Tag: Mahogany

MAHOGANY: Mohogany By Miriam Mancuso

Word: MAHOGANY
Word Count: 500+
Mohogany
By Miriam Mancuso

Mohogany Lewis was the only thing standing in my way of academic greatness. She has a 4.0 and so do I. Whoever does best on the final exam will be crowned-er-named valedictorian and the other sad sack will be the forgetful-among-everyone salutarian. I, Keanjula Martinez, am going to be the valedictorian, no matter how I get there.
“Keanjula! Can you help me with this equation?” Mrs. Charrette asked, tapping the white worn-down chalk on the once-black, dusty chalkboard.
“Yes, Mrs. Charrette!” I smiled.
“When there’s somebody to kiss up to, there is Keanjula puckering her lips!” Mohogany laughed.
I clenched my list and squeezed. I let out the anger and took a deep breath.
“First you need to get ‘X’ by itself,” I started. But I was rudely interrupted.
“Keanjula is always by herself because she has no friends!” Mohogany’s obnoxious show-off clique laughed. My brown cheeks turned red.
“Then you have to factor…” I decided to continue. I was not going to let Mohogany ruin this for me.
“The pretty factor is what Keanjula lacks!”
Ok. That was taking it too far. I cleared my throat.
“Um, Mrs.? I thought cellphones weren’t allowed in class? I think Mohogany didn’t hear you!” I evilly smiled as Mrs. Charrette approached Mohogany and confiscated her phone.
“You’ll pick this up in your AP’s office after school.” Aye!!! She took her phone. I tried not to laugh, but it was impossible.
“Well, isn’t it not allowed to wear fake Chanel?” The class laughed.
I hid my (really not real) Chanel bag under my desk. I stood up.
“At least my teeth are real!” I jumped up and shouted.
“Oh! They gonna fight!”
“Team Mohogany!”
“Kick her a$$, Keanjula!”
I have never started a fight. I have never stood up for myself before.
“Miss Lewis, Miss Martinez! This behavior is not allowed in my classroom. Office. NOW!” I really was mad at myself for making my teacher angry.
But Mohogany stole my chill away just like she’s trying to steal my valedictorian title. Now I am in detention writing all this cause of her. I’m missing debate team because of her. Is she always out to get me? Well I was trying to get her in trouble in all honestly but it was ALL CAUSE SHE STARTED IT!
I looked back at Mohogany who was asleep back in her desk. Hey, maybe I should write on her face! Oh, but I’d get in trouble…but she’s asking for it; sitting near a person you hate and deciding to fall asleep! What an idiot.
Just then, a short Italian woman walked in. “Girls, do not talk, just listen. Competition can be fun, encouraging you to try your best and is good fun. But, going as far as to insult each other? Name-calling like children in class? Unacceptable for a valedictorian or a salutarian.” She opened the door back up. “If you want to know the results of your finals…make up. Apologize.”
“Ok, Keanjula!” Mohogany shouted. “I’m sorry you always try to beat me at everything!”
“Me? You are always making fun of me!” I yelled back.
“Yeah! You get whatever you want! Academically, that is. It isn’t fun always being second place!” She sniffed. A tear rolled down her face.
“Ok. Let’s start over. I won’t rub my achievements in your face anymore. I made my way to Mohogany and held out a white flag handshake. For once in her life, Mohogany smiled.
“I’ll never insult your again. I promise,” We shook, then we laughed. The woman clapped her hands.
“Great work…Valedictorian Mohogany!” We looked at each other and laughed.
“Now who’s the girl who has everything?” I nudged her.
“Stop! I’m proud of my salutation new friend, too!” We hugged. We were friends now…And it was all Mohogany’s fault.

MAHOGANY: The Mahogany Table By Maggie Robertson

Week 5: Mahogany
Word Count: 486
The Mahogany Table
By Maggie Robertson
The wedding gifts were sparse, a few practical items for setting up their first household. It was a lean time for everyone, with so many still out of work, and huge swaths of cropland reduced to dust and cracked clay. The young couple were acutely aware of the hardships facing every guest; after all, most of them were family. It was grace enough to have those they loved present to witness the joining of their lives, and they were especially grateful for each and every item. They were completely unprepared, then, when they realized that the table itself was a gift for them. They removed the plain, threadbare tablecloth to find a splendid work of art.
An inlaid border in a seamless Celtic knot pattern popped from the rich luster of the mahogany wood. Each leg of the table was carved with a different design. One leg had a depiction of Green Man and Green Woman, their arms entwined and stretched upward, hands supporting the tabletop, while their legs danced downward to their bare feet. Another leg had talons at the base, with carved raptors soaring upward in a spiral. The third leg had a waterfall cascading onto rocks at the base, salmon swimming upstream presumably to spawn, but perhaps in a journey to the dinner plates. The remaining leg was a mahogany tree, its leafed branches supporting the tabletop, muscled trunk descending to where its roots appeared anchored to the Earth itself.
The three leaves that could be added to easily accommodate a large family struck the couple as a symbol of hope. Their families had confidence that they would overcome hardships and have a warm, vibrant household with many family and friends gathering together for sharing meals.
As their family grew, they added a leaf and made room for more. When neighbors lost everything, they added a leaf and made room for more. When a cousin’s children were orphaned by influenza, they added a leaf and made room for more. Even when bursting at the seams, their home never wanted for joy.
The Mahogany Table witnessed first birthdays, and last birthdays. It listened to hopes and dreams and grand plans, and held space for empty places and broken hearts. As the years rolled by, families shrunk and children moved away, and one by one, the leaves were stored away with the memories. Finally, the table was relegated to a dusty corner of the second-hand shop.
It was August. Hot, sticky, the green of summer looking a little tired, like and old man looking forward to his afternoon nap. The bells on the shop door jangled and a young couple walked in. It was clear that their marriage was not much farther along than the unborn child that stretched her oversized t-shirt.
“May I help you?” asked the shopkeeper.
“We’re looking for a table.” Kyle replied.
“A large one” Katherine added, “We’re just getting started.”

MAHOGANY: The Girl With Mahogany Hair By Claire Robertson

Week 5 Word: MAHOGANY
Word count 350
The Girl With Mahogany Hair
By, Claire Robertson

She observed. Standing in the doorway, the maid watched her mistress, dreading what she had to do.
“Your father wishes for your presence, highness.”
“What are you waiting for? Take me to him!” Saphria sighed and escorted princess Jade to the throne room. King Roland was the ruler of Zeatha, and would do anything for his “sweet little girl”.
“Jade!”
“Yes father?”
“I would like you to meet the new captain of the guard. This is Duncan Aromey.” A good-looking young man stood beside the throne. He bowed when he was introduced. Jade smiled at him. She had her new prey. Typical, thought Saphria. The princess was pretty, but not only did she have a heart of stone, she was a flirt! The maid felt sorry for the new captain of the guard. Don’t get involved with Jade, she thought. When she’s done she’ll rip out your heart and stomp on it in high heeled boots! That night, Saphria woke with a start, feeling like someone was watching her. Someone was. There was an old woman standing over her. She started to scream, but couldn’t for the old lady had clapped a rough hand over her mouth.
“SHUSH!” the old woman said. “You’ll wake the whole castle!” Saphria gazed up at her, wordless and confused. “I am the lady of the labyrinth.” The woman continued. “I will help you find your destiny.” The ground dropped out from under Saphria, and she was falling. She fell into a large tunnel, still thinking about the old woman. She heard two more soft thumps, and was thankful she was in the shadows.
“Ow!” A female exclaimed. There were a few blue sparks. “Yea, rub it in that I can’t do that.” The voice was the girl’s again. There was a sigh, and the girl said “Thanks, where are we?”
“Underground, I think.” That was a new voice, a boy’s. She heard the girl snap a reply. They started arguing. After a while they decided to travel right. After a moment’s hesitation, Saphria followed them. Keeping to the shadows, unseen and unheard, she observed.

MAHOGANY: Mary’s New Desk By Sally Madison

Week 5 Word: Mahogany
Words: 494
Mary’s New Desk
Sally Madison

The first inauguration of the ‘Lord Mayor’ was a special event in the American colonies. The ladies were all in their finest fashions, adorned with jewels which they had brought from London. Their hair was piled high in an unnatural state. They huddled together to comment on each new gown as the guests arrive.

“Mary certainly dominates the room tonight,” says Lydia, admiringly. “She looks exquisite in that gown, and what an interesting purse.” Mary is smiling, standing next to a fine piece of furniture. “Her desk is beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it. I wonder if Captain Mitchell knows anything about it.” Lydia pinches her checks as the captain comes near. “Captain Mitchell, can you tell us about Mary’s new desk? I understand that it arrived on your ship.”

“Of course”, replies the captain, as he bows to the ladies. “I was told that it is made from a special wood from the Caribbean islands that is used to make canoes. The French realized it had superb qualities and had it shipped home to make furniture. That desk is probably the only one in the American colonies made of that wood. They call it mahogany.”

Behind her fan, Sara whispers to Lydia, “My maid said, that Mary’s maid said, that Mary had been searching for a secret compartment in that desk. I wonder what in contained.”
Lydia whispers back, “Hush, here comes the Lord Mayor.”

Lydia bows to the Lord Mayor. “Congratulations on your appointment, Lord Mayor. What a lovely inauguration ball! Your wife looks lovely. Is that a new gown?”

Bowing in return, the Lord Mayor replies, “Yes, Mary had it made especially to match her grandmother, the Duchess’, purse. It’s quite the family treasure, according to the Duchess. It is heirloom from her great-aunt the Countess of Ostrava. It’s decorated with the black pearls that were hidden in the Countess’ dress when she escaped from Moravia during the Turk’s invasion. The Countess had the pearls sewn into the hem of her dress so the guard wouldn’t find them. So many people had their jewels in their purses, and they were confiscated. The Countess was a very clever woman. When the Duchess received the pearls she had them added to the design of that purse Mary’s holding. The Duchess had hidden the purse in the secret drawer of the mahogany desk for safe keeping. The Duchess had this desk made in France, but later, had it shipped to London, when she married Lord Duncan. She wanted Mary to have it, as part of her dowry.”

“Lord Mayor, are you telling us that Mary is a royal?” questioned Sara in amazement.
“Why yes, didn’t you know? .. Oh, I am sorry … perhaps I talked too much,” he admits. Embarrassed by his disclosure, he hastily makes his retreat. “Oh, excuse me ladies, I must attend to my other guests.” With jaws dropped, the ladies stared at Mary, aghast, frozen into silence.

MAHOGANY: Heartwood By B.A. Sarvey

Week 5 Word: MAHOGANY
Word Count 500
Heartwood
by B.A. Sarvey

I began my life deep in a Brazilian forest. My toes clove into rich humus, feeding me, while I grew tall and straight and strong. My glossy leaves fed the very air, breathing in what they needed, breathing out what they did not. Then the men came. “A fine tree—tall and straight and strong.” I felt the sharp teeth of their saw bite into my heartwood.
After that, I had no toes, nor leaves, but my heart and my soul remained, through the slicing and planing. My grain was fine and even, my color rich. The furniture maker decided I could become an exquisite desk and chair for a fine lady. He took all of me. Some boards he made smaller, some he set aside—but even these he placed carefully near his workbench instead of in his shed where the mice sometimes gnaw away at such as myself. Under his gentle attentions, I became something else, yet remained myself. Eventually, having smoothed, fitted, glued, waxed, rubbed and rubbed some more, the wood worker said, “You are the finest piece I have ever made.” His warm hand caressed me one last time before lifting me and placing me into the rough hands of another. But my soul sensed that he hovered nearby until the rough hands had conveyed me elsewhere. And like the forest, the gentle furniture maker is imprinted on my heartwood.
I knew the fine lady had taken possession as soon as her smooth fingers tickled across my top, my jig-sawed sides, the seat and rungs of my chair. When she placed the brass key in the slot of my slanting front, and pulled, my flap swung smoothly. The carpenter had made sure nothing would stick. “Oh! Look at the special compartments for ink, pens, nibs, stationery. And here is one for my journal, just as I requested.” The sound she made when she spoke was like the breeze from the Brazilian forest. Cool and warm at the same time. Welcoming. My heartwood glowed and my soul was at home.
Like the speech of the wind and the other trees, human speech translates in my heart. I always seem to understand. The fine lady soon became “Mrs. Foster,” and sometimes, “Lydia.” Her weight on my chair was slight, her touch reverential. She spoke to me as though she knew I could translate her words into mahogany. Her sorrows and her joys I absorbed along with the beeswax, while she spun tales on paper. Gradually, her weight grew slighter, her touch trembling, regretful. Finally, she came no more. But she remains imprinted on my heartwood.
And I remain in the Foster homestead. After Lydia came Grace, then Bonnie. Each with a special use for me, each with sentimental affection, as though they could feel Lydia in my warm, auburn grain. Now, another Lydia sits here, penning her great-grandmother’s story, of which I am a part, talking to me, absorbing my soul, and making her way into my heartwood.

MAHOGANY: Leaving Mahogany Beach By G. Ackman

Leaving Mahogany Beach
By G. Ackman
496 words

Sarah settled back into her seat, untouched book on her lap, ipod and headphones in the seat pocket. For a while she watched the frenzied passengers finding seats, stuffing too-large suitcases into the overhead bins, and squirming around to get comfortable. She glanced at the man sitting beside her and smiled a little. He appeared to be asleep, although how he could sleep with all the bustle and noise around, she had no idea.
Her gaze drifted to the outside. They were almost ready to leave Montego Bay. It had been a good week. Their first time in Jamaica, two years ago, they had done all the touristy, first-timer things. They climbed the exhilaratingly dangerous Dunn’s River Falls, spent a glorious afternoon on horseback in the Caribbean Sea, and had learned that she definitely could not snorkel, as the bruised lip she sported in all their photos of that vacation attested. They loved the quaint and quiet Mahogany Bay resort with his solicitous staff, gourmet meals, and touch of local color. The hand-carved mahogany turtle purchased on the beach from vendor John was her favorite souvenir of that trip.
This time they mostly just sat on the balcony enjoying the seaside vista stretched before them. She colored, read, or completed dot to dot puzzles. He napped and people-watched. They played Bunco and Tri-Ominoes. And they talked – easily and comfortably – about everything and nothing.
They had been on many vacations over the years, all of them good and all of them a source of wonderful memories. Their three cruises – Hawaii, Mexico, and Alaska. Camping trips to Mt. Rushmore, Canada, Maine, Arizona. Visits to Civil War battlefields and homes of authors and outlaws. All special in their own way. She knew they had been lucky to be able to do that.
Then the string of illnesses. The flu, the back pain, the tiredness. Going to bed at 6:30 every night. Then the diagnosis she had both feared and suspected.
Their decision to go to Jamaica again anyway. They wanted to forget the word cancer, the plans they didn’t want to make, the visions they didn’t want to have, the schedule of pain pills and doctors visits. She was glad they did.
The pilot’s voice announcing the final descent interrupted her musings. She barely remembered them taking off and here they were almost home. As they taxied to the gate, the flight attendant asked everyone to please remain seated for a moment, then came and got her. She gathered her unread book and her unlistened to ipod, stepped past the couple sitting beside her, and followed the flight attendant to the plane door. An official met her and escorted her through the previously unnoticed door at the edge of the jetbridge, down the stairs and onto the tarmac, where she stood silently watching as the sun reflected the gleam of the mahogany wood of her husband’s casket as it was taken off the plane and loaded into the hearse.

MAHOGANY: Rock-A-Bye By Nan Ressue

Week 5 Word: MAHOGANY
Word Count 182
ROCK-A-BYE
NAN RESSUE

All living things are blessed with a life force which produces a halo of light around their body. Known as the aura, it is infused with colors which reveal the owner’s character, health, and mood. This truth was told to me by my Cherokee friend and teacher and one of my daughters who sees things I cannot.
I ponder the feelings of a mighty mahogany tree, a monument to the Creator, flourishing in a tropical environment, waiting to give its life for man’s coveted objects. I am told that when the chain saw approaches a tree, the aura shrinks in anticipation of death. The deed is done and the surgery begins, slicing its body into useful slabs, revealing the warm, dark colors to the craftsman whose golden hands produce objects of beauty.
I wonder how the tree would feel about using its magnificent body to make a cradle, perhaps created by a loving father, which would embrace and protect the family’s newest treasure? Would the tree to be happy to sacrifice its life force for the creation of an object that would protect a new life force? I cannot help but feel that it would. Rock-a-bye, precious baby.

MAHOGANY: Harvesting Mahogany WC 294 Mahogany By Michael S. Jones

Week 5 Word: MAHOGANY
Word Count 294
Harvesting Mahogany WC 294 Mahogany
By Michael S. Jones

Five men shot the rapids at Spanish Falls with a familiarity that breeds indifference.

On shore they saddled waiting mules, men and beasts swatting insects that still don’t have a name.

Monkeys above puffed their throats like bullfrogs and howled in protest as they rained twigs and feces on the heads of the intruders.

A white man in a theatrical pith helmet selected a mahogany tree that had sprouted to leaf while cities of pyramids were still crowded. Only a tree living eight-hundred years or more would develop the tight, straight grain that was needed.

Descendants of Maya kings sawed the three-meter trunk and watched passively as one of the last giants collapsed to its death.

Sections of the denuded trunk were dragged to a railhead by oxen, then chugged to a thatch-roofed sawmill.

There a blade, as high as the tree was thick, ripped the precious wood into planks bound for America.

In Orville Gibson’s Kalamazoo workshop a sweet smell of sawdust was over-powered by the stink of varnish as the Honduran mahogany was cut and then split into mirrored sheets. The top pieces were glued together and then cut into the shape of a woman.

The sides were steamed and bent in the same curves, the sound hole was drilled and a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard glued to the neck.

Between the nineteen-thirties and 1963 unknown fingers had plucked notes from the small, dark-stained instrument.

Then a boy whose voice had recently fallen to a lower pitch began rummaging through a basement filled with guitars: both gems and junkers.

He knew what he had discovered when he found it. With ninety hard-earned dollars he bought his first quality guitar, never dreaming of the sacrilege that had place it in his hands.

MAHOGANY: Mahogany By Anne Nassar

Week 5 Word: MAHOGANY
Word Count
Mahogany
By Anne Nassar
He took his violin case down from its hiding place. Heart pounding, he opened the case and looked at the violin. It looked just as it used to; mahogany with umber stripes of variant widths. He knew every stripe. It wanted to be played. He longed to hear its voice again.
He glanced at his mangled left hand. It was worse than ever. The knuckles of the ring finger and the pinky were fleshy bulbs and the skin stretched tight over them as if they would burst open. The fingers stuck out at an unnatural angle from the hand, they didn’t bend; they were unusable.
It was the only object of value that he had left, anyway. He had no choice.
Although his clothes were still damp , he put them on and walked to the pawn shop where he’d sold his guitar, his oud, his books, his laptop, his leather jacket, a silver pocket watch, and a gold crucifix his grandmother had given him for his first communion. He got a month’s rent – not nearly what it was worth, he knew. But it didn’t matter – there was soon to be a reckoning.
He walked across the city. It was twilight by the time he got to her family’s house. She would be home from work by now, he thought.
The house was a stately red brick two-story with a wrought iron fence around it. There was a light in the front window.
He rang the doorbell. A handsome older man with a thick moustache opened the door and, said, in Arabic, What do you want?
He replied, in Arabic, I am Aram Toukatley. I am a friend of your daughter Regina.
Are you? The man said, I’ve never heard of you. How do you know my daughter?
Aram tried to think of an answer that would get him in the door. Telling the truth was not an option; he couldn’t say, “Your daughter pulled me unconscious out of a snowbank.”
And so he said, “I met her at church.”
This was at least partially true. They had once met in front of a church.
The old man grunted his approval and stepped aside.

MAHOGANY: Turn By Sharon Collins

Week 5 Word: MAHOGANY
Word Count 497
Turn
Sharon Collins

“To everything, Turn, Turn, Turn, There is a season, Turn, Turn, Turn…” She sings softly as the gantry gathers her into the Minotaur’s lethal embrace. Suspended in the center of the massive machine, Ariadne can no longer see its unblinking red eyes. However, she can hear its jaws begin to flex and chew, and although she cannot feel its radioactive fangs, she knows they are biting deep as they circle her, once a heartbeat. Limbs and head restrained, she allows her mind the freedom they are denied and muses, ‘A time to be born, a time to die…A time to laugh, a time to weep…The lyric of my life…To everything, Turn, Turn, Turn, and suddenly she is, is turning and twirling her terror away.

She perches, knees drawn to her chin, a bright canary of a child, on Granny’s piano stool. Antique, it looks ancient. Its mahogany saddle burnished smooth by endless repetitions of Chop Sticks and Fur Elise. A century’s worth of behinds have balanced on its spindly legs, surprisingly sturdy despite their Victorian ornateness. The stool fascinates her utterly, especially the feet. “Why are the birdies holding glass marbles?” she quips.

“They aren’t birdies, sweetie; they are Griffins,” Granny explains. “Scary monsters from the Olden Days, half lion and half eagle. They steal naughty girls away when they don’t practice their scales.” Ariadne is glad she isn’t old enough to practice scales and continues to spin, causing the Griffin to squawk with each turn, turn, turn. She giggles all the way up.

“Don’t spin that fool thing too far; it’ll come loose…” caution comes from the kitchen. She won’t, the stool will warn her with a wobble; she knows. She doesn’t want to knock out her tooth, or put out her eye, as Granny fears. Chubby fingers stretch and catch at the keys, spinning her round. Random C’s and B’s, and occasional F-sharps, add their voices to the Griffin-squawk of the iron screw as it raises her higher, Turn, Turn, Turn, A time to build up, a time to break down…Head tilted back she is mesmerized as Cape Cod curtains exchange places with dark wood paneling. Spray starch and Lemon Pledge, Light and Dark, a twirling kaleidoscope of sight and smell. Dizzy with delight, she does not notice the wobble. The Griffin, telescoped to its extreme, teeters, then topples. Tender temple and brass claw collide; the light stays dark. The turning stops.

Ariadne blinks, the delight is gone but the dizziness remains. It is good that she is still restrained as the gantry withdraws her from monster’s mouth. Another smiling uniform appears; he is handsome and gentle as he attends her. “My name is Theseus, but everyone calls me Theo. I hear we share mythically-minded mothers. When you are ready, I’ll take you back to admitting. It’s a maze down here; a person could get lost for for days if she doesn’t have a spool of thread…” he adds with a wink.