This is the latest story I wrote for the Uxbridge Writers' Circle word challenge, called 'Holes'. The words I had to use are champagne; developed; beholden; floral; perfume.
I hope you enjoy reading it!
Following the story, I've included a photo of one of the racehorses we part-own, accompanied by a short blurb.
It was her third glass of champagne. The real stuff. Golden and sparkling with hundreds of bubbles. The tall, thin glass was smeared with dark red lipstick and tilted at a precarious angle threatening to release the effervescent liquid. Margo was not adept at holding a glass and a plate in one hand. She’d been relieved when she didn’t drop anything or spill her drink as she picked up colourful, puzzling works of art that were offered to her by passing servers dressed in black and white. It didn’t seem appropriate to ask what they were, and it seemed appropriate to eat at least a few.
She tried surreptitiously to study how others managed to hold their glasses upright and their plates horizontally. But nothing she did worked.
She felt out of place and alone in the noisy, brightly lit room. She was only there because she felt beholden to Tessa. She owed her enormous gratitude and had no way of repaying her kindness. So, when Tessa said: ‘You are coming to my grand opening, aren’t you?’, she had to be there.
Margo stood in front of a large oil painting that hung in a quieter area. It might have had some merit in her eyes if it hadn’t been attacked by rats. At least, that’s what it looked like. There were random holes scattered across the startling canvas of blues, oranges, and pinks.
“Do you like it?” asked a short man as he rubbed his hand over his close-shaven head.
“Um.” Margo was chewing a rubbery morsel with a fishy taste and couldn’t get rid of it. Quelling the beginnings of alarm, she finally swallowed and took a gulp of champagne to ensure it stayed down.
The man chuckled. “You had some of that godawful food. It’s enough to make you choke. I don’t know what any of it is, except the brie. But there again I’ve no idea what they put on it to spoil it. I tried some, and it had a floral bouquet. It tasted like rose petals crushed with raspberries, or cranberries perhaps”.
“I don’t like it,” Margo said.
“I don’t like the holes.”
“Finally, someone who’s honest. I don’t like them either. I’m the artist, by the way. That’s my signature.” He pointed to the bottom right-hand corner.
Margo peered, but couldn’t make out the name and wondered why she didn’t feel embarrassed.
“I can’t make it out.”
“Oh, I’ve heard about you.”
The fishy smell rising from Margo’s plate was overpowered by a cloying perfume that set her nose hairs tingling.
“Milton, darling,” Tessa said as she kissed the artist lightly on each cheek whilst not spilling a drop of her champagne. “I’m delighted you could come.” She turned and scanned the room. Margo assumed she was deciding who she should talk to next.
“My plane touched down a couple of hours ago, so I’m here.”
“Perhaps you’ll say a few words?” Tessa’s stilettos were already walking away from them.
“I’d be delighted. Anything for you, Tessa.” He faced Margo. “The holes represent the disappointments in life. The colours are our hopes and dreams. But you’ll notice I didn’t make the painting one big hole.”
“Come on now. Don’t you have any appreciation of art?”
“I’m a sculptor.”
“Wow. Great. That’s how you met Tessa, I expect?”
“She’s an old friend from high school.”
“Is that your sculpture over there?”
“Yes. I owe Tessa a lot for inviting me to exhibit it.”
“But you don’t want to be here.”
“No. I’m a recluse most of the time.”
“Since we’re being honest, I don’t like the fans.”
“I don’t either. The sculpture is designed to be outside, and it needs air movement. The slightest breeze mobilizes parts that make music. Some of the sounds are like birds singing. I developed the concept because there are much fewer birds now with the effects of bird ‘flu and loss of habitat. I suppose you could say that it’s my way of filling one of your holes.” She finished her champagne while glancing at him with smiling eyes.
“Haha. I like it. You filled a hole of disappointment with your sculpture. Wow.” Milton sighed. “What a shame no one can hear it sing over the racket in here.”
“I get your holes now.”
“Well, I still don’t like them. Let’s go to the café over the street and grab a coffee. My treat.”
“Okay. We can fill the hole of disappointment created by having to attend this event rather than creating art.” Margo’s white teeth flashed at him as she smiled.
“Enough about the holes.” The artist led the way out of the bright lights.
Tessa called Margo the next day to say she’d received offers for the purchase of her sculpture. The highest offer was from Milton. When could she deliver it?
Margo asked if Milton’s painting had sold. It hadn’t, much to Tessa’s surprise.
Margo called Milton to find out when she could deliver the sculpture and asked if she could purchase his painting. He said he was creating another without the holes, and he’d like her to have it. Milton wanted Margo to have a life full of dreams come true without any disappointments.
Vicky Earle Copyright 2024
Racehorse on Vacation!
This is Audi's World (Audi is his stable name, pronounced awdee).
I was entrusted with leading him into the barn from the field.
This pic was taken shortly before Christmas when he was a yearling.
All racehorses have their official birthday on January 1st. So, he's now officially a two-year-old.
He's developing nicely and is a good size. He's getting lots of TLC.
He was to have a vacation in Florida starting about now, but plans have changed and he'll be staying in Ontario.
There's debate as to whether or not racehorses benefit from time in the sunny south. Audi is doing well here and we're looking forward to him starting some light training in the early spring.
And, all being well, he'll race at Woodbine Racetrack later this year. I'll keep you posted!
Thank you for reading my post.