The Wil Wheaton/Shane Nickerson Writing Experiment
From Wil Wheaton's blog, via Shane Nickerson's blog, comes this interesting challenge.
Write a short story about this picture of a mystery hotel:
(Shane's Flickr has details.)
Here's my late-night attempt.
All Ships Are Female
by Mona Buonanotte
“Tobacco’s a nasty habit.”
Eli idly kicked at the spittoon in front of the cigar counter, watching the thick brown liquid inside swirl side-to-side, with the gentle roll of the ship.
“Yes, yes it is. ‘Cept it keeps the passengers happy, “ Eli’s father, Otto, replied, fingering the new box of Manchesters.
The Schooner Kelly was returning from three months in Europe, fifty passengers exploring ports of France, Spain, and England, their temporary home a rocking berth in Upper Deck No. II.
“You sure I look alright?”
Eli stood awkwardly, shoulders haunched, the new glasses sliding off the slimness of his nose, unsure where he should stand, for how long.
“We’ll have to git you a new jacket,” Otto remarked, “And you’d best relax a bit, like we practiced.”
Shaking, Eli tugged at the tightness of his new clothes and turned away from his father. “I don’t think I can do this.”
“You can. You can and you must. You can’t undo what has already been done.” Otto’s voice rose above the clamour of engine and wave.
The doors of Aft Deck opened, and Ruth Mackey burst in, camera in hand. “Well, so we’re underway!”, she roared. “I simply must buy one of your 7-20s for my husband. Tobacco is a nasty habit!” Ruth started toward the counter, but stopped when she saw Eli.
“Oh. Where’s your daughter, Mr. Fox? Did she stay behind this trip?”
Otto flushed. “My daughter is in Europe, Mrs. Mackey. This is my...my son, Eliza...Eli, Elijah.”
Ruth squinted at the younger man, her lips pursed. “I see. So...so similar. Are you twins?”
Eli stiffened. “Yesss...yes ma’am. Twins.” There was a curious stirring in Eli’s loins, something the French doctor had warned him might happen, would happen, that he would have to face sooner or later.
“Mind if I take a picture?” Ruth asked softly, raising the camera to her face. As she pressed the shutter, Eli admired how Ruth’s dress clung to her slim body, how her breasts swelled, how beautiful, and the curious growth between Eli’s legs let him know that this would, indeed, be an interesting trip home.