The Beautiful Voice

You’ve received a bill in the mail and it’s incorrect. There’s a phone number to call so you give it a ring. The person who answers has a beautiful voice. After several minutes the issue is resolved, but you can’t help wondering who this person is with such a beautiful voice so you take a leap and ask the person out. Surprisingly, the person says yes.  What happens next?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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252 thoughts on “The Beautiful Voice

  1. UnknownAlias

    You’ve received a bill in the mail and it’s incorrect. There’s a phone number to call so you give it a ring. The person who answers has a beautiful voice. After several minutes the issue is resolved, but you can’t help wondering who this person is with such a beautiful voice so you take a leap and ask the person out. Surprisingly, the person says yes. What happens next?

    I’ve asked them out. And they said yes, much to my surprise. We agreed to go get some coffee at a nearby cafe. I hope it’s not too far from where they live/work, though I suppose if it’s not too weird, I’d walk them home if they want. Anyway, I decided to wear something casual. It’s a first day and I haven’t been on a date, ever. I figured something casual but nice looking was a good idea.
    After dressing in a navy blue turtleneck sweater and black jeans, I slipped on my very plain white socks and black sneakers. I think I looked okay. So I grabbed my wallet, keys and left, walking briskly to the cafe. I arrived a little early I think, so I grabbed a table and waited for them. Every time someone walked in, I looked. I don’t know what that person looked like, but I told them what I would be wearing so they could find me.
    It was another ten minutes until someone sat down at my table. I didn’t notice them until they sat, I had been looking out a very cute elderly couple across the street. Turning my head to look at them, my eyes widened.
    “Oh my god. UA?” It was none other than my best friend, Mac. He was a really great guy, met him when I was short paying for milk about two years ago. I hadn’t heard from him in a while, so I guess that’s why I didn’t recognize his voice. Still, this was pretty embarrassing considering he was married. Yikes.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    What’d you think?
    🙂

  2. GalaxyStarShot

    Classical music wafted through the air as I finished my overdue paper for class the next day.

    “Finally finished! Now I can relax.”

    A stack of letters next to my laptop begged to differ. A sigh escaped my lips as I started to filter through the junk mail to the bills. What is this?
    Great, they screwed up my credit card bill again. This has already happened once before, will it come a habit now?
    I dialed the number of the company of the envelope and waited for someone to answer, expecting to end up dealing with the very rude lady from before, but a new voice greeted me with unparalleled beauty.

  3. bplatte

    You can’t believe she actually said yes. You were hanging on a ledge, but instead of her agreement lifting you up, you feel your heart plummet.

    “Okay”

    It’s still ringing in your ears. No, wait. That’s the phone ringing.

    You pick up.

    “Asking a girl out and then hanging up on her when she she says yes, doesn’t instill much confidence on how the date will go.” You can hear the amusement in her voice and sigh.

    “I’m sorry. I didn’t… I think I panicked.”

    “Are you too panicked to set a time and place?”

    It’s the next day and you’re waiting outside the coffee shop with a bouquet of daises. Her voice reminded you of daisy petals blowing in the wind. You couldn’t get it off your mind.

    A car parks next to yours. You can see a woman touching up her makeup in the driver’s seat before stepping out.

    A few people pass her, she’s walking slowly, and she smiles at them. She’s nervous, intermittently smoothing down her blouse and brushing rogue hairs behind her ears. She finally makes it to you, her eyes curious and knowing.

    She narrows her eyes at you in question and you ask her if it’s okay.

    “The flowers?”

    “No, me.”

    “Why wouldn’t you be?”

    You look down at your lap and trail down your legs which haven’t worked since you were young. You tap a wheel of your chair.

    She smiles. “Can I have my flowers?”

    You hand them over and as you both make your way inside she doesn’t try to push your wheelchair or push past people for you. She lingers by your side, taking her place in line as if this were completely normal.

    When you both get your drinks you pick a place outside. It’s her suggestion – the flowers need sunlight, she explains. You wonder if the real reason is because inside was too crowded for your lunky chair. You’re too afraid to ask.

    She moves a seat away from the table without a word, slow, giving you the chance to protest. You don’t.

    The conversation is light. You don’t once ask her about work or if your refund ever made it to management approval. You don’t talk about your chair and you don’t remark on the good weather you’ve been having.

    You do talk about her voice, the way it soothed you and compelled you to ask her out. You tell her she’s more amazing in person than on the phone and joke that you were actually concerned she wouldn’t be. You tell her a daisy would look good in her hair and she lets you stick one behind her ear. You graze her cheek and feel its warmth as it blooms pink under your finger tips.

    It’s been over an hour and you’ve been done with your drink for ages. Her phone beeps – time to go.

    She lets you take her hand as you follow her to her car. She leans down and kisses your cheek and says she can’t wait for your second date, that she’s glad you asked her, that she’s thankful for the drink.

    You watch her go and know – just know – this is going to be something important.

  4. Critique

    Destiny’s Magic

    The woman’s voice, a velvet elixir of musical notes assuaged his frazzled nerves – a baptism of healing oil.

    The botched bill, the reason for his call? Suddenly inconsequential.

    Trevor closed his eyes and gripped the phone with desperate fingers. That voice. He had to meet this woman.

    “What did you say your name was?” He choked, desperation edging his voice.

    “Elinor.” She purred. “Elinor Edwards.”

    “Umm….” His brain worked feverishly. “Miss Edwards, would you ah… meet me for coffee, you know, just to figure this stuff out?”

    “Mr. … Trevor is it? This is rather unusual. Are you asking me out?” The woman’s question like a refreshing breeze sent delicious shivers coursing down Trevor’s back.

    “Ah, yes. I am.” Trevor’s face broke out in a foolish grin and his courage grew wings. “Tomorrow, east side of 78th avenue on 97th street. Would 2 pm work for you?”

    He heard her take a deep breath. “Okay, sure. I’ll meet you.” Her voice assaulted his senses. “Oh. How will I recognize you?”

    “I’ll be wearing a Tigers baseball cap and blue jacket. And you?” Trevor asked.

    “I’ll be wearing a brown and green scarf and carrying a blue handbag.” She said.

    Trevor chose a table facing the main door in the coffee shop 15 minutes early.

    Twenty minutes later the breath seized in his lungs when he recognized the striking statuesque woman standing uncertainly in the doorway.

    He surged to his feet as their eyes met across the crowded coffee shop.

    A two hour coffee conversation evolved into dinner at a cozy Thai restaurant downtown – sans Trevor’s baseball hat.

    Much later when the sun went down, over liqueurs and desert, Trevor seated on the comfortable love seat in Elinor’s condo, reached for her hand and said. “I feel like I’ve known you all my life.”

    Elinor returned the squeeze of his hand as she shifted towards him, her brown eyes shimmering warmly in the candle light on the coffee table. Her voice sounded like home as she said. “I feel that way too.”

    **********************
    Could there be such a thing as love at first sight?

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Either it’s my imagination or my mind is starting to transfer into your writing. This is a fine example of romantic writing. There is supposed to be somesort of force working agfainst the two but love at first sight never recognizes it. Good job Critique. Oh, and by the way, my story is autobiographical.

  5. jhowe

    Extreme Flash Fiction

    On a long and lonesome highway
    East of Omaha
    You can listen to the engine
    Moanin’ out his one note song….

    Then what happens? 250 word limit.

    1. jhowe

      I’d never been to Nebraska before. It was exactly how I pictured it. The girl sitting beside me said nothing, just stared out the side window at rows and rows of corn.

      “Aren’t you going to drink your cocoa?” I said. The corn was much taller than any I’d seen before. Nothing from her; not even a shake of the head. The car engine droned, muffled by the corn on both sides, isolated.

      And then she spoke. “My daddy will kill you when he catches up with you.” Her mouth was tight, her eyes narrowed. My skin began to tingle at the backs of my arms.

      “Your father will pay what we agreed on, and then I’ll let you go. Simple as that.”

      “You thought it would be simple, huh?” Such nerve from a girl so young. “My daddy got rich selling illegal guns. He doesn’t think I know, but I do.” She paused, then smiled. “Do you think he would not take precautions when it comes to the wellbeing of his only child?” She pointed to a slight lump on the underside of her left wrist.

      Despite the air conditioning, sweat beaded on my forehead. Outside, a steady hum resonated. Ahead of the car, on the left side, a helicopter drone paced us, sun glinting off the glass camera lens. Three black SUVs blocked the road about a half mile down the road. I slammed on the brakes and looked in the rear view mirror. Three more vehicles approached rapidly. I opened the door and ran into the corn, course stalks ripping at my flesh. Another hum, a rat tat tat and stalks flew all around and then I was down. There was pain, but not as much as I had always imagined.

  6. cosi van tutte

    Sorry about this one’s length. My main character just doesn’t know how to shut up… 😀

    ****

    You know, I hate being tied up. I really do.

    But it seems to happen to me a lot. I’ve been tied to a barber pole, a street light, a stripper’s pole (long story. don’t ask), and a dumpster. And those were just the most memorable ones. I’d rather not talk about the other ones, if you don’t mind.

    But, anyway. It’s humiliating. I feel like I oughta stitch a sticky note to my costume that clearly states that I am no one’s damsel. Maybe then villains like Lady Marmelade, Duke Neverborn, Catch Master, and Slate Boggart will stop tying me up.

    I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I were a sidekick. But I am not a sidekick. I haven’t been a sidekick in sixteen years. I am a hero, hot darnation!

    Oh, and look at me now. I’m all tied up. Again. But this time it kind of is my fault.

    So, get this: I had ordered a new cape from the Acme Corporation. It was guaranteed to be the best of the best of the best x 3,000 of the bests. Well. I received it in the mail and it sure wasn’t the best of the best x 1. It looked like a sewing project as done by Mr. Magoo. I could describe the horror of it, but you know what? I think I’ll leave the unpleasant imagery up to your imaginations. *shrugs* I’m kind of lazy that way.

    I called them. I had anger burning in my head and a whole bunch of strong words setting fire to my throat.

    She answered the phone.

    Her voice was the salve that I needed at that moment. Her voice soothed me into dopey-faced submission. I smiled like a teenaged dweeb in love. I told her that I wanted to meet her. I wanted to take her to a fine restaurant and serenade her with my love (or something to that needlessly sappy effect).

    She laughed and it was a fine ripple of sound. I may have drooled over it. She told me to meet her tonight at seven sharp at the Hangman’s Hoophouse and Bar. In retrospect, that alone should have alerted me. No one respectable goes to Hangman’s. It’s one of the seediest places in town. It’s where gangsters go to destroy evidence.

    But, like the brain-addled sap that I was, I agreed.

    And I went.

    I didn’t even think of wearing my costume. I just went all “la-dee-da. Here comes love.”

    So, of course I was knocked out by some goon in a trenchcoat.

    And of course I was tied up (presumably by the same trenchcoated goon).

    And that’s where I am right now.

    All tied up with nowhere to go. Lucky for me, it’s a chair this time. So, at least I’m comfortable. Can’t complain there.

    Oh. sorry. I’m gonna have to cut this internal monologue short. She just entered the room.

    ***to be continued***

    1. cosi van tutte

      Continuation….

      ****

      “Hello there.” She strutted her stuff into the room.

      (Okay. I said that I was gonna cut the monolguing short, but I just can’t help it. I’m all tied up, so you know what? I’m gonna monologue. It’s fun and it will make me feel better about my situation. If you don’t like it, well. Keep in mind, I’m the one who’s all tied up.)

      It was disconcerting to say the least. Oh, her voice thrilled me to happy hearted bliss. But it was just all wrong. A voice that deliciously feminine should not come from someone dressed in a cheap Wolverine wannabe costume.

      And she should have strutted her stuff while dressed in it. I swear I felt my mental image of Wolverine getting corrupted. Corrupted to black ruination.

      “Well, hello back at ya. Soo, I’m curious. Do you do this with all the guys who like your voice or is this just a big one time event thing?”

      “Don’t be coy.”

      “Ooo. Can you say coy again?”

      “No. I know who you are.”

      “Please say that I’m the best looking guy in the room.”

      “Stop it! I am not playing a game here and I don’t appreciate you treating this whole scenario like one.”

      “Sorry.” I smiled. “But you know. You’re kind of cute when you get angry.”

      She unsheathed her not-really-Wolverine claws like two seconds away from my face. “Stop it now or I will Etch-and-Sketch your face.”

      I stared at the pointy ends of her claws. Huh. They sure didn’t look like costume store fake stuff. “So. You have claws.”

      “Yes, I have claws.”

      I looked up at her. “Weird personal choice or…”

      “I was born with them.”

      Huh. Okay. I guess that explains the Wolverine costume. “So, then. What do you call yourself? Wolverine-lite? No. That sounds all wrong. Wolverina? Ooo. I like that. You should call yourself that.”

      “Why would I do that?”

      “Well, you are dressed like him.”

      “I am not him and I am not his female equivalent.”

      “No kidding there.”

      She backed away from me. “I am Clawed Girl.”

      “Oh my gosh. No. No. NO! That’s an awful name. Please call yourself Wolverina and I’ll let you claw my eyes out or whatever you plan to do.”

      “Shut up! I am Clawed Girl. My story is long and detailed and full of misery. Most of my misery comes from dealing with low ranking heroes like you.”

      “Aww, now you’re just trying to be mean.”

      She stomped her foot. “Shut up and let me talk!”

      I thought about what she could do with those claws. “Okay. I’ll shut up. I can’t guarantee that I’ll stay shut up. I tend to get overly verbal when I’m nervous. Hmm, but I’m always a little hyper-verbal. I think it’s part of my charm. What do you think? Am I charming or what?”

      She marched towards me with a ‘I’m Gonna Slash Your Face Off’ look on her face.

      “But yes. I’m shutting up now.”

      “Good. As I was saying, my story is long and detailed and full of misery.”

      Huh. Must have lost her train of thought.

      “Most of my misery comes from dealing with low ranking heroes like you.”

      I really don’t like being called ‘low ranking’. But hey! I’m not gonna interrupt Wolverina.

      “Well. Now, it is payback time.”

      “Whoa. I’m not a hero. I’m just meek, lovey-dovey Jack Jayson. No hero here.”

      “You expect me to believe that? Because I don’t. You called the Acme Corporation to complain about a poorly made cape. A cape.”

      “Uhhh, I’m a mad-crazy cosplayer.”

      “Acme Corporation does not deal with little people. It is part of their strict policy to deal only with heroes, superheroes, villains, and demi-gods.”

      “Wait. No sidekicks?”

      “They have a separate division for sidekicks.”

      “Oh.”

      “Besides that, I know who you are. Mr. Jack Jayson. I know that you are Pearlizer.”

      “Uhh, no. I would never name myself something that rhymes with fertilizer. I don’t want to reveal my secret, but I can’t let that mistake pass. I just can’t. I am The Pearl Shooter. There. Doesn’t that sound so much cooler than Pearlizer?”

      “I knew it. Well, The Pearl Shooter. I am going to kill you now.”

      “Aww, don’t do that. I never even got a chance to kiss you.”

      “SHUT UP!” She slashed my face.

      ****to be continued****

      1. cosi van tutte

        ***continuation (Sorry again about the length.) *****

        “That is a small taste of the agony that I will put you through.” She raised her bloody claws into the air. “Prepare for more suffering.”

        “Okay. Wait one minute. I hate to ruin your fun time. Ha-ha. Not really. But I’ve never done anything to you. Why are you taking all of your frustrations out on me?”

        “Because you are one of them. You’re a hero. I want to destroy them all, from the low-rankers to the very top. I want them all to suffer and burn and die!”

        “I wish you wouldn’t stack me with the other low-rankers, but—”

        “I had promise. I had the desire. But they said that I had too much anger. I was a fool’s deck filled with Joker cards. I couldn’t be trained. Or trusted. They told me that I could only be a civilian and never anything more than that. IDIOTS! How could I be a mere civilian with claws protruding from my FREAKING FINGERTIPS?”

        “Did you ever think about filing them down?”

        She glared at me. “Did you ever think of filing down your nose?”

        “Okay, that is a crummy comeback-at-ya. I mean, really. There’s a world of a difference between a nose and mutant claws.” I frowned. “Wait. What’s wrong with my nose?”

        “I tried to be a civilian. I got a job.” Her expression…well. I want to say that it darkened, but yeah. She had that whole Wolverine mask on. So, her expression was anyone’s guess. I’m guessing that it darkened. (Just because it sounds cool.) “I had a job. I lost it. A customer came in. He saw my claws. He wouldn’t stop asking about them. He wouldn’t stop joking about them. He wouldn’t stop saying things about them. So, I had to kill him.”

        Over-reaction by a lot.

        “My boss found out. He became angry. He became upset. He called the cops. They came. They saw me. They didn’t take me to jail. They took me to the Whipstitch Asylum for the Criminally Gifted.”

        “Ooo, that’s pretty hard luck. I’ve heard the stories about that place.”

        “I escaped. They sent heroes to capture me. I evaded capture. By luck. By sheer determination. By careful use of my claws. I even managed to kill a couple. After I defeated Shoo-Bop-Dee-Bop, I realized then that I no longer wanted to be a hero. But I couldn’t be a civilian. There was only one option left: villain.”

        “I don’t know. You could have become a sidekick.”

        “To what? A hero? Never. And so…Here I am today with you, The Pearl Shooter. And I will kill you.”

        *****to be continued*****

        1. cosi van tutte

          ******Continuation/Conclusion*****

          My mind threw fits and raced. My hands were all tied up good and tight. I couldn’t even wiggle my fingers. Which means I couldn’t use my powers against her. Which means I was so going to die. Which means…No, actually that doesn’t mean anything. It just stinks.

          She raised her claws into the air.

          “Wait! Please please! Wait.”

          To my surprise, she waited. Ain’t she accommodating?

          “I’m sure you’ve wondered why I’m called The Pearl Shooter.”

          No reaction or comment.

          “Oh, come on! Don’t tell me that you haven’t wondered about it.”

          “I haven’t wondered about it at all.”

          “Now that’s just a criminal lack of curiosity.”

          “No. Just simple disinterest.”

          “Ahh, but what’s the point in killing a hero if you don’t even know what they’re capable of? It kind of robs you of a good victory.”

          “I prefer a simple victory.”

          “But you’ll be left wondering what exactly was The Pearl Shooter’s powers. What great force of nature did you steal away from this world of ours?”

          “You could just tell me.”

          “Yeah, sure I could. But telling and showing aren’t the same thing. Not even close to it. So, what do you say? How about you untie me and I’ll give you a little demonstration?”

          She slashed the other side of my face. Well, at least I was symmetrical now. “I am not stupid. I know what game you want to play. You want to be freed so you can take me down. Well, guess what, Pearl Shooter—”

          “Ahh-ahh. It’s The Pearl Shooter.”

          “—I will not be taken down by you or anyone ever again. I will be the one doing all of the taking down!”

          Tsk. She didn’t even acknowledge my interruption. “Okay. That sounds like a bunch of villainous fun, but couldn’t you at least…I don’t know. Loosen my bonds a little? I think I’m losing circulation in my thumbs.”

          “I don’t care about your circulation. I’m going to kill you now.”

          “But we were having such a nice conversation.” I smiled at her and I think I gave her a winsome look. I don’t know. It felt winsome to me, but I have no idea what it looked like to her. “Can’t we just put all of this good guy/bad guy banter into a steamer trunk somewhere and save it for another time? Can’t we just be Jack Jayson and uhhh…Ah, shoot. I don’t know your real name. Dang it! That totally ruined my line.”

          I shrugged. “Well, anyway, can’t we be Jack Jayson and ummm…I guess I’ll call you Jane Jones. Only I think I’ll spell Jane with a Y. J-AY-N-E. Yeah. That seems to suit you.”

          “My name is not Jane – spelled either way.”

          “Is it Heather VonSweetums?”

          “You’re sick.”

          “And you’re lovely. Oh. I forgot. Mask. Well. Your voice is lovely. I could just listen to you monologue until Captain Janeway drags the Voyager home.”

          “You’re lying.”

          “See? This is something you need to understand about me: I’m a compulsive blabbermouth. I don’t lie. Every word that I say is exactly what I mean. So, how about you and I quit this crazy scene and go to an IHOP or something? I hear they have this wonderful special going – The Endless Pancake. They bring out pancakes. You eat them. They bring out more pancakes. You eat them and the cycle just keeps on going until you belch, “DONE!” Doesn’t that sound like fun to you? It sure sounds like fun to me.”

          She stared at me with no comments.

          “Anyway, I get the feeling that there’s more to your backstory than what you’ve told me. I’d love to hear more.”

          “Is this a trap?”

          “Nope. This, my dear Wolverina, is one hundred percent truth. It’s as truth as truth gets. So? What do you say?”

          She didn’t reply.

          “Think of those pancakes. And syrup. Oh, that wonderful syrup. Maple. Blueberry. Butter pecan. Uhh, oh shoot. There’s one more. What was it? Uhh…”

          “Strawberry.”

          I blinked my surprise.

          “Strawberry syrup. I love strawberry syrup.”

          “Umm. Okay. Soo…”

          She walked behind me.

          I tensed up, totally expecting a stab in the back or a slashed throat.

          She untied me. “I’ll go out with you. But fair warning, The Pearl Shooter. If this is a trap, I will kill you and your associates.”

          “That seems fair.”

          1. cosi van tutte

            In reading this over after posting it, I discovered a couple of discrepancies which bugged me. I also decided that it might sound better in present tense. So, I corrected it and put it on my cosistories blog. 🙂

  7. wheeler04

    Another rush job to beat the deadline..

    VOICE OF DOOM

    I hang up the phone with two great feelings running through me, one of elation and one of guilt. I had to call the local grocery store concerning a bill I received for their home delivery services. Prepared for a barrage of excuses and denials, I was met with compassion and acceptance. Within minutes, the woman had corrected the mistake and apologized for any inconveniences I was caused by their mistake. I thanked her for her help and then I stepped over the line.

    I was so enchanted by her voice that I just couldn’t let her go. I tried feebly to engage her in senseless banter, eventually steering the conversation to her lovely voice. I mentioned how it affected me and that I must meet her. To my surprise, she agreed without much persuading on my part. A time and location was agreed upon and I let her get back to work.

    So now I sit at the kitchen table, seesawing between these two emotions. If I wrote this scenario in one of my stories, my publisher would laugh me out of his office. A mature middle age man, happily married, arranges to meet a strange woman, simply because he is so captivated by her voice. I too, can’t believe it, yet I’m about to engage in this behavior within a few hours. I sit there staring at the phone, repeating her name in my mind.

    “John, you forgot to wake me!”

    I snap back to reality to see my wife standing across the table, glaring down at me.

    “You were supposed to wake me at three. It’s now past three thirty. I won’t have time to make dinner and get to work on time.”

    Janet, my wife, works as a nurse on the night shift at our local hospital. We usually have dinner at four, seemingly the only time we can eat together, which gives her time to dress and get to the hospital by five.

    “I’m sorry, honey,” I humbly apologize. “I lost track of the time. I was on the phone with Gillman’s, they overcharged us on the last delivery. I finally got it straightened out. Will you forgive me?”

    “I guess,” she says with that coy look of hers. “But, what about dinner?”

    “I’ll tell you what. While you dress, I’ll go run out for a pizza. We’ll still eat at four and you’ll be on time.”

    I give a passionate kiss on the lips, turn her around and point her towards the bedroom. With a soft pat on her butt, I send her off to the showers.

    Dinner went well and Janet left on time for work. It’s now six fifteen and I’m ready to leave for my clandestine meeting with the woman who has an angelic voice. I stand in front of my wife’s full length mirror for one last check, when someone rings the doorbell.

    I freeze, afraid to move. The last thing I want is to run into one of our friends. But how could anyone get into my apartment building without being buzzed in? Maybe it’s one of our neighbors. I should be able to dismiss them quickly.

    The bell rings again. I make my way silently to the front door. I look out the peephole but see no one standing there. I listen for any clue as to who is there.

    The bell rings a third time.

    “Who is it?” I ask, still not seeing anyone.

    “It’s me, Maureen, from Gillman Groceries. “I decided, instead of meeting at the restaurant, I would come up to your apartment.”

    It’s the voice I crave for, but why don’t I have the same euphoric feeling? Suddenly it hits me and the butterflies in my stomach turn to burning coals. My first brief extramarital escapade comes to a premature horrific ending.

    I reach for the doorknob knowing that the face that possesses the heavenly voice, will have a glare from hell.

    I open the door and she’s there, just as I imagined.

    “Hello, Jonathan.”

    “Hi Mom.”

      1. wheeler04

        Catbr, thanks for your comment. My assumption (did someone say, never assume?) is that he didn’t recognized her voice partly due to the fact that he wouldn’t expect to hear it in that situation (grocery store). However, subconsciously the voice reminded him of his mother which is why he was so taken with it. Then, when he hears the voice outside the door, he does recognize her voice and realizes that his indiscretion is now known by his mom.

  8. catbr

    I hate phoning the phone company. It takes way too long to talk to a living, breathing person. There must only be two or three people in the office servicing the entire country and they only want to sell some of their other usless services and won’t talk about the issue that you’re having. They make me sick. How long this time is it going…
    “Hello. This is Steve. Can I help you with something?” The smooth sounding voice on the phone startled me out of my raging thoughts.
    “Yes, Steve. I’d like to discuss this month’s phone bill. It looks as though the discount that I signed on for is still not being credited to my account. It should have been corrected two months ago but is still $25.00 more than it should be. Could you look into this?”
    “Certainly Ms. Bennett. It’ll take a few minutes to bring that up on the computer screen. So, how’s your day going?” I was mesmerized by this man’s voice and had to concentrate to come back down to earth. His voice was so mellow and soothing, a voice suited for late night radio talk shows.
    “Oh, not too bad now that I’m talking to you. You should be able to figure this out in no time, right darling, er I mean Steve. Sorry about that.” Glad he can’t see the reddening in my face right now, how embarrassing. Holy crap, settle down. He’s just a phone representative, but that voice…
    “Not a problem. These things happen sometimes. Oh here we are. Your account’s just appeared on the screen. I see exactly where things went wrong. So, just pay $25.00 less on this month’s bill and next month you’ll be credited $50.00. I’ll make a note about all of this so that nothing will go wrong, I promise. Can I help you with anything else, Ms. Bennett?”
    Don’t stop talking now my most beautiful Steve with the golden voice. You could help me with my non existent life. “Please, call me Hannah. That sounds just wonderful Steve, in more ways than you know. What are you doing this Friday evening? I thought maybe we could meet for some coffee or a drink to start with and maybe get to know each other, if that’s alright with you?” Did I just say that out loud? I shouldn’t have said that. He’ll never agree to meet with me, he just sounds too good for somebody like me. Holy crap, I really need to get out more. He must be thinking I’m a frigging loon or something.
    “Why, I’m flattered Ms. or I mean, Hannah. Such a lovely name. Just say where and when and I’d be happy to meet up with you. Friday is good for me.”
    After all these years of being alone, I can’t believe how easy that was. I’m in shock. What’ll I wear, I’ve got nothing to wear. I hope Steve isn’t some dog or anything but, so what if he is. It’ll still be better than spending another Friday night alone with the cat, or going to the park to feed the ducks alone or anything else alone.
    “Thank you Steve. You won’t regret this.”

  9. PatDatMann

    Sing to me..

    Soon after I tapped the red end on my phone screen I had to ask myself: ‘Did I really just do that?’

    I live in LA. Opportunities to meet woman are all around me, yet here I am prepping for a date due to the, the, kiss-of-a- sound? Wow. I guess, this- is who I am.

    Fallen for the – ‘Robin Givens gravitas’, of the intonations from the woman who helped me sort out the fraudulent charges on my credit card this month. It’s just, I never thought I’d pay in self-pride for the prospect of a healthy human connection.

    Just here presence over the phone helped calm my nerves as she just- did her job. In an exchange that began curt and even abrasive at times- of which I deserve the blame, wound up ending in ease and her honest chords of laughter; as if there was a sign I needed to heed.

    Next thing I knew I found myself imagining the pucker of her lips when she pursed them to pronounced P’s or, ones. I even wondered if her tongue grazed her teeth when the she told me- ‘it takes a little to see the funds returned.’

    Her voice was like a light smoke bringing a wisp that I swear I could feel. What I enjoyed over the phone today was like a fragrance that I could hear.

    A voice like her’s, is fodder for music. Inspiring the wistful ballads that made Smokey Robinson famous. The kind from which we’d all be more refined if the world were to hear her sing it. I knew that listening to her gave me something, what it was I had to figure out. So I told her I wanted to hear her, not her job- but on any or every thing else. Sounds regrettable when I retell it but for better to relay my surprise, when she didn’t tease me with laughter and actually, just paused and complied.

    Feeling like the lead in a Spike film sometime in1985- I just knew this woman was fly of both body and mind. Now I know I sound whimsical and of my own self I feel beside but from knowing what I know she gave me hope when we spoke. Hope not- that in her presence my world would change for the better, but that there is that blanket of care under which I could feel the warmth of belief. Hope that in that warmth we might notice our own details and with time, food and wine- she may want to sing them to me.

    At this time Im preparing for grace personified- so obviously I’m struggling. To have to focus on me, to make a good impression, seemed slightly less relevant to pondering the woman I’d be expecting. If there’s such thing as a good type of stressing then I think I might have found it.

    Praying I struck the right balance between cologne and pheromones and that I chose the right clothes so she knows I’m far from a clone of any fashion. I stride towards the restaurant opening the door affixed to my watch, because the last thing I would want to do is have this woman waiting.

    Thinking- ‘Yes, I’m on it’, when I arrived early to a line to claim my reservation. As luck would have it there was a fifteen minute backup before holders would be seated. In lieu of looking defeated I surveyed the foray sat where patrons wait, let the faint music seep in while taking notice of the decor.

    Not long after my head was bowed into my phone, when I noticed woman gliding- with busy hands, jostling through the door. I’m attracted to red-I’ve always been, so I’m inclined to say it was the cardinal shade of her dress that caught my attention but at that same exact moment it was taken by the body that wore it.

    Being so close to the door, it was reflexive for me to hold it. She carefully crossed the threshold and it was like watching nature as she grazed. Placing her phone in her bag, our eyes met as she gave – ‘Thanks.’ Quickly brushing aside my thoughts, I replied – ‘My pleasure.’ At that moment, with no doubt we both knew that we made it.

  10. jwsalaz

    You are surprised by the voice saying yes to your proposition.

    ‘My name is Lisa. I already know your name, Mr. Holt.’ She smiles to herself, asking you if she can put you on a brief hold. You oblige.

    She slides out of her seat letting everyone know that she got asked a date, and now that she has me on hold, she goes to her boss, and tells him too. Smelling of unprofessional conduct, he asks her to sit down and start answering more calls. That I didn’t matter. She goes back to her place in one of the rows in the call center. I am still on hold, when she came back, and answered the remaining questions I had for her. I asked for a real phone number that she could be reached at.

    She tells me bye, and we hang up. I get really excited. I was out of the dating scene, because of the bad breakup I just had. Suddenly I feel like I was on the rebound, and I didn’t want to do that to Lisa. I went around and put all the pictures of me and Janelle, and just generally cleaned around the house.

    Suddenly I get a phone call, and it’s Lisa. Her voice is exhilarating. She sounds too good to be true. She asks me where she can get a new job, since her boss doesn’t appreciate her ‘fraternizing’ with the callers. She was on her las chance to correct her attitude with her employer.

    I tell her that she doesn’t need to look through the classifieds, since I had an ‘in’ for another company. She smiles to herself and says thank you.

  11. ReathaThomasOakley

    The Voice
    (Semi-autobiographical, with a nod to the prompt)

    “This is FISH,” I say, calmly, always calmly, as I’d been trained. “How may I help you?”

    The year was 1969, there I was, a young bride newly arrived from Florida, accent intact, sitting in front of a massive switchboard in the basement of a bank in downtown Billings, Montana. FISH was the help line for a local church’s Timothy ministry, a line that rarely rang during my middle of the night shift. When that line did ring I always hoped it would be for something like help with paying utilities or late child support. Then I could say, “Yes, I understand. Please give me your number and I promise, someone will call you tomorrow.”

    “Fish, you say?” Throaty laugh. “What kinda fish gonna be trying to help me?”

    “Sir…” I struggle to speak. “This is FISH. Please, if you could just…” I pause. “If you would just…”

    “Just what,” more laughter. “I tell you my troubles and then you gonna pour me out some advice in that honey-sweet voice of yours? That voice that I just wanna hear sliding through this line from your lips to my…”

    I jerk the line from the board and watch as it slithers back into the port labeled FISH. I look at Cheryl, sitting at the far right board, just the two of us this time of night. I’d only been in here twice when all five boards were staffed, once for my first interview, and then to meet the rest of the “girls”, each older than I was by a good many years.

    Cheryl is leaning into the desk part of the board, a cup of coffee close to her right hand, which is caressing the only plugged-in line. I think Cheryl is having an affair. She mentioned a husband our first night together, but the way she whispers into her headset mouthpiece, I just don’t know.

    “Cheryl,” I say. “Cheryl…” She gives me a look.

    “Need a break?” She asks.

    “No, no, I just need, need your advice.” She whispers and disconnects.

    “Yeah?” She lights a cigarette. I hesitate, I must be mistaken.

    “Remember those calls I told you about, the creepy ones?”

    “Girl, we all get them, but I must say, your voice, that accent, lotta guys probably just want to listen you to talk.” She takes a sip of coffee, makes a face, and stands. “Cold, thought I’d just poured it.”

    “Cheryl, listen a minute. I think, I’m pretty sure, it’s the same guy.”

    “Is that strange? Some accounts, the truckers, only one guy calls in. Want a fresh one?” She points to my cup.

    “No, no. Same guy calling different numbers. Just then, FISH, he called FISH.” I can’t help it, but my voice breaks.

    “Hey, hey,” she sits in the empty chair next to me. “It’s okay.” She gives me a side hug, careful not to pull my headset line. “This time of night, just the loonies out, and a few docs scurrying home.”

    Part of my training involved not noticing when an on-call doc left the home number of an emergency room doc for us to use. Most were careful to call in before they went to their own homes, but I’d heard stories.

    “Cheryl, how does he know, how can he know, I’ll be the one answering and you’ve said you’re getting more hang ups than usual.”

    “Let me think here.” She grinds out her cigarette. “Hand me the phone book.” She quickly flips through the Yellow Pages. “Here, look here. This ad says, Answering 24 Hours A Day. Anybody reading this would know, wouldn’t they?”

    “But, FISH, he called in to FISH.” I put the book away.

    Eventually our shift is over. Cheryl and I go through messages with our replacements, wash our cups, walk up the stairs, and out into the cool morning air.

    “Remember the Yellow Pages,” she says before she turns toward the bank parking lot.

    “But, he called FISH,” I whisper to her retreating back. “He called FISH.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Jumped right out of the web site
      Isn,’t it fun to write your own experiences.You’re.totally in charge You can change what you want to, become what you’ve always dreamed of. I’m on my knees to ask you to continue this story
      Fly with it. It’s a great start of a mystery or murder. Go for it girl!

  12. onlythismuchnofurther

    I poured the entire carton of milk out the window because I’m sure it is growing something or becoming altogether a new substance. I haven’t spoken in weeks. At all. No words. I’m still trying to figure out when I went forward in time or backward. I recorded it with a camera, so I could play it back and gain some kind of foundation again. My mind is burning. Quadrants are shifting and aligning and everything starting to light up. I received a strange letter in the mail. I called the number on it. The woman’s voice came out full of purity. She’s airy and clean. I felt her caressing the true me, so much light in her voice. She pulled me upward. I came out of solitude. I asked her because I could and I see her eyes already and her tones drew a picture on my cold-pressed board. I received the whole thing. I have already given myself to her. She’s beautiful. Not one crack or flat in the keys of her sweet melody. Her name is Wren, like a bird. She sang me into a long former-dormant madness. I torched, blazing rich blue. The minerals within me are alight. Molten and refined. I hang up the phone and loosely recollect faculties to place the paper with her number strategically where memory won’t need trusting. The call center is five states over in a southern westward squiggling contour like a trace down jester’s silhouette. I run out to my car and turn the key to begin the journey, only to redirect and run back into the house as the car engine hums with excitement to break out into the open. I forgot a pen. I need a pen and a, no nothing. I’ll show up fasted and fast and quick witted. I cannot slow down a single aspect of my sprint. This frame has soiled my exuberance for the last time. The car must have nothing within it. I am sure to excel in supernatural amounts. My soul is free, I have shed my taste for this world. The ultraviolet voice will welcome me in and I factor the 18 hour drive to roughly something like two minutes at the speed of my thoughts. The radio is crazy. There’s too much to process at this rate. I will try a long stretch of road without headlights, because I remember the time the cops watched me in the parking lot. They know if I’m switched on. I am my own stimulant, both fuel and inferno. They have a system for seeing the free – religious or not. Deeply controlled. The red-faced demonized Jezebel back in Lacon has devoured her last soul. I’m homefree. This swift adulterous trip twists convention – as the the journey into guilt was steeped in obedience, the freedom will be a grace into infidelity. Oh bother the bear says, I’m already pulling randomly. Sweet succulence I’m a bee buzzing again. Napoleon’s robes and symbol circus attractions, the deep end is just under this coarse rope. I’ve ditched my father’s snares. I’m gassing this coup into higher dimensions. I won’t scream blasphemy and crash into a tree. I’ll arrive and swirl into an endless high. I’ll be gone before the civilized vassals can get a lasso on me. One final rodeo before I’m solely solar flare.

  13. wheeler04

    A SOUND PROPOSITION

    I received a bill for forty blank recording discs when I only ordered twenty, which is the number I received. I was ‘baited for bear’ when I called Larry’s however, when I heard her voice, I just melted. She repeated her greeting a few times and each time I couldn’t find any desire to interrupt such an angelic sound, especially since my wife was in the kitchen with me.

    Later, alone in the basement, I decide to call again. My heart jumps when she answers.

    “Hello, Larry’s Electronic City. My name is Helen. How may I help you?”

    I take second to take a breath and calm down.

    “Yes, my name is Walter Minsken. I just received your invoice and you charged me for forty blank discs, when I only bought twenty.”

    “What’s your account number?”

    “D541EXL”

    “Okay, give me a moment to retrieve your account.”

    I hear her humming while she brings up my account, however I need to keep hearing her voice. I’m just about to ask her a question when she speaks.

    “Oh yes, I see the problem. You ordered twenty discs, twenty were mailed to you, but when the order was sent to billing, it was entered twice, hence the reason for the billing for forty. I can fix it right now. I’ll change it to twenty…done! I can send you an adjusted invoice and you should have by Monday or Tuesday. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

    I decide to take the plunge.

    “Perhaps you could deliver it to me personally, say Monday at lunch?”

    Helen is silent, causing me to believe that I went too fast. She finally speaks.

    “Why would you want to see me?”

    “Your voice sounds so angelic that I have to meet the person who it belongs to.”

    Again, silence. I try to prod her, trying not to pressure her unduly.

    “Nothing sinister, just lunch. You can pick the time and place. Monday would be best because I can’t wait to meet you. Maybe a relationship if I can promote myself successfully.”

    “Okay, I’ll meet you. Do you know where our store is?”

    “Yes.”

    “There’s an Italian restaurant, Rosa’s, that’s two doors down from us. I’ll meet you there at one on Monday. Okay?”

    “Great. Rosa’s at one on Monday. What do you look like so I can find you?”

    “Oh no, that will be the surprise. I know that I am not what you think.”

    “Helen, you could have two heads and a dragon tail and you would still be the woman I’m looking for.”

    She laughs, a laughter that sends a tingling sensation down my spine.

    “What about you? How will I know you?”

    “I’ll be the handsome guy carrying a single red rose.”

    “Fine. Until Monday then. Bye Walter.”

    “Bye, Helen,” I say in a softer tone.

    After hanging up, I sit while trying to come back to Earth. I feel like a horny teenager again, not a mature thirty year old married man that I am. In my euphoric mood, I’m oblivious to the fact that my shirt is soaked with perspiration. I’m also oblivious to the fact that my wife has been listening at the top of the stairs.

    I arrive at Rosa’s at 1:10, delayed due to the fact that I almost forgot the rose. Inside, I’m lead into the dining area to a table in the corner where Helen sits.

    I stand there amazed at how wrong I was. She doesn’t have two heads but the silver haired woman, dressed very elegantly, is not how I imagined her.

    “This is for you,” I say, handing her the rose. I take the seat across from her. I do wonder if perhaps this isn’t Helen but my doubts are eliminated as soon as she speaks to me. She admits that she only reason she met me was to see the look of shock on my face. I admit I was wrong with her appearance, however, I still want her. She politely argues against our having a relationship, which I dismiss the idea that our ages are a barrier for us. Besides it’s her voice that I’m in love with. This confused her more, possibly causing her undo anxiety. I realize that my approach is not working.

    After giving the waitress our orders, I decide to abandon my theatrical approach and just lay out my proposition directly. However, fate steps in and my plans for Helen are shattered.

    She sits at our table, smiles at me, then holds her hand out to Helen.

    “I assume that you are Helen. Hi. My name is Ann, I’m Walter’s wife.”

    “Hello, Ann,” Helen says taking her hand. “I must admit I am the one who is surprised now.”

    “I hate to interrupt my husband when he’s wooing another female, however I thought I would step in. After all, isn’t a wife’s duty to keep her husband from making a fool of himself, right honey?”

    “My approach usually works,” I say trying muster a defense of my male ego.

    “Maybe, but not this time. Have you even told her your proposition yet?”

    “No, not yet,” I answer, “I was just getting to it when you interrupted me.”

    “Let me ask her for you, okay?”

    “Go ahead,” I concede.

    Helen is totally confused and I’m sure she’s thinking of calling security. Ann turns to face Helen and speaks calmly to her.

    “I know why Walter is attracted to you, because of your lovely voice. I totally agree with him. That’s why we want you to join us in our little enterprise.”

    “And what would that be?” Helen asks hesitantly.

    “We read classic literature onto blank discs and give them to anyone who have lost their sight, especially Vets who are wounded in combat. Of course, we add comical slant to these stories, which really seems to lifts their spirits. We’re now looking for more readers and with your lovely voice, we would like you to join us. We can’t pay you because we never charge anyone for our recordings.”

    Ann searches through her purse, retrieving two items.

    “Here are a sample disc and a brochure of our work. Take them and let us know what you think.”

    Helen stares at them then gives them back to Ann. My heart sinks. I blame myself for blowing this opportunity.

    “After lunch,” Helen says, “we’ll go back to the store and play it. If it’s as good as you say, I’ll join you and I’m sure Larry, my son, would be glad to help out in any way he can too.”

      1. wheeler04

        Thank you Who I Am for your kind words. I’m pleased that you enjoyed it. I always try to have a different slant to these prompts, however, it takes me so long to develop a story that I usually run out of time. However, with the help of everyone on this site, I’m working on writing better stories within the time frame.

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, wheeler!

      Just so you know -> “We read classic literature onto blank discs and give them to anyone who have lost their sight, especially Vets who are wounded in combat. Of course, we add comical slant to these stories, which really seems to lifts their spirits.” This is all manner of awesomeness. I want to hear their take on Wuthering Heights. 🙂

      1. wheeler04

        Cosi, thank you for your kind comment. I wish I had the ways and means to accomplish what Walter and Ann seem to do, however, since I don’t, I have to live vicariously through my characters.

        Oh yes, I understand that Walter and Ann did consider Wuthering Heights for a reading, however, dismissed the idea since the story already contained many comical passages.

  14. Pete

    I never would have called, but I was desperate. And I never would have come out and said those things to Pike’s girl on the phone but her voice in my ear, it felt so close to my head.

    I pictured those full lips, brushing against my ear. I remembered how she smiled at me that time I was there buying a bag at the house. Nothing crazy, but enough to stay in my thoughts. We were all pretty high and watching talk show was on and Pike was lying on the couch laughing at some little kid who was stuttering.

    On the phone I told her I had Pike’s money. Which I didn’t. But I did have my half of the rent. She said I could come over.

    You’d think I would have talked myself out of a very bad plan. On the bus. Down the sidewalk. Up there stairs and past Pike’s weight bench. Did I mention I was desperate?

    Tina answered the door with a smirk. You think I knew something was up? Nope. Because love does things to your sensory system. And weed. Weed does that too.

    I cruised on into Pike’s house like I hadn’t been ducking him for months. Some horoscope hotline commercial was on TV and candles were lit. Tina had on a tank top and shorts that showed off that snake tattoo on her legs. She was gorgeous, from her turquoise eyelids right down to her toenails, painted a halting yellow of windswept yellow Dollar General bags fluttering in the tree branches along the expressway. Then that voice.

    “Turtle, I ‘m glad you’ve come.”

    She closed the door. As bad as I wanted some weed I wanted this girl more. More than that Mickie D’s on the couch, leaking a savory thick canola oil fumes that cut through the fog of incense. More than a place to live. More than anything.

    “Me too.”

    She gave me that smile. Touched my lips and spoke to me in a voice that was sweeter than saccharin.

    “You have the money?”

    I nodded, reached in my pocket and found a wad of cash and gave it to her. Tucker was going to kill me but I wasn’t thinking about that because I wasn’t thinking at all and I leaned in and kissed her, like really kissed her and she kissed me back and we were kissing when someone said, “Turtle, my man.”

    The TV was blaring, about what lay ahead for the day and how I should call now to get a personalized reading. Pike was grinning from the doorway, heaving.

    ….there will be tension in the air today….

    Pike smiled, with those weird eyes of his. Tia still had a hold of my neck with her claws, which I liked, but I still wanted to run.

    “Don’t look so surprised, Turtle.”

    Tina pat me on the head, like you would a puppy, then walked over and handed Pike the cash, speaking close to his ear but loud enough so that I could hear that sticky voice of hers.

    “I wish you would look at me the way he does, muchacho.”

    Pike chuckled, counted my rent money, then lit up the blunt in his mouth and exhaled. This was when I realized that I might not die.

    “You hear that? She likes you, Turtle.”

    Can’t lie. I’d pissed myself by then. Pike nodded for the door.

    “Go.”

    I stepped out, down the porch. Rentless and weedless, I walked. But I was alive, I knew it. Because I was in love.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Pete, don’t know why, but I can almost hear this presented at a poetry slam. Some of the phrases have a rhymic pace and others with just a bit of tweaking could also.

  15. Alquarien

    (A tiny bit longer than 500, but I hope it is enjoyed!)

    Tick… tick… tick… tick… the sound of my wristwatch seemed many decibels louder than it actually was. Mixed with the anxiety-filled thud of my heart ringing in my ears and throat, every little sound around me was amplified to the nth degree. It has been six years since my last date; I can only hope I make a good impression. Working the nightshift at an art-gallery as a security guard really didn’t offer me much opportunity to meet any sort of lady. After hearing that simply remarkable voice over the phone, I simply had to end the crippling loneliness.

    My best friend thought it was strange that she agreed to meet me for dinner just a mere week after hearing her voice. We have texted back and forward a few times; she seems fairly normal to me. There aren’t any immediate issues I can see at all, other than the fact that she won’t send me any sort of hint as to what she looks like. I’ve sent a picture or two; she seems to be quite interested in me, that’s a bonus I suppose.

    Here I am, on my day off, waiting in the lobby of a well-reviewed Italian restaurant which was conveniently placed equidistance between both of our apartments. She’s a little late, but I can forgive her for now, the traffic was pretty awful when I was out there. I pulled up my phone, figuring I should probably send her a text.

    “Table is under ‘Strous’, want me to order you a drink? : )” Would the smiley-face emoji be a tad too much? Do I look too eager? I’d better delete it.

    “U pick, in traffic. Srry.” Came the response just a few moments later. I wasn’t expecting the reply to be so sudden, perhaps she was more eager than I. Raising, I nod to the hostess and allow her to take me to the designated table.

    For the first few minutes, I rearranged the table a few times over. Constantly, my eyes were flickering toward the entrance, trying to guess if the next woman walking in was my date. Excitement and dread filled me at the same time. I was becoming pathetic. The mere clop of heels caused me to stiffen in my seat and brace myself.

    The voice, the silky smooth voice on the phone is what kept me there. The sound was ever so angelic, ethereal, surreal, divine, like honey dripping from a wooden spoon. It was sweet, yet mature. I could imagine only a beautiful creature could ever possess the vocal chords of a cherub’s harp.

    “Steven?”

    I could hear it now, louder than ever. My eyes lull around the table, dazed in a state of wonderment.

    “Steven?” Repeated the voice, this time, I looked up.

    There she stood, yet, there she didn’t stand. The voice was unmistakable, but something didn’t seem right. At a height of six-foot-three, she certainly towered over me by a few inches. Her skin was pale, but certainly by the help of the plastered makeup which frosted the cake which was her face. A bold, leopard-skin minidress clung to her… very, curvaceous body. A crown of curls spilled from the top of her head, dubbing her the Queen of trailers, if I ever saw one. Fake, bright-pink nails draped from her fingers, pointed and long like the talons of an overgrown bird.

    What have I gotten myself into?

    -Alquarien

  16. cosi van tutte

    I’m going to be honest. Brutally honest. You better sit down and brace yourself, because this is going to be harsh.

    I hate my voice.

    I probably shouldn’t hate it as much as I do. I mean, at least I do have a voice. Some people don’t. I do. Yay me…I guess.

    I have excellent enunciation. I don’t slur or slush my words. And I can sing.

    But there’s the problem.

    On a good day, I can sing Old Man River easily. On bad days, I can sing all of the Commendatore’s parts from Don Giovanni. Wonderful, right? Wrong.

    My talking voice is even worse. It’s so deep it makes Miley Cyrus’ talking voice sound like a lyric soprano.

    This all would be awesome if I were a guy.

    I am not a guy.

    I am Genevieve Martin and I am 100% girl.

    So, yeah. All things put into perspective, I probably would have been better off if I got a job where I didn’t have to say a word. Not sure what kind of job that would be, but it sure isn’t the job I wound up with…

    ***

    “Thank you for calling the Ninja Numchuck Store. How may I direct your call?”

    “Thank you for calling the Ninja Numchuck Store. How may I help you? Yes. I will patch you over to him now.”

    “Thank you for calling the Ninja Numchuck Store. How may I help you? Sorry. He isn’t in today. Please call again later.”

    But really I can’t complain. It’s a good job with good benefits. My co-workers were surprised when they first heard my voice, but they’ve gotten used to the visual/audio disconnect. No one even comments on it anymore.

    Which is a great blessing.

    “Thank you for calling the Ninja Numchuck Store. How may I help you? Yes. Yes. No. I’m sorry. We’re all out of shuriken. We’re expecting a new shipment next week. Yes. My deepest apologies. Have a good day.”

    I have learned, however, not to announce my name when I answer the phone. It goes against company protocol, but it saves everyone a lot of wasted time. Plus, hearing “Wait. Did you say your name is Genevieve? Isn’t that a girl’s name?” every day in every phone call is just spirit crushing.

    “Thank you for calling the Ninja Numchuck Store. How may I help you? Yes. We do have numchucks. What size and length do you need? Is this for a child or an adult? Very well. I will place your order. Please hold while I grab my order form.”

    I have also learned not to bother with dating. Guys get really turned off by women who sound like men. Go figure.

    “Thank you for calling the Ninja Numchuck Store. How may I help you?”

    So, I’m single. Probably will be single for my entire life. Not a big deal, though. It really isn’t.

    “Thank you for calling the Ninja Numchuck Store.”

    I’m happy as I am. Really, really happy. Happy single me with my deep man voice. Oh, yay.

    “Thank you for calling—”

    Throw me a Happy Singleton Party. Because that’s what I am. Yaaay me.

    “Thank you—”

    I don’t need anyone in my life. Not now. Not ever. I’m fine.

    “Thank—”

    I’m free.

    “Thank you for calling the Ninja Numchuck Store. How may I help you? What? My voice?” I smile a weak, pasty thing of a smile. “Yeah, I know I sound like a movie voiceover guy. It’s a blessing and a curse. Wait. I’m sorry? But…No. I’ve never even considered it.”

    His words fill my head. I find it hard to think straight. No one has ever suggested such a thing to me. Ever. It has always been “You sure you’re really a girrrl?”

    “Let me think about it. Oh! Let me grab a pen and paper. Okay. What was your name again? Okay. And your number is…Okay. Yes. Thank you. Thank you! I appreciate your offer. I just really need to think about it. Yes, I will call you back. Yes. Thank you again. Oh! You want to place an order with us? Sure thing. Let me grab my order sheet.”

    After I hang up the phone, I look down at my hastily scrawled note: “Scott at The Beautiful Voice – voice talent agency.” Voice talent. Voice.

    My voice.

    He wants my voice for his agency.

    Okay. So, this won’t be a path to true, everlasting love and marriage and three thousand children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

    After all, he doesn’t even know that I’m a woman.

    Not yet.

    But in that sort of business, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is the voice and the emotion that it can express.

    But to give up my job with benefits for such uncertainty…

    I look at his number.

    Maybe I’ll give it a try.

    And I’ll see what happens next.

    Maybe fame and fortune.

    Maybe even love.

    Who knows?

    I’ll see.

      1. cosi van tutte

        Thank you, whatever! 😀

        Huh. I feel like I’m being disrespectful when I call you whatever, even though it is your user name. Hmm. I think I’ll just call you WTA from now on, if you don’t mind. 🙂

      1. Kerry Charlton

        When you entrapped me with this story, my mind flashed to…….. “To Have Or To Have Not.” Lauren Bacall lighting a cigarette for Humphrey Bogart.”You do know how to blow don’t you Steve?

  17. H.M Thu

    “Do you believe in love at first sight?
    Here are some beautiful stories of people who found love right after they accidentally met each other.
    Hi, everyone. My name is Adam..….”
    I turn off the radio.
    What a nonsense programme! I giggle. It cannot kill my boring time of waiting for the traffic light turning into the green one. How can it be possible to fall in love with someone at first sight?
    It’s 4:00 PM when my hands reach the front door’s knob of my home. I sit down loosely on my comfortable sofa and closed my eyes wearily. That feeling of being back home from a tiresome eight hours drive trip is undeniable pleasure no one can get. I smile at my optimistic feeling of tiredness. How cheerful person am I!
    Beep..beep…
    I hear a beep from my phone and check it. It is from my work, in fact, from my boss, a bloody slave driver. He said to check my mail in which about the project we conduct. Huuu…What a busy life! I open my mail and I find that I received a dozen mails. I noticed that one is from TWC. What is TWC? I’ve never heard about that so I check it. It was a bill about the things I did not buy. I am confused for a few minutes and what I decide is to call the phone number that is given at the bottom of the bill. So I give it a ring.
    “Hello, Good Evening. This is from Taw Win Center. How can I help you!”
    “Er…..” I lose my sound in her amazingly sweet voice.
    “ Yes, I’m peter. Mark Peter. Emmm…You have a beautiful voice.”
    “Oh… Thank you. How can I help you?”
    “Yes, I got a mail from TWC. It is a bill of 1000$. But I didn’t buy anything from TWC. So, I want to know what had happened” To be honest, I don’t want to know anything about the bill now. I just wonder who the speaker of this beautiful voice.
    “ I see.. Sir. So, Can you tell me your mail that we sent to you and your phone number?”
    “ Yes. It is XXXXX ”
    “ Okay, sir. After we checked it, we will inform you. Thank you.”
    Before I open my mouth, it is hung up. Why I did not ask her phone number? Actually, I still want to continue this conversation. I cannot wait until they inform me. I call that phone number again.
    “Hello, Good Evening. This is from Taw Win Center. How can I help you!” That beautiful sound flies into my ears leisurely.
    “ Yes, I know. I’m Peter.”
    “ oh, yes….Sir, we…”
    “ Can I take you a dinner?” I think it is a really long time to hear her reply.
    “ Sir, we just checked your bill and it is just your account that spent 1000$. We didn’t make a mistake. May be one person use your card? Please, check it.”
    I suddenly remember that I gave my card to my mother. Err…yes. Mom might have used my card.
    “ Er…I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. My mom might use it. And….. you didn’t answer my question. Will you…”
    “ Yes…”
    Wait. What. She said “ Yes”. It is really amazing. I don’t know why she accepted my invitation but I am absorbed in such an overwhelming feeling.
    “ So, your name is…”
    “Lyre” What a beautiful name like her voice? So we make a dinner date for tomorrow evening.
    I am on pins and needles while I’m waiting for her. I figure out her face with long hair and short hair. Whatever it is, she might be beautiful. One girl enters into the restaurant and she seems looking for someone. Finally, she finds the one she is looking for, yet, it is not me. A few minutes later, one girl with long brown hair walks to my table and says “Excuse me….”

    I said that I do not believe in love at first sight. Yes, until now, I hold my belief in it. Now I, yet, believe in love at first hearing.

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, H.M.!

      I really liked this story! There are a couple of really good lines in it. Especially: ” I lose my sound in her amazingly sweet voice.” and “I smile at my optimistic feeling of tiredness.”

  18. SkyFox

    Going to have two parts…or maybe more. 🙂

    “Hi this is Teen Helpline! How can we help you?”
    “I want to die.”
    A muted muffle as whoever was on the end searched for something.
    “Well…it says here…”
    The muted flipping of pages srcatched in the end of my battered phone.
    “You should tell me whats bothering you and then…Ill ‘help’ you with your problems.”
    I snorted.
    “So whats wrong?”
    “My parents hate me, Im failing at school and my best friend just died of a drug overdose.”
    “Well….er you should look on the bright side!”
    I muttered something under my breath.
    “Thier is no bright side.”
    “Welll..theres ALWAYS a bright side!”
    I sighed. This was not going how I expected. She was to damn happy.
    “You mean the bright side is that while I have a awesome wallet, its empty.”
    “Well maybe I can help…wait here!”
    A creak and I guessed she was getting out of her chair.
    “Backkkk!”
    “Took you long enough.”
    “Well Id like you to try manevour around this office.”
    “I can tell theirs no one is there.”
    A pause and she cleared her throat.
    “Throne Of Glass. Chapter One.”
    “Whoa! I dont need…”
    She ignored me and read on..and slowly I became…well curious.
    The dusty smacked echoed down the phnoe line and she cleared her throat.
    “My shifts over.”
    “…Okay”
    “Well you be back tomorrow?”
    I stopped, licking my lips.
    “Yes.”
    “Good! Same time tomorrow.”
    “Y-yeah.”
    “See ya!”
    The click of the phone line ended the call and I dropped my hands.
    So quiet, I could barely hear myself I whispeared something something.
    “You had a really beautiful voice.”

    1. SkyFox

      Part 2 🙂

      “Its me…”
      “You made it through the night!”
      “Just read me the story, will you?”
      She sighed through the phone.
      “Touchy,touchy.”
      “Please?”
      A rustle and the thud sounded again.
      “Chapter 8…”
      ———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

        1. SkyFox

          Haha okay I will. One serve of writing comming up! The posting someimes isn’t working so I will continue trying here but I will probaly whip up a blog to continue writing!

      1. SkyFox

        Part 3 🙂
        “Hi..”
        “Hello Mr!”
        “Stop please…”
        “I need a nickname for you.”
        “Oh god no…”
        “What about…Mr Prickly”
        “Ill hang up..”
        “Okay…Mr Tux”
        “Thats it.”
        I paused
        “Why Mr Tux?”
        “Because you sound like the kinda guy who would wear a tux.”
        “Im telling you now. Ive never worn a tux.”
        “Well you should!”
        “Book?”
        “Mr Tux…”
        “Please? The book?”
        She cleared her throat.
        “Fine…”
        “You know this hurts my throat?”
        “Do I sound like I care..?”
        “Har de har.”
        “Why dont you buy one. There is a speial on at Dimicks..”
        “Maybe…now read please.”
        “Fine… Chapter 14.”

        1. cosi van tutte

          Hi, SkyFox!

          Just so you know, I love this exchange:

          “Okay…Mr Tux”
          “Thats it.”
          I paused
          “Why Mr Tux?”
          “Because you sound like the kinda guy who would wear a tux.”
          “Im telling you now. Ive never worn a tux.”
          “Well you should!”

          Just 😀

          1. SkyFox

            “Hi.”
            “Mr Tux!”
            I sigh.
            “Your going to call me that from now on…?”
            “Yep.”
            “I got the book”
            “Yay! Finally my throat can retire.”
            My moth twitched.
            “Well..maybe. I read a few chapters.”
            “Oh my god! You have to like Dorian. Tell me you like Dorian!”
            “Hes kinda wimpy…”
            “How dare you Mr Tux!”
            “I was wondering…”
            “Mmhm?”
            “Could you…read?”
            “But dont you have a copy?”
            “Yeah but…Its nice for somone to care enough about me to read to me….”
            “OH…Oh umm okay.”
            I coughed slightly.
            “Also you have a really nice voice.”
            She stuttered into the phone, her voice catching.
            “Than-thanks.”
            “Chapter 19?”
            “Y-Yep.”
            ========================================================
            “He-”
            “NO ONE CALLS BEFORE SEVEN.”
            “Bu-”
            “I DONT CARE WHO YOU ARE. NO ONE GETS BETWEEN ME, AND MY CHIPPED COFFE MUG THAT LOOKS AMAZING!”
            “…Really?”
            “WHA-Oh…”
            “Hi..”
            She coughs nervously.
            “Hey Mr Tux.”
            “….”
            “Sorry..”
            “Say sorry to my ears.”
            “I am sorry Mr Tux’s ears.”
            “I didnt mean-just forget it..”
            “Well…you did say…”
            I smothered a laugh.
            “…I dont know you name…”
            “How do I know your not a creepy stalker dude.”
            “Ill tell you mine if you tell me yours.”
            “On three?”
            “Hannah”
            “Jason”
            “Well Im still calling you Mr Tux.”
            “Shut up.”
            “Book?”
            “Book.”
            =============================================
            “…”
            “Hi this is Teen Helpline how may I-”
            “Its me.”
            “Mr Tux!”
            “B-book?”
            “Whats wrong Tux?”
            “…I dont want to talk about it…”
            “This is a Helpline.”
            “Just read…please.”
            “…Okay.”
            “Chapter 24”
            =================================
            “Teen Helpine is h-”
            “You changed it.”
            “Well..yeah.”
            “Why?”
            “Change is good…”
            “Not always.”
            Silence on the other end.
            “..What happened?”
            “I told you I dont want to talk about it.”
            “Mr Tux…”
            “Get off my back, would you…”
            “I-”
            “JUST BACK OFF.”
            “…”
            “I-im sorry.”
            “I-its okay.”
            “B-B-B-Book?”
            “Yeah..yeah okay”
            ================================
            “Hi this is Teen Helpline..”
            “Hey…”
            “Mr Tux!”
            “Who?”
            ===============================
            “M-mr Tux?”
            “….What the H@&?”
            ===============================
            “Come on Mr Tux… I know your there.”
            “I have no idea..”
            “S-sorry..I have to.. go”
            ===============================
            Ta DA… Its over!
            🙂

          2. ReathaThomasOakley

            I read through the end. A very engaging take on the prompt that kept me reading. I am concerned about Hannah’s issues, but she was able to use the Arabian Nights ploy to keep Jason around, at least for a while.

  19. dustymayjane

    D & F
    The voice, so deep, so lovely, haunts me. How could a voice of a stranger affect me this way? I looked at the piece of mail that caused this bizarre, albeit, intriguing rendezvous, mystified by the turn my solitary life has taken.

    One week ago I was shopping for a new umbrella. It had been raining in Seattle non stop for what seemed like weeks. After giving in to the realization the rumors were true, I purchased what I trusted would be a necessity now that my address included zip code 98108.

    Said umbrella, with its diabolic inclination to conceal its whereabouts with each new day, did not cost me two hundred and twenty five dollars as was stated on my credit card bill. I was already reluctant to admit my need for one and was prepared to assure the department store that I would never spend so frivolously on something so utilitarian. Once I heard the delicious voice on the other end of my call however, I became so tongue tied, I would have offered to pay double just to continue listening to it sing into my ear.

    Now, here I sit, in a quaint little barista on Hamden Avenue, awaiting Frank’s arrival. My surprise at his consent to meet for coffee was nearly as outrageous as my dareng query. I fidget and smooth the hem of my plain green dress, wishing I had some sort of style. The low heeled, brown loafers on my too big feet, couldn’t be less sexy. Perhaps a red dress and high heels would have suited the situation better. No I decide, that wouldn’t do. Oh well, it’s too late now.

    While hiding behind my coffee cup, I remain hopeful. Would the man equal the voice? Would he be tall, dark and ruggedly handsome? With each jingle of the bells hanging above the door, my heart leaps within my ample bosom. So far, only young women with slim, narrow figures share the warm, dry comforts and delectable aromas of the tidy café.

    Jing-a-ling go the bells. My heart thump-thumps against my ribs. Almost tall, seemingly dark, with lovely silver highlights throughout thick, lush hair. He appears freshly shaven with a handsome red plaid scarf tucked into the collar of his navy blue peacoat. He looks my way and a twinkle in his gentle brown eyes send me swooning. A blush warms my cheeks.

    Oh my, he’s just lovely! Could it be that my luck has changed? If so, he must be heaven sent. I watch as he takes off the coat and scarf. He turns and waves hello to another. Hope shattered, I dab at the moisture collecting in the corners of my pale blue eyes. Ashamed of myself for allowing such a pointless dream, I rise to leave.

    “Must you leave?” The voice trills.

    I raise my eyes in search of whom it spoke. Surely not me!

    “Dorothy?” He sings.

    “Frank? I squeak.

    Just lovely.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Dusty, this is a gentle story with lots of possibilities for Dorothy. The way you describe her makes me wonder about her back story, and I’m certain there is an interesting one.

  20. dustymayjane

    Dorothy and Frank
    The voice, so deep, so lovely, haunts me. How could a voice of a stranger affect me this way? I looked at the piece of mail that caused this bizarre, albeit, intriguing rendezvous, mystified by the turn my solitary life has taken.

    One week ago I was shopping for a new umbrella. It had been raining in Seattle non stop for what seemed like weeks. After giving in to the realization the rumors were true, I purchased what I trusted would be a necessity now that my address included zip code 98108.

    Said umbrella, with its diabolic inclination to conceal its whereabouts with each new day, did not cost me two hundred and twenty five dollars as was stated on my credit card bill. I was already reluctant to admit my need for one and was prepared to assure the department store that I would never spend so frivolously on something so utilitarian. Once I heard the delicious voice on the other end of my call however, I became so tongue tied, I would have offered to pay double just to continue listening to it sing into my ear.

    Now, here I sit, in a quaint little barista on Hamden Avenue, awaiting Frank’s arrival. My surprise at his consent to meet for coffee was nearly as outrageous as my dareng query. I fidget and smooth the hem of my plain green dress, wishing I had some sort of style. The low heeled, brown loafers on my too big feet, couldn’t be less sexy. Perhaps a red dress and high heels would have suited the situation better. No I decide, that wouldn’t do. Oh well, it’s too late now.

    While hiding behind my coffee cup, I remain hopeful. Would the man equal the voice? Would he be tall, dark and ruggedly handsome? With each jingle of the bells hanging above the door, my heart leaps within my ample bosom. So far, only young women with slim, narrow figures share the warm, dry comforts and delectable aromas of the tidy café.

    Jing-a-ling go the bells. My heart thump-thumps against my ribs. Almost tall, seemingly dark, with lovely silver highlights throughout thick, lush hair. He appears freshly shaven with a handsome red plaid scarf tucked into the collar of his navy blue peacoat. He looks my way and a twinkle in his gentle brown eyes send me swooning. A blush warms my cheeks.

    Oh my, he’s just lovely! Could it be that my luck has changed? If so, he must be heaven sent. I watch as he takes off the coat and scarf. He turns and waves hello to another. Hope shattered, I dab at the moisture collecting in the corners of my pale blue eyes. Ashamed of myself for allowing such a pointless dream, I rise to leave.

    “Must you leave?” The voice trills.

    I raise my eyes in search of whom it spoke. Surely not me!

    “Dorothy?” He sings.

    “Frank? I squeak.

    Just lovely.

  21. nawphoo

    LOVE AT FIRST VOICE
    **********************

    “hello. . . from Vanilla Company . i’m sweetz. . hello??”

    so . . . sweet . . . yes . . . so so sweet . . . like her name . . her voice is very beautiful. . . as if hearing a kid’s voice . . but still attractive . . .

    “hello? who’s calling? hello? no one there?? i’m gonna hang up. . ”

    arr . . . nearly to forget . . . i was angry a minute ago right?? how do i feel like this it’s so strange . . . actually i’m calling because this company sent wrong bill to me . . the whole morning i was busy with my work and this mail really annoyed me . . now all my annoyance gone . . how strange??. even my anger melt away . . .

    “no . . no . . don’t hang up . . . i’m Terry . i’m your customer . . but i have got the wrong bill you have sent . . ”

    “oh . . really?? i’m so sorry . . could you please let me check . . . . . . . . ”

    i can’t remember what she said and what i said anymore . . . because i’m on cloud nine . . . i’m high . . after listening to her seductive and active voice . .
    oh my God . . . i’m falling . . ya i’m just falling for this extremely cute voice . . . the more i talk with her the stronger wish to meet her . . .

    “thank you so much for understanding our mistake . . .next time we promise such kind of incident won’t happen again”. .

    what?? the talk finish?? no way. . i’m not enough absorbing your voice yet . . .

    “so could you promise me one thing??”

    “yes . . of course . . we’ll try our best . . .”

    “no .no. no. not this one . . . could you promise that you gonna hang out with me?? ”

    yes!! i could say out loud . . i’m gonna grab that voice with whatever effort i have to make. .

    “hmm. what did you just say ?”

    “could you date with me ? could you meet with me? not as a customer but as a arr . .as a friend . . . ”

    ” . . . . . . ”

    “well it’s ok if you don’t wish to . . . thanks for solving my problem . . i’m gonna . . ”

    “wait . . . ok . let’s meet ”

    “what? what have you said?? ”

    “let’s meet . . ”

    “really?? oh my god . . . i’m so happy where and when can we see each other??”

    “before telling those thing could you answering me one thing . . why do you want to see me?”

    “well. ya of course! your voice it’s make my heart melt . . . ”

    “ha ha . . you womanizer . . ”

    “no way . . i’m not such kind of person . . it’s really strange for me too . . to fall in love at first sight . . emm. . not sight . . first voice . . . ha ha ”

    “umm . . you’re funny man . . . ok . . let’s meet tonight. . . ”

    “OK. near Isher street corner phone booth . . ”

    “ok see ya . ”

    yes!!! i could meet with her now. . . l’ve never thought it’ll be that smooth . . . ok . . let’s prepare to meet . . .
    *************
    that night. .
    *************
    arr i’m late . . . i’m late . all the time i’m slow person. imm. i’m late for about 15 mins . . fuu. . but ladies are always like that right?? well well. . . where’s that gentelman? i’ve never heard of such a gentle voice with amusing and heart-touching sound . . that’s why i accepted to meet him at once . .Tun where are you?

    i can’t see anyone near that phone booth . . . i wait at the bench near that place . . . 10 mins . . . 30 mins 1 hour . . 2 hours . .

    i feel like crying. . .
    ******************
    2 years later
    ******************
    “woo!!. . what a beautiful wedding dress!! it really suit with you . . . are you excited for your big day Sweetz?”

    “hmm. yes. oh what a miracle . . i’ve never thought i could meet a person like him . . ”

    “yes yes . . . voice lovers ”

    “ha ha . don’t say like this . . . ”

    what a beautiful voice of the shy bride . . . i’m looking at
    her who is talking with her friends while smiling.
    after seeing her smile i’m so relieved now . . .

    “you have met with your groom at that day?? ”

    “yes. ah . . i’m so shy to think about it again. . ”

    of course she may feel shy because she was crying at that day. the reason is i was late. she was thinking i made fun of her. i’m smiling .

    “i was really silly on that day. i planned to meet with the person whose voice was so attractive. and he also said the same to me too. actually we have talke only once. . ”

    she is talking about me . . . well i feel like giggle . . now i can smile. at that time do you know how much i worried for her? but now . . .

    “but he didn’t show up. so i felt so small and shy that’s why i was crying. at that time . . . ”

    “i’ve met with her.”

    “the groom is coming. oh so you arrived at that time?”

    “yes. in my ears i heard the beautiful and sadness tone of weeping. it’s so soft but as it attracted me so much and when i saw this little angel looking with her tears i felt the earthquake in my heart . . since then i’ve decided she is the one and only for my future wife.”

    “so, how about that guy? who talk with you Sweetz? His name Terry, right?”

    “i don’t know. he didn’t show up. whatever it is, because of him i could meet with such a nice, good nature and handsome my future husband.”

    “well well. bride is flattering the groom. Oh. the ceremony’s starting soon. Go go go. ”

    All of them hurry out of the room.
    i’m the only one left in the room.

    yes. i couldn’t meet with her on that day. i’ve faced with terrible car accident that took my life. although i’ve seen a bright light to heaven i couldn’t go there. cause i hadn’t met with the girl i meant to . . and when i met her though she couldn’t see me i stay beside her all those year. i studied about that now, groom guy too. well. he’s a nice guy. so i can relieve for her.

    ahh. the light is so bright . . yes yes. heaven . . i’m coming . . .

    aww. by the way, do you know why i had stayed beside her all those years?? ha ha. because she is the girl whom i LOVE at first VOICE . yes. not sight . . but with voice. . . . . . .

    ****** the end******

    1. nawphoo

      it’s my first time trying and it’s a little bit long. please comment about my writing.i may have a lot of weaknesses . . 🙂 welcome every guideline for me.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Nawphoo, this is lovely, with a twist I didn’t see coming. I did wonder how he was seeing and hearing the bride. The only “weaknesses” were grammatical with some confusing punctuation, but the story was solid.

      2. Beebles

        Well hats off to you nawphoo, I’m guessing that your are not writing in your first language, which makes this all the more remarkable and so the ‘weakenesses’ – as Reatha said – are in grammar and idiom. In fact it reminds me of a Polish wedding I once went to – what an occaision that was! I thought you conveyed the emotion and uncertainty really well. Certainly brought a lump to my throat. i particularly like the line
        the light is so bright . . yes yes. heaven . . i’m coming . . .
        Uplifting and optimistic. Thanks for posting.

        1. nawphoo

          thank you so much. it’s true that english is not my first language. thank you for your suggestions and i’ll take care of those facts next time i write. ^_^

  22. Pete

    I’m bad about returning stuff. The borrowing, no problem. But once it entered my apartment, well, good as gone.

    Such was the case with Humble Rhodes, the 789 page story of the first ever transsexual, double amputee, head transplant recipient to receive the Rhodes Scholarship.

    Don’t ask, if it’s on the New Release shelf I’m game. The book was pretty unremarkable, but its location was just a plain mystery. So when I got the notice email from the library, I called right away.

    Whoa, the girl on the end, her voice, Sidney. It was her first day and her voice was like a honey coated thorn. Soft, with a bit of a rasp when it needed some bite and then back to the sweet giggle when I told her I’d come in to pay for the book because I just had to see her in person.

    Now, picture a librarian. Because that’s what I saw when I walked in. Old, with a hair bun, glasses on a chain. I nearly turned around and walked away but then that giggle. I stopped as the door behind the counter opened. Now toss out that old librarian image.

    Olive skin, shiny black hair. Eyes that belonged in a painting.

    “Excuse me, but um, you can’t block the entrance. Fire Code 1203.”

    That voice of hers, the way she bit her smile like that, I shoved my way through a summer camp procession to the checkout desk. Old librarian woman scowled

    “Hi.”

    “Hi.”

    “I’m Jason Stewart.”

    “Hi Jason. Humble Rhodes, right?”

    She remembered my name, no I said my name. But she remembered the book. Wonderful. I shook my head with a smile. I produced the replacement by way of Amazon Prime

    “I was hoping I could replace it?”

    “I think we can work that out.”

    “I was also hoping you were free this evening.”

    Another bite of her lip. “I don’t know, Jason. How can you explain, DECISION POINTS?”

    Crap, she had the power, my checkout history at her fingertips. I squinted, “Research?”

    She eyed the screen. “ANTIGUA?”

    “I have a sense of humor?”

    She shook her head. “You know what, I’m intrigued.”

    We kept it casual, the Mexican place downtown. I helped her get seated then sat down across from her. If Sidney looked good with a headband and sweater, which she did, that sleeveless white shirt and shorts could scramble the Dewey Decimal System. (Sorry, hopefully she likes nerd humor).

    The soft dining light caressed her shoulders. I smiled across the table.

    “I love this place.”

    She nodded, reaching for a menu with a smile. “So, Jason, do you come there to polish up?”

    “Huh?

    She shrugged, then looked over the menu. “Learning Spanish, the ebooks you borrowed.”

    I managed a timid nod. We ordered Margaritas, when they came I took a quick sip. Sidney placed her chin in her hand.

    “You’re such a romantic.”

    “Yeah?” I said, trying to fend off a creeping uneasiness. I mean, she was gorgeous, and the voice and all, but I couldn’t shake that we felt like an old married couple.

    “Okay, I have to ask. What’s your favorite Nicholas Sparks book, I saw that you’ve read them all.”

    My face felt pretty Nicholas Sparks right then. But so what? So she knew what I read, it wasn’t like she knew what I was thinking, right? She stirred her drink.

    “It’s THE NOTEBOOK, isn’t it? That’s mine. I saw you checked it out twice.”

    I shifted things a bit.

    “So what about you, Sidney, what’s your story?”

    “I’m finishing up my masters,” she drummed along the table with her fingers. I waved for a refill. Because those eyes, no longer Mila Kunis but more Lizzie Borden as she went on, “Bilingual and a musician. How did I get so lucky? Tell me, did you teach yourself guitar from those books?”

    “What? No.”

    “And you like baseball. Me too you know, three brothers. Maybe we could catch a game after dinner?”

    I was on my feet. She looked wounded.

    “Que pasa? Que hice?”

    Mariachi bands, never known for their timing. They cranked up and I had to get away. “Uh, Sidney, this is weird.”

    A hand flew to her neck. I couldn’t hear what she was saying over the music. I just started for the door but she chased after me, her voice was pitchy, almost a shriek behind me. “Jason, please, I know you so well. I know you like poetry. Steinbeck more than Hemingway. Grisham over Patterson. Sure, you read Atlas Shrugged, but we can get through it. Please!”

    I ran home. Cut up my library card. In fact, I gave up reading altogether.

    Now I watch cable. It’s safer that way.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Pete, I’m very behind on reading and commenting, but had to respond right now. I loved, loved, loved this, from the lost book to the end. As one with several years library experience this rings very true, except for the stereotypical librarian. She’s been gone for quite a while.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Way to go Pete, you painted the whole story with words. It was like watching a Ttwilight Zone. I wish I could have been there to see it.

  23. whatevertheyaint

    555-555-5555…

    If those digits were people, she’d have poked out several eyes with the fury of her index finger.

    “Seriously, you don’t have to press that hard,” her sister said, peering over her shoulder.

    “It’s the principle, Beonca. I didn’t create this bill. I haven’t combed my hair in weeks. So why would I order a hundred dollars worth of Moroccan oil from an infomercial?”

    Soft rock from an era long before all night television and identity theft floated across the line as Connie’s blood pressure rose. “As soon as they answer this phone, I’m going to—“

    “Manes Incorporated.” A deep timbre cut through her rant.

    For the second time in a week she stated her complaint; however, there was something about this guy’s voice that was soothing, disarming, as he put her on hold and returned minutes later with a series of questions: Are you Constance Williams? Do you live at 105 Oak Street? Did you purchase a case of Moroccan Miracle oil on June 7, 2016?

    “No, I absolutely did NOT purchase oil. The name is Connie Wesley, not Constance. And I live at 104 Oak, not 105.”

    He placed her on hold yet again and returned with that voice that could lure everyone to jump off a ship without life-jackets. “Good news,” he said, as she imagined him smiling at her with a row of pearly white teeth. “ There’s been a simple mix-up. You should see the credit in a day or two. We’re also throwing in a gift certificate to Sushi Town.”

    “Wait. What?”

    “Get your stir-fry on,” he said with a chuckle. “Consider it an apology.”

    The credit to her account was a relief, although she’d already checked the bank and, thankfully, no suspicious activity was reported, other than this with Mane’s Incorporated. She had to run with this chance, though. Steadying herself , not believing her own ears, she asked, “Do you live in the area? Would you like to get your stir-fry on with me?”

    *

    They devised a plan: Beonca would lag a safe distance behind, choosing a table in the far back of Sushi Town, just in case Baritone Guy was crazy. Baritone Guy would meet Connie in the lobby. She’d be the red-head in the yellow dress.

    He was everything she anticipated—dark, handsome, employed. Except one thing. She should have worn ballerina flats instead of wedge sandals.

    1. cosi van tutte

      Hi, whatever!

      This was a very enjoyable story with a great last line. I especially liked: “If those digits were people, she’d have poked out several eyes with the fury of her index finger.” 😆

    1. Reaper

      A Tradition of Anti-Heroics

      I’m not special.

      Nobody likes bills. Everyone gets annoyed when they come in the mail. Most people get frustrated when the amount is wrong. I dare say most people call the number at the bottom to fix the problem. Most everyone wants to yell at the person, but, I think, almost nobody really does. I didn’t, because I’m not special. I did call though.

      Everyone loves a sexy voice on the other end of the phone. We start to imagine. All the features become physical. The full bodied laugh turns into eyes you can fall into. The sexy burr in the voice grows into that one part of the body, whatever it is, that you want thick when the rest is slim. For me it’s the breasts, if I was a girl I bet it would be the penis. Like I said, not special. We fantasize our way through life, and phone calls are no different.

      I even started off by telling Samantha, but you can call me Sam, that I didn’t think I was special. She assured me that I was though. They’re paid to say that you see. Part of their job is making customers feel important.

      Anyway… she fixed my problem. So sorry Mr. Smith, this was a problem with our computer, and I have corrected it. I fell in love while she did it. I may not be special, but I’m not a moron. She was flirting with me. So I screwed up my courage and asked her out.

      Sam must be something pretty special, because she said yes. We set the time and place. She gets off work in an hour and I’m supposed to meet her for drinks. She even offered to buy. So, now I’m sitting here thinking.

      How ugly is this bitch? I mean, to say yes to a date with some loser on the phone who has billing problems? The Trumps of the world don’t get miss-billed. If they do they don’t even notice. How repugnant is her personality, when she’s not hiding behind a phone, that she has to resort to turning her legitimate job into an escort service? I bet she’s a goddamned serial killer and she’s planning on selling my organs on the black market. Her breath probably smells like that fermented fish the old Scandinavians are so in love with.

      I’m sitting here terrified. What if all of that is true? Well, maybe not the killer part, but I bet she has armpit hair and feminist-forest legs. What if all of that is true and I show up to be disappointed my her snaggle-toothed personality and Quasimodo looks? I’m not going.

      I’m terrified. Worse than that? What if none of it’s true? What if she is the perfect goddess I met on the phone? What if she’s everything I imagined. Then she couldn’t help but be disappointed by me.

      I’m not going, and you can’t make me. Don’t judge me, because I’m not special.

      You wouldn’t go either.

      1. cosi van tutte

        Hi, Reaper!

        I read your story and, just like Beebles, my heart sank at the end. But, given the MC’s attitude and general outlook on life, would he have been happy if he had gone and everything went well? Probably not. He would very likely find a way to talk himself out of any follow-up dates and wind up breaking up with her. Which is just sad for both of them.

  24. Reaper

    I hope this works this time, if not I’m giving up for the week.

    A Tradition of Anti-Heroics

    I’m not special.

    Nobody likes bills. Everyone gets annoyed when they come in the mail. Most people get frustrated when the amount is wrong. I dare say most people call the number at the bottom to fix the problem. Most everyone wants to yell at the person, but, I think, almost nobody really does. I didn’t, because I’m not special. I did call though.

    Everyone loves a sexy voice on the other end of the phone. We start to imagine. All the features become physical. The full bodied laugh turns into eyes you can fall into. The sexy burr in the voice grows into that one part of the body, whatever it is, that you want thick when the rest is slim. For me it’s the breasts, if I was a girl I bet it would be the penis. Like I said, not special. We fantasize our way through life, and phone calls are no different.

    I even started off by telling Samantha, but you can call me Sam, that I didn’t think I was special. She assured me that I was though. They’re paid to say that you see. Part of their job is making customers feel important.

    Anyway… she fixed my problem. So sorry Mr. Smith, this was a problem with our computer, and I have corrected it. I fell in love while she did it. I may not be special, but I’m not a moron. She was flirting with me. So I screwed up my courage and asked her out.

    Sam must be something pretty special, because she said yes. We set the time and place. She gets off work in an hour and I’m supposed to meet her for drinks. She even offered to buy. So, now I’m sitting here thinking.

    How ugly is this bitch? I mean, to say yes to a date with some loser on the phone who has billing problems? The Trumps of the world don’t get miss-billed. If they do they don’t even notice. How repugnant is her personality, when she’s not hiding behind a phone, that she has to resort to turning her legitimate job into an escort service? I bet she’s a goddamned serial killer and she’s planning on selling my organs on the black market. Her breath probably smells like that fermented fish the old Scandinavians are so in love with.

    I’m sitting here terrified. What if all of that is true? Well, maybe not the killer part, but I bet she has armpit hair and feminist-forest legs. What if all of that is true and I show up to be disappointed my her snaggle-toothed personality and Quasimodo looks? I’m not going.

    I’m terrified. Worse than that? What if none of it’s true? What if she is the perfect goddess I met on the phone? What if she’s everything I imagined. Then she couldn’t help but be disappointed by me.

    I’m not going, and you can’t make me. Don’t judge me, because I’m not special.

    You wouldn’t go either.

  25. Reaper

    What the hell? Okay, let’s try this yet again.

    A Tradition of Anti-Heroics

    I’m not special.

    Nobody likes bills. Everyone gets annoyed when they come in the mail. Most people get frustrated when the amount is wrong. I dare say most people call the number at the bottom to fix the problem. Most everyone wants to yell at the person, but, I think, almost nobody really does. I didn’t, because I’m not special. I did call though.

    Everyone loves a sexy voice on the other end of the phone. We start to imagine. All the features become physical. The full bodied laugh turns into eyes you can fall into. The sexy burr in the voice grows into that one part of the body, whatever it is, that you want thick when the rest is slim. For me it’s the breasts, if I was a girl I bet it would be the penis. Like I said, not special. We fantasize our way through life, and phone calls are no different.

    I even started off by telling Samantha, but you can call me Sam, that I didn’t think I was special. She assured me that I was though. They’re paid to say that you see. Part of their job is making customers feel important.

    Anyway… she fixed my problem. So sorry Mr. Smith, this was a problem with our computer, and I have corrected it. I fell in love while she did it. I may not be special, but I’m not a moron. She was flirting with me. So I screwed up my courage and asked her out.

    Sam must be something pretty special, because she said yes. We set the time and place. She gets off work in an hour and I’m supposed to meet her for drinks. She even offered to buy. So, now I’m sitting here thinking.

    How ugly is this bitch? I mean, to say yes to a date with some loser on the phone who has billing problems? The Trumps of the world don’t get miss-billed. If they do they don’t even notice. How repugnant is her personality, when she’s not hiding behind a phone, that she has to resort to turning her legitimate job into an escort service? I bet she’s a goddamned serial killer and she’s planning on selling my organs on the black market. Her breath probably smells like that fermented fish the old Scandinavians are so in love with.

    I’m sitting here terrified. What if all of that is true? Well, maybe not the killer part, but I bet she has armpit hair and feminist-forest legs. What if all of that is true and I show up to be disappointed my her snaggle-toothed personality and Quasimodo looks? I’m not going.

    I’m terrified. Worse than that? What if none of it’s true? What if she is the perfect goddess I met on the phone? What if she’s everything I imagined. Then she couldn’t help but be disappointed by me.

    I’m not going, and you can’t make me. Don’t judge me, because I’m not special.

    You wouldn’t go either.

  26. cgonzalez.us

    The balance leaps off the page of my credit card bill and assaults my senses in the worst possible way. There is no way this can be right! I mean, I like eating sea food just as much as everyone else, but there is no way I spent $309.57 at Red Lobster! I’m trying to buy a new car for Christ’s sake! Besides, I haven’t gone on so much as a coffee date in six months, let alone eat anything fancier than take-out from the Golden Dragon.

    I glance at the 1-800 customer service number on the bottom of the page, dreading what I know I have to do. I begrudgingly pull out my phone and dial, being careful not to cut myself on the cracked screen. I make my way through all the automated prompts and put my phone on speaker as the waiting music fills my kitchen.

    Ten minutes later, and I’m still on hold as I sit at the counter eating my Kung Pow Chicken leftovers. I shovel another piece of chicken into my mouth just as the music stops.

    “Good afternoon, this is Kyle, with Capital Credit. How can I help you today?”

    The deep rich baritone voice makes me swallow my chicken whole, and I gasp as I beat my chest to relieve the pressure. I manage to clear my throat.

    “Aaaahhhem, Oh, I’m sorry, My name is Maggie, er Margaret Harris. There’s a charge on my card that I didn’t make.” I hold my breath, waiting to hear that voice again.

    “I’m sorry to hear that Miss Harris, let me take a look.” Oh my God, his voice is like velvet. I wonder if he sings. I tell him about the charge from Red Lobster.

    “I haven’t eaten at Red Lobster in months! I mean, I kinda stick to the coffee shops, not big name, just little ones like The Daily Brew on 4th street.” Ugh, come on Maggie, like this guy cares! With a voice that hot, he’s probably taken!

    “I’m a coffee shop guy myself, I love the Daily Brew too. The one on 4th is my favorite.” Seriously, his voice is making me melt! Wait, did he just say he goes to the one on 4th as well? What are the chances he lives here in town.

    “Alright, I’ve got the charge taken care of, is there anything else I can help you with?”

    I almost say no. This is my chance. If I don’t ask him, I know I’m going to regret it. And if he laughs at me, I can hang up, and never go to that coffee shop ever again. I take a deep breath.

    “Yeah, just one more thing.”

    “Yes?”

    ” I was wondering if you were thirsty for a cup of coffee?”

    Ugh, that was so lame. Why can’t I think of a better way to phrase that? The silence is deafening .

    “At the Daily Brew on 4th?” He asks, the incredulity in his buttery voice apparent.

    “Uh, yeah…” He hasn’t laughed yet. I can’t stop myself from crossing my fingers. I really gotta meet this guy!

    “Is 8 tonight okay? I get off at 7.” Holy crap. Is that a yes? Oh my God, that’s a freakin yes!

    “Yeah! See you then!” I say, unable to contain the excitement in my voice! Did I just ask out some dude based on his sexy voice? Hell yes I did! I hang up the phone and run to my room to figure out which jeans look the best.

    I’m sitting in my favorite corner booth sipping on a chai latte and silently freaking out. What the hell was I thinking? I don’t even know what this mysterious ‘Kyle’ looks like! He could be some kind of silvery voice serial killer who lures his victims in with his sexy voice! I hear the front door open and I can’t bring myself to look up from my phone to see who it is.

    “I’ll have a coffee, black.”

    That voice! It’s him! Be brave! Just look up and see. If he looks too creepy, I can just leave and he’ll never know!

    I glance up at the cash register and see a handsome young man with brown eyes looking around the store. His eyes settle on me and I can’t help but smile.

    After he gets his coffee, he makes his way to me.

    “Margaret Harris?” His friendly smile and kind eyes out me at ease. At this moment, I’m so glad I pushed myself out of my box.

    I gesture to the seat across from me and grin.

    “Call me Maggie.”

  27. ShamelessHack

    “Yes,” said the beautiful, but somehow sinister voice on the other side of the door. “I’m the one who sent you the bill.”
    I look out the window over the canal. Venice is quiet in the morning light. “I don’t understand,” I say in a loud voice. “I don’t owe you anything.” I wear only a codpiece. The rest of my clothing is still in the bedchamber.
    “Bassanio does. I can’t find him. And you are the guarantor of payment.” The voice is like clear water flowing over round stones.
    “But you are not Sh—“
    “No I am not,” the purring voice overrides mine. “I am his wife. Now let me in, Antonio.”
    I open the door, and a woman stands before me. She is lithe and tall and devastatingly beautiful. Her amber eyes glow, and the long knife in her hand gleams in the light pouring through the open window. “I have come to collect for my husband,” she whispers as she steps across the threshold.
    I retreat into the room, my eyes firmly on the long blade. “I will pay you now,” I say nervously, and reach for my money pouch on the table.
    The woman is fast, and she brings the knife down on the leather money pouch, pinning it to the wood surface. Her face is close to mine. I smell her breath: mint. I smell her body: cardamom and thyme and avarice.
    Her mouth is near my ear. “No, no gold, Antonio,” she whispers. “I’m here to collect what you agreed to pay my husband.”
    I’m frozen to the spot. She runs the tip of the blade down from my neck to my waist and lets it rest at my navel. “No Antonio, I’ve come for the pound, as agreed.”
    “Im-impossible,” I stutter. “I will give you gold instead. If Portia were here—“
    “She isn’t,” the woman hisses. I feel the tip of the knife lightly tracing a path downward from my navel. “And my husband demands payment as per your solemn agreement under law.”
    “But—but, your husband couldn’t have been serious.”
    “Shhh…” she whispers and I feel the blade suddenly move down in a fast arc and consummate the contract.
    I scream as my blood flies.
    In mortal panic I see Shylock’s wife holding the debt’s payment in her dripping hand. Her eyes glow. Then she says, “You still owe me.”
    By now I’m on the floor, writhing and keening, my blood spreading everywhere.
    She hefts the prize in one hand, eyes it critically and says, “I don’t think this flesh weighs anywhere near a pound.” Her voice still sounds like clear water flowing over round stones.
    Through my tears of pain I watch as she turns, walks toward the door, and casually throws my amputated treasure though the open window.
    From the canal below, I hear a small splash.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Good Lord, what a way to get an education in literature!!! In Texas we read breeding books on raising livestock. Pays more than the classics.

  28. Beebles

    Right! Its terribly derivative and its far too long, so its coming in two parts, if it posts at all. I have no regrets d’ya hear me, none!
    ———————-

    ‘I still say we should wake the Captain.’

    ‘You take that risk if you want to …’

    ‘And you’re saying the Lieutenant isn’t a risk?!’

    The hushed bickering of the two Ensigns was cut short by the swoosh of Lieutenant Dalwhinnie’s cabin door sliding open. They immediately snapped to attention.

    Dalwhinnie stood in the doorway, his thick Lion’s main tied in a ragged ponytail and his trim figure wrapped in a Fleet regulation smoking jacket. Strapped to his hip he had his antique Fiddich twelve cartridge blaster. It was a bit of overkill aboard a mercantile deep space freighter, but that was Dalwhinnie.

    ‘What they blazes is all this noise about?’ he roared through teeth clenched around a Harrobian cheroot. The cigar beetle shifted its carapace to get more comfortable between the Lieutenant’s jaws and then glowed faintly as the officer sucked on its abdomen.

    ‘Apologies, Sir. We came to inform you that we have entered the Jura system and are preparing to drop out of hyperspace and … er ….’

    ‘What err?’ Dalwhinnie exhaled the smoke around their faces in a swirling dark cloud.

    ‘We received this bill, Sir, from the Jura III space dock. It asks for one hundred thousand credits to be transferred before we are permitted to dock.’

    ‘A hundred thousand?!’

    ‘I know, Sir it’s quite outrageous. Shall I wake the Captain?’

    ‘Absolutely out of the question. No, as second in command I shall deal with this myself.’ Dalwhinnie stepped into the corridor and straightened his jacket.

    ‘Er… perhaps, Sir, it would be best if the Captain were to personally…’

    ‘Are you completely mad?’ Dalwhinnie fixed the young Ensign with a meteor of a stare. ‘I needn’t remind you that Captain Chivas is an Elmetian. We have just picked him up from Elmet V where he has spent the last three weeks undergoing the ritual of Nasc’Ca and is now recuperating in stasis. And you want to wake him up?!’

    Dalwhinnnie brought his face down so his eyes were virtually touching those of the junior officer.

    ‘Just how many irate tentacles can you handle in your orifices, Ensign?’

    He straightened up. ‘No. I am perfectly capable of settling a bill, thank you. My grandfather was …’

    ‘An Admiral in the Royal Space Fleet.’

    ‘An Admiral in the Royal Space Fleet.’

    Dalwhinnie’s eyes narrowed. ‘Er.. yes, quite. Now, to the bridge.’

    Dalwhinnie strode off down the spinal corridor of the freighter. The two officers trotted behind.

    ‘I should say, Sir,’ Ensign Aberlour called after the Lieutenant, ‘that in such a circumstance I was obliged by the Captain to remind you of the previous incident. The Diplomatic incident on Catfeld Rings.’

    This drew Dalwhinnie up.

    ‘Ah … er … well that was entirely a misunderstanding. If I had been informed that I had trodden on their Royal Chancellor, then I wouldn’t have proceeded to wipe him off my boot on their sacred tree.’

    Dalwhinnie turned on the Ensign. ‘Information, Aberlour, see? Information is the key. Now,’ he said resuming his brisk pace toward the bows, ‘what do we know about these Jurans?’

    ‘Er … well, I suppose we know that they are humanoid and Jura III is about 90% female.’

    ‘Really?!’ – Dalwhinnie grinned and stuck a finger in the air – ‘I think I have a plan forming.’

    The two Ensigns exchanged a worried glance and followed.

    1. Beebles

      Part Two

      —————–

      Dalwhinnie blustered onto the bridge. The large spotted Galvanarian pilot stowed his knitting hurriedly in the carpet bag at his feet and returned his large pincers to the controls. He looked at the two Ensigns, alarmed, jerking his head toward the Lieutenant who took up position in the command chair. The officers shrugged helplessly in reply.

      ‘Coming up on the dock now, Sir.’

      ‘Good.’ Dalwhinnie swung the chair back and forth. ‘Aberlour, patch me into their control.’

      ‘Jura III dock control, this is Lt. Dalwhinnie of RSF ‘Takes One To Know One’. I’d like to speak to your supervisor please.’

      The response sounded like gravel rolled down a corrugated steel pipe.

      ‘Ooaaaoh, static!’ cried Dalwhinnie, shielding his ears.

      ‘Err … no, Sir, that was the Juran hail. You need to switch the translator on.’

      ‘Ah, right. Juran control this is Lt. Dalwhinnie. To whom am I speaking?’

      ‘Jujanra, Dock control supervisor!’ The sound was exactly the same, only this time everyone understood.

      Dalwhinnie gave a nervous laugh, ‘Oh, Madam, I … er … you are female aren’t you?’

      ‘Of course! The only males here are janitors!’

      ‘Oh good,’ Dalwhinnie thundered on, ‘In that case I just wanted to say what a beautiful voice you have, Jujanra.’

      ‘Where are the credits?!’

      ‘Now, funny you should mention that, Jujanra, only I thought that maybe you and I could discuss that over dinner. An evening listening to your golden voice would be worth a million credits to me, you see.’

      Out of the corner of his eye Dalwhinnie could see Aberlour shaking his head and running his finger across his throat. Dalwhinnie waved his concerns away.

      There was a pause on the transmission, then Jujanra replied. ‘Done! We shall eat this evening! I await your call! You may commence docking.’

      The sound of the small rock fall ended and Dalwhinnie leaned back in his chair, arms wide.

      ‘There you are, you see. You just know how to treat ‘em. One hundred thousand credits of company money saved. Make sure you enter that in the log.’

      ‘Er … sir. Do you mean to say that you are going on a date with a Juran?’

      ‘Well of course not. I just won’t show up, that’s all. Bit of dodging and weaving. A few tears, smudged mascara, and perhaps a glass of vino smashed against a wall and we’ll be unloaded and off again before anyone is the wiser. No harm done.’

      ‘You do know, sir,’ Aberlour continued, ‘Verbal date setting is binding in Juran law. Punishable by lengthy imprisonment.’

      Dalwhinie’s shoulders dropped a smidge. ‘Ah. No I didn’t. Mmm. I suppose I had better show up then. Still, it’s not like I have to sleep with her.’

      ‘Well, sir,’ the pilot cheeped, ‘in fact it’s also binding to procreate.’

      ‘Oh, shut up, Calco, no-one asked you. Go back to your knitting.’ Dalwhinnie leaned forward. ‘Actually just what are you knitting?’

      ‘Booties, for my bairns.’

      Dalwhinnie leaned back again. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘I always thought you were male.’

      ‘I am,’ Calco replied, then stroked his spotted belly, ‘the males of our species bear the litter.’

      ‘Sir,’ interrupted Aberlour, ‘back to the matter in hand, you do realise that you will now have to meet this Jujanra and procreate with her?’

      ‘Weeeell, you said they were humanoid. How bad can it be? I mean I’m taking one for the team. I’ve done worse for the Company, I’m young and attractive, full of …’

      ‘And you do know they devour the male after sex?’

      ‘… ?’

      Aberlour nodded. ‘Shall I wake the Captain, Sir?’

      Dalwhinnie paused then rose slowly. ‘No, I think you had better patch me into our Ambassador on Jura III.’

      ‘The ambassador, sir?’

      ‘Yes,’ Dalwhinnie said, fingering the handle of his blaster with a sweaty, shaking palm, ‘If I’m not very much mistaken, there is going to be another incident.’

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Beebles, this was just plain fun. Dalwhinnie is a wonderful character, I can imagine him bouncing all over the universe, wiping all sorts of things off his boots.

        1. Beebles

          Glad you enjoyed it Reatha. I think I have stolen Dalwhinnie from a couple of characters I’ve read. And that’s a problem I feel with much of my stuff. I am not sure if I am being influenced … or just plain nicking stuff!

    2. Kerry Charlton

      Hey Beebles, this is a great beginning. I’m not very computer savy but I’ll try to get to part two and let you know. Part one stands on it’s own as a great piece of writing.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Now I’m through part two, you are one hell of a talented writer, I can tell you. I could read you day and night, inbetween building stuff. Way to go.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            Hey, we’re finishing out shopping centers. They build the shell, we finish the stores. It’s not all that exciting, and a lot of headaches. Money’s okay tho.

  29. jhowe

    At Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 12, 1986, Markus and Sylvia Lee decided it would be clever to name their only child Lee. It seemed appropriate, at the time, to doubly honor the great general on the 125th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

    When he was ten years old, Lee Lee tried fervently to change his first name to Levi. He was tired of the kids calling him Lee Lee, like they were saying pee pee, or wee wee. By the time he started high school, he was generally known as Levi Lee, but there were a few stragglers who still reverted to the old name on occasion. Whenever possible, those kids ended up paying dearly for their indiscretions. Levi was, by no means, a nice boy.

    At thirty years of age, Levi Lee was living in Butte, Montana and worked as a rodeo promoter. He had dropped his southern accent completely and had no contact from his past, including his parents. He ignored any reference to the first name of Lee. Any mail he received with that name went directly into the trash can.

    One day, Levi contacted a ranch near Billings, to enquire about the availability of bulls and was enthralled by the general manager’s voice. Her name was Amy and she had the most sensuous southern accent Levi had ever heard. He hadn’t realized he missed the south so much. He talked with her on several occasions and Levi fell in love. It was decided that Levi himself would make the drive to personally inspect the bulls to be sure they were of the quality the rodeo demanded.

    Levi arrived at the appointed hour and Amy came out of the main house wearing a light blue sun dress and blue cowboy boots. Levi’s heart practically flipped in his chest as they shook hands, hers cool and collected, his clammy and shaky. There was something vaguely familiar about this lovely woman, but he couldn’t place it.

    “We’ll I’ll be,” Amy said. “If it ain’t Lee Lee!”

    “It’s Levi, ma’am.” Recognition started to seep into his brain and his face grew hot.

    “It’ll always be Lee Lee to me,” she said. “I used to be Amy Stewart, until I got married; now it’s Haggen.” She failed to notice the twitch under the skin of Levi’s left temple. She continued, “I’m divorced now; have been for three years.”

    Levi tuned out after that. He somehow managed to arrange a tour of the livestock barn, to be conducted by Amy. Together they walked, Amy chattering away, Levi silently seething. All he could hear was Lee Lee this and Lee Lee that.

    The stable hand saw the whole thing. He told the detectives exactly what happened. Blood oozed from the tines of the pitch fork that protruded from the body, clad daintily in a blue sun dress. An APB was put out and Levi was apprehended later in the day by the Wyoming highway patrol. He was heading south.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        A real winner John. Your writing talent is certainly in evidence here. There is a diamond sentence in here. “He was tired of the kids calling him Lee Lee, like they were saying pee pee or wee wee. “

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      My goodness, Lee Lee is not very nice. I liked the “just the facts” approach to this, would fit right into an ID channel program. Also fun to be back in Montana, especially Billings, one of my favorite places, again.

  30. cl91

    ‘Oh great, another stupid bill I don’t need…what the heck is this?’

    I look at the unfamiliar company name….a phone service? This definitely does not belong to me! I’m going to call this company and let them no in no uncertain fashion what they can do with their bill!!!’

    “Dad, is everything okay?” Nick peers at me from behind his newspaper.

    “Nothing I can’t handle, son…just some crappy phone company saying I owe them a bill. I’ll handle it.”

    “Okay…let me know if I can help.”

    “Sure thing….too bad you’re mother’s not here. She used to be a boss at letting people know when they have done something wrong,” I can’t help but smile to myself remembering Roberta’s sweet demeanor. How I miss that woman.

    Dialing the number, I get my words straight in my head as a voice answers, “Good morning, Cell X Phones, this is Rona how may I help you?”

    That voice….”I’m …hello….uh….” I clear my throat, suddenly taken aback at the smooth, mature feline-ness of Rona’s voice. It was so calming…just like my Roberta’s was.

    “Hello, how may I help you?”

    I clear my throat again, “Uh, good morning….I called because I have received a bill from you and I have never had phone service with your company.”

    “What is your name, Sir?”

    “My name…..my name is Sonny……Sonny Donello.”

    “Ah, Italian?”

    “Yes Ma’am…is that a good thing or a bad thing?”

    “Definitely good. Let me put you on hold and look up your information.”

    “Sure”

    Office music comes on the phone as my heart pounds….’Wow, what a voice she has…so soothing, just like Roberta. I could listen to it all day long..and she likes Italians….’

    “Dad, what are you doing?”

    I open my eyes and look at Nick. He has an amused expression on his face, “Uh, holding…it’s okay, I’ll get it straightened out. Run along”

    Nick snickers.

    I turn my back on him, ‘Smart elect’

    I hear him chuckle as he walks away.

    The music stops, “Mr. Donello, I am so sorry for your inconvenience. I found the error. You know how computers can be….”

    That smooth voice…silky as a pony’s mane, “Okay”

    “We have a customer named Donny Denello…a name fairly close to yours so please accept my apology for the bill.”

    “Uh…okay, no problem. So I can tear this thing up?”

    “Yes you can, Sir. I hope you have a great day…”

    “Wait, wait a minute, can I ask you a question?”

    “You can and hopefully I will have an answer for you…”

    “Uh, if you don’t mind me asking, are you over the age of 55”

    There’s a pause then a mature, deep laugh, “I am. Is that okay?”

    “Are you married?”

    “That’s two questions, Sir.”

    “I apologize, but I have to know.”

    “I am a widow. My husband passed two years ago.”

    “I’m sorry. I’m a widower so I can relate. Can I ask one more question?”

    Another pause, “Of course.”

    “Would you like to have lunch one day? I would really love to meet you. You have an amazing voice and I would love to meet the owner of such a voice.”

    A long pause, “I’m very flattered but it’s been a long time since I have had a lunch date….”

    “How about it? I can tell you I am tall with graying hair that used to be dark. I would just like to meet you. You sound like such a nice lady.”

    “You’re not in the mafia or anything like that? ”

    I have to laugh out loud, “No Ma’am! Never been in the mafia! My son and I own a restaurant, only now he does most of the work. I’m semi-retired.”

    “Okay, I’ll meet you for lunch. I”m off tomorrow if that would work?”

    “Tomorrow would be perfect. Thank-you for being so nice to an old chump! Where would you feel comfortable meeting?”

    “How about the little cafe’ on Dice Street around noon? I’ll be wearing a purple skirt.”

    “Dice Street it is…”

    As I hang up the phone my heart races.

    “Dad, you okay?” You look a little flushed.” He grins.

    “Shut up, Nick!”

  31. Kerry Charlton

    A BEAUTIFUL VOICE

    A TRIBUTE TO TOMMIE

    In 1965, I ran a record distributing company in Dallas, shipping records to three states. I was 28, never had made a mistake in my life and knew everything. Then I met her, Tommie. We had lost our call manager in the office, probably the most important job in our company. Now that I think of it, far more important than mine. My office manager suggested I interview a friend of hers,

    “What is she like and what’s her job background?” I asked.

    “She has a college degree, has never worked because she has muscular dystrophy, but would be the best thing that ever happened to you.”

    “Are you sure she’d be up to this? It’s a very demanding job.”

    “Interview her for Pete sakes. I have her doctor’s number you can call. He says it would be so helpful for her to work and keep her mind off her illness.”

    The next morning she walked in my office, dressed impeccably with a wide smile on her face,

    “Good morning,” she said.

    “I thought one thought, ‘you’re hired’. She walked dragging one leg, she was five foot three, a beautiful face, a body totally tortured by her fate but….her voice was so strong, happy and lyrical, her illness faded into the background. I let the interview continue but I had already made my mind up.

    “When can you start?”

    “Tomorrow if you like.”

    I never called her doctor, I didn’t care about his opinion. If I had to carry her, I would have done so. She brightened the office, our phone accounts kept calling me, asking questions. I decided to make her my mystery employee. At the time, I didn’t realize how she changed my life. I pulled the commercial carpet out of our offices and replaced them with foam rubber backing, because she fell so often.

    There were good days for her and some bad physically. When she fell, I picked her up and carried her to her office. Eighty five pounds, she was as light as a feather. Sometimes I stood by her and listened to her banter with our customers. And I realized I knew nothing of life.

    A year and a half went by, she sat across from me,

    “I need your advice on a personal matter.”

    “Of course,” I answered.

    “Charlie Browning who owns Spinner Records in Shreveport asked me out. He said he’d drive over.”

    “Did you discuss………”

    “He’s known for some time I have MD.”

    “I’ve met him Tommie, he’s a good guy, have fun.”

    Three months passed, they dated every weekend. She walked better, didn’t fall as much and then she told me,

    “Charlie wants to marry me, what do think of that?”

    “Grab the ring Tommie, I guess you’ll need to move to Shreveport. We’re going to miss you around here.”

    “Would you rather I stay?”

    “No, just give me some warning you’ll be leaving. Lord, this place will never be the same without you. All of us feel that way.”

    The office dimmed in perspective with her gone. She called on occasion, then the phoning ceased. Charlie had sold his record store and we lost touch with Tommie. I think of her often and the lessons she taught me of life. All things come and then they go,

    ‘The Sands Of Time’

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Zenzo I had a lot of pleasure in writing this. For what Reatha suspects of my stories, is very often a true story. I glad it moved you spirit.

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, this is beautiful. I also liked how you used the narrator to tell the story. As with lots of your work, I don’t know if this is a true story or not, but that doesn’t really matter.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you for the lovely compliment Reatha. This actually is a true story. Tommie had a powerful effect on my life. We were only three or four years apart, but she was so far ahead of me in how she lived her life, I often wonder if she wasn’t an angel sent to make a better person out of me. I woll never forget her voice or smile.

    2. Critique

      This was so wonderful. I loved it. Could this be a true story? Such kindness. I’m a fan of people who give others a chance and then they find out they are the blessed ones for extending hope and happiness! We need more people like this in our world.

  32. Zenzo

    06/06/2016

    Sorry this went way too long. Hope you enjoy it. Constructive criticism most welcome.

    ———–

    It was strange how she had chosen her own place for the rendezvous. Hadn’t she thought of the possibility of me, a total stranger, of having less than righteous intentions? Perhaps she was a man-eater and things were going to get real raunchy as soon as I got there; or perhaps there was something about her that she needed to hide from the public? Either way, I wasn’t going to give up on the chance of hearing her beautiful voice once again. What did a divorced man in his mid-thirties has to lose anyway?

    I stood nervously on the front porch of her house, took a deep breath, wiped my sweaty palms on my pants, before finally ringing the doorbell. My feet turned cold as the sound of the footsteps approached the door. Maybe I should turn back and leave while I still could. I mean why would she want to see me? I had no looks, no money, no everything, that was probably why my wife left me. I was just a loser. Ever since she had agreed to meet me, all I could imagine was her look of disappointment.

    “Is that you Peter?” a sensual voice came from behind the door.

    “Ye.. yes, it’s me,” I stuttered a little. Her beautiful voice sent chills down my spine each time I heard it.

    Too late to run now. Got to face the music.

    Click. The door unlocked and swung open slowly. A plain but not-at-all-ugly looking lady around my age appeared in front of me. She was wearing an oversized, ankle-length flowery dress, purple Adidas sneakers, perfectly round sunglasses, and had a big red flower pinned on her hair. Her fashion sense was a total train wreck, despite of the apparent effort she puts in in dolling herself up. Why would anyone wear sunglasses in her own home?

    “Hi Peter,” came the irresistible voice again.

    Oddly enough, I was still as mesmerized by her voice, even after finding out that she was far from what I had been fantasizing, except this time there seemed to be a disharmony between what I was hearing and what I was looking at.

    “Hi Marie.”

    “Come in please, if you… want to…?” she asked softly.

    “I would love to,” I replied hastily, before having a chance to sort out my complex feelings. Besides, I was never the kind to hurt anyone’s feelings.

    “Great,” she replied with a gentle smile on her face. “Let me go put on the kettle first. Could you please shut and lock the door after you if you don’t mind?”

    “No problem.” I took myself in and shut the door as instructed.

    The interior looked clean and minimalistic at first glance, and everything looked to be in good order. One odd thing I noticed, however, was that most of the curtains were drawn and not a single light was on, not even in the kitchen where she was preparing tea. Coming into the house from a sunny day out there, my vision took a while to adjust to the lowlight environment.

    “Please, make yourself comfortable, and feel free to look around if you wish,” she said softly. Perhaps it was the lowlight and her calming voice, I did feel comfortable very quickly.

    “I’m sorry I had you come all the way here,” she said. “You haven’t realized yet have you?”
    “No, no, it is my pleasure,” I replied politely, really meaning what I said. “Realized what?” I looked around trying to figure out if I had missed out on anything.

    “That I’m blind.”

    I was loss for words. How could I not notice it sooner? The sunglasses, drawn curtains, dark rooms and her abhorrent fashion sense should have given it away, but I was too nervous to pay attention to anything else. My insecurities blinded me.

    Then I broke into laughter. Not a big one, but certainly inappropriate. She seemed a little shocked and her face blushed.

    “I’m sorry Marie. I’m not laughing at myself, not you. All this while I’ve been so nervous and worried about how you think of me that I didn’t notice it at all. I’m such a loser, ain’t I?”

    She chuckled at my comment. “Sorry I should’ve told you earlier, but I didn’t know how to put it…”

    “Don’t be silly. I didn’t tell you that I am a divorced man who looks 4 months pregnant did I?”

    She laughed out loud this time. The tension in the atmosphere had completely vanished by now. “Do I look ok to you?”

    “You are as beautiful as your voice is. But you would look 10 times better if you would allow me to pick your clothes for you,” I replied naughtily.

    “Hey, that was rude! I was born blind and have been living alone for a while… you are welcome to help me pick my clothes if you wish,” she frowned at first at my comment but finished the sentence off blushing.

    And so, we talked for the next eight hours, and many more eight hours after that. And that was how I met your grandmother.

    THE END

    1. Kerry Charlton

      That was really a great, heartwarming story. It has everything it needs in it. Don’t apologize for being a few words over. There isn’t a word in it I wouldn’t want to read.

    2. Beebles

      Hi Zenzo. A good gentle story – very much in the tone of Kerry’s. Well written – a couple of awkward sentences here and there but nothing that a good read out loud wouldn’t identify. The last line did make me look back and think, is this how I would tell a story to my grandkids? Not a criticism as such, merely something I have taken from your work and made me think about my own. Thank you.

      1. Zenzo

        Thank you cl91! That’s what I imagine I would say myself. Hahaha…

        Thank you so much for your input Beeble. Would you be kind enough to point out the awkward sentences so that I could improve? More criticism please!

        The “And that’s how I met your grandmother” part was written on the spur of the moment so it seemed a little out of place. Thanks a million once again!

        1. Beebles

          Picked the first example that struck me – heavens, there aren’t many.
          Her fashion sense was a total train wreck, despite of the apparent effort she puts in in dolling herself up.
          So to me – the ‘of’ could go. The ‘puts’ is wrong tense? And you could find a way to lose an ‘in’. If i don’t like a sentence I look into different ways I could have said the same thing and something better usually pops out.
          But then … I ain’t no James Joyce.
          Hope it helps. Keep Writing.

          1. Zenzo

            “Her fashion sense was a total train wreck, despite of the tremendous effort she had apparently put in to dress herself up.”

            Thank you Beebles. I will keep writing and improving 🙂

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      Very sweet story, however, if he is telling this to his grandchildren, he might not want to use the word, raunchy, or admit his baser instincts. I am a tiny bit concerned about the description of what she’s wearing. I’ve known several totally blind women and they usually plan their clothes well.

  33. SkyFox

    “God dammit!”
    I slammed my hand onto my computer, the dust shaking from its keys.
    “The ONE day I needed to use you…”
    Muttering to myself I reached for my phone, pounding the numbers.
    Under my breath,I muttered some very unflattering things while listening to the tuneless recording.
    “Hi the is I Heart Computers! Please press 3 to go to techinal support, 2 to ask us questions and 1 for feedback.”
    “I’ve got some feedback for you, you little twits.”
    I waited impatiently, staring at the swirling dust mites, glimmering through the window.
    “Hi, I am Haley from Technical Support.”
    My mouth dropped open in surprise. I was expecting a pimple nosed, horny teenager. Not…not this.
    Her voice was…
    Her voice was the clear morings.
    Her voice was the sunset, warm and glowing with life.
    Her voice was the shimmering of glass, the smoothest surface, the clearest stream.
    “Hello?”
    I cleared my voice, trying and failing to sound mature and cool.
    “Hello Madam.”
    “Umm..hi. What can I help you with sir?”
    “How about a date?”
    I clapped my hand over my mouth, making a sound. What.Did.I.Just.SAY?
    A cough on the other line, and I could imagine her cheeks going red and preparing to end the call.
    “N-no! I didn’t mean. I meant..”
    My voice trailed off as I stared in horror at the phone.
    The voice tinged was with anger as she growled into the phone.
    “What exactly did you mean then, lover boy?”
    “I..I just. Your voice was really beautiful and I just thought..”
    “Actually forget it..Ill hang up now.”
    A pause as the voice spoke quietly through the end.
    “My voice?”
    “It was just…you know beautiful and I got a bit…”
    Haley cleared her throat and I could picture her opening her mouth.
    Then I was plunged into semi-darkness.
    The phone dropped from my hands, falling onto my ugly grey carpet.
    Blackout.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I think I got it. His wife overheard him and smashed his head with a cast iron skillet. Or maybe this, He had a bad heart and her voice gave him a seizure. Either one would work for me.

    1. dustymayjane

      I am waiting patiently for my submission to appear. Hopefully by Monday morning 🙂 It was a fun prompt and hope everyone enjoys my take…when it shows. Fingers crossed.

          1. Kerry Charlton

            A small hint. When you double post, change a word in the title and the website won’t hit you with “It appears you’ve already posted this.”

  34. cosi van tutte

    “Thank you for calling the St. Marsha’s Mercy MRI and Mammography Department. This is Irma speaking. How may I help you today?”

    She laughed. “Yes. It is a mouthful. But I’ve had plenty of practice.”

    She tilted her head. “Hmm? My voice? Oh, it’s…I’m sorry? You want to…No, but honestly I’ve never had anyone ask me that question before. I…What? No. It’s not that. It’s…I’m just surprised. And flattered! Yes, I’m…But..No. I can’t. I have to work a late shift today and…Tomorrow? No, not tomorrow. Tomorrow is a midnight shift and…I’m really sorry, but did you need help with something?” She blushed. “I’m sorry, but I can’t. I really am too busy. What? I’m sorry,but…”

    Irma frowned. “I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t appreciate that kind of language. If you keep it up, I will hand you over to Security and…Hello?”

    She sighed and hung up the phone. She thought about it for a few minutes before dialing Security.

    “Security. How can I help you?”

    “Hi, this is Irma.”

    “Well, hello there gorgeous! What’s happening?”

    “Paul, can you walk me out to my car after my shift is over?”

    His chair creaked as he apparently leaned forward. “What’s wrong?”

    “I had some pervy guy call me just now and I sort of let slip that I’m working late tonight and the midnight shift tomorrow.”

    “You shouldn’t tell people things like that.”

    “I know. So, can you?”

    “Sure. I don’t work tomorrow, but I’ll let the other guys know about the situation. Are you okay?”

    “Yes. But…I think I’m in a state of shock right now. I’ll probably start shaking as soon as I hang up with you.”

    Paul moved away from the phone and spoke Security jargon to one of his fellow co-workers. “All right. Thanks.” He returned to the phone. “Sorry. I was just explaining the sitch to Dave over here. I’ll come down and stay with you till the end of your shift.”

    Irma wanted to tell him that he didn’t have to do that, but her body chose that moment to start shaking. “Okay. I’ll be waiting for you.”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Very nice Cosi. I have an idea Paul may be more of a problem than the creepo on the phone
      She needs to carry a 38 strapped to her .thigh. The one-sided conversation. Was done well
      Does this need A part. Two?

  35. UnclePizza

    The sun was coming up, the drugs were wearing off, and although the house was no longer on fire, I just sensed that the real trouble was yet to come. At least I wasn’t dizzy anymore. Or dancing. That poor hamster, though.

    It had started innocently enough. All I wanted was to have my phone bill straightened out, so I called the service center and was soon talking to Donna. She was good at figuring out what was wrong and how to fix things, but what really had me lose interest in the bill was her voice. Silky, sultry, smooth; I was in love in under thirty seconds.

    Once things got straightened out I actually started making up other issues just to keep Donna on the line, but she saw right through me. She laughed as she finally said: “Why don’t you just ask me out if you want to keep talking so much?”

    Now, I’m not by any stretch an impulsive guy, but she had me hooked and I was not about to lose my one shot at coming face to face with the owner of this gorgeous voice. I knew a great restaurant near the phone company’s call center so I asked her if she’d meet me there after her shift ended. I could have jumped for joy when she agreed. (OK, I actually did jump once she ended the call.)

    We hit it off better than I could have dreamed, and after rushing through dinner we quickly left for her apartment. Once we got there she opened some wine and set a plate of cookies on the coffee table. They were something I’d never tasted before – sweet and bitter at the same time. I asked what they were but she just kept telling me to guess, giggling as I kept eating “just one more” trying to pinpoint the flavor.

    The next thing I knew, we were both doubled over laughing, which would normally have freaked me out since I’m usually a pretty reserved guy. I felt as though my inhibitions had completely abandoned me, and as if to prove the point, when Donna suggested that we go dancing I jumped up, and striking my best Saturday Night Fever pose said “Let’s go!”

    Now, I find myself sitting on the curb in front of the smoldering remains of a house, watching the flashing lights throw shadows around the street, trying to piece the last eight hours together. I remember Donna laughing, something about mescaline cookies, and a new record for the most eaten in one night. And even though you could never pay me to dance, I remember dancing. Most of it with my clothes on. I think. And did I really shout “Party at my house!” when the club announced Last Call? And who was that big guy with his shaved head tattooed to look like a skull? Tony something?

    The loose ends were just starting to come together when Donna sat on the curb next to me and laid her head on my shoulder. “Hey,” she said in that gorgeous voice of hers. “Too bad about your house.”

    “Um, thanks,” I mumbled.

    “Oh, and Tony called,” she said as she put her arm around me. “He wants his hamster back.”

    Oh yeah, this is going to be a bad morning alright.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      My heart goes out to your MC, poor idiot. But he doesn’t. Deserve all this. At least he’s got Donna sitting on the curb with him. This is rollicking comedy at it’s best. Great job ,Unc.

      1. UnclePizza

        Thanks Reatha. I sometimes struggle with getting the right level of description. I usually think that I don’t give enough descriptive details but then it’s too easy (for me) to overdo it. I’m glad it worked this time!

  36. Kerry Charlton

    MIKE HAMMER’S REVENGE

    PART THREE

    [Part One and Two On ’Crime Log’ Prompt]

    Begrudgingly, Ruth agreed to the plan, despite calling Mike psychotic to even thing of the idea. When Dee Dee got whiff, she went shopping with Mike’s money, a C note. Not to be outdone, Effie worked the same amount from Sam, calling it hazard money. Both girls were lookers but disguised themselves in every day clothes and little makeup. They presented themselves as efficient secretaries and office managers.

    The meeting place was Mike‘s office in Hell‘s Kitchen close by to Jake’s dive, The Easy Sixes. Ten o’clock on Saturday night the five including Ruth stood before the door to Jake’s club. Dee Dee and Effie wore evening coats despite the summer breeze through the trees.

    “As I‘ve told you before Mike, Jake put the crunch on you. There’s no way I’m going to let you in.”

    Mike observed the six foot five bouncer, whispered to Dee Dee and stepped back. She removed her coat, exposed a perfect body dressed in a silk, scoop neck black dress, completely backless. Mike and Sam stood there speechless and gaped at her. She slithered up to the bouncer like a cougar in heat, her moxie in full power ,

    “Say hey, big daddy,” she said as she pressed her breast into his arm. “I like them large don’t you see and I’ll save the last dance for you. All we‘re looking for is an easy evening, Now step aside you gorgeous peace of mountain, Dee Dee’s gonna enter this joint.”

    Once inside, they were led to a private room with roulette, dice and floating women through a smoke filled aura of sin. Ruth played her layback game like a spider waiting for it’s prey. Big Jake plowed his way through the tuxedo’s and hookers to greet them,

    “So Mike you’re traveling in beautiful company tonight, don’t be stingy, introduce me.”

    Like all things in life, Mike’s plan flushed down the john. It wasn’t Ruth who attracted Jake but both Effie and Dee Dee,

    “I’m going to borrow your women, gum-shoes, just to show them off. Besides you have Ruth to split between you, I doubt if she‘d mind. They’re in good hands, be sure you enjoy yourselves and don’t worry, I’ll bring them back, piece by piece.”

    With one arm around each girl, Big Jake made a swift exit.

    “What in hell did he mean by that,” Sam asked.

    “I know Jake,” Ruth said, “if you don’t move now he literally will bring them back in a box.”

    “Thanks Ruth,” Sam said, “are you carrying heat.”

    “Strapped to both thighs, you wanna see for old times?”

    “Damn it Ruth, be serious, are they in danger?”

    “Well boys, I’m leaving to help. Are you coming or not?:”

    The three exited the casino room each carrying double 38”s.

    Mike knew the joint by heart as did Ruth. The three slipped though a hidden passage way leading to a steep flight of stairs spilling out to a narrow hallway to Jake’s private office..

    “There will be at least two gorillas guarding his door,” Ruth said.

    “And I didn’t agree to any murder,” Sam echoed.

    “Anybody have an idea?” Mike said.

    Ruth stopped them halfway up the stairs,

    “I do.. Sam, pretend you’re strangling me, it shouldn’t be hard for you.”

    As he leaned over and grabbed her throat, an echo like a dying timber wolf, permeated the stairwell,

    “AAAAGGGGHHHH, AAAAGGGGHHHH.”

    .

    1. cosivantutte

      Hey, Kerry!

      Bring on the next part! Woo! 😀

      By the way, this line cracked me up: “Now step aside you gorgeous piece of mountain. Dee Dee’s gonna enter this joint.” 😆

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks cosi, that line I made up seemed so ridiculous when I wrote it but now I like it. I promise you a bang-up fourth part ending, next prompt.

  37. ReathaThomasOakley

    The Beautiful Voice

    I am so old, Sherry thought as she stared at the phone in her hand. I can remember going to the drug store with a nickel to call Granny, party lines, I am so old.

    “Mom, you say something?”

    “Oh, didn’t hear you come in.” Sherry put down the phone. “Just thinking about the past.”

    “You get it straightened out?” Marla asked as she put her iPad in her briefcase.

    “Yes,” Sherry laughed. “Sounds like the library’s heard every excuse for lost books, even the one about a granddaughter leaving a book outdoors for the neighbors’ dog to snack on.”

    Opening the letter the night before started a search that ended with a dog with an upset stomach and a thirteen year old promising to pay for the book.

    “I said I’d mail a check.” Sherry reached for her cane and stood. “Did you know the library has a new volunteer program?”

    “What? Volunteers?” Marla paused. “Where is my…?”

    Sherry watched her daughter and marveled that this new living arrangement seemed to be working, not permanent, but working at least until her new hip was was. Really old, she thought again.

    But, just a few minutes before she wasn’t old, she was twenty-one, the years had receded like calendar pages in old movies. She was twenty-one and in the non-fiction stacks of the old library, trying to find the source of faint sobbing.

    “You okay?” She’d asked the boy sitting on the floor with his head on his knees, books piled next to him.

    “Yeah, yeah,” he wiped his face on his sleeve. “Sorry, didn’t know anyone ever came back here.” Sherry recognized him, his black curly hair, James something, two years behind her in school, always laughing, not like now. “Just doing some research, research.”

    Sherry picked up the book on the top of the stack.

    “Viet Nam? You’re in the army?”

    “Marines, just back from Parris Island, next week, new week…” The sobs started again. “God, what a failure I am,” he tried to laugh.

    Sherry found a tissue in her purse and sat down next to him.

    “If you made it through Parris Island I doubt you’re a failure. Here, blow your nose.”

    “I know you,” he took the tissue. “This is awful, you finding me, blubbering like a big baby.” He blew his nose. “I just don’t know what’s going to happen. Thought if I could find a book…”

    “I’m not sure there’s a book like that.” She handed him another tissue. “Funny, in two weeks you’ll be headed someplace new, and scary. In two weeks I’ll be married, and that’s pretty scary. I’ve been looking, but I can’t find a book to help me either.”

    The lights went off and on.

    “We better get moving, they’re closing. Come on, we can talk more outside.”

    Sherry slowly pulled herself away from the past, into the present where she was a widow, living with her divorced daughter. She’d recognized his voice as soon as he answered the phone, his laughter when she explained about the book, said he wished he had a granddaughter, explained about volunteering after a career in the military.

    “Volunteers at the library?” Marla asked as she pulled on her coat. “You thinking about doing that? Sounds like a good idea, something to keep you out of trouble.” Marla shook her black curls and gave a low laugh. “Have a good day.”

    “You, too,” Sherry walked her daughter to the door. “I think I’ll hand deliver that check, maybe spend a little time at the library.”

    1. cosivantutte

      Hi, Reatha!

      This is such a lovely story of second chances. And just so you know, I love the line about how the “library’s heard every excuse for lost books”. I can only imagine the excuses they’ve heard. 😀

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You are a master craftsman with words. How you paint emotion is what I love the most. Anyone can describe a tree, but the inner mind described by the past is the most beautiful way to do it and you mastered it, like it was easy. It is not easy, at least not for me. This sentence is true art….. “But, just a few minutes before she wasn’t old, she was twenty one, the years had receded like calendar pages in old movies.” Mighty classic literature.

  38. igonzales81

    Okay, I had fun with this one. Don’t worry, nothing autobiographical here.

    Chaperones

    I loved the sound of her voice, so sweet and enticing. I felt the need, just as I had so many times before.

    “I’m sorry,” I said, “but what was your name again?”

    “It’s Alicia, Mr. Madison. Don’t worry, the confirmation email will have a complete transcript of our conversation.”

    “Oh, it’s not that,” I said. “And I do thank you for assisting me with my little problem. It’s simply that you have an enchanting voice.”

    “Why, thank you, Mr. Madison. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

    “Well, yes, there is.” Oh, there was indeed. “I was wondering if you ever date callers? Particularly those who find your customer service skills exemplary, your voice enchanting, and are dying to find out more about you?”

    A soft laugh came over the line. “Well, there isn’t any policy against it…”

    “Please say yes. I don’t do this sort of thing often. We can meet when and where you’d like. You set the agenda, and I’ll be a gentleman.” And I would; I always was.

    There was a pause of a few painful seconds. “Okay.” Now she sounded almost surprised with herself. “Do you know Garibaldi’s on Fifty-second and Main?”

    “Yes.”

    “Thursday? Eight o’clock?”

    “Sounds perfect. See you then.”

    I walked into the restaurant at exactly eight. Alicia was already there, and I studied her as I approached. Tall and fit, a fact apparent even though she was seated, with fine features and long red hair.

    Red hair. I had to admit to a certain weakness for red hair.

    She looked up from her phone as I walked up, slipping the device into her handbag. “You must be Phillip.” She offered her hand.

    “I am,” I replied, keeping my eyes on her face. There would be time to take in the rest later.

    “And with that exquisite voice, you can only be Alicia.” I took her hand for only a moment, then slid into my chair. “I’m delighted you could meet me. I know it must have seemed bold to ask a woman out after only a few moments of professional conversation, but I make up my mind about people very quickly.”

    “Really?” She said, leaning back and glancing around the restaurant. “I’m kind of the opposite. I like to take a lot of time to get to know someone before I go out with them.”

    I felt a twinge of nervousness. Something wasn’t right. “And yet you decided to go out with me on a whim?”

    “Well, not exactly. Let’s just say I know more about you than you think.”

    The twinge became full blown alarm. “If you’ll excuse me,” I said, starting to stand. “I need to use the restroom.”

    “Oh, it’s a bit too late for that.”

    The doors crashed open, admitting a tide of uniformed police. The diners at nearby tables also stood, revealing badges and weapons.

    I was caught. After so many years, I had finally been brought to bay.

    I looked back at Alicia, who was smirking openly now.
    “What can I say,” she shrugged. “There’s something to be said for chaperones after all.”

    As they slapped the cuffs on me, I could only wonder how I had ever loved the sound of her voice.

  39. chandra_wd_writer

    Here is my attempt. Went a bit long but I hope you enjoy reading the story.

    I have a mysterious relationship with my mailbox: when I open it with nervous anticipation, it stares at me with a blank, sarcastic look; when I open it with lazy uneasiness, it overwhelms me with a tsunami of papers. It somehow reminds me of my recent girlfriend with whom I broke up a month ago: familiar, yet mysteriously unfamiliar.

    I wasn’t expecting anything in the mail than the usual trash, which my shredder wants to gulp joyfully every Sunday evening.

    When I saw the envelope, I thought whoever decided to put the following words on this depressing yellowish envelope is stuck in an unhappy job: “Immediate attention. Final notice. Action required immediately.”

    I owe some $252.57 to a stupid online business that I never heard of. A scam, I thought. But they got my name and other details right. There was a toll-free phone number on the bill, and I called them.

    “Hello. I am Kim. How can I help you today?” said a human voice, a beautiful voice, indeed. The never ending computer greeting they played for five minutes only accentuated her beautiful voice even more.

    “Hi, I am Peter. I am about to complain… wait… before that let me give you a compliment. You have a beautiful voice, Kim. Let me try complaining now,” I said, as natural as I could without sounding flirty.

    “Thank you. I got the compliment. Now, what’s your complaint?” she said rather rudely for a customer service person.

    “Well, I got a wrong bill on my name. Two hundred and fiftyish dollars. I don’t even know what company is this. I never bought anything from you guys,” I blurted.

    “What’s the bill id, Sir?” Did she already forget my name and the compliment? I wanted to hear my name coming out of her beautiful lips. Wait, do women with beautiful voice always have beautiful lips? That’s something I should look up on Google tonight.

    I read the order number thrice, and she read it thrice before she could pull the order. There were fifteen alphanumeric, case-sensitive characters. Who on earth wrote their software? Fine, it wasn’t that bad actually as she had a beautiful voice and all that repeating was quite seductive.

    “Sir, you have renewed your subscription with us a month ago, and chose to pay the money with a check later…”

    “Hello… Sorry, I lost your voice, can you come again, please?” I said. The phone connection was as clear as my childish intention to hear her beautiful voice for more time.

    She repeated the same lines with practiced accuracy, and her voice was even more beautiful when it was loud. I wasn’t sure if she knew that I lied.

    “What subscription is it?”

    “Sir, it’s your annual subscription with our website?” she said. Call me Peter, please—I thought of saying.

    “For god’s sake can you tell me what website do you guys run?” I said instead.

    “Mr. Michael, can you please mind your language. We will sort this out, Sir,” she added ‘Sir’ as an afterthought after a little pause.

    “Who the hell is Michael now?” Was someone trying to use my address for wrong things? But the envelope had my name.

    “Please mind your language or I have to hang up,” she said.

    “Sorry. I was having a bad day, and this bill isn’t helping either. I am Peter. Not Michael,” I said.

    “Sir, are you calling from [my address],” she asked.

    “Yes. That very same address. But I am not Michael,” I said. By now I did not care about her voice. This was going nowhere.

    “We really apologize for the inconvenience, Mr. Peter. This must be a software error then. We will verify, and I will arrange for a callback within twenty-four hours to settle this.”

    “Well, it would have been an inconvenience if it’s not for your beautiful voice, Kim,” I said.

    “Thank you, Sir. Is there anything else I can help you with?” She shifted to ‘Sir’ again. Was she playing with me? Did she know I wanted to hear my name from her?

    “Yes. Can I ask you out, Kim? I want to meet you, if not for anything else, to hear your beautiful voice in person,” I said before I realized what I was saying. I think a painful breakup can bring out the dormant flirting forces inside a man to his own surprise.

    “Yes. Of course,” she said. Did she hear me well? I gave her my cell number before she had a chance to change her mind.

    We exchanged a few texts. She said she worked on the weekends. So she wanted to meet on Thursday evening. That meant I had to cancel my dinner with this other girl whom I met online. That’s fine, we just started chatting on this anonymous app a week ago, and I had no idea how she looked or how beautiful her voice was. She sounded interesting, but it can wait.

    The week started as usual with a crowded Monday morning train in the Bay Area, and the bright San Francisco day was trying to lift the moods of lazy office-goers. I was excited about the Thursday.

    I had to finish a project by Wednesday, and I was too busy and totally forgot to message this other online girl until Thursday morning. Then I forgot again until I was waiting for Kim in the restaurant. I wasn’t sure if I forgot or I intentionally did that. I had been a victim of a few no-show-dinners. It’s fine; sometimes that’s the reality of modern online dating.

    Surprisingly, Kim chose an Indian restaurant as she said she loved Chicken Tikka Masala. An Indian restaurant and a date is something I would never put on the same line; it sounded like a spicy curry to me.

    Having finished my work early, I walked to the restaurant, and I was there by 6.30 PM. I had to kill thirty minutes. I got seated in ten minutes.

    Honestly, I had a doubt somewhere that Kim would never show up. She was probably just playing a practical joke on me. Why would any girl with a beautiful voice agree to come out with a random guy?

    To my surprise, Kim did show up. Fifteen minutes late, though.

    I first saw her at the entrance talking to a middle-aged Indian man, whom I thought was probably the owner of the restaurant, and he pointed his hand rather elaborately towards my table. He was for sure admiring her beautiful voice, and I strangely envied that for a moment.

    I stood up in surprise while Kim approached and I stopped typing on my phone in the middle. I was trying to message that other girl that I had to cancel the dinner last minute. You know, I wasn’t sure Kim would show up.

    Kim wasn’t anything like what I had imagined when I heard her voice the first time on the phone. We exchanged the usual glimpses and greetings. Her voice was as beautiful as I heard it on the phone, if not, even more beautiful.

    But before I could further admire her beauty, I felt obligated to tell that other girl. I excused myself for a minute, and Kim was lost in the menu in no time. I quickly finished the message I left in the middle a few minutes ago. I finally relieved myself of my guilt. I felt sorry for that girl. She must be disappointed whoever she was, and however she looked.

    When I finally turned all my attention to Kim after switching off my phone, Kim’s phone buzzed. Damn these phones. She put down the menu before the buzzing stopped as if she was anticipating some important message or mail. She excused herself as she took her phone.

    She smiled in surprise after she read the message and nodded her head in disbelief. She gently pushed her blonde hair back with her slender fingers and looked at me, still with a smile on her face. I was curious to know what that message was.

    Before I asked her, she said that she met some guy on an anonymous dating app, and she was supposed to meet that guy at 8 PM. She said she felt awful not to show up for that dinner and not informing him.

    “Now I am relieved of my guilt,” she said, “he just messaged me that he is canceling the dinner at the last minute as he is stuck at work.”

    It took me a few seconds to realize it was Kim whom I just messaged.

    I honestly fought my urge to tell her the truth but decided it can wait.

    The background noise and the soft Indian Bollywood music faded as my ears filtered everything but her beautiful voice.

    Thanks for taking the time to read!

    1. cosivantutte

      Hi, chandra!

      I really liked this story. And I loved the line about checking Google for if women with beautiful voices have beautiful lips. 😀

    2. madeindetroit

      I loved how you plotted this story. This is so plausible in today’s LinkedIn and connected society. Great dialogue and character development along with some exceptional lines.

      Great job!

    3. chandra_wd_writer

      Thanks, Hack! Glad you liked the story.

      Thanks, cosi! Good to know you really liked the story and that specific line—that line surprised me as well 🙂

      Thanks, madeindetroit!! Happy to know you loved the story and plot. Really glad you found some lines exceptional.

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!!

    4. igonzales81

      You did do the plot very well. I did want a bit more description of how the woman actually looked, though. You made me curious. Very good job!

    5. chandra_wd_writer

      Thanks, igonzales!! Glad you liked the plot.
      Thanks, Reatha! I am happy you found it an enjoyable read.
      Thanks, Zenzo!! Glad to know you enjoyed the story.

  40. cosi van tutte

    “Augh! Those idiots at the Kylo Ren Dating Store have overcharged me again.” I pull out my cellphone and dial the Help Line.

    I know it by heart.

    I mentally ready myself for Andy’s teenaged squawk.

    “Thank you for calling the Kylo Ren Helpful Help Line.”

    I feel like someone had yanked all of the breath out of my body.

    This is not Andy.

    It’s a woman. And her voice…So beautiful. Clean. Clear. It makes me think of pure water. It makes me think of crystals sparkling in the sun.

    “My name is Claina. How may I assist you?”

    It’s my turn to speak. But I don’t want to speak. I just want to hear more of her words. Her voice. “My…uhh…bill…it’s too…it’s too much.” I feel stupid and dull and boring. Here I am – on the phone with an absolute audio goddess…and I’m talking about a bill. I should be flattering her. I should be offering to wine and dine her. I should be telling her that I want to have her children. Or…wait. Is it supposed to be the other way around?

    “Oh, I’m sorry. Let me look up your account.”

    “You know what? Forget it.”

    “I’m sorry?”

    “Don’t be sorry. I’m not mad or anything and you haven’t done anything wrong. I just…Did you say your name was Shaina?”

    She laughs.

    And it’s like an angel’s soprano.

    “It’s Claina. But don’t worry. I get that a lot more than you would expect.”

    I laugh.

    And it’s like a sick donkey’s bray.

    I want to die from embarrassment.

    “So…About your bill…”

    “Like I said before, don’t worry about it. I just realized that I don’t care. It’s a small token for this opportunity to hear your voice.”

    “What? I’m sorry, but what?”

    “Your voice is something special. I hope you know that. I hope you appreciate what a gift it is to have such a genuinely beautiful voice.”

    “Sir! I appreciate the compliment, but—”

    “I want to do more than compliment you. I want to meet you. I want to take you out to eat. I want to talk. I want to listen to you talk. I want to hear what you think about politics and baseball and apple pie and children and—”

    “Children?” She sounds like she’s all set to freak out.

    “Okay. I realize I’m going too fast.” I take a breath and exhale. “I just want to meet you. Can I?”

    She doesn’t reply.

    “I swear upon my Italian grandmother’s stack of bibles that I am not a creep and I don’t want to do anything creepy to you.”

    “Let me think about it.”

    “Uhh…” Not the answer I was hoping for. “Okay.”

    “Can I have your number?”

    “Wait. What?” Either I’m getting stupider than usual or she’s giving me some real mixed signals.

    “If I decide to go out with you, I’ll give you a call.”

    “Ohhh.” Okay. “What if you decide not to?”

    “I’ll give you a call and let you know.”

    “Oh.”

    So, I give her my number.

    “Thanks. I’ll let you know.”

    “Okay. Bye.”

    “Bye.” She hangs up.

    I sit there with my phone in my hand and hope for the best.

    1. madeindetroit

      Loved the back and forth dialogue. So natural and true to life. Loved your description on what a beautiful voice could sound like. Awesome!

    2. igonzales81

      Very good dialogue. The MC was scary real. And I got the Kylo Ren and teenage squawk reference. Apt and bold at the same time. Well done, well done indeed.

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      Cosi, I was smiling at the first line. Your MC knowing the Help Line spoke volumes. But, I’m not certain this romance will last.

      1. cosivantutte

        Hi, Reatha!

        I’m glad you liked it. And, yeah. I’m not sure if the romance will even get off the ground, much last. But you can never tell. 🙂

    4. Kerry Charlton

      In reading your story, a thought hit me like a thunderbolt. Where were you when I needed you the most? I was so bashful with girls in high school, I kept stumbling over words trying to talk to them. I needed a teacher but you wouldn’t be born for dozens of years. Now you show me! What kind of teaching is that? You’re willing to give me lessons on Writer’s Digest, when my boat leaks so much, I’m about to sink. Well anyway, I had to tell you this. I think it’s funny, finally finding a teacher. I will however pass it on to my grandson Jake. He’s a sophmore in highschool dating a senior that looks like Ava Gardner. Lot of good it’ll do him.

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