Rated PG; some violence
Prompt: Write a story that includes someone saying, "Thank you for that".
After you stopped responding to my texts and picking up my calls (not that you did that much before), I figured you had finally blocked me, due to the “insufferable detail” I include in the stories I tell. Well, I’ll have you know that every word is valuable. To prove it to you, I’m writing you this letter to tell you about an amazing thing that happened to me on Sunday.
I was in line, waiting for Benjamin Moore to open. They were unveiling a new shade of light brown, and I was going to be the first to get it. Well, not the first. The line was quite long and extended well into the mall. I myself was on the stairs. I was counting the scratches on the paint of the metal railing as I waited when I heard loud arguing a few places in front of me. There were two children. One was maybe 10, the other 12. You should have seen how red their faces were. A man, perhaps their father, was trying to get them to quiet down. They ignored him.
“Are you kidding me?” The 10-year-old said. “2143-40 is way better than 2142-60!”
I, of course, immediately knew what they were referring to. Maybe you would too, Mom, if you cared to listen to my talks about the Benjamin Moore colour selection, instead of just complaining to Dad that it’s his fault that I came out so “overpoweringly dull”. Thank you for that, by the way. 2143-40 is Camouflage, a very sickly green that almost crosses the line into grey. 2142-60 is November Rain, a lighter sickly green that almost crosses the line into grey.
The 12-year-old scowled. “Absolutely not! 2143-40 is sad and gross. 2142-60 is bright and full of life.”
I couldn’t help but agree. Camouflage was literally the lightest shade of green Benjamin Moore carried. November Rain was the second lightest.
“You’re right.” I piped up.
The 12-year-old turned to me. “Thank you. 2143-40 is the worst, right?”
An old woman in front of me tsked. “It is not. Kids these days and their bright paint colours.”
“What did you say, you crusty skeleton?” The 12-year-old shouted.
They stomped down the stairs and shoved the old woman. She hit her in the face. The woman gasped, her back hitting the railing. I smelt her moldy conditioner. The 12-year-old stuck out her tongue at the old woman. Their father called something, but it was drowned out by the words of a man in front of the old woman.
“Did you just hit my mother?” He shouted.
The 12-year-old grinned. “Oh. I didn’t realize this leather chair come to life was your mother. Can you tell her 2142-60 is way better than 2143-40?”
“November rain? Better than camouflage?’ The man laughed. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“She taught you this, didn’t she?” The 12-year-old turned to the old woman and glared at her. “Didn’t you?”
The woman dusted herself off and stood up straight, huffing. “You ought to be more like your sister.”
The 12-year-old stomped down on the old woman’s foot. The old woman howled, jumping on one foot and nearly tumbling down the stairs. The man looked furious.
“That’s it. No one disrespects my mother like that.”
He grabbed a section of the kid’s hair and tugged. The 12-year-old yelped. Now, mom, up until this point, me and a few others around the three of them had just been watching. But I couldn’t stand by as he disrespected a child.
“What was that?” I asked. “You just hurt a kid.”
The man’s eyes shifted to me. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand. You like 2142-60 better than 2143-40. 2142-60 has a refined sense to it, despite some people thinking they’re essentially the same.”
This enraged me, mother. You know as well as anyone that I spent hours as a child poring over paint catalogues. Whenever we went to Home Depot, I would always grab the new samples to tack to my bedroom wall. By the time I moved out, my bedroom was a rainbow of potential paint colours. It was an art form, moving from colour to colour, one shade at a time, via tacked-on squares. Don’t think I didn’t catch you looking at it--when you weren’t busy whining to your friends that maybe I would be more interesting if they had given me a sibling to play with. What I’m saying, is that I was an expert in paint shades. This man having the audacity to question my knowledge was humiliating.
“Don’t you dare mansplain paint shades to me. Benjamin Moore was my childhood.”
I kicked his shin.
You would have been proud of me, mother. You always thought that I didn’t have fire in me. I was just your dull offspring. A fluke. The wrong sperm in the wrong egg. But just because I like having a breakfast smoothie consisting of raw fish and kale doesn’t mean I can’t get aggressive. I hope you’ll remember this—the time I helped start a fist fight while in line for new paint shades.
When I kicked the man, he fell backwards and bumped into another person in line. The 12-year-old giggled. The person in front of him, a woman in a cocktail dress, gasped in an offended manner.
“I spent a fortune getting this tailored and dry cleaned for today!” She said, hitting him with her purse.
The man stumbled back, bumping into his mother, who, in turn, fell back. I jumped out of the way, and she hit a group of people chattering excitedly. The 12-year-old was having the time of their life. They took and airhorn from their pocked, climbed up a few steps, and blew it. Everyone in line turned to the source of the shrill noise.
“Paint shade fight!” The 12-year-old yelled.
Oh, no. Mom, after that, it was pandemonium. So many people kicking and screaming about Camouflage versus November Rain. Hair torn out; bags tossed aside. The 12-year-old really got into it with their sister. Their dad had to pick them both up and pull them apart. Someone nearly punched my face. I made the executive decision to leave before I lost a limb. I could wait for the paint shade a few days. I slid down the stair railing and ran off before someone saw me. People in the mall were staring in horror at the commotion in the line to Benjamin Moore. I hope the kid got their due revenge on that man.
So, when you see, “Things Turn Violent in Line at Benjamin Moore Once Again” on the news, think of your little boy.
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This concept is so wildly original. To think you could write a story about the hues of paint, using it to paint (pun) your scene is brilliant. I think you should trot yourself right down to Benjamin Moore's and see if they will buy your story.
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
Why does this story make me feel nostalgic? I guess there's a little piece of me that wishes I knew paint colors well enough to argue about them by number. Anyway, I love the story! My only correction, which could be wrong anyway, is the use of the word 'mansplain'. Because I thought it was supposed to be when a man explains something to a woman or something like that?
Hey, I'm glad this boring story was interesting enough for you to read? Yes, that is what mansplain means, I used it to emphasize the MC's lack of understanding of "normal" concepts.
oh, okay. So I wasn't supposed to totally get the mc's point of view? ;) I really liked it. I'm not really on reedsy that often, but every time I come back to it I check out at least one of your stories depending on how much time I have. I always enjoy your stories though. I just wish I had more to say than that about each of them :)