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(wc 638)

It’s just what came to mind

I’ve told you before, and if you care to hear me say it again, please refer to this post about my terrible addiction.  If you do not care to read it again or for the first time (few people did!), then you must figure out on your own what I’m struggling with as I respond to the current prompt from the Trifecta Challenge – Week Twenty. Here are the rules of the challenge, taken directly from their page:

“And so we return to the weekday challenge. Here, you have an extra day to write and up to 300 extra words to play with. We’re generous like that. This week’s word is cheap.

cheap adj \ˈchēp\

1   a : purchasable below the going price or the real value
b : charging or obtainable at a low price <a good cheaphotel> <cheap tickets>
c : depreciated in value (as by currency inflation) <cheapdollars>
2      : gained or done with little effort <a cheap victory> <talk ischeap>
3   a : of inferior quality or worth : tawdry, sleazy <cheapworkmanship>
     b : contemptible because of lack of any fine, lofty, or redeeming qualities <feeling cheap>

Please remember:

  1. Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  2. You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  3. The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  4. You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  5. Your post must include a link back to Trifecta.
  6. Please submit your post’s permalink, not the main page of your blog.  For example: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2012/03/trifextra-week-eight.html not www.trifectawritingchallenge.com.”

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Survival

I remember the first time I heard her say it.  I laughed out loud.  Everybody who has ever heard her say it has laughed.  Her appearance speaks volumes before her voice does; you’re sure you know exactly who she is.   As you laugh along with everybody, you remind yourself that she started it!  I mean, it is funny. As long as you don’t stop to think about it.  After all, she says it herself. Besides, you can see her eyes all crinkled with a smile. A convincing smile to most, unless you look closely and find no conviction in it, except her knowledge that such words will get a laugh. They always do.  “You have to head ’em off at the pass,” she thinks.  “The one who laughs first, survives.”

She was born poor, and she found out soon enough that being poor was a crime. Experience taught her that thick skin made “mean” easier to bear, and the sooner formed the better.  She loved flash and sparkle and gaudy shine – and because she loved those things, she knew what others called her. She had heard those names for as long as she could remember: “Hillbilly,” “Trash,” “Tramp.”  It was hard work, but she learned how to laugh at herself, long before she understood why.

Her labor yielded its rewards. Smile, wink, laugh first. keep laughing – she is an expert.  Everything she ever dreamed or wanted is hers.  They are who she is, so she hangs on to them with a fierce will.  Wanting those things made her strong.

If you look carefully, you can see that little girl, defiant; she looks everyone in the eye, stretches her mouth into her well-practiced grin, and gives voice to what she knows you’re thinking, before you or anyone else can speak,

“It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” 

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This story is fictional, and not about a specific person.  It could be told about many people. The final line is quoted from the inimitable Dolly Parton.  In no way is it an attempt to tell her story – her own story is far more vivid and varied; this piece is just a stab at this week’s Trifecta prompt.  It got me thinking about Dolly’s trademark saying.

I wish you all enough. . .

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