The Jacket: Entries, Post Three

The creative process.

Happy Friday, and welcome to the next batch of entries in The Jacket: A Writing Competition.  If you’re breaking into a rousing chorus of “What’s It All About, Alfie?”  right about now, then

1)      You have good taste in music
2)      You have good taste in films
3)      You’re old
4)      You’re clueless about this competition.

If you fit into category #4 please check out the right hand column for rules and an entry form.

I continue to be both delighted by the caliber of entries I’ve received, and smugly superior because my readers are so very clever.  Y’all give yourselves a pat on the back.  I think this contest has been a dream-come-true for most, as so eloquently illustrated by the picture above of the typical writer’s experience.

Click on the page at the top of this page, under the header picture, to check out the previous entrants.

If the writer is also a blogger, I’ve posted a link to their blog.  Stop by and share some love after you get done here.  All entries will be printed here, and I will finish up with the rest next week.  Then I will announce the finalists for your vote.

Remember that TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY.  Don’t make me come after you to get it.


Name: Terry

Someone opened the closet and started looking at the garments.  Pretty soon all the nieces were eyeballing the vintage dresses and shirts.  Liz noticed a green jacket at the back of the closet, draped in old laundry plastic.  She pulled it out and uncovered a brilliant, colorful, green jacket.  “This is mine!” she declared to the group.

She tried it on.  It fit.  As she admired herself in the full length mirrors on the closet door, her fingers found some piece of paper in the pocket and a neatly folded tissue.  As she read the name on the slip of paper, she wondered, who was Tom Wocekowski?

As the nieces and nephews combed through Aunt Guitar’s things, they recalled fond family events and stories about the Aunts – a tight knit group of six sisters.  They found lots of photo albums and old diaries, in her old, paper Day Timers planners.  As they skimmed the  monthly calendars, Aunt Guitar’s life unfolded before their eyes.

Liz asked her Mom about the name in the pocket, hoping she could solve the intriguing mystery.  But, by this time, Peg was in assisted living with her sister, MK.  They had a grand time and loved to dress up and wear costume jewelry, just as their Grandma Corrigan had done.  However, some days, they were back in time in their memories and couldn’t place the name that day.

In a lucid moment, Peg and MK remembered the man from MTU who had almost married Tar.  And the jacket was from the 70’s or 80’s.  Could it be that he had tried to contact her after she called off the engagement and moved to Chicago?

No writings that Liz could find answered the question.  Was it the one Auntie loved or another beau never spoken of?

Liz was happy to get a few of Aunt Guitar’s lovely items.  Here was the family history, through the cool jewelry she inherited, the writings, and the photo albums.

She had lived the road less traveled early in her life.  And, now, a little piece of her was with all her beloved nieces and nephews – the next generation. She thought of her Aunt and smiled.

The family finally closed up the house, locked the door, and got ready to leave.  They were the stewards of the family antiques, with many family stories to connect the past with the future.

Reluctantly, they loaded up and bid farewell to their cousins and remaining aunts and uncles, and hit the road with memories swirling in their heads of the eccentric and storied lives of the aunts.

As they headed out of Shepherd, it started to snow…


Name: Vina Kent

“Helen, its me, I need you to meet me at the place we meet at when there are emergencies.” the line went dead.

Catching my breathe, I thought for a minute, then quickly set about to getting dressed. I’d never heard my mother in such hysterics.

As I arrived at our secret meeting place, which had been the same since I was a kid. Noticing something I’d never seen before, a white stone bench. My Mother was standing in front of it, so I quickly started my walk up the long path. About halfway up, a small strange light began to grow just behind the bench.

“Hurry Helen!” My Mother screamed, so I began to run as fast as my feet could take me up the hill. As I reached him, he said, “Take this piece of paper, find him for me.” Then she pushed me through the light.

Screaming and kicking, I felt like I was being pulled in all directions, until I found myself in a corner of what seemed like a stone house.

“Lass what are ye doing there on the floor?” a voice to the right of me spoke, but the sun through what looked like a window kept me from seeing his voice.

“I… I don’t know what I’m doing here. I was with my Mother, who handed me this piece of paper, and now I’m here.” I held my hand out which still possessed the tiny slip of paper.

The woman, from the sounds of it, took the paper, read it and laughed. “Aye, Tom Wojciechowski, he just came back from Iverness.” She extended a hand to me and I accepted as she helped me onto my feet.

As I stood, I took the woman before me in. She had the strong jaw and flaming red hair… she looked like my great gran Mary Ellen. Then I saw it, over behind her on a hook by the door. The green jacket… I knew it from my child hood.

“Tom, come and get supper!” Mary Ellen yelled and turned towards the table, “Come eat with us lass.”

I was about to meet my great-grandfather. I was most surprised to learn that I’d finally be meeting my great-grandfather, the man who’d died before I was born, the man I’d heard so much about, the man who was a hero. Id been sent back to meet him.


Name: Elyse
Comment: The Reunion

“The worst part of being single has to be meeting a new guy’s family,” said Maura to her sister Peggy.  “I can’t believe I agreed to go to this party.”

“You’ll be fine.  You’ll have fun.  Stop being a nudge,” said Peg, obviously checking her blog stats on her laptop.

“You can say that.  You don’t have to go.”

“I think a big Polish family reunion is just the place for an Irish-American widow,” Peg responded.  “You’ll be intriguing.  Everyone will wonder who you are.”

“Oh, Peg,” chuckled Maura, “I’ll have to figure out who they are.  I hardly even know Tom, he’s never mentioned any of his zillion relatives.  I don’t know who he likes, who he hated, who used to torture him as a kid.  I don’t know anything — including why I’m going.”  Maura wandered over to the dressing table, and started putting on her make up.  “I don’t even know what to wear.”

Peg put down her laptop, and walked over to Maura’s closet.

“You just slather that crap on your face.  I’ll find your outfit.”  Peg looked through her little sister’s closet.  “Got it!” Peg said as she triumphantly pulled out Maura’s green, yellow and orange checked jacket, and a pair of matching yellow slacks.

“Why do you think I should wear that?  I mean it’s comfortable, but I will kind of stand out, don’t you think?”

“You’re going to stand out a bit, anyway.  You are a walking Irish Flag – red curly hair, pale skin, and an infectious sense of humor.  By wearin’ the green, you’ll break the ice on the whole issue.  Then you can casually mention that you are a Polka champ, and you will have them eating out of your delicate Irish hands.”

“That was in junior high, and I came in second.”

“They don’t need to know that.”

“OK, I’ll wear this.  You’re right, I’ll embrace my heritage, my greenness.  But you know, I don’t know how I’m going to remember all their names.  I can’t even pronounce Tom’s last name.”

“Relax,” said Peg smiling as she wrote something on a scrap of paper, and put it into her sister’s pocket.  “There’s only one name you need to remember.”

Maura looked at the paper and smiled at her date’s name on it in Peg’s parochial school script:  Tom Wojciechowski.

“I wish you’d included the phonetic version.”


Name: Separated Dad
Comment: It had all gone wrong.

Why didn’t he say no? His innate desire to help led him into this. Now he might die. Would it hurt or be be quick? Was he over-reacting?

He fingered the long thin sheet of paper in his pocket.  There were two words that he needed: Tom Wojciechowski.

The long grass tilted in the blustering wind and he felt the oncoming sneeze. Goddam allergies! Grabbing another Kleenex from his pocket, he stifled the sneeze. But the wind had dropped and the noise carried in the now-still night.

He heard a sound. Trying to lose himself in the lower branches of the tree, he peered through the gloom and made out two people creeping towards him. Did they bring it?

I’m not a spy, he thought. I’m just a magician.

His show had been a good one. As always, people were impressed with the Invisible Desk. The men who came to see him after the performance were particularly impressed with his box and disappearing objects.

They wanted to know how the box worked. He wouldn’t tell them. Not even when they laid down a tempting pile of bills. They suggested that instead of giving to them, perhaps he could simply use the box for them. And keep all the money, and more piles just like it.

Reluctantly, he agreed.

The flight to China took days. Or felt like it. The chauffeur at the airport spoke no English, but just drove him to the field. With a wave like that for a dog, he was told to stay.

The two figures were close now. They spoke English, “Who are you, stranger?”

“Tom Wojciechowski,” he replied.

“Who?” they said. Their eyes darted around. Had they been trapped? Caught?

“Tom Wojciechowski? That’s what they said!”

The men paused and laughed. Even their laughter carried a Chinese accent to it. “You mean Wozniak, right? And Steve, not Tom?”

“Umm, I guess so. Sorry. I was nervous.” He picked up his jacket reached into his pocket for another Kleenex and echoing sneeze. Allergies again, and to Chinese grass, darn it.

“OK. Take this and hide it in your box. Bill is waiting for it.”

“Whatever.” He sounded like his teenage boys.

The flight back took even longer. But the driver spoke English. “Bill Gates is looking forward to meeting you. He has to have the first iPad whenever a new one comes out.”


Name: Pen Name: L. H. Sorenson
Website: http://None–Tawnmademeenter(shescaresme.)

Olivia leaned on the counter and spooned dark roast into the Mr. Coffee “It’s not fair” she called over her shoulder to her granddaughter.  “At twenty-one if you wake up all achy you know you had a damn good night.  At sixty-three you wake up with your bones steeped in ache—and it’s just Tuesday.”  Olivia moved to the table and watched the pot for the first drops of life to appear in all their earthy goodness.

“Poor, Grandma . . .wait a second . . .  I know there’s a story here.”  Chloe emerged from the closet wearing a green jacket and clutching a scrap of paper.  “I found a note with Grandpa’s name in the pocket.  What’s the story? ”

Olivia eased back and let her mind wander back:

I was sitting at the bar, writing a letter while I waited for friends, when your Grandfather’s baritone boomed out.

“Write this down—Tom Wojciechowski.”

“Do you spell that with one house or two,” I countered.  Tom just stood there in his sailor uniform, smiling like a good-natured puppy dog. Another day, maybe.  “Sorry, Mr. Wit-ja-house-key, but I only date Jewish Cowboys.”

His jaw fell, and Tom made a tactical retreat as the bartender spoke up.  “You might actually want to write that name down.  Tom isn’t a bad guy, he just lacks experience.”

Experience?  “And your name is?”  I queried.

“Hopalong Goldstein!”  He flourished his hands and the reddest strawberry daiquiri I’ve ever seen appeared on the bar.

“And what would say, Mr. Goldstein?”  I asked.

“I would say that some of us are riding out to the Willowbrook Ballroom and you would definitely raise the aesthetic.  We might get back a bit late, but it should be a party you can tell your grandkids about.”

And now, I guess I am telling the grandkids.

“But, Grandma!”  Chloe stumbled as she handed over a cup.  “You married Tom Wojciechowski.”

“Eventually.”  Olivia took a sip and considered her granddaughter.  “Eventually, you get to the point where you don’t mind setting up for a long voyage with a young sailor who is still learning the ropes and fumbling with his block-and-tackle.  But, sometimes, my Dear, what you really need is an old hand who knows how to box the compass.”


About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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50 Responses to The Jacket: Entries, Post Three

  1. TotallyTawn says:

    Yet again, I love them all! But I must say, L.H. Sorenson’s entry was nice to see. 😉


  2. joehoover says:

    Great stuff, your post pic is great, that was seriously me yesterday afternnon tryign to get some inspiration. I failed. Hey-ho, but I’ve enjoyed everyone’s entries


  3. fitripa says:

    Reblogged this on pujidotorg.


  4. More great entries! They’re all so different.


  5. k8edid says:

    Love these. You do, indeed, have wildly talented readers/followers.

    I FINALLY got mine submitted so you needn’t come after me, although I’ve had houseguests for 2 weeks now, so I’m pretty used to entertaining folks at this point. I could just hand you a clean towel and point you to the guest bedroom…


    • pegoleg says:

      Minions. I prefer to call them wildly talented minions.

      Got your entry – thanks for playing along!

      Hey, I was down in your hemisphere a couple of weeks ago and you weren’t even willing to take a week off work and drive over a couple (10) hours to see me, so don’t act all hospitable now.


      • k8edid says:

        Yes, I could have shared my virus germs with you and we could have Nyquilled it up (wait, can I use “Nyquilled” as a verb?). Next time, Miss Peg, I shall pick you up at the airport, make sure you get the keys to the city, and will be at your beck and call. Even if it kills me. I shall be your chief minion (head minion? Executive minion? Personal minion? I am so bad at this.)
        As far as “hospitable” goes – generally, I hand you a clean towel, point you toward the guest room, tell you that you’re on your own for meals, and show you where the laundry room is. I couldn’t even get time off for my son and grandkids, Peg, but going to work was the only rest I got while they were here.


  6. zen city says:

    this is hysterical!


  7. These were all fantastic! Thank you all for providing me with some solid entertainment.

    p.s. how did you manage to break into my house and snap that picture of me?


  8. snhamlett says:

    Ugh! The competition is all so fantastic! Glad I waited to read the entries until after I posted mine or I wouldn’t have had the nerve. Please let me know if your received it okay. 🙂


    • pegoleg says:

      I got it Shauntelle, and the spacing looks fine. For some reason it disappears on these blog forms, but shows up in the email. Thanks for playing along!


  9. Pingback: {Short Story} Works without Faith « Being is a Verb

  10. Dana says:

    Priceless photo at the top, Peg, and once again, the entries were all fantastic! I’ll be seeing green plaid for weeks now… can’t wait until you announce the winner! 🙂


  11. Peg, these were fantastic! What a joy to read. Only you would be creative enough to devise a story competition out of a name in a jacket. Maybe it was the owner’s name, just like with Paddington Bear. Remember him? He had a little stitched cloth in his jacket that said, “If found, return me to…”

    I wil enter your next competition — sorry I missed this one. (See, now you have to have a next competition to hold me to my word.)


  12. Angie Z. says:

    I “liked” this to show my support, but I still, STILL have not got to read them or the last round 😦 I will though! You can count on it.

    P.S. I suck.


    • pegoleg says:

      No, you’re just a busy, busy woman. I’m not taking it personally. Much.
      Hope you get your head back above water soon – that new intern will surely help!


  13. Sandy Sue says:

    *Eventually* takes the prize for me in this round. Laugh-out-loud wit.


  14. Angie Z. says:

    My favorite this round is Elyse, and not just because I like/know her ;). All great entries, truly!


  15. pattisj says:

    I must have gotten side-tracked yesterday, thought I commented here. More great stories! And I love your image of the writer!


  16. Mary Kay says:

    They are all great. I. of course, am prejudice because I am a character in Terry’s submission although that one made me cry. So many memories and I can see that playing out although I’m sure Terry is with us in the assisted living center-right Tar?!! Love ya.


    • pegoleg says:

      That’s what I thought. What makes her think she gets to check out early? She’s going to in the wheelchair right next to ours at Shady Acres, soiling herself and trying to talk the 18-year-old nurse’s aide into bringing her a beer.


      • Tar-Buns says:

        Hahahahahahah…..OK, maybe I will be there with you, trying to score a cocktail!
        Sorry, Mar, didn’t mean to make you cry. Love ya more!
        Sure wish I’d whacked it one more time for some redundancy. Oh well, I took the challenge!
        It’s going to be beautiful today, close to 60 I think, but I’m off to school to get some more work done before the Big Ten basketball playoff game at 3:30.
        GO MSU!!! 🙂


  17. Pingback: The Jacket: A Call To Arms | Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

  18. Tar-Buns says:

    And, they DID! Great Game! 🙂
    All of MSU-land is happy, across the country!!!


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