Our little writers group strongly agreed on one point; the “assignment” for our next meeting was a stumper. The idea was to take a license plate—AAJ9037—and create a piece wherein A-A-J comprise the first letters of the first three words and 9037 must appear somewhere in the body of the writing. Simple, yes? No! Emphatically, No!
We meet the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at the Harlem Library. So for two weeks the assignment niggled in the background of my mind, sneaked forth at inopportune moments to remind me I had a task unfinished. Ha! Task not even begun! So here goes:
Allie’s apple jelly cooled on the counter. This was her last batch of the season. 9,037 jars of jelly lined the shelves in the cellar. (Give me a break!)
“Allie, Ann, Jake! Front and center! Now! If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you nine thousand thirty-seven times ... .” (Oh, forget it!)
Alexandria Amy Jones jerked awake. Today she was exactly 9,037 days old, that is 24.758904 years old and she had not a clue what she should do with ... . (Yawn.)
“Anyway, ask Jake. He has all the answers, all 9,037 of them." (You’re kidding, right?)
Any apple just fallen from the tree was up for grabs. Sassy Squirrel tucked the ripe apple into his bulging cheek and scurried for his larder in the tall oak tree. He now had 9,037 apples for the winter ... . (Sassy Squirrel? Honey, do you have a fever?)
Any awkward jerk can shoot a basketball. I have aimed 9,037 balls at the hoop and still none have swooshed through the net. Perhaps this is not my sport. (Crimininy!)
Anthony Adverse Jones, named for the hero of a long-forgotten 1930’s best-seller, collected copies of his namesake novel and now has 9,037 ... . (Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.)
Oh, dear, I am stuck, stuck, stuck! Maybe I should stay home tonight with a stomach ache or — or— be suddenly stricken with a dread disease, such as writer’s block — or — or — I put bread in the oven and ... . No, these excuses are as dreadful as my attempts to write. I must gird my loins and go, must accept my failure. Evelyn will have a delightful memoir from the olden days in Hogeland. Mary John will come up with a topic from her current life, always with a unique slant and undoubtedly funny. Jane usually writes a more scholarly work than the rest of us. Cheryl will surprise us with a thoughtful story, as always. Katie’s will rhyme, probably to a rap beat. That’s it — rhyme!
All accepted justice
Depends on the judge.
He must know his case law;
No way can he fudge.
When his list of decisions
Totals nine thousand thirty-seven
Well, it was just a thought. Verse to worse?
An ancient jalopy
was parked in the shed.
It’s color was rust,
it used to be red.
It wasn’t abandoned,
it still was alive,
home to nine thousand
thirty seven bees in a hive ... . (shudder)
Absolutely Abysmal Junk! Egads — look at the time — gotta go. I’ll leave AAJ9037 to rattle around in YOUR brain cage for the rest of the day. Ha-ha-ha — HA-ha!
That’s all folks!
(Sondra Ashton graduated from Harlem High in 1963 and left for good. She finds, after recently returning, things now look a bit different. Join her in a discussion of her column at http://montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com.)