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.