The One Flaw

Prompt: The defect.  Write a narrative based on this word.

“Hey Rob, you even listening to me?”  My best friend Harris’ voice rings in my ear, and I realize I have been walking blindly throughout the mall the whole afternoon.  I feel a heavy weight on my arms and look down to see my hands are laden with bags filled with contents that I don’t remember buying at stores I don’t remember going to.

“Yeah man, I’m just really tired today, rough day on the football field.”  My excuse is lame and pathetic, but Harris isn’t the observant type.  Actually, football practice was easy and slow today, the thing that has got my heart pounding is my date with totally gorgeous, out-of-my-league Casey tonight.  Not that I’d ever admit it.  Harris keeps talking about some video game he bought, but my mind is elsewhere.

What am I going to wear tonight?  What am I going to say?  What is she going to think of me?  I step onto the escalator and nod my head to whatever Harris was saying, it sounded like a question.  I then catch a gleam in the corner of my eye and turn to my left.  There on a shiny new rack the object that gleamed was the most boss hoodie I have ever seen.

I know I sound like a girl raving over clothes, but this was just what I need to impress Casey.  I step off the escalator, ignoring Harris’ questions and march to the rack.  I pull off the sweatshirt and head into the dressing room.  I don’t usually like the cramped, cologne smelling, cheery music playing rooms, but today it is like they are just confirming I have made a good choice.  It fits perfectly, of course because it is fate, so I go out to get Harris’ opinion to make sure I don’t look like an idiot.  I find him leaning against the wall, his brown hair flopped in his face and his blue eyes peering at me curiously.  “You look hot man, and I mean that in a totally friend way – don’t get the wrong idea.”  He said with a crooked smile.

I turn this was and that, trying to look at myself in all directions in the three paneled mirror.  The only flaw is the large grey security strip they stamp into clothes so no thief can take it.  It’s virtually impossible to take off without the special machine cashiers have.  I raced back to get changed, and we headed down to the main level to check out.  The sales woman was cheery and pretty (Harris was heavily flirting) but all I could think of was my amazing date with Casey tonight and how good it is going to go.  I always dread going through the 2 metal plates through the door even though I know I didn’t take anything without paying, the red lights always look like eyes watching me and the beep to confirm I wasn’t a thief sounds creepy.  In my high spirits, I practically skipped through them and into the car.

When I got home, I was doing my hair when an uncomfortable poke hit my side, I tugged at my hoodie-of-awesomeness and it happened again.  I pull it over my head and could almost feel steam blowing out of my ears.  In her air-headedness, the cashier had forgotten to take off the one flaw, the defect to my perfect jacket.  The security strip.  I collapse onto my bed, my happiness gone.  No hoodie means no good date; no good date means no Casey; no Casey means no joy in High School.  My life is over.

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A New Beginning

Prompt: Show what it takes to start all over again.

Will paced the stained beige carpet.  I should wash this thing, he thought.  I should clean this whole house, that will show her I care.  He glances towards the old land line he never used contemplating calling her.  No, you should just forget the whole thing, his brain whispered.  Who is she anyway?  Just some pretty girl who caught your eye.  It’s over now, like all your other relationships.  It persisted.  Will shrugged.  He was right, what’s so special about her?

When he plopped down on the canvas couch, a cloud of dust arose from the scratchy seats making him cough heavily.  Convinced he was doing the right thing he turned on the rusty old box that was supposed to pass for a TV, but the noise just droned on in the background unnoticed.   His mind was already elsewhere.  Selena Walush.  Her angular face came into his mind, the chocolate-brown eyes, soft, but demanding attention.  The full lips that curved inward as she spoke with a confident voice.  He wasn’t sure what was so alluring about her, he had dated many prettier girls.  But the way she carried herself, so sure and seeming like nothing could stand in her way.

It was like she didn’t need a man, just wanted to try a new experience.  Which was exactly Will’s personality, jumping from girl to girl like stepping-stones.  Until he met her, it was like all those stones were just leading him to an island with buried treasure.  And just when he had landed on that island, he stupidly jumped off in the cold water again.

He pictured the disaster scene in his mind.  It started out fine, chatting about their jobs and families, small talk.  but after one drink too many it took a turn for the worst.  It was like when the sun set he turned into a werewolf, rowdy, temperamental and just down right rude.  At first Selena raised her eyebrows, but her expression went from polite to offended to very disgusted.  That was a new reaction for Will, usually the girls just laughed drunkenly along with him or he would get over the stick-in-the-mud girl and convince himself she wasn’t anything special.  And usually they weren’t.

Suddenly he knew what he had to do.   Jumping off the sofa he sprinted to the phone before he could convince himself otherwise.  He punched in her number that he had memorized in the process of arguing with himself.  As the beeps echoed into his ears, he knew that was the right thing to do, the start of a new beginning.

“Hello?”

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A Real Challenge

Prompt: The voice, describe someone who does or does not have one.

“No! No! ‘Zis is not what I meant by romantic!”  My professor had taken one look at my mannequin and stopped in his tracks.  Seriously, he had done a double-take and his face had turned a sickly shade of evergreen.  Personally, I thought my dress was very romantic, a mix between a Grecian goddess gown and a small town hick outfit.  Very unique.  But my instructor seemed to think otherwise, he had taken to “fixing” my garment so I took a step back and watched as the fabric flew off and onto the mannequin.  Taking away bits and pieces of over-layered fabric and completely scrapping my green and red checkered print.  Awww, that was the best part.

When he stepped away, my dress had become a new garment, and a very boring one at that.  Totally fashionable, don’t get me wrong, but utterly ordinary.  “See, ‘Zis is what we strive to create at ‘ze Adam Sanderlan School of Design.”  He said dramatically with a somewhat forced accent.  Monsieur Adoman insists he is French, but behind that accent I hear something more like a southern Boston sound.  His grey stubble showed prominently on his face as he pushed the new dress in my face.  “Now! Sew!” he directs and pushes me in the direction of the sewing room.

As I stumble to regain my balance, I catch every eye on me.  Faces peering behind halfway finished outfits or glancing up as they cut new material on their work table.  I sigh.  These people have talent, but no vision, all their outfits look like something from the window at a Macy’s store and yet they get the most praise.  Lacking style, unoriginal and just down right boring.  I fume over the sewing machine, muttering to myself.  My words being drowned by the purr of the contraption.  I look up to see that I have missed the beginning of an announcement.

“So zu will have tonight to produce zour garment to be shown at ‘ze fashion show tomorrow at 3pm.  Be sure to show zour voice and vision!”  Monsieur Adoman gets down from the chair he was standing on an leaves the room.  I feel a grin spreading across my face as I realize what this means.  A real challenge, with no ridiculous theme like romantic or country style.  Something to show our real voice.  Oh and I have voice!  The others grumble slightly as they meander back to their spots, but I am back at mine lickety-split.  They are not pleased by the fact that they don’t have a theme.  They like guidelines.  Amateurs.  As the others sketch in their notebooks, I am flying to and fro, cutting fabric, snipping loose threads, draping silks and knits on my mannequin.  The night wears on and my peers go one by one back to their hotel rooms to get some rest.  Rest?  Who needs rest?  I am on a roll!  Soon I am left alone in the dark, eerily quite room with nothing but the snip of my scissors and the beating of my heart to break the silence.

I see it all coming together.  I know I won’t win, I know I won’t get an A+, but I know something else.  I have voice.

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Beating Him to It

Prompt: Tongue-tied, sometimes words fail. Describe one of those times.

I feel my palms start to get sweaty before I even pull into the office parking lot.  I can’t believe I’m doing this.  No, you can’t, a voice inside me whispers. Yes, you can, another insisted.  As I push the creaky glass door open and step inside CCS Bank,  I feel courage bubbling up inside me.  But as I walk toward my cubicle and see Natasha Bennett across the aisle, typing away at her laptop, my courage boils down until there are just a few tendrils of smoke whisping in the pit of my stomach.

I open my mouth to say hello, but some sort of squeak comes out.  I cough loudly to cover it up and slide into my seat.  Hours tick away as I contemplate the consequences and possibilities of asking Natasha to the annual CCS Bank picnic.  I feel childish even thinking about it, it’s like I’m back in 9th grade, worrying about not having a date to homecoming.  Well, maybe I’ll just do what I did in highschool.  Not go.  But then  I won’t ever get the chance to be with Natasha since she’s going to move to Oklahoma at the end of this year.

I sigh, log out of my computer and walk down the hall to the cafeteria.  My friend Jim Saunders jogs up to join me in line for soup of the day.  “Hey, man. What’s up?”, he asks, grabbing a tray.  “Oh nothing. I finished my semi-annual report.” I stammer.  My tone hints something is wrong.  ” Oh my god, wasn’t today the day you were going to ask Natasha out?” He practically yelled across the room.  “Shut up Jim, I don’t want anyone to know!”  I turn red and glance around the room, but no one had heard.  Jeez, they must be deaf.  “Sorry, well you have to hurry pal, I heard Davidson has his eye on her.”  My eyes widen.  Davidson is head manager, no one knows his first name and with 6 feet of handsomeness, I don’t stand a chance.  Once again, the two voices in my head go to work.  You should go now, beat him to it.  One said. The other argued, What chance do you have against Davidson?

Then I surprise myself.  Before I could stop to think about it, I hand my tray to Jim and march over to Natasha’s table.  But once again, I feel the strength drain out of me as I stand here with my mouth open.  I push the words out of my stammering mouth. ” N-Natas-sha w-would you l-like to go t-to the p-picnic with me?”  I swallowed, and watched as her friends stare at me, I could feel Jim’s eyes boring into my back.  But Natasha just looked blank.  Picking up her sandwich, she said one word…

“OK”

I stood there speechless.  In my head both voices were singing “sweet victory.”  A triumphant smile lights up my face, and I turn and see Davidson in the entrance to the lunch room.  By the hatred in his eyes, I knew I had beat him to it!

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Crashes and Flashes

Prompt:  Snow scene – use vivid imagery to describe

     Genevieve pulled into a parking space, skidding to a stop on the fresh ice.  She gatherd her things before stepping out of the warm Mercedes, because she knew once she was on the pavement, she would be slipping and slidding all the way to the pond.  She pulled her wildly frizzy blond hair into a knit hat and pushed her A-frame glasses higher up her nose.  Finally, she picked up her camera gingerly, careful not to touch any of the perfectly selected setting or knobs.  As she opened the door, a burst of fridged air blasts her in the face.  In the distance, she heard the CRASH of an icy tree as it shattered to the ground.  She gazed out at the scene in front of her, this alone could sell for a handsome price.
 
 
The iced over lake glimmered as the sun touched it’s surface.  The frozen trees surrounding it stood still despite the harsh wind.  Genevieve slid over the icy pavement towards the white blanket of snow, knowing this would give her a better picture.  She snapped a picture of the full scene before getting down to the nitty-gritty.  Adjusting the closeness dial, she zoomed in so she could get a good shot of the ice crystals in the snow that could only be seen through a microscope.  As she made her way onto the frozen rim of the lake, she stepped more carefully, avoiding what happened a few years ago when one wrong footstep sent her plunging into the lake.  Despite her caution, she slipped, her feet going in all different directions sending her skating around the ice before landing sprawled on her back.
     
 
Genevieve froze as the lake shuddered beneath her and stayed there for another minute even though she felt the icy tendrils creeping through her coat.  She finally got up when she was sure the lake was not going to implode and was met with a happy surprise.  Light snow flakes were drifting down from the gray clouds.  Snow was golden for photographers.  She spent the rest of the day fliming the flurries from all angles and left the winter wonderland in high spirits despite the low temperature.
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My Lottery Card

Prompt: Create a lottery where the prize is not money.

I pushed open the heavy glass doors and was hit with the strong scent of antibiotics covering the still-present odor of infection and disease.  My parents trailed behind me, their eyes bloodshot from crying and barely sleeping, their energy and hope depleted.  In my opinion, the time for crying has long gone, now what keeps me up a night is the determination to keep my little sister alive.  It is my duty, no, my dying wish that she holds on long enough.

The inside of the waiting room is bright and cheery, but photos of smiling kids and neon blue plastic seats cannot disguise the dread and horror of the sick and injured people behind the sweet pink door leading to the infirmary.  The chipper, young secretary greets us as we walk in, her mood so different from the atmosphere in this small room cramped with loved ones that it is almost funny.  But it would be a great accomplishment to make me laugh.  We clip on our visitors badges, and I hold my breath as we step out of the room, knowing the smell would be worse and the sights sickening.  I automatically manuever through the complicated hallways knowing exactly where I am headed.  I stop in front of the door, building strength before I enter.  Knowing that if my face reflects the pain and anguish I feel that it would not do her any good.  So I put on a strong expression and push open the door.

My composure cracks as I see the needles, wires and tubes plugged into my sister’s skin and hear the beeping of her heart, sometimes shuddering before it goes back into its normal pace.  I quickly turn my grimace into a smile and greet her. “Hey Ave, how are you?” I ask hoping she doesn’t hear the crack in my voice.  “Better now that you’re here!” She says, squirming to sit up and face me.  I go by and sit on her bed, brushing her honey-blond hair behind her ear as I do so.  She tells me about her day as I try to look happy but all I can think of is that they are numbered.  She was just about finished and my eyes almost spilling over when the doctor walks in.  “Hey Avery, How’s my favorite patient?”  He says cheerfully as he strides in.  “Better Dr. Martin, but a little hungry.”  She says as her stomach rumbles to back her up.  He smiles and says, “Well, I’ll get right on that, I just need to have a bit of a talk with your family.  We’ll be right back.”  My heart leaps at this news, last time we had visited, the doctor had informed us that her health report would be coming in soon, and we would know her fate.  I give her a half-hearted smile and follow him into the small hallway.

I feel jumpy, like I have a lottery card determining my sister’s life; I may win or I may lose.  I hear my heart sputter as he hands us a clipboard without a word.  There are a lot of numbers and writing I don’t understand so my eyes skip down to a line graph at the bottom of the page showing her health over the past few weeks.  I see the decrease in the line and am unable to process it.  My mom understands before I do, and I hear her quiet gasp.  My brain finally functions and the tears start.  My lottery numbers were wrong.  I have lost.  I choke out a pathetic “no” and everything goes black.

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Car Race

Prompt: Fickle, develop a narrative based on this term.

Jim Morgan pulled to a stop at the cracked wall decorated with crude graffiti.  The designated finish line.  His competitor was nowhere to be seen.  He smiled to himself, he had won again.  He pulled his joystick into reverse and sped out of the cramped alley.  As he checked his mirror to see if it was safe to drive back onto the crowded street, he smiled.  He remembered back to when he had just started racing, how he was always so nervous he would be caught.  It wasn’t exactly legal to race through red lights just to show the jerk in the lane next to him that he was more of a man.  Yet, no cop had seen him, he didn’t know why he used to get so worked up about it.

He had never been caught.  As he drove up to the next light, a shiny silver volvo pulled up next to him.  The driver sported a leather jacket and shades and was staring right at him.  “You got a problem mate?” Jim growled, annoyed at the mysterious driver.  “Yeah, I think I do,” he replied, smoothly taking off his glasses.  Jim had to suppress a gasp as he saw the driver’s piercing blue eyes.  He was sure he had seen him before, but he couldn’t think of where.  “Yeah? Well spit it out, I got places to be and things to do!” Jim snarled, not liking this guy. “Can I interest you in a race my friend?”  He said being mockingly polite.  “Of course, pal.  But I’ll warn you, I always win.”  Jim chuckled under his breath, this rookie doesn’t know what he’s getting into.  He thought.    “Well that’s fickle,” the stranger replied with a grin.

Jim gritted his teeth and reved the engine, a loud snarl came to his lips echoing the snarl of his car.  The stranger’s volvo had more of a purr.  As soon as the light flashed green, he leaped to a start, leaving the stranger in the dust.  He sped around corners and through the streets, laughing at pedestrians astonished expressions.  The buildings sped past him like they were in fast forward.  Soon he left the city and was approaching a gas station, this seemed far enough so he pulled into a parking space waiting for the stranger to arrive.  About 10 minutes later, he did and pulled quietly into the spot next to his. Jim snickered at him and said cockily, “Well, what did I say?  I always win and it’s NOT fickle!”

The stranger stepped out of his car and pulled a police badge from his pocket.  Jim’s eyes widened as he recognized the Chief of Police in his disguise.  He cursed quietly under his breath. “Jim Morgan you’re under arrest for continuous speeding and running red lights with no cease in your behavior. And that’s NOT fickle.”

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