One of the best author experiences I’ve had is participating in the Oak Hill Young Writers Club author talks. Anything I can do to encourage kids to express themselves though writing, or any art form, is very fulfilling to me. 

    Karen Witham, is one of the adult leaders who gives her time and energy to making the writers club a nurturing and safe place for students to participate. While at the author talks, I have been able to get to know Karen, and learned about her own personal writing. She was willing to share some of her writings with me, and I asked to share this story on the blog. I’m very happy to say she is allowing me to bring her writing to you. 

                 Here is a short story written by Karen called,

                              “The Hot And The Bothered”

                                    ©Karen Witham 2016

    Brimley looked deeply into Beatrice's eyes. Framing her creamy face with his manicured hands, he leaned forward until their lips met and pulled her into his arms, kissing her hungrily.

  "Cut! That's a wrap, folks! A good day's work. Have a nice evening. See you at 7:00 in the morning." The spotlights blinked off and suddenly the set was full of people. 

    Veronica LaMonica jerked free, "Honestly, you oaf! Do you have to eat garlic before our lovemaking scenes? It's disgusting!" She stormed off the set leaving Torn Sheet standing alone. 

    "Yeah, well you're no heart throb either, Ronnie!" He yelled after her. "What a bitch!" 

    The cast of The Hot and the Bothered slowly dispersed for the evening. It had been a long day with several takes, but the next day's show was finally in the can. It had been very tense on the set since Veronica LaMonica and Torn Sheet had both been nominated for Emmy's. If only one of them won, it would be hell to pay for everyone. Cast and crew members hoped neither would win. That way, they could pout for awhile and then get on with it. 

    At home that night, Veronica slipped into a hot tub and hoped to wash away the frustrations of her day. Candles burned around the enormous bathroom as she relaxed with the magic fingers of the jacuzzi. Cucumber slices adorned her eyes, a glass of wine at her fingertips. 

    When the front door slammed, she tried not to react. She knew a confrontation was coming, and frankly, she just didn't have the energy. Her husband entered the sacred ground of her bathroom and boomed loud enough
for all the neighbors to hear, "Do you really have to humiliate me in front of the entire crew? Damn it, Ronnie, don't you have any sensitivity in that self-centered, shrewish body of yours?" 

    Veronica lifted one cucumber to stare into the eyes of her very handsome husband. "Torn, darling, get a grip. I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. It's just so disgusting to kiss you when garlic is oozing from your every pore. Now do be a love and wash my back." 

    Torn Sheet turned to leave the bathroom, and then turned back. "Damn it, woman. You drive me crazy!" With that, he tore off his clothes and dove into the tub. "I'll give you garlic breath!" Taking Veronica forcefully by the 

    shoulders, he kissed her hard on the mouth. She squealed and tried to pull away. Then magically, her arms went around his neck and she drew him closer. He took her there in the jacuzzi, the water rushing around and over
their bodies. 

    Exhausted, they lay back laughing. "You are an animal, my love," she said leaning back against him. His lips touched her hair; his hands gently stroked her breast. 

    "It's you that brings out the animal in me, Ronnie. My God but I love you." 
They spoke no more that evening about what had occurred on the set earlier. Neither could bring himself to discuss the real problem. 

    As Torn grew a little grayer at the temples and small crow's-feet creased his rugged tan face, Veronica felt he'd never been more virile, more appealing. Yet she felt time was being less than kind to her. The aging process only
managed to make her look more matronly. To win the Emmy would cement new roles for her. Once the ingénue roles were no longer offered, there would be character parts in the future that could be equally as rewarding. 

    "Damn it! Why is it so unfair? Torn will be able to play romantic, leading-man roles for years to come." She almost hated him for becoming more attractive with time. She wondered how long it would be before the sweet young things on the set would turn his head, if they hadn't already. The Emmy for him could mean disaster for her. It would only draw more of the chippies out of the woodwork. There were times she wished they were still Lorna Duffy and Howard Weeks back in New York waiting tables and writing greeting cards. 

    The night of the Emmy Awards, Veronica paced their bedroom nervously. She felt her whole future was at stake. Torn, splendid in his tuxedo, took her hands in his and kissed them sweetly. "You've never looked lovelier, my beauty!" He saw the agony in her eyes. "Ronnie, listen to me. It's only a statue. It doesn't mean anything. Please, darling, don't place so much importance on it." 

    "It's important to you, too," she cried. "Don't try to deny it! I just fear winning the Emmy will be the beginning of the end for us. You'll succumb to one of those cute little hard bodies some day. I can't compare to them any
more." Veronica was overcome with grief. Torn knew better than to be baited into this debate. He never won and only succeeded in making his wife more insecure. 

    Later, as the Emmy winners were announced one by one, Veronica grew more grim. At last the nominees were named for the best actress in a daytime series. "And the winner is .. " Veronica closed her eyes, her breath slow and shallow. "Beatrice Chamberlain from The Hot and the Bothered, our own, wonderful Veronica LaMonica!" 

    Could it be? Did she really hear her name? Torn gave her a swift kiss and nudged her in the direction of the stage. The short path to the podium seemed like an endless corridor. Her peers were on their feet applauding
warmly. "They still love me. My God, they still love me!" She was overcome with joy and astonishment. Her speech was grateful and loving, and she was back in her seat before she knew it. Her heart was full. 

    "Best actor in a daytime series ... " she heard the presenter say. In spite of fearing the loss of her husband, she wanted the award for his sake. 

    "Well, folks, it's a clean sweep. Brimley Bartholomew ... Torn Sheet to those who love him. It's only fitting that Beatrice and Brimley win here tonight. Veronica and Torn are the perfect couple on and off the screen." 

    Torn ambled to the podium. He knew only too well of his wife's trepidations. As he got to the microphone, he saw the look of pride and adoration in her eyes. Extending his hand toward her, he said, "Darling, won't you join me to share this." Taken totally by surprise, Veronica was coaxed to the stage to join her husband. Looking out at the audience, Torn said, "I want to thank you all for recognizing my hard work and devotion to my art. And,
more than that, I want to thank my beautiful bride. Without her, I would be nothing." Looking into her tear-filled eyes, he said, "My darling, I am what I am because of you, and I intend to spend the rest of my life making you believe

    Brimley and Beatrice ... Torn and Veronica ... Lorna and Howard kissed unabashedly and walked off the stage arm in arm. 

                                  Hopefully, to be continued…

    Thank you Karen, for sharing your writing with us. I hope we see more of your writing in the future. The kids of the Oak Hill Young Writers Club are very fortunate to have you.  



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