Category Archives: You Me and Karma

Fiction: You, Me, and Karma [Part 8] (921 words)


And I did check out his store.  I googled it as soon as I got home.  I tried to restrain some level of self-control, and seem a little bit less like the stalker that fate was making me out to be, but I just couldn’t help myself.  You see, I was a sucker for cute book stores, and my pride was a little bit wounded that I hadn’t found this one before.  So, the very next day, after my shift watching the terrible/tremendous threesome, I headed out to the little bookstore tucked into a shopping mall that I’d driven past my entire life and never looked at twice.

As I walked in the door, Amanda looked up at me from one of the little tables in the front of the store, where she had several notebooks and textbooks spread out.  “Couldn’t stay away, huh?”

“You peaked my curiosity.”  I answered quickly.

“Fair enough.  Come on, Nickel tour.” Amanda got up and left her textbooks over the table.

The store was quiet, and cute.  It was bigger than I would have thought looking at it from the outside, and went farther back than anticipated, even seeming to have rooms behind some of the other stores in the complex, giving it an almost t-shape to the whole thing. They had a substantial collection of some pretty good condition used book, and before the “nickel tour” had finished, I’d picked up about thirty dollars’ worth of books that I was about to buy. “We don’t have a lot business here, but we have enough regulars and loyal shoppers that we keep our head above water.”

“So, it’s your brother’s store? But “we” have loyal shoppers?”

“Well, yes. He bought the store from his its previous owner with his business partner when he was twenty years old, so I was ten at the time. I grew up coming here after school every day for my entire middle school and high school careers.  That table you saw me sitting at is my table, dutifully decorated for me by Zach’s partner ages ago.  When I clean up all my stuff, you can see it.  This place is my home.”

“That’s—wonderful.”  I grinned.  “I wish I had something like that to grow up with.”

“Yeah. I’m blessed.”  Amanda blushed a little bit, but seemed to be genuine in her thought process.

We made our way back to the front counter, where I set my collection down next to the cash register and Amanda started banging on the little brass bell by the register with rapid action of someone who’d done that once or twice before.  “CUSTOMER!” She bellowed in a voice much louder than I had anticipated. “Customer who wishes to exchange money for goods. Stop making out back there and be of service to her.”  She called, looking at closed door behind the desk.

“We’re not making out that would be wildly inappropriate. This is Zach’s place of business.”  A leggy blonde creature came out through the door way, and I tried my hardest not to gape open mouthed at her.  She was Victoria’s Secret runway good looking, and not at all who I expected to be in that back room.

“Yeah, what she said!” Zach chimed in, coming out of the room behind the Angel Model, but then he saw me and smile a little wider.  “Ah, Elliott, couldn’t pass up the offer, hmm?”

“You don’t know me very well yet, Zach, but I’ll let you know right now. I never pass up the chance to visit a book store.”

He started to ring the books into the register and made a quick introduction.  “Elliott, this is my girlfriend, Riley.  Riley, this is the girl I told you about last night.  Ran into her three times in as many weeks.”

“Ah yes—You spilled his coffee.  Well done.”  She held out a perfectly manicured hand for me to shake.

“Good to meet you.”  I answered.

“Pleasure is all mine.  Zach, give her the friends and family discount, huh?”

“Oh, no, you don’t have to do that, I’m willing to pay.”

“Please,” Riley held up her hand, “I’ve got this feeling you’ll be back. Never pass up the chance to visit a bookstore and what not.  Go on, hun, give her the discount.”

Zach pressed a few buttons on the register and the price dropped from $34.56 to $25.92.  “Thanks.” I said to riley as I handed over the cash.

“No problem. I should bolt, sweetheart.  See you at home.”

“See you at home.” Zach replied, kissing her softly on the cheek.

“Mandy,” Riley turned to Amanda really quickly, “You don’t need the car, right? You can come home with Zach?”

“Yeah. I’ll be fine.  Thanks.” Amanda was back to her school work on her table. “See you.”

With one more graceful wave, Riley left the store, leaving me slightly flabbergasted, and not quite sure what to do with myself.

“I guess, I should go.”  I finally decided, holding my new purchases in one hand, looking back and forth between the two siblings.

“No, stay.”  Zach insisted, “Amanda is no fun when she gets into work mode, and we’re always slow when it comes to the afternoons.  I could use the entertainment.”

“Well, what is there to do in a bookstore with no café and no customers?” I asked almost sarcastically, looking at the bag of books in my hand.

Zach shrugged and turned to look at all the book shelves, holding his arms out wide.   “Play word games, of course.”

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Posted by on January 17, 2015 in You Me and Karma


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Fiction: You, Me, and Karma [Part 7] (722 words)

Zach and Amanda placed their orders (Baked Spaghetti and Three Piece Fried chicken respectfully, both with fries) and Amanda sulked slightly in her chair until the food came, while the rest of us had a pleasant conversation about the movie we had just watched.  But, when the food came, Amanda cheered up and got right back into the swing of things.

“So, what do you guys do?” Amanda asked, taking a bite.

“I’m a doctor,” Adrian said simply, and then he turned to look at me, “And Elliott is—Well…” he trailed off, unsure of what he should say next.

“I have very little direction in my life at the moment.  I work at the movie theatre and help Adrian with his kids when I can, but I am aimlessly wandering at the moment.  Coming from me–it’s honest–coming from him, it sounds pompous and disapproving.” I supplied, and then took a big bite out of my burger.

“She looks like a very put together woman, Zach.  She’s aimlessly wandering, but not a drug addict or prostitution.”  Amanda said.

“Uh-oh.” Adrian frowned slightly. “Did we just get dragged into a sibling war.  Because I hate siblings, even when I’m a sibling involved.”

“Not a real one, just trying to convince my brother that even though I don’t have a concrete plan for the next couple of years, I’ll still be alright.”

I managed to swallow my bite, and turned to look at Amanda. “how do you know I’m not a drug addict or prostitute? Maybe I am just a very good actress, and you’ve only known me a couple of hours.”

Instead of answering my question or referring to me at all, Amanda just turned to Adrian. “Is she a good actress?”

“She couldn’t even handle being sheep #4 in the Christmas pageant.” Adrian smiled smugly.

I turned to look at Zach,” She’s smart, your sister. She’s got Adrian and I figured out already.”

“I told you that she was good at reading people.” Zach replied.

“That’s right. If you want to be a psychologist then why are you and your brother fighting about aimless wandering with your life?”

“Because I don’t want to do it right now.  I want to take a year or so off, to be stupid, travel the world, and spend too much money, that kind of thing.  Zach wants me to go to school right away, stay in school until I’ve got my doctorate, and then start working right away to pay off the extreme levels of debt that I will have undoubtedly collected at that point. I’m eighteen, I don’t want to jump on that treadmill just yet.”

Zach sighed, and I cut my eyes to Adrian, trying to decide whether or not it would be wise to just cut and run while we had the chance.  But then Amanda gave a small sigh very similar to her brother’s sigh, and smiled. “That was inappropriate dinner conversation and I shouldn’t have brought up the argument in front of people who we’ve barely met and we want to walk away with positive impressions of us, so, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it—“Adrian chuckled, a glint in his eye that I recognized only seconds too late, “We’re familiar with inappropriate dinner conversation.  This one time, Elliott—“

That set off a chain.  We spend the next hour and half all trying to one up each other with embarrassing stories about our siblings.   In the end, Adrian won with a rousing tale from when we were nine years old, and involving a theme park and a very rude clown.  Now, I tried to be a supportive kind of sister, but this was one competition I wish he’d refrained from going all out to win.

As we left dinner, we swapped numbers, and Amanda made us all promise that we’d do this again sometime.

“Besides, I think you guys should come by the store.”

“The store?” I asked, and realized that while we had talked about what Adrian and I were doing with our lives, we never managed to ask what Zach’s job was.

“Yep.  Zach runs the cute little used bookstore off Great Neck. You should come check it out, I think you’d like it.  It’s very cute.”

“Used bookstore is music to my ears.  I think I will have to check it out.”

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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in You Me and Karma


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Fiction: You, Me, and Karma [Part 6] (582 words)

Despite my worries, short lived as they were, I found that Dinner with Amanda and Zach was very—easy.

There was an awkward moment, after ordering drinks, were we all just sat in silence, sort of staring around the table.

Amanda saved us.  She noticed that none of us had even bothered to look at our menus.  “Wanna play a game?” She asked.

“Excuse me?” I replied, not sure I had heard her correctly.

“Obviously, this is a local haunt. We all know the menu. I bet I can guess what you’re going to order.”

“You’ve known us all of two hours–” Adrian laughed, “And you can tell what we’d order from the entire menu.”

“With no extra hints.” Amanda smiled smugly.

I drew my eyebrows together and smiled questionably at Zach.  He shrugged and smiled, both disbelievingly and a little bit proud. “She’s a studying people expert.”

“Wanna be a psychologist, or a profiler.” She grinned. “Anyways, want to play?”  She was bouncing slightly in her chair, like a child awaiting her parent’s verdict on whether or not she could go play in the sandbox.

“Sure, “Adrian laughed, “Guess away.”

Amanda narrowed her eyes and stroked at an imaginary goatee.  She looked back and forth between Adrian and me. “You–” She pointed at me, “You said that the steakhouse was your favorite restaurant in the city. You don’t pick a steakhouse as a favorite to not eat steak, so–I’m going to go with Choice Del Monaco. And you,” She turned to Adrian instead, “You humor your sister’s favorite restaurant, but not so much with the steak, But, it is a great cook house, so you go with one of the burgers.  I’d probably say the Greek Hamburger, because it makes you feel like you’re getting more than you would at your average Applebee’s. Both with fries, of course, because this place has nothing if not wonderful French fries.”   She smiled at us both, awaiting our response. “So? Am I right? Am I close?”

Adrian and I shared a smile.  We were saved answering when an older waitress, different from the woman who had took our drink orders slinked over and placed her hands on the table between us.  “Well, well, well, if it isn’t my lovely Hills. Where’s the bride, Mister Adrian?”

“She stayed home tonight.  It was supposed to be a sibling night out, but we ran into some new friends.” I answered, even though the waitress was still looking at him.

“You’ve gotten mighty good at throwing your voice, Mr. Adrian. Sounds just like that Elliott, too.”

“Well, when you live with her long enough, you pick up some traits.”  Adrian smiled.

“Right. Well, your usual?”

“Yes, please, Miss Ilene.” We replied in unison.

” And what can I get for your friends?” She turned to look across the table.

“Excuse me, Miss Ilene,” Amanda leaned across the tables, “Could you tell me what their usual’s are?”

“Well, Miss Elliott likes the Greek Cheeseburger medium well, and Mister Adrian always gets the choice del Monaco on the rare side, both with French fries. Why do you ask, sweetheart?”

“Good call on the Choice Del Monaco,” I offered, smiling slyly, “It is one of the best steaks in the place.”

“Don’t think too much about it. People get us mixed up all the time.”  Adrian added.

“I’m going to assume I’m missing something, and continue collecting orders,” Miss Ilene licked a pencil, and turned to her notepad again. “And for you dears?”

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Posted by on January 3, 2015 in You Me and Karma


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Fiction: You, Me, and Karma [Part 5] (684 words)

Being only four in the theatre, we all felt free to add our own running commentary as the movie went on.  All in all, it was the most fun I had in a movie in a very long time. As the credits started to roll, I skipped down to where Zach and Amanda were both collecting their things.

“That was fun.”  Zach said.

“Most fun I’ve had in ages.”  Amanda added.

“I think fate has made good friends of us.”  I grinned.

“Indeed,” Zach answered. “Listen, Amanda and I were going to head out to dinner.  Would you and your brother care to join us?”

“That depends. Where are you going?”

“The Virginia Steak House. It’s right off Laskin Road.”

“You are an angel of a man. That’s my favorite restaurant in the city,” I answered,

“Mine too!” Zach’s sister spoke up, “Zach thinks it just alright, but he’s a push over when it comes to me.”

“That’s a sister’s power. Quite convenient, eh?”

“What’s a sister’s power?” Adrian asked, finally coming down the stairs at a more normal pace than I had.

“Nothing. You want to go to the Steak House?” I asked.

Adrian looked at me quizzically and said something strange.  It took me a moment to translate, because I was not used to Adrian using the language so blatantly in front of other people anymore. We’d long outgrown trying to confuse people. Where do you know this guy from?

I’ve met him a couple of times.  He’s a cool guy.  Steak house?”

“What language is that?” Amanda asked.

“Hmm? Oh.  It’s something we made up when we were very young. Sorry.”

“No. That’s awesome! Why didn’t we do something cool like that when we were little?”  Amanda smacked her brother’s arm.

“Because I am simply not that cool.” Zach answered, “So will we see you at Dinner?”

“Yup. We’ll meet you there.”


It wasn’t until I was in the car with Adrian that I realized how potentially awkward this whole evening was about to become.   I mean, I had just invited a man who I had only met three times, with two of those instances involving dumping stuff on each other, and the third had mostly involved me sleeping in the chair next to his.  And now we were heading out to dinner, each of us with a sibling in tow.  I mean, what did I really know about this guy?  I knew that he had a girlfriend.  I knew he had a coffee habit he was trying to kick.  I know we had similar tastes in movies, or at least, in that particular movie.  That really wasn’t very much to go on, was it?  For all I knew, he could be some kind of really creepy stalker.   You know—with a teenage girl accomplice.  That kind of thing happened all the time, right?

“We’re not standing them up.”  Adrian said suddenly.


“You’ve over thinking things. We’re going to the Steakhouse.”

“Why are you so gung ho about meeting this guy?”

“I’m gung ho about you getting out of the house, about you meeting new people. About occasionally getting out of your comfort zone.  Besides, if we went home and told this story to Melissa, can you just imagine?  I mean.  Really, we’d never hear the end of it, you for chickening out and me for allowing you.  No, I won’t have it.  We’re not standing them up.”

I guess I made some kind of face in response, because Adrian laughed.  “Come on, don’t be such a chicken shit.  Come on, I mean, really. What is the worst that can happen? We have a terrible dinner and a new story to tell when we go to the family reunion.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“Damn straight I’m right. Besides, I was promised a steak. I want my steak.”

I rolled my eyes.  My brother was actually a rather predictable creature when all things were considered.

I resigned myself to the plans I had created and doubted within a matter of minutes.  Worse comes to worse, I would still have a delicious dinner.

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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in You Me and Karma


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Fiction: You, Me, and Karma [Part 4] (914 words)

As we climbed into the car, we started talking.  The conversation we had would not make sense to anyone around us.  Lindsay may have been able to catch a word or two, but mostly it was a language unique to Adrian and myself.  It was second nature to us when we were alone.

I hate her sometimes.” Adrian sighed.

You do not. She just wants you to relax.”

“She’s only stressing herself out more.”

“No. You being stressed stresses her out.” Adrian looked unconvinced, so I continued, “We’ll go out. We’ll have a good time.  You’ll come back happier, then Katie will be happier. It will do us all some good, okay?”

“Except for my always chipper sister who needs no good doing”

“Yes, well. I’m perfect. We all know that.”

“Oh yes. I’m sorry. How could I have ever forgotten?

As we chattered away in our made up language, Adrian had driven us to the movie theater where I worked part-time.  We had come in just after the end of a set, so most of the movie had already started, or were at least running the previews. We chose quickly, a movie I had already seen, and enjoyed, but Adrian really wanted to see. Adrian went to grab seats in the nearly empty theater, so he wouldn’t miss the beginning, but I decided to stop and get a soda and some popcorn.  After joking around with the people I knew working concessions and getting my soda and popcorn into a carrying tray, I started back towards the theater.  After a little bit of an awkward balancing act, I got the tray balanced on one arm. I reached out to pull open the right side door, when all of a sudden the left door swung open very quickly, knocking me flat on my ass, and covering me with Diet Pepsi, and popcorn bits.

“I am so sorry.”  The man who came out of theater had already started apologizing.  I probably should have been surprised, but I didn’t even bat an eye when I looked up to see Directions Man reaching out a hand to help me up. “Well, I’ll be damned.” He muttered as he realized who I was.  I took his hand, and he pulled me back up to my feet.  After helping me pick up my soda cups and popcorn bag, he grinned.  “I’m Zach, by the way.”

“Elliott.” I responded.  I watched him carefully, thinking how strange this was. If we hadn’t gotten her so late, a plan made in a rush, I would have began to wonder if Zach had been following me, something ominous–but that didn’t add up.  How could he have possibly known?

“Nice to meet you Elliott.  Clearly, fate wants us to be friends.”  Zach smiled. Fate. I thought to myself.  My mother had always talked about Fate, this great mystical capital letter being that tugged on strings to make us end up where we were supposed to be.  I’d never believed her, especially not after the accident, but–

“And wants you to be covered in spilled beverages.” Zach added looking at the soda stain on my shirt. It shook me out of my thoughts of my parents, and I smiled back.  Fate or no Fate, I should get to know this guy.

“Clearly. Here, I’ll take those.”  I said, offering to take the destroyed soda and popcorn bags away from him.

“No, no, I insist that I buy you replacements.”

“That’s not necessary.” I considered making a karma joke, the way he’d not let me buy his coffee for him, but decided I wasn’t a quick enough thinker to make that joke quite work. “I know people here.  They’ll get me refills, no worries.”

“Are you sure?” Zach asked skeptically.

“Positive. After all, I never bought you a new coffee.  We’re even now.” I took the cups away from him, and he shrugged.  I jumped back into line, explained what happened, exchanged a few mocking curse words with the usher who went off to clean the mess, and managed to get my stuff and get back to the theater around the same time as Zach.  He pulled open the door for me, and indicated for me to go first.  I nodded my thanks, then sat down next to Adrian who was in the very back row.  Zach sat next to a woman in the dead center of the theater, and other than that, the room was empty.

“That took forever.” Adrian whispered.

“Dropped stuff.  Had to get refills.”  Adrian actually took a second to look over at me, and saw the pleasant soda stains all over my shirt.

“Did you fall on your ass?” he exclaimed, louder than he should have in a movie theater regardless of the fact almost no one was there.

“That’s exactly what I did. Drink your soda.”

“Sorry about that again.”  Zach had turned around in his seat, and was squinting back at us.

“No worries.” I called back.

“Leave the woman alone.”  The woman who was sitting with Zach slapped him quickly on the arm.

“Fate won’t let me.”  Zach said back to the woman, before turning back to me. “Elliott, this is my baby sister, Amanda.”

“Hi Amanda.  This is my brother, Adrian.”

“Hello, Adrian.” Zach called up before turning back to the movie.

Who in the world is that?” Adrian whispered quickly in code.

“Hush,” I countered, pointing to the screen, “Watch your movie.”

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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in You Me and Karma


Fiction: You, Me and Karma [Part 3] (857 words)

Getting home was the best feeling in the world.  I waved good-bye to Directions Man, and then ran directly into the outstretched arms of my brother.  He picked me up, and spun me around a hundred eighty degrees. Coming home wasn’t going to visit our childhood house—it was getting to see him.  It had been months since I had seen him last, since right after the triplets were born.  I didn’t have to be his twin and good friend to see that having the triplets had definitely taken a little bit of a toll on him. He was a bit thinner, and he had dark circles under his eyes, but he looked happy. “You have no idea how good it is to see you.”  He said, setting me back down on my feet.

“Likewise,” I laughed, scooping my backpack off of the curb where the bus driver had been pulling out luggage.

“No, Serious face time.” He used too fingers to point from his eyes to mine, out sign for a momentarily serious conversation, “Katie and I are through the roof that you are coming to help us.  I don’t think we’d be able to survive without you.”

“You would be able to survive, but still, I’m glad to be able to offer my assistance.”

“Your faith in me is high, Sister.” Adrian took my bag before draping a heavy arm over my shoulders. “Let’s get home, huh?”

While I still believed that my brother and his wife would have been strong enough to survive, I could see why they were going insane.  Katie is a kindergarten teacher, who had just started back to school the month before I got there.  Adrian, the boy genius that he is, is a doctor, who was barely out of med school, and paying his dues working odd, and long hours.  They had a nanny to come be an extra set of hands for a couple of hours each day, but even still, it was a lot to bear.

The two girls, Rowan and Joss, would only sleep at the same time, and their brother, Oliver, wouldn’t seem to go to sleep unless they were both awake.  I thought Adrian had been exaggerating when he said that they hadn’t all been asleep at the same time since the day they were born, but after living in my old house a week, I was starting to believe him.  I started back at my high school part-time job at a little locally owned movie theater, so that I wasn’t completely bumming off my doctor brother, and I was beginning to long for the annoying stupidity of customers during the long hours of the night, rocking a crying niece or nephew back to sleep.

Friday afternoon, a week and a half after I had moved back in with Katie and Adrian, was one of those very strange days when all three adults were home, and none of the three children were screaming. Granted, if Katie stopped rocking Joss in her arms, then she would wake up and start crying, which would wake up Rowan as well.  Oliver, still awake and looking around with bright blue eyes, seemed to be content laying in the little cradle that Adrian was rocking with his toe.  I stood near Rowan’s crib, afraid to move from where I’d laid her down, and just taken in the moment of complete silence before it passed.

To both Adrian and my surprise, there was a quick knock on the door, and Maggie came into the nursery.

“I thought Maggie had the day off?” Adrian questioned.

“She did.  I asked her to come in for the night so that you and your sister could go out and be twins.”

“Be twins?”  I laughed, “Adrian, did you know that we weren’t twins unless we went out?”

“Oh, that does explain a lot.”  Adrian grinned, and Katie gave a little huff of frustration.

“Oh, you know what I mean.  Go out, watch a movie, eat some dinner, laugh at jokes that no one else find funny, speak in a language that no one else understands.  Breath, relax.  Stop driving me up the wall with your stress.”  She pointed an accusing finger at her husband.  “You promised me you’d be less stressed when Elliott got home.  You have not been less stressed.”

“I’ve been calmer—“Adrian started weakly, and Katie and I shared a look.

“You have been freaking out a bit, Adrian.”  I acknowledged crossing my arms over my chest.  Adrian gave me a betrayed look.

“Excellent.  I have your sister on my side, so stop arguing with me, Adrian Hill.  A movie, and dinner.  Do not come back to this house until at least later than eight pm. Understood?”  Katie ordered as she transferred the sleeping Joss into the nanny’s arm, and I mock saluted her.

“Let’s go, Ri-ri,” I teased, grabbing my brother’s arm, and pulling him ineffectively towards the door.

“Don’t call me that, Lotte.”

“Don’t call me Lotte, RI-RI.”

“See, you two are more like your old selves already. Shoo, Shoo.”  Katie quite literally shoved the two of us out the nursery door.

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Posted by on December 13, 2014 in You Me and Karma


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Fiction: You, Me, and Karma [Part 2] (569 words)

New York City was my favorite city in the world, so when my sister recommended that we get together somewhere to “Celebrate” the end of my most recent seasonal job, my first suggest was New York City, expecting her to knock the idea down immediately.  But, she didn’t.  She offered to pay for the weekend in a hotel in Manhattan.  I would have liked to stay longer, but Lindsey had to get back to her actual job, and her (as she not to subtly reminded me at least twice a day), very attractive husband waiting for her in Connecticut.  I was out of a job, and out of a home, so I called the only person I could think to turn to: my twin brother, Adrian. He lived in our childhood home, with his wife of two years, and their three-month-old triplets. I was fresh out of job interviews, or even ideas of what I wanted to do, and they were going a little bit insane. “Free room and board.  We’ll even feed you for nothing as long as you allow us to get some sleep.”  Adrian was practically begging.

“Yeah, yeah.  All right.  Lindsey’s train leaves this evening.  I’ll hop on the overnight bus.”

“Thank you so much. You have no idea what this means to me!”

“I have plenty ideas what this means.  Have the thank you pie at the ready.”

“It’ll be ready for your arrival.  Love you, Sis.”

“Love you too.”

I was one of the first people on the bus that night.  I knew this bus well enough to know that you got there early, or you had six miserable hours.  The bus started to fill up quickly shortly after I arrived. Apparently, it was a very popular day to be leaving New York City and heading for Virginia Beach, VA because the bus seemed even more crowded than usual.  I was just about to stick in my ear buds, and settle in for the six-hour ride, when there was someone leaning over the empty aisle seat next to me.

“Excuse me, may I have this seat or are you waiting for someone?”  I looked away from the window, and just had to laugh, “Oh. Hello, coffee girl.”

“Directions Man. No, please, have a seat.” Directions Man sat down, and for a moment, we just sat there in a weird silence. “So…uh… Are you heading to the beach for a vacation?”

“Uh, no actually.  Heading to the beach because it’s home.”

“Really?” I twisted in my seat to get a better look at him, “You seemed like such a native New Yorker the other day. Or maybe that’s just because I’m a terrible tourist.”

“No, no, I am.  Or. I was.  New York City was home when I was younger, but I’ve been in Virginia Beach for a while now.  New York City ever couple of weeks to visit old friends, and other such business.” He nodded, pulling his phone out of his pocket.

“Huh. Okay then.”  I answered.

I was out of things to say at that point, but I was saved from trying to make other petty conversation by the bus overhead lights turning off and the driver coming on to announce the scheduled stops for the day.  I settled back into my seat, popped my ear buds in, rested my head against the window, and fell asleep quicker than I imagined I could.

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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in You Me and Karma


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Fiction: You, Me, And Karma [Part 1] (926 words)

“Where the hell am I?” I muttered to myself, looking up at a sign hanging from the ceiling.  I’d visited New York City once every two or three years, mostly because I liked the city, but I was still a tourist through and through.  I was hopelessly lost, and not at all sure where to head.  But, I’d grown up in a tourist city myself, and I knew better than to bug some local making their way in a hurry because I couldn’t figure out a map.   I took a small step backwards to try to get a better angle at the sign and winced.  I’d done more than annoy some local.  From the feel of it, I’d just spilt their coffee.

“I am so sorry.” I was apologizing before I’d even turned all the way around.

A taller man was standing there, looking stunned, coffee down his front, a crushed disposable Starbucks cup in his hand.  “Well, that is tragic.”  He said simply, looking at the lack of drink in his hand.

“I am so, so sorry.” I repeated, “Please, let me buy you a new cup of coffee.”  I hadn’t even finished the offer before he was waving his hand at me and shaking his head.

“Oh, no.  That’s quite alright.  I promised my girlfriend I would try to go a week without coffee, so I suppose this is fate’s way of getting me to keep my promise.  How’s your back?”

I swung my jacket off, and wrinkled my nose at the coffee stain that bloomed across the blue fabric.  “How bad is my shirt?”  I asked, turning my back to the man.

“Not as bad as your jacket, but definitely more coffee-colored than the front.” He answered.

“Great.  Not my best day ever.”


“Horribly.”  My voice sounded a lot more pathetic than I wanted it to.

“Where are you trying to be?”

“West 32nd street.  The New York Manhattan Hotel.”

I was not reassured when the man started laughing.  “Wow.  Yes, you are lost.”

“Thank you for that.”

“No problem.  Here, follow me.”  He turned around and headed towards a platform on the other side of station.  “We’ll take this train.”


“Yes. I’m done for the day, and I don’t trust my ability to give proper directions or even be able to correctly describe the stations, so I’ll show you the way. “

I was beyond grateful.  “Thank you.”

“No worries. We’ll call it my payback to karma for lying to my girlfriend.”

“I thought the spilled coffee was karma payback for lying?”

“Yes well, you never can payback karma too much.” He smiled.  I’d never admit it to him, but my heart gave a bit of a lurch when he smiled.  He had one of those smiles that made you want to smile right along with him.

The rest of the ride was mostly in silence, except for a few “This way”-s and “Over here”-s.  I took the time on the train to give this guy a good look.  After all, a nice stranger on the train who, statistically speaking, I would never see again; this was the stuff romantic novels were built on.  He wasn’t bad looking by any stretch of the imagination. I couldn’t quite judge how tall he was—He was a lot taller than me, but I was only 5’1” so that wasn’t a difficult mark to make.  He wore a nice coat over a button down and slacks, but no tie. I couldn’t help but wonder what he did for a living. He was thin, not terribly broad, but somehow still managed to look strong.  He had lighter, curly hair, and dark eyes that seemed kind.  He had an excellent ass.  And did I mention the smile?  The boy had a smile.

After switching trains twice times, we finally left the subway system.  We started down the street, when he slipped out of his jacket, and draped it over my shoulders.  I was practically swimming in it.  “It’s too cold to be without a jacket in a shirt that is half soaked with coffee, and besides it will hide the stain.”

“What about you?  You don’t have a coat now?”

“Paying back karma, remember? Let me be nice.”

I laughed, “Yeah, yeah okay.”

He walked me right up to the front door of the hotel.  “Think you can find your way from here? Won’t get lost again?” he teased.

“I got it. Thanks.”  I shrugged out of his jacket, and handed it back to him. “Thank you again, for everything.  Even after I spilled your coffee”

“Don’t worry about it.  I’ve paid back my karma dues.  Enjoy your stay in the city.”  He swung his jacket back out, and with one last smile, he headed back the way we came.  I watched him walk away for a moment, before dipping into the hotel lobby.  I was instantly greeted by my older sister, Lindsey, who happily threw an arm around my shoulder and took me back to the window to watch him walk further away.

“Who in the world was that?”  She asked, wagging her eyebrows at me.

“Just a helpful stranger.” I answered.

“A handsome, helpful stranger. Who walked you all the way to the front door,” Lindsey provided.

“Oh, don’t get all day-dreamy on me, Linds.  It’s not like I’ll ever see him again.” I shrugged out from under her arm and went to head to the elevators.

“Yeah, I guess…Elliott? What in the world did you do to the back of your shirt?”

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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in You Me and Karma


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