Did I Say That Right?


 

She was average height and just a little clumsy. She was always on a diet because of something her mother said to her when she was fifteen. She was brilliant, smarter than I’ll ever be, a mathematician working for a university think tank – always calculating the improbable. She was beautiful, especially when her tumultuous red hair fell down in disarray. I was smitten from the moment I first saw her on the train, the 8:00AM commuter train into the city.

That first day she was reading a book. I ached to speak with her, so I peeked at the book title in search of an icebreaker. The book was something about Linear Matrix Inequalities in System and Control Theory. That was no good. I maneuvered behind her and looked over her shoulder, hoping that there was a novel, of some sort, hidden behind the math text. I scanned the page and couldn’t understand a thing printed on it but, I could tell it wasn’t steamy romantic literature. It was pure academia. She got off the train at the University stop and I kicked myself all morning for having let her slip by. I never even said hello. At noon, I told the boss I was sick, nauseous, and had to go home.

“Of course,” he told me. “Go home, get some rest, see your doctor if you need to. Get well and let me know if you will be missing tomorrow as well. Remember, anything more than a day and a half requires a physician’s note or you will be terminated.”

I nodded my head.

“Chicken soup,” he called to my back as I left, “it works wonders!”

Making my way to the stop I took the train to University Station, where I hung out all afternoon looking for her. It was about 6:30 when I spied her coming up the stairs. I stood as the train pulled in and got on the same car as she. It was crowded but not too crowded and I managed to snag the seat next to her without appearing to be a stalker. Her nose was already buried in the same book she had been reading that morning.

I cleared my throat, “Excuse me, is this seat taken?” were the first words I said to her and they weren’t very romantic. She pulled off her glasses and looked up at me. I looked at her and fell into her eyes, the color of emeralds, bottomless. I didn’t hear what she said but I sat down. She went back to her book.

“I had a great day today,” I blurted out like a fool, “how about you?”

She closed the book on her finger and looked at me again. God, those limpid eyes, “I beg your pardon?”

“I said I think you’re beautiful and I want to get to know you better. Would you like to get a bite to eat, or some coffee, or something?” I took a deep breath. Did I really just say that out loud? I messed that up, big time. She’s going to tell me to leave and she’s going to call the cops. I’m going to wind up on a sex offender list and have to give up my apartment because it’s too close to the school. My life is ruined. Wait she’s talking again, “W, W, What?” I stuttered.

“Coffee sounds nice.” She said and I realized that she was repeating it for my benefit. The train pulled into a station. I looked out to see where we were.

“There’s a good place a couple of blocks from here.” We gathered up our things and hurried onto the platform. We sat and talked for three hours in the coffee shop that night. I learned she was single and had never really had time for a relationship. I learned about her job and how she got along with her mom. I learned she was an only child who grew up in the country. Rural Ohio was home and she did her undergraduate work at Ohio State, Masters in New York, at Columbia.

I told her that I had a GED, four years in the Navy and was still going to Community College, studying Literature. We told each other a lot more that night but so much of it was a blur. I kept getting lost in her eyes.

We courted on the train for a couple of months; we would sit together and hold hands. We’d go to our coffee shop two or three times a week. Then she got the phone call about her mom. It wasn’t good. She’s on a leave of absence from her work at the University. We speak every day by phone and exchange e-mails. She writes me long letters by hand and I save every one. I have a week’s vacation due next month. She’s invited me to come to Ohio. I’m going to go.


 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/fifty-word-inspiration/

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Light and Shade: Walter, The Drivin’ Man


 

Walter was a drivin’ man. That’s what he did. Walter was an honest man. That’s the way he rolled. If he told you he was going to do something, it got done.

Walter was, in that time, driving for “Home Charities, International”. He would drive to your home and collect your donation; he would then transport it back to Home Charities’ workshops and distribution center. There, your donation would be evaluated, cleaned, repaired (as necessary) and delivered to Home Charities Thrift Shops all over the Country for resale.

Technically, Walter worked for the Logistics Department, in reality he worked for Murray Sturgis. Murray was a dispatcher, his dispatcher. Every work day Murray would hand each driver a list of where they should go, who they should meet with, and what they could expect to pick up there.

On this particular day Murray gave Walter an address in Chesterton on Loggerhead Lane. It was noted on the chit that he should not arrive before 9:00AM and if the donor wasn’t home the front door would be unlocked. The driver should simply go in and remove all the women’s things from the bedroom closet and dresser. A second notation mentioned a few cardboard boxes on the closet shelf containing books, games, and a few stuffed animals that were also for collection. Murray told him that the donor’s wife had recently passed away, so he might not be there for the collection, it might be hard for him. “Promise me you’ll do a thorough job with this one Walter. I went to school with this man. We wanna do this one right.”

“Sure thing Murray,” Walter promised.

Chesterton was a 10 minute drive from the distribution center; Walter had some time to kill if he was going to wait until after 9 o’clock to arrive. He drove first to Churchy’s diner, had a big breakfast then drove to Loggerhead Lane. There was no answer when he knocked on the door so he tried the knob. It was unlocked, as he had been told it would be, so he went in. “Hello,” he called into the house. When no one answered he walked in further to find the bedroom and the things he was meant to collect.

Finding the bedroom was easy and though he felt like a thief, he quickly removed all the women’s clothes from one side of the walk-in closet and loaded them into boxes he had set up for that purpose. He wasn’t real comfortable emptying the “unmentionables” drawer either. He would rather not have been handling the lady’s underthings but, he had given his word so he worked on.

In about three hours he had everything loaded and another hour was needed to drive it back, unload and process it into the workshop for cleaning and such. This one job pretty much filled his day, so he cleaned his truck and went home.

Murray found him later, “Well done Walter, I knew I could trust you with this one.”

 


Light and Shade

I think I got the word count right this time!

Gargleblaster #168: The Mermaid


There was poundin’ on the door.
BANG, BANG
I can’t ignore him, he won’t leave.

 Through the door I say, “I know what you want, Cap’n.
“She’s not here. I threw her back.”

 “Arrgh, Ya won’t mind if we look around then.”


 


Holy smokes – A prize “Top Row Seven” I am honored and excited.

Speakeasy #168: Another Epic Day


 

“When did you know you were lost?” he asked.

“As soon as we didn’t get there when we should have,” I said “What kinda stupid question is that anyway?”  I grinned, “We were makin’ great time though.”

“Yeah we were,” he agreed. “But how did we wind up in France?”

“France? What makes you think we’re in France? We’re in a pickup truck – we can’t get to France in a pickup truck.”

“I dunno, maybe it’s all the people speaking French?”

“That doesn’t mean anything; we could be in Haiti or New Orleans or Montreal. We are lost, remember. And, what makes you think that’s French anyway? Sounds like it could be Spanish to me!”

“Pull over,” he instructed, “let’s ask someone.”

“You don’t speak French or Spanish,” I said.

“Not since high school, anyway,” he grinned. “Come on, come on – pull over by that café.”

So I did. I pulled over to the curb, put the truck into first, set the brake and killed the engine. He got out of the cab and naturally, he leaned against the hood until a good looking girl came by.

Excusez-moi mademoiselle.” He asked her, “Pouvez-vous s’il vous plaît me dire où nous sommes?”

She looked at him like he had just escaped from a mental ward and stepped a little closer to the building, giving him a wide berth, “La Rochelle, bien sûr.” She said hurriedly and picked up her pace to speed past.

He leaned into the window, “I think she likes me.”

“Like hell, she was lookin’ at me. What’d she say?”

“She said we’re in La Rochelle. Where’s that?”

I pulled out my iPhone and went to work. “I think she’s fuckin’ with you. La Rochelle’s in France, but dude… we only left Richmond a couple of hours ago and we haven’t even stopped for gas. No way could we be in France. Ask somebody else.”

He stood up, rapped twice on the doorframe and turned back to the sidewalk. An elderly gentleman wearing a beret and walking rather sprightly, with a cane, was approaching. “Excusez-moi monsieur, pouvez-vous me diriger vers La Rochelle?”

“Vous êtes à La Rochelle. Que faites-vous, un comédien?

He stuck his head back in the cab. “Well?” I asked.

“The old guy says we’re in La Rochelle, dude. How can that be? What are we gonna do?” He was starting to get worried.

I pulled my phone back out and started asking Siri some serious questions. He was standing on the curb looking at stuff.

“Dude,” I called, “come here, I got a plan.”

He came back and opened the door. As he climbed into the truck he said, “The only car here with Virginia plates is your truck, man. Everybody else has funny lookin’ plates. I think these guys were right, we’re either in France or we’re in the Twilight Zone. Have you seen that Serling guy? You know who I’m talkin’ about right? I think I’m startin’ to hyperventilate.” He leaned his head down between his knees; put both hands over his mouth and started breathing deeply.

“Take it easy man,” I said, “I tell ya, I got a plan. My phone tells me that La Rochelle is on the coast, right? That means there’s a beach right?”

He thought about that and nodded.

“Let’s go get some fries and head to the beach. If we’re in France well, the beaches are topless in France. That means there’ll be tits at the beach.”

He looked at me with that thousand yard stare, no longer hyperventilating. “Yeah,” he said slowly like he was talking in his sleep. Then, picking up speed, he continued, “tits at the beach and, and fried potatoes. This has the makin’s of a great day.” A smile spread slowly across his face. “An epic day.”

I started the truck and pulled back around into the sparse traffic, heading west.

“Can we buy beer?” he asked.

“We’ll probably have to settle for wine,” I answered, “this is France, after all.”


If The SpeakEasy is open you can check out what this is all about by clicking on the badge. My apologies for the poor French.

Please read in the spirit of fun – that is the spirit in which it was written.

Daily Prompt: Flavor #32

Daily Prompt: Flavor #32

A local ice cream parlor invites you to create a new wacky flavor. It needs to channel the very essence of your personality. What’s in it?


 

Andy smoothed the front of his shirt and adjusted his paper hat for that rakish tilt that made him look more debonair. It was going to be the next customer, he knew it. He glanced in the mirror behind him and wished that his face was clearer but the mustache was looking pretty good. It would look better if it was darker. His blonde hair meant that he had to tilt his head just right for the light to catch the mustache and make it visible. He knew that by next week it would be full and lush. Heck, it took his dad three days to grow a mustache – he’d only been working on his for a little over a month.

The door chime sounded and he turned to see who the lucky customer was. Entering the shop at exactly the same time, were two customers walking abreast of one another, it was a tie. On the left was Mr. Simonson, an octogenarian who had lived in this burg forever and was seldom seen unless he were entering, or exiting the Fox Den, a dive bar on the corner of 17th and Elm. Andy had never been in there. On the right was Ms. Rearden. She was a retired widow who had been Andy’s sixth grade teacher. Andy pulled on the string that the morning manager had rigged up in anticipation of this event and the air horn went off. He had to tug it a little harder to get the confetti to spill out over the winners, who looked startled and ready to run. Then he pushed the button on the cassette player below the counter, starting the music. The William Tell Overture began to play. He only let it play two or three seconds then pressed the button again silencing the music.

“Wow,” Andy exclaimed. “We have two winners. Congratulations, you guys!”

“Excuse me?” whispered Ms. Rearden, “I need to sit down.”

“What are you talking about boy?” Mr. Simonson growled.

Andy explained the contest and said that one of them had earned the right to invent a new flavor of ice cream and have it bear their name, but since they had entered the store at exactly the same moment there were two winners. He made a spur of the moment decision and invented a twist to the game. Mr. Simonson would name the ingredients for the Ms. Rearden flavor and she would decide the same for the Mr. Simonson flavor. It was agreed and Simonson was to go first.

He turned and looked Ms. Rearden up and down several times. “This is pretty tough, ‘cause I don’t know you at all. I have to base this solely on your appearance, understand?” Everyone nodded in unison. “First,” he said thoughtfully, “vanilla to represent the soft white color of her hair.” Andy scribbled this down on his pad of paper. “Melons,” said Mr. Simonson, “because, well, uhm,” he cleared his throat, “I mean look at her. Right?” Nobody nodded this time but Andy dutifully wrote it down. Ms. Rearden was beginning to look a bit uncomfortable.

“Jalapenos and tomatoes should finish it off. But they should be really juicy tomatoes.” Mr. Simonson stuck his thumb up and leered at Ms. Rearden.

Ms. Rearden pulled the collar of her dress closer together and higher on her neck. “My turn?” she asked. When red-faced Andy nodded she continued, “Trim the outsides from a loaf of bread and put that in there.” She paused to think, “Beer, definitely beer. No, no, wait. It has to be cheap beer.” Andy was writing feverishly as she continued. “Lastly we need to add syrup of ipecac. That should do nicely.”

“I’m not sure what that last one is.” Andy said.

“Me either.” Chimed in Simonson, looking a bit puzzled.

“Syrup of ipecac is an emetic,” Ms. Rearden explained, “used to induce vomiting. I think these ingredients should represent this gentleman well as he seems to be a crusty drunk who makes me want to puke.” She spun on her heel and left the shop.


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Horchata


This year winter is threatening to last forever. It seems that I have been cold for so long and I yearn for summer to come. I took it upon myself to see if I could hasten its arrival.

My abuelita used to say that summer and horchata was a natural pair. You couldn’t have one without the other. I have fond memories of drinking horchata on hot summer days. It was so cooling and fresh; it tasted like nothing else.

Since my grandma said the two went hand-in-hand and I knew that whenever summer came we would have horchata – logic would have it that the reverse was also true. Therefore, if I whipped up a jar full, summer should result. I had not tasted it for years and I began to look forward to this exercise.

I went to work and gathered up the ingredients. I blended rice, water, and canela. I let it soak in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning I added milk, and sugar. A splash of vanilla topped it off and I was in business.

I poured a tall glass and headed for the kitchen table. Glancing out the window I saw it had begun to snow. I knew it was not going to be easy to banish the winter. I brought the glass to my lips, took a sip and closed my eyes. I was immediately transported to my grandmother’s kitchen. It was warm and the smell of cooking meats and breads perfumed the air. My abuelita would hum a tuneless song as she worked; and all was right with the world.

I glanced out the window of my kitchen again. If anything the snow was coming down harder now. So, it’s on then. I was prepared to drink the entire pitcher right now, if need be. I was done with winter. I craved summer. I topped off my glass and raised it in challenge to the winter snow.


Too many words, sorry about that Light and Shade.  Here’s a recipe.

 

Horchata

1 1/3 cup rice
5 cups of water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup milk
1/3 cup white sugar (or to taste)
Vanilla (to taste)

Put 1 1/3 cup rice in the blender with about 2 cups of water and 2 cinnamon sticks. Blend until the rice and cinnamon are roughly ground. Add the remaining water and blend thoroughly. Pour into a pitcher and place in the refrigerator to soak (overnight is best but if you can’t wait that long go at least 4-5 hours).
Strain the mixture. Add the milk, sugar (a rounded 1/3 cup for ‘not too sweet’ – 2/3 cup for ‘sweet’) and a generous splash of vanilla. Serve chilled

 

 

Daily Prompt: Vending Wishes

Daily Prompt: Vending Wishes

Soft drinks, electronics, nutrient-free snacks — you can get all of those from a vending machine. But what type of vending machine is sorely needed but doesn’t yet exist? Share your automated retail fantasies with us!


 

Jimi inserted the coins
He listened to them fall
He pressed the button marked “MUSIC”
Pulled open the door
There was a new Stratocaster and the ability to play it.

Wayne slipped a dollar note into the bill acceptor
The belt whined as the money was pulled in
He chose the button “SPORT”
A stick, a puck, and shiny skates dropped with a clunk
He laced up the skates and commenced to score.

Albert dropped a couple of Marks in the slot
On the face of the Automat in front of the Lebensmittelgeschäft
“PHYSICS“
A small slip of paper and a clear understanding was his prize
E = mc² was printed there.

Every day I put my money in
I always press “WRITE”
Without fail, each time, the machine eats my coins
A tagger has painted with green spray on the front “Practice” – that’s all I get
I go home, grab my pencil, my paper, and do as instructed
I’ll try again tomorrow.


 

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