Unforgettable

photo-20160814125951189

The Funky Monkey was her favorite bar.  Or her new favorite bar.  Everything lately was brand new.  New supermarket, new manicurist, new apartment, new friends.  New life.

She was certain her boss had just replaced her on the sales floor when she hadn’t come in a few days in a row.  Her so-called friends had probably shrugged and ordered another round of drinks.  And Jared, the boyfriend she neglected to dump before she left town, had likely deleted her number and called one of his many admirers.  Good riddance.

She nearly fell off her barstool when she saw Jared speaking at a press conference on the TV above the bar, flanked by police officers.  The screen changed, and she saw her own face, a photo taken by Jared during a perfect day at the lake.  She looked nothing like that now.  Her hair was shorter and dyed jet black, her skin deeply tanned, colored contacts in her eyes.  She blinked away tears.

“You know that guy?”  The bartender asked.

She nodded as she downed another shot.

 

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers 

 

Formalities

photo-20160731071945341

He rode up on a dark horse.  So dramatic. I was sitting under an old oak tree on a blanket, sipping sweet tea and reading, my hair falling into my eyes. My parents stepped onto the porch.

“Mr. Powell – I have a question for you, but Mrs. Powell, I want you to hear this too. I love your daughter more than anything. I’d like to ask you for her hand.”

I choked on my tea as Dad shook his hand.

“Helloooooo!” I shouted. “Sean! We broke up MONTHS ago. Before I moved away.”

“But…I thought…if I asked your father…”

“So my dad is the one that gets to decide who I marry?  Not me?

Mom began to wail. “Savannah Elizabeth Powell!!  Do you want to die alone???!!!”

“You people are insane,” I declared, rising from the blanket. “I’m going inside.”

I watched my parents console Sean through the window and rolled my eyes.  I looked to the sky, reminding myself that soon I’d be on a plane, far, far away.

 

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Meet-Stalk

photo-20160703144130170

Alice felt like a stalker.  Maybe she was one.  After all, she’d stood outside John’s office, just out of sight, listening to him tell a coworker all about how he brought his golden retriever to the Piedmont Dog Park every Saturday morning, bright and early.  Stella, Alice’s skittish Pomeranian, curled up in Alice’s lap, bored, ready to leave.

Alice took a long sip of her coffee and took another surreptitious look at the entrance.  No sign of John.  She felt like an idiot.  It was probably some big prank.  Someone from the office was in the bushes, watching her, taking video of her being made a fool of.  It was just so hard to get a guy to ask a girl out these days.  She didn’t know how many more hints she could drop.  Drastic times.

Just then, she saw a flash of yellow darting across the grass, John looking adorably rumpled, chasing after it.  Alice fluffed her hair, then Stella’s, and called out to John.

“Hey, stranger!  I didn’t know you came here too!”

 

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

 

 

 

Strange Boys

photo-20160626134608912

This would be CeCe’s and Ricky’s last date.  She’d been infatuated with him for so long, actually becoming his girlfriend had been thrilling, surreal.  She’d felt like Molly Ringwald at the end of Pretty in Pink.  And the first kiss…a warm shock of excitement shot through her still when she thought of it.  It always would.  But they just weren’t compatible.

They stood in front of the scarecrow at the edge of her family’s property, CeCe knowing that they were in full view of her mother’s reproachful gaze.  She told Ricky she thought they’d be better off as friends and Ricky seemed genuinely surprised.

“I thought things were good,” he protested.

If you only had a brain.

Alone in her room that night, CeCe’s disappointment faded.  Ricky would spend his life in this town, as his family had done for generations.  There was nothing wrong with that, of course.  She just wanted a different life.  There were places she wanted to explore, strange boys she wanted to kiss.

She started packing her suitcase.

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Invasion

photo-20160620054715745

The library was closed.  She locked the doors, shut down the front desk, put away the last of the books that were left behind on the tables.  When the work was done, she pulled her own book from her bag and curled up on the couch by the windows, reading by the waning light of the late afternoon sun.  She heard her phone buzz again in her purse, but ignored it.  Was that the tenth missed call?  The eleventh?

She read until it was too dark to make out the words on the page.  That’s when she saw headlights in the parking lot, heard the angry, urgent pounding against the front door.  She closed the book, pulling up the collar on her shirt for the 100th time that day to conceal the blue-black finger marks on her neck.  She fumbled in the dark for her phone and with trembling hands, for the first time, she dialed 911.  He’d invaded her last safe haven.

For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Game On

place-setting-1056286_960_720

A continuation of yesterday’s post for Story A Day.  The prompt- Write a story paying attention to the pacing.

My post yesterday had a lot of internal dialogue and backstory so today’s moves at a bit of a faster pace and has more spoken dialogue.

Claudine was the epitome of elegance as she leaned against the powder room door.  Emerald studs sparkled from her ears.  Her dark hair was swept back into a chic chignon.  Despite her age, her caramel skin was smooth and free of wrinkles.  She wore a floor-length scarlet gown, the only woman at the party in red.  Her brown eyes flashed with anger as she looked at Madeline’s pitiful state, futilely scrubbing at the dress.

“How much?”  She asked simply, curling her upper lip as though she found the entire scene distasteful.  “How much to get you to leave our son alone?”

Madeline guffawed so loudly she was certain they heard her in the dining room.  “Really?  Is this some cheesy made-for-tv movie from the 1980’s?  You write me a check and send me on my way and I leave through the back entrance, crying all the way to my home on the wrong side of the tracks, never to be heard from again?  I expected more from you, Claudine.  I at least thought you were original.”

“I don’t follow.”  Claudine crossed her arms over her bosom and narrowed her eyes.

“Oh, I’m sure you do.  You aren’t too upper-crust to watch a little trashy TV now and then.”  Madeline gave up on the dress, grabbing beauty products from her clutch and starting to retouch her makeup and hair.  She smoothed her thick, jet black mane that she’d spent a fortune to have professionally blown out, then dusted her copper skin with powder and began to reapply her lipstick.  “I know your whole story.  You weren’t raised like…like this.”  She waved her hand in the air in a sweeping motion, indicating the opulence of the room.  “You come from a working-class family.  Just like me.  You put yourself through college, got a real job, and worked your butt off to make something of yourself.  Just like me.  And then you met and fell in love with a charming, handsome guy who just so happened to come from a wealthy family…”

“Just like you?”  Claudine smirked as she finished Madeline’s sentence for her.  “Do you really think we’re anything alike?”  She stepped closer until they were standing side by side in the mirror.  Madeline could smell her understated perfume, see the dots of green in her eyes.  “You and I,” she pointed at Madeline, then at herself, “Are nothing alike.  I spent every day of my life planning to meet a man like my husband.  I studied.  I took etiquette classes, I read every book and newspaper article I could about high society life – table settings, dinner parties, ballroom dancing, high fashion, fine dining – I went to the right schools, made connections with the right people, so when I met my husband, I was ready for this life.  I earned it…”

“So, you were well-educated in the art of gold-digging.  I get it.”  Madeline smacked her lips, feeling the sticky, smooth texture of the newly applied lip color.  “There some other women who might appreciate your…errr…wisdom, not me, though…”

Claudine laughed.  “Do you really think David’s interest in you is sincere?   Darling, you’re a…what do they call it…a rebound.  A salve on a wound…”

“So, you’d rather he be with his unfaithful ex-wife than a woman who didn’t go to the ‘right schools?'”

“I’d try to explain it to you, dear, but you wouldn’t understand.”

Madeleine brushed past her, reaching for the door, but Claudine blocked her path.  “Think about what I said, Madeline.  I’m sure you have quite a bit of debt to pay off.”  She turned to leave.  “And now you won’t be able to return that gorgeous dress.”

Madeline was left alone in the powder room, in her sodden dress with the tags tucked into the sleeve that she had indeed been planning to take back to the store the following day.  It would take her ages to pay off the credit card charge.  She stared at herself in the mirror for a moment, lamenting her plight.  Then she made a decision.

She burst through the door, heading back to the party with a new confidence.  The servers had cleared the salad course, so presumably at least one person had eaten at some point, and were resetting the table for the next one, whatever the heck that would be.  Fish? Cheese? Soup? Entree?  Madeline had skimmed a Wikipedia article about formal 10-course meals but had a hard time committing the order of all the courses to memory.  The timing was perfect.

Madeline leaned over to whisper in Elisa’s ear.  “Would mind switching places with me?  I know it’s not exactly kosher to change the seating arrangements, but I feel a little silly after what happened and could use a little support.”  She smiled sweetly at Elisa, the well-bred specimen with the perfect pedigree who couldn’t manage to keep her wedding vows.  She furrowed her brows and Madeline could see the conflict going on in her brain.  If she refused, she’d appear cruel, if she agreed, she’d lose ground.  Ultimately, her good breeding prevailed and she rose from her chair, lips pursed, banished to Madeline’s old seat between snoozing Aunt Dorinda and Tiffany the druggie.

Madeline sat and wrapped her arm around David’s triumphantly, bucking tradition.  David kissed her cheek as she raised her glass to Claudine.

Game on.