Flash Fiction Friday-A Call To Action

Morning everyone! I want to start today by thanking all the peeps that checked out my blog yesterday and commented on my new “do”, it was much appreciated and I was happy to see that my blog is starting to reach some of my friends in the real world as well as the blogosphere! I got some sweet feedback and even some helpful advice, thanks again to everyone who visited and commented.

It’s been a pretty good week for writing and I notice my followers increase when I write more frequently. Sorry, I have been absent so much, it has been pretty busy around the Smyth house lately but things are settling down for the moment. I appreciate your patience. With that being said, welcome to another edition of Flash Fiction Friday, I hope you enjoy what gets conjured up from my imagination this morning.


A Call To Action

The phone rang, waking Jerri’s one-year-old daughter Sasha. She made her way down the hall, propping Sasha on her hip after lifting her from her crib, snatched the phone off the wall in the hall and plunked Sasha unceremoniously into her high chair all at the same time. “Hello?”

“This is the city of La Port’s Office of Emergency Management with an emergency message regarding Hurricane Steven, do not hang up.  Based on current predictions and forecasts, the following actions are in effect for the citizens of La Port: City officials have declared a state of emergency and a MANDATORY evacuation…”

Jerri dropped the phone and turned on the local weather, eyes widening as she realized the storm was almost upon them. No time to get to her sister’s house in Austin, she would have to make preparations to go to the city shelter. The roads were already congested, according to the news crawl under the weather map on tv, what was she going to do? She needed to think a minute.

Calling her husband Bill while giving Sasha a snack on the tray of her high chair, Cheerios keeping her little fingers busy while Jerri waited for Bill to pick up the phone, her mind was a mad jumble trying to think of what all she could grab before dashing off to safety. “Hello?” Bill answered finally on the fourth ring, “Listen, Honey, I know you’re probably in panic mode, but this thing isn’t as bad as they are saying.”  “BILL! I just got a MANDATORY evacuation notice and we can’t get out of here! I’m freaking out a little, and I need some help. I am taking Sasha and going to the shelter, grab your stuff and meet me there, I only have room for mine and the baby’s stuff in my car! I don’t care what you think, I am not gonna be stuck in this house alone while the roof gets blown off!” “Ok, calm down Jerri, I’ll come home for lunch and assess the situation. If I feel we need to get out, we will all go together.” Jerri relaxed slightly and blew out a sigh, “Ok Honey, sorry I got so upset. It’s just that they are serious this time and I think we should listen. I’ll go ahead and get everything ready, see you when you get here, love ya!”

Three days later they emerged from the shelter, grabbing their child and what precious little they managed to take in the rush to leave their doublewide mobile home, Bill still not believing it was serious and Jerri trying her best to convince him otherwise. Wading through water up to their butts, they looked up and down the streets at the devastation left by the storm. Cars were overturned, trees uprooted and roofs no longer existed on most of the buildings. Making their way to Bill’s truck, thank God it was lifted, maybe there was a chance they could still get into it and drive back to the house.

People were literally passing them by in canoes and other watercraft, looking to get back into their own homes or looking for anyone needing to be rescued. The area was a complete mess and Jerri wasn’t holding on to much hope they would find their house in tact. They plodded toward Bill’s jacked up Chevy Avalanche and luckily, the doors were above water. They made the decision to throw their belongings in and lock it up, then turned to see what they could do to help their neighbors. Bill was six foot two, so he grabbed Sasha and Jerri’s free hand. In the other hand,  Jerri had her bag, she wasn’t going anywhere without the security of her essentials, phone, wallet, smokes, diapers and wipes, a bottle of formula, and Sasha’s beloved pacifier.

They spotted the Clarks, Doug, and Betsy,  rowing by and asked them what they could do to help. “Nothing right now” Doug replied, “No one can get in their houses with all this water. Do y’all need a  ride somewhere?” “Nah,”  Bill said, “We haven’t been back to our place yet, did you see it on your way over here?” Doug looked at Jerri and back to Bill, “I’m so sorry guys…” Jerri knew then they were probably homeless. She figured when the water receded they would see what was left and try to pick up the pieces after that. Bill was in total shock, never believing the storm could really do all this damage. He looked at Jerri and Sasha and thought, “I was supposed to protect them and I didn’t even believe the forecast was right” as he trudged through the dirty, disgusting water and watched his fellow neighbors trying to help each other get out of their submerged homes. “Note to self,” he thought, “sometimes the weathermen actually get it right.”

Seeing their friend and neighbor Tina, who was struggling to wade through the water with her six-year- old and her bag held high above her head, Bill hollered for her to stop and he would lend a hand. Reaching her side, he snatched the bag and handed Sasha to Jerri while he told Tina’s son Jade to get on his back. He piggy-backed him to the bed of his pick up and told him to wait there and watch the bag while he went back for Tina. It felt good to do something productive and soon they were all safely secured in the vehicle, warm and safe, if not dry. As he looked around at his shivering, depressed family and friends he said, “Where to?” It took them a moment to realize he was trying to be funny and they all burst out laughing at the nature of their somewhat comical situation.

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Friday-Date Night

Back by popular demand, (ok it was just one special person) I have decided to bring back Flash Fiction Friday, temporarily anyway. 🙂 Without further ado, I give you- Date Night Originally, this was going to be a poem, but I’ve since slept, and therefore cannot remember it.

Kendal and Cindy had decided that their relationship was suffering from the proverbial rut, so over a matter of a few weeks, deemed a certain night of the week date night. It didn’t always fall on the same night, yet the last few times they went out seemed like it was always Thursday night. One thing they discovered was, Thursday is a busy night for eating out. If they got to a place early enough, they found themselves enjoying a drink and hors d’oeuvres rather quickly. If their timing was off, just by five or ten minutes it seemed, they might have a twenty-minute wait.

It was just such a night that they happened upon a little drama unfolding in the bar area of their favorite Mexican food restaurant, Abelitos. As they approached with their required pager block which would alert them when their table was ready, Cindy noticed an attractive lady dining on that night’s special, prime rib, alone at the bar. First off, Cindy thought it was very accommodating that the bar would serve patrons food, thereby reducing or removing that person’s wait for a table if that suited them of course. Secondly, what made this woman attractive was the shock of salt and pepper hair she had perfectly coiffed and done in a way that half was salt and the other half pepper. As soon as they had secured their beverages and a barstool, Kendal stole an opportunity to ask if the prime rib was any good. The lady looked at him conspiratorially and shook her head as if to say, “Don’t bother.”  That was all Cindy needed to see, she knew then that would not be her menu item of choice.

Soon, the pager went off and as it turned out, they were seated at a table right there close to the bar area. Kendal remarked that he could have just left Cindy there at the bar had he known. Once their orders were in, they happily sipped their beverages, a delicious frozen margarita with a sangria swirl for her and a Coronita for Kendal, and noshed on chips and three kinds of salsa. That was one of the things they liked about this place, it was a bit more upscale than the places they frequented on the regular. Normally, they were lucky to get a basket of stale chips and one type of salsa that was refilled whenever the waiter got good and ready to. Not this place though, their waiter was working so hard he was literally sweating. After a bit, they got the food they ordered and while savoring the delightful dishes that had been prepared for them, Cindy noticed a stranger sit down next to Miss Salt and Pepper. A conversation ensued between the two and Kendal said to Cindy it appeared she might be “trolling” for a date. Cindy being the diplomat she was said she didn’t think that was the case at all, she was probably just being polite and making conversation with the guy. She knew that had been the story countless times before she was ever married, and a few times since.

Cindy and her man had been married for over thirty years and they were still the best of friends. Still, sometimes they got so caught up with work drama, family crisis’s and day to day life, they forgot what it was like to have romance and excitement in their relationship. Thus the need to spice things up a bit and get off the couch once a week and enjoy free and easy time with each other. Cindy felt happy and lucky that Kendal loved her enough to make the effort. His desire was for them to grow old and wrinkly together, so they better at least enjoy the ride.

As they ate and drank, Cindy focused on her meal and her own date and lost sight of what took place at the bar until Miss Salt and Pepper got up to leave. Since they had engaged in a few friendly words at the bar, she must have felt like they were privy to her situation because as she turned to go, she looked directly at Cindy and gave her a wink before exiting the bar area. Cindy looked around but could not find the gentleman she had been talking to, so she decided they had hit it off and therefore were rendezvousing somewhere else together. Maybe he saw that she was enjoying a glass of white wine and asked her to join him for another. Whatever it was, she liked to fantasize that he was a perfect gentleman and only wanted to provide the lady some company for the evening. Not everything had to have some ugly connotation attached to it, she surmised. She looked at Kendal then and said, “Looks like Miss Salt and Pepper may have found love everlasting.” He just winked at her and said, “That’s my little romantic, always the dreamer.” “I’m no dreamer,” she replied, “I wasn’t dreaming when I found you!” It must have been the tequila for then she could have sworn she saw his eyes tear up. Guess he was more of a romantic than she gave him credit for. Even after thirty years, they could still surprise each other. This date night thing might just be what the doctor ordered!

 

 

 

Day 328-Flash Fiction Friday-Hookah Heaven

Smokey tendrils reached the ceiling and the pulsing music pounded in his head as he watched the beautiful belly dancer swaying in front of him and his pals on the dance floor. She was barefoot, curvy, and exotic, filling his head with all kinds of ideas as he puffed away on his hose of the shared hookah. His pals and he were enjoying some Strawberry Margarita flavored tobacco in their hookah at one of the premier hookah spots in the city. This was the favored place for feeling at home, now that he was in America. The Egyptian decor and the sights, smells, and music reminded him so much of his home. The year was 2005 and they had been stateside for about three months. Now that he was twenty two, he was free to hang out with his friends when he wasn’t on he job, so he meant for this to be an epic weekend.

He could barely even nibble at his tabbouleh salad for staring at this goddess in front of him, her golden bracelets and charms jingling as her hips wiggled and her arms undulated, mesmerizing him into a zen-like state. As for her, she had zeroed in on his attraction and was playing him like a fiddle, making sure her eyes were locked on his as she worked her magic on the dance floor. He was a great mark for sure, hopefully he was a superb tipper, she was getting nowhere with his chums next to him. She was not the best belly dancer at Qana Cafe and Hookah, however, she was the most mediterranian looking, even if she had been born and raised stateside. Her name was Zona and from the time she was five, she knew she wanted to be a belly dancer like her mother.

Abbas motioned for her to come over and stuck a five in her belly chain. He asked her to come join them when she was done for a drink and a smoke. She nodded and went back to the floor in a type of movement that could only be described as floating. She felt a rush of confidence that made her finish the dance with a flourish, earning her loud applause and many whistles from the crowd. She indicated to Abbas with some finger pointing that she would be back after checking with the boss. He ususally didn’t mind, as long as she asked him first. As soon as she got his knowing wink, she grabbed a Coke and headed back to Abbas’s table, sitting close enough for him to feel her heat, not touching though. Abbas smiled at her and asked her where she was from, trying to be cool in front of his friends although internally he was shaking like a leaf. God, she was even more beautiful close up.

She explained that she grew up in the states, her Dad moved them first from California to Arizona, winding up in Texas. He was born in Lebanon, came to the states in his mid-thirties for work and met her mother in California. She was Italian beauty and had been dancing in a Navy club in San Diego when he met her. He had gone there with some friends from work and she captivated him with her beautiful smile and smoking hot body. That’s what he told her anyway. She giggled as she related this somewhat truthful story to Abbas, who sat staring into her gorgeous chocolate colored eyes, devouring every word she spoke as the gospel truth. Now it was his turn to tell her where he was from and it took him a few moments to get his brain to engage. What was in this stuff, he wondered, thinking the tobacco might have more in it than advertised.

“Well, I am from Turkey originally, but we moved here recently from Spain when the war with Iraq ended. My parents could not take the violence anymore and wanted a better life for me, they knew I would have the best chance at finding a good job here in Texas, with all of the top notch hospitals in the area.” “Oh, so what do you do?” Zona asked with real interest. Abbas told her he had gone to medical school in Spain and was finishing up studies and working in a laboratory until he graduated next year. He was currently employed at Medical Plaza downtown Ft Worth and went to school at UTA. “Well aren’t you industrious, how is it you have time to party?” she questioned playfully. His friend Zebo butted in, “He is making time this weekend, he needs a break from that slave driver boss of his.” Zona indicated that it was almost time for her to go back, and told Abbas “I want you to enjoy yourself now, drink up and I will see you after my next set.”

As she sashayed away from their table, Zebo elbowed Abbas and grinned. “She has the hots for you my friend, you’d better take advantage of that while you can.” Abbas sat back on the plush couch and sipped his virgin Pina Colada. As he waited for her to float onto the dancefloor again, he decided this must be Heaven and couldn’t wait for her to show him what a good time really was. As Zona changed outfits before her next set she was thinking maybe she wouldn’t play this guy for a fool after all, he might just be her Turkish delight.

 

 

 

 

Day 321-Flash Fiction Friday-The Homecoming

Once upon a time, two nice people came to visit me where I lived, with all my kennel brothers and sisters in a pink dollhouse that belonged to my breeder. I was pretty happy here, running and playing on the farm, although sometimes we had to put up with a bath and some pampering every time a customer came in to look at us. The day my owner showed me to my new parents was the best day of my life.

One minute we were all running around on the floor of the dollhouse, the next I was in Mommy’s arms and Daddy was asking her, “Is that the one you want?” When Mommy gave Daddy the doe eyes, it was all over but the crying and Daddy reluctantly forked over the $600 I cost him. Soon after I was trimmed up, given a shot and then we were riding the long ride to my new home. I don’t like being in a car much, it makes me want to puke. Mommy was worried something was wrong with me, but Daddy knew the deal.

When we finally got home, I went exploring my new digs. I liked the house, although the backyard was a little small after being on the farm. Still, it was green and smelled good and I found myself rolling in the grass and clover and looking at Mommy with love. I was shy for awhile, but Mommy and Daddy made me feel right at home. They loved to dress me up and show me off to their friends. We would go on walks around the block and everybody stopped us to say hello. Anytime they went on a trip, I had to go. I never got used to riding in the car, but I only ever puked once.

Then came a day about three months later when we went on a really looonnnng trip. When we got where we were going, we stayed with Daddy’s mother and she had a very irritating doggy named Bonco. What a yipper! He was a total grouch and snapped at me whenever I tried to play with him. That lasted all day the first day and by the next, we were running around the backyard chasing squirrels together like lifelong pals. He was still annoying when he barked, but I guess he was ok for a short visit. Then we went to Mommy’s brother’s house to visit. He had a pool and a fence that was full of holes, so every time I had to go potty, I was put on a leash. Man, I don’t like that place.

One day, I was napping and Mommy and Daddy went on a trip without me. When I woke up, they were walking in the door with a new puppy the same kind as me, but this one looked different than me. Salt and pepper colored, with a quizzical funny face, and I could tell that Mommy was head over heels about her. That pissed me off! Why did they feel the need to bring another dog home? I would not have anything to do with her and demanded Mommy sit with me in her lap for the first three weeks. Slowly but surely, the new pup grew on me and I started teaching her how it was gonna be around the old homestead. I’m the boss, the queen of my castle and you will mind what I say. She was a challenge alright, but soon she figured out her place and now we are thick as thieves.We love to chase rats and squirrels in our lovely new backyard. There are also lots of lizards to chase, and puppies live in every backyard around us, so we get to bark with them every time Mommy lets us out the sliding glass back door. There is a giant square thing full of water, but we can’t drink from that, it’s too salty. Mommy is always trying to get us in it to go “swimming”, but we don’t care anything about it.

By the way, my name is Penny and the pup Mommy and Daddy brought me to play with is called Nicky (short for Nickle). I wasn’t sure about her at first, but now I can say, she is the yen to my yang. We look and act like twins, even though Mommy and Daddy got us in different places and I come from good stock. (they shoulda named me Queeny) Nicky came from some careless breeder four hours away from our old home. She told me in our special language how lucky she was that Mommy picked her out from the rest of the puppies that day. When she first got here, I was mad that Mommy and Daddy were trying to replace me, but now I see they only wanted me to have a playmate-someone to keep me young and healthy. Since that is the case, I guess she can stay.

Day 309-Flash Fiction Friday-I Should Have Worn Sneakers

I crawled into bed as soon as I got off the phone with you, I thought the coolness of the sheets next to my naked body and the fact that I didn’t sleep a wink last night would have me gone in a minute. As the rain clouds lifted and the room became brighter, I realized that the usual was going to happen, that being, I cannot sleep during the day, unless I take more drugs or my illness is accompanied by fever. The dogs had been restless, so I let them out of their kennels and they are the ones now sleeping where I should be.

The whole time I’ve been laying here with my head swirling around and the nausea plaguing my system, my fingers were circling my navel, trying to figure out what bit me and where exactly the bite is. The itch is  maddening and I want to make it stop. I can’t help but wonder if my problem is coming from there, instead of what I earlier diagnosed as a bad reaction to my pain pill. Yes, the dose was too high for me, I don’t do well with opiates to begin with and it might be interacting with my other regular medication. Another possibility is an inner ear infection, since I feel exactly like this when I have one of those.

Every time I have a small belch, the nausea improves a bit, so I keep sipping my lemon infused water and lay back down. Soon, I doze off and I have this dream…or was it? Do you really want to know? If I tell you, it may be you that’s wanting to vomit next, but here goes.

Again, my fingers locate my belly button and I begin probing. It feels itchy and bumpy but I can’t seem to locate a bite, just a big lump deep in my abdominal area just under my navel. Soon, my fingers are deep in my navel again and I feel something different this time. As the realization begins to dawn on me, I recall gardening in my flip flops about a month ago and what I’m now experiencing is starting to make sense. I’m now grasping the head of a tiny, slimy, wriggling thing, and I begin to pull. The nausea rears its ugly head again, but I don’t stop. I think I must get this thing out of me before I can start to feel better, so I pull on it more, even though the thought of what is happening inside my body is freaking me out.

Once I manage to free this monstrosity from my belly, the blood starts to flow so I get up to find a washcloth. I go sit on the toilet, my hands shaking and the vertigo threatening to make me topple off. As I wipe the blood away, I see another hook worm and I pull him out. The urge to hurl is strong and I don’t know whether to keep going or call the doctor for further instruction. I’ve now pulled ten hookworms out of my belly button and I can’t bear the thought of any more being there. This is ludicrous, I think to myself. I live in America, not some third world country! This kind of crap only happens in horror movies, right? How is it happening to me?? I reach for the phone and that’s when I wake up.

Oh my God, was I really asleep? Is it possible that all of this was just some horrible nightmare in the daytime? My hands fly to my stomach as I throw back the sheets and stare at my red, splotchy yet worm free belly button. I breath a sigh of relief and lay back down on the pillows, laughing at my vivid imagination. Clearly that is what caused me to have such a night terror during the light of day, or maybe I have a fever? I get up to check it and realize I slept right through lunch. Considering the circumstances, I think I’ll fast today.

(Author’s note: this story was written from my bed with voice text due to the vertigo and nausea I’m experiencing in real life today, hopefully due to a bad reaction to an opiate I was prescribed for my knee pain.)

Day 302-Flash Fiction Friday-The Entrepreneurs

Before I begin my tale today, one note about yesterday’s post; I did not realize the picture was so small and could not be enlarged, so I made it a little bigger for those who had trouble seeing it. I’m not tech-savvy enough to figure out how to fix that problem.

The Entepreneurs

Carefully, she placed a tiny, Indian seed bead on the length of wire, followed by a spacer and continued adding various brightly colored beads until she got to the end where the connector would go. Then she secured the ends with a crimp bead and lobster clasp. This one was going to be for her best friend, a part of her birthday gift. That’s what gave her the most pleasure, creating beautiful jewelry for her friends and family, not so much for profit…that would make it more like a job in her opinion.

Beverly started making jewelry as a side project and then quickly fell in love with it, becoming obsessed with different shapes and colors of beads until she had a collection fit for a queen. Once she made sure her chores were done for the day, she would wile away the hours, sorting beads and picking out the most challenging patterns until she had just the perfect piece designed for whomever was going to recieve it. Of course, sometimes she made things with no particular person in mind, which is how she ended up with boxes of earrings, bracelets and anklets gathering dust on her shelves. She figured she’d find a use for them someday.

Her husband had no problem encouraging her little hobby, never pressured her to sell her crafts or do something else with her time, all he ever wanted was for her to be happy. As far as Sam was concerned, it was his job as the man to make the money and support the family and her job to keep the house, kids and him clean, fed and satisfied. Whatever else she wanted to do once that was accomplished was up to her. He thought she was doing a fine job managing everything so far, why should she change what was working so well? Beverly had no intention of changing until the day she woke up and thought, ‘is this all there is?’

She really didn’t know where the thought had come from, one day she just woke up and realized that the kids were grown, she was retired and she had nothing to show for all the hard work she had done in her life. The twenty five years she had spent in the field of nuclear medicine were just gone, and what was she doing now that made a difference in their lives? Playing around with beads and wire was not contributing to the household, how was she helping her husband get them ready for retirement some day? She certainly did not want him to work forever, they had big plans for living the dream somewhere down the road. They were supposed to spend their golden years playing on a beach somewhere, not working until they died.

That was when she became a hustler of sorts. She tried everything from selling her finished pieces on the internet to peddling her wares in local craft shows. When that didn’t pan out, she opened her mind to the possibility of a part-time job. She began to find things around the house she didn’t want anymore would sell very nicely on some of those online shopping markets, and pretty soon, she was making a handsome monthly income. Once she got the hang of that, she would seek out things to buy and resell on those same internet sites and soon she had a good business going. It was hard work, but she persisted and before long she was making as much as her husband. She eventually found a marketplace for her jewelry and within three months, she had most of her stock sold.

After six months of steady success, Beverly somehow talked him into leaving his comfortable position at the bank to help her in her new business and together they ran it like a well-oiled machine. They loved shopping for items to resell together, going to flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales-sometimes even refurbishing pieces until they looked fabulous enough to bring a pretty penny. In six more months, they had made enough to buy a recreational vehicle and started traveling the United States,  buying and selling goods as they made their way to places they had always wanted to go together. Now, they were enjoying their time together and meeting new friends in RV parks all over the nation.

Beverly sat in her spot at the little dining table, watching the trees go by in a blur as they made their way to the next destination. Finally, they were on their way to the Florida coast, the place they dreamed of retiring together. She was so happy and Sam seemed perfectly content with their new life on the road. Would they stay somewhere once they made it to the beach, or would they keep moving and working together until they grew tired of it, she wasn’t sure but it did not matter in the least. Whatever they decided, they were doing it together and that was the best place for them to be. Maybe their next adventure would involve boats and fishing, or it could be they might run a Subway restaraunt or a condominium, who knew? She would just have to cross that bridge when she got there and with the love of her Sam, she knew anything was possible.

 

Day 296-Flash Fiction Friday-Mayfest Madness

It was a Friday in Ft Worth, Texas, home of Mayfest and as usual, the weather was geared up to ruin things with the threat of storms. All the vendors lined the streets, food vendors like Polish sausage on a stick, and the best funnel cake you ever ate, were scrambling to get cover set up in case the winds and hail came to crash the party. Katie and her friend Becca were roaming the streets and taking in the sights oblivious to the unpredictable, ever-changing skies above them.

Katie had always wanted to go to Mayfest, this was the first year her parents allowed it since she just turned 15 and Becca was already 16 and able to drive. Becca was a trustworthy girl, her parents gave her lots of freedom because of that. Still, being silly girls with fun on their mind, they were unaware of the possible consequences of braving the spring festival. Becca got permission to drive her dad’s truck to the Trinity Park and off they went.

Becca had two things on her mind actually, boys held the number one spot and coming up a close second was riding the Ferris wheel…but only if said boy was involved, of course. She had many a daydream about being caught at the top of the Ferris wheel with her dream date. So, naturally, she had the eagle eye out for Justin, her current crush. Katie could not understand what Becca saw in that cowboy but hey, she figured to each his own, right? As far as Katie was concerned, Mayfest was the best opportunity for everything artsy and festival food. All she wanted was to go down the food vendor aisle, sampling everything she had room for and top it all off with a delicious funnel cake. Her idea of heaven. Then, she wanted to go check out the latest paintings, jewelry, and whatever live show she could see.

As the girls made their way down the food vendor alley, the wind had started to pick up and the sky had darkened a bit, of course, they were too preoccupied with the latest hot thing on the menu…curly potato chips! Yummy goodness was what they were. The girls had just grabbed one to share and were looking for a place that sold slurpy type beverages when all of a sudden a gust of with snatched the chips right out of Katie’s hand, sending them flying straight out in front of her to land in a sickening splat on the ground. She thought she might cry but then Becca patted her on the back and said, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll get us another.” So as Becca went to do that Katie rounded up the drinks and met her under an umbrella table. That only lasted a minute as well, the wind lashed out again and the umbrella folded down, scaring the girls and making them scramble for safety.

Katie might have been the snacker of the two, but she was also the brighter. She could see what was happening and told Becca they may need to get out of there and try again the next day, the weather was starting to look bad. Becca told her not to be a worry wart, they had rides to ride and she secretly hoped she’d get to see Justin but she didn’t say that to Katie. Thoughtfully munching on a curly chip Katie said, “You know, it could hail and that might wreck your dad’s truck.” “Oh, you’re just being paranoid. That’s not gonna happen.” Becca retorted, “Besides, Dad’s got insurance.” Katie said, “Ok, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Just then, a clap of thunder sounded so loud, Katie dropped the chips again ducking and covering her ears. “Obviously, I wasn’t meant to have those chips!” she cried. Becca grabbed her hand and steered her in the direction of the midway.

Meanwhile, Justin was with his buddy Henry, checking out the car show that Mayfest put on every year. He was here to do guy things and thoughts of girls were there too, just kind of on the back burner. That all changed when, as he was approaching a vintage Corvette, he saw Becca out of the corner of his eye, dragging Katie toward the midway. Oh my goodness, he thought, she is so beautiful. Breaking away from Henry with a holler of, “I’ll be right back”, he turned to catch up with the girls and possibly set up a rendezvous later. “Yo! Becca!” he called and hearing her name, Becca turned in her tracks and then planted her feet. “Hey Justin,” she shyly said, twirling her long brown hair with her finger and biting her lip. “When did you get here?” He answered back, “Oh, I been here with Henry over at the car show for about twenty minutes. Say, you girls headed for the rides?” He knew this was his chance to get on that Ferris wheel with Becca and he wasn’t going to miss it.

The plan was made for all four of them to meet back at the wheel in thirty minutes and the girls went on to the art show to stall for time. Katie was so excited to see what was new because she was such a fan of painting herself. Nothing brought her more peace than creating a beautiful piece from a blank canvas. Making their way past one booth after another, the sprinkles started to become heavier and then Katie could have sworn she felt something icy hit her bare shoulder. “Uh, Becca…” she had just enough time to utter when the clouds opened up and the rains poured down, mixed with pea-sized ice pellets. Squealing, Becca grabbed Katie’s hand and headed for her dad’s truck. “What about Justin and Henry?” Katie called out. “I’ll text em later, we gotta get out of here!” Becca hollered through the howling wind. The hail was now the size of ping-pong balls and it hurt.

Luckily Justin caught the girls running to the truck and fell in line with them. “Hey, can we hitch a ride?” he asked Becca as they sloshed through the ever-growing puddles of water. “Yeah, just move your buns!” she said and all four of them hightailed it through the parking lot to the waiting vehicle. Safely inside the vehicle, Becca looked over at Justin and asked, “How did you guys get here anyway?” to which Justin replied, “We asked to be dropped off by Henry’s folks, they were going to dinner and then they would have picked us up, if we hadn’t found a ride by then.”  “Well aren’t yall the lucky ones?” Katie smirked and they laughed as Becca carefully made her way out of the park, trying to avoid getting hit as panicked visitors raced out ahead of her. Becca secretly thought she was the lucky one, in more ways than one.

 

Day 289-Flash Fiction Friday-Spa Day Surprise

Sheila looked out the window of the speeding car as they flew down the highway, their destination unknown to her. She looked over to her husband and said, “Please, please tell me where we’re going. The anticipation is killing me!” “I’m gonna kill you myself if you ask one more time” Jeff joked. “You’ll see when we get there!” What she didn’t know, was that Jeff had planned the ultimate spa getaway for the two of them and he was anticipating it as much as she was.

It was the week of their 25th anniversary and this was the first time Jeff had ever planned anything quite like this. In the past, they had always sort of lumped it in to whatever they were doing for vacation that year, however this year he wanted it to be special since they were celebrating their silver anniversary. He had actually made a playlist, which they were currently listening to through the car stereo’s blue tooth. “Honey, what does this song make you think of?” he asked Sheila. Thinking about it for a minute or two Sheila looked across the front seat and replied, “That time in Cabo, chilling in the pool at the resort.” The song he was playing was “Summer Breeze” by Seals and Croft-one of their mutual favorites.

Jeff had seen this deal on one of those shopping apps and knew they needed this in their life. The spa featured saunas, play pools, nine different therapy rooms to address whatever ailment or issue you might have. There was an ice room for increased blood flow and something called a Fire Sudatorium where patrons could experience dry heat and oak-tree aromatherapy. What a way to relax! Plus, with his upgrade, once they were nice and relaxed, there were rooms that could be booked ahead of time where they could slip between cool sheets and drift off into a peaceful sleep. Sounded like total paradise to him. Of course, whether they slept much would remain to be seen.

A scant ten minutes after Sheila asked the last question, they were pulling into what looked like to her like an ordinary salon type building. She looked over at Jeff with a question in her eyes and he looked back and said, “Relax baby, you’re gonna love this.” Grabbing their bag he helped her from the car and escorted her through the front doors, giving her bottom a little squeeze on the way in. Playfully slapping him back she said “Jeffery! Not in public!” Walking up to the desk he told the receptionist he had reserved the “escape” package and giving him a wink she said, “Ooh, you’re in for a treat!” Taking in the surroundings, Sheila started adding two and two and realized what this place was. This is no salon, this is a spa, she thought to herself, but had no idea what was in store.

Leading them through poshly decorated corridors and out through the area where the pools were, the receptionist said, all the celebrities relax with us. Jeff looked at Sheila and gave her a wink, “I bet that’s right” he said. He knew what this little trip had cost him, but expected it would be worth every penny. They were about to enjoy a couple’s massage followed by champagne in the hot tub and some other “sensory delight” he was not sure about, yet not too concerned about either. Showing them to their own private cabana, the receptionist gave them each a robe and showed them which room to enter when they got changed. Sheila could not believe how nice this place was and kissed her husband before disappearing into her cabana, “Thank you honey, this is gonna be great!” Pulling her close and kissing her back he said, “You better believe it is, Happy Anniversary babe!”

 

Day 276-Flash Fiction Friday-Lakeside Misadventure

Speeding away from her would-be assailant, CarolAnn raced by the snoozing policemen who were sitting idle at the side of the road. She was riding a Triumph motorcycle like a bat out of hell.  Two seconds later, they saw a man giving chase on a Harley Davidson and they looked at each other, turned on the siren, pulled onto the road and started after them. CarolAnn knew all the back roads and pig trails and soon she lost them all. When she emerged from the woods, however, she was disoriented and never realized she was close to the lake. As she wound down the curvy lane past Larry’s cabin, it never occurred to her that it would eventually lead to his dock, and in her haste to ditch her pursuers, she flew down the dock and unfortunately, into the lake.

Larry watched from his chase lounge at his sister’s lake house as some crazy lady on a 1963 Triumph flew down the lane, off the dock, and into the lake. Standing up, he hurriedly ran down the dock, flailing his arms and screaming, “Help” to anyone close enough to hear, then plunged into the lake to assist the young lady. What the hell must she have been thinking? Luckily for her, the water was warm and no boats were near this early in the season. It was just the end of May after all. A crowd had gathered on the dock as Larry pulled the young lady to safety, his wife was waiting with towels and a stiff drink, she figured the lady was being chased or in some horrible predicament and probably could use one. All the folks were speaking to her at once, “Are you alright?” “What were you thinking?” “Is someone after you?” but all CarolAnn wanted to do was sit on the dock and cry. “Oh, no! My beautiful bike! What have I done? I’ve got to get it out, can someone help me get it out?” Larry wrapped the waiting towel around her shoulders, ushered her to the lounge chair he had just vacated and put the drink in her hand. “Now, now” he soothed, “Don’t you worry your head about that right now. We’ll get that taken care of…do you need me to call the police? I mean, is someone chasing you?” CarolAnn shakily sipped her beverage, wiped her eyes with the towel and said, “I think I lost them.”

CarolAnn had been born and raised in Alabama, not too far from the lake where she was presently trying to explain her situation to her rescuers. Her parents were pretty well off, not that they had a cabin at the lake or anything, but they lived in a very nice, two story house in Jasper at the end of a mile long, winding road. She was brought up to be a bit of a southern belle, yet she wasn’t pretentious like many of her high school friends were. Snobs, they were really. CarolAnn wanted nothing to do with beauty pageants and fancy parties, she wanted a life of adventure. Her idea of heaven was the wind in her hair and the feeling of freedom she felt every time she rode her bike. She loved her sweet tea, she just wanted it to go please. Well, she had found herself an adventure all right, just not the kind she’d had in mind.

Someone was asking her if she wanted some dry clothes, she snapped out of her daydream and answered them, “Yes ma’ma, that would be nice.” The crowd had dispersed and CarolAnn found herself following Larry and his wife… Beverly she had learned her name was, into their cabin for some dry duds and a phone call. “You really should call your parents dear,” Beverly was saying, but CarolAnn wasn’t sure that was who she needed to talk to just now. She was in trouble, that was for sure, and her mind raced for a solution to her present situation. How had she ever ended up in this mess? Now she had no bike, she was on the run and if they found her, she’d be going to jail…or worse. What she needed right now was a friend, so she asked Larry to show her to the phone.

Larry lead her to the kitchen and gave her some privacy so she could make her call. He and Beverly went back outside and started making plans to feed this girl, maybe that would help calm her down, help her think of a plan. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to be involved, he just hated to see a damsel in distress. Presently, CarolAnn returned and looked a little less green around the gills. “My friend is coming to pick me up as soon as she can, I’m so sorry to have been such a bother.” Beverly looked at her like she’d lost her mind and said, “Bother? No dear, we never have this kind of excitement around here! Let us make you some lunch, and your friend can eat too.” CarolAnn replied that she really appreciated it, but they would need to get going as fast as they could. She would pay for someone to fish the bike out as soon as possible. She thanked them for their hospitality and promised to bring the clothes back when she got this mess straightened out. Larry just looked at his wife, shrugged his shoulders and said, “If that’s what you want. I just wish you’d tell me what’s going on, maybe I could help.

CarolAnn had no idea who could help at this point, she just knew she needed to bug out. She was running from a bad man and she could not afford to let him catch her. She had agreed to deliver one package for him but when she’d been paid for her service, he wanted more. She had refused and fled on her bike. Now she was here, scared he would find her and hoping her friend Gloria would get there soon. She could only hope the cops caught him instead and her only problem now was to get her bike from the lake. She would have to wait until Gloria scooped her up, they’d drive by the police station and see if his Harley  was there. If it was, she’d be in the clear-if not, she would have one heck of a time explaining this to her father, who just so happened to be the police chief of Jefferson County in this fine city of Jasper, Alabama.

 

 

 

 

Day 269-Flash Fiction Friday- Destination Ice House

Tom decided that once quitting time came, he was off to The Old Ice House for a frosty beverage, which would be the best dark brew they had to offer. Today had been a hot bitch at work and he was a man in need of some cool relief, an ice cold beer would really hit the spot. He really didn’t want to drink alone tonight so he hollered down the line at his buddy Rich and asked him if he’d like to go with, or meet up there at six.

The place where they worked was a factory in Idaho and the job was making cheese at The Snake River Cheese Plant near downtown Blackfoot. Unfortunately for Tom and Rich, the air had quit working on the assembly line and as a result, they had to work double time to get it packaged and into the waiting refrigerator trucks before it could start degrading. Now all Tom could focus on was getting the job done and heading to the Ice House for a slice and a cold brew. It was their favorite pizzeria and their motto was “the only thing better than the pizza is the view.” The restaurant was situated lakeside and boasted some of the best views in town.


Rich met Tom ten years prior when he moved to Idaho from Kentucky and they had been fast friends from the get go. Rich had been sort of starting over since his wife of five years walked out on him and Tom was in a similar state himself. For Tom though, it was he who had called the marriage quits six months before meeting Rich, so they had something in common that drew them together, Tom had been like Rich’s leaning post and in turn Rich was a great listener. Tom got Rich on at the plant after meeting him one night at the Ice House and hearing of his situation. They were known around the job as mutt and Jeff since Tom outwent him by a foot or better.

Luckily, it was Friday night and the special at The Ice House was a large mug for two bucks and a specialty pizza was fifteen for a large. That suited  Tom and Rich just fine and Tom could feel his stomach growling at the thought of it as he pulled into the parking spot closest to the front door. He barely had time to exit the truck when Rich pulled in next to him. They walked up to the restaurant like brothers, Tom clapping Rich on the back as they entered the front door. The place appeared to be hopping already, Rich found them a seat at the bar while Tom checked in with the hostess.

Carol was the bartender on duty tonight and as Rich got their beverages drafted,  Beverly the hostess had steered Tom to a table by the window. It was just like her to put the men in their favorite spot, even as busy as the place was. They were some of The Ice House’s best customers and besides, she had a bit of a crush on Tom and always made sure he and Rich were happy. She had heard the men’s stories and loved the bond they had formed with each other, it made Tom a kind of hero in her eyes. The men around these parts were a rugged sort and she was not used to seeing guys with close relationships like these two had forged. Sometimes, when it was slow, she would sit and have a soda and listen to them talk about their lives.

As Tom took that first sip, Rich could see the pleasure on his face as he wiped the foam off of his lip and laughed. “Needed that did ya?” he asked and all Tom could do was nod in agreement. “Pizza is coming” he finally said, and the men sat in silence for the next few minutes, not needing anything but their beers and the view, relaxing together as they looked out over the lake, reflecting on their day and how good that pizza was gonna taste once it got to the table. After all, it was made with the very cheese they worked so hard to get off the line day after day.  After a minute or two, they simultaneously picked up their mugs and clinked them together, toasting the fact that another day on the job was over and they still enjoyed each other’s company. “Here’s to friendship,” they both said as the waitress set the pie down in front of them and winked at Rich saying, “Yall enjoy that now will ya.” Rich just looked at Tom and said, “she wants me.” Tom laughed and said, “too bad she can’t compete with this pizza” as he sunk his teeth into his first slice.

This story was composed only from the word prompt “beverage”.  I hope you enjoyed it.