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The Confrontation

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

Daydreaming on your way to work, you get into a car accident. Frustrated because you will be late for an important meeting, you curse and yell as you get out of the car. When you go to confront the other drive, you find out it is your boss. Write this scene.

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357 Responses to The Confrontation

  1. nickava16 says:

    I was late. Then again, I was always late to everything. I was talking to the boss of Stark Enterprises, Tony Stark himself. I was applying for a job as chief engineer of his Mark II suits. My call had just gone through.
    “Hey Tony, I think I might be a few minutes late.”
    “No problem Jason, I might be late myself.”
    I then realized I was lost. I couldn’t see the Stark Building anywhere.
    “Dude, I think I’m lost.”
    “Where are you?”
    “I’m at the Intersection of 6th and Commonwealth, right next to a beautiful church,” I said.
    “I’m right around there too,” Tony said. “You need to turn around and head in the opposite way for a few miles.”
    As I turned my car around, still daydreaming about meeting Tony Stark, another car smashed into mine. My car caught on fire and was flung another 50 yards down the road, setting another three alight and damaging 2 additional ones.
    I screamed at the top of my lungs because I would never make it to the building in time. I opened my door to scream and cuss at the person that had hit me.
    “What the heck were you doing…”
    I trailed off, realizing I had collided with Tony Stark, damaging his new hot red Corvette. His car seemed relatively undamaged, where as mine exploded behind me, sending fire trucks and ambulances screaming towards the smoldering wreck.
    “Oops.”

  2. Teelacatgirl says:

    It started like a normal day. Nothing bad, nothing good. The kind of day that makes you think of better days. Usually that thinking happens in the car. I was paying attention! I really was! Kinda. Anyways, I was thinking about the time I had eaten a whole bar of chocolate while watching AFV, when a car suddenly stopped in front of me! I slammed on the brakes, but still ended up ramming into the back of the car. I realized this would mean I’d be late for my job interview. A started swearing and got out of the car. Uhg! I thought. What am I going to tell Mr. Hatchfeild now? Oh! What luck! He’s right here- wait, WHAT? I stared in horror as my could-be boss got out of his rammed-up car.
    “What is the meaning of this?” He said.
    “Uh- I-“ I spluttered.
    “Wait, don’t I know you?”
    “No! I mean, I don’t think so…”
    “Wait, you’re the girl who was supposed to be trying out for the job today!”
    I froze. This was bad. Very bad. I started spewing out apologies.
    “I’m sorry! I wasn’t looking where I was going! You stopped to fast! I’m sorry!”
    “You’d better be, since there’s no chance of landing that job for you anymore.”
    I wanted a huge hole to open and swallow me up. Take me to Russia. Or Munchkinland. I took out my wallet.
    “How much do I owe you?”
    “About $300.”
    “WHAT?!” I yelled. “HOW WILL I GET $300?!”
    “You should of thought of that before hand.”
    “Before hand? How would I have known this would of happened! It wasn’t on purpose!”
    Hatchfeild just glared at me. I glared back. He grunted, and walked back to his car. He started the engine and drove of. I found myself wishing his car was broken. The engine smashed. Then maybe he’d be late for a wedding or something. His OWN wedding! Then maybe his bride would be so mad at him. She’d cancel the wedding and have him banished to Alaska! Yes that would teach him… HONK!
    ‘Hey! Lady! Get out of the intersection!”
    I sighed I got in my car and tried to start up the engine. Nothing happened. I tried again. Still nothing. I realized I was stuck. Face red with embarrassment, I got out of the car. I went to the back and started pushing. People stared at me as I tried to shove my car to the side. I was pushing with all my might. Then it started to roll downhill. I watch, helpless, as my car rolled down the road and into a ditch. I stared at it for a few seconds, then stuck my hand out and yelled:
    “TAXI!”

  3. JUSTIN TAKES CONTROL
    ===================

    Agent Justin Cayse left the bordello from the rear, having escaped his captor. Ava Longleggs, always the most generous of hosts, enjoyed Mister Cayse’s visits immensely, often more than once. To be sure, the restraints were optional.

    “Do come again, Justin,” she said as she played with a lock of her auburn hair.

    He winked at her. “I always do, babe. I always do.”

    A sizable shadow appeared behind her as the master spy rounded the corner.

    “Want me to follow him, Mistress?”

    Ava turned around, reached up and patted the cheek of her trusty henchman.

    “Not yet, Tiny.” She nodded down the alley. “He’ll find his way back. Well, if my math is right anyway.”

    Tiny snickered and the two went inside.

    A few blocks away, Justin let the dawn breeze cool him as he sped down the boulevard in his open-topped Roadster. All told, it measured as a fruitful evening in service of The Public Good. Sector long suspected the lovely Ms. Ava of peddling more than bodies and blow. Three of their best agents found themselves on the wrong side of the harbor. In a mere handful of hours, Justin achieved more than Sector had in two years.

    He’d been cooling his heels at the tables in Nice when he got the call from Control herself. Probationary reinstatement. Short-stacked and bored, he readily accepted the assignment. After all, he was a ‘Man of Action’.

    Now, cruising away from the seedy red-light lair of Ms. Longleggs to the gaining light of his hotel by the sea, Justin relaxed. Sector would have to await his report.

    Morning traffic forced him to slow to a crawl. The air turned warm as the sun rose. Justin unbuttoned the top buttons of his silk shirt, but it didn’t help. His vision blurred and his hands trembled. When his tongue thickened and the nausea hit, he understood.

    The crazy bitch drugged me! He wheeled the car around in his trippy haze. Justin’s body slammed into the steering wheel as the Roadster came to a sudden stop in the rear of a Jaguar.

    The first thought flashing through his addled mind was of remorse for the damage of two fine automobiles. The second was that he recognized the Jag immediately.

    A few hours later, Justin sat alone in a familiar office awaiting judgement. The Narcan did its job easing his symptoms, but the jittering remained. This was more message than lethal intent.

    “Good day, Mister Cayse,” came a stern voice. The woman behind it closed her heavy door audibly yet restrained.

    “A fine day it is, Control,” said Justin.

    His boss strode to her side of the desk, smoothed her skirt and sat down. He’d always admired her features, but admonished himself for the thought. Some women were off-limits. Not many, but some. The fun always lay in the chase.

    “That’s your third car in eighteen months, Justin. Half of that you were on vacation.” She peered over the top of her thick-rimmed black spectacles with convincing disdain.

    Justin, a veteran target of Control’s lectures, could barely suppress a grin. “And a fine vacation it was, ma’am.”

    She frowned, irritated at his jocularity. “I wouldn’t recommend that.”

    He stood and walked over to the sidebar and selected a single-malt. “What’s that? Crashing into your car? Agreed.” He lifted the bottle with reverence. “Balvenie? Nice.”

    “No, your insurance graciously picked up the tab for the Jag. But calling me ma’am is ill-advised.”

    He played the submissive. “Yes, Control.”

    She opened the dossier on her desk and made a clicking sound with her tongue and teeth as she read. “Blood alcohol of 1.6 and enough opiate to fell an elephant. Really, Justin, I know not whether to be angry at your flagrant disregard to protocol or be impressed with your constitution.” She looked up. “Pour me one as well. Neat.”

    Justin poured two tumblers and waited. “We could always split the difference.”

    Control came around her desk, half-sat on the edge and accepted the glass. “How so? Did Longleggs give anything up?” she asked as she sipped the silky liquor.

    He appreciated the distraction of well-toned legs. Was that a blush? Interesting. He continued. “Certainly. I managed to extract some key intelligence as well.”

    “Do go on,” she said, rapping her manicured nails against the side of her drink.

    Justin reached in his breast pocket for a thumb drive and handed it to her. She regarded it in her palm thoughtfully and closed her hand.

    “The raw audio record from all the suites are here. All the wifi mics downloaded fine. I gave it a quick listen. Pillow talk, even with overpriced whores, is a marvelous thing. The connection with Ava’s organization, Bristol Corp and the German government: all confirmed, as is the Canadian security breech.” He paused to let it soak in. Things didn’t bode well and they both knew it.

    Control lost her appetite for libation, placed her glass on the desk behind her and folder her arms. “Damned Canadians.”

    “They had help,” Justin said and continued to savor his drink. He watched her demeanor change. Hands palming her hips then arms crossed again, speaking volumes.

    “What? Help from whom?”

    “I’m getting to that.” He liked her but never trusted her. It was an interesting turn for Control to be vulnerable.

    A wrinkle crossed her brow as she worked it through. “So why were you back at Ava’s if you already had the data?”

    “Glad you asked, Control. Glad you asked. Tell me, do you have many secrets?”

    Fidgeting again. “Of course not!” she said.

    “Interesting. You might want to review file 87-Alpha. It doesn’t appear in the copy I submitted for evidence. Only this copy and the original. Gambling is a terrible vice. How deep are you?”

    Her eyes grew wide and fiery at the accusation. “I’m not–”

    Justin waved her quiet and pressed “How deep?”

    “350,000.” The truth of things exposed, Control reached for her drink and brought it to her lips.

    He stopped her hand and bent to meet her eyes. “Dollars?”

    “No, pounds,” she said, shrugged him off and emptied the glass without so much as a wince.

    Justin straightened and regarded his handler. “Seems to me, Control, that you have a conflict of interest here.”

    With a little fortification on board, she regained her composure. “No conflict, just extra motivation. Two birds with one stone, and all that.” Control resumed her position against the desk, legs crossed at the ankle. With her hands behind her again, she presented a formidable contradiction in assertive sexuality. “What do you want, Justin? I’m not sleeping with you.”

    He shook his head. Another time perhaps. There will be another time. “I gave up that pursuit long ago. Consider this a favor, Control. All I ask is for fresh wheels and a little latitude.”

    She raised an eyebrow and allowed herself a thin smile. “Latitude?”

    It was Justin’s turn to be flustered. “I don’t care for being drugged. Clearly, I’ve piqued Ms. Longleggs’ antennae. There’s more to the story and I intend to sort it out.”

    Control returned to behind her desk and picked up the dossier and fingered through it. “The weapons trade?”

    He nodded. “Among other things.”

    “Be careful, Mister Cayse,” she said, sat down and started clicking away at her keyboard. He turned to leave. She took off her glasses and called after him. “Oh, and Justin?”

    He turned around. “Yes?”

    She read from her screen. “Stop by the Armory. I see your new go-bag is ready. I’m sure Tango will insist on showing you all the features whilst you await your new car.”

    Justin bowed slightly. “Thank you, Control.”

    Without looking up, she added. “Miranda. When it’s only the two of us, Justin, you can call me Miranda.”

    “Thanks, Miranda.”

    He shook his head and smiled to himself as he left her office.

  4. PeterSpiderParker says:

    I like the whole idea of this prompt, the fact that now you’re going to have to find an excuse to why you are late AND confront your boss all at the same time. It could go many ways, your boss could be rude, and angry, or he could be nice, and forgiving. Good Job

  5. George says:

    - Oh, well that’s just perfect now!!! A car accident is just what I needed…a perfect start for a perfect day…”Oh, damn it, it’s my boss Catherine…oh boy, what am I going to say to her?! Ok, just chill, Mark, she’s your boss, she doesn’t know that you have a crush on her…act normal”.
    - Hi Catherine! How are you? “yup, how are you? Smart move, asshole…you just crushed into her…good job, you’re screwed now!”
    - Hey Mark! Well, I had better days, I have to admit…quite a damage you did to my left wing…I guess we’re not going to be on time for the meeting, heh?
    - Listen, I’m really sorry…My mind was set on today’s meeting. Honestly, I kept thinking about you, I mean, about the meeting and about your presentation, and I ugh, just wasn’t paying attention…”You’re just a genius, aren’t you?! Just stop talking, stupid! You’ll make everything worse”.
    - Hey, don’t worry. At least we have a good excuse for being late, right? Let’s leave the insurance guys to take care of the cars and let us grab a taxi so we can catch the meeting; and we’ll deal with the damage later…what do you say?
    - Yeah, sure…that’s perfect…whatever you think it’s better! “oh, grow a pair, will yea?”
    - Great…taxi!!!

    - Soo…Catherine, ready for the meeting? I’ve heard these guys from the capital are a real pain in the ass when it comes to negotiating…
    - Well, kind of. But I know these guys pretty well. If you created the presentation as I told you to, we shouldn’t have any problems…
    - …yeah, definitely! “Oh fuck!!! My laptop is in my car…the car…oh boy!!!”

    - Ok! We’re finally here. Let’s meet in the presentation room in ten minutes. Let’s hope that the guys aren’t to mad.
    - Sure. See yea there! “Oh fuck…what am I going to do now?! Call the insurance company? There’s not enough time to go after the laptop…oh boy. I guess I’m screwed. I should just go up there with my resignation letter. Great job, stupid…you screwed everything in twenty freaking minutes…good luck inviting Catherine out after you screw up the negotiation…”
    - Hello! My name is Mark Frisk. I was in a car accident this morning. I believe the car was towed by your company to the service…yes…yes, that’s the one…I had a backpack with a laptop in it…it is very important…she did? Really? Oh, that’s great! Thanks! “I guess I have a guardian angel…and her name is Catherine. Just go straight to her and thank her!”
    - Catherine…you took my laptop, didn’t you?
    - Hah…yeah, I did…I just wanted to let you boil for a little bit…you owe me a coffee, I hope you realize that. Ok now, let’s kick some assess and close this contract!
    “Oh my god, oh my god…she totally likes me…yeeeeesss!”
    - Sure, let’s do this!

  6. swatchcat says:

    “Daydreaming on your way to work, you get into a car accident. Frustrated because you will be late for an important meeting, you curse and yell as you get out of the car.”

    “Yah, I, I’m screaming and yelling, I’ve lost control.”

    “When you go to confront the other driver, you find out it is your boss. What do you do Jema? How do you react?”

    “I don’t know, I stopped seeing a person, I just saw red.”

    “Let’s go back just before the incident. What was happening? What were you thinking about?”

    “Nothing, absolutely nothing.”

    “Take me through it, slowly. Nothing is going to hurt you, you’re safe. Now take a deep breath.”

    Jema breathed deeply, a small fluttering sound from the back of her throat let known how scared she really was. “I’m driving, heading to work like I always do and it happened again.”

    “What happened?”

    “I left. I was there but then I wasn’t. There’s nothing there.” She started to shake, tears trickled down her cheek. She lay on the doctor’s sofa, searching the recesses of her mind. All she saw was…

    “There is nothing! No color, no non-color, there’s just nothing, it’s not even black. I’m driving and I lost myself. I don’t even know how I came back. Maybe I blinked? I didn’t hit the turtles. There’s no horn or sound at all and then he was there, the world was back, and I hit him, or, no, he hit me?”

    He clapped his hands and she woke from the hypnosis. “You killed him Jema. You got out of the car in a panic and you hit him. You bashed his head in with a rock. The police said you must have just picked it up and kept hitting him. That’s the red you saw.” Doctor Jensen paused to scribble in a file. “How long have you been, ‘leaving yourself’?

    Patient: Jema Sorenson
    Diagnosis: Schizophrenia, severe disassociation and depersonalization with reality and people brought on by unknown trauma, possible abuse as a child, dangerous to others, dangerous to self
    Treatment: Tranquilizers, shock treatment, hypnosis therapy

    Doctor Jensen looked up from his file. Jema was still sitting on the edge of the sofa. Her eyes had rolled backward in their sockets. She sat there for 10 minutes and snapped to, shook her head and looked around confused. “Doctor, can I have your cup of Jell-O at lunch?”

    “Jema, where were you just now?”

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      This is horrifying in slow motion. A nightmare that keeps on giving. I feel so much pain here. Your description and dialgue between Jema and Dr. Jensen is so real, it frightens the reader. The beating with a rock, such a primative method of delusional murder, and she wasn’t even there to enjoy it or be disguisted with her doing it in the first place, leaves the reader as an empty, shocked shell.

      This is the best I’ve ever read from you, swatchcat. Even though it’s only six fifty three in San Antonio this morning, I feel I need to mix a stiff drink to bury this until I wake up some more and realize I’m not dreaming this.

    • Marc Ellis says:

      I really enjoyed your story. The dialogue moved it along and kept the reader interested. I’m a fan of psychological thrillers, and I think this is shaping up to be a good one. This is one of my favorites for the week.

  7. obietemp says:

    Yes, Officer, my mind was occupied. I admit it. I was thinking about the new job, our new kid–the new MORTGAGE. Spilling coffee all over my shirt didn’t help the mood much, either. Stupid non-spill mug, doesn’t work! Nothing’s going right today. Nothing.

    Then I turned on the radio, trying to get my mind off of things. Suddenly, traffic slowed down to a crawl, then to a stop! “Great” I thought. “It’s probably some stupid woman driver’s fault.” They get distracted so easily, you know. Stupid women drivers! Now I’m going to be late for the member’s meeting. Stupid women.

    “Probably should call the office,” I thought. “Tell them I’m gonna be late” I didn’t want to be at that boring meeting anyway. I began searching for my cell and in my rear view mirror I noticed to my right there was a BMW barreling down on the highway shoulder passing the jammed up cars. A nice BMW. Kinda uppity for my taste, but still a sweet ride. As it was coming closer I noticed there wasn’t much room on the shoulder and it was going to be a tight squeeze. Man, what was SHE thinking? Oh, wouldn’t you know it. I knew it, I knew it! I saw it coming, then I braced myself. There was a CRUNCH, then a long SCRAPING sound. UGH.

    The BMW stopped just behind the car ahead of me and opened the door. As I got out to exchange insurance information with the obviously blonde dingbat who just destroyed the sides of our cars, my eyes beheld the longest, sexiest pair of legs you have ever seen. I mean, LONG. I mean, SEXY. I gotta say, my jaw dropped.

    “Yeouza! Now that’s gotta be some pretty lady”, I thought. I smiled my biggest manliest grin and walked right up to the car. Yeah, I know, I’m married, but a guy can smile, can’t he? As that lanky-legged woman got out of her car, I looked right up into her face, and stopped dead in my tracks. “Oh, gawd,” I groaned. “Tell me it isn’t so. Those legs are HERS?”

    Yea, the legs were great, like I said before, great, but once I got a look at her face, I died inside. That She-Devil is my new boss. I just met her last week and for some reason we did not hit it off– not at all. She’s actually one of the reasons I was dreading this meeting today. Dreading it.

    Then you showed up, Officer Belkman. Love the bike by the way. I think it’s great how you can just weave in and out of the traffic and all. You saved my skin. I just knew that woman was going to ream me good, no matter who was at fault. If it hadn’t been for you, I don’t know what would’ve happened. Thanks for being so understanding.

    Then Officer Belkman took off her helmet. “Humm” she said. I understand YOU perfectly”

  8. EmiMall says:

    This is my first prompt here! So here it goes:

    “Son of a bitch!” I slammed my phone against the steering wheel. Flinging the car door open as I stepped out, I was yelling every curse word that came to mind. “Do you not know how to drive?” I screamed in the direction of my aggressor.
    The moment I realized who it was, however, I was frozen. There was this sinking feeling that fused with the sweetness of familiarity forming in the pit of my stomach. It was the kind of sweetness that comes from seeing the face of someone you loved for the past seven years…with blood trickling down his face. The driver turned out to be Elijah. As usual, he was not wearing his seatbelt. How unfortunate my luck must’ve been to crash into the one person I cared about the most while I was daydreaming about him. We literally just left each other. I could hear him mumbling something that I couldn’t make out. But he was alright. My truck hit the back of his car hard enough to bang his head against the window, but not hard enough to knock him unconscious. When I moved closer to the driver’s side, Elijah made eye contact with me, but his face was very strained.
    “Eli, are you…”
    Immediately, my feet felt like they had sunk into the black concrete beneath me. My voice trailed off and I couldn’t make out my words. My body moved slower and slower, like it was drudging through quick sand.
    His wife was in the passenger seat, unconscious.
    He began to open his car door. “Help me,” he moaned. “I don’t know if she’s…I can’t tell if she’s OK.” He started to take off his seatbelt and reached for her shoulder, nudging it. “Alyssa…Alyssa.” I only ever met Alyssa once. It was after me and Elijah had started seeing each other and it was pleasant. Well, she was pleasant and kind. Like you are with strangers your man introduces you to, suspecting nothing. I was just standing there, holding her hand and smiling in her face. Stiff as a snake getting ready to strike. I picked up the pace and grabbed Elijah, holding him as carefully as I could as I pulled him out the car. We sat on the ground for a second, the sound of speeding cars passing behind us. Still holding him, I unconsciously kissed his forehead and began to wipe the blood away.
    “How do you feel?” I whispered.
    “I’m OK,” he was being short. “Just help my wife.” He grabbed onto my hand. Squeezing it, it felt like it was his way of letting me know he knew how awkward of a situation this was.
    “You’re the boss,” I said. How corny of me considering this was actually my boss. I kissed his hand as I began to stand up. We must have been too lost in that moment because I looked into the car and saw that Alyssa was wide awake at this point.
    Staring at us.

    • Reaper says:

      Welcome EmiMall.

      Some of your word choices in the first two paragraphs felt a bit awkward, but then you settled in to a flow that I lost myself in. I kept wanting to see your MC as sweet, and then being reminded that I didn’t like her very much. You did a good job of towing that line, making her a real person with flaws and deep passions at the same time. I like a happy ending so was happy when the wife was awake. Though I don’t know how happy that really is, but that just makes me like it more.

      • EmiMall says:

        I reread it to see what you felt about awkward. I can see spaces where I could’ve transitioned more smoothly, but I’m appreciative of the insight nonetheless. I’m more pleased that it was something you could lose yourself in and not know if happy really meant happy. I’m just glad you took the time to read it and of course, that you liked it towards the end. It encourages me to keep trying with these prompts. Thank you!

  9. FeliciaJane says:

    “Great, just great!” I pound on the tinted window of the black lexus and the window rolls down slowly. Big blonde hair is followed by pale skin. The final clue to who was on the other side is the scent of chrysanthemum and citrus. I clear my throat and look into the eyes of Ms. Dalacour.
    “Hello, and what did you do to my car?” The beady eyes stare through me and I stepped back.
    “I’m sorry, I uh, wait. You crashed into me.” I clasp my arms over each other and wait for fire to consume me.
    “No, you failed to give fair warning that you were slowing down.” The cars pass by us slowly and I see police lights flashing in the distance.
    “The building is right there, were you planning on driving pass the driveway?” Ms. Dalacour just looks at me and I see her tap on her phone.
    “Hi, yes, Polly, please bring up Ms. Hilton’s employment record. Are there any inconsistencies on it? Well, I think she is no longer suitable for our company.”
    “Wait, hold on just a minute!” I reach out to Ms. Dalacour as the cop stops behind the black lexus.
    “Freeze! Stop where you are.” Echoes along the road and I turn as a rolly polly middle aged cop barrels out of his car and grabs my hand.
    “You had every intention of assaulting that person. I have a dozen witnesses.” Cuffs are slapped around my hand and I look at Ms. Dalacour’s smile. She waves her fingers at me and my mouth moves up and down.
    “This is all wrong! You’ve got it all wrong! She hit me. She hit me!”
    “Clearly you’re lying. Suspect in containment. Bringing her in.”
    “10-4.” The radio on his shirt fades to static and then nothing. I sneeze as a gust of wind whips pollen through the air.
    “Need a car picked up for impound. On the corner of Business Park and Main St.” The cops shoves me into the back of his car, slams the door then plops himself in front of the steering wheel. One of my coworkers stares out of her car window as the cop speeds down the road, lights flashing and sirens blaring.
    “Can I please explain?”
    “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
    “I swear, this is all a misunderstanding.” I closed my eyes and bit my lip. Suddenly everything was quiet. No birds chirping and no sirens blaring. I opened my eyes and the cop was staring at me through the rearview mirror as I disappeared. “Not again!” I fell through the air and hit cold water. At least the cuffs were gone.

  10. moscoboy says:

    Fred

    I was late for an important meeting. My China-mart alarm clock had failed to wake me. The company email stated that all employees had to be present at the meeting by 8 a.m. The doors to meeting room were to be locked and anyone locked out would be terminated. I had too many baby mommas that depended on my meager income. I was in La La land trying to figure out if this would be an announcement of a company restructuring or maybe the company had been sold.
    I saw a car’s rear stoplights ignite in alarm as I attempted to step on my break when my I blacked out. My next sensation was when an EMT broke a stick of smelling salt under my nose and brought me back to consciousness. “You’ve been in a rear end collision, your steering wheel air bag deployed and knocked you out. Can you hear me? What about your sight, can you see your surroundings?”
    “Yea, my nose hurts. Where is that f-ing lame-assed driver that caused this pile up?”
    The EMT pointed to a tall well-dressed lady sobbing as she spoke to a uniformed police officer. “After you’ve exchanged information come back, I think you’ve broken your nose.”
    I slithered out of my crushed SUV and wiped pieces of glass off my shirt and tie and wobbled over to give that ingrate bitch a piece of my mind. The broad was tall with wide shoulders and a thick waist. She was wearing a blue two-piece blue business suit that shimmered in the morning light and had on DG shades that cost more than my Men’s Warehouse suit.
    “Kevin Dawson, I’m so sorry for your injuries. I have full coverage; so don’t worry about you medical bills. Whatever my insurance won’t cover I’ll reimburse you personally.”
    “Hey bitch, how do you know my name?”
    Officer Sims stepped between us, “Go easy on the swearing, Ms. Wilkinson has had a traumatic episode. Act like a gentleman and trade information.”
    I took the bloodied tissue from nose and took a long careful look at Ms. Wilkinson’s uneasy stature in her new high heels; the larger than life Adam’s apple was a giveaway. “Aren’t you Fred Wilkinson, CEO of Stratford Steel?”
    “Thanks for noticing. My new name is Frederica and today is my coming out soirée. The meeting was to make my formal announcement of my divorce and a medical leave I’ll be taking to have ‘the operation.’ I hope you realize that Stratford Steel is a very gender friendly company that is tolerant of many lifestyles.”
    I coughed out some bloody sputum, “Save the PSA for another day. Does this mean we’ll both be fired for missing the meeting?”
    Frederica blushed from under a coat of industrial grade make-up and said, “No, I’ve rescheduled the meeting for 1 p.m. Will you be able to make the meeting?”
    “Why, the cunt, sorry I meant to say, the cat is out of the bag.”

  11. terry_0804 says:

    I knew I was not taking the speed limit seriously and I felt happy with that. My silver Carolla was burning up the road at eighty on the route 16 and I was daydreaming all the prospects ahead of me. I was on my way to an important meeting, an interview, a good chance to leave Mr. Peterson and his company, saying goodbye to Mr. Anderson, my supervisor and his IF-YOU-DO-WELL-I-WILL-PROMOTE-YOU crap. I had been working hard under his empty promise over ten years and never got promoted. It’s felt like driving in an endless dark tunnel and the promise of light was always inches ahead, a carrot in front of elephant.

    Lincoln Park was booming my radio ,MY HEART IS LIKE AN OPEN HIGHWAY, that’s exactly what I felt at the moment. I matted the accelerator and the fluorescent arrow on speedometer made a big arc to the right. I felt I was riding a racing car till I was jerked out of my sweet daydream when I realized I was three feet away from the tail of a mini-van which was slowing down to fifteen and shifting to the lane on the right. I stomped on brake and saw every vehicle ahead was doing the same thing, slowing down, jumping hazard lights and shifting to the right. Not far ahead, I saw a yellow triangle construction sign, a bulldozer and guys in overalls.

    I swerved my wheel in an attempt to follow the suit but an eight-wheeler blared at me and forced me back. The eight-wheeler driver wielded his bulging biceps at me and murmured something I couldn’t hear.

    I cursed, the music in my radio was still roaring DON’T BEND, DON’T BREAK, BABY, DON’T BACK DOWN. Drugged in the rock-and-roll, I made a second try and that’s when I heard a screech, a metal bang and at the same time an explosive pushing force jerked me forward against the wheel.

    “What’s the hell…” I scowled at my right wing mirror which now was broken cracks. What I saw from it was my two of my dented right doors and a black Mercedes with its left end crumpled and collapsed from the crash.

    “Have no eyes to see my turn signal?” I snapped the seat belt off, punched the door open and in a fit of anger rushed out of my car towards the black Mercedes. How would you expect me to drive a car with dented doors and a broken wing mirror for another 30 miles to catch up the interview?

    “Did your mother teach you drive a car like….” I yelled on the way to the Mercedes.

    “Easy, John, easy. I am sorry for this but I think you’re more reckless in this case.” A large but old man slowly got his stiff knees out behind the wheel and put one of his big hands on the open door. “What made you in such a hurry?” the old man said in a flat tone.

    “Boss…?!” I stammered as I realized whom I was dealing with.

    “Come.” The old man made a casual wave of his large hand as if to blow the whole mess away “I think I should call you a tow truck. Mine will take you to the office.”

    “Well, I think…. I can manage with my own. It’s not that bad actually.” I argued as I was figuring out what I was going to do with my interview.

    “Driving on freeway with one mirror? It’s not my way of taking care staff. Never mind, come, I will pay the truck as my apology for my mother’s failure of teaching me well on driving. Is that what you supposed to say?” the old man chuckled himself into coughing.

    I was supposed to say Mr. Anderson gave me a leave today and I am not heading to the office, when Mr. Peterson, my boss, patted me on the shoulder saying “ Come on, I have a good news about your promotion.”

    “About what?” I stunned.

    “Mr. Anderson had a talk with me last night and introduced you into our management team which I think it’s a fairly good idea. If you get into my car instead of standing idly outside, blocking the road and cursed by all drivers passing by, we can have a talk about it on the way. What do you think?”

    “Sounds good, Mr. Peterson” I said and gladly squeezed myself into his Mercedes.

  12. PantherMan594 says:

    Sitting in my new BMW, I was imagining all the things I would do in this modern car. I was just picturing myself sitting in the front seat, all my friends and coworkers standing around it, in awe at all the new high tech features. One of them, my favorite, helped keep people from accidents. It automatically scans ahead of my car for other cars that I could possibly be on a crash course to. It calculates the trajectories of my car and the others, and if any of them are going to meet, a red LED starts flashing rapidly and the whole car starts beeping. Like right now! Perfect timing for a demonstration.
    Wait a second… Seeing the light blinking and the speakers blaring in my ears snapped me back to reality. I was about to crash into that car right in front of me! BOOM! With a crash, the two cars collided. Cursing and yelling, I quickly jumped out of the car. This couldn’t be happening! I’m going to miss an important meeting later this morning! I ran out to confront the driver, preparing a whole barrage of unkind words to throw at the other driver. Well, that whole train of thought disappeared when I looked into the other car. First thing I noticed, the other driver didn’t fare as well as myself. His head was on the dashboard and he wasn’t moving, with something red over the dashboard… Second thing I noticed. It was my boss. I was soooo going to get fired. I thought, walking the rest of the way to the company building, a block away.
    “So, how was it?” The doctor asked as I came out of the anesthesia.
    “Uhh… it felt like I was watching the operation take place…”
    “No, the meeting.”
    “Wait, it never happened! It was all a dream!”
    “Oh but it wasn’t. You were looking into your memories. This actually happened to. I’ll ask you again. How was the meeting?”
    “Uh… I can’t remember.”
    The doctor pushed my head back down onto the table, and the whole event started over again. This time, I was the boss, and my head was split open on the dashboard/operating table.

  13. AlienAlmanac says:

    I found this prompt to be a little challenging. Hope you enjoy.
    ———————————————————————————

    I turned the Yukon Denali out of the GM dealership and onto the town road. The brand new SUV rode like a dream, decked with all the top features and electronics. The dashboard was digitized like a high-def computer screen. Nothing was manual on this thing. The seats, windows, sunroof, AC, radio, lights, and locks were all voice controlled and programmable to fit the driver and passenger. Caroline spared no expense for her husband’s surprise birthday present.

    Caroline had organized the whole surprise. Her husband was away on a business trip and expected to return this morning for an “important” meeting at the office. All of the company partners were expected to attend. Caroline had asked me to meet her at the dealership. Imagine my elation when she asked me to drive it to the office.

    “I can’t thank you enough, Peter, for helping me,” Caroline said. She placed her hand on my shoulder and never took it off.

    “I..ah..don’t mention it.” I stammered like an idiot. Caroline was about my age and as beautiful as they come. I felt a little intimated, after all she was my boss’ wife. “Larry’s going to love this ride.”

    “I hope the bastard does because it’ll be the only thing he’ll own after I’m done,” she struck.

    “Huh?”

    “The son-of-a-bitch has been cheating for months. I can’t wait to see the look on his face,” Caroline said. “It’ll be a birthday he’ll never forget.”

    Her hand caressed my shoulder and ran across my chest and down my stomach. My heart was racing. I could feel her eyes on me. I glanced over at her and suddenly the SUV imploded. Everything happened in an instant. The airbags punched me in the face and bits of glass showered Caroline and me. The smell of steaming radiator fluid filled the cab.

    Caroline was conscious and rubbing her bleeding head. I stumbled out of the vehicle toward the car in front of us. Oh my God! The Yukon was totaled. The two vehicles looked like they had merged. There was no apparent reason why the car had suddenly stopped.

    I pounded on the driver’s window. The man inside was shaken. The female passenger with him was just as unnerved. “Open up, dumbass!”

    The man forced the buckled door and stepped out. “Larry! Holy Christ!”

    “Peter,” my boss said looking a little dazed. “What are you doing here?”

    “Are you—” I stopped cold. The woman in the passenger seat stepped out of the crumpled car. My wife looked right at me. “Laura?”

    From behind me, Caroline started to laugh.

    • Reaper says:

      A twisted tale. I really dislike Caroline. I hope that was the intention since it seems like she knew who the woman was to start with. You caught me by surprise with the ending and this just doesn’t seem like it can do anything but get even worse.

  14. Observer Tim says:

    Here’s a bonus story…
    _____

    Just like I saw it? You’re sure? Okay, whatever you say.

    It was last Friday and Phil – Mister Abrogast – had called an emergency meeting at nine a.m. We all busted our butts to get there on time, except for Reg. He’s always late; blames it on traffic. Phil is never late; he’s more accurate than the clock.

    Anyway, by ten after neither Philip nor Reg had arrived. Finally the door banged open and Reg burst in. He looked like he’d taken a shower in a blender; his suit was shredded and he was covered in blood and there was this huge gash on his forehead. He said he’d been in an accident but wouldn’t miss this meeting for anything.

    He laughed and made that stupid little kissy-face at Janet that he always does, only this time something went glop. A huge clot of blood landed on her blouse. Reg took a napkin from the donut tray and grabbed her breast, trying to clean it up but mostly groping her. She screamed until Marissa and Todd pulled Reg off. Afterward she just sat there covered in blood and whimpering.

    Then Reg sort of totters up to the head of the table and leans over. Another blood-glop fell onto Jason’s binder. Then he looks at us like he was some kind of senior executive.

    “I guess you’re all wondering where Phil is. Well, he can verify my story, because he was in the same accident.”

    Reg waved his hand and sprayed more drops of blood across the table. Anywhere else would be a great place to be, but we were stuck like the extras in a horror movie.

    “It was a big one. Cars went everywhere, with metal flying and fires and stuff. At first I was screaming blue murder at the freak whose car took the top off mine, but then I saw it was Phil! So, being the good employee that I am, I went over to him.”

    He slammed his fist down, which made the table shudder. I unconsciously picked up my donut, then dropped it in disgust when I saw the red stains on it.

    “Phil’s car was a wreck; he was there with this totally shocked expression on his face. So I looked him in the eye and said ‘Come on Phil! We got to get to the meeting.’ I pulled him out of his car and got him into mine, which was somehow still driveable. Then we came here.”

    Todd got the courage to ask him. “Where’s Phil then?”

    “Right here.” Then Reg opened his gym bag and took out Phil’s head, which he set on the table with a wet thud.

    “Okay, Phil, time to start the meeting!”

    • snuzcook says:

      Coffee and doughnuts, anyone? An really ‘sick’ read to start off the day, Tim. I felt guilty chunkling over it, but I couldn’t resist. Please, please someone get these images out of my head!

    • lovewrite says:

      Hilarious! From the bloody donuts to the head in the gym bag…I can’t stop laughing!

    • Reaper says:

      That is funny in a very disturbing way. I’m not sure if Reg was driven completely insane or if he started out nuts and just got pushed over the edge. Either way that is a scary place to work.

      Snuzcook, you can borrow my brain bleach when I finish scrubbing the images from my own head.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        You are really a demented mess, Tim. How in hell you can write this kind of stuff and make me laugh among the blood and gore, means I’m insane along with you. Just wait till I get you with the next prompt.Where is the brain clorox, Reaper, UGH!

    • Critique says:

      You did an excellent job in planting gory pictures in my mind and creeping me out Tim. Please pass the brain bleach ;)

    • derrdevil says:

      “He looked like he’d taken a shower in a blender” – Haha!! Brilliant line, the imagery stuck in my head and I couldn’t let go of this story. This was nicely done, OT!

  15. lovewrite says:

    Driving down Labrea my mind consumed with thoughts of Sam. Not the morning meeting I’m running late for, but Sam. It’s all Sade’s fault. Her music makes me think of him. Sam, my first love. We met freshman year of college. He knocked me off my feet, literally. Second day on campus at USC, couldn’t find my Art History lecture hall. Burning a hole in the map and my schedule to confirm the room number and floor, when a tall lanky guy wearing black framed glasses and the cutest smile I’ve seen on a man, ran past me knocking me to the floor. He apologized like fifteen times helping me up off the floor.

    “I’m sorry, are you ok? I’m late for class.” He professed.

    I damn near drooled lost in his kind eyes. “I’m alright, I’m lost.” From that day on we never left each other’s side, Sade’s music was the soundtrack to our blissful relationship. Until that dreaded phone call, I remember it vividly. Sam had gone hiking with his frat brothers. On the way back a tractor-trailer, slammed into the back of their car. Killing them all, instantly. The time on the microwave read 7:19 when Kelsey called crying hysterically. I fell to the floor loosing all sense of awareness once I understood what she was telling me. Sam, the love of my life was gone forever.

    Bam! The sound of the silver Cadillac Escalade crashing into the back of my Mini Cooper snapped me, back into reality. My neck and head jolted forward, the seatbelt pulled me back into the seat. Without thinking I jumped out of the car vomiting expletives. I approached the driver’s side door.

    “You fucking idiot asshole you could have killed me.” I spat. The driver slowly opened the door. I recognized her face immediately. It’s Angela, my boss, and Sam’s sister. She apologized with blood dripping from her forehead.

    “Laiyah I’m so sorry, my water broke on the way to the meeting, this is my failed attempt at driving myself to the hospital, the contractions are too strong.”

    I panicked. “Oh God, Angela I didn’t know it was you. Come on let me drive you.” I helped her out of the damaged truck. Using my scarf as a bandage for her head. “How do you feel?”

    “Like shit!” She screamed. “I don’t want to bring my baby into the world like this. This day has been nothing but shitty.” Tears slid down her chubby cheeks. I rubbed her back, and held her hand.

    “Correction, this day was shitty, but now this will be the best day of your life because you are about to give birth to your baby girl.” A smile lit up Angela’s face. I sped to the hospital. And at 7:19 pm exactly Angela gave birth to her first-born. She named her Samantha. Life has a way of coming full circle, and turning a shitty day into a beautiful day.

  16. LiveOakLea says:

    I watched the Range Rover in my rear view mirror coming up faster than the other cars on the freeway.In an instant, it was so close that the silver grill filled my back window.

    I remember thinking, “That nut’s going to try to squeeze into that little spot in the fast lane, and he’s going to take me out in the process.”

    And the nut tried, and my car went spinning from the grazing impact.

    After two slow motion 360’s, watching the cars around me miraculously avoid my revolving bumpers and side panels, my cherished Corolla was now in an unlikely embrace with the concrete center divider.
    I was, without doubt, going to be late for work, and, worse, the report my boss was expecting by 9:00 am sharp simply wasn’t going to be finished.

    I flung my door open and flung vicious curses like I hadn’t used since high school toward the guy stepping down from the Range Rover. Ours were the only two vehicles stopped.

    I looked at the drivers in the passing cars, “You lucky bastards. You’re not on the brink of being fired.”
    “Damn you to hell!” I spat the words over my shoulder at the man walking up behind me. I was brainlessly trying to massage the dents out of my car’s fender.

    “Bill?” the man’s voice was familiar, and he knew my name. I spun around.

    “Matt?” Where in the universe is it fair to want to tear someone’s limbs off one by one and at the same time know that you can’t do that because he’s your boss?

    He looked different than he did at the office. In the bright morning sunlight, the lines on his face were etched deeper. His shoulders were sloped, and the bad posture gave him a protruding gut. I noticed him glance at his watch.

    “Bill? You’ve got insurance? You’re okay, right?”

    “I’m fine,” I choked on the words, but they had to be said.

    He looked at his watch again. “Bad timing, huh? You know that report? We’ve got to get it to Steve by 9. Your job is on the line, dude.”

    I suddenly knew that the universe wasn’t an entirely bad place after all.

    “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.” I was feeling not just fine, but great. “Give me your keys.”

    I almost grabbed the keys from Matt’s unsteady hand and ran toward the Range Rover.

    “I’ll make sure Steve gets the report,” I shouted back at him as he stood with a nervous smile on his wilted face. “A tow truck will be here soon.”

    He gave me a small wave, “Okay, and tell Steve I’ve got it under control.”

    “You bet I will,” I thought.

    At the office, my fingers strummed over the keyboard and hit the print key in record time.

    I walked into Steve’s office with the monthly figures at 8:59 am, and walked out with a promotion to replace Matt.

    It was a good day.

    • Reaper says:

      The double use of flung in one sentence threw me off. Otherwise this was nicely paced and the words were well put together. What is it with this prompt pulling out characters I just want to smack around?

  17. TheAwkwardLlama says:

    The sun was shining, it was the perfect temperature, a light breeze running over my face through my car’s window, just one of those beautiful days during the week or so twice a year that it is a joy to live in Phoenix. Tomorrow would be the first hundred degree day of the year, but today was perfect.
    For the first time since I’d started working at Safeway a year ago, I was going to be fifteen minutes early to my shift instead of fifteen minutes late. I wasn’t suddenly motivated by a passion for customer service or a zest for zucchinis, my heart was set afire by love, love, lust, ardor, infatuation, for the new second assistant manager who had just transferred to our store. I’d met him walking out of my store manager’s office after being written up for the second time for cursing at a customer (that meant I would have to wait at least six months before I could curse at another one, or I could get fired). He moved with the easy grace of a panther, his body like an animated statue of a Greek god. I wanted to run my fingers through his shaggy hair. His name tag said, “Robert”.
    “Excuse me,” Robert said in his deep voice, his tones melting over the words like hot fudge over ice cream.
    I got out of his way but he didn’t get out of my head. I clenched my steering wheel, imagining clenching Robert’s shapely, muscular arms as we made out passionately. He’d reach behind me and entwine his hand in my hair, pulling me ever closer in his manly embrace. I’d wrap one of my legs around his, hearing him moan with passion.
    I sailed through a yellow light on an adrenaline rush fueled by lust. Before I could even let off the gas, a small white car was suddenly blocking the view from my windshield. The next moment I was dazed and in incredible pain, staring at my steering wheel.
    It seemed an hour later that someone was frantically trying to yank open the driver’s side door. “Oh shit! She’s dead! Ma’am?? Are you ok?”
    “Um, I’m… ok,” I mumbled. I blinked and looked up at my would-be rescuer. Robert? Clearly I had died and gone to heaven.
    “I’m going to call the paramedics, ok?” he said in a shaky voice. “Thank God you’re talking – Uh, hi? Yes, I need an ambulance,” he said. He was already on the phone. He was so masterful and heroic.
    The paramedics were there far too soon. “No! No!” I mumble-shouted through swollen lips. “I have to get to work!”
    “Calm down, ma’am, it’s going to be ok!” said one medic. I tried to lunge out of his arms as they put me on the stretcher. Robert! They couldn’t let me leave Robert!
    “Good job, kid,” said a paramedic with a clipboard and mustache, patting Robert on the back. “Looks like she suffered some traumatic brain injury!”

    • Reaper says:

      This is funny and sad at the same time. The tragic part being that women need that car accident to get so tongue tied around their crushes. With a male MC you could have eliminated the wreck and it still would have flowed perfectly. I liked this one.

  18. OrangeBook says:

    Just an average day for an average joe like me, but, I like to pretend. I might get kidnapped and have to fight my way out ninja style, or maybe I’ll be found out to have royal blood from a long lost relative. But with me, sometimes the mind takes control, it’ll take mundane, everyday scenarios, and give them a bit of flavour!Sometimes this can be overwhelming and uncalled for in certain situations though, Such as this Morning while driving to work. I have an office job, and being on time is key. But unfortunately my brain decided I was suddenly a nascar driver. I was hitting top speeds! 50, 70, 100 miles an hour! Suddenly my head jerks back and I am alerted of my surroundings. My nose is bleeding, and I’m lucky I didn’t get whiplash. I though to myself, “what did I hit?”, whilst worrying about all the possibilities. I crept out of the car with caution, afraid of what I might see. It was a car, and a familiar looking one, although I couldn’t quite place it in my head. I opened to door, and to my horror, a body rolled out. I almost screamed, I couldn’t believe this had happened, bud it had. I saw the face of the body, it was my boss. I was crying as I pulled out my phone and dialed 911. I guess that sort of worked against me, as no amount of pleading could convince them it wasn’t my fault. As one of the officers looked me in the eye one last time, I was pushed into the police car, not that I was resisting. Then and there, that moment, had decided the rest of my life. Charged with vehicular homicide, I was a goner. They had gathered enough evidence of my dislike, even hate, of my boss, and deemed it purposeful. I’m telling you all this from jail, and it’s my turn next. The lesson? Don’t let your imagination get out of hand.

  19. Amyithist says:

    It was early. Far too early to be heading to work on a little more than two hours of sleep. I was listening to the radio, trying to drown my incessant thoughts about hopping a plane to anywhere but here, when I was suddenly startled to full alertness. Some asshole barreled around me at top speed before slamming on their brakes. I screamed and stomped on my own pedal, nearly closing my eyes just before the impact. My car slammed into the back of the red Mustang, jolting me like a roller coaster car.
    Immediately, my neck tightened with immense pain and pressure and my sight blurred. I gasped, reaching up to cradle my sudden injury. I didn’t have much in the way of time before my driver door swung open. Two hands reached in, grabbing me by my coat lapels. I screamed once more, my body lurching into the predawn air. I recognized the man holding onto me and it didn’t make me feel any better.
    “Peter,” I breathed. “What the hell…”
    He squeezed me tighter. “You little bitch. Where is it?”
    I winced as his fingers suddenly laced through my hair and yanked down, rendering me helpless. I struggled for breath as he leered into my startled gape. “You have it. I KNOW you do.”
    Suddenly, a voice called from behind my battered vehicle. “Hey, what’s going on here?”
    Peter’s eyes shot up and his face contorted in a sour mixture of panic and anger. “I’m coming back for you, you little bitch. And when I do…” His arm pulled me down until I was kneeling in front of him, completely at his mercy. I never felt more afraid in my life.
    Peter quickly ran to his Mustang and tore down the quiet freeway ramp. Sobbing, I stood, glancing over at the person who could have just saved my life; by all accounts, he had. The police officer was tall and stern looking. As he approached, I could smell the Old Spice wafting on the air. “Are you okay,” he asked. His strong hands gripped me under the pit of my arms, pulling me effortlessly to my feet.
    I nodded slowly. “I’m okay. I’m okay, just…” I suddenly felt as though the world were turning its dimmers on. I teetered, struggling to keep conscious but before I could muster any more strength, I fell.

    When I awoke, my first glance was to the incredibly loud clock on the taupe wall. The second was to the file sitting on the chair beside my purse and clothing. My heart fluttered as I jolted upright and raced over to the chair, gathering the pages into my trembling hands. I looked the file over, sighing in relief once I realized the paperwork Peter had been after was still there. I looked the documents over again; bank drafts from the company account to a private account in Switzerland; money unaccounted for for months suddenly glaring back at me with angry reality. My boss had been embezzling money from the firm; for years. And I was going to bring him down.

    • lovewrite says:

      That was nice…it was all a dream:)

    • Marc Ellis says:

      Nice story Amyithist. I liked how you described the pain during the accident. The interaction with the boss was scary.

    • Reaper says:

      I actually read this as her waking up in the hospital at first, and finding the documents next to her. With that I saw this as a headlong run into a high octane action adventure with an amazing female antagonist. In some ways I still read it going that way if the first bit was a dream.

      Your action here is amazing, got my heart pounding and my worry up for your MC. I envy the ease you had drawing me in to this.

    • Critique says:

      You did an excellent job of creating a very scary character. I’m pumped that the MC has a chance to ‘bring him down’. May the force be with her :)

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Loved your story, Amyithist. It also got me pumping. Your MC is full of ‘True Grit’ and is immediately likeable. I’m sure half the readers, maybe more are ready to help her. Boy, you need to continue this. It’s a great opening to a bigger tale.

  20. Marc Ellis says:

    It was a beautiful day for a baseball game. The sun was warm and the breeze was cool with the fragrance of spring. I had won two tickets to the Rockies season opener, but instead of driving downtown to enjoy pregame activities with other fans, I was driving to work for a mandatory meeting.

    The day after I won the tickets, I requested a vacation day to go to the game. Then two weeks later I learned our area vice president planned a mandatory quarterly review on game-day afternoon. Regrettably, my boss had to cancel my day off.

    Out of spite, I determined to leave a little late that morning. My plan was to arrive at the office just before the meeting started and try to slide into a back-row seat in the conference room. I hoped to quietly keep up with the game on my iPad.

    “This weather is gorgeous,” I said out loud as I rolled down my windows. I pulled my tickets from my glove compartment. Two seats three rows up behind home plate. Perfect seats on a perfect day.

    “Jeffrey would have loved this,” I said flipping the tickets back to front. I could see myself and my son with ice-cold Cokes, sitting back, enjoying the game. Instead, I was going to some lame meeting, and he had to go to track practice.

    I was violently wrenched from my daydream when my car smashed into the back of a silver Prius. The Prius had come to a near stop to accommodate a bicyclist that had veered into our lane. “You’ve got to be fricking kidding me,” I screamed as I pulled over behind the Prius to assess the damage. Should have run him over. Not only was I going to miss the game, I was going to be late for the meeting.

    I got out of my car to go talk with the other driver. “Damn bicyclists,” I said as I slammed my door shut. I approached the other driver’s window. “God help the driver that actually hits one of ‘em.”

    “No shit,” said the man still sitting in his car with his door propped open with his leg. When he looked up, I realized it was my boss.

    “Hey Dean,” I said.

    “Hi Mike. It appears we’re not going to make it to the meeting. I had better call the office and let them know.”

    “I’ll report the accident. I guess we’ll need to call our insurance companies too.”

    After phone calls to the office, filing an accident report, and hailing a wrecker to tow in the cars, Dean said, “Well…I guess we go home now. I don’t live far from here. I’ll call my wife. She can pick us up. We’ll give you a ride.”

    “That would be great,” I said. I took a seat on a bus stop bench, and realized I still had the tickets in my hand. “Hey boss…do you want to take a cab to the game instead?”

  21. Critique says:

    The forecast promised another scorcher but I sat shivering at the drive through. I turned up the heat in my car, paid for the coffee and drove out into heavy morning traffic.

    Rumours of downsizing had me seriously stressed. Over and over I replayed my presentation scheduled for the firm’s meeting this morning. I laboured for hours researching the case and had stayed up nights refining it. There was nothing more to do. This could be the one shot I had to convince my boss that I had brains going on behind the skirt and high heels. I admit to a major crush – his brilliant mind gave me goosebumps. Yeah. Right. Nothing to do with the fact he looked like Matt Damon.

    I yawned like a lioness and sipped my breakfast – a Venti Starbucks dark roast. Up ahead the light turned green and I stepped on the gas.

    I screamed when my front grill anchored onto the trailer hitch of the stationary SUV in front of me with a grinding shattering crash. Simultaneously the cup took flight dumping its steaming contents down the front of my new dress, splashing my bare legs and patent clad feet. The burn was excruciating.

    Vehicles whizzed by horns honking when I clambered out of the car, pulling frantically at the hot material stuck to my body.

    I couldn’t stop the tears and then the realization sank in that thanks to the dozing bozo in the SUV I would not be attending the most important meeting of my life. I heard running footsteps approach just as I let loose with a string of colourful cuss words.

    “Are you alright?” A male voice asked.

    “Oh couldn’t be better.” I smart mouthed and looked up into the face of Roger Foxworthy. My boss.

    Recognition replaced his look of concern. “Bobbi…?” He snapped his fingers, then pointed at me. “Bobbi Shepherd?”

    His unruffled demeanour set me off. What the heck – my job was in the toilet. I let him have it – both barrels.

    “Are you color blind?” I screeched. His eyebrows shot skyward. “Green means go to normal people.”

    “Look what you did.” I huffed pointing at our meshed vehicles. “You’ve ruined my life.”

    “My fault?” He dialled on his cellphone and held it up to his ear.“You, Miss Shepherd, weren’t paying attention.”

    My world dwindled to black. He caught me before I hit the pavement.

    I came to with lights flashing and many voices. I smelled coffee.

    “They’re taking you to the hospital Bobbi.” Roger crouched by the stretcher inches from my face. “Don’t worry about anything okay?”

    I stayed overnight in the hospital. The doctor recommends a week off work.

    Roger stopped by in the afternoon with a bouquet of flowers. Hope fluttering in my chest I asked him to forgive me for my linguistic lapse and appalling behaviour. He merely chuckled and asked if I was free Friday night.

    • Marc Ellis says:

      I hate to see good coffee spilled, but this really added to the story–made it seem more realistic. Nice way to turn it into a comedy with your ending.

    • Reaper says:

      Critique, I think you are too hard on yourself. Cardboard? I think not. Your images are stirring with no wasted words. Anyone can describe a rose in two paragraphs, in a scant few sentences you had me worrying for the woman’s burned skin, wincing at her pain, and I will admit wondering at how nicely the damp skirt clung to her legs. You did all of that with the same lines. You also fluctuate between common parlance and more classical verbiage with an effortless style that I envy. Though with the condescending tone and the inability to understand how much more devastating a lost car is as your pay range drops I think your MC can do better. Let’s find her a boss who looks like Ben Affleck.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Oh boy, this was strong writing. I loved your MC. Push the boss aside, I want to t0 date her myself. oops, I’m married and 77, well maybe I shouldn’t. Does that you give you a hint, how good you can write? I hope so, now go gettem!

    • Amyithist says:

      Whoa. What a spin! I feel like I was just twirled on the dance floor! Well done. I liked the MC’s approach; I’m not going down without a fight and here it, M-F-er! LOL Great read. Kinda wish you’d elaborate on this a little.

    • Critique says:

      Wow. ALL of your comments are like a shot in the arm – I’m flying :) I feel my writing errs on the bare bones side – not enough flesh, so you have all inspired me to keep on scribbling :)

    • agnesjack says:

      When I was much younger I had a serious crush on one of the associates in my office. I would get light-headed every time he would walk by and say “hi.” Thirty-five years later, you brought back that forgotten memory with your wonderful descriptions. I also winced at the burning of the coffee, which was expertly described. Nice, Critique.

    • don potter says:

      Good story, great descriptive prose and a happy ending to boot. Nicely done.

    • lovewrite says:

      Very descriptive writing….great job! The coffee burn – Ouch!

  22. Daenerys says:

    What is it about death that makes us cower so? That compels even the bravest to tremble with fear at the mere mention of it? Is it the fear of the unknown or something more profound?
    Yet through the kaleidoscopic frenzy that took hold of me on a particular Christmas Eve, one thing one was certain-I was terrified. I don’t suppose it was to do with the unknown it was more so at the prospect of leaving what I had come to know–or should I say whom? The gods were cruel or maybe I was simply getting exactly what I deserved.
    ‘You reap what you sow’ they often warned. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that no natural phenomenon ever impeded the sheer force of the collision as I was thrown from my seat to impale the windshield in a multitude of breaking pieces of glass.
    But it did.
    Maybe it was greedy on my part but as I laid on the hard concrete floor among the debris from the aftermath, my life couldn’t help but flash before my eyes in vivid imagery of all I have lost or will come to lose. I chastised myself for not being a little bit more understanding towards others, for not being a bit more giving, I wept at the mocking clarity of the life I never enjoyed, the woman I was never faithful to despite my promise before God and that was holy, the many people I’ve hurt with nary an attack on my conscience, and most of all and most importantly of all; the woman I never professed my love to. Annabelle.
    As I stared up at the sky in choppy glimpses, there were no other names on my lips but Annabelle- my sweet love. She was the dew after a summer’s rain, the lavender that perfumed one’s senses so strong it is forever committed to memory. Through my paralysis, I heard the distinct sound of voices whispering in hush mode, the obscure sound of a siren, and the persistent sound of a very familiar voice, a sound so lyrical it can soothe the most pain. I struggled to focus and at first it proved extremely difficult through the poignant glare of the sun and the glare of Annabelle’s beautiful face as I finally came to. She was rubbing my hair in rhythmic soothing motions, while looking at me with tear streaked eyes. There was a dab of blood leaking on the side of her head.

    I creased my head in confusion and cast my eyes downwards and noticed she was clad in her business attire. It appeared worse for wear.

    “Michael, I’m so sorry. I got distracted…the red light…and-.” She wasn’t making any sense. I closed my eyes for a second as they grew heavy and reopened them. I now noticed many curious eyes peering down at me, but I focused on Annabelle.

    I licked my cracked lips. ‘What…?” I started.

    “I didn’t mean it, Michael! Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t-” A hard sob hacked her body. I lifted shaky hands to swipe at the tears, leaving a bloodied smear. It’s alright Annabelle, I wanted to say but the words were stuck somewhere; never to emerge.

    “Excuse me, miss, are you his wife?” I heard a man ask peripherally.

    “Um, no, he’s my….employee…” I felt my heart sink at her words. She stood up to speak to him, her gentle touch leaving me in my despair. The pain I felt as I was being lifted into the gurney had nothing to do with the physical wounds I acquired and more to do with the heart.

    “Is there a way to contact his wife?”

    “Yes. She-“

    I was pushed in the back of the ambulance which muted the sound of her voice. The voice I had come to love for the past few years.
    And as I laid there once more in the hectic buzz of the ambulance, my eyes drifted shut as a tear fell down from the corner of my eye.
    For the last time, before a laden sleep consumed me, I wondered how the gods could be so cruel and how I have lived such an empty life. Ironically before the last breath robbed me, it wasn’t Annabelle but Diana that permeated my subconscious. Would she come to my funeral?

    • Reaper says:

      Have I mentioned before that I love your name? I am also now a huge fan of your writing style and voice. While I have only a small modicum of sympathy for the character this was a sad story. The timing of it on Christmas Eve, the sad little man ending his sad little life. That perfect moment where the woman he loved showed concern that would come to nothing, his finally realizing his wife might do to him in death what he did to her in life. There are so many powerful images and thoughts in this. The flow is so artfully done. I can’t say enough good about this, and yet I’m going to stop myself before I keep gushing about little bits that called to me. There are stories about hippies that used to walk up to John Lennon and insist he had written a song just for them and he would kindly tell them he had not but he was happy his words had touched them so. This story made you my Lennon.

      • Daenerys says:

        No you haven’t =). As an obsessing fan of GRRM, I couldn’t help but incorporate the name.
        And thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it. It’s comments like this that gives me great inspiration to be better. That lets me know I’m improving. Again thank you, Reaper.

    • Amyithist says:

      Oh my gosh. This was so emotional and poignant. I felt the dismay, the sorrow and the despair. It’s all the same word for sorry, right? I’m sorry for the life I wanted to lead and didn’t..I’m sorry for my sins…It’s a look into the last moments of a life that could be any of ours. Well done. Very wonderful take on the prompt!

    • Critique says:

      Well written to say the least. To reach the end of life with despair, self loathing and regrets – you captured it perfectly.

      • Daenerys says:

        Thank you, critique!

        • rle says:

          I thought this was one of the more profound pieces I’ve read in quite some time. For some strange reason I find myself thinking about death more often these days. Death is absolute, there are no do overs. We should all take a lesson from this. As the Tim Mcgraw song says “live like you were dying” for we know not the hour of our death. This was a fantastic piece of writing.

          • Daenerys says:

            Thank you, rle. Indeed, death is inevitable. That is one ending we are all privy to and no one man is exempted no matter how much they upend and torment nature. The only thing we can do is live it as best as we can as short as it is. I fully agree with your quote. Thanks!

    • agnesjack says:

      I haven’t read the other responses yet, so I hope I am not repeating what has been said.

      This was so beautifully written from the point of view of the man who was dying. Yet, despite his laments about how he had lived his life, I did not have a lot of sympathy for him, and I think that made the story stronger. It was real and honest, because even in death, with all of his regrets, he still focused on his needs and desires. It’s hard to break such habits, I suppose. It occurred to me that the answer to your opening question — “What is it about death that makes us cower so?” — is that the fear comes from facing the end with a much longer list of regrets than reasons for thankfulness and gratitude. Death is final. We don’t get a second chance. Wonderful wonderful story, Daenerys.

      • Daenerys says:

        I love your analysis of my work. Indeed, humans are sentimental creatures full of attachments and wants that most often times never cease. It is always at the final hour do they try in vain to mend broken fences, although time becomes no more. Thanks agnesjack!

    • lovewrite says:

      Beautifully written! I felt the sadness and fear of your MC…wonderful take on death and Karma.

      • Daenerys says:

        Thank you, Lovewrite

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          I dove into your story as well as the others. Surrounded by your beautiful writing, I took a different take. This story is not about one particular individual. I consider it more of an essay on the non-caring of our society today.

          Self interest only, seems to be the mode and what you drive home on, is the inevitable regret and no turning back from death. There is no detour. So while it’s on your mind, you may wish to live as the sparrow and not worry too much, but you better take care of others and put them prior to your wishes.

          • Daenerys says:

            Writing is like painting. Each viewer draws from it a different meaning. And that what keeps the dice rolling. And what you drew from it is interesting.

            It is quite rare to find a self-less individual. The world is run on self interest and self gain. Therefore, on the storming of the final hour, all the regrets cannot and will not be sustained. The moment for all bare bones becomes now and it’s the most devastating of all.

            Thanks for the read and your words.

  23. catbr says:

    Rex never liked his job at Barney’s Trucks and Tractors R us. Boring. He was just another insignificant small link in the chain of over 1500 employees. A vacation was just what he needed to get away from the asylum and his harpy boss from hell, Hannah. She was always throwing work at him especially at the end of the day wanting it done almost immediately. “Take your time Rex. You can hand this in tomorrow afternoon. Thanks a bunch.” I’d like to give her a bunch. He hated that cutesy little saying. Made his skin crawl. Yeah, a nice vacation down south on the endless serene pristine beach shoreline. Paradise. Lounging on the beach, sipping cold drinks, listening to the rhythmic soothing sounds of the waves…..

    Screech…..bang, crunch. Rex should have been paying more attention to the road. He blamed the accident on the other driver for driving too slow and more than likely talking on their cell phone.

    “Son of a bitch.” He couldn’t be late for another sales meeting at work he anxiously thought. Rex got out of his car to give the other driver a piece of his mind, growing angrier by the second. “Of all the stupid fucking idiots on the road….probably a useless woman driver too…”

    “Where’d you get your license, from the Dollarama?” He snapped his mouth shut as he neared the driver’s window and realized that it was none other than his boss from hell, Hannah, silently thanking God that her window was rolled up. Better change the tone of language here, he nervously thought.

    “Oh my God, it’s you Hannah. Are you alright?”

    “Yes, I think so. Just a little shook up is all. Are you okay?”

    “Yeah, I’ll survive. Guess we’re both going to be a little late this morning. I was mulling over some ideas to present at the meeting this morning that I think for sure is going to sell all those tractors. I was up most of the night preparing for it. Must have been a little distracted.” Rex thought that due to the accident, the meeting would be cancelled and this would give him more time to come up with a half decent idea, because he really had no clue what he was going to say at the meeting. And besides, sounding like a dedicated hardworking employee would give him some slack over the current situation. She’ll fall for it, the dumb broad.

    “Sounds great. I’ll have Maggie postpone the meeting for a couple of hours.”

    What? A couple of hours? Little drops of sweat were starting to form on his forehead and back. Dam that nervous eye twitch. “Don’t you think you need to go to the hospital to get checked out or something?” He’d never be able to pull this off.

    “No. I’m perfectly fine, really. I think we just need to contact the insurance companies and let them handle all the details. I don’t know if there’s any reason to call the police. Oh look, here they are now. Somebody must have called them on their cell phone. This won’t take long at all.” Rex didn’t look so good anymore.
    “Rex, are you alright?”

    • Reaper says:

      Ahh, silly Rex. I liked the character interplay in this. I start out sympathetic for Rex because he hates his job. Then when he gambles big and loses I actually smiled that he got called on it. I end up liking his boss because you know she has to have a clue he was lying but the voice you gave her made me read that last line as genuine concern.

    • Critique says:

      Hannah’s got the scoop on Rex – out of 1500 employees – she’s a sharp boss. The last sentence imparted a humanitarian warmth to Rex’s piteous state.

    • Daenerys says:

      Haha, sucks to be Rex. Seems he just made his situation worse with his ‘hardworking employee’ approach. Great story!

    • catbr says:

      Thank you Reaper, Critique and Deanerys for your kind comments. Yeah, Rex turned out to be a bit of a dishonest employee and Hannah was not a bad boss after all.

  24. rle says:

    “Not today, Please, not today!” I whaled as I pounded my fists on the steering wheel. It didn’t matter that I was late, the traffic gods didn’t care about me. No, they had other plans, and their plans certainly did not include me making it to work on time. I didn’t need this kind of stress, not right now. However, I did need this job and I needed it bad enough to go to whatever extreme measures were necessary to make it to my 9:15 managers meeting.

    Fortunately, I was in the far right lane. Over the last fifteen minutes, I’d watched several other cars ahead of me make their way to the berm and carefully amble to the exit ramp a quarter mile away. I’d finally decided that gridlock was not an option and that this would be my escape route as well. With any luck, I’d still make it to the meeting by the skin of my teeth. I felt a sense of renewed hope as I cut my wheel hard to the right. I thought of the Mr. Happy’s Foodtown slogan, ‘We’ll do whatever it takes.’

    “Yes we will,” I grinned, “yes we will, indeed.”

    Getting to the exit was a far deal easier than I had expected. I was surprised more folks hadn’t tried it. I only wished I’d thought of it ten minutes sooner

    I ran through a yellow light at the bottom of the exit ramp, squealing tires as I turned left onto Densmore Avenue. From there I’d travel about a mile and hit Meadow View Road. I’d then go another half mile and turn south onto Seventeenth Street and with any damn luck at all, two minutes later I’d be sitting in the Mr Happy’s Foodtown parking lot with a minute or two to spare.

    It sounded like such a good plan too and one that I’d later brag about to my charges in the produce department. But today, just wasn’t going to be my day.

    I’d caught the first two lights on Densmore green, passing through with ease while teetering on the upper end of the speed limit. When I looked up at the third light, it was already yellow and I was 200 feet away. It was split decision time. I mashed the accelerator and rocketed toward the intersection.

    Red Light.

    I stomped the brakes and the car shuddered, nose down, barreling into the intersection at 35 miles per hour. “Oh shit!” I thought as the front of my car caught the right rear quarter of a familiar looking gray Porsche convertible. The last thing I remember was the air bag exploding in my face.

    I came to a few seconds later to an annoying buzzing sound from under my dash. I’d come to rest against a red maple just through the intersection. With nothing more than some superficial scratches, I leaped from the car to check on the other driver whose car had spun a one-eighty and was now pointed in the opposite direction.

    As I trotted toward it, my heart sank as I read the license plate: HAPPY 1. I had just crashed into my boss, Harold Happy. Boy he was going to be pissed.

    As I approached the mangled sports car, the buzzing from under my dash still rang in my head. Mr. Happy was exiting the car and although he seemed unhurt, I was mortified to find he was wearing only his birthday suit, circa 1951.

    He looked my way and offered up his trademark genuine, grandfatherly smile, the same one that had been plastered on the front of the store for the last ten years. “Simmons,” he cheerfully began, “I always knew you were a bit of an imbecile, but this just takes the cake.”

    BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ

    The old man continued, still smiling warmly, “I think I might just give you a raise, hell, I’ve got half a mind to just give you the whole store.”

    BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ

    I jolted awake, it was my alarm clock. As I tried to recover from the image of Harold Happy’s naked body etched into my brain, I rolled over and looked at the digits, 8:41AM. “Damn it,” I murmured, “how am I ever going to make it to the 9:15 meeting now?”

    • Dennis says:

      Nicely played. Don’t think I’d want to see my boss naked either. Well written and kept intrigued as to what would happen. Will the MC follow the lesson of the dream?

    • catbr says:

      Ha ha. Funny story. Naked old wrinkly boss man.

    • Reaper says:

      Mr. Happy makes me think of the old Robin William’s bit, and the naked boss only reinforces that. I don’t think I would do my shopping there. It’s all a dream stories are hard to pull off, and I liked your connection between the warning buzzer and the alarm clock. I started to suspect that when the old man was naked, but I still wasn’t sure. This actually reads to me like something that could be turned into a series of stories about crazy old Mr. Happy for younger readers.

    • Critique says:

      A frightful encounter/story that is (thankfully) a dream. The BUZZ tied the dream/reality together perfectly.

  25. snuzcook says:

    WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT

    Compassion has never been one of my talents. In fact, if my name were a Jeopardy answer, the question would be ‘Who is Not Compassionate.’ My dirty little secret has always been that I revel in being a self-centered jerk, focused on the goal, not distracted by weaker emotions. Like my Uncle Rick used to say, ‘stick with what you do best and screw the rest.’ He was best at raping and pillaging in the corporate game of Risk. He became a legend in his own time, a very rich legend.

    Me, I’m in high-end real estate. My car is always the newest mix of high performance features and sedan comfort. The high performance gets me where I want to be when I want to be there, regardless of the traffic. The comfort is important for the clients. You’ve got to impress and woo the clients so they look where you point and never question what might be behind the curtain. People trust spotless; they trust luxury. It’s one of the reasons I’m top associate at the office. It’s one of the reasons I will be ending my contract with Old Man Dumphey’s outfit in the next nine months and opening my own agency.

    I was thinking along these lines that morning, cutting through traffic like a hot knife through butter, when a two-year-old BMW decided to do the same thing. Only I was already on his rear quarter when he made his move. The best automotive engineers in the world can’t prevent human stupidity. He braked as I tried to accelerate around him, and my front end mounted his rear like an excited stallion.

    I managed to half slide, have jump from my car onto the pavement and jerk open the Beamer’s door, yelling all the way. That’s when I realized the car was familiar. Old Man Dumphey turned deer eyes up at me, his face pale as his shirt. He stood up and then dropped to the pavement like a puppet with its strings cut. A blur of black and brown fur lept out of the car, snarling and yapping, to stand between me and Dumphey’s inert body. The dog, a long-haired dachshund I learned later, performed its own version of CPR on its owner, and Dumphey managed to sit up. That’s when I noticed that the dog had only three legs; one of her front legs ended in a neat stump just above the elbow.

    Sirens were approaching. Dumphey was was bleeding from a nasty gash in his head and having trouble breathing. I tried to get him to be still, to lie down, but he was worried about the dog.

    “Here, Stu, you take care of Mattie.”

    “No, I can’t . . .” “

    You’ve got to take her. I’ve got no one else.”

    “I don’t know anything about . . .dogs.”

    “What’s to know? Feed her, give her water, take her for walks. She’s no trouble. It would kill her to go to a kennel; she’s terrified of ‘em.”

    “But I…”

    “Please, Stu. I’m begging you. It’s just for a few days. . .”

    The paramedics took over then. One of them handed the dog to me with hardly a glance in my direction. It was clear that they were worried about the old man. I stood back out of the way, the dog shivering in my arms. I guess I was in a daze. I was holding onto that quivering mass of fur for dear life. Some part of me wanted to make her feel better. Some unrealized part of me felt comforted when she did.

    There’s another word that does not describe me: lonely–at least not anymore. Mr. Dumphey never made it home from the hospital, and Mattie’s been with me ever since. I learned the meaning of compassion that day, and guess what—I’m good at it.

    • rle says:

      Both heartfelt and funny. “mounted his rear like an excited stallion” Priceless. Nice job!

    • Dennis says:

      Very fun read. Great narration and witty dialog. Also a great ending with a change of heart by the MC.

    • catbr says:

      Nice story. Changing the main character from an self centered ass to the beginnings of a caring individual.

    • Critique says:

      Realistic, funny and well written :) I liked how compassion was rekindled in the MC.

    • Reaper says:

      This is a wonderful character story. Character development will always draw me in, and to have such a believable turn around in so few words. I stand in awe of you, as I am also filled with a melancholy warmth at the loss of the boss and gaining of such a wonderful best friend by your MC.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Snuzcook, your story turned loose one ot things about life that people usually only dream about. A real evolvement in a person’s personality, not something shammed for the public. And you did a beautiful job of it. What better way then through the love of a four foot bundle of fur, with a crippled leg.

        If you’ve drawn this inspiritual tale from your imagination and not real life, I stand beside Reaper, also in awe.

        • snuzcook says:

          Thanks, Kerry! a candid disclosure–I aspire to the moment of transformation this MC experienced. In other words–my creative unconscious is scolding me as I write.

      • snuzcook says:

        Thanks, Reaper!
        I was a bit worried at the abrupt ending, that the turn-around was a bit of a damper at the end. The story was loooong, and my ego wouldn’t let me cut my self-professed clever phrasing and images, so the ending was abbreviated.

    • agnesjack says:

      Snuzcook, I just loved this story. From the wonderfully frank first paragraph to the redeeming end. I used to tell my husband that if everyone had a pet that they loved, we’d have world peace. Animals are so grateful to us and what they expect in return is so simple and easy to give. Great story.

    • lovewrite says:

      Funny…I enjoyed the many talents of the MC!

    • Marc Ellis says:

      Nice story. I was wondering if the MC would end up with the agency as well as the dog. Your language was quite artistic (“front end mounted his rear like an excited stallion”). Fun story.

  26. UNION

    The heavy complex doors swung open with a quiet sadness, revealing the business part of the city. A black-clad guard, his cheekbones sunk low, bent down to inspect my ID.

    “You’re good to go.”

    I revved my engine and sped past him. I was late for a meeting, but breaking the speed limit resulted in severe punishment. Only one car was in front of me.

    “Mr. K is not going to be happy.”

    Mere shells of men both sides slipped by, going in and out of the stores. Jumbotrons hoisted onto the sides of offices radiated harsh light.

    “Get GRT food now, loaves of bread on sale for $47.99!”

    I reached T Block, the warehouses and assembly lines looming above me, barred windows hiding what secrets were sequestered within. The clouds were low and dull, spread like a mellow sheet.

    Suddenly, without warning, the car in front of me yielded to a biker. I hadn’t been paying attention. My front bumper sank into the trunk. The airbag deflated, pushing my face into the seat, and it all faded.

    When my eyes fluttered open I realized with an icy panic that I needed to get out. The dashboard was warped like books in the public bonfires. My ears were alerted to a small crackling in front of me and through the cracked glass I saw the car in front of me aflame. I stepped next to the window and peered in, the heat searing.

    “Sir, are you okay?!”

    My face paled when I saw my boss lying unconscious, one arm slung over his seat belt, almost reaching for me. He was dead for sure, and I knew well what that meant for me. It was to be the cessation of all of our chest-thumping oaths we chanted in the assembly halls.

    But that wasn’t what shocked me most. Illuminated in the crimson rage was a part of his head that was sliced open. Revealed was a convoluted pile of wires, buzzing angrily with white sparks. It was to be the first hint that not all that was happening since the Great Catastrophe could be explained in picture-perfect boxes.

    “What—“

    Two arms grabbed me from each side, and I twisted to face two emotionless officers, their eyes glassy grey. An armored van sat just around the corner.

    “Excuse me, sir, we just need to ask you a few questions.”

    I didn’t resist, but tried to look back. The flaming car with the emboldened mystery singed itself into my memory, a haunting riddle. I felt something hard slam into my backbone, and I faced forward. They carried me into the vehicle and sat me down into an uncomfortable chair.

    The captain paused for a moment, studying me.

    “What exactly happened? What did you see?”

    “Look, I don’t know, I just got in a wreck, and then—he was a robot! He—“

    “That is not for us to answer,” he gravely cut in. “What did you see?”

    “I saw Mr. K, the foreman down at T-26, he was dead, and there were wires coming out of his head and everything.” I left it at that, but a thousand questioned dangled over me, and he saw them.

    “I know you are very worried, Mr. Aberdeen, but there is no need to be. Whatever you saw, just put it out of your mind. Leave it to us.” He gently pulled off his gloves and stared at me with rare compassion.

    “What if I don’t want to leave it?”

    He smiled, and inside it I saw tempered cruelty. “Then we’ll just have to take all you have away from you. After all, we do know exactly where you live. Your wife, kids, parents . . . let’s just say they’re watched all the time.” He rubbed his palms. “And, of course, there’s always Achabuz.”

    I visibly shuddered at the name. “Thank you, officer, I will dutifully follow your instructions.”

    He stood and helped me out. “The pleasure is mine. Glad to see cooperation.”

    The van sped silently away, but the coals I tried to shove over the bitter slice of enigma only enraged it. It surfaced and consumed. The cars had been towed away, only black streaks left in the concrete. I shuffled over to gaze upon them.

    There had to be something else. It was the unfurling of a secret world. It was the union of discovery and fear, the border between lying down and standing up. I would find out what this meant. And if this world I lived in happened to be ripped apart, I would forge on until my every sinew had been forced into the darkest oblivion. And even then, hope would live on, I knew it. It was the spark of the revolution.

    GH

    • snuzcook says:

      The vivid images are all your own, Bilbo, but the feel is a real classic–a ripping of the fabric of reality and a call to righteous action. [i]Vive la revolution![/i]

    • Critique says:

      A good story going on here with potential to go a lot further. A few glitches in tenses. The first sentence hooked me. Your descriptions are always interesting :)

    • Reaper says:

      I didn’t even notice any glitches in tenses. I am sure they are there but I was pulled into the deep end. The imagery is astounding, and the feel on this is a lovely combination of Blade Runner (I know I should use the book name but I haven’t read it), Terminator, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451. At the same time it echos a lot of modern thought on giving up freedom for the illusion of safety. Deep piece and I agree with snuzcook on the call to righteous action. I am ready to join the revolution and read the novel I feel wanting to rip out of this beginning.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        A really crisp and powerful response. I’m ready to join. I’m too old to fight but I’ll answer the cause anyway. Perhaps in gathing the brotherhood together. And then they’re always my loud speaker system armed witn Barry Manilow.

  27. Zart_is says:

    They left the building together. I saw them acting all businesslike and important. She was tall with reddish brown hair clipped short but stylishly messy. I envied Julia, my boss, and wished I could achieve that looked with my brown curls but it never seemed to work for me.
    He was the owner of the company very tall himself and great looking with his dark brown hair and those incredibly silver-blue eyes. Every time I make eye contact with him I just want to melt. Mark knows he has this effect on me and usually just smiles and shakes his head. I don’t figure that he is ever going to take me seriously. I am the proverbial Girl Friday I get the menial work done and keep trying to stay on top of the huge stacks of paperwork Julia tosses on my desk five days a week.
    I watch them get into Julia’s Prius, she’s barely waits for him to get the passenger door shut before she is roaring out of the parking lot. I get into my little Smart Car and pull out a few cars behind them. Traffic is horrible and I settle back and day dream about how I would change things. It would seriously involve a transfer to another floor away from Julia and closer to Mark. We are inching along on the 47 and I vaguely notice that Julia is swerving in and out between any cars that will give her the space to change lanes. She made a bad choice and I glided right past her in my lane, moving only a tiny bit faster than hers. I didn’t think about it and went back to my day dream when suddenly there was a space in front of me. I started to move forward when a car pulled into that space and I plowed into it.
    I love my little car and hopped out steaming mad to see what damage it had suffered. The front panel, right above its charming little smile, was flapping loose but the damaged was minor. Still I was fuming and turned around cursing as I looked at the totally undamaged Prius. Julia’s Prius.
    She got out of her car with absolutely no grace and started screaming at me and waving her arms around wildly. At this point I didn’t care I figured that I was now jobless and nothing was worth listening to her rant. I pulled out my phone and called the police and leaned against my little car to wait for their arrival. When the squad car finally pulled up he went to the important looking car and couple first. So I just waited. The officer talked to Julia and pulled Mark aside to talk to him. As the officer finally approached me I took a deep breath and sighed heavily. He handed me a card with Julia’s insurance information on it. “Mr. Reynolds has explained what really happened and assures me that Ms. Peterson’s insurance will pay to have your car repaired.”
    I was confused but Julia was steaming mad as the officer handed her a ticket. Mark headed my way and said “I always wanted to ride in your little Smart Car can you give me a lift home?” I said “Sure.” As we pulled away from a fuming Julia, Mark rolled down his window and said “I don’t like your attitude Ms. Peterson be very careful.” She just stood there with her mouth in a perfect “O” and watched as we pulled away.
    The next day I found my desk completely empty except for a single piece of stationary. Figuring that Julia had sacked me I picked up the note that read, “Report directly to Mr. Reynolds.” As I walked toward the elevator I noticed Julia standing in her office staring at all the paperwork that had once been on my desk.

    sorry this is about 150 words longer than the 500 but I didn’t know what to cut out.

  28. Foxwriter says:

    The rain falls gently on my windshield as I drive the five dismal miles to work. It is the crack of dawn, and I have a very large coffee in my cup holder–my only ammunition against the meeting I will be sitting in within moments. I run my fingers through my cropped black hair in anticipation.

    “Eric, I know you work hard around here. But a 2% sales increase. Really?” he will laugh while he shows everyone at the meeting the report. “This is a joke, Eric.”

    The one thing my manager forgets is that this 2% increase in sales is well above our reports last year, but I doubt he will mention that today. His goal is to shame me to the point that I want to vanish from the office entirely while he still keeps his death grip on me long enough to increase profit. In both cases, he wins.

    But I have one thing on my manager, Mr. Kristof–Ellen. She is the one I fight for. Ellen is the reason I tolerate people like Mr. Kristof. We have plans of starting a small family together. I smile a little as I drift off into my daydreams with her–dancing late into the night to retro pop music, telling each other our deepest secrets over a cup of decaf when we can’t fall asleep, holding her when she’s scared. Yes, these are all things Mr. Kristof will never be able to take from me.

    Then I hear an unsettling crash. I have gotten way too close to the car in front of me, and did not notice the brake lights. It’s as though the person in front of me slammed on them without a reason. My head almost hits my steering wheel, but I brace myself. The man gets out of the car, waves his hands in anger, and storms up to my car. I roll down the window, but immediately wish I hadn’t, “Good morning, Mr. Kristof.”

    “Eric! Oh, you’ve done it this time,” he laughs in disbelief, his pudgy face turning red. I have never understood his empty threats. “Don’t even bother coming back to my company. You’re done. Oh, and I hope you have good insurance. It’s on you.”

    He makes his way back over to his car to assess the damage. I can see in my headlights the damage is minimal. Maybe there is a very small dent , but I doubt he would ever let me off the hook… Not in this lifetime.

    Unfortunately for Mr. Kristof, the sad man who divorced his wife because he had several other mistresses waiting for him, the man who destroys livelihood without a flinch, he doesn’t know about me.

    “Actually, Mr. Kristof, I can most certainly afford it.”

    “What did you say to me?” he says, pointing at me.

    “I’m John Hewitt with the FBI. This vehicle you’re driving isn’t even in your name. It’s stolen.”

    He laughs, slapping his hand to his forehead and then begins to run. I roll my eyes. Mr. Kristof probably hasn’t worked out in years, and I have plenty of athletic training. As I bolt out of my car, I resist the urge to tackle him and knock him senseless. Instead, I just grab him, put him in cuffs, read his rights, and throw him in the back of my car.

    “You’re still a joke, Eric,” he says to me in the backseat.

    I just laugh, “There’s no Eric here, Mr. Kristof. Stop living in your lies.”

    • catbr says:

      Nice twist. The joke’s on Mr. Kristof in the end.

    • Reaper says:

      It took me a second to get the intro, then I thought, you know it must be kind of soul crushing to do undercover work where you have to do the crap job when your life is supposed to be catching bad guys. It is rare in modern works to see the g-man be the hero and the robber baron corporate guy portrayed not only as the bad guy but a bumbling one at that. Taking that approach is daring and wonderful. That slap the head fake out into a run made Mr. Kristof for me, it humanized him just enough for me to really dislike the man.

    • agnesjack says:

      The description of the sorry, oft-humiliated employee at the beginning was so convincing that I had trouble shifting gears at the twist at the end. It was a good story, nonetheless.

  29. thejim says:

    “I started tonight a little later than I expected. My boss needed a report on his desk first thing and since he came in at the crack of dawn I figured I better have it waiting for him.
    I knew I had vital things to accomplish tonight, but I still headed down Highway 1, the emptiness of the road always calms my nerves.”

    “This is why I am so late; you see there was this idiot driver in front of me going way too slow. I decided to pass him. I know what you’re thinking it is a dangerous road, but I was in a hurry. I must have gotten too close because I think I tapped the front of his car when I switched back into the lane. His car swerved and ricocheted off of a signpost.”

    “I pulled over and made my way back to his car. I did not have time for this, I have only a short window, I thought to myself. I started to fume; curse words began to slip out of my mouth. This is not how I normally talk, it is just not my style, but tonight was different. The closer I got to the car the angrier I became. As I walked past the front of his vehicle I could see the sign had dented his bumper, as the tinted window slowly rolled down to my amazement it was Mr. Fulton, my boss.”

    “What! It is you. You’re such pathetic moron. He screamed, “How come I have to put up with you and your incompetence at work and now out here too. Could you be one more ounce more pathetic that you already are? You’re a fu*king idiot. I can’t…”

    “I stared helplessly at him as a barrage of vulgar flew at me. But tonight was different; I had no time for his blathering.”

    “You are going to have to pay for all of this you ignorant jack a$$…”

    “I have to say that I lost my cool, something I do not normally do. I reached in, grabbed his hair, drew back his head, and thrust it hard as I could into the steering wheel, the crack of his nose split the night air. He let out a scream like a third grade girl.”

    “What the Fu..”

    “Before he could degrade me again I repeated the action 4 more times. His eyes glazed over.”

    Then I said “Excuse me Mr. Fulton I did not quite catch that.”

    “Now, I know it was trite, but I thought it was quite funny at the time.”

    “For good measure I gave his head one more hit. The blood dripped down his face and stained his 500 dollar tie.”
    “I reached into his car and started the engine dropped it in to drive the car inched forward. I turned the steering wheel hard right and the car drove off the road, dropped down the embankment and crashed 100 feet below.”

    “I gaze up to the soon to be blood red moon. The tetrad eclipses would be starting and I needed to hurry.”
    “Thus the reason I am so late. I apologize for the delay, but you understand that nothing can get in the way. So let’s start.”

    “This first shot is to protect you from the virus, You will just be a carrier.
    The second shot is the Virus itself. I have chosen the Venachos virus, one of my favorites.
    And the third shot so that you have no recollection this ever happened.
    Then, Doctor Stephans, no one will suspect you, the head of the CDC, will be the original carrier.”

    • don potter says:

      Wow, I could not believe the actions of MC, and then I read the last four lines. Quite a story.

    • Reaper says:

      This is going to sound strange coming from me, but I have this bad reaction to random acts of violence. I want them to have a purpose to the story or the character. When I was reading this that gut reaction triggered and stayed with me… until the very end. That last bit brought it all together and made those earlier actions chilling and perfectly logical lead up. The wonder and terror I feel for this story takes me back to the days that I read Bradbury and Poe to myself as bedtime stories.

  30. kbaktygul says:

    The lovely shiny day seemed to promise me a wonderful journey toward the new world that I wanted to call a future micro region, yesterday. And while driving my car to the supposed destination in a fast hungry-like manner, I started to picture the plan that I needed to set on. I literally started to think about a big picture of my destination and to map out the details, bolts and nuts, so to say, of the movement. Suddenly, at some moment, I literally stopped short on my way, oops, my car had nearly crashed to the other one that went along the road on the parallel track. Who could think of that unpredictable clash! I believe that is known only for the Almighty! Thank God I’m safe and sound now and that accident taught me a lesson: while driving a car always one has to be on the alert! But this is just one side of my story. I didn’t know that the person whom I accidentally encountered would appear to be my lovely boss. My furiously flaming temper was cut short when I had seen him getting off his car. I just couldn’t believe it would be him and I became kind of speechless when I confronted him since I was thinking to yell at whoever would appear before me. Thus my boss started the conversation first:
    “Well, here you are!” he said with some frustration, “So you think, you can crash the right side at the snap of your finger and will get to the place where you want as fast as you can!”
    I answered with the confusion, “Mr. Warner, I had been caught up by the daydream, so to say, I’m really sorry for what happened. I was thinking about the meeting that was set on and I was moving there quite crazily
    “And what am I supposed to do with your sorry or apology when my car is now going to be thrown away?” he said to me waiting for the answer.
    “Oh, Mr. Warner,” I said momentarily, “That is not a big deal, day in and day out, when we are safe and sound, the cars are going to be changed as the gloves in our hands and thrown away to the right and left, aren’t they?!”

    • Reaper says:

      I had to read this twice. The wording is a little rough, and breaking up the text would make it easier to read were my initial thoughts. On second read through I picked up a surrealist quality and hints of Zen philosophy and wording that made me think I had judged that too harshly though.

    • agnesjack says:

      I’m with Reaper. I had to read several times, but each time I got something different out of it. The last paragraph seemed to depict a Buddhistic view of life. I’m intrigued by your story and would like to hear where you were coming from with it.

  31. madeindetroit says:

    SAIL ON SAILOR

    Stanley Jenkins trimmed the jib sheet and watched the thirty-six foot sailboat turn until the sails were full of air. He released the jib and changed positions on the deck with Darlene, his gorgeous crewmate, and took over the helm wheel. Wearing a flaming red bikini, the leggy blond shouted “ready to tack captain,” flashing him a mock salute and sultry smile. She slinked up next to Stanley, her eyes as blue as the ocean water. He wrapped one arm around her bronze waist and pulled her close.

    Their lips met with a BANG!

    Stanley opened his eyes and grabbed his neck. A car had rammed into him while he was stopped at a red light. He pounded the steering wheel with his fist. If he was late for the morning meeting, it might be his job. Not that it mattered. As a low-level bean counter at Bradshaw Industries, his meager salary barely covered his rent. His beater had over two-hundred thousand miles on it and now looked like an accordion. No wonder Darlene turned down his marriage proposal.

    Stanley marched over to the other driver. “What the Hell is wrong with–”

    The driver rolled down the window.

    Stanley froze. Albert Bradshaw, the sixty-something billionaire industrialist and owner of Bradshaw Industries sat in the driver’s seat of the Mercedes shaking the cobwebs from his head.

    “Mr. Bradshaw I…I’m sorry for–” Stanley froze again. Sitting in the passenger seat was a disheveled woman by the name of Mindy Mounds, a twenty something buxom brunet hired three weeks ago as an intern in the finance department. The rumor was Ms. Mound’s interview took place at a local strip club called The Itchy Kitty by none other than Bradshaw himself.

    Bradshaw exited the car. “Jenkins,” he whispered, looking around nervously, “this incident did not happen. Keep this between us and they’ll be a nice bump in your next review.”

    Stanley snickered. That’s why Bradshaw’s wife of over thirty years was on an extended European vacation for the summer. “Mr. Bradshaw, that won’t cut it.”

    “Excuse me?” Bradshaw blurted.

    “The VP of Finance position hasn’t been filled yet. I want that job.”

    Bradshaw looked stunned. “Jenkins, that job pays over four-hundred grand a year with stock options and–”

    “A country club membership, a huge corner office, a car, secretary, and full access to the company sailboat,” Stanley said.

    “You’re not qualified for that position, Jenkins,” Bradshaw snorted.

    Stanley pulled out his cell phone and snapped a picture of Bradshaw and another of Ms. Mounds sitting in the front seat of the damaged Mercedes. “I am now, Mr. Bradshaw,” he said grinning. “You wouldn’t want these photos to end up in Mrs. Bradshaw’s hands, would you?”

    “You won’t get away with this, Jenkins,” Bradshaw bellowed, climbing into the Mercedes.

    Before Bradshaw drove away, Stanley leaned in the window. “I won’t be in the office until tomorrow, Mr. Bradshaw. I’m going over to the Mercedes dealer for a new car and then I’ll be sailing the rest of day.”

    Bradshaw’s cheeks flushed red and his lips quivered. He punched the accelerator pedal and the engine coughed and sputtered down the road.

    Stanley punched in a number on his phone. “Darlene, its Stanley. Put on your red bikini. We’re going sailing this afternoon.”

    • pinkbamboo says:

      love the boldness of your mc! also lol at the itchy kitty! i like the way the mc sounds super confident and kinda arrogant in addressing his boss who basically turned into a puddle being caught with his mistress :)

    • Dennis says:

      I also liked how the MC stood up to the boss who thinks he’s untouchable.. The set up was well done with just the right amount of detail

    • Critique says:

      I liked how your story progressed with each sentence. Well done. Quick thinking Stanley used his cellphone to seal the deal.

    • Reaper says:

      This was told well and leaves me conflicted. I want to feel good for the little guy making good, but my mind is screaming that two wrongs don’t make a right. Pulling out both of those reactions at the same time takes talent. Your word choices are very amusing, my mind rebelled a little at Mindy Mounds until I saw Itchy Kitty club and it all just fell smoothly into place from there.

    • agnesjack says:

      Enjoyed the fantasy at the beginning and laughed out loud at the name, Itchy Kitty. I have to say, though, that I feel the MCs triumph will be short-lived. Mr. multi-billionaire boss Bradshaw didn’t get in that position without being slightly ruthless. He’ll find a way to get out from under the blackmail.

  32. agnesjack says:

    My boss, who was quite famous and a real jerk, had ruined many a weekend with last minute projects. So, when I finished the latest one on Friday night, I was ecstatic. He was at a dinner with a bunch of fellow real estate mucky mucks, so I slipped the folder under his door and made it out the gaudy golden doors onto Fifth Avenue without the dreaded, “Dina! Get in here!”

    “Ha!” I thought as I hopped on the bus at Port Authority.

    When I got to our apartment, I had to wake Johnny up.

    “We can go to Boston!” I said. We’d been trying to get up there to see his folks for ages.

    “Now?” he said.

    “Yup,” I said. “We’ve got to get some miles behind us before he calls or texts me with something else.”

    So we packed in a flash and were on the road by midnight, but just as we were going over the GW Bridge, my phone buzzed. I was driving so I asked Johnny to see who it was.

    “Dina,” he said. “It’s him.”

    “Give me a break!” I said. “It’s past midnight.”

    “The text says: ‘Emergency mtg tomorrow – 8am’.”

    “No way. Not gonna happen. I’m just going to call him tomorrow morning and say I’m in Boston and didn’t get the message in time.”

    “Yeah, but then he’ll just insist that you Skype in.”

    “You know, I could be in the hospital having surgery and that egocentric maniac would expect me to Skype in before the anesthesia kicked in.”

    “Dina,” Johnny said for the millionth time, “why don’t you quit? The money just isn’t worth it.”

    “Johnny,” I said, “You know I’m not planning on staying there any longer than I have to. Just a couple more years to finish paying my student loans.”

    Suddenly, as I was about to merge onto 95 North, this gigantic black SUV cut me off. I leaned on my horn, like any self-respecting New Yorker would, and the son of a gun stopped dead in front of me causing me to hit him — not hard, but enough to shake us up.

    “You O.K., Johnny?” I asked.

    “I’m fine. You?”

    “Yes,” I said, but I wasn’t fine. All the pent-up stress finally erupted.

    I got out of the car cursing like my grandfather, who had been a stevedore at the Bayonne docks. I didn’t even know I knew words like that. Johnny had also gotten out of the car, but he stood there frozen by my new vocabulary.

    When I got to the tinted window on the driver’s side, I started banging. The window slowly rolled down. I was stunned into speechlessness when I saw the smug face and that ridiculous blond tuft of a comb-over. I turned and walked back to my car.

    “Give me my phone,” I said, and I shut it off.

    “That’s brave,” Johnny said.

    “Not really,” I said.

    As we pulled away, we heard the famous sneer, “Dina! You’re fired!”

    Johnny looked at me and we both started to laugh. I don’t think we stopped laughing until New Haven. It was a fabulous weekend.

    • Dennis says:

      Nice ending. The accident was actually a blessing as it allowed her to end a toxic work situation. I liked the detail throughout.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Nice story Nancy. But what do you bet he’ll be on the phone Monday asking her why she’s not in the office. These kind of people don’t let go unless they’re not breathing any more. Old bosses are hard to kill, I know.

        • agnesjack says:

          You are so right, Kerry. These types of people have what a friend of mine calls CUS, or Center of the Universe Syndrome. He would react exactly as you’ve described: “I need you. Get in here!”

      • agnesjack says:

        Thanks, Dennis. Sometimes, especially when young, we stay in these toxic places longer than is healthy.

    • don potter says:

      It takes what it takes to make unpleasant decisions. Sometimes we plan and plan before we take action. Other times the situation is the catalyst. Dina is better off than she realizes.

      • snuzcook says:

        No one said working for The Donald would be easy!
        Nicely told tale, and your MC has all my best wishes!

        • agnesjack says:

          You win the jackpot, snuzcook! I had hints throughout about who this famous boss was, but I wondered if they were too subtle for those who don’t live in the New York metropolitan area. I’ve never actually seen his obnoxious show, but it’s hard not to know about it through osmosis. ;-)

          • snuzcook says:

            Ach! Busted! At the risk of losing ALL credibility–I am drawn to a small handful of reality shows over many of the network (I am not on cable) shows that seem to lack redeeming qualities. Even tho I know they are not ‘reality’ and heavily manipulate the audience to make certain conclusions, I find them as fascinating as airport people-watching, and good material for stories.

          • agnesjack says:

            I understand, snuzcook. We all have our guilty pleasures! ;-) You mention airport-people watching. I tend to do that on my commuter train each morning. Watching behavior can certainly provide all sorts of ideas for stories.

      • agnesjack says:

        That’s very true, Don. Although I purposefully made Dina quite young, another couple of years with that boss wouldn’t have been healthy for her or her relationships, etc. She is better off.

    • Critique says:

      I enjoyed your story. Working for some workaholic boss with horns just isn’t worth it. Laughter is a wonderful de-stressor – Dina and Johnny are on the right track :)

      • agnesjack says:

        Thanks, Critique. I agree. I know people who have stayed in terrible work situations much longer than they should have. It takes a toll. Life is too short.

    • Reaper says:

      Your happy semi-bohemian ending is a beautiful thing. Your images are so vivid that I could see the top of the head and I knew my mind was pulling it from somewhere but I actually had to do a second read to place it. My hatred for reality TV taking a toll on my recognition of cultural phenomenon.

      • agnesjack says:

        I’m with you, Reaper. “Reality TV” is such an oxymoron. I really don’t get the fascination and steer clear of those shows, but the images and participants invade my consciousness, nonetheless. They’re everywhere, like a plague of locusts.

    • Marc Ellis says:

      Another nice post agnesjack. I’m happy for the MC. I think fate finally took care of a bad situation.

  33. jhowe says:

    Gunther Davis drove as he usually did, with his mind awhirl. He had been working like a dog all week and he was tired, which prompted him to contemplate: ‘Working like a dog?’ What kind of saying is that? Dogs are really not known for their work ethic. Sure, some dogs were bred as working animals but that was long ago. Most modern dogs don’t work that hard. Well, maybe sheep dogs.

    Signaling, Gunther turned left on Waverly and continued on his way to the office. The impending forecasting meeting weighed on him but it did not deter his musing. ‘Sick as a dog.’ There’s another one for you. Dogs do eat grass and puke on occasion, sure, but are they really known for their sickness? Why the saying then? Cats though, with their disgusting hair balls, now there’s an animal worthy of sickness lore.

    Gunther could practically feel the texture of the hairball in his mind. The acidic smell was beginning to work its way to his nose when the crash came. He looked up and saw the rear of a black Audi lodged against his car. What the hell?

    Gunther checked his rearview mirror and backed up a few feet. The plastic bumper of the Audi had suffered some minor damage. Served the bastard right, although he could not readily recall what had caused the accident. He exited his car and prepared himself for the inevitable conflict. Being a non-confrontational person, Gunther thought it best to take the offensive from the get-go. ‘Get-go?’ He made a mental note to analyze that later.

    The driver side door of the Audi opened and Gunther took charge. “Hey you stupid son of a bitch, what the hell do you think you’re doing!”

    “The light was red Gunther.”

    “Oh, Mrs. Reilly, uh, the light was red?” Gunther looked up just as the light turned green. Honking horns sounded behind him.

    “Yes Gunther, the light was red,” said Mrs. Reilly as she checked out the damage to her car. “I’ll call the insurance company later. We really must be getting to that meeting.”

    “Uh, Mrs. Reilly, about my outburst….”

    “Don’t worry Gunther. You are the most innovative marketing manager I’ve ever met. I wouldn’t want to put that creativity on the shelf now would I?”

    “Thank you Mrs. Reilly. Say, what do you think of the name ‘Get-Go’ for our new energy drink line?”

    A few minutes later when they were both on their way again Gunther’s phone rang. It was Mrs. Reilly. He answered.

    “Gunther, it’s me. Get-Go kind of says it all, wouldn’t you say?”

    “I’m glad you like it. I’ll get going on it right after the meeting.”

    “I’m sure you will. And Gunther, you know that pay raise you’ve been pestering me about for two years… consider it done.”

    Gunther hung up. ‘I’ll be damned,’ he thought as he returned to his musings. I’ll be damned? What kind of saying is that? Who in the world would want to damn himself?

    • pinkbamboo says:

      gunther thinks too much! interesting thought too. i love the play of idioms in this context.

    • Dennis says:

      Oh the dizzying mind, but it actually worked to his favor. Great writing.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Really enjoyed this one, jhowe. What you’ve pointed out in your story is very important to those still climbing the ladder. Raw, unleashed talent can overstep a lot of ass-kissing. And those who slide past the fawning, have a clear shot at the top. .

    • don potter says:

      Great images. I particularly liked, “Gunther could practically feel the texture of the hairball in his mind.”

      • snuzcook says:

        I really like Gunther–couldn’t live in his head very long, but for this story he’s great!
        And he’s one lucky son-of-a-gun (do guns have offspring?) to get out of this scrape Scott-free (who the heck is Scott?).
        Fun read!

    • Reaper says:

      I like Gunther, and I really like his boss. A good story of morals and did a nice job with a story where there was little tension by building it in your character’s concerns.

    • Critique says:

      A delightful story – great dialogue – with two characters that grew on me. I can relate to Gunther’s wool gathering – can I call it that? – and what’s the story behind this idiom?

    • agnesjack says:

      I just loved the easy flow of the humorous musings on common phrases and sayings. You really have a talent for telling us who a person is through his/her thoughts. Always enjoy the read, jhowe.

    • Marc Ellis says:

      I thought maybe the MC had “gone to the dogs” smashing into his boss! I wondering if you, jhowe, have a similar curiosity with that displayed in your MC?

  34. Reaper says:

    Ionuin An Bhais Go Bragh

    Thump, whish; sounds of life supported in misty country from the shadowed corner behind Seth Shamus O’Ceallachain. The elderly man peered into an antiquated basinet. Wiping a single tear with a palsied hand he spoke to the infant.

    “It’s a mercy of fate that I remember the names of Caelan and your ma, Mary; the good I have wrought. Yet the evils I have committed run together.

    “There are no Irishmen in heaven. The church urges us to kill for Ireland but does not forgive our actions. A story I have told a million times I will tell you only once. Perhaps it is time to put old stories away with the bombs.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    Dublin, July 18, 1982, I had two jobs. For money I sheared sheep for a prottie bastard. The job I loved, with the IRA, was the reason I had two bombs in the car. I was on my way to plant those explosives in an Anglican hospital.

    Imagining the impending aftermath is why I bumped the car in front of me. Anger filled me from twin valves of worry an officer would find my explosives and annoyance at the delay. Clenching my fist I stepped to the offending vehicle, the urge to strike grew upon seeing my bastard boss.

    My hand rose, ready to shout. As I glanced to the passenger seat my fist lost the power of speech. I had never seen a lass so beautiful. I was not a young man even then. While the boss’s daughter was younger she was no spring chicken but rather burned with the beauty of summer. I asked in a near whisper.

    “How do I get your daughter’s hand?”

    “Earn it and keep the peace.” With those simple words he drove away.

    I sold those bombs. Two days later they were used in London to begin the death of the IRA. I put death behind me to become a semi-respectable member of the Sinn Fein and eventually convinced Siobhan to date me.

    On our first date she showed me how much devil the protties can have in them. That was not the reason for our love. She did for me what the church could not. She heard everything I had ever done and she forgave me. She loved the man and did not see the monster. In her arms I was always safe.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

    Seth jumped as warm arms wrapped around him. “Gra, do you have to fill their heads with sex and violence?”

    Leaning into his wife he looked over his shoulder. “You look twenty.”

    “You’re still here”

    “Making amends.”

    “They will all forgive you for passing the day after they announced she was coming. You need your rest.”

    “They expected you to follow the day after me. We were one of those couples. You held on though.”

    “I promised that I would meet our granddaughter.”

    “You have, but now we must go.”

    “Where?”

    “Not heaven, there are no Irishmen there but anywhere in your arms will be paradise.”

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      I haven’t read such a beautiful, powerful love story such as this, in a long, long time. Your style of the story reminds me of Hemingway’s ‘For Whom The Bells Toll’. You are a master with love. You dug deep into yourself for this story, Your setting is perfect and you certainly understand the Irish. I could go on and on and on with my thoughts, but, let’s see what the others have to say.

      One more comment, marvelous!

    • jhowe says:

      Damn Reaper. This is a keeper.

    • pinkbamboo says:

      You are deep! *applause* I could never go to this level with you. It’s romance but it didn’t make me cry. though. I love the way you seem to sew the words together and I can just imagine it being played out in a scene.

      • Reaper says:

        I certainly like being deep. Sew the word together, that is a beautiful way to see my writing described. I wasn’t sure I hit your level honestly. I was attempting to keep to my own style while emulating the power and passion I see in your romance writing, something I still have lessons to learn from.

    • Dennis says:

      You raised the bar high on this one, and on so many levels. So much was conveyed in those few words. Thank you.

    • jmcody says:

      “Beloved in death forever.” Sigh…

      You’ve been holding out on us, Reaper. This was deeply affecting. This is the reason why I read. We asked for romance, but you gave us so much more — sin and redemption, and the transformative power of love over ancient wounds. I don’t know where I’ve read a better definition of love. I get it now — you have an Irish soul, Reaper, with the depth and complexity of a Celtic knot. I could go on and on, but I’ll just say this: If you write a novel like this, I promise I will buy it.

      • jmcody says:

        I decided this one is worth going on about. “My fist lost the power of speech,” and “…burned with the beauty of summer” are pure poetry. Stunning.

      • Reaper says:

        The translator I used may have led me astray, what I was trying for was Beloved of death forever. In works just as well. Haven’t been trying to hold out, but love is a subject that is hard for me, and so many others write it better. I do aim to write more than the simple subject though. The idea of love that fascinates me is that long lasting type like my grandparents had that I don’t see very often, which to me only exists after years once the passion has cooled. The beginnings I’m not sure how well I could write. Though it’s funny that you mention a novel like this, because one of the things I am currently working on shocked me by turning into a love story, though it’s nothing like this so I have to focus away from the love aspect and more on the demon slaying. :) Thank you for mentioning two of the lines I am proudest of in this story.

    • don potter says:

      A heavy tale well told. Nice work.

    • snuzcook says:

      What a richly beautiful story you wove around the kernel of the prompt. You included such wonderful commentaries on life and wisdom, and memorable sayings that I had not known before. Your early statement that ‘there are no Irishmen in Heaven,’ and why was wonderful.

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you for that. This makes me feel good. The idea of no Irishmen in heaven actually came from a line in an Irish Drinking song. It has been used in jokes in other forms as well. There is a line about an Irishman going to heaven and being told to step right in because he’s the first one they’ve had. Whenever I hear that line I think about the bit from Angela’s Ashes where they are told that they are old enough to die for Ireland, and old enough to die for the church and asks, Doesn’t anyone want us to live? Over time the two combined to explain a lot of the culture to me. I’m happy it can ring true for others.

    • catbr says:

      Very nicely written. You do have a way with words. Interesting story.
      “May you be in heaven for thirty minutes before the devil knows you’re dead.” An old Irish blessing. Hope it’s worded right. Your story reminded me of it.

      • rle says:

        Another one of those that makes me feel like I’m out of my league here. Very, very nice. Thank you for sharing.

        • Reaper says:

          I like your writing. Sometimes I feel the same way here. Some stories are easy for me. Having been raised in an American version of what it is to be Irish, the passion and tragedy mixed with faith and continuing to fight no matter what I can slip into an idea like this like an old suit. Other things I struggle with. The love story part of this I had to dig deeper for, as I have difficulty with traditional love, as I mentioned already. I’m glad this is so well received because opening those emotions and putting them out there is still a little frightening for me. But it took me a while to be willing to hear what people thought of my writing at all. So, since I made a promise I figured it was time to take a chance on stepping out of my comfort zone.

      • Reaper says:

        Catbr that along with, may the road rise to meet you, are two of my favorite Irish blessings. I was worried I rushed this too much so hearing I have a way with words is wonderful.

    • UnusDeo says:

      Sweet Jesus, Reaper. That was so . . . sweet jesus.

    • Critique says:

      A true love story told beautifully in so few words – that takes amazing talent. My cardboard writing has a long road to travel methinks to hope to aspire to the rich soul stirring caliber of yours. Keep up the wonderful work.

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you for that. I still don’t think you are cardboard in your writing at all. I do appreciate being soul stirring and it means a lot to me when writers as good as the ones on here say I am at a level to aspire to. I will attempt to keep it up and hopefully grow stronger.

    • agnesjack says:

      It’s easy to hate the idea of a man, but it’s hard to hate a man whose eyes you have really looked into. You mentioned in a previous prompt that you wanted to add more description to your writing and this is a gorgeous, successful example of it. You’ve written a beautiful story of the redemptive power of love, Reaper, and that’s why I believe that they are, indeed, in heaven.

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you. I tend to like my descriptions but do want to do them more often as they feel out of place when I try, especially in longer works. I agree with you, it is easier to hate a concept, or a group that it is an individual. I learned that from trying to hate the English because of being raised that they were evil and oppressive, and yet I have rarely met and English person that I didn’t think was wonderful and charming. I have long believed that hell is spending eternity in another man’s heaven, so as long as those two are together I don’t think it matters where they go, they will have their reward.

    • Daenerys says:

      This was a very sullen approach to the prompt and I respond no less to it because of it. I love the feeling that it evinced and the overall manner in which it was written. In other words, excellent read!

      • Reaper says:

        With the subject matter I was going for I definitely wanted sullen. Both because I was writing the love story and to me love is not something you fall in, but a concept and relationship that you fight for. I was trying to write soulmates and I have never liked the idea that those are born, but that you create them by giving and changing for a person and while you never expect them to do the same for you they do anyway because the love flows both ways. Also because I set where and with the backdrop I did I wanted that Irish way feeling. Though not exclusive to that area to me Ireland epitomizes that joy comes in small, often subdued doses and that is why we should squeeze the marrow from those moments in our attempt to hold on tight. There is a line in the Devil’s Own that Brad Pitt’s character says, “Don’t look for a happy ending, Tom. It’s not an American story. It’s an Irish one.” While trying for a love story I wanted a happy ending with that same sort of feel.

    • Amyithist says:

      Reaper, there are a few writers on here that I seek out read and you are one of them…and this prompt is why. You are fantastic at what you do. I feel as though my eyes just glimpsed a writer’s paradise within your words. You have a way of spinning a story that I find myself lost and mesmerized. Well done, Reaper. I stand in your shadow and wait for the sun to kiss my cheeks. :)

      • Reaper says:

        Amyithist, I am near speechless from this. I also have a few writers on here that I seek out, and you are one of them. Even on weeks when I barely have time to read I seek out your prompt because I know I will see something I can strive for, some way of describing and invoking emotion that I feel is lacking in my own style. Seeing something like this from anyone makes me soar, and from someone that I feel I have so much to learn from both lifts me up and humbles me at the same time. Thank you for those kind words.

    • Marc Ellis says:

      Wow! Of all things, how were you inspired to write about the IRA? The Irish names were great. The love story and religious themes woven throughout were wonderful.

      • Reaper says:

        I chose the IRA for two reasons. With the time period to put the couple at the age I wanted you can’t write without mention of them. Much of the frustrations, passion, and hopeful/less determination of the country is tied up in that one cause, and group despite that there were so many smaller ones like it.

        Mostly though I wanted a story of redemption and love that conquered all, overcame all obstacles. An IRA member that fell in love with a protestant and gave up violence spoke to that for me. More than that I wanted to touch on the idea of those unexpected events that change everything. The meeting for the characters is the biggest part of that. What I was counterpointing comes from the date and two bombs. I’m not sure how much this came through because it requires a bit of knowledge on that history that I assume not everyone has.

        Two days after the initial meeting in the story was the date of the Hyde Park bombing. The IRA set off one bomb there, and another in a second park I don’t remember the name of. Up until that point citizens of the US were major funders of the IRA because they “believed in the cause” of a free and unified Ireland. In those bombings a number of soldiers were killed, and so were a smaller number of horses. Apparently at the time the conscience of the US was more sympathetic to horses than to people, because after that the donations to the cause slowed to a trickle. It was twelve years later that the IRA finally declared a cease fire that stayed in place. However there were a few in the years between that didn’t last, but many people say those dead horses were the beginning of the end for the constant bombings. So I chose the IRA because one action, accidental and small in the grand scheme of their history, changed everything and brought peace and in many ways love to Ireland. I wanted that to echo what happened to the MC. So that was a long explanation but it was in my mind and I couldn’t put it in except in hints to the story because of the word limit.

        Also, many may know this but the Sinn Fein that is mentioned is a political movement in Ireland that everyone has always known was the political arm of the IRA but nobody could ever prove an official connection. So that was a the more things change the more they stay the same nod.

    • lovewrite says:

      A love story that held me from the first word to the last. You are a brilliant writer…Bravo!

      • Reaper says:

        Thank you lovewrite, I am glad I held you through it all. The comments here have me smiling all week.

        • swatchcat says:

          Reaper,
          I apologize for getting back to you so late. I read this earlier in the week during a hard bit of insomnia that had come to a head. I read your story and was taken aback. I got distracted and promised I would return just to let you know how much I loved this story, then I finally fell asleep. I’m back now and it is still totally excellent. It was so good I could imagine being within the story. Beautiful.

  35. Eclipcia says:

    Unfortunately, I went well over the limit but I couldn’t control my itchy fingers. It had a mind of its own, you see. Couldn’t see where or what to crop. Also, the italicized words didn’t transmit. Bummer! Oh well, hope you guys like it. Again sorry for exceeding the limit.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————–

    An Unmistakable Mishap

    “I can’t do this anymore. Truth is… I’m not sure if I even love you anymore.” I gasped. He quickly mended, “It’s not you…it’s-”

    “Just you?” I finished sourly.”Don’t you dare say it, Julian!”

    “Yes, well…it is. I’m not ready to commit.” Upon seeing the hurt that permeated on my face, he said, “Come on, Candace, you didn’t seriously think-” he broke off and ran a frustrated hand through his sandy locks. “I think we should take some time apart. I need to find myself without any extra baggage.” He avoided my shattered gaze. “I have a vibrant life to live, you know?”

    That last line almost garnered her sympathy-almost.

    “Extra baggage?” I scream incredulously, punching his chest. “I’ve given you six years of my fucking life! Six years!” Drained, I sagged against him. “Please, let’s talk about this. Is it because I said I loved you? Don’t do this to me. To us! ” By now, tears were cascading like waterfall down my cheeks as I looked at his once warm chocolate eyes imploringly; begging for him not to leave me.

    With one look at the tightening of his jaw I knew he was indeed serious. “What am I to do without you?” I tried feebly.

    “I don’t know but you’ll get over it. I know you will. You always do.” He patted my head patronizingly as he left.
    .
    ***

    “That bastard!” I screamed to no one in particular. “What? He needs to find himself?” I scoffed. It’s barely been a week since we’ve broken up, and last night I spotted him already getting pretty intimate with another woman. I chewed my bottom lip in anger as I recalled the sordid affair.

    “Lying bastard!” I snickered under my breath.

    So consumed was I in my own thoughts nothing could have prepared me for the impact of ramming my new Toyota car into the sleek, black Lexus that was in front. That rattled me back from one nightmare to another.

    “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Just my rotten luck!” I cursed as I slapped my palms against the rough surface of the steering wheel. Smoothing the creases out of my pencil skirt, I exited the car in an angry flourish.

    Oh,. I’ll give them a piece of my mind. They’re just asking for a piece Candace today. Angry and annoyed beyond measures, I deliberately stomped towards the Lexus.

    “Why the hell would you suddenly stop your damn car in the middle of the road without warning? If you have a death wish, might as well take it somewhere else, cuz I don’t, you moron!”

    I banged hard on the tinted window. “Open the door!” I seethed. Now I was going to be really late for the last minute conference my boss had assembled for this morning. I checked my watch. 8:28. No way I was going to make it thereby nine. I banged harder.

    How I hoped I hadn’t. Don’t you sometimes wish you could undo a particular scene, event, or moment because it was so horrible? To get a complete do-over?

    Well I wanted one right now. I prayed for some kind of saving grace as none other than Jason Connors, stepped out of the black Lexus. My boss! The one person who despised me the most in all of Florida!

    My eyes bulged into the size of saucers. So extreme was my horror.

    “M-m-r. C-o-n-n-o-r-s!”

    He looked down at me disapprovingly as he pointed at the glaring light. It was red. The color of blood. Hers after he was done with her.

    “I-I-I-m sorry so. I mean I’m so sorry! I-I didn’t—A-a-r-r-e you okay?” Although not one whisker looked out of place.

    He pulled out his phone and walked around towards the back of his car and snapped a picture of where my car hit his, not saying a word; pointedly ignoring me. The impact wasn’t that bad from what I’d seen. When he was done with his perusal, he turned to me, maintaining his icy cool.

    “Candace Myers, was it?” He asked in his deep voice commending voice.

    As if he didn’t know.

    He arches an eyebrow, his dark brown eyes regarding me coldly.

    Realizing I was just staring stupidly at him, I quickly muttered, “Y-yes, sir!”

    “My lawyer will contact you in a few days concerning this…incident. I have a meeting to get to.” He furiously texted a few things in his phone (the only sign that gave away he was angry) before walking back to his car. He turned back once more.” And Ms. Myers? Don’t bother with the meeting. I’ll see you in my office in an hour.” And with that he left.

    What was with men and their need to say the final word before walking away and leaving me weak and pathetic? Did I not have a say to redeem myself-EVER?

    With the acute shadow of doom stalking my every step, I groggily walked back to my car and sat there for a minute before suddenly banging my head vigorously on the wheel as I replayed the scene in my head. “Stupid, stupid girl!” What was I thinking?

    My felt heavy and laced with trepidation as I turned on the engine and geared towards my impending death.

    • Eclipcia says:

      ugh! Again -noticed a few typos!

      • Eclipcia says:

        my heart felt heavy* ( sorry guys for my obvious lack of refinements in my stories)

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          I love to read a good story and this is one. I had an undelying thought all through your story as I read it. I’m probably off trach with this. But the manner in which Conners reacted to Candace, led me to believe he was really intrigued with her despite his cool manner.

          Am I reading too much into this or just a hopeless romantic?

    • Reaper says:

      You did have some tense switches, and some flips to third person. Other than those few lines I was pulled deep into this story. I think my favorite line was They’re just asking for a piece Candace today. Do people really talk or think like this?

      You also wrote a deep and sympathetic character. I kept fluctuating between wanting to yell at her to grow up and get over it, and wanting to wrap her up in a hug and protect her from jerks. Even though you went over that is complicated for such a short space.

      • Eclipcia says:

        I initially wrote it in third person then decided on first person instead which caused a conflict in the tenses as well. Thanks for noticing and thanks for reading!

    • pinkbamboo says:

      Did Candace commit suicide? I am hooked on till the last word of this piece. Love the emotions being portrayed, made me feel like slapping Julian! Baggage for six years! Sheesh

    • Dennis says:

      Great story. I felt bad for the MC for being one of those many women who, for various reasons, allow men to walk over them. Hopefully something positive will come for her. Nice writing.

    • don potter says:

      I was wondering about both the romantic angel and the possibility of suicide. There were a few flubs, but I enjoyed the story.

    • Daenerys says:

      Like, Kerry, I see a sizzling romance in the near future. I love the emotions in this story especially the breakup scene. Her ex is such a first class A- hole. Would read more were this a full blown novel.

  36. don potter says:

    CRASH. The horrible sound instantly snapped me back to reality as did the jolt of having two metal objects collide and slide to a stop. I unbuckled my seatbelt and carefully got out of the car, checking to see if there was bleeding or any broken bones. Confident I was physically okay my fear quickly turned into anger.

    “What’s wrong with you? Why weren’t you watching the road? Dumb shit.”

    There was no response, which fueled my growing rage.

    “I have an important meeting this morning and you totally fucked it up,” I screamed.

    “Not as bad as the rest of the day is going to be,” a voice said from inside the vehicle.

    The voice was familiar even though it was muffled by the air bag in which his face was buried.

    “Miller, you’re fired,” was the next thing I heard as my boss exited his once spotless Mercedes-Benz.

    “Mr. Johnson, I didn’t know it was you.”

    “Obviously.”

    “I was thinking about the new business pitch, and the accident rattled me. Sorry.”

    “You did not have to take out your emotions on me, especially since you were at fault here.” He pointed to the mass of twisted metal that was once his beautiful car.

    “Are you hurt?” I asked hoping to change his focus as well as show my concern for him.

    “I’ll be all right, but my Mercedes is a complete wreck.”

    “My insurance will take care of it,” I promised.

    “Your insurance? Who do you think pays for your insurance?”

    “The company.”

    “And who owns the company?”

    He is the sole owner, so I tried desperately to think of a reply that would not draw me deeper into the mess I created. Before I could speak Mr. Johnson was all over me.

    “If you had been driving carefully this never would have happened,” he shouted just as the police arrived.

    He continued berating me until a cop interrupted the histrionics and asked, “Is this your cell phone Mr. Johnson?”

    “Yes it is, why?”

    “What’s on the screen suggests you were texting when the accident occurred. And, I’m sure you’re aware it’s against the law to text while driving. This is a serious infraction.”

    “Well, I never –“

    “I must write a citation and record this information on my accident report.”

    Johnson was steaming. He hailed a cab as soon as the tow trucks arrived and told me to accompany him to the office. Not another word was said about the accident.

    We were late for the meeting with a new prospect we had yet to meet, so we headed directly to the conference room. The door was open and we heard the woman telling the account executive that set up the meeting about an accident she saw this morning with two out-of-control drivers almost coming to blows and found their behavior despicable.

    There was nothing we could do other than adjust our ties and enter the room.

    “You’re the ones I saw,” she said. “There’s no way anyone who acts like you did could be entrusted to handle the ‘Be Kind to Your Neighbor’ ad campaign.”

    • Eclipcia says:

      By Gawd, this had my in laughter. I completely love the smoothness of it all and how well it flowed. I wanted to read more! That was totally awesome, I should say. Particularly, love the twist! Texting while driving? Say, the pot calling the kettle black!

    • Reaper says:

      The two hard realities of this strike me. Your writing is beautiful as always and really drew out that one, people are at their worst during an accident, and two, it is important to be in business with people that live your values.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Laughing out load at six fifty one in the morning, is going to make this a good day me. I’m still laughing about this. Oh what fun this is. And so real, I almost popped my belt buckle. What great writing this is. Way to go, Don!

    • pinkbamboo says:

      Love this piece! The last line made me smile. I can imagine how embarrassing and silly they must felt from the moment they adjusted their ties and losing the deal.

    • Dennis says:

      I loved how both were partially at fault Then blaming each other like kids and getting called on it by their client. A fun read.

    • agnesjack says:

      Nice twist at the end, Don, and I didn’t feel sorry for either of them for losing that ad campaign. Road rage and accidents do bring out the pettiness in people.

    • Critique says:

      I enjoyed your story. The ending had me laughing. Poetic justice.

  37. yaxomoxay says:

    BANG! That’s the sound of a Kia (mine) vs. Mercedes (his) bout.
    Not even a second after the impact I went from thinker-mode to sailor-mode. Very creative, if not ingenious, imprecations came out of my mouth. After all, I was thinking how crappy this Friday was going to be. They expected me to cooperate with the hangmen. And now, this idiot hit my car.
    My steps toward him must’ve been so determined that the guy literally leaped out of the car as soon as he saw me. As I blurbed at him uncharted words, he called my name.
    “Richard?” the old man said.
    It took me a while – my cerebrum refused to process the information – before I recognized the amoeba that hit my brand new Kia was my boss. Yes, the one, the mighty. As his assistant I had to do anything he asked including delivering the pink slips he told me about the day before.
    Under the circumstances the man became very small, a striking contrast to the rapacious that tyrannized meeting rooms just by sitting at the table’s end. I had in front of me the same man that, equipped with a wide smile, told his investor friends that his company was going to save a lot by cutting overhead.
    Unfortunately for him I had a Humphrey Bogart moment. I determined that it was time to teach him the difference between Wall Street and THE Street.
    As I got closer to him he tried, to no purpose, to chill me out. Wrong decision as it made things worse, much worse. I physically explained to him that while it’s certainly true that the pen is mightier than the sword, the fist is still stronger, and more painful, than the pen. As I thumped his face I heard to my immense pleasure the crackle of his hideous nose, all while cheering bystanders warmed the atmosphere. So I kept pounding the little man.
    Sobbing like a baby he begged me to stop even after I told him that I didn’t really care the same way he didn’t care about the sobs of the staff that he would force to leave that afternoon.
    As I enjoyed the moment a cop jumped at me, ending the act of violence, booed by the impromptu audience. As he handcuffed me, the throng quickly scrambled away in fear of being legally involved.
    When the paramedics arrived at the scene I wondered if they were thinking about rearranging back the man’s face, now a puzzle of blood and bruises.
    After reading my Miranda rights, the young and muscular cop that stopped the massacre carried me away in his car, more bored than anything. As I finished telling him my story (goodbye Miranda!), he then turned around, saying the words that made clear that he was not only strong, but also very smart.
    “What would you say,” he asked. “If I told the judge that I saw the bastard hitting you first?”
    It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    • Dennis says:

      Yikes, that was some nasty guy. I liked the writing style, pulp fiction like. Still deciding if I like the ending. : )

    • Reaper says:

      I like the intense rage filled style. Then again I also like a story with absolutely zero good guys. The violent blue collar feel of this makes me want to call it when Police Union met AFL/CIO. Wicked and disturbing I cringed all the way through.

    • agnesjack says:

      Very gritty, well-written drama. Can’t say I liked the ending, mostly because a cop who is willing to lie on the stand is a very dangerous person, but it certainly wasn’t out of the realm of reality.

    • Critique says:

      We read about dubious characters with zillions that hire pricey lawyers to get them off. It was a change (not saying it’s good or legal) to see the average Joe (a nasty one in this case) heading in that direction.

  38. UnusDeo says:

    FREEDOM

    How did this happen?

    Seriously, why me? It wasn’t enough that I overslept or that I burnt my toast. It couldn’t be enough that I only had this off-color shirt to wear. It wasn’t enough that I wasted fifteen minutes just looking for my keys. No, I had to crash into some idiot the freeway. To add, while running down the list of the least favorite words a person would like to be shouted towards them, I come to the most horrific truth of my morning.

    I crashed into Annette, my boss. Not just any boss, but the same boss I’ve been speaking ill of to my coworkers. The same boss who I accidentally hit on during the Christmas Party. The very same boss who denied me paid time-off to attend my cousin’s funeral. In that moment, I felt guilt, shame and anger cross paths and meet at my heart. The collision caused it to stop dead in its tracks.

    “I . . . uh . . .” My vocabulary failed me. In a moment like this, was good morning an appropriate response.

    I opened my trunk and desperately searched for a time machine. Perhaps if I stayed back there long enough, she wouldn’t recognize me.

    “Johnson, are you okay?”

    Well crap. Was this divine will? More importantly, she actually knows me by name?

    “I’m so sorry about that. The person who was in front of me just suddenly stopped. Then the asshole drove off.” She almost sounded like she wasn’t totally blaming me for a situation for once.

    “Is that so?” My wit also seemed to take the day off.

    “But honestly, are you okay, Johnson?” She almost seemed genuinely concerned.

    “Oh yeah, I’m fine.”

    We both seemed to ignore the way I cursed her to hell just minutes ago. Looking into her eyes, however, I was getting increasingly worried. Boss at work was completely tyrannical. She instilled fear into workers, which produced motivation. On this road, with cars zooming past us, she seemed sullen. Timid almost, she barely mustered the courage to curse the driver who caused this. She also seemed hurt, holding back what seemed to be tears. Did she hear what I said earlier?

    “It looks like we’ll be stuck here until the tow truck shows up,” My next sentence wasn’t any more comforting.

    After going over insurance and making some calls, we both sat on the side of our perspective cars. Over this small little adventure, I was reminded that the boss wasn’t always the boss. She was once a worker too. She was getting yelled at before. Outside of the necessary image she put up, she was a regular woman, even in her tendencies. She was human. In that moment, I was even more distraught with causing her trouble.

    Though, she didn’t seem troubled. Standing next to me, staring at the blurs of speed, she actually seemed to smile.

    • Dennis says:

      Very heartfelt and humanizing. I liked watching how the MC changed her view of the boss by the end. I also really liked the opening paragraph, the rhythm of it.

    • Reaper says:

      I find it hard to put the words together to explain how a good slice of life that touches well on real human foibles and emotions and also teaches a lesson makes me react. This is just stunning.

    • agnesjack says:

      I love stories that reveal our better, more compassionate sides. Some people would not have been open to the revelation that the boss was actually a human being. I liked your MC because he was. Very nice story.

  39. Frozen Alone says:

    (I know it said car but I thought about a motorcycle instead…)

    The sun was shining for the first time in three days. A seemingly endless thunderstorm had rocked the area for days but today it finally cleared. Time to get out the motorcycle.

    The roads were quite crowded today but I didn’t care. A few maneuvers with the motorcycle and I was passing backed up cars faster than expected. I had a meeting with the boss today. Rumor had it that he was looking for someone to help him run the new club he was opening and everyone said I would get the job.

    Distracted by thoughts of flashing lights and hypnotic tunes I didn’t see the wreck up ahead or hear the vehicle speeding up behind me.

    I barely managed to slow the motorcycle down with distance between the massive wreck and where I swerved to a stop. The next second a horn went off and the hard metal frame of a classic car slammed into my left side. The pain of the collision and my clothes and skin ripping against the road shocked me enough that I didn’t scream. It took a few seconds for the motorcycle and me to crash into the vehicle in front of me.

    The pain was overwhelming but I looked up toward the vehicle responsible as the driver got out.

    “You idiot! Have you heard of the speed limit! Dumba-” The next word froze in my throat as I looked up at my boss. “Mr. Maxton…”

    “Rena! Jesus, I’m so sorry.” He hurried over and surveyed the damage. He knelt next to me. “You’re bleeding bad,” he said noticing the blood pool under me. He looked under the motorcycle and then took off his belt. Barely managing to hold back the scream, I shifted as Maxton slid the belt around my leg and pulled it tight to slow the bleeding. “HELP!”

    “I’ll be okay,” I reassured him. A paramedic from the other wreck ran over with a cop. The medic and cop moved the motorcycle off me revealing part of one of the wrecked vehicles, a metal brake line, sticking through my leg. The broken bones and torn skin didn’t make it any prettier.

    “I need to check your spine,” the medic said. He moved his hand to my back and checked it slowly. He touched my head and worked his way down to my other leg. I screamed as he touched my calf but it was soon muffled by Maxton’s chest.

    “You’ll be okay,” Maxton whispered. “You better recover quickly, I need you around.”

    “Sir?”

    “Can’t have my business partner and the new manager of my club dying on me,” he chuckled. He took my hand and held it firm. “I’m here.” His lips ghosted over my forehead and he shifted slightly so he was holding me up.

    “I’ll be on the dance floor soon enough,” I reassured him with a strained smile. I squeezed his hand as the medic adjusted the tourniquet. “Just hold me.” He never let go.

  40. Abby Gracino says:

    Finally, I got my license.

    I don’t have to ride that stupid red bicycle anymore. Well, okay. I’ll still ride the bicycle. But now, I’m a certified driver. And all of my friends can go suck it, because they were wrong about me.

    I was on my way to a meeting at Greasy Pauly’s Steak Omelets, where all of the staff would be discussing how the heck we were going to repair our building (an anorexic lady crashed into it with her truck. It’s a long story).

    As soon as I turned onto highway number whatever, my cell phone started buzzing. It was probably my stupid friends wanting to talk about the horrors of Cape Cod.

    So, last week was spring break, and I was extremely excited to spend it with my (supposedly mature) college friends in Cape Cod, especially because I had earned the money myself from saving up my paychecks. So, all of us arrived in Cape Cod, and everyone but me rented out an entire motel, and they partied all night and drank alcohol. You see, I may be a bit egotistical, but I am not stupid. Not like them.

    I ended up driving home, by myself, at one in the morning.

    And I swear to God, if Julia was texting me now, about what my favorite type of Whiskey was, I was going to turn this car around and crash it right into her mailbox.

    Yet, I couldn’t resist. I grabbed my phone and starting scrolling through the messages. Of course. It was from Julia.

    “Yo-yo-yo D-dog! So glad u could make it! Gotta do it again eyyy?!? ;)))”

    I threw my phone onto the ground, and as I drove off of the highway, I saw a car that looked exactly like Julia’s. Something came over me. I knew what had to be done.

    I stomped down on the gas pedal, grinding myself right into my succeeding driver. It was a pickup truck, so bashing it from the back, I realized, wasn’t going to do me any good.

    The driver honked his horn, and before I knew it, he’d gotten out of his car and was storming over to me. And believe it or not, it wasn’t Julia. It was Greasy Pauly III. Current manager of Greasy Pauly’s Steak Omelets. I felt so stupid.

    My eyes widened like saucers, and I became completely still as I watched Pauly bang on my window and curse in German (Germany was his native homeland). I shivered in my seat, feeling helpless as the tears began to fall. What had I done?

    I reluctantly rolled down my window. Pauly looked at me and screamed. “It was YOU?!??!” he yelled lividly. “Dakota Fanning?!”

    “Dakota FERNING,” I corrected him, suddenly feeling bold. “And, yeah, I just crashed into your car.”
    Pauly stood in front of me, intimidating me. “You’d better be sorry.” I heard an explosion in the distance. And then, everything went black.

    • Dennis says:

      Still trying to decide whether I sympathize with this MC at all : ). And what happened aftter? I like the build up and edginess.

    • Reaper says:

      I assume that was a really dark ending and it got to me. I have no problem feeling sympathy for your MC because she reads as a realistic teen girl in over her head. I don’t like her because she’s got some mental issues, but that rage that comes from friends you don’t like as much as you should and a dead end job. Yeah, I was hoping she’d get past it all, but I guess she won’t.

  41. Observer Tim says:

    I spend the morning commute going over the status report in my head while weaving through traffic. Everything is on schedule with the software for AutoKitty, our first product and hopefully the must-have cybertoy this Christmas. This will be my first meeting with KG, the company president, and I wanted to make a good impression. I even have some questions prepared to show him I’m thinking ahead. My future is looking… NO!

    The sickening crunch knocks me out of my daydream. My Yaris has just mated with some 1940’s era clunker. It’s totally undamaged; my car is just totalled. I’ll never make my meeting now.

    A screaming rage born of shattered hope propels me out of my car and toward the offending vehicle. “Why you… I oughtta… why weren’t you …!” I can’t even form complete sentences as I approach whatever ancient geezer drives this rolling junkpile. I bang my fist on the tinted window and roar in frustration. I stop short when the driver door opens. I was expecting Mr. Midlife Crisis; I got a robot.

    It? She? She’s five-foot two and thin, looking like somebody animated a life-sized obsidian statue of a grade nine schoolgirl. Chrome highlights give her lines, and her face is dominated by huge round eyes like windows into a silicon soul. I don’t know if I want to dismantle her to see how she works or kiss her.
    I barely register the back doors of the car opening until a female voice addresses me.

    “Are you all right, Mr. Robertson?”

    “I…” The words die on my lips as I look at this kid. She looks like the robot girl, only a couple of inches shorter and in full colour. Blue jeans and a red tee-shirt, brown hair in a bob and big round glasses thick as a slice of toast. In about five years she’ll be something to look at. I kind of pity the kid. “I’m okay, I guess. But my car…”

    “Sorry about that. Driverbot’s supposed to only land the car if the lane is clear.”

    “Wait! How do you know my name?”

    “I know all my employees’ names. I’m Kay Gunderson, but you can call me KG. We’re supposed to meet this morning.”

    “But you’re…”

    “Young? I’m older than you, Jimmy. Short? You can give me the status report on your knees if that bothers you.”

    Something about the surreality of the whole thing hits me. I drop to my knees and deliver my report, which makes her giggle. The robot girl, plus her identical twin from the car, direct traffic while we wait for the police.
    She loves my ideas, especially how they mesh with her plans to make the AutoKitties steal information from their owners. When we get to the office KG gives me a girlbot as a lab assistant. I’m even part of the escape plan if the FBI catches on!

    I know it’s evil, but so much corporate stuff is. I don’t care; this is Nerdvana!

  42. thatbillguy says:

    White steam billowed from the front of my car. The acrid stench of radiator fluid filled the air. I shoved weakly at the quickly deflating, blood-covered airbag. It billowed as the air quietly rushed out with the light scent of baby powder.

    Oddly, I felt no pain. The impact had been so hard that my seatbelt broke from the frame. I looked for my cell phone, but didn’t see where it had gone. I never finished the text letting my boss know I was going to be late.

    I stepped out of the truck; the driver’s side door was gone. It looked like someone crumpled an origami truck into a ball and then tried to straighten back out. People rushed around me to the other vehicle.

    My mind raced. Did I hurt someone?

    I made my way to the other victim’s car. The damage didn’t appear any less severe than mine. I waved my hand trying to clear the steam from my vision. I saw a man slumped forward on the steering wheel. A long, jagged cut ran the length of his baldhead. The man moved. He lifted his head and looked in my direction with a confused look on his face. It was Daniel. My boss. A paramedic rushed to him, speaking comforting words and checking him for injuries hidden beneath the bent and torn metal husk.

    I looked back to my truck. I gasped. A headless body lolled to one side in the driver’s seat, one arm slug over a bloody stop sign, still attached to the post, sticking from the passenger seat.
    Horror and fear and remorse trampled my loose grip on the reality before me. I screamed, but no noise came. The world around be began to fade to darkness. A sensation of falling washed over me.

    I’m glad you’re okay Daniel. I’m sorry.

    Accepting my own death seemed easier than I would have imagined. My life had been full and happy. I would miss my family.

    I’m sorry I won’t be there to see you grow up, Little Man.

    The darkness slowly lightened. It was bright, but not unpleasant. I didn’t know what was next for me. Maybe there was another cycle to life, maybe rebirth. Maybe Heaven. Whatever came next, I knew it wasn’t the end; I would continue to exist.

    I closed my eyes, only for a moment. A moment.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    I swerved at the last possible second. I missed the front of the car by a hairs breath and slammed hard into a shallow ditch. Squealing wheels and the smell of melting rubber cleared my confusion. I looked around, pushing the airbag out of my face. My face hurt. My nose was broken. Tears streamed into my vision. There was a knock on my window. I turned.

    “You okay?” The tempered glass muffled Daniel’s voice.

    I nodded yes. He gave me thumbs up and pressed his cell phone to the window.

    ‘Daniel, I’m gonna be la…” It read.

    “Me too,” Daniel said.

    • Dennis says:

      Wow, great writing. I was feeling at peace as the MC was only to be jolted back to reality like the MC. Nice twist.

    • Reaper says:

      I am not sure if one of these is a daydream and the other reality, or if it is two outcomes told from the opposing points of view. Either way I like it.

    • agnesjack says:

      This was so intense that the twist at the end was such a relief. Lovely ruminations about where death leads. And you’ve given us another example of why texting and driving is not a good idea. Excellent story.

  43. Dennis says:

    Jerry was dodging in and out of the traffic that always builds approaching the Golden Gate. He was pushing the envelope to making his 9:am meeting with his boss, Mr. Burns. But he also had the rock music pumping, and was thinking about the concert he attended last weekend.

    “Those guys were sweet.”

    There was a sound of screeching brakes, crunching metal and broken glass. Jerry’s head lurched forward. It took a moment for the reality to sink in.

    “Shit! My mustang.” Jerry pounded his fist on the dashboard.

    He and the driver in front of him eventually made their way to the shoulder. Jerry noticed the time and realized he was not going to make his meeting. He got out of his car in a huff.

    “This asshole is going to pay.”

    The other driver exited his car. Jerry was about to lay into him when saw that it was Mr. Burns.
    “Mr Burns, crap, are you ok?”

    “Yes, Jerry, I’ll be fine. And you?”

    “Yeah, I’m ok. I’m real sorry. I’ll pay for it, don’t worry.”

    “Yes, Yes. We’ll work that out. I think maybe this accident was serendipitous.”

    Jerry gave a confused look. “How so?”

    “Our meeting today was going to be about your behavior at work.”

    Jerry got defensive. “But I’ve been a great employee for you these past five years.”

    “Yes, but your behavior has increasingly changed, it seems, since your brother’s tragedy. Your appearance and how you act towards your coworkers. Some say you act like a rock star.”

    A weight fell over Jerry at the mentioning of his brother. They were in a car accident and he died while Jerry lived. He looked at himself in the reflection of the car window, noticing his crazy hair and clothes.

    “What is the date today?”

    “April 10th.”

    “Christ. Bobby died this day a year ago.”

    “I’m real sorry.”

    “I’ve become him.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “I’ve become my brother. He was in a band and also had that carefree spirit. This is how he dressed. I guess I didn’t even realize I took on his persona.”

    “Maybe this accident was a good omen after all, waking you up so to speak.”

    Jerry’s head was spinning. He could have killed himself. At that moment his life didn’t seem to make sense. Where had he been this past year?

    Mr. Burns put a hand on Jerry’s shoulder. “Look, after we settle this, take the day off. Tomorrow we’ll talk more. We have some great programs through our work where you can talk this out more.”

    “Thanks Mr. Burns. Sorry for any trouble I have caused you or others at work.”

    “Not at all.”

    A highway patrol car pulled up behind them. The reality of getting their cars towed brought them out of that intimate moment and back into the craziness of life.

    • Reaper says:

      This pulled out a lot of emotion. It was eerie in a real way. I felt bad for the MC, then upset at the boss for being so insensitive and not accepting change, then happy for the MC for his realization and sad for him all over again. The only thing that didn’t click for me was, the way he was written it felt like he took a second accident after one that cost his brother and changed his life a little too in stride. I think I only felt that because I was pulled in to all those other feelings, and the character was so real to me that it just felt like something was missing.

      • Dennis says:

        Thanks Reaper. I think I did try to rap it up too quickly to convey the core of the story. 500 words is challenging but I like the challenge.

        • Kerry Charlton says:

          The rare moments of intimate discourse are so fleeting, they don’t appear real. The emotion is high charged in the MC’s mind. Carrying the weight of causing his brother’s death could easily lead to depression and insanity, as you so well describe in your story. The MC felt such a loss, he tried to bring his brother back by using his self image.

          A lot of material here, to build on.

    • agnesjack says:

      There is such a fine line between remembering and honoring the people we’ve lost, and becoming obsessed with them, especially if we feel responsible somehow. You depicted all of this in your story, Dennis. It was sad, but there was hope that the MC would be able to move on.

    • don potter says:

      You handled the heavy story of guilt and identity transferance in a compelling manner. Nice take on the prompt.

  44. smmw77 says:

    It happened today, on my way to work no less. You know the nightmare that you are standing naked in front of a room full of people, yea that one. Okay maybe not that dramatic, but it was definitely a moment that can go down as an epic fail for me.
    My mind was reeling this morning. I overslept, the kids missed the bus and I had forgot to pay the light bill so the lights were off. Despite all of that I got the kids to school with five minutes to spare.
    I’m still going to be late. I figure it is better than calling in, especially cause I have a few attendance points already. I jumped on the E-way racing towards the center of town. I drove this way often so I was kinda of on auto-pilot, I was in my own head. I was going over today’s schedule. Work, working lunch, pick my son up at mid day because of early release. Whew… A Mercedes Sport car just flew by and cut across two lanes. “I hope they get where they are going in one piece,”I exclaim!
    I go back to cataloging the days events, back on auto-pilot. I turn on my signal and start making my way over and it happened. Bam! Okay it was more like a Bam, then a loud crunching noise. That Mercedes that flew by hadn’t made it far in the sea of brake lights, and as it was making its way into my lane, I careened into the back.
    “Damn it!” I’m definitely in deep poo now. I pull out my insurance and registration from the glove box. I opened my door swung one foot out and I heard my name in that familiar voice. Only one person I know has that voice, the one that sounds like nails on a chalkboard. It can’t be. Damn it it is. It’s my boss.
    I am thinking that this will be some story in the break room tomorrow, if I get past this moment. In the meantime do I say this is your fault for speeding in rush hour traffic or confess that if I had not been on auto-pilot, I may have been able to avoid totaling your car? Both statements were true; one would hike my insurance, while the other might cost me my job.
    It would be better if she fired me right now, then I wouldn’t have to deal with the fact I am going to be carless for a few weeks. And I won’t have her glaring at me each time we cross paths at work. If she would just fire me; it would be so easy to say “Damn it, this is your fault. If you weren’t, driving as though you were on a Saturday night, drag strip.”
    But no she doesn’t do that. She actually asks if I am okay. Then she tells me don’t worry her insurance will take care of everything.

  45. Amyithist says:

    I was ready for my vacation. It had been a long time coming and, at this point in my life, I needed it more than I’ve ever needed anything. Needless to say, I couldn’t get the images of sandy beaches and grassy-skirt bearing Hawaiian women hula dancing all over creation from my mind. All I had to do was get today out of the way and I’d be home free!
    I sighed and clicked my car radio on, glancing down at the clock on my dash. I had forty minutes to get to work and the freeway was at crawling speeds. Groaning, I turned to the suggested station for traffic updates and nearly screamed at the announcer as she spouted off a list of accidents currently blocking traffic. Of course, I-5 was part of said list.
    I hit the gas as the car in front of me sped up and I was just about to relax into the steady 35 MPH pace when an asshole in a red BMW swerved into my lane. Suddenly, the driver hit the brakes and before I could respond, the front end of my ancient Honda Civic collided with the cherry red BMW’s rear.
    I groaned again and leaned back against the seat. For a moment, I hoped if I closed my eyes, I’d open them and this would all be over. Without much thought behind it, I jumped from behind the wheel of my vehicle and stormed over to the driver’s side window. I couldn’t see inside to discern who was getting the best of my sailor mouth but I didn’t care.
    I was right in the middle of telling whomever was behind the window just what they could do with themselves when the door opened. It was as if the whole world had stopped just to watch my reaction as my ball-busting boss climbed out into the rainy morning. She scowled at me, folding her arms over her chest.
    “You had something else to say to me, London?”
    I bit my lower lip, wishing my girlfriend were standing next to me at that moment. Somehow, life always seemed easier when she was around. “No ma’am,” I said lowly. “Well…I mean…what the hell were you doing?”
    Her eyes flashed and she stared at me for a moment. I suddenly became overtly aware of my wrinkled blouse and mismatching handbag/shoe combination. I flushed as she shook her head at me. “I forgot to tell you,” she said, smiling smugly. “We’re having company-wide evaluations today and I think I want to do yours first.” The glimmer in her eyes sent shivers down my spine.
    Sighing, I climbed back into my car, watching in dismay as she gunned her barely damaged vehicle down the onramp. Meanwhile, I managed to hobble my sorry excuse for a car over to the shoulder. I quickly grabbed my cell phone and dialed my girlfriend’s number.
    “London, honey, are you okay,” she asked.
    I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair. “Abby, I have a feeling this vacation we’re taking is going to be permanent for me.”

    • Dennis says:

      I always enjoy the detail you add to your stories. Crappy ending for the MC, or do we know for sure how it will end up?

      btw I-5? Are you CA, OR or WA? I’m in CA myself and spent many a time on that part of the I-5.

    • Reaper says:

      This is different for you and yet no less powerful because of it. I want to suckerpunch that boss for your MC.

      Dennis, being in Washington and having driven to CA I can tell you the only part of I5 that isn’t that part is somewhere in Oregon.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        I liked your story Amyithist. What a crappy way to end a career. Besides, who needs an evaluatuion? Get the work done right and you’ll see tomorrow, if not you’re disposable. It might be a good thing for your MC. For those who rule by fear are always inept and useless.

    • agnesjack says:

      The feeling I had at the end was that London was better off. Who needs a vindictive boss, anyway, and you depicted yours nicely. Nice descriptions, also, Amyithist.

      I, too, have driven on I-5 from LA to SF, but it was very late at night so there wasn’t much traffic. As I recall, it’s such a straight, black asphalt line that I found it mesmerizing, which can be dangerous when you’re sleepy.

    • don potter says:

      Fate has a strange way of doing for you what you cannot do for yourself, or is it God giving you a helping hand? Nicely done.

  46. Kerry Charlton says:

    CHARLIE

    Boyd knew better than to take a Sunday midnight flight to New York from Dallas and a five thirty AM puddle-jumper to Albany. His meeting was at seven, Monday but he didn’t want to kill a Sunday getting there. Charles Schisler, owner of Mershaw Of America, refused to think anyone would dare being late, even a young vice president from Dallas.

    Six forty Monday morning, wheels hit Albany’s runway and Boyd sprinted to a car rental. He roared out of the airport at six fifty five and petaled to the metal to Charlie’s office. Around the corner from fourth street, he plowed into the rear end of a ’65 Fleetwood.

    “Holy cow shit, you monkey’s ass, stupid, son-a- bitch, why didn’t you get the hell out of my way?”

    He yelled at the top of his voice while walking over to the still shuddering Cadillac. The driver’s door opened and Charles Schisler hit the pavement.

    “No one still alive has ever called me that,” he said. “Especially one of my vice presidents. What do you have to say to that, Boyd?”

    Well boss, it’s nine minutes after seven. Not only are you late, but so am I. What do you say to that?”

    “I think that’s the most inventive sentence I’ve ever heard from you. Get your gentile ass back in that pile of shit you’re driving and let’s get this meeting started.”

    One thing Boyd knew about Charles Schisler. Anyone who had a hooker for a girl friend that lived in Miami Beach and another in Denver and who had introduced both of them to Boyd in a personal manner, wouldn’t mind the label as long as the Dallas branch turned a mean profit. And that it did.

    Boyd’s conference lasted from seven fifteen to quarter after six non-stop except for a fifteen minute break for take out. Joe Murphy, the east coast vice president and Boyd, had enough information shoved at them for ten hours, that both were on their knees with Charlie still ranting and raving.

    “We’re going to my country club for dinner,” Charlie said. “We’ll pick my wife up along the way.”

    The limo stopped at a palatial mansion and Doris, a very attractive blonde of fifty or so entered the car. She leaned over the front seat and planted a proper kiss on Boyd. At least Charlie thought so, he didn’t see the tonguing.

    The Cadillac came to a halt at the entrance to the club, but no one left.

    “I almost forgot,” Charlie said. “This is a Jewish country club and doesn’t allow gentiles. We have to sneak you in the back. ”

    The Fleetwood pulled around the corner and left Boyd off at the service entrance. He stood there for a moment. The door opened and a ‘walking dream’ came out.

    “Mr Emerson, please follow me.”

    She led Boyd past the refrigerator room, through the kitchen and finally into the main room of the club.

    “Thanks for the tour Charlie, let’s eat,” Boyd said. “This dinner’s going to cost you.”

    “You’re welcome.”

    “I only have one question Charlie.”

    “What is it?”

    How come you hired a Catholic and a Baptist to be your vice presidents?”.

    “That easy, I don’t trust Jews.”

    Writer’s note. This is true except for the accident and one thing else, which I won’t mention. The last line is exactly what he said.

    • Amyithist says:

      Wow. This was both intriguing and infuriating. The audacity of Charlie to say such a thing…it’s hard to believe there are really people like that roaming this Earth. If this happened to you or someone you love, Kerry, I’m sorry. We, as human beings, deserve better from one another. With that said, the story read effortlessy. Very nice flow. As always, I’m humbled by your ability. :)

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you for your kind words, Amyithist. But I must disagree, you are a scorcher of a writer. My relationship with Charlie at the time was set in the 60′s, part of the mad men era. He had a motor mouth, that was true, but for him to say he didn’t trust Jews, since he was Jewish, was a very typical commemt from him.

        The record industry during the 60′s was full of mafia, payola, crooked dealings, hookers and drug payoffs. During this time, I was in my middle to late twenties, traveling the country trying to run three companies in Dallas, Denver and Albuquerque.

        Weekend spent with family and church, wild parties etc. I look back on this era with much amusement now. One of these days. I’m going to write an entire book about the record industry. I’ll to go under cover as a writer to do so, before my entire family dumps me.

    • Dennis says:

      I love your characters and the dialogue. I like how Boyd can banter back with Charlie. What a crazy scenario and scary that it actually happened. Great writing.

    • Reaper says:

      I spent most of this story thinking it sounded like something that had to be real, then something that seemed real from an earlier time, and finally convinced it had to be completely fiction. An amazing ride and finding out it was a true story just means that trip further shows your power as a writer.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you reaper for your wonderful thoughts. Funny you should mention the word ‘trip.’ That’s exactly how I felt as I was writing it. The more I wrote, the more I remembered it. Was it real, of course it was. nobody could make this kind of stuff up. I knew the walk through the kitchen of the club was a set up.

        But when Charlie introduced my brand new wife to a few of his associates sitting around in a hotel in Miami Beach and I quote, ‘Guys, this is the classiest hooker in the hotel.” That was Charlie.

    • agnesjack says:

      What a distasteful little man, that Charlie is. Of course, when Boyd “tongued” Charlie’s wife, I didn’t think much of him, either. This is a very well-written, character-driven story, Kerry. Your descriptions — from the airport to the country club — painted an entire picture. The fact that you said this actually is true made me shudder, but then I shouldn’t be surprised about the darker side of human nature. A very powerful story.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you Nancy. What I wished to illustrate in this tale is the 1960′s and cut-throat, give no quarter, big business, where slash and stab was the order of the day and go for the ring regardless of cause.

        It really existed, especially in the music business. The beauty of the song meant nothing to these people. How many can we shove out to the public and how few do we have to take back, and pay your bill or your legs wil be broken. It was a nightmare and a horror. I managed to run and escape it before….. well, you can guess before.

        • agnesjack says:

          Yes. I am old enough to remember that different time. I’m glad you escaped, Kerry. Otherwise we might not be enjoying your wonderful stories and thoughtful comments here on WD.

    • don potter says:

      Charlie is a first class schmuck. But the two VPs have so little self-esteem and such high regard for money they’re no better than Charlie. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with any of them. Nice job of storytelling.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        There were nothing but schmuchs in the business in the sixties and that included myself. I wished to be an engineer. I had the talent and turned the wrong way. I wasn’t gifted in stab and slash. It’s a wonder I’m still here.

    • snuzcook says:

      A fun and well-written disclosure of one of those people who leave an exclamation point in our lives. Sometimes it seems that is their entire raison d’etre–to be punctuation points.
      One of the ones in my life. who was good at rubbing people the wrong way, said (paraphrased), “I don’t care if people disapprove of how I do things–as long as they remember that I did it.” BTW she once introduced her somewhat passive husband to strangers at a dinner party as her ‘first husband’ and was delighted by the shocked looks they gave her as he squirmed–just to give you a taste.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        You travel in interesting company snuzcook. I would have liked to have met her. In my prime, I think I might been able to banter with her. Thanks for the read and I always take a lot of pleasure in your comments on my stories. You know, I learn a lot from you, as well as other readers who comment. It’s what keeps me moving from prompt to prompt, slinging words at the screen, Thank you.

    • Critique says:

      You wrote this so well. Wow, some unpleasant characters in your true story. I would feel unsafe in such company. Integrity is a declining virtue.

    • Marc Ellis says:

      Another entertaining post Kerry Charlton. The bad guys were easy to dislike.

  47. eilenej1 says:

    Heading down the highway I’m in deep thought about the upcoming meeting. It is an important meeting with a potential customer for Bella’s Web Design. Bella, my boss, has made it very clear that getting this customer to sign on would prevent looming financial disaster.

    I am thankful traffic is moving along at a crisp pace. I don’t usually take this route to work and I suspect that this is unusual for this time of the morning rush.

    Damn, I think I jinxed it. Brake lights flicker ahead. “Oh my God!” I exclaim as I suddenly cram on the brakes as everyone tries to go from 65 to 0 in a split second.

    Well, everyone except the car behind me – that is. Said car slams into my rear and I slam into my steering wheel. “That’s gonna leave a mark!” I think to myself.

    I exit the vehicle to confront the other driver, while silently letting off a string of expletives. I’m thinking it is probably someone who was paying more attention to their smart phone than to traffic.

    And then I see who it is, my boss Bella.

    “Bella, what are you doing here? Don’t you usually take 75 to work?” Of all the bad luck, to have just been rammed by my boss while I’m on my way to sign on an important new customer.

    Bella is in tears as she explains that she thought she should attend the meeting with me. “I was just setting up my cell so that I could recite a text to you to forewarn you that I would be there,” she’s telling me. “Then when I looked up it was too late to stop. Oh my God, what are we going to do? Neither of us can make it to the meeting now.”

    I’m thinking quick, trying to come up with a solution. “Bella, my car may still be drivable but yours is obviously not. You need to contact the customer to let them know we will be late. Then you can ride with me to the meeting, once we have arrangements for a tow truck.”

    Bella called the customer while I called for a tow truck. We were on our way half an hour later to the customer in my damaged car that still ran, but had a slight list. Bella apologized non-stop for the remainder of the ride. She apologized for rear ending me and for giving the impression that she didn’t trust me.

    Ultimately, we did sign on the new customer and I received a promotion. I tell myself I got the promotion simply based on my excellent performance, but I know that Bella’s guilt also played a part. Thankfully Bella claimed full responsibility for the accident, so my car was paid for by her insurance.

  48. My mouth is dry and the highway is deserted. In my minds eye, little bottles of beer are dancing around my head. The thirst goes deeper. My vision blurs. What am I doing out here? Where am I going?

    A crash breaks up my internal dialog. As I pull to the side of the road, I recognize the other driver.
    My boss: Tommy Franken. But Tommy Franken is not who he says he is. No, Tommy has a secret.

    See, In the early 80′s, Tommy was chosen to take part in a secret underground government pharmaceutical study. The results were horrific.

    On the surface, Tommy looks just like you and I. But if he gets angry…
    Well, it starts with the reddening of the face. And then his pupils turn to lines, like a reptile. And then his skin becomes scaly. His teeth sharpen. He becomes murder crazed! No thing can pacify him except blood!

    And he I was, in the desert, alone with this man. He exits his vehicle. I sink into my seat, cursing myself not so softly. He’s peering at me through my windshield. I’m contemplating escape. No, not yet. I’ll never make it in this state of mind. Reason with him. It’s not too late.

    “I surrender!”

    I get out of the car and he’s handing me a piece of paper and a pencil and asking me for my insurance information. Do I have this information? Is it safe to give it to him?

    I hand it back to him with a phone number written on it. “Call this number; the man on the other line will tell you everything you need to know. I must be going now.”

    I hear him cursing me as I take flight, first on foot and then with the aid of my automobile. And then I realize something strange: I don’t even have a job.

    • Amyithist says:

      Hmmmm. A vist from the Twilight Zone! Left me scratching my head: Who are these men? Are they real or a figment of ones imagination? Fantastic take on the prompt!

    • Dennis says:

      Dancing beer bottles is never a good sign. Interesting take, although leaving me with more questions then answers.

    • Reaper says:

      I assume the dancing beer bottles are to blame here. I like the twist of a car accident interrupted by a daydream rather than the other way around. I also think your MC read too many Hulk comics at some point.

  49. peetaweet says:

    The waves rolled onto the sand, crashing through the speakers as NPR’s report unfolded from the lazy shores of Mission Bay, Auckland. I fell back into my seat, and it wasn’t long before I was carried away from the bumper sticker commands of gridlocked hell and drifted off to a New Zealand paradise.

    I’d been up late preparing for an entirely too early sales meeting, so the drifting part was easy. At least until I banged into a sparkling Buick trying to squeeze through the intersection.

    Son of a…

    I shoved the car into park, it was only a bump but considering the gleaming car I’d hit this was going to take a while. I shook my head fuming mad, at myself and the dickhead who’d slammed on the brakes.

    I brushed the coffee from my lap, approaching the as the window lowered a crack, just enough to let me see the three sprouts of hair—a skeleton crew working hard to pull off the job of being bangs.

    Shit.

    I stared at my bosses’ pocked cheeks. Cars were piling up behind us. Mr. Brister finally emerged from the car, his face devoid of emotion. I began mentally updating my resume.

    “Jeff?”

    “Mr. Brister, I’m, I’m so sorry. The sun was in my eyes and…”

    He waved me off, grimacing and putting a hand on my shoulder as he ushered me to the rear of the vehicle. His eyes bounced around without so much as noticing the bumper, which only showed a small scratch under the license plate. My Honda was unscathed.

    “Jeff. I need a favor.”

    Mr. Brister doesn’t ask for favors. He once had a girl fired for using the wrong font in her emails. He cut his eyes to the rear window.

    “I uh, I need you to keep this between us.”

    I didn’t follow, but then my gaze trailed his to the car. Sitting small in the passenger seat, as though wishing it would swallow him, was Kent Cartwright.

    Kent, the wearer of purple skinny jeans and pink Chuck Taylors.

    Kent, by the way of goggle large white sunglasses and the Katy Perry poster in his cubicle, (not that I was complaining).

    Kent, the guy who, if memory serves me correct, Mr. Brister referred to as a fag that he wished he could fire if it wasn’t “more hassle than it’s worth”.

    He’d been Mr. Brister’s favorite target, although Stuttering Steve had more recently surpassed Kent in the Mocking Department.

    Brister tilted his head to reel me in. The workplace tyrant stood on the stained asphalt at 7am, traffic whizzing, his secret hanging in the air for the taking. I mean, obviously this wasn’t a carpool.

    His gray eyes were pleading, nervous, and when Kent peeked back and I had a definite ID. At first I wondered why Kent would stoop so low. I guessed that he had his reasons.

    Then I felt my lips part into a wide grin.

    “How’s the wife?” I asked, beaming.

    The tyrant’s eyes jerked up. “You wouldn’t, you little shit.”

    I put my hand on his shoulder.

    “You’re right, Brister, I wouldn’t. And that’s because you’re sending me on a sales trip. to the beach.

    “Fine.”

    He shuffled back to the car. What the hell?

    “New Zeeland.”

    He stopped and turned, his door opened. I cocked my head and shrugged.

    “We’ll work it out.”

  50. amsecre says:

    “Shit.” I said out loud. Then I screamed it. “Shit!” Frustrated, I banged my fist on the steering wheel, causing the horn to beep. I jumped. My adrenaline did not need that extra boost, and my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest.

    I slowly opened the car door and got out. I saw the car I hit ten feet in front of me, skewed sideways on the median. It was a silver Honda, the right front bumper and side panel crushed into the wheel well. The tire was flat, punctured by the metal. The hazard lights flashed placidly.

    Still shaking, I walked up to the car, snow falling heavily around me. “I hate winter so much, I swear to God I’m moving to Arizona tomorrow. I quit,” I mused angrily. Stupid snow, stupid drivers. I was going to be late for work, and I was supposed to be presenting my idea for the next quarter…

    I reached the driver’s side of the Honda, and peered in the window. A woman in a dark coat, a furry black hat, and leather gloves sat staring out the windshield. I could tell she was alive, because tears were falling down her cheeks. I knocked on the window.

    “Ma’am? Are you ok?” I yelled. No response. Just more tears. “Ma’am?” I yelled again, and I pulled on the door handle to see if the car was unlocked. The door swung open in my hand, and I knelt down to see her better. And then my heard started pounding again.

    “Katherine? Oh my…are you ok? Jeez, I had no idea it was you…” I started rambling as my boss sat still in the seat. As I reached out to touch her hand, she leveled her gaze at me.

    “Tess. I’m sorry…” she began. It looked like she was in shock.

    “No, Katherine it was my fault, the road is slick and I couldn’t stop,” I said, shaking my head.

    “No no, I mean I’m sorry about everything. I miss you so much, I never thought it would be this hard…I’m so sorry.” And she started crying again.

    “…what? Miss me? Katherine, I think you might have a concussion, I’m right here…” as I put my hand on her arm, it seemed to slide off. I tried again, and began to feel a warm tingly sensation in my hand. Maybe I’m in shock…

    Katherine began to speak softly. “It’s been six years now. I was driving to work in the snow, and I didn’t see the car in front of me, and I slid and hit you, and you died right here on the road. I couldn’t stop…I promised to never forget you. And every year since then, it snows…so I come back. And so do you.”

    I looked around, my vision swimming. Cars slowly faded away as they drove past, and as I turned to look back at my car, the shriveled front end smoking, windshield shattered, and then it too faded away. I looked back at Katherine, felt a strange floating sensation. She looked up at me. “See you next year, Tess.”

  51. pinkbamboo says:

    ok I written the story then came back to reread the prompt to realize I’m a little sidetracked. The story does not unfold on the road. This prompt made me reflect that I have some kind of theme going on lately lol.

    ++++++++++++++

    Damn it! I slammed my car door before I walked towards the car behind me. I’m going to be so late for the meeting.

    “Seriously, what the hell?” I yelled but I stopped.

    Stacy stepped out from the other car. Stacy, my boss from hell.

    “What the hell Janet? You can’t drive, is that it? Who does sudden breaks?” Stacy screamed at me, pointing to the front of her car.

    “Well, the car in front ..”

    “Shut it. You make me so mad!” she stomped her left foot.

    To be honest, I was afraid. She looked like she was going to slap me. She ran her hands over her blue dress and tied her blonde hair into a ponytail. Her eyes were wide, nostrils flaring and the mole above her lips moved as she gritted her teeth. Suddenly aware of the commotion, she lowered her voice.

    “We’ll settle this when I get back from New York. Get to the office now”

    I nodded and drove to the office. I took my time to avoid sharing an elevator with her. As I neared my cubicle, I could hear her talking to another colleague.

    “I’m not sure what she was doing but seriously, how careless can she be. My new car, by the way” I could see her dramatic hand gestures.

    It’s not entirely my fault, I wanted to scream. I decided to ignore her, picked up my folder and went into the meeting room to avoid her. An hour later, I managed to close the deal with Mr Jones and it made me so happy that I forgotten about this morning’s incident. I smiled as I walked past Stacy’s office. I knew she saw me smiling but I didn’t care.

    As soon as I sat down, I could hear her on the phone.

    “Hi honey, yeah I’m leaving to the airport soon. No, I’m fine” pause “Well my car is damaged. It’s so ugly now.” pause “Yeah, that Janet” pause “Who knows? Maybe she fell asleep or something”

    I bit my lips and continued working, trying to block Stacy out. Twenty minutes later, I couldn’t take it anymore so I went to the bathroom and pulled my phone out.

    “Bry?”

    “Hey sweety” his voice was soothing.

    “Bryan, Stacy is such a bitch. I hate her. She rammed her car into mine but she’s giving me a hard time. I am so pissed. I can’t think straight” I started crying.

    “Janet, you’re better than her. Look on the bright side, she’ll be gone for a week”

    I nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. I just had to call you, Bry”

    “Baby, come over after work. I’ll cook dinner okay?”

    I smiled. “Thank you, baby”

    “I love you”

    “Love you”

    Stacy left the office with her luggage two hours later and I left at 5 pm directly to Bryan’s place. He opened the door and comforted me with his kisses. Bryan poured me a glass of wine and sat down to massage my feet.

    “Stacy is a total bitch. You have every right to be pissed, baby”

    “She thinks she’s better than everyone else. Gosh, I hate her” I sighed.

    “Let’s forget about her, tonight it’s about you and me” Bryan smiled.

    The next morning, I woke up to the sound of Bryan in the shower. I smiled and sat up. Then I noticed the photo on the bedside table. I picked it up and smiled. Bryan was on the left side, all handsome and smart.

    Then on the right side, she was smiling. I bit my lips, angry all over again. Look at her smug face with her blonde hair pulled back in her white dress. Look at her stupid mole and the way she put her hand on Bryan’s chest, showing off her ring.

    Without thinking, I smashed the frame to the floor.

    “Sweety, what’s that?” Bryan called out.

    “Nothing important, baby” I kicked the frame under the bed before turning around to get my towel.

    “Bry, can I shower with you?”

    • Dennis says:

      Whoa, was not expecting that ending. Like the writing even if it took a slight turn.

    • Reaper says:

      I did not see that end coming either. I will agree that you have a little bit of a vindictive and treacherous theme going on recently. Still this was a very different angle than the last one. You have some solid range on you. Some of the best stories only stick technically to the prompt and I think you did that.

      Also, as much as I argued I did actually believe you got the mangled bodies in place last week. So I wrote for you an Original Reaper Love Story (patent pending). So I hope you like that though I don’t know if it will make you cry. I tried while staying as close to the prompt as I could.

    • don potter says:

      I wonder how this is going to end? Chances are three people are going to be very unhappy. Nice tale with the big flip at the end and a nice final button.

  52. TWO CARS, ONE ORANGE, ZERO MEMORY

    I had to be the only one who got T-boned in the City of Trees on a calm Tuesday morning. There was hardly any traffic on State Street, but it happened somehow. One second I was mouthing Counting Stars and the next a random black door had soared into the windshield.

    “Take that money, watch it—Woah, Woah!”

    A resounding crunch soon followed, coupled by my head slamming into the headrest. My entire body reverberated like a vomit-filled Cony Island spider ride and then it was all over.

    “Oh, shit. What do I do now?”

    Just when I thought the day was forecasted as grim, I realized I had to confront the driver, who hadn’t moved a muscle yet. Probably loading up his shotgun for the poor soul who scratched his Camaro. Which would be me. But, I had to do it or else I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

    My door nearly fell off its hinges when I creaked it open, and the other guy’s car looked like the ruins of Hiroshima, the little pieces of rubble on the pavement guiding the path to doom.

    I nearly died when I saw the familiar purple sunglasses and the wispy white cockatoo hair. It was my old kook of a boss, who, much to my coworker’s consternation, was very much alive and well. He shook his cane mightily at me with a look of lazy disdain.

    “Edgar, you son of a gun, look what you did to me! And, you didn’t finish those papers from Monday!”

    I stood unsteadily on one leg.

    “My name’s not Edgar. It’s Bill. Are you all right?”

    “All right!?” He gazed around him, just now facing the fact that his car had disintegrated around him. “I have all kinds of things hurting! My elbow, knee, hip, you name it! Not to mention that rash I told you about last week is in full swing.”

    “Yes, I remember that,” I replied, although I wish I didn’t, since it had included a semi-graphic demonstration. “I’m going to call 911, and the ambulances will get here in a few minutes.”

    By the time I had slowed my words down enough so that the operator could actually hear what I was saying, a small gathering had shown up to gaze upon the wreckage. They mostly kept silent, pacing around some invisible barricade arrayed around us.

    “Is it okay if I help you out of there?”

    He slithered out of the tangled seat belt and pulled an orange out of his bag.

    “Just a second.” He began to suck loudly on it.

    “Ah, much better. My left leg is healing up already.”

    “All right, all right, I’m going to get you out now.”

    “No! Just wait a second, I’ll do it myself.” He popped open the door and hauled himself out, using his cane as a tottering tower to support his jerky muscle movements.

    “Okay, then. Let’s move over here.” I could hear sharp wailing around the corner.

    By the time they had finished talking to both of us and hauled away the wreckage of both of our cars, the crowd had faded, and Mr. Overton was hunched so low I could only see his back.

    “Come on, the bus station is just a few blocks away. Don’t want to get to the airport late.”

    He stopped inspecting the cracks, and ran his bony palm through his hair.

    “What airport?”

    “I thought you were supposed to be going to Hawaii this week.”

    “I was?”

    “That’s what you said.”

    He appeared shocked. “Oh! Thanks, Edgar. I’d better get there posthaste!”

    I silently watched his wobble off, and I shoved my hands into my pockets. No doubt he’d be surprised when he found out there was no flight today. But at least we could have on more productive day down at the office.

    GH

  53. rainiemills says:

    Three days until I escape this miserable tundra. Thoughts the warmth of the sun on my face and the hot sand beneath my feet make me smile. This winter has been brutal. “Slow down there buddy” I say glancing in the rear view at the careless driver swerving on the ice laden road. It’s like people forget how to drive in these conditions.

    I shouldn’t have stopped, not knowing the jackass behind me obviously can’t drive, but the light was clearly red and I had ample stopping distance so I did. He didn’t. Hindsight right.

    I don’t have time for this, dammit. If I miss this morning’s meeting I’ll have to cancel my vacation. “You idiot.” I scream getting out of my car to assess the damage. “Don’t you know how to drive.” The backend of my jeep barely had a scratch. His car on the other hand doesn’t look very drivable, smoke poured out of the crumpled hood. I stand there screaming like a lunatic at the driver who hasn’t even got out of his vehicle yet. Approaching the window I see none other than my boss sitting in a daze, the deflated airbag lazily resting on his lap. Are you kidding me. Oh great. I open the door. “Are you okay?”

    He looks at me lost. “I think so.” He stared ahead at the coffee dripping from the dashboard. At least that’s what I think he is looking at. “I’ll call the police.” I grab my phone. He still doesn’t move. “Are you sure you’re okay?” His eyes roll up and close. I get no response. Shit. This is really not what I need. I dial 911 and pray they can make it there in time. With these conditions, I don’t know. Think. I feel for a pulse, yes we have a pulse, that’s good news. I try to assess the damage, scanning his body for any injuries. A bright red pool of blood covered his leg. That can’t be good. The river of blood showed no signs of letting up. I quickly take off my scarf wrapping it tightly around his leg to compress the wound and staunch the blood flow. I hear the sirens, they are close. “Hang on, help is coming.”

    Nodding in my direction the EMT said “you saved his life” as they loaded him in the back of the ambulance. I let loose the breath I didn’t realize I was holding. I saved his life. All my earlier frustrations felt trivial and selfish. I saved a life today.

  54. jimmieg says:

    Capital Investments…reduced…8%. Doug couldn’t go through the presentation again. He was feeling his way through the talking points now. Radio turned off, whit knuckling his way down the West Seattle Bridge and feeling his way through the most important presentation of his life.

    I’m screwed. 8% isn’t enough. Not for Mr. Gromitz.

    The line of cars on the bridge trying to exit onto I5 north was always long and today was even longer. Just as Doug reached the the maw of the onramp he saw a car trying to line jump in his rear view mirror. Effing line jumper. Wait your turn a-hole. Just like everyone else.

    Doug pumped the brakes to stay close to the car in front of him. This dance continued for a few steps as the line jumper cruised, looking for a weak spot. Pump. Pump. Trying to hold the chain taut. But this a-hole was persistent. He rolled up with his two seater, small dick, tinted window Benzo, and started honking at Doug! As if Doug were the a-hole for waiting in line like EVERYBODY ELSE! Doug screamed, in his head.

    Doug pumped his gas trying to close the gap one last time before heading into the maw but a-hole Benzo guy rolled up and forced his way in, hitting the side of Doug’s Cindy Lauper era Honda, and pining his own car against the guard rail.

    Oh this mother effer! MOTHER EFFER! Doug sprung from his car mid expletive. “You couldn’t wait in line like everybody else could you”, he admonished the man through dark glass. Doug continued, “think because you have a Mercedes Benz you can do whatever the ‘f’ you want? Huh? You stupid jerk face! Roll down your window and face me jerk man. Stupid line jumping jerk man!”. Doug continued to hurl ineffectual curses. He did not have a “potty mouth” as he would say, and therefore found it difficult to express the deep anger he often felt.

    Seeing his reflection in the window helped Doug to see the folly in rejecting the mother of all expletives. His two middle fingers shot up into he air as ominously as the Fat Man and Little Boy fell down to earth, and riding torrents of miss-timed comebacks his very first F-bomb exploded on the a-hole in the red Benzo’s window.

    “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck”, reverberated off the window. Doug’s protracted “Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!” seemed to go on for years until the brick wall of Mr. Gromitz’s eyes crushed the hanging ‘U’ like a dummy without a seatbelt.

    That’s when Doug said “Fuck” for the second time in his life. Followed by “me”.

  55. Ahsuniv says:

    Tye honked at the blue beetle in front of him. The man was taking the twenty five speed limit too seriously.

    ‘Ugh! Dude, do you have a meeting with your boss in ten minutes? No, you don’t. But, I do. So, get moving,’ he muttered under his breath, banging the horn with the heel of his hand. It felt good hitting the smiley face that his wife had stuck on the steering wheel’s horn.

    The beetle took a left and Tye exhaled with relief at finding a free road once again.

    ‘That’s more like it,’ he said, speeding his car.

    As his mind felt more at ease, he let it wander to his wife and the episode of bickering they had in the morning. He imagined what married life would be like minus the bickering.

    ‘Ah…’ he said to himself, ‘bliss-’

    He stepped hard on the breaks, bringing the car to a sudden stop as the traffic signal turned red.

    ‘Phew,’ he said just as a second jerk jolted through his body, making him scream.

    Someone had crashed into his car from behind. Cursing, he got out of the car.

    ‘Just what I need right now…’ he said, shaking his head in exasperation.

    He went to the back and stood frozen. It was the same blue beetle. It had crashed into his car’s rear. He went to take a closer look and found a huge dent and grey metal sticking out where it should have been shiny green.

    ‘Crap,’ he said, standing up to look at the car’s driver and instead got distracted as a gorgeous young girl in her twenties got out of the car from the passenger seat.

    ‘We are sorry. We didn’t mean to. You see, I’m teaching him how to drive and it was an accident…’ she blurted out, looking shaken. Even from the distance, he could smell her floral perfume and Tye forgave her mentally.

    ‘Susan,’ shouted the man from the driver’s seat, coming out with his bald head in the lead, ‘I will handle this.’

    Tye stood with his jaw hanging open in astonishment as the bald head turned out to be his boss.

    ‘Dad, I told you to stay in the car,’ said Susan.

    ‘I know this man. He is an employee in my office,’ he said, all his usual bossy demeanour gone as he stood hunched in his suit.

    ‘Um, Jack. I didn’t know that- uh, you know,’ mumbled Tye lost for words.

    ‘I am sorry, Tye. I will pay to get your car fixed,’ he said.

    Tye could see Jack’s knees clamouring and perspiration building on his forehead.

    ‘Are you okay, boss?’

    ‘Yes, yes, I am fine. I think. I have a phobia for driving. Hence, I never learnt driving all my life. My daughter insisted that she would teach me and…’ he trailed off looking embarrassed.

    Tye stared at him, unsure about what to do. Now that he thought about it, he never saw Jack drive to work.

    ‘Let’s just keep this between us if you don’t mind,’ he said, wiping the sweat from his silver brow. ‘Susan, I am never driving again.’

    He got into his car as the car behind them started to honk.

    ‘Dad, don’t be like that. It was just an accident. It could have happened to anyone,’ Susan said, her ponytail swinging furiously as she got in after her dad.

    ‘See you in a bit, Tye,’ he said through the window.

    Tye quickly slipped back into his car feeling stunned and started to office once again.

  56. pop says:

    Thanks! And here is a quickie for this prompt – felt compelled since I couldn’t post the last one properly…

    He hit the car in front of him hard. He was aware of the sound of metal on metal as the back of his head slammed into the headrest. “Son of a BITCH!!!” With a crotch full of piping hot Caffe Misto, a Grande, he was out of the car before the pick-up behind him plowed into his rental. A three-car accident in the middle of the morning rush. He heard another crash. Four. A four-car crash. “Shit, Shit, Shit!!!” There was no way he was going to make the meeting now.

    He couldn’t believe how bad the timing was. The Senate hearing was Wednesday, and he was under pressure to cave to Senator Richard’s request that the company issue a stronger safety warning. Marjorie was flat against the idea and he needed a strategy to get her on board prior to her testimony before the subcommittee on Tuesday.

    His car was totaled. Had he taken out the Enterprise insurance on the rental? He couldn’t remember. It was the Senator’s request that prompted him to get the rental; now he wished he hadn’t. They had all been driving the Recalls as a sort of show of faith; that the cars were really okay. He was a team player – but… Shit – he didn’t have time for this. Somehow he was going to have to get to that meeting.

    “ What kind of f #&ing asshole stops dead on the f#&ing freeway?” He pounded his fist on the roof of the car in front as he approached the driver’s door.

    “Marjorie???”

    “Hello Tom. Funny thing. The ignition switch – I only had one key on the chain…we need to issue a warning not to drive these cars until they are fixed. We need to pay for loaners for the owners. Get on it.”

    “Yes, mam.”

  57. pop says:

    This is for last weeks prompt – but for some reason I can’t post it there – when I click comments it sends me to my profile. So is there a way to add this to last week’s? Many thanks!

    “I hate to bother you, but I have something important to ask.” It was a 3-pack a day voice. I turned to face the woman – older, with a heavily lined face. She looked as though she’d had a difficult life as they say- rough around the edges, cheap.
    “How did you have the guts to go grey so early,” she asked smiling, running her long, purple polished nails through her own bleached straw.

    Really? Seriously? Was it a back handed compliment? I mean, I think I rock the grey- or gray, whatever – and its not like I’m exactly young anyway. A lot of research went into the decision. My husband said he was fine with it. And the style was hip – which kind of canceled out the granny factor, I thought. Also, it suited my coloring. I had always appeared a tad washed out as a brunette.

    Its not like she was the first one who asked. When I announced I was going natural at my salon, you’d have thought I said I had eaten my firstborn. Chairs swiveled around a la Linda Blair and at first my hairdresser would not hear of it. Crazy talk, she said. But after a painful year of growing out the brown even she stopped saying it was a mistake. Lately though, I was getting the question more frequently – and now from the likes of her, with her weathered cleavage and muffin top spilling over turquoise spandex pants – she really should NOT be wearing spandex.

    Over the top of my sunglasses I gave her what I sincerely hoped was a demeaning once-over and, wordlessly, I brushed past her out of Denny’s and into the CVS next door.

    And that’s how I ended up being the proud owner of a head of L’Oreal No. 6C Light Chestnut Brown hair!

    • Oh.. I was like, how can a story be posted on here already, but it’s one for last prompt, so my fears are relieved. I have no clue why you cannot post on the last prompt. Maybe there was some lag involved and it did not post earlier. Usually that happens to first-time posters. But, welcome to the community, and sorry if you actually have posted before.

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