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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Fiction: A Super Idea (239 words)

I grew up with them having their team meetings in my living room.  My mom was one of their best fighters, and my Dad made a great team parents—helping to sew up suits or wounds and making everyone sandwiches and tea, or sometimes even a nice hot batch of chocolate chip cookies when he knew they’d all had a bad day.

They strategized sitting on the same couches where I watched Saturday morning cartoons in my pajamas.  The lady with the power of suggestion sang me lullabies when I couldn’t get to sleep.  The guy with super strength played toss and catch with me as a toddler, getting me as high as two and half stories before my father nearly died of anxiety and told us to stop.  The human lie detector was a right pain in my ass when I was a teenager.  They had their own friends, and even their own families, but I grew up thinking that all together they made my family.  Like they were all there just for me.

They taught me to fight.  They taught me to lie.  They made sure that I had every single advantage in the world to do anything I wanted with my life.

But every single one of them got really nervous when I said I wanted to be like my mother and join the team.  Suddenly, they decided that I couldn’t do anything that I wanted.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2015 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Legal Theft Project– Guarded (271 words)

She watched the changing of the guard with amused disinterest.  After all, they were just supposed to be some random customers, and she was just making their food.  She could be amused with their comings and goings, but if she looked properly interested in them—well, people would find that weird.

To the untrained eye, it looked like the annoyed soccer mom drags her exhausted self into the shop after her children were off to school for the day.   She ordered a skinny something or other with a detailed list of the exact pumps of flavoring.  She had barely let her ass hit the chair before she was fidgeting with her phone, looking up god knows what.

Exactly three minutes and forty two seconds later, the college kid in the corner shut his laptop. He packed up his bag methodically, making sure that everything was going to just barely fit, before throwing it over his shoulder and heading out the door, leaving the wrapper from his breakfast sandwich and his straw sitting on the table.  He clutched the coffee like the world was going to end, though, and brought that with him.

And that was it. She had been handed over to the next guard. Soccer mom would be around for about four hours—then it would be clean cut business man for a little while, then young girl with her hair dyed purple.  Tomorrow, it’d be a different collection of people.  No one would connect them.  No one would dream that they were there to protect her.  But she couldn’t be left unattended.  The real world was a scary place.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Stories

 

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Fiction: My Choice (112 words)

I refused to be ashamed for who I like.  So he’s not your type. Good.  You’re not the one dating him.  You don’t like hanging out with him—fine.  We can hang out when he’s not around.  Believe it or not, I haven’t sold my soul to the guy.  You think he’s “uncool,” well, deal with it, okay?  Because I think he’s pretty awesome and I hope he’s not going away anytime soon.

If you think he’s going to hurt me—tell me.  If you know he’s cheating—please tell me.  But, if you just don’t like him, or he doesn’t meet your stupid standards—then just shut up. I don’t care.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Stories

 

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Fiction: An Old Love Story [Part 5] (511 words)

Hamish called me earlier the next day, and although I’d tried to go to bed at a reasonable time, I still found myself exhausted when I reached over to pick up the phone.

“Hello?”  I didn’t even try to disguise the sleep in my voice this time.

“I’m sorry, did I wake you? Is it still early? I think I might still be a little jet lagged.”

“No, no. Any sane person would be out of bed already, I just never claimed to be sane. What’s up?”  I sat up and tried to rub some of the sleep out of my eyes.  I didn’t usually have too much trouble with accents, but his accent was thick, especially when he started talking quickly with excitement and with the phone connection not being as clean as it could be—I needed as much mind power to get there.

“I had a word with some of the people here, and I’ve rented out one of the big business rooms in the hotel for today, tomorrow, and the day after that because they don’t have any big reservations coming in for a while.   I figured we’d had plenty of space to look over the letters, compare notes on what we know about our grandparents’ pasts, and form some sort of plan of action.  To decide when we’re going where, that sort of thing.”

“You rented out an office for this?  And you’re planning to live in the Hilton for the unknowable future?  Hamish, I don’t mean this to sound crude, but–are you rich?”

There was a little cough and a pause at the end of the line.  I thought for a second I might have pushed too fair, but then there was a little laugh, “Uh. Yeah.  Filthy rich, I think the expression would be.  My Grandda, the one who married Lilly, was kind of minted.  When Nana died, my sister and I got all of it.  I gave her a little more than her fair half because she’s married and she’s got a little one–but even still I’ve got more than enough to chase after stupid treasure hunts for another couple of years before I have even consider the possibility of getting a job at some point in the future. So–don’t worry about anything in this quest of ours–It started out as my mission and I fully expect to pay for any and all expenses we may incur.”

“Oh.  Cool.”  There was another long pause as I considered how to address that, but I had nothing.  So–I ignored it. “So–the business center is all ours, huh? Did you have a time when you wanted to start working?”

“Whenever you’re ready, I think.  I can’t wait to figure this all out.”

“Alright–well, I’m going to wash up and maybe get some breakfast, and then I’ll head that way?”

“Sounds good.  I’m going to go ahead and get set up, start writing what I know of a time line.  I’ll tell the people at the front desk to let you in, okay?”

“Sounds good to me.”

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in An Old Love Story

 

Fiction: Favorites (425 words)

She couldn’t ever decide on her favorite thing about him.  She only noticed this because for some reason it was what people kept asking her.  “So—what’s your favorite thing about him?”  What a strange thing to ask someone about their fiancée—and yet it seemed to come up a lot.

But even with her indignation about the specific-ness of the question, she couldn’t help but try to figure out the answer.  What was her favorite thing about him? There had to be something, didn’t there? Something that stood above the rest and somehow made life just that much brighter?  Made his “perfect for her” just a little more perfect? It had to be something.

And she couldn’t make up her mind.  She had nearly a dozen different ideas, and not a single answer. And she really didn’t like unanswered questions, so she often went back and reviewed her options.

Maybe her favorite thing was the way he knew when to hold her close and when to not touch her. And when he did hold her close, he held her like she was special. Not like she was breakable, or that she was fragile, but like she was something important and something loved and something that deserved to be treated well.  And that wasn’t something that always happened.

Maybe it’s the way he knows how to make a joke out of everything—but he also knows when those jokes are left best inside his own head.  He also knew when they should just be whispered carefully into her ear to lighten her mood even if the room as a whole wasn’t in the mood for a joke.  He’d only misjudged this once in the whole time that she knew him, and that was actually quite impressive.

Maybe it was his way of taking silly things very seriously.  There were certain hours of television watching that were treated as good as sacred in their house, and with spreading spoilers of those shows being about as serious as treason.   But, he also knew when silly things had to just be silly and not step on the toes of anything that was actually serious.

Or maybe it was another of the thousand things that came to mind whenever she tried to figure this out.  There were a hundred different reasons that she loved him, and there were a hundred different reasons that she wanted to make sure that he was a part of her life for the rest of her life.

But she just couldn’t pick a favorite.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in Stories

 

Fiction: An Old Love Story [Part 4] (969 words)

Well, Hamish clearly hadn’t been expecting that answer.  He didn’t speak until the waitress came back, and only then to calmly place his order.    I awkwardly sipped at my soda while I waited for him to collect his thoughts. “I was so sure that they were in love,” He finally mutter, “So sure.”

“Well,” I stirred my straw in my soda and watched the carbonation bubbles rise to the top, “They could have been in love.  I mean, look at the letters.  I would bet that Grandpa Dougie did love you grandmother.  After all, doesn’t he say he made a mistake, that the situation changed things?   I know I’ve made mistakes and hurt people, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them.  Haven’t you?”

Hamish looked up at me suddenly sheepish. “I’m sorry.  I might be overreacting a bit.  This is just—not what I anticipated.”

“When did you lose your grandmother?”  Perhaps it was a rude question, but I had a feeling.

“Just over a month ago,” He confessed, “It wasn’t unexpected per se, but it was sudden,” he added with a soft voice.

“I get it.” I answered.  Grandpa Dougie had been gone for a couple of years now, but I remembered when it was just over a month ago.  “Well, Hamish Duncan, you have intrigued me.  There is clearly a story here that I didn’t know about, and I think it will be fun to figure it out.  If you want my help to figure out the love story between your grandmother and my grandfather, then I’m in.  I think it will be an interesting piece of both our families’ history, and even if it ends up not being what we think it’s going to be, I think it will be better to know then to wonder.  At the very least, I’d really like the rest of the letters if you don’t mind.”

“Really?” Hamish looked at me like I’d just given him a life time worth of birthday presents in one sitting. Sure, I’d let him think that I was giving him a present, and it wasn’t just my own selfish desire to know what happen.

“Really.  Let’s make a plan.”

“Where do you think we should start?” Hamish’s seemingly bubbly nature was back, and I was glad for that.   I liked him a lot better when he was smiling.

“Well, I’m not sure where.  You’re the one with all the letters, and therefore all the details on this little madness.”

“Right. Fair point. Okay.”  He took a bite of his hamburger and chewed it thoughtfully.  I picked up a French fry with one hand and continued to stir my soda in its glass with the other.  Understanding Hamish was easy, talking to him was easy, and following his enthusiasm was going to be easy.  That made me nervous.  Good things never came from easy.  “Well, I know my Nan and her brother grew up in this town with their parents who worked in a church.  Apparently that’s where they met and knew Douglas from.  She worked as a secretary in the church before running to Scotland.  Do you think that your grandfather might have been working for the church too?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think so.   I mean, my grandfather was a good man, and he took us to church most Sundays–but he doesn’t seem the type to work for a church beyond helping out on the occasional handy man day around the building, or help setting up a set for the children’s play or something.  I’m not sure he was even an elder.”

“Oh. Okay.”

I was suddenly very aware of the fact that the only two things I’d told this man about Grandpa Dougie was that he’d knocked up one woman before they were married and while he was in love with another woman, and that he hadn’t been big on being involved with the church.  “Don’t get the wrong idea, now.  Grandpa Dougie was a good man. He worked hard and took care of mom and Andrew and me after my dad dipped out. He was nice to his neighbors and even though we never had much he knew how to make things worthwhile.  He was a much better man then a lot of people I know. So, don’t go thinking—“

“No, no, no. I’d never assume.” He waved his hands quickly in front of me.  “No, I know that is an interesting situation and that things are going to come out in strange orders and implications.”

“Okay. I mean, I just don’t want you coming in here and thinking that my grandpa was something terrible or whatever.  He was a good man. No matter what this story tells us, I know he was a good man.”

“I believe you. I do.  And remember, My Nan and her brother were good people too.”   Hamish set his burger back down on the plate neatly and took a sip of his water.  “Look, we don’t know what we are going to find here.  Things could be really good, but they could be just as terrible.  If we aren’t prepared to face that, maybe I should just lend you the letters to read and then we can go our separate ways once and for all.”

“No–no, it’s too good a mystery now.  I want to know the answer.  I’m prepared to face all possibilities–I just want you to understand he was a good grandfather, and my word should carry some weight on that.”

“Duly acknowledged.”  Hamish reached a hand across the table to shake.  “Both our grandparents were good people in the core, no matter what the mistakes of this investigation tells us.  Deal?”

I took his hand and shook it firmly.  “You’ve got yourself a deal.”  And we returned to our meals.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in An Old Love Story

 

Fiction: Student Drop Off (273 words)

He tried so hard to not be over protective of her.  He knew she was an adult and that she had proven time and time again that she was both responsible and capable of taking care of herself. Even if he thought she was making a mistake her knew it was her mistake to make.  He knew that.  He respected that.  He understood exactly why it had to happen.

But how did he just decided to stop worrying about a girl who was once shorter than the length of his forearm. A little thing that for years relied entirely on him for her survival, who would have fallen off the face of the Earth if it weren’t for him.

“Dad, come on,” she squirmed a little in his arms, no matter how old she got, her patience with him would only last so long.

“Hey, who knows when I’ll see you again? Let a man hug his daughter, will you?” he complained half-heartedly.

She stood patiently for about another fifteen seconds before, “Oh, come on. I’ll be back in like five weeks.  This is borderline ridiculous.”

“Yeah, okay.”  He let her go and stepped away, still not letting go of the arm around her shoulders, “I’m going to miss you, you know.”

“I know,” she smiled, not shrugging off his hand as a sign of good faith. “I’m going to miss you too, Daddy.”

“Bye, baby girl.”  He waited until she walked over to join some friends, until she was fully into her conversation and not at all aware he was still around, before turning and heading to his car to drive home.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2015 in Stories