Friday, June 10, 2016

Catfishes not Cat Calls

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: minnows, subvert, sultry, seeding, graffiti. They were submitted by:

I wasn't too sure how to make all these work, but eventually a little fiction worked its magic in my mind. If you read between the lines, it's more or less a commentary and how easy it can be to respect a woman's right to space in the world without being hit on no matter where she is or what she's doing while simultaneously being internally complicated. The world is rarely as simple as we would like it to be. Thanks for reading! Links to the other contributors' works at the end. 


He stares across the water at her. She’s sitting on the edge of a dock, toes swirling in the water, and he’s parked in his boat a little ways off fishing for, knock on wood, some catfish for dinner. He had been in the zone once he had found his spot. Pulling out his rod and reel, baiting the hook, checking everything…then he happened to catch her walking down the dock in his peripheral.

Mesmerized doesn’t really cover it.

He watches her a moment more imagining the minnows scattering every time one of her feet dips further into the water. He doesn’t want to make her uncomfortable or feel unsafe. He wishes he could respectfully subvert the system in place—the one that has made too many men feel the need to conquer and that has made women into victims all too often. A big part of him wants to catch her attention, to call out to her, troll over, and start a conversation. In those brief moments, he feels a longing so intense that he almost does it, his mouth opens just a little threatening to break the silence of the day, but he reigns it in knowing that beyond all else that woman is sitting on her own dock wanting to enjoy the peace and quiet in her own little world. Her sultry looks are not an invitation for him to invade her space and infringe on her alone time.

She looks up just before he turns to check his cork and catches him staring. He feels his face turning 10 million shades of red wondering if this moment, pregnant with tension, is seeding her mind with worries, with fear, with irritation, frustration, with rightfully placed indignation. The air is painted with imagined words, graffiti on the space-time continuum. In a flash he sees red daggered words, interactions he imagines she has experienced a thousand times from cat callers and dates and exes and everyone in-between.

Her face shows her surprise at his presence. She stands quickly tucking a lock of her long brown hair behind her ear. He starts to speak searching for the right words to convey that he just got caught up for a second and he didn’t mean for her to feel uncomfortable, that he can leave this spot and go on further inward on the lake, that he’s sorry for it all…

But she interrupts him.

“Hi,” she says.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I can go to another spot if you want. Either way, I promise to quit staring.”

“Whatcha fishing for?” she asks.

“Catfish. I think. Hope, anyway,” he laughs nervously.

“That’s a good spot for it. You don’t have to move on my account.”

And with that she sits back down, toes in the water intriguing and terrifying both the minnows and him.


Baking In A Tornado

Southern Belle Charm

Not That Sarah Michelle

Spatulas on Parade

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

My Brain on Kids

The Bergham Chronicles

The Angrivated Mom

Confessions of a part time working mom


  1. I love the undertones, Jenniy. Really, all it takes is respect. How hard is that?

  2. Gone fishing! Love the peace and quiet :-)

  3. bravo!!! love this! this is how it should always be, love the message.

  4. You write so beautifully. It's like painting with words. Not many recognize space limits. Those that do are invaluable.

  5. I don't know how exactly you did it, but you captured my internal existence perfectly.

    I'm a good-looking, genuine male with an easygoing personality... who is absolutely petrified to approach a woman I find attractive, usually because I don't know she will react. Will she be open and accepting? Will she be defensive and shut down? There are just way too many assholes of my gender that have ruined the social scene for those like me and made meeting new people a petrifying experience. It's something I have never been able to get past.

    I say all that simply to congratulate you on an exceptional short piece of writing. Reading that, I identified immediately with the man in the boat, and to get your readers fully invested in what you have to say through a personal connection or bond is a rare gift.

    It is a gift that you have, and whatever you do moving forward... keep writing.