In the latest installment of “Fifty Shades of Hay,” Fantasia Irons doesn’t know what hit her.
Actually, she does. But that doesn’t make it any less tragic as our leading lady gets knocked for a loop in Chapter 4, Fantasia Finds Trouble. The way Jane Swearngin of Kansas City imagines it in her winning chapter, trouble finds Fantasia.
We launched this parody of “Fifty Shades of Grey” a few weeks ago by providing Chapter 1, and then we asked readers week by week to continue the story through Feb. 7, in time for the film version of E.L. James’ erotic best-seller. (The winning writer each week gets prizes!)
We learn in Swearngin’s Chapter 4 that although Fanny meets her brawny match, you can’t keep our heroine down — or our madcap lovers apart — for long.
A tip of the Stetson to the other Chapter 4 contestants, including an entry with an amazingly, if almost unbearably, high pun count that included canoeing on Perry Lake and the lack of a satisfactory “oar chasm” there. Trust us. It was pfunny. Other tales invoked barbecue tofu bites, a Tristan rival named Beau Goodboy, leather chaps over tight jeans and a purple mini with silver stilettos. Nicely done.
The challenge this week might be the most momentous of all. In Chapter 5, Tristan’s Secret Exposed, we learn a shocking truth about hero Tristan. Whatever could it be? Exactly. Chapter 5 also is the setup for the sixth and final chapter of our snarky send-up.
Click here to catch up on the previous chapters. Here are the basics:
The lives of Fantasia Irons and Tristan Hay entwine one fateful day. She’s a Kansas State pre-veterinary student, and he’s an unimaginably handsome, wealthy rancher and owner of a restaurant empire.
Tristan invites Fantasia to sup with him at his Manhattan restaurant, the Harness Room. They end up at his townhouse, and one thing leads to another. Night turns into day.
Fantasia awakens to find Tristan wearing only his Tony Lama armadillo boots and a white apron, ready to cook her breakfast. More sizzle, a whole weekend’s worth, ensues. Tristan asks her to a charity ball but then jokes about slaughtering “another herd of cattle.” Disgusted, the vegan Fantasia flounces out.
Chapter 4: Fantasia Finds Trouble
By Jane Swearngin
“You look like Steven Tyler,” Kassidy said, walking into my bedroom. She opened the curtains with a sharp yank, like she was trying to prove something.
“Don’t you mean Liv Tyler?”
“No, Liv Tyler is mysterious and hot. You look like an old, worn-out rock star with a substance abuse problem. It’s almost been two weeks, Fanny Renee.”
Kass was right. I got the Tony Lama boot from Tristan — all because I can’t enjoy money made from the butchering of animals. It happened so sudden — the cold flash of his gray eyes, the knee-jerk reaction to my honest feelings. I was out the door so fast even Tristan’s head spun.
I went from swimming in luxury to drowning in sorrow atop 180-count percales. It’s vegan versus meatarian. Is that even a word? I’d Google it, but I’m suffering from depression.
My big, bouncy, cocoa-brown hair was now flat and matted. Dark circles flanked my swollen, saucer-like blue eyes. I dragged to my classes — a zombie on the run. My zip zapped. The professors bore on. I think I had attention deficit Tristan Hay disorder (ADTHD). It’s quite rare.
Our brief moments together were special: The Harness Room restaurant where a wolf-whistle ventured from an unknown source, making Tristan snarl. Our first night together when cowboy Bill roped his Betty. And ditching biology so I could be present for Tristan’s sin o’buns.
Kassidy clapped her hands. “Get your fanny out of bed, and comb out the tangles in that cocoa brown mess. It’s a beautiful day, and we’re going to a free outdoor concert. Cowgirl up, ya hear?”
The concert was at a farm on the outskirts of Manhattan. Any time spent on a sea of green under a clear blue sky is a good day. But fill that space with people and music — perfection. Kass and I sat on her purple K-State blanket watching the crowd as we waited for the concert to begin. Families picnicked with buckets of chicken, or sandwiches with the crusts cut off, potato chips, fruit and cookies.
Happiness is a moon pie, I thought as I bit down on the yummy chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker goodness. I took a bite and then held the confection out to behold its beauty — then another bite.
“You know, Tristan’s ranch abuts this farm,” said Kassidy.
“You ruined my moon pie meditation. I shall be forced to eat another.”
My peripheral vision picked up several people moving away from me. Some scrambled to their feet and ran, yelling, screaming and corralling their children with their arms. Jeez, did I say corralling? Anyway, I turned and saw, for a split second, a stampede of one. A single cow kicked up grass and dirt as it raced straight toward me. Kassidy dashed. It hurt like you know what, and then everything went black.
As I came to, I heard Kassidy’s voice far away: “You look awful, like Steven Tyler.” I was lying in a hospital room, an I.V. hooked up to my left hand and a nearby heart monitor beeping a steady rhythm. I heard the hustle and bustle pass outside the door, and then it opened.
There he was, Tristan Hay, peeking in. My heart stopped. Code blue! Emergency! Somebody fetch the crash cart! Yeah, I know, I said fetch. His eyes were dark and swollen — his hair disheveled. I smiled as he approached.
“Aren’t you the lead singer of Aerosmith?” I asked weakly.
“Very funny. I just met Kassidy. Ouch! My self-esteem just took a rare hit.”
“Speaking of hits, was that your heifer that mowed me down?”
“Yeah, I told her about us. A little jealous, that one.”
“You’re not going to hurt her are you?”
“I’m not going to hurt her, and if you’ll take me back, I promise never to spend money on you that was earned from bovine slaughter. I may even participate in meatless Mondays.”
I laughed. “That’s a start, Mr. Hay.”
He leaned down and kissed my forehead, then my eyebrows, down to my cheeks and, finally, my lips, where he lingered and lingered.
Now, if I can just get out of this full body cast. Jeez!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Swearngin of Kansas City is a stay-at-home mom and aspiring novelist.
A member of an area writers’ group called Tea House Writers, Swearngin enjoys historical fiction and is working on a novel based on a real Civil War-era letter.
Her favorite writers include Larry McMurtry, particularly his “Lonesome Dove,” and Charles Frazier, author of “Cold Mountain.”
As for the E.L. James’ best-seller, “I tried to read it,” she says, “but you know I couldn’t stay with it.” Yeah, we get that a lot.
THE BIG REVEAL? SEND US CHAPTER 5
Chapter 5, Tristan’s Secret Exposed, has yet to be written. Jeez, give it a go!
The new installment should take cues from earlier chapters and advance the story, and this week is a biggie. In the real “Fifty Shades,” Christian Grey’s secret private life is not appropriate for general audiences. So our Tristan’s big reveal might be shocking, even shockingly funny, but still printable. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Please hold your chapter to 600 words, no more than 800, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Fifty Shades, Chapter 5” in the subject line. Include your name, hometown and daytime telephone number. The deadline is 8 a.m. Thursday.
There are just two weeks left to win, Chapter 5 this week and the finale, Chapter 6, the following week. Each winner receives a $20 AMC Theatres gift certificate and “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie memorabilia.
| Edward M. Eveld, email@example.com