This writing prompt was: Take a piece of gossip you’ve heard lately, or think of something that could likely be gossip. (The boss is sleeping with his intern, a coworker is stealing from the till, John and Nancy are seeing each other behind John’s wife’s back, Carol is having a baby—but with who?) Flesh out the details that you “know” about the scenario. Then take ten to fifteen minutes and write a story told from the point of view of the gossip’s center. (For example, if you are writing the last prompt, write from Carol’s point of view.) Decide if the rumor is true or not—or if they started the rumor, and why!–and run with it.
This is what we got
It was part of the nature of people, Brida supposed. They got together, over the coffee pot, over the water cooler, over a pile of papers, and they talked.
And, while their talk might start out being about what happened at the Super Bowl or do you think it’s going to flood this weekend, eventually, they ended up talking about other people. Like I hear Kevin’s wife’s pregnant again. Do you think it’ll be a boy or a girl? and Judy’s still sick? Really?
And, eventually, why do you suppose Brida moved into town? Do you think she and her husband…?
She and her husband had, of course. Or, rather, John had, and Brida had, as a result. She’d come home after fifteen months away, noticed the signs within a week, and been gone within a month.
The paperwork had taken longer, of course. John had tried arguing, but Brida was rather done with all that arguing. Fifteen months in desert and swamp will do that to you. She’d done everything through her lawyers and, several months later, the whispers had started.
Brida tried ignoring them. It’s not of their business, she told her therapist. Why won’t they just stop talking?
They care, her standard-issue therapist had tried. Brida had just laughed.
Her therapist had tried again. They’re human.
And what am I?
They’d gone back and forth for a while, back and forth in something that sounded too much like arguing for Brida’s sake, back and forth week after week, while people at the water cooler murmured and she’s so thin and Still sick? Really?
It was part of the nature of people, Brida was coming to understand. They talked about things that worried them, things that excited them; they talked to connect.
“I hear Kevin’s wife’s pregnant again,” she tried. “Do you think it’ll be a boy or a girl?”
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