Friday, February 26, 2010

Trump Card

She guzzled the second drink while she waited for her daughter to arrive and introduce her to the foreigner she planned to marry. When she snapped her fingers and then knocked on the table, the waiter nodded. He understood the keep them coming gesture.

“Of all the bad news you can give, this is the worst,” she complained to her daughter the week before as she paced in the sitting room. “How do you know he's not marrying you just to become legal?”

Several hours of argument. No changing of minds.

Now she sat in the back of the restaurant in an immigrant section of town and drank the third glass of the thick liquid she preferred whenever she was upset. She played with the stones on her fingers and suffered another rush of ire as she remembered that her future son-in-law had not bought her daughter a ring.

A necklace! She thought. The server arrived with another drink. “Maybe in his corner of the world a necklace is the right kind of jewelry for an engagement, but it doesn't impress me,” she said to him.

“Momu, stop annoying the help.” Her daughter's arrival caused many heads to turn in admiration. She laughed, blew a kiss at her mother, and waved the server away.  She planned to make the few minutes before her fiance showed up very happy ones for her mother.

“Behold,” she said as she sat next to her on the banquette. “This is my gorgeous present.” She unlatched the chain and placed it on the tablecloth. She smiled as her mother put down her drink and, with opened mouth and widened eyes, picked up the true amber pendant.

“Daughter, do you know how rare and expensive this is?” she whispered, as she counted a dozen fossilized objects embedded in the resin. It was well understood among her circle of friends that collectors highly valued this gemstone with natural inclusions indicating mammalian life.

“Yes, Momu, it's the first one found in thirty years. And my love can afford any price,” she said with unrestrained pride.

“Wealth handed down the family line for generations?”

“Of course,” her daughter said. “The old-fashioned way.”

Her mother smiled. No need to worry about her child's future, then. She lifted the pendant and marveled at the pristine and complete specimen of bellicose creatures that, as legend has it, once roamed the world as soldiers in the Special Forces of the United States Army. This piece is truly a drama of ancient history, she thought, then looked up to see her daughter kissing her betrothed hello.

“Welcome to the family,” she said and extended her right arms. He bowed his three heads and kissed the back of her hands in reply.

51 comments:

  1. Maybe if I had three heads, I could get a word in edgewise with my wife.
    Nice!

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  2. Well I did not see THAT coming... :)

    Soldiers embedded in resin? Probably a step too far for me. I think the reason it happens to insects is because they got caught when it was secreted from a tree or wotnot. I suspect a soldier would have to be mighty lazy to get snagged the same way. Not ruling it out, just unlikely. ;) Of course arguing logic when there's three heads...

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  3. Hey Marisa! Happy Friday! Great big surprise twist at the end... cooooool!! Loved the mother's character... all pissy and drinking thick liquid and worried about rings. Nice details. Good job!

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  4. Heh, nice twist. In looking at the mother's reaction to her daughter's choice, it's good to know some things are universal.

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  5. It took me a while to think about it, but I'm pretty sure the mother is right: he's marrying her daughter to become legal. Shallow, but right. And I think she knows she's right, but she's not bothered because she can see big money coming her way.

    Marisa, I like how you twist and challenge stereotypes in your stories.

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  6. Every bit the intergalactic gentleman. Only the best fossilized humans for his love and he kisses the mother's hands. I like this guy.
    Great lead up to the twist. I like how you hit us with it then got out quick.

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  7. Whoa. Surprise with the soldiers. Really, really rich interpretive possibilities here with that. The mom--argh! Money can solve all, can't it? The universal language of love.

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  8. Love how this is so universal--both in the traditional sense of the word and the, well, alien sense...

    Good story, and a great twist.

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  9. You got me! Did not see that coming. I love the apocalyptic feel of the soldiers caught in resin. The mother's actions were so universal that it coaxed you right into believing this was a slice of life piece until you realize it's the life of something quite different. Very original!

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  10. This works really well - on the surface it's all about the too human anxieties over marriage and taking an outsider into the bosom of the family, yet underneath we get to see it's not even human beings who are having these discussions.

    And for all the suggestions of a superior race of beings, still when they argue, not one mind is changed.

    Excellent

    marc nash

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  11. You got me there!
    Nice to see that mother/daughter relationships are the same the universe around :-)

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  12. Whoa, great surprising twist! The drama reigns, even if it isn't human. I like the addition of the amber necklace to tie element together.

    Again, I think, with more than one head, how will they(it) make decisions, one head is hard enough.

    Great story!

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  13. Nice twist at the end. Excellent job setting the reader up for that by playing it straight up until then.

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  14. No one is ever good enough for Mama's baby...

    Very nicely done! The ending was totally unexpected and the theme universal. Love it.

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  15. I love the idea of happening now, being a historical event. And your three headed alien made me also wonder about mutations from the effects of war. I enjoyed the sense we were in the now, only to discover we weren't

    Great stuff!

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  16. this was great. green card, cold hard green, blind out of both eyes. good thing the fiance has a couple more pairs?

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  17. I thought all mother-in-laws had three heads.

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  18. Wow, multiple arms and heads. Nice to see the future holds onto traditions.

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  19. Nice twist! I guess the arguments between mothers and daughters is universal. ;) They must be BIG to wear a necklace with soldiers in amber. I had fun imagining the soldiers in different posable positions, maybe with their little rifles still in their hands...

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  20. Yes, Laura, they ARE big, hah.

    Maybe some of them do have little rifles in their hands.

    Others may have mouths frozen like this: O

    You know, with the horror or it all. :)

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  21. It was the "thick liquid" that triggered the thought that something strange was coming. Good job.

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  22. Special Forces getting caught in resin? Man, that's a big tree!

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  23. I knew I was in for a shocker when the name was Momu. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Good job.

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  24. Wonderful twist. I like this a lot.

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  25. I love this - you build up this sense of an ordinary sort of tale, then throw a fun, subversive twist at the end. Fantastic!

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  26. Anonymous1:03 AM

    If I understood the moral context of the story, it is perfectly all right to marry someone so that he can become legal, as long as he has plenty of money. Somehow that sounds way to believeable. Great story.

    Barb Relyea

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  27. Love it, the voice all along, the shift in attitude. The twist at the end made me smile.

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  28. Great twist, didn't see anything coming until the reference to the soldiers in resin!

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  29. I had to re-read the special forces sentence three times to realise I was peri-twist! LOL

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  30. Big anthropomorphic post-humans (aliens?) - your imagination and story telling are superb, Marisa. I particularly liked that the waiter knew that sign. Would the 'Cheque/check/bill' sign require all three hands?
    Simon.

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  31. well .... I had a few endings going through my head ... he'd a thief and the necklace is stolen ... um the necklace is for mom ... but by the arms of Vishnu ... you got me with the three heads.

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  32. What does everybody mean by the twist? This sounds like everybody's family to me. I would have been happy if the fiance's species had no fingers. Then the three heads/three necks would certainly make necklaces the more likely for ceremonial jewelry! :) Very amusing.

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  33. It seems, try as we might, we can't overcome our old xenophobia and superiority over others. I agree with Dave, sounds just like everyone else.

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  34. My dear, I know you've been awarded it, and I was trying to choose those who've not gotten it, but you're just too good at lying the truth. ;) Of course you don't have to do anything, but wanted you to know you have an award at my blog.

    http://windspirit-girl.livejournal.com/21170.html

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  35. Such a gentleman. "He bowed his three heads" Nice!

    I like amber. It's the color of my eyes. And...pretty sure there's no soldiers embedded in them.....
    [but I'll go check just in case]

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  36. LOL - didn't see that ending coming!

    Always a surprise up your sleeve. :)

    Corra

    from the desk of a writer

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  37. you got me! I wasn't expecting that ending - so well done :)

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  38. Sure multiple arms and heads can come in handy :)
    Loved the twist, beautifully done as always!

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  39. I suspected something odd was going on with the phrase "drank the third glass of the thick liquid she preferred". Somehow, after that, the word "stones" sounded a bit foreign. Then the words "Momu' and "banquette" - just different enough to perfectly set up the ending.

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  40. Heh, interesting cast of characters - enjoyed the unexpectedness mingled with the more typical soon-to-be-mother-in-law snarkiness.

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  41. "once roamed the world as soldiers in the Special Forces of the United States Army."

    Well you caught me doing a double take on it and then re-reading the entire thing! Excellent.

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  42. Wow, how big are these creatures? lol. I really enjoyed this, definitely a uiversal theme! Good one :-)

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  43. Wow, you got me on this one! Great turnabout! heh

    Gee, what a brave girl... O_o heh

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  44. Ha! Excellent!

    I'm going to put into my will that I want to be preserved in amber, for future use in alien jewelry.

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  45. Very well done. Subtlety in detail and exposition strung us along quite nicely.

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  46. Age old tale, delightful new twist. I really enjoyed it.

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