Wedding in Cliché, Missouri


baptist church

“Gracious and good heavens,” said the minister, who was smiling like the cat who swallowed the canary. “You all just sit right on down here and tell me how this came about.”  He gestured at the two straight-backed chairs across from the desk where he’d been sitting, surfing the web, thinking about his sermon for this weekend: Curiosity killed the cat, and other reasons not to question God.

Hannah and her beau, Cliff, sat down carefully, awkwardly, looking down at the seats before they sat, as if they were afraid of whoopie cushions or snakes hiding under the thin cushions. Once seated, Cliff began to sweat profusely, fresh acne rising to the surface in apparent reaction to sitting discussing the pending nuptials. Hannah, fresh, pink and bland as a commercially grown apple, sqeezed his hand and said, “We are considering a couple of different places?” with a rising inflection at the end that said maybe this was a question but maybe it wasn’t.

Cliff’s not sure, but he thinks he might be dumb as a stump, way his daddy always said he was. All he’d been trying to do, see, was turn over a new leaf, and when he met Hannah, he said to himself, well, boy, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and next thing you know he’s sitting across from the Reverend Richard “Bull” Bullock, resident minister of the Turncoat Baptist Church in the tiny town of Cliché, Missouri. Cliff’s not been entirely honest with Hannah, who in her turn has not been entirely honest with him, and in this respect they are well suited to one another.  Better take my medicine like a man, Cliff says to himself, and tell her about parole and all that later on, if it comes up.

Hannah’s attendance at Turncoat Baptist is perhaps not as regular as she’s led Cliff to believe, and in fact up until six months or so ago, she’d been working out of her home, sending out political spam several hours a day, and she’d saved up enough for a nice Baptist identity, although she hadn’t quite gotten around to changing her name. Debbie, she thought, or Anne, something plain and protestant and ordinary, something that would fit right in Cliché. She’d made friends with the Reverend Bull just as soon as she moved into her little house in Cliché, early bird gets the worm, that’s what she told herself.

She squeezed Cliff’s hand again and smiled. “I love you,” she said to him, and looked down modestly at the engagement ring, then back up again at the minister.

“Reverend Bull,” she began. “We’ve just been talking? And we can’t decide between a religious ceremony and maybe going to Vegas instead? I told Cliff we should come talk to you?”

The Reverend Bull rubbed his hands together and began, “The love that holds a marriage together for an entire lifetime should be as big as the whole outdoors. This is a step not to be taken lightly. Have you talked to each other about what marriage really means?”

Cliff opened his mouth to answer, not knowing exactly what he was about to say. Before he could say anything, though, in fact, quite suddenly and without warning, a shot rang out.

15 minute freewrite: word associations; cliches.

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2 Responses to “Wedding in Cliché, Missouri”


  1. 1 Tek August 25, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    the shot rang out and I thought “phew! because I’m thinking what Cliff was about to say was going to be a humdinger and he’d better not say that!

  2. 2 Teresa August 26, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Sometimes the only merciful thing to do is kill ’em off. Whew. Writing groups *love* to play the cliche game. Gets it out of the system, I guess.


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