To Those Who Wait

From the first Occupy Daily Prompt/Blog Propellant “Picture Prompt.” I had fun writing this, so decided to give it the ol’ once over and re-post.


i see you

It’s a pelican’s life. Foggy mornings, calm waters, and blessed, blessed fishermen. The human kind.

Argus was one of the feathered fisherman who kept a special place in his heart for his human comrades, and Pedro, a human fisherman, liked the feathered fishermen like Argus. They understood where each was coming from: There’s the sea and therein are the fish.

As a young bird still learning his way in the world, Argus found Pedro after a long, mostly unsuccessful day looking for food. On that day, Argus stood on the end of the pier, frustrated and hungry. His mother never told him there’d be times like these and he wondered what to do about the pain in his belly. The seagulls taunted him. Swooping and screaming, always either begging, bullying or scavenging. Eating crap. What did they know. Fish are fish. Whatever the other humans ate, who didn’t fish, was crap.

Argus looked the other way, ignoring the gulls. It was the first time he saw Pedro. Pedro was tying up his boat. He then picked up a bucket and dumped an amazing amount of delicious fish back into the water.

Argus took a step forward, and stopped. He looked back toward the seagulls. Two of them were fixed on Pedro. Argus learned early on, in circumstances like these, you just gotta flap like hell to keep the damn seagulls away if you were going to get anything from the likes of Pedro. As the two gulls flew in, Argus ran across the pier, wings out stretched, mouth agape, and gave the loudest squawk he could to threaten the gulls, but it was too late. The rest of the flock had swooped in, making all that racket like the hysterical freaks they are. There was nothing for Argus to do, but hang back on the pier and wait. And hope.

To Argus’ surprise, Pedro stopped throwing fish away as soon as the gull flock arrived. “Shoo! Git!,” Pedro called out, waving his arms. “Git! Go on! Shoo!” he repeatedly scolded until the last one left. Pedro moved over to the side of his boat where Argus and a couple other yearlings expectantly stood.

“You kids, now. You ought’a learn right what yer folks taught ya. Don’t be waitin’ for no more handouts, ‘K?” He repeated his admonishment as he threw out the rest of what he didn’t want. Pedro’s scolding did no good, of course. Argus and his friends would come to always count on to him to throw his unwanted fish away.

It was late one day in winter when Argus decided the float along side Pedro’s boat slip was as good as any place to stay the night. Argus knew he was supposed to be back with all his family and neighbors, but here, next to Pedro’s boat, it was quiet and calm. Just a few clanging sounds, water lapping against the other boats, and no one else but live-aboard fishermen like Pedro. Argus liked the solitude.

A flicker of light caught Argus attention, and he turned to see that Pedro was staring at a small box that looked like it had light moving inside it, like the sun reflecting off the ripples of water. He knew better than to climb aboard, but Argus had to get a closer look. He quietly padded up to the window behind Pedro. To his amazement, there were tiny fishermen, just like Pedro, in that little square space. Pedro just sat there, watching them.

Every night afterward, Argus would quietly watch the tiny fishermen in the square on Pedro’s boat. They leapt and jumped, hid and snuck around corners. They were very, very good hunters, concealing themselves from notice before making their kill. And every time they got their prey.

One day not long after Pedro returned in his boat from hunting fish, Argus tried hiding behind a post, just like the tiny fishermen he’d watched in the small box. Argus figured he’d make a move like the tiny hunters and swoop up all of Pedro’s unwanted fish before the gulls or his friends got to it, but a couple of gulls came after him right off, teasing him about pretending to be such a tough guy.

The next day, Argus tried hiding again. This time, he kept to his hiding place and did not make a move. None of the other birds seemed to notice he was there. He tried it the day after that, and the day after that, and still no one seemed to notice him.

On the fifth day Argus chose his moment, and from his hiding place behind the post, he stormed Pedro’s boat with a loud screech, startling all the other birds and frightening them away. He landed on the back deck railing of Pedro’s boat, and gave his wings a little flutter before settling down.

“HA!” Pedro exclaimed. “I seen you, all stealth-like the past coupl’a days, back there, behind the piling. Wondered what you were up to. Way to go! You showed them!” Pedro threw him a huge handful of fish that Argus caught it mid-air.

“Oh, HO! Right on, buddy, good catch! Here…some more!” and Argus made another clean catch of another handful of fish.


 

Rain’s Respite (Revised…a bit)

I recently read a blog post that reminded me of Rain’s Respite. I wrote it about 3 years ago. It’s a favorite of mine, but it irked me a bit. It wasn’t quite right. So, I’ve taken a stab at a few revisions.


…you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you….

junk shop windowI stood just inside the doorway for a little while to get my bearings, glad to get out of the sudden downpour.

A large cowbell attached to the door on a protruding metal brace was still clanging. I didn’t remember it from before. I stared at it as it continued to wobble and clang while my eyes adjusted to the dark interior.

“I know. Makes me crazy, but there it is.” An old woman was standing at the end of the register counter, hand on a hip, eyes also fixed on the cowbell.

“ ‘s wet out there,” she continued as she lowered her gaze to me.

“Yeah. Plenty.”

“You gonna just stand there looking out at the street or you gonna look around?”

I gave the old woman an apologetic smile and stepped farther into the place. “Of course. I’ll browse.”

With feigned interest, I made my way down the first aisle in front of me, absently taking in the flea-market selection of odds and ends. The time-worn junk store was well-known in my city, at least to those like me and my friends who liked to spend weekend afternoons crawling through antique malls, consignment stores and thrift shops. The place had its fair share of classic junk shop crap, and I bet a few items could be considered valuable antiques, but it was more like the old-time curiosity galleries that used to line beach front boardwalks.

Shrunken heads peered out from behind glass merchandise cases, or under bell jars on wooden pedestals. Who knew if they were actual shrunken heads or novelties made in Japan in the ’50s. They looked real enough. Large bins of polished rocks, sea shells, marbles, plastic doll parts, unmatched Tupperware containers, nails, nuts and bolts of all sizes, and unopened rolls of Christmas wrapping paper were tucked into corners and beside shelves. An assortment of ceramic figurines were just about anywhere you looked, along with various pottery pieces and tableware. Musky smelling used clothing from no particular era of fashion hung on various clothes racks, with very worn out shoes scattered on the bare cement floor below. The occasional large specimen jar with a deformed piglet floating in formaldehyde would pop out at you as you turned the corners of the narrow aisles, and taxidermies of just about every sort of creature were everywhere, from the ceiling rafters to niches under crates and between shelves and display cases. This included a large German Shepard at the entrance, facing out, which I assumed was once the owner’s dog, placed in the very spot it used to sit or lay, watching people walk in or walk by. Looking up, you saw a myriad of black velvet paintings, the centerpiece of which was a reclining female nude with a handwritten Post-it note stuck to the frame that read, “Gorgeous Glenda is anitomicaly (misspelled) incorrect. What’s missing? Guess right and get a penny for the gumball machine.” On a previous visit with friends someone finally figured out Gorgeous Glenda didn’t have a belly button.

“You looking for somethin’ in particular or you just wastin’ my time?” the old woman asked.

“No. Just browsing,” I lied. I was listening to the rain beating down on the roof, trying to gauge when would be a good time to head back out, rather than having my usual fun poking through the flotsam and jetsam.

“Cuz we don’t have no security cameras in here so I has to stands here while you shop. If you ain’t shoppin’ then I just assumes you go on ‘bout your business elsewheres.”

I couldn’t help letting out a laugh. “I’m not casing the joint, ma’am. I’m just browsing.”

“Well, I’ll just stands here while you just browse then.”

“OK,” I replied, pretending not to notice her snark.

I wondered if someone actually tried shoplifting something from the place. I mean, what is here that is so valuable to make someone want to shoplift? I studied the shelves closely. What would I want so badly that I’d shoplift something from here? I looked at a jar with one of the deformed piglets. Probably one of those. I’d never pay money for one, but it would make a great gag at work. I’d anonymously leave it in the lunchroom. I could just imagine the official memo the next morning about respecting common office areas and not to leave personal items in plain view.

As I continued my aimless wandering, still listening to the downpour outside, I spotted a set of glassware exactly like the kind my grandmother had: thick, gold/orange molded stemmed glasses with facets that replicated ornate leaded crystal. A sledge-hammer wouldn’t break the stuff and it was my grandmother’s pride and joy.

“Your grandma or old auntie have a set of those?” The old woman’s voice came from her place up front. I didn’t understand how she was able to see where I was from there.

“Thought you said you didn’t have security cameras in here.”

“That’s right we don’t. I can tell where you are just from the sound of you walkin’ around. Anyways, everyone’s grandma had a set of those glasses. Everyone always stops there and says, ‘Oh grandma had a set of these I remember these.’ ”

“They were my grandmother’s special occasion glasses. She loved them.”

“Yes, ma’am. That they were. They all did.”

“So, where do you keep the things everybody’s grandfather used to have?”

“Over yonder there, by that big clock.”

I looked around for a big clock. There were several. “Which one?”

“That big ol’ one goes almost all the ways to the ceiling.”

I spied it and instantly remembered seeing it before. I noticed its pendulum was still. “Didn’t that used to run?”

“MmmHmm. But it broke. Got over-wound or somethin.’ ”

“It had a very loud, deep chime, right?”

“Worse than that cowbell, I’ll tell ya.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I liked it.” I was now standing in front of the giant clock. I hadn’t really looked at it the times I’d been in the old store before. It was a massive thing, looking as if it was carved from the entire trunk of the oak used to make it. The pendulum alone was at least six feet in length and the clock face had to be just as wide in circumference.

“Where did you guys find it?” I asked the woman.

“It just showed up one day. Someone left it out front. Helluva time getting it in here.” She paused and continued, “Someones told me it looked a lot like the clock used to be in that old train station, downtown.”

“Well, it certainly would have had plenty of room in there. No wonder it was so loud,” I remarked mostly to myself. “Ever been?” I called out to the old woman. “The lobby is huge, with ceilings that go up four or five stories. And all that marble! Amazing place.”

“Nope. Never been on a train.”

I meandered back to the front to take a peek out the front door. The rain had let up a bit. The old woman was still standing at the end of the counter with her hand on her hip. I turned back and looked at the shelves full of books near the check-out counter.

“You have a lot of what looks like first editions,” I said. “Bet you could actually do better selling those online, you know, like through eBay or something.”

The old woman shrugged. “I’ve read every single one of them books,” she proudly stated.

“Yeah? Any of them any good?”

“Sure. I guess. People had a different way of seein’ things back then.”

“Recommend one for me? To buy?”

She looked at me with a faint look of surprise. “Nah, you don’t want them. You take a look at one of those over there,” and jutted her chin toward another bookcase of beat-up paperbacks. A copy of I’m OK, You’re OK was prominently displayed among them.

“I’ll think I’ll pass on those, but thanks.”

The old woman, the stuffed German Shepard and I were silent for a moment; the three of us staring out the glass front doors.

“So, you done browsin?” she asked, still staring out at the street.

“Uh, yeah, I guess.” I headed for the door. It was still raining pretty hard, but I knew the rule of the third time being the charm. The old woman wouldn’t ask again nicely, if you could classify her previous inquiries as nice, if I was there to shop or waste her time. I gave the stuffed dog a pat on the head and opened the door to leave. The cowbell started clanging.

“You come back and maybe next time that ol’ clock be workin’ again.”

“What, that monster and this cowbell? Are you kidding?” I smiled at her and she smiled back.

“Damn thing,” she muttered.


 

Enrique

Earlier this week I asked for a prompt and got the following from R.Sativus and tnkerr: 

Well, that’s just delightful
Spindly
Embroil
Charlatan
Crying won’t help you
Jacket
Tank
Melody
Green
Misunderstood poet
Broken down garbage truck

Alrighty, then…(crack knuckles)…Here ‘goes…


“Well, that’s just…” Melody started to say.

“Just, what?” Enrique asked. “Exciting? Fantastic? Terrific?”

Melody scowled. “No. Not the words I would use.”

Enrique shrugged on his leather jacket over his white tank shirt, grabbed his wallet and keys from the coffee table, and gave Melody a swift kiss.

“I’m out. Later?”

Melody kept her gaze on the television. “Freakin’ charlatan,” she muttered.

“Whoa. Big S.A.T. word, babe!” Enrique chuckled, and bent down for one more attempt at a kiss goodbye. Melody recoiled, holding Enrique back with a soft jab to his gut.

“Why can’t you be serious about this shithead?!”

“Why? Because he’s no more a shithead than any of the rest of ‘em, is why.”

“Oh my God, he’s so much more of a stupid shithead…”

“Hey, ya know what? I need you to stop this shit, OK?” Enrique walked from behind the couch to stand in front of Melody, blocking her view of the TV. “You’re all, like, wrapped up in what they’re sayin’ on the news. You getting’ too worked up. Seriously, you are, like, totally out of control.

“I’ll tell what’s actually serious shit,” Enrique continued, as he headed again for the front door, “My boss’s be up my ass if I don’t get goin’ out to that broke down truck he called about, fast.”

He waited for a response, but Melody was silent. She reached for the remote and turned off the TV. Enrique noticed she was crying. He looked at his watch and sighed.

“Now, what?” he demanded.

“Nothing,” Melody said without turning to look at him. “You go, alright?” she said, flicking her hand dismissively, “last thing we need’s you in shit with your boss.”

Melody stood up, still not looking at Enrique, and walked down the hall to the bathroom. Enrique checked his watch again and followed her down the hall.

“Babe, I’m sorry I yelled,” he pleaded, “but you have to stop watching that crap and stop freakin’ out about f-in Trump!”

Melody started bawling again.

“Fuck,” Enrique muttered.

“No, go! Go!” Melody yelled, “Please! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, just…go! You’ll be late.”

“I’m sorry I yelled, seriously.”

“That’s not it.”

“Then, what?”

“You’ll be late. Go. We’ll talk later. Seriously, go!”

Melody pushed Enrique backwards out of the bathroom, down the hall and to the front door. He gave her a hug and held her a moment. She started crying again.

“Please tell me what the fuck is up with you!” Enrique begged.

Melody took in a sharp breath and in a shaky voice said, “They’re going to send you back. I just know it. They’re going…to…”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa…OK…no…No, they’re not.”

“You don’t know that!” Melody snapped. Her tears continued to stream down her face. She wiped her runny nose with her sleeve.

“OK, first, all this crying’s not helping. Take a deep breath and get a grip, OK?”

Enrique held her shoulders. “Hey, I got a green card, so I’m legit, right? OK?”

“Yeah, I know, but…” Melody interrupted, “but they said on the news that even people with green…”

“STOP with the FUCKIN’ NEWS SHIT! I’m fine! I’m goin’ nowhere! They just getting’ everyone scared shitless, but I’m goin’ nowhere, I swear, except maybe the unemployment office if I don’t get goin’, and like, now!”

Enrique kissed Melody and then placed a hand on her belly. “Nowhere, but here, with you, and little Enrique. I swear.”

“Little Melody,” Melody corrected.

“Whatever. Just as long as she doesn’t have your mom’s skinny-ass legs and arms. Fuckin’ things so skinny, freaks me out.”

“Stop picking on mom,” Melody said, sniffing.

“I love you. We’ll be OK, yeah? OK?”

Melody nodded, wiped her eyes and kissed her husband. “Go,” she said, pushing him again, “because now you’ve made me late, too,” she teased.

Enrique playfully acted shocked at the audacity of her remark as he walked out the door, “ME?!”

He turned and jogged to his car parked down the street, head held high, a smile across his face; a vision of a cool, casual, confident young man without a care in the world. He wasn’t worried. Nothin’ and no one was going to touch a hair on his, or anyone in his family’s head ever again. He’d made sure of that when he put his uncle in his grave.


All, but one! And a few loose interpretations, but hey! Not too bad for being a bit out of practice!

We have to talk

invisiblemanNelson sat still on the couch, hands in his lap, intently watching his wife. She was calm, but he knew Cara was a wreck. There never was any seismic activity prior to her volcanic explosions.  Best thing to do was sit, and wait.

After a few minutes Cara turned her gaze back to her husband. She ran her eyes over every line in his face, searching for what, she couldn’t say.

“How long?”

“What?”

Cara repeated her question. “How long?”

“How long, what, have I known, you mean?”

“I guess.”

“My whole life. Well, most of it. I didn’t think much about it when I was a little kid.”

“And, now, you think, hey, this would be the perfect time to bring it up. Hey Cara, honey, guess what? I have something to tell you! You have a moment? Take a seat. You’ll want to sit down for this one.”

Cara was reacting more like a Mount St. Helens than a Vesuvius. He expected Vesuvius. It’s why he sent their children to stay the night with friends, with a story for the parents he wanted to surprise Cara for their anniversary with a night all to themselves.

“Of course I’ve been thinking about this a lot. And yes, of course, it’s a big deal, a very big deal, and so I wanted to make time, that is, I wanted to choose a good time, the right time, I mean, well, there’s never the right time for something like…”

“Nels! Please stop, just…stop.”

Cara resumed her distant gaze. She looked frightened and confused and it was breaking his heart. Nelson folded his hands in his lap. As much as he wanted to hold her close and tell her it would all work out, he had to consider that Vesuvius was still a very real possibility.

Cara suddenly jumped up and went into the kitchen. Nelson heard the water in the sink run, the door of the dishwasher fall open, a tray roll out, and the clank of dishes as Cara started to load the washer. Nelson got up and followed her into the kitchen. He picked up a dish and a glass and handed them to her.

“Just put them down. I’m fine.”

Nelson put the dishes down, then turned and grabbed a bar stool from the bar counter, situating himself close to his wife so she had to reach in front of him to get to the dishes. Cara stubbornly kept working, pretending to not notice his close proximity.

OK. He’d have to risk it. Vesuvius had to happen, or there’d be no moving forward. Nelson took in a long deep breath, closed his eyes, and when he heard Cara scream, he knew his transition was complete.

“I can put on a pair of glasses, if that would help,” he yelled as loud as he could manage.

“Nelson??!! Nelson! I…I… where are you… I can barely hear you. Where the F– are you?! God, Nels, please, you’re freaking me out!”

Cara started to sob uncontrollably. Vesuvius. Nelson closed his eyes again, took in another deep breath, and when he felt the smack across his face, he knew he had rematerialized. He pulled her to him, fighting off her thrashing arms, and rocked her for what seemed like an eternity until she calmed down. She was still crying when he held her back by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes.

“We’ll figure this out, hm?” he whispered.

“I th…thoug…thought,” Cara hiccupped, “th…that stuff…stuff…is only, only Super Heroes in the comics, l…like, like the X-Men movies.”

“Don’t forget 50s horror flicks.”

“Oh, my God! You really are a mutant! Is that really how…they actually exist?!”

“No, no, no, no….I’m not Peter Parker who gets bitten by a radioactive spider. Or, whatever failed experiment made The Invisible Man invisible. And certainly not Wolverine.”

“Then…what…?”

Nelson took his wife’s hand and led her back to the living room. He sat her on the couch and then sat opposite her on the ottoman.

“I have no idea how or why. I only know I’ve always been able to do it.”

Cara kept shaking her head. “Mutants actually are a thing, oh my God…!”

“Hey. I said, no.” Nelson put up a cautionary finger when Cara started to speak again. He continued, “That is entirely fantasy. I do not have cells that, whatever. Mutate. I change. Entirely. I go from one way of being to, I don’t know, being something else, is the only way I know how to explain it.”

Cara didn’t respond for a minute. Nelson fought the urge to sit back with his hands in his lap. Finally, she said, “Can you do it again? Now?”

Nelson moved next to her on the couch. He took her hands in his. He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath.

Cara watched as Nelson dissolved in an instant. She felt nothing in her hands and instinctively pulled back in horror. Like before, she thought she heard Nelson. It was if he was yelling, but she could barely make it out. His voice seemed to be coming from not just very far away, but from every direction. In the next moment he materialized.

“I have so many questions. I don’t know where to begin.”

“We’ve got all night, and the rest of our lives. Just ask. Whatever. That’s where we’ll start.”

Putting in Notice

For one last time, I’ve merged TBP’s Cubing the Stories and OLWG writing prompts. The prompts are highlighed in bold type.

Why “last time?” Well, I’ve decided to stop posting prompts to The Blog Propellant. The site will stay up for a while longer because I like the idea of continuing to share all those prompts with whomever happens to pass through. But at some point I will delete it.

Hope you enjoy the following homage to Thom and  April’s prompts and happy endings.


bestiesI looked up at the clock. An hour and a half. Just ninety more minutes, and this place will finally be in my rear view mirror.

“Hey there.”

I looked up to see Nancy, my friend and the only person I was ever able to tolerate among my co-workers. She crossed her arms and leaned against the office door jamb.

“Almost time,” she said.

“Longest 90 minutes of my life,” I replied.

“Looks like you’re all packed up.”

I nodded. “I’m just piddling around with a couple of last-minute memos.”

“You finished that report for Erikson?” Nancy asked.

“Nnnnope.” I snapped. “He’s on his own with that one. His doody, his deal. Let him explain it to the boss. I’m outta here.”

I reached into the banker’s box of office stuff I’d packed and pulled out a small, cheesy-looking plastic sunflower in a bright pink flower-pot that read, “World’s Best___________.” The blank space used to have the handwritten word, “girlfriend,” and below it, “Love, Nancy.” It was joke. A little pick-me-up she gave me after I came to work with a blotchy-red face and puffy eyes from crying myself to sleep the night before after a huge fight with the now-ex-boyfriend.

Unfortunately, a couple of co-workers didn’t get the joke and the rumor mill started churning out all manner of salacious grist. My favorite was the one that had me and Nancy moonlighting as madams of an underground S&M lesbian brothel. We took to ironically kidding around when anyone was in our presence that the first rule of SMLB was not to talk about SMLB.

After a while it all got to be a too much, so I took a Sharpie, and in dramatic fashion, colored out Nancy’s captions. I placed the cheap trinket in a prominent spot on the front of my desk so everyone would have to look at it. It didn’t stop the gossip, but it did send a clear message I knew people were talking about us. By then I’d already decided it was time to move on, so I didn’t care.

“For you,” I smiled at Nancy, handing her the flower. She let out a snort.

“Don’t go hidin’ it up on some top shelf,” I admonished. “Keep it out where everyone can see it. As a reminder.”

“You betcha,” Nancy replied. “It will proudly sit next to my ‘You’re a Shooting Star Employee’ certificate.”

I laughed. “I forgot about that! God, we work with really obnoxious people, right?”

“I think they think we’re the aliens, sister.”

“Well,” I ventured, “that’s only because we don’t appreciate the finer things in life, like Sparkly Rainbow My Pretty Ponies, or whatever that thing Sue Ann was going on about that time.”

“Oh, God, please don’t remind me. That was one of the more painful meetings with those guys from Gates Allen & Jobs!” Nancy covered her eyes with her hand.

“You mean, Pacific Northwest Software Systems.”

“Whatever, those guys. Remember the looks on their faces?”

“Kind of priceless, actually.”

“If it weren’t for us finally interrupting, it would have been just that,” Nancy reminded me.

“We never did get the credit for bringing in that account, did we?”

“That one and others,” Nancy scoffed and then sighed. “You’re the smart one to cut and run.”

I shrugged. “I’m looking forward to my new job, but you know as well as anyone that every place has its headaches.” I hoped my comment would do the trick in deflecting any guilt I had about leaving, or at least stop her feeling stupid for staying.

“Tell you what,” I said, suddenly inspired with an idea, “wanna join me in a little workplace anarchy?”

“Uh-oh…”

I reached again into my banker’s box and pulled out three foot-long stubs of plastic plumbing pipe with chargers poking out of the top of each. “Remember these?”

Nancy’s eyes lit up, “Oh, my God! You still have them?”

I took out a lighter from my box. “C’mon!” and hot-footed out of my office and down the hall to the lunch room with Nancy right behind me.

We made a bee-line for a table in the middle of the lunch room and set down the three cylinders. The last of the kitchen staff was cleaning up and a couple of employees were tucked in a far corner chatting over cups of coffee. All watched intently, trying to figure out what we were up to. I flicked the lighter, lit the three chargers, and stood back.

Within seconds, large clouds of pink, green and yellow smoke rose from the pipes. Nancy and I gave each other a high-five as the colorful billowing smoke spewed up. The plumes grew fast, nearly filling the entire cafeteria, rising higher and higher, with the smell of burning baking soda, nitrous and sugar getting stronger.

“What the Sam Hill are you guys doing?!” yelled the kitchen manager as he crossed over to us from the salad buffet cart, waving his hand in front of his face and squinting through the smoke. 

Just at that moment the fire alarm went off, and three seconds after that the ceiling sprinklers showered down what seemed like an entire reservoir of water. People ran into the lunch room as if drawn in by a giant magnet. 

“I thought, when an alarm goes off, people are supposed to vacate the premises, not come running to the scene of the crime!” Nancy joked.

“F-n lookee-loos!” I laughed. We were soaked completely through and could not get control of our giggles. I held out my arms to Nancy, “This has been so much FUN!” and gave her a huge, warm hug.

I swear, without Nancy’s friendship, my break-up, this place…all of it would have been the end of me. Thank God for good friends.


(sniff buh-bye, TBP guy! sniff)

Three-in-One!

Continued from yesterday’s story, Two-in-One.  R.Sativus’ author April suggested I, “take it another 30,” minutes that is, and continue the story. It was only a few hours before tnkerr posted another of his Online Writer’s Guild prompts, so, in the spirit of how the story started, I decided wait for the next set of prompts. This morning I set the timer for another 30 minutes (and some more time to edit a bit) and wrote the conclusion of Two-in-One based on today’s  OLWG #32 prompts: He really stepped in it this time; Hard right rudder; One more chance!

Click here to read the beginning of the story: Two-in-One


Harvey asked the officer, a bit shyly, “You don’t mind if I ask to see your badge?”

“ ‘Course not,” the officer said, “Glad to. Wish folks always asked, even if a cop’s in uniform, you should always ask.”

Harvey and Lisbeth inspected the walleted document. “So, McIntyre…” Harvey said, a bit haltingly.

“Call me Mac. McIntyre’s my mother’s maiden name. Said she couldn’t think of a real name to give me, so she named me McIntyre.”

“So, Mac, you patrol all of the neighborhood, or just keeping an eye on this house?” Lisbeth asked.

“I keep an eye on the neighborhood. Occupational hazard, I guess! But, I gotta say, the past few months folks have had problems with prowlers and break-ins. Scared the bejeezus out of the Thompson’s daughter last week. She was home alone when she heard…”

“Excuse me! Hello? Hi!” the real estate agent stepped out onto the back porch from the house. She put a friendly, but cautionary hand on Mac’s shoulder. “Let’s not unnecessarily frighten the Samuels, Officer Andersen, OK?”

Mac apologized. “Oh, I don’t mean nothing by it. Just, as I said, doing my bit ’cause of the stuff’s that been happening around here.” The agent put her hand on Mac’s shoulder again and gave him an exaggerated look. “Sorry. I guess I really stepped in it, this time. Sorry Jeanne.”

Harvey asked, “You two know each other?”

“Yes, indeed,” Jeanne the agent replied. “I live just three blocks down, as a matter of fact. And, I tell you, Mac here is a good neighbor to have!” she said brightly with a little laugh. “Break-ins happen,” she continued, “It’s a sad fact of life, but! I assure you, the overall statistic for crime this part of the city is very low!” She gave Officer Mac one last pat on the shoulder.

“Well, that’s good to know,” Lisbeth said. “I was starting to have a little ‘buyer’s-regret,’ but I’ll give this little place another chance, I suppose.”

“Good!” Jeanne said. “The listing agent said yours is the only offer they’ve had so far. It’s a good offer, and barring anything that shows up in the inspection, I think you’ll be happy with your choice.”


Harvey slowly pulled the giant U-Haul moving van up to the intersection. Lisbeth jumped out and jogged across the street to the opposite corner. “All clear!” she shouted. She swung her arms in a pantomime of an airport ground marshal, “Right, full rudder! Full steam ahead!”


[by the way, I choose the sum of 3-2-1, which is 6,  for next week’s “random” selection of prompts ;-)]

Two-in-One

I thought it’d be fun to combine the most recent Online Writer’s Guild and Cubing the Stories prompt this time. I even set a timer for 30 minutes. It’s fun discovering what you can accomplish when you set aside time and clear you mind of other matters!

cube-12The Cubing the Stories picture is to the left.

The OLWG prompts are: They’re not vices anymore; Who can argue with ‘affordable’?; Yeah? Lemme see yer badge.


Lisbeth and Harvey sat in their car looking back at the little house. The realtor slowly paced back and forth along the sidewalk talking on her cell with the listing agent.

“You think we should have made a better offer?” Lisbeth asked.

“No. We’re good. They aren’t going to get much better than ours, I’ll bet.”

“I hope. Now that we’re committed to this, I can’t stand the idea of living another moment downtown in that horrible Tower of Pisa-looking building. All we need is an intimate and affordable house.” Lisbeth said.

Harvey chuckled. “Who can argue with ‘intimate’ and ‘affordable’?”

“Well, you for one! You certainly put up a good fight about it at first!”

The realtor walked to their car and said she was heading back to her office. They asked if they could take one more look around before she left. She opened the house again and said she’d wait in her car until Lisbeth and Harvey were done.

“That little fountain’s gonna need work,” Harvey cautioned, “and this section of fence will need a  couple of corner braces to keep it from falling completely over.”

Lisbeth nudged a small beetle with tip of her shoe. “Yes, well, the yard’s gonna need a lot, I mean a whole lot of work, too, starting with a little pest control, especially if you want that vegetable garden you talked about.”

“Gardening, my darling green-thumb, is your money-trap vice, not mine.”

“Yes, well, when you see the size of the tomatoes and heads of lettuce I will grow, you won’t think of it as a vice any longer,” Lisbeth gently scolded, giving Harvey a kiss on his cheek.

They made their way around the little house again, smiling, excited and hopeful. Standing on the back porch looking out onto the little back yard, Harvey remarked, “This will be the perfect spot to watch summer storms roll by, or take in a moonlit night.” He gave Lisbeth a hug and just as he bent his head down to kiss her, the sound of footsteps came from the other side of the yard. Expecting to see the realtor, they were surprised to see a man instead.

“Evening, folks. Sorry to say, but you folks are trespassing on private property.”

Harvey held out his hand and introduced himself and Lisbeth. “We just made an offer on this house. Our real estate agent is in her car, out front. We’re just taking another look around.”

“Are you neighborhood watch?” Lisbeth asked.

“No ma’am, I’m police, actually. I live across the street and told the owners I’d keep an eye on the place while they are away. I didn’t know it was listed for sale. They didn’t mention it.”

(30 minutes…time’s up! To read the ending, go to Three-in-One)