NaNoWriMo Day 15a, Soup’s Off

soup's off cover

Observations: It took a long time to get started today. Much self-examination, wondering why I’m doing this, how embarrassing my writing is. I’m also reading a book and thinking, my writing isn’t anything like this. Why kid myself? 😉 Probably shouldn’t read a published novel and compare it to my NaNo writing.

Anyway, once I decided just to shut my inner demons down who want me to fail, I started typing. I have a ways to go before I catch up and don’t know that it can be done today. Regardless, I’m putting this one as 15a and believe there will be a 15b in the immediate offing.

Disclaimer: A very bad draft lies ahead: proceed at your own risk.

Total word count: 22,335

2670 words behind.

You can read previous sections here.


Chapter Ten

For the next two weeks, I pretend my life is the way it was before the great revelation, except that I have a talking dog who seems to want to mold me in her image, not physically, mentally. My days are filled with soup making that makes people happy or thoughtful, and trade is the way it was, even if I get comments like: “Made anyone fly lately, Sophie?”

I always smile, even if behind my lips my teeth are grinding.

I am waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Isla informs me that Heath Lawrence left in an SUV with darkened windows, and I remember the mousy chick who was glaring at us on Halloween. And the blond tower also seems to have disappeared. Once again, new male blood in Rosemead is back to zip. C’est la vie. I seem to possess, or am, a powerful male deterrent.

In the evenings, if I’m not hanging out in town with my sisters or Nikki, I’m at home with Moira reading, and sometimes re-reading, the witch history of my family, while waiting for some magical power to awaken within me. It doesn’t happen. Or if it has, it’s very, very subtle.

“Your life is boring,” Moira says one evening while sitting in front of the fireplace. The afternoon had turned sharply colder with slate gray skies, steady wind, and that scent to the air signaling snow.

I glance at her above my tablet and the article I’ve been reading about hereditary witches on a blog. The comments have almost been more interesting than the article.

“Thanks for the input.”

Moira yawns to emphasize her point.

“Look, I don’t even know why you’re here, except for the chicken.”

“The chicken’s good. You could add a little spice to the skin before baking.”

Now I’m taking cooking lessons from a dog. I go back to my article.

“Let’s say you and I go to that bar place in town.”

“Let’s say you and I have a quiet evening at home. I’ll make some hot chocolate and you can have some milk.”

“Let’s say you stop acting like you’re eighty and let’s go be young while we can.”

“Look, dog—”

“Look, witch, what are you accomplishing by living in the little house in the big woods by yourself? Life is to be lived. Go live it!”

Staring at Moira, I’m positive that somehow she’s projecting my mother who has said all of those things and more. I glance at the time on my tablet.

“It’s 9 pm. I get up at 6 am. What’s the point of going to a bar now? Why not tomorrow? I’ll just stay in town after I close ‘Soup’s On—‘”

“I think tonight. In fact, I’m positive tonight is the night.”

“As intriguing as that is, it doesn’t change the facts—”

“That you’re an old fuddy-duddy at 26?”

Pressing my buttons, that’s what she’s doing, and she’s doing it as if she’s been doing it a very long time, which makes me wonder…

“Do familiar dogs live longer than other dogs?”

“Trying to change the conversation?”

“Answer my question.”

“You answer mine first.”

“No. I’m not trying to change the conversation because oddly enough, you’re like a dog with a bone…hahaha.”

Moira rolls her eyes. “As if I couldn’t see that one coming, witch. As for my longevity, let’s say it’s complicated.”

“You say that a lot.”

Moira does her doggy version of shrugging but doesn’t elucidate. This is part of it. Part of everything that’s making me so frustrated right now. I get a book of my ancestors that doesn’t really have any information about who I am or what role my sisters and I have in the scheme of things. I have this familiar dog who won’t really provide any information. I feel like I’m walking through a dense forest blind and it’s driving me nuts.

“Even more reason to go to the bar. Get a drink. Talk to a nice guy.”

“All the nice guys in Rosemead are taken.”

Moira disappears into the mudroom and then returns with my boots in her mouth. Great, dog saliva on my favorite boots.

“You should be so lucky,” she says. She nudges the boots closer to me. “Fancy, by the way. Nice plastic boots.”

“I don’t wear leather.”

It figures I would have an omnivorous snob dog for a familiar. She’ll probably be giving me fashion hints next.

“Wouldn’t hurt.”

I glare at her. “Is there any way I can stop you from reading my thoughts?”

“Like it’s a pleasure for me to hear the level of nonsense you think about? And, no, I don’t need a purple polka dot slicker for the rain. I’m a dog. I have a great undercoat and the use of towel to dry me when I get wet is highly encouraged. I’d appreciate not being a laughing stock. And, no, no, no pink.”

“On that we agree.”



She sits upright waiting, her liquid brown eyes moving from my boots to me as if instructing me what I should do with them. This time I roll my eyes.

“Why should we go?”

“The man pretending to be a Russian will be there. It’s time for you two to have a chat.”

“How do you know this?” More to the point, why does my familiar have special powers and I don’t?

Sighing, I slip into my boots and am about to grab my jacket when her teeth nab the cuff of my blue jean leg.

“Please at least look in the mirror first.”

And here comes the fashion advice.

At her behest, I change from my vintage Zeppelin t-shirt, loaned to me by my Gran and never returned, into a dark green v-neck shirt with bell sleeves that I’d forgotten I had. Wondering why I am going to all this trouble, I apply eye liner, mascara, and a smear of colored lip gloss. So rarely do I wear makeup that I’m always a little shocked at the transformation when I do. I step back.

“You’ll pass. Let’s go.”

“You’re going too?”

“Of course. Smokey Dave’s lets dogs in after they stop selling cooked food.”

I grin at Moira. “Are you hoping for some doggy action?”

“No. I’m hoping to see something other than the walls of this place and the stockroom at Soup’s On. I want to know that a world still exists out there. A world with living, laughing breathing creatures living their lives…”

“You do get dramatic,” I say.

“Or sarcastic. Intuition is definitely not your thing.”

I consider calling Nikki to see if she wants to join us, but Moira immediately derails that idea. Just me and the pretending Russia. How does Moira know these things? Will she ever share how she knows? The thought crosses my mind that she could just be making things up. We’ll find out soon enough.

To my astonishment Smokey Dave’s is hopping. The parking lot is practically overflowing. Laughter and live music greet my ears as I get out of the car with Moira following at my heels. Suddenly I feel a little weird. I’ve never gone into Smokey Dave’s by myself. My Mom and Gran would both be disappointed to know that. As unapologetic feminists, they firmly believe a woman should go where she wants. Maybe that’s the thing. I’ve never wanted to go to Smokey Dave’s by myself.

“You’re not by yourself.”

“Please don’t make me talk to you.”

“Just think it. Haven’t you figured out yet that you don’t actually have to talk because: I. Can. Read. Your. Mind?”

I nod. Right. I do keep forgetting that. However, would it be weirder to be having a conversation in my head?

One thought on “NaNoWriMo Day 15a, Soup’s Off

  1. It’s a good thing to not sound like someone else. Express yourself. Use your voice. Write in your style. Unless you suck. I guarantee you don’t suck. I wouldn’t read these every day if you did. Nor would the 17 other bloggers who liked this post.

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