Wednesday’s Word Undone

In the spirit of Wednesday, here’s the word of the day:

bowdlerize. verb: to remove or change parts (of a book, movie, a play, etc.) considered objectionable.
(from wordsmith.org, today’s word)

There’s no hard and fast rule with Wednesday’s word of the day. The word, whatever it may be, is meant for inspiration. So, I shook it up a bit. I bowdlerized the word itself. I took the word apart, shuffled the letters, and I came up with a series of words that inspired a story.

Here are the words: welder, bold, elbow, wild, old, idle,beer, weed, deed.

Here’s the story:

Her neighbor works with metal. She knows that because she’s seen him haul in sheets of it and wheelbarrows full of it. And, she’s heard the noise: the clanging, the pounding, the scraping of metal across concrete.

Three nights ago, she awoke to a real racket outside. She pressed her face to her bedroom window. But, the moon was new. For fifteen minutes, she stood at the window and willed the shadows to turn to shapes, but she couldn’t see a thing. It wasn’t until the next morning, when she opened her front door to get the morning paper, that she figured out what happened.

In her peripheral vision, she caught site of three chunks of rusty metal: people, it looked like. People frozen in the act. One bent over in submission, another standing upright behind the first, a third with arms crossed, watching the other two.

Pervert. Look at that. She grabbed the paper and slammed the door. She stormed over to her bedroom window. The nerve. And, he calls that art.

She ignored the scene for a few days, flipping her visor over towards the driver’s side window any time she backed out of the driveway. But today, when she rounded the corner on her way home from work, she noticed the watcher had been moved. The neighbor must have turned it, and now it faced her bedroom window directly. She couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a man or a woman; it was just this skeleton of a body in browns, reds, and faded oranges, with hollow eyes and arms crossed.

She threw the car into park and left it idle. She high-stepped through overgrown grass and weeds to his front walk and then marched up to the front door. She rang, then knocked, then pounded. He didn’t answer.

In a huff, she hiked back through the yard and to the garage, where a side door stood open a crack. She pushed it open slowly. The light from outside shot around her and pierced through the dark. As she walked in, the door eased shut behind her, bending the light across iron silhouettes scattered throughout the garage.

Are they dancing or fighting, for crying out loud? She pictured a scene from a horror film she saw when she was sixteen, something about carnival workers gone lusty and mad. Then, she saw him. He was hunched over a set of legs, she thought.

He wore his welder’s helmet. Sparks flew up and out around him. He must not have heard her walk in, but he surely felt her pointed tap on his shoulder. He jumped, dropped his torch, and swung his elbow around. In an instant, her eyebrow burned and she fell back, heard a loud clang, and blacked out.

When she opened her eyes, she looked up into flourescent lights. She blinked once, twice, and then saw him again. Only this time he wasn’t peering out from behind a green welding glass.

“You’re awake. Thank god. You scared me woman. You fell back into a pile of scrap and sliced open your head. I thought I’d killed you.” With that, he put his hand on her arm and squeezed.

Her heart popped and beat fast, and her head swirled. The heat of his hand confused her.

“Those people,” she whispered, “on the front lawn….”

He smiled. She squinted. Then, the nurse pushed open the door.

*******

What words can you find in bowdlerize? And, what story follows?

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6 responses to “Wednesday’s Word Undone

  1. Great story from such a beastly word. I’m intrigued by this story and want more!

    • “Beastly,” I love that description. This Wednesday’s word deal is becoming quite a challenge. Fun, but challenging! And, glad you like the story. Maybe I will turn it into something longer 🙂

  2. Great story. The image of those rusty metal people is very powerful. I read this yesterday and the story has stayed with me.

    • Thanks for reading, Cathryn. And, what a huge compliment to hear that the story stuck with you. Seems like those characters–and their story–are worth exploring more.

  3. I agree with the other commentators. I want to find out what happens next! Great Story.

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