Fiction Fridays: Short Prose | Meet Del Cooper
One thing that really pushed me to start this blog was that I wanted a space to explore fiction writing. I've been doing it since I learned what fiction was, and it's always been my favorite thing to write, even as writing it became more difficult and I tried to figure out exactly what type of writing I wanted to pursue as my career. Started with novels, then screenwriting, and now it's kind of whatever I can get myself to actually finish.
I devoured the Ghosts In The Burbs blog sometime last year, and even though she framed the stories like real encounters in her hometown, the reveal that they weren't real at the end didn't feel like a shock or a betrayal. They simply were, as Liz made her love of scary stories clear throughout, and her desire to be a writer. She accomplished that by creating her own blog, a place to explore and practice her writing - to create worlds, and characters, and stretch the confines of the suburb she currently lives in.
So realizing that there wasn't anything keeping me from doing that, just figuring out the right way to do it, was one of the sparks I needed. This is my blog after all, I can write whatever I want in it. Keeping it organized is one thing, following a certain theme is another, but the readers I (imagine) I have and/or want to attract are smart. They can follow me through all different kinds of posts.
That's where Fiction Fridays came in. Every Friday is going to be a new fiction post. They may be different genres, different formats, even sometimes different authors. They may not fiction at all, but rather a list or round up of the fiction I'm loving lately (or even some of my friends are loving!).
Honestly, I should've done something like this a long time ago.
This week, we're going to meet a character that's lived with me a little while. She lives in a fantasy land where a woman can become the manager of a Premier League team (ha), but hopefully this will help me breathe a little more life into her, and maybe the others around her.
The stadium was quiet, reverent and wonderful. The pitch was open, the sky was bright, an anomaly for this side of the country. The grass, just cut and fresh green, spread out before her as she took in this moment. The stillness of an empty stadium had always been her favorite, just before it came alive. Energy humming there like an empty stage, quietly inviting anyone to perform for it's walls.
Del stood there on the edge of the pitch, the white lines marking the manager's box bordering her presence. It was not a new place for her, this stadium or this spot on the grass, or any stadium or any spot on the grass. This time she was alone, whereas other times she'd had teammates and staff members with her.
Even still, she felt the hum, the quiet call of the grass, the echoes of roars heard before.
It was announcement day, and everyone was waiting. For her. She could hear the whispering and the shuffling behind her, impatient. Del took a deep breath, breathing in the sun on her face, imagining what would be in a few weeks. All the seats filled, music and energy, waiting for her.
She finally turned to face the waiting people there - a small group consisting of the club's CEO and assistants, her assistant manager, her agent, and the club's publicist - all quietly chatting with each other and scrolling through their phones. It was Del's footsteps that brought them all back to the planet, sharing sly smiles as she nodded firmly at them, at the publicist.
"Well, let's get on with it, then. Give everyone the good news!" The club's CEO, Martin Coleman, slid his phone into his pocket and clapped his hands together, rubbing the palms before holding out an arm, escorting the party back through the tunnel. The press, and the world, were waiting in the press room and they couldn't be kept waiting any longer.
Del's assistant manager bumped shoulders with her, gently, as they walked. Ellis Henderson had been with her through everything, through their managers badges and coaching the academy kids, and would be with her now, for this biggest step. "Won't ask if you're ready - " he started before Del turned to him, a look of mischief in her eyes.
"Ready for anything, you know that." Del drew her shoulders in as the chattering of the press grew louder ahead of them and Ellis smiled, maybe half satisfied.
"Then surely there won't be any trouble," he laughed, as their small group stopped outside the press room. The energy from the collective anticipation seeped out into the hallway, the door hardly able to keep it out. Buzzing. Reporters and cameras were already craning their necks to see through the cracked open door, trying to get a peek before the announcement. The publicist went in first, standing straight and steely as she stood in front of the desk. Del, hiding behind the threshold, leaned in to listen.
"Mr. Coleman, the new manager, and assistant manager will be in here shortly. They'll talk about the new appointment, plans for the future, and take some questions. That’s it, as I’m sure you understand we have a busy day ahead of us. Right, off we go.”
Del had to learn to be imposing, had to learn to hold a presence and earn respect. She hadn’t been born with it, eventually not that tall, and a face that often got asked for directions to this one particular place or for help in shops when she just wanted to be left alone. That was why she’d played midfield, a long time ago, attacking down the channels so she wouldn’t be expected to defend and scare off other players much. It took years for her to learn the art of a cutting look or a thoughtful glare.
She drew herself up as much as she could, shoulders back and a determined look on her face, corners of her mouth turning up a smile as she stopped leaning in, readying herself to finally take those steps. Martin went in first, taking a seat at the desk and adjusting the microphone before speaking.
“Thank you all for coming today, to witness this momentous occasion. As you know we’ve been without a leader for quite some time, and as one of the founding clubs of this league, we wanted to make sure we were making the right decision in taking this step forward. I’m happy to announce that we’ve found our new manager, someone that has been with this club and with this family since they started on their managerial career. It’s my pleasure to introduce, the first female manager of the Premier League, Del Cooper.”
Del and Ellis exchanged looks, excited smiles, before she took a deep breath and stepped over the threshold and into the press room, taking her place next to Martin Coleman. Cameras clicked and keyboards clacked and buzzing grew in the room.
A moment, history, happening in this historic stadium once again.