Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An author’s ICE bucket challenge

This writer hates the cold. I mean I hate the cold with a lingering unforgiving passion. Still, I found myself shrugging at the people who think they’re tough because they dumped a bucket of ice water over their heads. Eh. I went to swimming lessons every summer as a kid at 7 am and jumped in that near-freezing cold water and stayed in it until I was too numb to know how freaking COLD it was. And still, I went back and back and back again until I earned my junior lifesaving status.

Ice water bucket challenge over in about 5 seconds? Yeah, I could. (And in all honesty, I give kudos to those doing so and helping to spread the word about ALS, especially when they get creative with it.)

So last night, after a few days of thinking: don’t challenge me, please. I could do it, but I don’t want to film it…  I was lying in my warm comfy bed considering the challenge. Then, the idea. I have an ice bucket challenge of my own, specifically for my fellow writers.

Write a blog-length story having to do with an Ice Bucket. No long planning. No over-thinking. Just open up your blog and start writing a story. Keep it short. I guess I better do the same to get it started. Here goes:

There I was, minding my own darn business, when Wham! Out of the blue, that crazy-eyed pigeon slammed right into my head. Yes, my head. How did I know he was crazy-eyed? Just trust me on this. Okay?

After I shook off the shock, I stared down at the crazy bird that apparently left itself stunned – I did say it slammed into my head, right? – and considered whether it had, I don’t know, rabies or bird flu or whatever. Could you catch that with a slam upside the head? Probably not, I suspected.

What did you do with a stunned crazy-eyed pigeon lying there helplessly on the sidewalk where it was sure to get stepped on by some kid bobbing his head listening to his too-loud headphones and his eyes half closed? On the other hand, I wasn’t too sure I cared. I was working on a good headache, either from the slam or from grabbing furiously at my hair trying to make sure the pest hadn’t left feathers or bugs or worse in the course, wiry mess that I’d fixed the best I could, considering, for an interview. All I needed, on top of being so nervous I hardly remembered my name, before going into the job interview was pigeon goo on my head.

”You hurt it! Look! This guy hurt that poor bird.”

”What?” I looked at the crazy girl screeching in my face and wondered if the thing on the sidewalk was her pet. I could just imagine she was the type to make a pigeon a pet. Of course by now she had people staring at me like I was, I don’t know, satan’s twin or something.

“Look, lady…”

“Don’t call me lady. Look what you did. Do you hate animals? You’re an animal hater, right? I bet you are. What did you do to it? It’s just trying to survive, you know.” Her dander was rising faster than a wig on the downslope of a steep roller coaster. I kept watching for her to literally blow steam through her nose.

”Look.” I tried again, with no identity tags at all. “I did nothing. That thing…”

”It has feelings, too. It’s not a thing.”

”I think it might not have anymore.” I shouldn’t have said it. Really, I shouldn’t have. But this nutty girl was getting far too many nerves pulsing through my pounding head.

Her pitch rose. Her intensity likely would have shattered my eyeglasses had I been wearing them. “Wow, get a grip.” Also the wrong thing to say, but I was tired of the slamming, pounding, throbbing, and screaming, from both the bird and this chick, and…

Woosh! Ice water flooded over my head and down my now soaked and shivering body and I turned to yet another chick. “What was that for? I didn’t hurt the stupid bird!”

She only grinned with a shrug and set the bucket beside her. “You had bird doo in your hair.”

Silence. Blessed silence followed my unearned ice bath water. The shrieking girl giggled, picked up the now soaked and sobering pigeon, and left me alone, with the crowd following.

Bucket girl shrugged again. “Fixed your problem, didn’t I?”

The best thing about that story? When I explained at the interview the whole story of the pigeon slam and shrieking girl and bucket girl, I was hired on the spot. After long days of happily busying myself writing about the funny things that happen randomly in life, I get to go home to bucket girl and our purely practical but with good humor twin girls, neither of which shriek, I’m happy to report. Both of whom just love pigeons. Sigh.

There you have it. A straight through, not-much-thought ice bucket story. I now challenge my BookSpa writing group and my Western PA authors group to write your ice bucket story on your blog or send $10 to ALS. You have three days to fulfill the challenge. Be sure to challenge your author pals and leave a link here in the comments so we can find your stories!

Personal note: Along with the story, I’ll be donating to a high school friend’s personal yearly ALS fundraiser. If you’d like to do the same, his page is


Mona Risk said...

Cute story, Loraine. But there's no way on Earth I would throw ice, or cold water, or room temperature water on my head. I am a hot water lover.

LK Hunsaker said...

Thanks Mona, but for this, there's no actual ice involved, only an ice bucket story! :-)