Short Story Sunday #37

FOUND

            It wasn’t mine. I wasn’t entirely sure who it belonged to, but I found it. If I was the one who found it then that must mean that it was mine, right? If the person who previously owed it really wanted it, then they wouldn’t have lost it. Or maybe they lost it by accident, but they surely would have come back looking for it. Am I right?

I wonder who this belonged to in the first place. I wonder how they lost it. I wonder how long ago they lost it. Seriously, how long has this item been sitting in the middle of the sidewalk? How long has it been missing from its owner? Do they realize they lost it?

My mom always told me that if I found something that didn’t belong to me, I should turn it in to someone. If I found a lunchbox at school, I would have to give it to the teacher or the principal and they would find the rightful owner. You know how some people always ask you that hypothetical question like, “if you found a 100-dollar bill lying on the ground, what would you do? Keep it or take it to the police?”

I always told people I would turn it into the police. I mean, that is the answer they were looking for, right? There was nothing in the question that said I had to answer truthfully. I didn’t swear on the Bible or take an oath to answer a rhetorical question.

So, there I was face to face with this question that was in fact real. It was no longer hypothetical. I was in the situation for real. It wasn’t a dream. It also wasn’t a 100-dollar bill, which I had to admit I was pretty disappointed about. If it were a 100-dollar bill then there would be no question about it. I would pick it up, put it in my pocket, and walk away without another thought.

Yes, I did say I would bring it to the police, didn’t I? I know turning it in would be the right thing to do, but no one is perfect. Not everything does the right thing when they are supposed to. Besides, what are the police going to do with so much cash? The bill’s owner doesn’t have GPS on it. They can’t keep track down who dropped money while they were walking down the street. Why did they even drop it? We can’t figure that out, either.

I’m getting off topic, aren’t I?

How about this: when kids find something they always say finders-keepers, am I right? Can’t that rule apply to adults, too? The item was lost, the owner doesn’t seem like they’re coming back for it anytime soon, and I found it. So that means it’s mine. I think that makes perfect sense. In fact, it’s logical. Kids are so smart these days!

I was still standing in the middle of the sidewalk. I didn’t even bother to pick up the item because for some reason I was thinking so deeply into the matter. I walked over to the curb and sat down with my feet sticking out into the street. The road was quiet as it was in the middle of the day so most people were at work. There were barely any other people walking down the sidewalk, too. I’m sure if there, someone would have picked the item up by now.

I looked to the left and then to the right. A young woman was turning the corner holding onto a little boy’s hand. They were walking in my direction. I turned the other way as I didn’t want to make any eye contact with them. I needed to think.

Should I take the item and keep it? Should I take the item and try to find the rightful owner? Should I just leave the item on the ground and wait for someone else to come along and give them my troubles?

Am I thinking too deeply into this? Would anyone else sit on the side of the road and think about such an item on the ground in the middle of the sidewalk like I am? Would they just walk by, pick it up, and bring it home? Would they just walk by and leave it on the ground not bothering to give it another thought? Maybe other people would walk by and they wouldn’t even notice the item sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. I kind of wish I didn’t notice the item. Then I wouldn’t be so late for work at the moment.

I twisted my neck and peeked over my shoulder. Sure enough, the item was still sitting on the ground. It was mocking me. I felt as though it wanted me to take it home, but then I felt as though it was going to want to go back to its rightful owner. Someone was definitely going to be missing this item.

I turned back around and thought for a few more moments. After thinking and thinking and thinking some more, I finally stood up. I dusted myself off and turned back around to face the item on the ground.

I decided that I was going to end up taking the item home with me. Who knew how long it had been out here? It was only going to get ruined if no one claimed. So, I was going to claim it. Except… it was gone.

I looked left and then I looked right. The young woman with the little boy was turning the other corner, walking away from me. There, in the little boy’s hand I noticed the item.

He didn’t seem to think twice about picking up the item and taking it home with him. I had wasted too much time thinking and now I was never going to be able to get the item. It was gone. It was lost, but it had been found. Then I lost it. And the little boy found it.

Short Story Sunday #36

LATE ARRIVAL

            “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to come.” I smirked to the host as soon as she had opened the front door of her home. My hands were shoved into my pockets and my breath was rising into the air with every word I spoke.

“Well? Aren’t you going to let me in?” I winked.

“Oh, uh… sure.” The woman stepped aside making way for me through the doorway.

I stepped up off the porch and into the foyer looking all around the room. I nodded my approval and slid my jacket off my body. “So, how’s the party going so far?”

“It’s going well, thank you.” The woman held out her arms to take my jacket.

“Oh, well aren’t you a wonderful host.” I smiled mockingly.

She glared at me, but brought my trench coat over the closet and hung it up. She closed the double doors and pointed into the next room.

“Myself and all the other guests are in there having dinner. Won’t you care to join us?”

“Hm, depends… what are we having?” I stroked my chin with a raised eyebrow. “You know I don’t like anything too fancy. You didn’t cook lobster or sushi or anything like that, did you? Is there caviar or maybe a little escargot from your trip to France?”

“Michael, don’t do this tonight. Please?” She frowned at me sounding exasperated already and I had only just walked through the front door.

“Mike,” I corrected with a glare, “or Mikey. Remember you used to call me that even though I preferred Mike? I let you call me Mikey anyway because I liked you. And you liked me at some point too, if I recall correctly.”

“Mike,” she sighed, “I know you don’t exactly approve of this, but this is my engagement dinner. Can’t you please just support me and be happy for me?”

“No I can’t do that, Julie. Sorry.” I shrugged.

Julie closed her eyes and rubbed her temples while taking a few deep breaths. I kicked at the ground waiting for her to look at me again. For a moment, I felt ashamed for the way I was acting. Then again, she should have been marrying me… not her new boss!

“You don’t even like any of this stuff.” I stated. “You live in a big, fancy house with a butler, a maid, and a cook. You eat foods that you don’t even like. You go on trips that you have no interest in. Did you even like France?”

“It was… an interesting experience.” Julie stated matter-of-factly.

“In a bad way,” I rolled my eyes, “you two are complete opposites.”

“Opposites attract, didn’t you know that?” Julie commented.

“That only counts with science. This is chemistry we’re talking about.” I growled.

“Chemistry is science.”

“Not when we’re talking about people!”

“Keep your voice down.” Julie glanced into the other room. “I don’t want you to be making a scene.”

“I think your fiancé does a pretty good job at doing that on his own.” I grumbled.

“You’re just jealous because he got to me first.” Julie glared at me. “I invited you because we’ve been friends since we were children. You’re my best friend, Mike. You’re my biggest support system, you always have been. I’m able to tell you everything. I–”

“Then tell me the truth,” I interrupted, “do you love him?”

“Excuse me?”

“Answer the question.”

Julie stared at me with even eyes. It was difficult to read her expression or figure out what she was thinking. I couldn’t tell if she was hesitating because she in fact did not love her fiancé or if she was just trying to get out of answering because she thought I was utterly ridiculous.

“Do you love him?” I prompted.

“Maybe our friendship would have gone on to the next level if you weren’t such a child all the time.” Julie responded.

“That… had nothing to do with what I just asked you.” I said with a puzzled tone.

“Maybe if you had just got the courage to ask me then this engagement dinner would be for you and me. Did you ever think of that?” Julie frowned.

“I am thinking about it now. That’s why I’m asking… do you love your fiancé?” I took a step closer to Julie and stared down at her.

“It doesn’t matter whether I love Jack or not.” Julie looked up at me with a glare. “I am getting married to him and that doesn’t change the fact that you and I aren’t together. Don’t you understand that?”

I kissed her on the lips.

Julie took a step back with a look of horror. “Why did you do that?”

“A kiss usually gets the girl to come to her senses in the movies.” I shrugged and looked down at the ground. “Did it work?”

Julie opened her mouth to respond, but she looked passed me instead. I turned around and saw Jack standing in the doorway. How long had he been there? How much of our conversation did he hear? Did he see the kiss?

“Darling, are you coming back to the table? The guests are asking for you.” Jack looked right through me as he spoke to Julie.

“I’m attending to another guest out here.” Julie replied promptly.

“Yes, I can see that.” Jack glared at me.

“You can go back into the dining room, honey. I’ll be in there in a minute. Michael was just leaving.” Julie looked directly at her fiancé and didn’t dare to bring her eyes back in my direction.

“Good,” Jack stated and disappeared back into the dining room.

I took a deep breath and turned towards the front door. I didn’t have anything else to say to Julie. I didn’t even want to look at her. I put a hand on the door knob and then pointed to the closet.

“That trench coat was a gift from my mother… I’ll just take that with me, if you don’t mind.” I said to the door.

“Mikey,”

I turned and looked at Julie. She was holding my jacket out to me, her eyes filling with tears.

“I’ll have the maid help me pack. Wait for me in the car?”

Without any hesitation, I kissed her on the forehead. “I’ll leave the engine running.”

Short Story Sunday #35

CATS

            Oh, to be a kitty on a snowy day. It’s one thing to not have the responsibility of anything in the world, but to have the actual opportunity to relax whenever and where ever you want was a blessing in my eyes.

Cats had it so easy. They didn’t have to go to school, they didn’t have to go to work, they didn’t have to worry about money; they didn’t have to worry about anything that us humans have to worry about. The only things cats had to worry about were where their litter box was, who was going to fill up their food dish, licking themselves clean, and where to sleep. Oh, and maybe they worry about when they have to go to the vet next.

However, that doesn’t seem like a lot. I would love to sit around all day taking naps, only to wake when I was hungry. The most stressful thing in my life would be going to the vet.

It was the first week of November and snow was beginning to fall from the sky. It was the first snow fall of the season. People complained, but for once in a long time Mother Nature was actually being appropriate weather wise.

I had to go out in the snow. I had to go to church and teach my Sunday school class. When I left the house, it was cold, rainy, and raw out. I had a puffy winter, water-proof coat with my hood over my eyes as I watched the ground while walking to the car. I didn’t like the cold weather to begin with and adding rain to it was just making the day worse.

Of course, while I was at church snow began to fall. As the hour went on, the rain officially stopped and the snow continued coming down harder and harder. The flakes were a decent size, but none of it was really sticking to the ground. That meant there was going to be a bit of slush on the ground which, to me, was just gross.

I gazed out the window with a sigh. Today would have been the perfect day to sleep in and stay home all day. I would have loved to stay in my pajamas, make a cup of hot chocolate, and curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and a good book or even watch a good movie. It would even be nice to take a long, hot bubble bath. I had too much to do that day, though. Relaxing wasn’t going to be an option.

When church was over, I drove in my car with the windshield wipers going on medium speed as the snow smacked into the windows. The backseat windows were completely covered in snow making it hard to see as they fogged up.

When I made it home, I was completely chilled to the bone. I made myself a large cup of coffee to warm up and also to keep myself away from all the other things I was going to have to do that day.

I entered the living room with my cup of coffee steaming in my hands and I noticed my cat lying on his back in the middle of the room on the brand new carpet. I took a sip while snickering to myself. He looked as though he had keeled backwards and died; especially when his right hind leg twitched suddenly.

Placing my mug down on the coffee table, I kneeled on the floor beside my cat and rubbed his belly. Most cats don’t enjoy getting their bellies rubbed, but my cat loved it. I startled him and he meowed at me as he shot his eyes open. Once he realized it was only me, he rested his head back down on the floor staying rolled over on his back and allowed me to continue rubbing his belly.

“It must be nice to be a cat; especially on a cold, raw day like today.” I sighed.

His long fur made him feel so warm. Add that with the carpet and the fact that he was sitting right next to the heating vent; he was probably so toasty warm that he must have felt like he was sitting in front of a fireplace.

I stood up, glancing out the window. I looked back down at the cat who was now sitting upright right next to my leg. He looked up at me with wide eyes and let out a soft meow and then purred. I bent down to scoop him up in one arm and I grabbed my coffee mug with my other hand.

I brought him up the stairs and into my office. I set him down on the couch where he laid back down and fell straight to sleep. I put my coffee down on the coffee table in front of the couch and exited the room to go into my bedroom. I changed back into my pajamas and grabbed a couple of blankets off of my bed. I brought them back into my office.

I searched my shelves for a long movie and decided on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. It was a long enough movie to keep myself occupied for a few hours. I turned it on, curled up in the blankets on my couch, and my cat snuggled up close to me. Together, I watched the movie while sipping on my beverage and he fell back to sleep again.

Oh, it must be really nice to be a cat; especially on snowy, cold days. Of course, it wasn’t that bad to be a human on those kinds of days, either. Every once in a while it was nice to just sit down, relax, and enjoy the company of the cat.

Short Story Sunday #34

STRAWBERRIES

            “Sorry, I’m allergic to strawberries.” Maggie Henderson smiled sheepishly.

“You… are?” her elderly neighbor frowned. She looked at the counter in the kitchen and stared at the food set out as a buffet.

“Yes…” Maggie frowned now as well. She didn’t mean to upset the old woman.

“Oh, dear,” her neighbor sighed, “if only I had known. I am so sorry.”

“No, please don’t blame yourself. It’s not your fault.” Maggie shook her head trying to defend Mrs. Ravens.

Mrs. Ravens had a prize-winning garden in her backyard. She was never married and she didn’t have any children of her own. So, once she retired, she took up gardening as her hobby. It ended up becoming more than a hobby, but the sole reason of her existence. When she wasn’t able to garden in the winter, she hibernated because she didn’t know what else to do with herself.

When Maggie received an invitation to go to Mrs. Ravens’s “Garden Party” she assumed all the food would be from her garden. This would include lettuce, carrots, corn, pumpkin, squash, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, and many more; including strawberries. However, Maggie just figured she wouldn’t eat the strawberries.

Apparently, unknown to Maggie, Mrs. Ravens decided to experiment with strawberries and only strawberries that past summer. Everything in her garden, aside from flowers, and the occasional vegetable to accompany dinner, were strawberries. Mrs. Ravens discovered how the Internet worked at the beginning of the summer and decided to challenge herself through her gardening.

She found recipe upon recipe for strawberries through the Internet and because of that she wanted to try them all out. She started looking up recipes that used pumpkin so she could grow only pumpkins next summer and have a pumpkin party. This would continue on with different fruits and vegetables for summers to come. Unfortunately for Maggie, this summer just happened to be all about strawberries.

Everything served at the party had strawberries in it; real strawberries, too. Mrs. Ravens didn’t bother to use strawberries flavors or anything artificial in her cooking. She only and always used natural ingredients in her food.

“I wouldn’t have invited you if I had known, dear.” Mrs. Ravens was pouting. She didn’t blame Maggie, but she blamed herself.

“Don’t feel bad, Mrs. Ravens. I’m sure everything is delicious. I’m just sorry that I’m not able to try any of it.” Maggie looked around the kitchen. She watched her other neighbors wander from dish to dish, scraping food onto their plates as though they were at a buffet. The food looked good. The food smelled good. Maggie wanted to try a taste, but she couldn’t risk it.

Mrs. Ravens scratched the back of her head. “Well, I would still like you to stay for the party. I have milk in the fridge and I have some cookies. I made strawberry cookies, but I have Oreos as well. You can have that for dessert, if you like.”

Maggie opened her mouth to agree, but Mrs. Ravens continued to rummage through her kitchen to find other things.

“For dinner… I don’t know what I can give you for dinner.” She murmured to herself. She opened a cabinet and smirked hopefully at her young neighbor. “Peanut butter and jelly? I have fresh home-made bread.”

Maggie frowned and shook her head slowly. “Uh, I’m allergic to peanuts… sorry.”

Mrs. Ravens sighed and let her shoulders droop. “Were you always allergic to these things? I watched you grow up next door. How did I not know any of these things about you?”

“Well, I’ve never eaten at your house before.” Maggie shrugged. “Don’t worry about it, though. It’s all okay.”

“But what am I going to feed you?” Mrs. Ravens asked in a panic.

“I can eat when I get home. I would love to have some Oreos and milk, if that offer still stands.” Maggie suggested. She wanted to make Mrs. Ravens feel better, but she didn’t know how to go about that.

Mrs. Ravens nodded her head with a smile. “Of course you can still have cookies and milk, dear. I just feel bad that I can’t give you anything else.”

“Don’t worry about that. I just appreciate you inviting me to this party in the first place.” Maggie attempted to make her elderly neighbor feel better.

“Well… are you allergic to anything else? I plan on having a party like this at the end of every summer, but just with something different I’ve grown in my garden.” Mrs. Ravens explained cautiously.

“I am only allergic to strawberries and peanuts.” Maggie confirmed.

“Next year I plan on using pumpkins in everything.”

“Pumpkins are fine,” Maggie nodded even though she didn’t like pumpkin all that much. However, she was willing to try it for Mrs. Ravens.

“So you’ll be able to come to my party next summer and you can actually eat?”

“Yes,”

“Wonderful!” Mrs. Ravens clapped her hands together and walked over to the cabinet again. She took out a cup and poured a glass of milk for Maggie. Then she took out the Oreos and handed Maggie the entire package.

“Eat as much as you want,” she explained, “You know where the milk is. If there is anything else that you would like to eat, just let me know and I’ll tell you if it has strawberries or peanuts in it.”

Maggie chuckled. “Thanks, Mrs. Ravens.”

Mrs. Ravens patted Maggie on the shoulder with a smile and disappeared into the other room.

Maggie poured her glass of milk down the sink drain and placed the empty glass in the sink. She took out three Oreo cookies and stared at them.

A young boy who lived a few houses down the street stared at the cookies in Maggie’s hands. Maggie put the package away and handed the three cookies to the boy.

“Do you want some?”

He nodded and took the cookies with a smile.

“Don’t let Mrs. Ravens see.” Maggie explained and watched the boy eat the cookies quickly right in front of her.

Maggie sighed. She didn’t have the heart to tell Mrs. Ravens that she was allergic to milk as well.

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.”

“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.

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.

Short Story Sunday #31

Start with: The hurricane neared…

            The hurricane neared and I was at the house all alone. Both of my parents were at their respective jobs, my older sister was at her boyfriend’s house, and my little brother was at his friend’s house. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I didn’t want to be alone, but there was nothing I could do about it.

The news on the TV was telling everyone to stay inside no matter where they were. Both my parents worked third shift, so they weren’t due home until the morning, anyway. By then the hurricane would (hopefully) be over. My sister called and told me that she was just going to sleep over her boyfriend’s house because she didn’t want to drive in the rain. I asked her to try to come home since her boyfriend didn’t live far away and the rain was not yet bad enough for her to stay off the road. Of course, she told me no because mom and dad would never let her sleep over her boyfriend’s house. This was the perfect excuse to spend the night with him.

I called my little brother to make sure that he was still at his friend’s house or if his friend’s mother was going to try to drive him home. He too was going to spend the night with his friend because they were too afraid to go out in the rain. That was okay with me. He wouldn’t have been able to comfort me if I got nervous with the storm, anyway. As long as I knew where he was and who he was with, that was fine by me.

Now what was I going to do?

A flash of lightning shone through the blinds and a clap of thunder roared immediately after. I pulled back the curtain and gazed out the window. The rain was beating hard against the window pane. It was hard to see out the window with the water droplets covered the glass and the rain was coming down so heavy that it looked foggy outside. However, I was able to tell that the street was beginning to flood. As a pick-up truck drove by, he caused a large tidal wave into my yard and the house across the street; and he couldn’t have been driving more than two miles an hour.

I closed the blinds and draped the curtains closed in every window in the house as I turned on all the lights in the house. It was only six o’clock in the evening in the middle of July. Usually it looked as though it was only two in the afternoon, but between the rain and the dark clouds rolling overhead, it looked as though it was nine o’clock at night.

I sat on the floor in the middle of the living room next to my golden retriever. I brought my two cats into the room with us and they lay next to me and the dog. All three of them slept as I sat up staring at the windows. I could still see bits of lightning coming through the windows and I could hear the thunder and rain pouring down as thought it was right above my head inside the house.

I heard a sudden crack and the lights in the house turned off. The animals didn’t stir, but I jumped from freight. I took another peek out the window and noticed that it wasn’t just my house that lost power, but the entire street. Everything was dark; the houses, the streetlights, and all. I closed the curtain yet again, turning on the flashlight app on my phone.

I rummaged through some drawers in the cabinet in the living room. I grabbed all the candles I had in the house and lit them all. I placed three in the bathroom, a few in all the other rooms in the house, and about ten in the living room along with the flashlight on my phone.

With the dim candlelight in the house and the mixed scents of Christmas Cookie, Wedding Day, Autumn Leaves, and more, I sat back down in the middle of the floor in between my still sleeping pets and twiddled my thumbs. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t want to use any electronics since I wouldn’t be able to charge them again. There wasn’t enough light to read a book. I was just going to have to sit it out. It would all be over by the morning.

Hopefully.

Words: 758

Modified from “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer

Short Story Sunday #30

Start with: I once asked…

            I once asked him if he was ever going to be happy in his relationship. From what I could tell, he didn’t seem to be very smitten with his current girlfriend. I had liked him for a while, but I was too slow in asking him out. Now he was dating some floozy for the past two years and every time he spoke of her, he was never too thrilled. He never seemed to be in a good mood after seeing her.

I wanted to ask him if he thought he and I would be a better match, but I could never get the words out. Despite him being happy or unhappy with his girlfriend, it was not fair of me to ask such a question. I didn’t want to be the reason for them breaking up. I didn’t want to be the “other woman.” Plus, if he didn’t like me back, I didn’t want my heart to break more than it already was. I didn’t want to lose the hope that we would maybe eventually get together.

They were always together. Of course, that was because his girlfriend planned everything out. She knew when they were going to see each other and for how long. Each day was written out in perfect detail except for the dates. That was where he could come in and she would put him in charge of planning those because he was “the boyfriend” and he was the one who “had to pay.” It made perfect sense in her eyes. It didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t think it made any sense to him, either, but there was no telling what he thought. As I said, they were together for two years so I didn’t know if he was too afraid to break up with her or if he actually enjoyed their relationship.

So, I once asked him if he was ever going to be happy in his relationship. It took him a little while to respond as his blue eyes sparkled glancing up at the ceiling deep in thought. His chocolate brown hair shined in the florescent light, his cologne wafted through the air, and his soft thin thumbs twiddled together in his lap.

“I don’t know,” he finally replied with a long sigh and a shrug of his strong, broad shoulders.

They’re married now. I don’t know how he puts up with her and I’m not sure how she convinced him to propose. However, all hope of us getting together is gone. Now all I can hope for is a divorce.

Words: 431

Modified from “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer

Short Story Sunday #29

Start with: If I could stop…

            If I could stop time, now would be the perfect time to do it.

I had been waiting for this moment for years. All of my hard work had finally paid off. From working at a dead-end part-time job to save money only for it to all disappear within the month due to bills and other things. It was extremely difficult to save money when your income was just about the same amount as your expenses.

I didn’t have to worry about that problem anymore, though. As I was sitting among the crowd I realized that this was one less expense that I was going to have to worry about. I was going to have more time so I would be able to get a full-time job; and a decent one, at that. I would be making more money without the biggest expense of all, so I would be able to pay my bills and still have money left over to do what I pleased.

I would be able to go out with my friends, go out to dinner if I didn’t feel like cooking… heck, I could buy regular food at the grocery store and cook healthy meals instead of having instant noodles all the time. I would have money to spare for gas for my car so I could visit my family more often. If I wanted to read a book for fun, I could go to the bookstore and have enough money to buy 50 books!

That was something else I was looking forward to: money aside, I was now going to have more free time to do whatever I wanted. I could read books for fun now, I could hang out with my friends, and I could even lie on the couch and watch TV all day long in my pajamas!

So when they called my name, I walked on stage—holding up my gown so I didn’t trip—and took my Master’s degree from the dean. My family and friends cheered in one section of the auditorium and I stood on stage waving and smiling.

All the attention was on me and I didn’t want to have it any other way. I had worked so hard to make it this far.

I had finally graduated.

Words: 380

Modified from “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer

Short Story Sunday #28

Start with: If you must know…

            “If you must know, I am the woman in charge of this place. You fellows are pretty lucky that I happened to walk by the security room and saw your faces plastered all over the cameras. Do you know what security does to intruders? Security detains them, call the cops, and then the intruders get arrested. Do you know why that happens? Because I told them to do it that way. Do you realize that by having security bring you to my office, I’m breaking my own rules?”

The three men all had their jaws dropped to the floor. They exchanged looks of puzzlement to one another, but none of them spoke. They didn’t even dare to look me in the eye.

I glared at them. “Well?

“We sort of… got lost, I guess you could say. We didn’t even know you worked here, Rebecca. Alan, Shawn, and I were just roaming around until we came across this building. We didn’t think anyone was around.”

“Well, you thought wrong, Matt.” I sighed and rummaged through the things on my desk. I picked up a stack of binders and handed them to Alan. “Hold this; I need a figure out a place to put them. My shelves are so full that I don’t have any room to put anything anymore.”

“Uh,” Alan held out his arms as I dropped four heavy 5-inch binders in his possession. His knees buckled from the weight, but he managed to stay standing.

“You guys owe me big time, you know that? Sit down.” I continued my lecture as all three of them obeyed sitting down on my leather couch on the opposite side of the room.

“Do you know what people are going to think of me? They’re going to think I choose favorites.” I sighed.

“You’re not choosing favorites, though. It’s not like we work here and you’re taking our side when we were in the wrong.” Shawn shrugged his shoulders.

“I mean intruder-wise.” I scoffed.

“But you know us. We’re your friends. Anyone would want to help out their friends. If we were strangers, then you wouldn’t have given us a second glance.” Shawn explained further.

A knock came at my office door. “Now what?” I growled. “Yes, come in.”

“Is everything alright in here?”

“Yes, everything is fine, Lyle. These three are friends of mine who came to visit. They just didn’t know how to get into the building. It was a mistake. Get back to work.” I dismissed the head of security with a wave of my hand.

He dipped his head backing out of my office and shut the door.

I cleared off one of the shelves in the closet and placed those binders and notebooks in a filing cabinet. I grabbed the binders out of Alan’s hands and fit those onto the shelves.

“What is all of this, anyway?” Matt questioned as his eyes scanned the room. Alan shook out his arms now that he didn’t have the weight anymore.

“It’s my office, I told you that.” I sat back down at my desk, turned on my laptop, and opened my planner to the next month. I flipped through the pages, while jotting down some notes in that and on my iPad.

“What do you do here? We didn’t realize you had a… job.” Matt cleared his throat.

I chuckled. “Writing is my job, you know that. I volunteer here.”

“So you don’t get paid to be here, even though you seem to be obnoxiously busy and are in charge in everything.” Shawn raised an eyebrow skeptically.

“I created this place for writers. It’s a big writer’s group for people of all ages. We have security because of the high technology we use here.” I explained. “Plus, there are a lot of writers here who have made big bucks on their novels.”

“How come you’ve never told us about this place before?” Alan wondered. He was now wandering around the room looking at all the notebooks, binders, and books on the shelves.

“I have never told anyone about this place before. Other than these people, I don’t have anyone to discuss writing with. What do you think my friends and family would say if I told them I ran a large community for writers?” I looked up from my laptop as the printer turned on itself and started to spit out documents and articles.

“We would have understood.” Matt nodded his head looking to Shawn and Alan, who agreed with him.

I grabbed a few empty file folders from a cabinet and brought them back over to my desk. “You guys thought this was my job because you didn’t know I had one; even though I am a published author that pays my bills and more.” I took some papers out of the printer and sorted through them, stapling them together and storing them into the folders.

Alan, Matt, and Shawn stared at each other in silence. They hung their heads and didn’t say another word.

I smirked at them, but didn’t dare to explain any further. If I didn’t have any friends or family to support me and my writing, then I needed to find supporters myself and that was through creating a writers group.

Of course, seeing the guilty expressions on their faces, I was sure that they were going to be asking about my writing more often. Maybe they would even read one of my books.

Words: 910

Modified from “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer

Short Story Sunday #27

The title lies. I didn’t have a short story written for today. I’m not going to be home today to write a story, either. But… I did find a notebook with haikus in it that I wrote a long time ago. So here’s three haikus picked out from that lot that I thought were the most interesting. Enjoy.

The beginning starts
Middle is most important
Finally the end

Writing is not just
Words on a piece of paper
It is a passion

Painting on the wall
It shows creativity
Never wash away

Short Story Sunday #26

Prompt: Describe a scene as seen by an old woman whose disgusting and detestable old husband had just died. Do not mention the husband or death.

It wasn’t a very pretty view.

The grass was yellow as it hadn’t been watered in a long time. There were weeds growing almost as tall as I was since it hadn’t been mowed, either. The black top driveway was old, bumpy, and had the autumn leaves covering it No one had been around to blow them out of the way. Trash was sitting on the side of the driveway. It kept piling up, but no one was around to take it to the curb so the garbage men could pick it up. I sure wasn’t going to haul the heavy, smelling garbage down to the side of the road. That wasn’t my job anymore.

The two-car garage looked as though it was in pretty decent shape. However, the right car door was dented. I remembered I accidentally backed into. Boy, did I hear about that for a long time. I was never able to forget that; especially since it never got fixed. It was too expensive and because of that we were never able to use that door again. Our two-car garage became a one-car with a fancy dented door for decoration.

The house itself didn’t look as though it was fine shape, either. No one had been around to take care of the outside and I knew for a fact that no one was around to take care of the inside, as well. So I knew the inside was old, dusty, and most likely moldy. The outside of the house looked terrible and I hoped that it looked better than what the inside probably looked like. That way, people walking by wouldn’t think badly of the house. The brown shingles were falling off, part of the roof was caving in on the left side of the house, and the front screen door was hanging off its hinge. I didn’t care enter the property to take a peek at what the back yard deck looked like. That think had probably collapsed long ago.

The house was too much for me to take care of alone, so I moved out as soon as I ended up by myself. Coming back to the house brought back a lot of memories. Mostly bad, but some of them were good as well. I didn’t want to stay any longer, but I figured I might as well look since I was walking by.

The sight wasn’t pretty. After about five minutes of standing there, I finally walked away. But as disgusting as it was, I immediately began to miss the view.

Words: 427

Short Story Sunday #24

Start With: Life takes some funny twists and turns.

            “Life takes some funny twists and turns. When you wake up in the morning you never know what kind of day it’s going to be. You may wake up on the wrong side of the bed and end up having a really good day. Or you may wake up with a smile on your face, but everything that can go wrong will.

“It all depends on how you look at life. It all depends on how you think. If something is going wrong, think positive, happy thoughts as best as you can. If something is going right, keep thinking those positive, happy thoughts. If you’re going to look at things with a negative perspective, then you’re setting yourself up for a back day. You’re setting yourself up for failure…”

Mimi’s chin was resting on the surface of her desk fighting for her eyes to stay open. She was beginning to tune out the speaker standing in front of the classroom.

She had woken up late this morning causing her to miss the bus to school. Since Mimi’s parents leave for work before she leaves for school, she had to walk. She missed her entire first period class. As a result, her first period teacher gave her the work and notes she missed in addition to some extra credit. Mimi’s teacher said it was because she was missing so much due to being tardy that she was beginning to fail. Mimi assumed it was just a punishment because she had been late so many times.

Yes, Mimi is late a lot to school. When she was late this morning, the principal stopped her on her way in and scolded her for it. She got a detention because this was her seventh tardy that month… and they were only 15 days into the month.

Mimi had to explain she couldn’t stay that day because she had a dentist appointment. She hated going to the dentist, especially since she needed to get a cavity filled. Where the cavity came from, she’ll never know. She barely ate any sweets and was a vegetarian. She was going to have to spend her detention after school tomorrow. There were two things wrong with that.

For one, lacrosse practice was tomorrow, but the principal didn’t see that as a valid excuse. She was going to have to miss a practice in which case her coach was going to be angry with her. Mimi was all ready on thin ice with her coach because she didn’t have very good grades in two of her classes. She was on the verge of failing them and if she did she wouldn’t be able to play until she brought the grades up. She was the best player on the team, so not only would her coach be upset, but all her teammates would be frustrated with her as well.

Second, tomorrow was a Friday. Mimi didn’t even realize students could serve detention on Fridays. Didn’t the teachers want to leave early on Fridays to start their weekends, too? If Mimi was going to stay after on a Friday she wanted it to be because of lacrosse practice.

Mimi yawned and sat up taller in her seat still trying not to fall asleep. She was only in her second period class. There were five more classes to go. How in the world was she going to get through it all?

She stared at her teacher trying to tune back into the lecture.

“So, we’re all going to write mini personal essays about something recent that has gone wrong in our lives. You’ll then explain what you did to turn it into something positive. If you didn’t stay positive, explain why and also explain what you should have done to turn the situation into something positive. Everyone understand?”

Mimi smiled. This was probably the best thing to happen to her all day. It was probably the only positive thing that was going to happen to her all day.

Mimi didn’t like English very much and she was terrible at writing essays. But she looked on the positive side: this was going to be the easiest essay she had ever written.

Modified from “The Write-Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer

Short Story Sunday #23

Goal: 700-800 Words

Hailey stared at Lindsay with a raised eyebrow. Her emerald eyes shifted between her friend’s coffee cup and her friend. Three, four, five… Hailey counted in her head. Would Lindsay ever put the spoon down and just take a sip of her hot beverage?

“You put way too much sugar in there.” Hailey said in astonishment as Lindsay scooped up her sixth spoonful of sugar and dumping it into her mug. The liquid looked as though it was going to pour over the rim if she added any more.

“You don’t put enough.” Lindsay stated in a calm tone. She smirked at her friend while stirring the spoon inside her 12 oz porcelain mug. She tapped the edge of the spoon on the cup’s rim and then set it down in the kitchen sink.

Hailey winced as she watched Lindsay take a gulp of her drink. Steam still raised out of the mug which was why Hailey was waiting to drink her own coffee. Yet, if Lindsay could put six tablespoons of sugar in her drink, then the burn most likely wasn’t bothering her.

It was eight o’clock in the morning and Hailey was stifling a yawn. She was usually able to wake up on her own pretty well in the morning. She didn’t drink coffee much like her friend did, but she was having a cup now because Lindsay had forced it upon her.

Lindsay sighed happily after placing her mug down back down on the counter. She picked the spoon out of the sink, rinsed it, and tossed it into the dishwasher. The spoon was the only object sitting in there. It would have been better to just hand wash it.

With Lindsay’s back turned, Hailey peered into Lindsay’s mug and her eyes grew wide. Lindsay had all ready drunk about half of her coffee. Her eyes shot over to the coffee pot and that was still half full as well. Hailey was sure this wasn’t going to be her friend’s only cup this morning.

“What are you looking at?” Lindsay picked up her mug breaking Hailey out of her thoughts. She took another swig of her coffee not taking her eyes off of Hailey.

“Where did you get these mugs?” Hailey raised hers a little higher examining it.

It was pearly white with red and pink flowers and green leaves and vines curling and swirling around the bottom edges. It made the flower designs look complete. The mugs shined brightly as though they had never been used before. If that was the case, Hailey could only imagine the brown coffee stains that would take over the inside and rim of the mugs soon enough.

“They were my grandmother’s.” Lindsay replied curtly. She too held up her mug to examine it. “Pretty, isn’t it? I guess they used to be her great-great grandmother’s or something like that. The mugs kept getting passed down. It’s a set of four and there’s another set of four, but they look different. They’re similar, but they have seashells on it and things like that.”

“Wow,” Hailey stared at her mug more amazed than she was before. “Honestly, I’m kind of surprised that they’re still around after all these generations.”

Lindsay sighed, “Yeah, most people get jewels or something of the like passed down to them. Nope, I get mugs.”

“Well, your entire family drinks coffee as though it’s water. So it makes sense.” Hailey suppressed a laugh.

“I guess so.”

“I’m curious as to how you and all your grandmothers managed to keep them so clean.” Hailey took another sip of her coffee. She quit coffee a long time ago and she forgot how wonderful it tasted.

“Oh, they’ve never been used.” Lindsay said with a shrug. She poured more coffee from the pot into her mug. She held up the pot looking at her friend. “Did you want anymore?”

“No thanks,” Hailey shook her head. Her mug was still a little over half full.

“Okay,” Lindsay poured the rest into her mug, “I’m going to make another pot anyway in case you change your mind.”

“Um,” Hailey ignored her as she peered into her own cup, “why haven’t these been used, may I ask?”

“Oh, they’re really special. Collectibles or something like that,” Lindsay replied nonchalantly. “They’re worth a ton of money if they’re not used. That’s why they’ve never been used, but only passed down to the grandchildren. It’s because family is worth more than money… something like that.”

“Makes sense,” Hailey nodded with a sigh, “except in your case, coffee is more important than money.”

“True that,” Lindsay smirked. She picked up another spoon and began to count out her spoonfuls of sugar.

Words: 782