Thursday, August 18, 2016

Response to Paula's Prompt

This is a response to @PTWyant and her Wednesday prompt. I decided to play a little with the characters from a bunch of story fragments, which I've titled 'Lift Your Gaze to the Heavens'. I'm supposed to be working on 'Aissa and Polyxena', 'On the Other Side of the Mask', 'The Hand and the Eye of the Tower', and 'Stealing Myself From Shadows', but the reference to cereal didn't work for any of those stories. On the other hand, it was a great opportunity to get to know Dylan Stuart's father better, as well as to use a few Italian words. :) Dylan's father is Italian from a large family. I'd always been curious about getting to know him better, since Dylan's mother is such a domineering, powerful figure in the fragments I've written. Before I knew it, Dylan was in my imagination, yelling Paula's opening line, and off the character went into this story fragment. :)

The picture of lasagna above is from Peck's, a wonderful restaurant and market in Milan, Italy. I've posted it in order to torment poor Gino with visions of what he didn't find in his son's pantry. :)

“Angry? You ate all my cereal and faked your death for three years! I have a right to be angry!”

“I know, I know,” Gino Bodacci said, rolling his enormous dark eyes mournfully, as he looked down at his hands. Dylan had inherited the exact same eyes, although he’d never learned quite how to use them for such dramatic emphasis. “All this time, on the edge of space, separated from my only child, surviving on tasteless rations!” He clasped his hands together. “Every hour, I dreamed of my little Dylan, waiting for me. Waiting with homemade caponata, canolli, or lasagna!” He raised his hands over his head. “I come back to the home of my only son, my pride and joy, and what does he have in his pantry?” Gino lowered his silvery dark head, although he kept his hands raised. “Nothing, but cereal!” He lowered his hands. “Oh, the shame! The dryness! That a child of La Familiglia Bodacci should have such a barren pantry!” He released his fingers’ grip on each other to tear at his shoulder length waves. “That he should have nothing in his home for his poor father other than dry cereal!”

“Papa,” Dylan said, counting to ten silently before he spoke. First in Italian. Second in French. “You’ve been missing for three years. A body at the Accademia at Gaia was identified as yours. La Familiglia Bodacci had a huge funeral for you on Diomedes 4.” He leaned forward to look his father straight in the eye. “Paola lights a candle for you in la Chiesa de Santa Cecilia every year. And cries!”

“Ah, Paola, such a fine woman,” Gino said, dropping his hands to twiddle his fingers. He became deeply absorbed in their motion. “Is she still unmarried?”

“Papa!” Dylan growled. “We thought you were dead! I had to convince Paola not to hunt down your killer, even though I longed to the same!” He slammed his hands down on the table top inches from his father. “For three years, I’ve had to live with your death! Only I find you alive, well, and raiding my pantry!” Dylan dug his fingers into the wood. “You put us through that and all you can do is complain about my food!?”

“Well, your kitchen is travesty,” his father muttered. He stared at his thumbs, as they were the most fascinating things in the world. “No fresh fruit, no vegetables, only dry cereal! Your nonna would be turning in her grave, if she had one.”

“Papa,” Dylan said, getting his growl under control. Talking about the cereal or his pantry wasn’t going to get him any answers. His father was using it to distract him from more important questions. “Why did you pretend to be dead?”

“I had to,” Gino murmured. He looked up to meet his son’s eyes. “My son, I may be a Bodacci, but I’m also an employee of ‘Future Visions’.”

“Mother,” Dylan said. He closed his eyes and released his grip on the table. Of course. He might have known.

“Evelyn may allow me more freedom than she does most of her staff, but I’m still hers,” Gino said. “My leash may be longer, but she tugs it, I’m brought to heel.”


  1. Great story! I was laughing out loud reading their conversation!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I didn't actually post everything, since the conversation turned a lot darker, involving Dylan's mother, who probably has a lot in common with Taliya's mother. (shakes head) I had an idea of what Dylan's dad was like, but after you posted your prompt, he suddenly popped in my head, lamenting the lack of food in his son's pantry (not that it stopped him from eating the cereal). :) Thank you for getting him to pop out of my imagination and express himself! :)

  2. Nice take on the prompt! Well done.

    1. Thank you! It was a little difficult, since I had to go for something a bit more contemporary, where the word 'cereal' would be used. All of a sudden, Gino appeared in my head, waving his arms, yelling what a travesty it was to eat cereal (even as he wolfed it down). :)