Lemon Peels

Prompt courtesy of Cake.shortandsweet‘s Wednesday Write In challenge. It’s a fun, informal and you should definitely follow the link and participate and read what the other writers came up with. Criticize to your heart’s content.

He laid his cheek on the table and watched an ant move across the scratched and water stained surface. The ant navigated around amber bottles with a swig still in the bottom, past saucers filled with cigarette butts and surrounded by careless flicks of ash, and then finally over the uneven edge where the two sides of the table met in the middle.

He lost sight of the ant and somehow felt worse for it, but not enough to lift his head and see where it went.

His stomach gurgled. Saliva pooled in his cheeks and began to drip from the side of his mouth. He blinked. When he opened his eyes the steel-toed thumping of his headache receded. He pushed himself up with both hands and rubbed his cheek and neck. A forgotten cigarette, half smoked with red lipstick stains, poked out of the pile. He reached for it wiped at the lipstick and stuck it in his mouth. He searched fruitlessly in his pockets for a lighter.

A flash of inspiration bent him over. He found a book of matches under the nearest table leg. Pulled it out and struck it and lit his stale cigarette. He dropped the smoking match in one of the nearby bottles.

When he leaned on his elbow the table wobbled. Bottles clinked together, their liquids sloshing up against the glass.

The ant came around a corner carrying a piece of discarded lemon peel, no bigger than a dime. It still had some pulp attached and must have been twenty time larger than the insect. He watched as the ant struggled with the bounty, tugging it along behind as it moved towards the table’s edge.

He looked about the table. Found a sheet of paper. He waited until the ant reached the edge and then set the paper in front of it. The ant stood at the edge hesitating. He waited.

The ant stepped out on the sheet. He stood and walked slowly to the door, and down the back steps. He lowered the paper to the grass and watched as the ant dragged the lemon peel away.

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11 thoughts on “Lemon Peels

  1. Nice. Descriptiive without being over written. You almost care about the ant and its struggle. I like the image of grabbing a match from the book under the table leg. A minor correction- “A flash of inspiration bent HIM over”. Otherwise, perfect!

    1. Nice look at the morning after…great diplomatic works and massive atrocities happen when hungover, I am sure of it. But yes, the owl and the raccoon …??? :)

      1. Oops, obviously meant to reply I the post, not the comment. That’s what I get for blogging on lunch break with v ill equipped phone!

  2. I like how much goes unsaid here. This piece is just dripping with atmosphere, and you tell us so much about the MC without spelling anything out, it’s really well done. I loved how you use the ant’s journey to tell us about him, showing us what he sees.

    Really enjoyed this.

  3. I kept waiting for Owl and Raccoon to appear! This was great Craig, a real post-indulgence period of reflection. We used to contemplate overflowing ash-trays during the recovery period, but ant-watching beats that hands down. There’s such an air of dissoluteness in this. Beautifully told.

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