minnesota, Dec. 1941. Kathryn and Rose are cousins, 17-18. They are having a conversation on the party line telephone.
“I’m back,” Kathryn shouted at the mouthpiece as she moved closer to pick up the receiver and hold it to her ear.
“Oh, good,” said Rose. “Mom is already looking at me like I’ve been tying up the phone line too long.”
“Who would need to make a call this late at night?” Kathryn asked.
“Well, we all know that the Swenson’s are asleep,” Rose said. Kathryn could hear the smirk in her voice and a breathy exhale. “But, before I hang up, could you tell me quick what you got for problem seven on the senior biology homework? Did you understand it in class?”
“I didn’t at first, but Ned helped me figure it out just as class was ending.”
“How nice that he’s started sitting by you now,” Rose said with a hint of teasing.
“Stop it, Rose. He’s just being nice. The handsome doctor’s son isn’t interested in a mousy-haired old farm girl like me.”
Rose chuckled. “You never know.”
Kathryn felt her cheeks get hot and touched her curlers again. She heard coughing in the background. “Does your Dad have that awful cough that’s been going around?”
“No,” said Rose. “He’s fine. He’s already gone to bed. Mom is giving me the time’s up sign. I thought that cough was from your dad.”
“No, Dad’s out delivering wood to Miss Bell, the new school teacher. Seems she was afraid that she’d run out before Monday, then the elementary kids would have to sit in a cold schoolhouse.” The girls were silent a moment, listening to the background sounds, a shuffling and the cough again, but more distant.
“Maybe,” said Rose a little slower and a little louder as if speaking to someone hard of hearing. “I wonder if people maybe don’t go to bed as early as they say they do.”
There was an intake of breath on the line, then a click.
“Someone was rubbering,” said Kathryn.
“Nosey neighbors,” said Rose. “I’ll bet it was Mrs. Swenson.”
Kathryn heard her Aunt Tallie in the background, “You can’t say anything on the telephone. You never know who’s listening. Time for bed, Rosie. Tell Kathryn she should hang up and go to bed, too.”
Journaling Prompt: Who do you think was listening in? Have you ever eaves-dropped? Do tell. Or, do you know someone was rubbering on your conversations?