SHORTS

I always dreamed of writing short stories like the Russian stories I fell in love with in high school senior English class. Unfortunately, my idea of a good short story is not what is being published now, so this is the best way for me to share my “shorts.” I had fun writing them, and I hope you enjoy reading them.

TWO SIDES OF THE COIN

Third in line, Gloria waited on the elderly shopper two carts in front of her.

“Can you fill out the check for me and then I’ll sign it?” The old man shook a piece of paper at the cashier.

Pulling her lips tight against her teeth as she inhaled, the cashier said, “Sure!” as she pushed the check through a slot in her machine. She handed it back to the man and said, “Just sign here.” Read more http://dianawebsterauthor.com/books/shorts/two-sides-of-the-coin/

PIANO SCREWS

Fingernails screeching down a chalkboard didn’t bother Sidney. In fact, she rather liked that texture. That’s how she thought of sound, as a texture or layering of individual noises. The particular texture of fingernails on a chalkboard was something most people avoided. They claimed it hurt their ears, set their teeth on edge, and gave them cold shivers. But the people who didn’t like chalkboard scratching loved to hear a piano being played. To them it was relaxing, entertaining, even exciting. Read more http://dianawebsterauthor.com/books/shorts/piano-screws/

SHADOWS

The upstairs bathroom “throne” wasn’t the most glorious place to sit, but she loved it. Tucked back behind the wall, it provided a perfect spot to survey the world through the floor to ceiling window just beyond her feet. A white wide-slat shade hung in front of the window, closed against the intense early morning summer sun and prying nighttime eyes, but otherwise open, allowing visual access to the outside without being able to be seen. Read more http://dianawebsterauthor.com/books/shorts/shadows/

THE ART OF NOTHING

“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” Old Art eased himself onto the park bench beside me. Draping an arm across my side of the bench, he drawled, “You look just plain down in the dumps, like you haven’t got a friend in this world. Come on, you can tell Old Art all about it. I won’t tell a soul, cross my heart. No, ma’am, mum’s the word.” He zipped his lips shut. “Now, what’s troubling a pretty girl like you?” Read more http://dianawebsterauthor.com/books/shorts/the-art-of-nothing/

THINKING

I’m thinking. At least, I’m supposed to be thinking. Ticks and tocks echo around the room as the frowning wall clock marks off every second I waste. Tick, tick, tick, tick, and I do nothing but think of nothing. I yawn and massage my watery eyes with long slow blinks, tick tick, take a huge swallow of tea, tick tock, stretch my torso as I reach my arms toward the ceiling, tock tock, pull off my glasses and then shove them back on – nothing helps. Read more http://dianawebsterauthor.com/books/shorts/thinking/

BLUE AND RED

Blue and red. Cool and hot. Running to and from, toward and away, always running, running, running. Evil versus good? Who knows? Who cares? Just running, always in opposition, always oblivious of everything but the need to keep running. Read more http://dianawebsterauthor.com/books/shorts/blue-and-red/

ABOUT MARY…

Martha shook her head and sighed. It was always about Mary. It had always been about Mary, ever since their parents died. Mary had been nine, beautiful, with large dark eyes and wavy, almost black hair that always managed to escape her head covering. But Mary had an uncanny ability to read other people’s emotional needs. Read more http://dianawebsterauthor.com/about-mary/

 

© 2015 Diana Webster, Designer Nathan Henderson

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Correcting Cultural Concerns

I have to brag a bit; our youngest daughter has been named banquet chef at a large Missouri hotel/casino. Landing the job was very difficult, not because she isn’t capable, but because she’s a woman. The gender bias and discriminatory comments and innuendos she had to get past were remarkable for only one reason: most of the time, the people saying the offensive things had no idea they were uttering improper verbiage. True! Questions about her size, (petite), appearance, (she’s quite a beauty, but not an imposing presence when you first meet her), and strength, (she had been actually doing the job for quite some time and was physically capable of everything required by the job), regularly came up in conversation.

Sadly, this was not the first job in which she had encountered these problems, and the comments had always come from men. The whole process took months longer than it should have, and at one point she called me to say she was going to pull her name from consideration for the job and look elsewhere for employment. I understood her position, but I told her she absolutely had to see this thing through to the end, simply because she is a woman, and a very capable woman. If she bowed to the pressure of discrimination, where would that leave other women who were capable of becoming chefs in that company? She needed to be the example that overcame the obstacles, I told her.

Evidently my counsel took root, because our daughter’s wife got sick of hearing the daily tales of woe and told our daughter to just quit. To which our daughter replied that she couldn’t, because of the other women. She had to stick it out. (She probably apologized for complaining so much.)

After our daughter was finally named the banquet chef, I asked her if the discriminatory remarks subsided. “Well, for the most part,” she said. “But when someone does say something inappropriate, I just look them in the eye and say, ‘You really can’t say that to me,’ or ‘You can’t legally ask me that question.’ They always get funny looks on their faces, but they are beginning to understand what gender discrimination is.” We both agreed that most of the time, the men had no idea that there was a problem with what they said.

I think this is true with a lot of discrimination. We don’t realize we’re doing it, it’s a cultural thing we’ve grown up with. Look at the bullying issue. The whole world has seen a lot of it at the national level in my country. The world recognizes it because it seems so out of place in that office. But the rest of the USA sort of understands, because that’s the stuff our culture puts up with all the time. We try to make students understand that it is inappropriate at school, but if it is allowed at home and on the streets, what difference does school make? (none) TV sitcoms regularly address the issue, and have for years, but the reality of what’s being said goes right over most people’s heads, and they just think it is funny. They adopt the inflammatory language into their regular bullying style and the problems just get worse.

Our daughter had to wait until she was in a position as an equal to be able to address the problems. What if we didn’t wait, though? What if, whenever we witness or are confronted with inappropriate comments or questions, what if we name it as inappropriate right then? What if we stand up for ourselves and the other victims of abuse, (nicely, of course)? Dealing with an issue right when it happens is usually more powerful than waiting.

I’m obviously proud of our daughter, and I’m hoping that the example she has set will make a real difference in the place she works. I’m hoping that in that male-dominated business, people will come to respect each other as people, not depend upon the stereotype attitudes they’ve grown up with. What is your situation? Is there a place you can begin to make a difference?

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