Anecdote Love

Stories and Musings from a girl named Harvey

V is for Vitroil



This story was written for the Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue.  It was inspired by a friends use of the word vitriol in a facebook post, which I considered elevating my facebook feed considerably.  I also hate grocery shopping, so there you go.

V is for Vitriol

Vitriol defined by Merriam Webster: something felt to resemble vitriol especially in caustic quality; especially :  virulence of feeling or of speech

“We can’t carry the eggs”
“They’re eggs.”
“Exactly, fragile.  They won’t make it five flights.”
Rick shot a glare at Meg and put the eggs back.
“You wanted vaulted ceilings” he muttered.

“Hmmm . . ., we got eggplant, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, oranges, blue cheese . . .” She crossed items off with a red pen as she spoke, leaning her thin frame on the grocery cart.
Rick waited, hands in the pockets of his gray slacks.

“Meat, meat is next.”
“I want hotdogs.  And not that weird kind you get.”
Meg looked up.  “It’s not on the list”
“So I asked you to put what you wanted on the list so I could budget for it.”
“Put this back.” Rick handed Meg the blue cheese.

“I need this for when Kay and Tom come for dinner on Friday.” Meg placed the cheese carefully on top of the veggies.
“Kay and Tom are coming for dinner again?”
“Why do you think I’m shopping on a Wednesday night?”
Rick shrugged, his yellow linen shirt wrinkling over his broad chest. “We need hotdogs?”
Meg rolled her eyes and pushed the cart towards the meat section.

Rick muttered “Damn green things” and picked out the highest sodium, most filler variety hotdogs he could find.

He caught up with Meg pondering pork chops.
He handed her four T-bone steaks. “Great marbling”
“They cost $15 dollars each!”, shock washed over Meg’s pale oblong face.
“So that’s over half the budget!”
“So it’s your brother.  You know how picky he is, how he thinks he’s some hotshot that can’t eat normal food.  I’m sick of listening to him complain.”
“I am not buying $15 steak that you can’t even eat! We can put up with his complaining for a few hours.”
Meg tossed the T-bones towards the beef section and picked up the pork chops that were on sale. She started moving towards the snack section.
“Bacon.  Two packs.” Rick said to her back
Meg stopped for a moment and then kept on moving.

Rick watched her ass swaying in pink yoga pants and the strawberry hair flicking in her loose ponytail.  He recalled eating a porterhouse at lunch and seeing that ass walk by.  He had approached the owner of it, made a bad joke about wine, and given her his business card.  She had smiled, giggled, her gray blue eyes sparkling at him.  A soft smile crossed Rick’s tan chiseled face.

Gray blue eyes glared at him. “Come on”
Meg’s shoulder sagged. “No.  You’re not allowed.  Plus you just told me you don’t want your beer belly back.”
“Cheetos aren’t beer”
Meg didn’t respond and proceeded down the snack aisle.

She placed veggie chips, white cheddar popcorn (Tom’s favorite), and whole grain pretzels in the cart.  When Meg wasn’t looking Rick snuck a bag of Cheetos under the eggplant.
Meg, placing beef jerky in the cart, spied a tell-tale orange amongst the veggies. She turned to Rick.

“I know you want the hotdogs, and the Cheetos, and the bacon, and the big steaks, but Rick you can’t.  The doctor said you can’t.  You had a heart attack Rick, at 32.  A god damn heart attack.  If I have to tell you “no” every day for the next who knows how many years I will.”  Her face pleaded.
“I’d much rather eat big steaks and die young” Rick stated.
He could tell Meg didn’t know what to say.  Her b-cups rose and fell more emphatically than normal in her sports bra under the gray tank top.
“What about me?” she said after a few seconds.
“What about you?” he replied.
“Isn’t it worth it to not eat big steaks for me?”  she whimpered softly.

“No.” he yelled, brown eyes glinting, picking up a bag of Cheetos and waving them around.
“We have a cat Meg.  A god damn cat.  We live on the 5th floor.  We can’t even buy eggs!  I have to put up with your god damn crazy brother every week and listen to his stupid court stories and how he’s so much better than me.  Your whole family treats me like shit.  My job blows, but I can’t quit can I?  I earn all the money because you just had to work for a nonprofit and earn shit money.  And while you find work fulfilling and spend all our spare money on yoga I have to slave away at my cubicle in the basement with no window and stupid Allen next to me complaining all day about his warts. I don’t want to know about warts!  It’s been three years Meg.  Three god damn years of taking care of your shitty family and your shitty emotional meltdowns and that stupid ass cat that keeps me awake at night.  I wanted a dog Meg.  A dog.  And I wanted a house with a big yard and regular trips to Maui.  Maui Meg!  We’re never going to go to Maui.  I wanted to be the hotshot lawyer Meg, me, not struggling away as your Dads fucking lackey doing all Tom’s work for him so he can get paid the big bucks and get the Porsche.  He doesn’t deserve a Porsche Meg, I deserve the Porsche!  Big steaks and bacon and Cheetos and hotdogs are all I fucking get!”  The veins in his reddened face bulged and he found he had crunched a bag of Cheetos to death.

Meg was trembling and biting her lip.  She pushed the cart towards him.  Picking up a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk she walked towards the cash register.

“Meg. . ., Meg. . ., I ‘m sorry, I’m just. . ., Meg . . ., please, I didn’t mean it, really. . ., Meg . . .?”

10 thoughts on “V is for Vitroil

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  4. Wow, this is a brilliant piece. Firstly, I love how you have managed to capture the characters (and their voices) in the dialogue alone, which in my opinion, is purely amazing (it took a lot of reworking and restraint to not put narration on mine). I also love how you have taken something simple, a grocery list, and then used it to dig deeper into their relationship –their anger, their frustration and weaknesses– which are exposed through the discussion of “what should we get.” I also love how this ties in with events that have occurred before, and what can happen now due to this discussion, and the open-ending (that left Meg unable to say a word) of how their relationship would go.
    Either way, amazing work. 😀

    • Thanks so much for the in-depth comments and positivity! I am so happy to hear the dialogue seemed natural to you and achieved what I wanted. It was a lot of work to make it that way and I really wanted to work on it for longer, but forced myself to just put it out there. I think we can learn a lot from each others writing so I am excited we connected:)

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  6. Some nice work here! I love reading (and writing) about real-life people with real world issues/problems/ etc. Is this part of a larger piece of work, or just a stand-alone effort inspired by the challenge and the vitriol use?

    • Txs so much Melinda! It is a stand-alone story. Currently I am focusing on a series of short stories called Alphabet Soup. Each one is inspired by a word and the weekly DPChallenge.

  7. Pingback: Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue | Joe's Musings

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