Short Story Sunday #33

WAITING

            It was three o’clock on a crisp October afternoon. It was raining off and on all day long and at the moment it was down pouring. A woman stood in the middle of her driveway wearing her white raincoat. It was buttoned up to her neck, her hood hunched over her head covering most of her face. Her hands were shoved into her pockets due to the chill in the air, her knees bending up and down trying to keep warm.

Every so often she would lift her chin in order to see over the hood of her coat. She looked to the left and to the right whenever she heard a car pass by. However, the car never was the black pick-up truck that she was expecting. Every couple of minutes, she would take her phone out of her pocket to check the time.

Water droplets covered the screen after being out of her pocket for a brief moment. She wiped the screen on her jeans before putting her phone back into her pocket. It was 3:10. She had been waiting outside in the rain for ten minutes now.

Of course, the weather was terrible. There was bound to be traffic out at that time. People were probably driving more slowly on the roads than usual due to all the puddles. Plus, she didn’t know where this truck was coming from. It could have been ten minutes away or it could have been an hour away. However, it would have been nice if she was told it was an hour away. Then she would go back inside for a little while.

She was told that she was going to be picked up around three in the afternoon, so that was why she was standing out in the pouring rain at that time. She rocked back and forth trying to keep warm, fog emerging out of her mouth with each breath.

“Mom!”

She turned around and looked at the front door. Her teenage son stood in the doorway with his arms folded against his chest. He wasn’t wearing a jacket or even a sweatshirt. He wore a t-shirt with shorts and his feet were bare. He didn’t expect to go very far, but he was standing outside on the front porch.

“I’m sure he’ll beep the horn when he gets here. Or, maybe he’ll even be a gentleman and get out of the car and come up to the door to ring the bell.”

“He’ll be here soon, Don.” The woman raised her voice competing with the distance and the rain.

“He’s already ten minutes late and you’re going to get sick waiting for him. Just come inside and get warmed up. He’s not going to want you sitting in his front seat if you’re wet and soggy.” Don countered.

“If he minded a soggy date then he wouldn’t be this late.” She replied. “The weather is bad, I’m sure he’s just running into some traffic.”

“Mom,” Don sounded exasperated.

“Doesn’t he work on Thursdays? I think he works on Thursdays, if I remember correctly. He might be stuck at work if that’s the case.”

“If that was the case, then he should have the decency to pick up a phone and call.” Don stated.

“Maybe he did. Did the house phone ring at all, Don?” she took out her cell phone and checked the screen. It was 3:20. “I don’t have any recent calls on my phone.”

“No, no one called. Just come back inside, will you?”

“He’ll be here soon!”

Don sighed and went back into the house. His mother stayed outside in the middle of the driveway. She looked up when she thought she heard another car, but it was only the trees blowing in the harsh winds. Her hood flew off her head. She closed her eyes and turned her head in the opposite direction so the wind wasn’t blowing in her face as she tried to put her hood back on.

She jumped when she felt a dry blanket drape over her shoulders. She turned around with a smile and then it faded all too quickly.

“Oh, sorry. I thought you were…”

“Dad, I know.” Don sighed finishing her sentence. “Mom, I don’t think he’s coming. He’s cancelled on you three times and now he’s not even bothering to do that.”

“You don’t actually think he’s standing me up, do you?” his mother looked her son in the eye.

Don checked his wrist watch. “He’s 25 minutes late. I don’t think he’s coming, Mom.”

“But when I spoke to him on the phone last time he said that he might be ready to move back in.” she stared down at the ground tears forming in her eyes.

Don wrapped an arm over his mother’s shoulders and steered her away from the street and back towards the front door of their house. “I know… why don’t we go back inside and talk about it? I’ll make you a cup of tea to get you warmed back up.”

“But what if he comes while we’re inside? I don’t want him to think that I forgot about our start over date.” His mother sniffled, but willingly walked back up the driveway with her son.

“If he actually shows up I think he should apologize for being so late and making you wait outside in the cold rain.” Don explained.

He opened the front door and allowed his mother to enter first. He helped her off with her jacket and sat her down on the couch.

“Let me make you some tea.”

“If he shows up, you’re not going to turn your father away, will you?” she asked before Don could leave the living room.

Don hesitated to respond. He knew his father was never going to give his family another chance. He knew his father wasn’t even going to show up. If he did, Don would have to gather all his strength and will power not to kick his father out.

Finally he sighed and shook his head. “No, Mom. I won’t kick him out for you.”

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“Working” On Vacation

Every year my family and l go away for the weekend after Thanksgiving. It just happened to become tradition a few years ago and it’s great to get away for a weekend in the middle of work and school. It’s a nice break.

I am not a light packer. Anyone who knows me personally in real life can tell you that. I would pack the entire house if l could. Example: l have three unread books on my Kindle. Before we left l bought a fourth one. Because you know there’s that .5% chance that l would happen to read and finish all three books in two days with time to spare and how tragic would it be if l ran out of something to read? Now, keep in mind that l brought my Kindle in an attempt to save space by not bringing physical novels. So it kind of balances out… l guess.

Anyway, l brought my Detective Florence 2 manuscript along with two notebooks (one blank, one with the outlined notes), the notes and outline for the first novel, blank index cards, blank post-it notes, and about five pens with four highlighters and two sharpies. Again, you need a plethora of pens because there’s that slight chance they will all run out of ink in two days.

Back to the point… l did some editing yesterday and l plan on editing today as well. Now that NaNo is over, l plan to finish editing the second novel, type up the next draft of both the first and second novels, outline the third, and then write the third. I’m in for a fun ride.

So l’m texting my friend yesterday and she asked how l was doing and such. I told her l was editing.

Her response: “Why are you writing while on vacation?”

Now let’s discuss…

I love writing. I am going to do it whenever and where ever l can. It relaxes me. I don’t see it as work. Sure, it would be nice to write full-time for a job, but whether that happens or not it will always be a passionate hobby of mine.

To be honest, l think vacation is the perfect time to write for a few reasons.

1. It’s a new environment. I tend to write at my desk at my house in my office/den l share with Kris. Sometimes, in the same room, l will write on the couch using the ottoman as a desk. Sometimes l go in my bedroom. When home alone, l’ll go in the kitchen or dining room. I even write while taking a bath. If l get a moment alone at work l’ll jot down notes. You can write anywhere you think of.

2. There are barely any distractions. When writing at home l have the Internet. There are many websites l am on that l can get to with a click of a button and before l know it, it’s time for bed. There’s also the cleaning. The dusty room around me just stares me down and it bothers me. There’s mail to get–l love getting the mail. I don’t know why, l never get anything good. If l’m not at work l usually keep an eye out for it. There’s also video games, friends to see, homework to do, etc.

3. There are no other responsibilities. Kind of like the previous point, there is no real cleaning to be done. As long as l clean up after myself before l go home, l’m good. I don’t have to worry about doing homework. I don’t have to worry about anything so my mind is cleared up for everything.

4. It’s relaxing. Why write next to the heating vent at my house when l can write next to the fireplace? There is no fireplace at my house; therefore, l cannot write to the soothing crackling sound. Well… l can, but those sounds are on websites. There’s no pretty flame or heat so it’s not the same effect.

I’m sure there are many more reasons, but this is what l can come up with for now.

My friend loves that l write and she supports me with it. She’s always asking how my novels are going, what they’re about, etc. However, she knows l want to write full-time which would be my career. Career is work. Therefore, she thinks writing is work. Technically yes, as it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a long process and such.

What she doesn’t realize is how much fun it is and how people need a certain passion for writing. Writers don’t see writing as work. Writing is just using the imagination and being creative.

NaNo 2013 Vs. NaNo 2014

I won NaNo two days ago on the 26th. I completed NaNo in 17 days last year. Just looking at the dates alone it seems as though last year was easier. But was it really?

Last year l wrote Detective Florence and l loved it. Half of it was outlined and planned. When l ran out of outlines, l outlined as l wrote keeping track of everything for my edits later. For a first draft, the novel was pretty well done (if l do say so myself).

This year l wrote a Short Story Collection. This was because l was unsure what to write. I thought about doing short stories to come up with new novel ideas and just try different varieties of characters, genres, etc. It didn’t go as well as l thought it would. A few days into NaNo l wanted to continue writing my Detective Florence series, but l needed to do some edits first and the next novel wasn’t outlined yet. With that series, l feel it better to have it outlined before writing.

Point #1: l wasn’t as enthusiastic about my story idea this year as l was last year.
Conclusion: last year was easier for NaNo.

Last year l was working at the private preschool because it didn’t close until December. I was a lead teacher position and l worked 10am-6pm. Some days l got out earlier, some days l stayed a bit later prepping. Sometimes l took things home with me to work on.

This year l have a new job. I’m an aide so l don’t have any “teacher responsibilities” like staying late, going in early, or taking things home with me. Plus, l work 8am-2:30pm. So l’m home earlier and l’m working less hours in the day.

Point #2: I was working less this year and had less responsibilities.
Conclusion: this year was easier for NaNo.

Last year l was working on my bachelor’s degree. I was taking five full-time online classes. Five is a lot; especially when you’re basically teaching yourself (and some of your teachers aren’t that good at their job…).

This year l am still working on my bachelor’s degree and again l took five full-time online classes. However, one of the classes was accelerated so it ended November 8. For the majority of the month, l only had four classes.

Point #3: school was less work this year.
Conclusion: this year was easier for NaNo.

But wait! There’s more…

Last year, even though l had five classes, l barely had any homework.

This year, even though l technically had four classes, l had a ton of homework. It was hard to balance homework, life, writing, work, etc.

New conclusion: last year was easier for NaNo.

Do you see how much has changed in one year? Some things got easier, some got harder. I don’t know which year was easier for me, but l won both years and that’s all that matters.

I wonder what NaNo 2015 will bring? Where will l be one year from now?

Fire And Ice

I wrote almost 3,000 words this morning. My NaNo word count is now 45,050. The end is near… it’s so close, but it’s so far away. I only have another 5,000 more words to write and then I’ll finally beat NaNo.

I have to say that NaNo didn’t go as well as I thought it would. My original plan was to write 1,000-word short stories so that come December I could expand and edit each story. In the end, I would have a decent collection of short stories that I thought I may or may not publish.

Some had potential to be decent short stories. Others I couldn’t see going very far. Most of them I’m keeping as back-ups for Short Story Sunday. Some of the short stories, as I’ve stated in other posts, have the potential to be something bigger than a short story.

For example, I am currently on part ten of something I called Fire and Ice. It’s a cliched title with a cliched pairing. However, it seems to be coming along quite nicely.

I don’t understand where the idea came from (or where it’s going to go for that matter), but it’s basically about two best friends who, on their 18th birthday, discover they have fire and ice powers. The girl, Joan, has the power of fire and the boy, Grant, has the power of ice.

There is a prophecy (I didn’t write this part as of yet, but the idea has been in my head since I wrote the first part) that states that both has a potential evil inside them. In order to kill this evil inside them, they must kill the other. In other words, if Grant wants to rid of the evil inside him, he needs to kill Joan or Joan would have to kill Grant. Like I said, they’re best friends so you can only imagine how devastated they are going to be when they hear this prophecy.

In the end, will Grant kill Joan? Will Joan kill Grant? Will they both decide to stay friends and allow the evil to overcome both of them? Wouldn’t that be an interesting sight… the two protagonists become the antagonists and run amok together.

I don’t know too much about this story idea, but I keep developing it in my head as I continue to write the parts for NaNo. It’s definitely an idea worth writing down to try to develop into a novel at a later time.

I am still going to start working on my Detective Florence series again once I hit 50k words and NaNo is over, so if I do work on Fire and Ice it won’t be for a long while. I’m sure I’ll be jotting down notes and ideas here and there, but what do you guys think of the potential new novel idea?

My Weekend

I hope everyone had a good weekend. It is Monday yet again. I feel as though it were just yesterday that it was the beginning of a week. However, this week should go by quickly with the holiday coming up.

Kris and I never went to Barnes and Noble on Saturday. We both woke up feeling a little under the weather so we decided it would be best to write at home. I didn’t write as much as I expected (or hoped to) on Saturday, but I did get some writing done nonetheless.

Yesterday I didn’t think I was going to get any writing in at all. I had church in the morning and my friend’s baby shower all afternoon. I came home exhausted and Kris and I decided to play video games (because… priorities). We ended up playing for a half hour, writing for a half hour, alternating the two tasks. I ended up writing over 4,000 words yesterday. I was impressed with myself.

This morning I wrote a little over 2,000 words. I have to get ready for work soon, so I decided to stop for now. I may get the chance to write some more later.

I started writing a “short story” for NaNo and I am now on part seven for it. So, that’s where I stand now on my NaNo. New novel idea? Maybe.

I’m at 42,108 words for NaNo, finally back on par and ahead of the game. I have about 8,000 more words to write and I’m hoping to finish it by Thanksgiving on Thursday. That means if I don’t write again today I need to write at the very least 4,000 tomorrow and 4,000 on Wednesday.

Of course, today I have to babysit after work. Tomorrow I have to go to the doctor after work and Wednesday after work is most likely going to be spent cleaning and preparing for Thanksgiving. The good news is I don’t have school this week, so no homework for me. That’s at least one less thing I need to worry about.

I would really like to get my Short Story Collection/NaNo finished by Thursday so I can continue editing Detective Florence 2 over the break. I need to start riding that horse again.

Short Story Sunday #32

STRANGERS IN A CAFE

            Two men entered Latte Caffeine. One wore a baseball cap announcing his favorite baseball team to the public with an oversized brown sweatshirt. His jeans were baggy with a few rips and tears down his legs. His sneakers were dirty, his left shoe missing a lace. His head was bent down as he looked at his smart phone, both thumbs dancing across the touch screen.

The other man wore a pressed baby blue button-down shirt that was tucked into what looked like brand new jeans. His black shoes shined brightly as though they were brand new. His hands were stuffed into his jeans pockets as he swayed in line looking at the back of the person’s head in front of him.

It was easy to guess which one cared more about what was going on.

“So my wife just texted me asking what I want for dinner tonight,” the disheveled man stated, “what do I want?”

The other man stood in front of him shrugging his shoulders. He didn’t bother to turn his head to look back.

“Josh, stop thinking. You know that’s just going to make you feel worse.” His friend put his phone into his sweatshirt pocket.

“I’m thinking about what drink I want to order.” Josh scoffed looking over his shoulder. “I am not nervous.”

“You seem pretty nervous to me; especially since you order the exact same drink every time we come here.”

“Maybe I want to switch things up this time.” Josh scratched the back of his ear. He took a step forward in the line once someone ordered their drink and stepped out of line.

“Randy…” Josh scowled.

“I’m just saying.” Randy smirked and chuckled.

They waited in line in silence after that. Randy looked all around the café with a smile on his face soaking in his surroundings. Josh was fixated on the menu studying it even though he knew what he was going to order.

When the lady in front of Josh started ordering her drink, Josh turned his head to look at all the people sitting in the café. An older couple was sitting on the couch by the fire sipping on their coffee while sharing a cupcake. A woman was sitting at a nearby table with a large coffee typing away on her Dell computer. Two women and a man were sitting at another table having breakfast and catching up with one another.

There were two empty tables one in front of the other that Josh eyed. He turned around and opened his mouth to say something to Randy, but a voice interrupted him.

“Excuse me?”

Josh turned around and gaped at the cashier in front of him.

“You’re next. What can I get for you?” he asked.

“Oh, uh,” Josh could hear Randy snickering behind him, but Josh did his best to ignore his friend. “I’ll just have a small peppermint mocha, please.”

He handed the cashier a five dollar bill, took his change and stepped out of line.

“Medium mocha frap, please,” Randy stated immediately once Josh stepped out of line.

Josh received his drink and waited for Randy to get his.

“Are you ready? You seem to be really distracted.” Randy questioned in all seriousness. He took his drink winking at the barista.

“I’m fine,” Josh sighed. “Where do you want to sit?”

Randy glanced back and forth between the two tables, both sitting next to a window. Each table had one chair at the ends seating two people to a table. He shrugged his shoulders and finally pointed to the left one.

Josh nodded and sat down at the table on their right. He sat in the chair facing the door of the café. Randy sat down at the left table facing Josh at the other table.

Without another word, Randy took out his phone and started playing a game. Josh held his coffee in both hands gazing out the window. His foot tapped nervously on the ground. After a few minutes, he heard the door to the café open. He straightened his back and stared at the door.

A blonde woman entered. She was petite, but tall with her black high-heeled boots on. Her jeans were dark with a bright yellow blouse. She clutched her handbag tightly as she looked around the café. She stepped in line and ordered her drink right away, as there was no one in line anymore.

“Small peppermint mocha, please,” she ordered.

Josh smiled.

She grabbed her drink and scanned the café with her eyes once more.

“Uh, Gabrielle?” Josh slowly stood up from his chair and raised his hand a little above his head.

“Joshua?” The woman walked towards him.

“Josh,” he nodded sticking out his hand.

“Gabby,” she smiled shaking his hand.

Randy looked up and put away his phone in his pocket. He smiled and gave Josh a thumb-up from behind Gabby’s back as she sat down at Josh’s table. Gabby was good looking and Randy approved so far. Josh tried not to look at him.

“It’s nice to meet you.” Gabby’s voice shook as she spoke.

“My pleasure,” Josh chuckled. He scratched the back of his head and glanced out the window.

“Are you as nervous as I am?” Gabby wondered.

“Is it that obvious?” Josh blushed.

“A little, but I think it’s cute.” Gabby took a sip of her coffee and tapped her fingers on the side of the cup.

“So,” Josh cleared his throat, “according to your profile you like to read?”

“Fantasy all the way.” Gabby nodded with a smile.

“I read a little bit of everything, but fantasy is my favorite too. What is your favorite book?” Josh leaned forward intrigued.

Gabby laughed out loud. “Ask me what my least favorite is. That is a much shorter list.”

Josh laughed at her joke while Randy rolled his eyes. He took another swig of his coffee and peeked inside it. He should have gotten a large.

Friday Morning

It’s six o’clock in the morning and I did not write today. I could have gotten pretty ahead on my word count for NaNo, but now I’m behind yet again.

My psych professor always opens our weekly quiz on Thursday, so I usually take it Thursday morning before work… it’s timed for an hour, but it’s only five questions. It takes me 15 minutes to do. Of course I forgot about it because I finished my homework so early this week. I remembered it last night when I went to bed. So I took it this morning. No big deal.

Now I have to start getting ready for work soon so I’m not going to be able to get any writing. This blog post is going to be as close to writing this morning as I’m going to get.

I’m going to my friend’s house after work today to help her prepare for her baby shower this Sunday. Depending on how early I get home tonight, I will try to write before I go to bed. It’s Friday so I feel no obligation to go to bed early because I don’t have work tomorrow… if I can stay up that long.

Tomorrow I am going to Barnes and Noble with my sister for a big writing day. I hope to really catch up on my word count and go above and beyond.

We just need to see if I’m focused enough between the people coming and going and the Starbucks in my system.

Slightly Ahead Again

I sat down this morning at my computer and wrote another 3,004 words for my NaNo. My current word count is 34,038 which makes me ahead of about 700 words or so.

I’m writing a collection of short stories (really short… each is about 1,000 words long). I’ve been using different prompts I find in books and on the Internet. A few prompts were really good and I can see them becoming novels. Maybe they will some day. Some of the prompts… well, you can tell I was just trying to get the words down.

This morning, instead of doing a prompt I wrote a quick scene with George and Lilah from my novel Detective Florence. This scene has nothing to do with the novel at hand. In fact, it’s an idea for an upcoming two/three-book series for the characters. I always imagined having a case in each novel that surround one larger case that takes two or three books to solve. I have a few cases in mind which means that so far George and Lilah are going to be in at least four different series (minimum eight books, maximum 12 books… and ideas are still coming).

The scene I wrote this morning is from one of those cases. By doing that, I came up with so many more ideas for that case. I planned on that being the fourth case in the series, but I may end up writing it as the second one. We’ll see how it turns out.

Because, you know… I still have to finish up the first case which will probably be two novels. I planned on a trilogy, but George and Lilah didn’t want to work on the case for that long. I have to write the third book, but it will most likely tag onto the second book, which is in the middle of the edits.

Once NaNo is over, George and Lilah are going to get my undivided attention. So I think it helped that I was able to write a quick scene with the two of them this morning.

3,001 Words

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I wrote 3,001 words before work this morning. I’m still about 600 words or so behind the NaNo count, but that’s not too bad.

It was nice to wake up this morning and say, “hey, I can go write” instead of, “ugh, I have to do homework.” It makes the morning so much better.

3,001 is my count for today since I’m going out with friends after work. That’s a pretty good word count for an half and a half though.

We’ll see what l can do tomorrow morning.

Homework Complete

Aside from editing my story draft for my Fiction class and editing my Harry Potter essay for my Rowling & Tolkien class (both due in two weeks, so… whatever), I have completed my homework for the week!

One week’s worth of homework for four classes done in two days. I would like to complain and say it was a struggle, but it actually wasn’t. For some reason, I just didn’t get a lot of homework this week. Maybe it’s because next week we have off due to Thanksgiving? Whatever the reason, I’ll be sure to say I’m thankful for the lack of homework this week at the dinner table next week.

I’m busy after work for the rest of this week, but I’ll be sure to write every morning before work. I get up super early so I have an hour and a half/two hours before work. I’m behind on my word count, but if I can stay focused for those few hours for the next three mornings I’ll catch up no problem.

Saturday will be another Barnes & Noble writing date with my sister. I’m sure I’ll get a lot done then, too. Maybe I can even hit 50k by Sunday. Can I write 22k in five days?

If it happens, it happens. I’m not going to make it a goal. As much as I love writing, I want to take advantage of the lack of homework–it’s almost like getting two weeks off from school.

I have video games to play, people!

My priorities are clearly right where they should be…

In all seriousness though, I plan on hitting 50k by Thanksgiving. That gives me eight days to write 22k. It will be nice if I can do it in five, but eight days is my current goal.

Hopefully not everyone else is behind like me!