Third Time’s not the Charm

Working in the kitchen, she ruminated on the unfairness of it all. Three times passed over. For men with less experience! She propped open the instructions for how to shuck oysters. Get oriented with your oyster; nestle it in a towel. Really???? What idiot wrote this? She stabbed the knife tip into the hinge. What a jerk she was for staying. Rotate the knife blade and separate the top shell from the bottom. She dug in the knife. Twisted it. “Are you upset?” he’d asked. Stupid dull blade! The oyster shell blurred. I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife into your gut. Oh how I wish you were nestled in this towel right now! She slammed the shell down on the counter in disgust. I’m done. She picked up the phone and dialed his private line.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today Lisa introduces us to the writer Zora Neale Hurston. We are to write a piece of prose that can be no longer than 144 words, sans title, and must include the line I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife from Hurston’s “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow (1928). Image cropped from a photo at

20 thoughts on “Third Time’s not the Charm

  1. merrildsmith July 19, 2021 / 4:30 pm

    Oh, yes! I think she better be careful with the oysters, but I hope she gets the job.
    Even those not passed over for jobs have seen the sexism.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 19, 2021 / 4:38 pm

      Yup…..she was really letting her anger out on the oyster shell so better she quite and call the jerk who’s been her boss and finally quit! Sadly, sexism still exists in far too many places.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. msjadeli July 19, 2021 / 4:33 pm

    Lillian, nice job of setting tension with the angry knife work, wondering if she would slip and hurt herself with it. I know I shouldn’t laugh at her fantasy but… Isn’t it funny how the guilty always plays innocent? I’m also wondering how the conversation will go with the person whose private number she is dialing. Excellent use of the prompt line!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 19, 2021 / 4:36 pm

      I was envisioning her calling the boss that passed her over three times and finally quitting to move on. But that’s the interesting thing about writing when you leave it hanging….each reader creates their impression. Glad you enjoyed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glenn A. Buttkus July 19, 2021 / 4:48 pm

    She certainly got my attention. You weaved the prompt line into the tale seamlessly. The close is exhilarating, and the results of that action become another story.


  4. wolfsrosebud July 19, 2021 / 4:50 pm

    Why is it so easy to take our frustrations out in the kitchen? I felt the emotions in this.


  5. Lucy July 19, 2021 / 4:51 pm

    Love this, you can really feel the rage boiling over.


  6. Masa July 19, 2021 / 6:43 pm

    Excellent, powerful, and so very angry.


  7. Helen Dehner July 19, 2021 / 7:51 pm

    It is reassuring to know that in today’s world female chefs have taken their rightful places …. it was not always that way … and in some places it still exists. Great write Lillian.


  8. Ingrid July 19, 2021 / 11:47 pm

    Oh yes, I felt the frustration of a woman unfairly passed over because of her gender. Time to move on, I think!


  9. ben Alexander July 20, 2021 / 3:02 am

    Oh, I would love to hear the conversation the ensued, Lillian!



  10. areadingwriter July 20, 2021 / 5:40 am

    The build up was so effective. I can hear the slamming of the knife.


  11. Raivenne July 20, 2021 / 9:20 am

    You’ve penned this well, I felt it and was glad she put down the knife! Also glad the person she’s about to call was not near her. Oh the tension built on the sharpness of a silently seething rage about to EXPLODE. Bravo!


  12. Tricia Sankey July 20, 2021 / 12:06 pm

    Palpable tension in here! I wasn’t sure how to play out the ending in my head, but I liked the character’s spunk and could see a colorful conversation with her boss happening! 😆


  13. Misky July 20, 2021 / 4:41 pm

    Her frustration is palpable. Nicely written.


  14. Dale July 20, 2021 / 9:10 pm

    She best toss the oysters because those dull oyster knives can cause real damage when jabbed in the hand. Good for her on taking charge of her destiny!


  15. Linda Lee Lyberg July 21, 2021 / 12:37 pm

    Never shuck an oyster angry- you might lose a finger. I love this Lillian!


  16. sanaarizvi July 22, 2021 / 2:21 pm

    This is incredibly gorgeous in its depth of emotion, Lillian! I love how seamlessly you have incorporated the line by Hurston 💝💝


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