bovine penultimate quixotic derringer

I asked for 4 words to write a short story, Janine gave me:

bovine  penultimate  quixotic & derringer

“To move through our transitions seamlessly would be ideal, but it is the tears in the fabric of our lives that create satisfaction at the summit…”

Scratching around a mosquito bite on her exposed ankle, Poppy caught her note pad before it slipped from her lap. The sweat on her forehead matted her baby hairs into adhesive mini waves.

“Deep down we all know simple formulas to advance our current state and yet we prolong the journey out of fear…”

Looking around her, she watched as people swatted insects like bovine. The row in the front jotted notes, and nodded their heads. Poppy questioned their sincerity and figured they felt they must live up to their front row status. It was a good idea at the time, but the conference entitled ‘How to Push from Petty and Dive into Determined’ had lost the appeal it once held while marked on her refrigerator calendar. Poppy had hoped that it would propel her into the penultimate stage of her career and she’d bid farewell to the produce aisle at Jimmy’s Multi-Mart. Digging into her pocket, she felt for an Altoid, popped it into her mouth and instantly wished she had brought her pack of Tic Tacs instead.

The rest of the speech went unheard, and though Poppy paid more than a quarter of her week’s salary, she zoned out the speakers soul antidotes.

“Leave the unrest for the weak, and come to know the ways of the willing…”

The crowd clapped, and she awoke from her open-eyed nap. Poppy pinched her mosquito bite and gathered her things. Exiting the roped off park, she surveyed the mass, observing the inspired smiles, or wet eyelashes sewn to miserable robotic fools that wished they could run, fly, leap, into the quixotic arms of their career match. They looked like idiots to her, and in that mili-second she forgot she was one of them.

Kicking off her clogs at the doormat, and inhaling the new ginger air plug-in, all seemed safe within the four walls of the tiny Windexed studio. It was her pride and joy, and the element that kept her calm. Shedding tank and shorts as she walked towards the bathroom, she raised her foot to meet the sinks faucet and began rinsing away the grime and stench of her disappointing day. Her reflection was familiar, but the longer she stared she began to see facets of someone else while her toes began to prune. She reached for her towel, dabbing her lashes before her feet, and wiping the black makeup that had formed tiny trails down her cheeks.

Turning on the television, she clicked through the basic channels stopping at a commercial for toothpaste. The actor sported a lackluster smile though his teeth were brilliant. Poppy scowled and relaxed into the sofa once The Simpsons appeared, submitting subconsciously to another day of routine and bore to its unavailing end. The screen, which reflected blue light onto her spectacles, provided just the amount of comfort Poppy needed to compensate for her loneliness.

Throughout the night she shifted, changing her position as if one adjustment could relax her bones more than another. The moment comfortable position thirteen was finally attained and her eyes began to droop, she could hear the irking buzz of a mosquito. The blanket was square and she canopied her head instead of her feet because of the incessant sonance surrounding her ear. No matter the shelter, the buzz continued ceaselessly. Poppy sat up, feeling the burning vexation rush to her cheeks. She switched on the lights, her eyes playing squash racquet as they searched for the culprit.

Several minutes of hunting dematerializing insects had gone by, and the anger had traversed her body, down to the clenched fist holding a shoe. A weapon she would happily trade for a derringer, to make certain the irritant was eliminated. Poppy pictured firing at whatever speck clung to the studio walls, not caring whether the shots caused her fortification to crumble. She could feel her thoughts begin to blend, her sight blur, and the foreign sensation of seeping eyes. The inflamed bite on her ankle pulsed, and though she longed to tear at it, she knew the relief would be temporary.

Shutting the lights, Poppy laid on her back, hands clasped over her stomach, and closed her eyes. After a moment she could hear a faint buzz and though fearing it would begin again, body and capacity had surrendered. The sound increased though this time something had changed- an audible rehashing of the speakers words. Poppy drifted, to the sound of leaving the unrest for the weak.

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