2022 Weekly Photo Challenge
tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
A place filled with mostly unfinished stories. Begun primarily as a direct result of my association with the OC Writer's Guild
2022 Weekly Photo Challenge
Harvey moved to Rush Street in January of this year. He had bought the house at number five. It was a good-sized two-story home with three bedrooms and 2.5 baths, a great neighbourhood. An expansive “green belt” out back provided a view of manicured parkland that he could see from the back. The house next door (number four) housed an attractive thirty-something lady named Tessa. Tessa lived alone and liked to bake cupcakes. A different batch each week.
She made red velvet cupcakes, gingerbread cupcakes and chocolate chip cupcakes. She made Caramel Apple, Mint Oreo, Lemon, Chocolate Berry, Churro, and on and on. It was a seemingly endless variety of flavours. Tessa delivered cupcakes to all her family members, friends, and neighbours.
The first time that she delivered to Harvey’s house, she brought Snickerdoodle cakes. The next time was Devil’s Food with Coconut. By the time she brought him the Lemon Raspberry cakes he knew that he was in love.
A whirlwind courtship preceded a quickie service in Vegas. complete with Wedding Cake cupcakes – Iced with Vanilla Buttercream and monochromatic Confetti Sprinkles. They stayed in Nevada for three days after the service for a Honeymoon. They visited bake shops during the day. Places like La Belle Terre Bakery and Café, Patisserie Manon, and Le Macaron. At night they would retreat to their hotel room for an evening of sweet pastries and debauchery.
They returned to Rush Street and the newlyweds sold the house at number five. They moved in together at number four where all the baking supplies and tools resided.
Harv put on almost 75 pounds in less than two years and Tessa found it more and more difficult to look at him. Their love palled. Tessa tried to breathe life back into their marriage, they had been so happy. She changed the way that she dressed, and she cut back on her baking, but it was all to no avail. She had lost him. Tessa filed for divorce and plead, “Irreconcilable differences.” The judge agreed and granted the request. Harv moved out of number 4 and agonized over where to move next, Pie Town New Mexico or Cookietown, Oklahoma. Eventually settling in Oklahoma.
Tessa, for her part, moved to Maine and bought an island in Piscataquis County. She changed the name from Witham Island to Cupcake Island. It has its very own zip code (04414). If you find yourself up there, stop by “04414 Cupcakes.”
Any flavour is wonderful but I usually order anything with Lemon. I love Lemon. And, give my best to Tessa.
I pulled my pickup into the back lot of the Bourbon & Branch and parked in the far corner, away from the door. My shift ran from eight at night to four in the morning. I caught some of the good-time crowd early. Then I watched as the demographics changed. Changed from the beautiful people to the drunk people. Drunken people who had yet to realize they missed their chance for a hook up. There were a few regulars. They came in about midnight and closed us up at 0400.
The place was hoppin’ when I arrived. I waved to Connie as I came through the back door. She nodded to acknowledge me and went back to work. She pulling a tray full of Guinness Stouts for one of the tables against the wall.
After she handed the tray of drinks back to the server, Marny she meandered down the bar to turn over the reins to me. She looked tired and ready to finish for the rest of the night and the morning.
“Evening, Jake,” she started.
“What’s up, Connie,” I said.
I’m not a big talker, which explains why I work till four in the morning. The customers, after midnight, aren’t here to talk. They’re drinkers.
“Everything’s going smooth,” she said. “All the barrels are fresh changed within the last couple of hours, except for the Hoegaarden. You’ll need to change that before the night is over.”
“The crowd is about what you’d expect. Down at that end of the bar, we got a local guy. Named Daniel, and he’s cryin’ in his beer ‘cause his wife up and left him. You know Daniel, he lives three doors down from here, towards the church.”
“Yeah,” I said, “he’s been in a couple of times.” I craned my neck to see him sitting at the bar, slumped over something blue, in a glass
Connie nodded, “Seems she left him for a guy who lives two blocks over from the park, named Nick Masters. I don’t know him.”
“Me neither,” I shrugged my shoulders. “What’s Daniel drinking?”
Connie grimaced, “He calls it an Adios Motherfucker, and it has equal parts of vodka, rum, gin, tequila, and Blue Curaçao. Gotta be nasty, and he’s working on his fourth one.”
Turnover completed, Connie went home, and I got to work. I checked everyone at the bar, got more drinks, as required, and clocked in with Daniel.
He wasn’t doing well; he still slumped over his drink. He was literally crying when he asked for another one. I asked him if he was sure, and how he was getting home.
He said he was sure, and that he was walking home. I made him another AMF. He was quiet. He wasn’t bothering anyone. I figured it was alright for him to sit and cry a while longer. He sat, shit-faced, nursing his drink until he exploded. Which was when Nick Masters walked in with Daniel’s wife, Emmy, on his arm.
Danny spun around on his bar stool and leaned back. “You son-of-a-bitch, Masters!” Daniel yelled. “I’m not letting you bring her back. You’re stuck with her.” He picked up his blue drink and flung it in their general direction. He missed wide, but managed to signal for another AMF.
I got busy.
The tempo of the steel wheels got faster as the train began to pull away. Carl pressed his hand on the window and watched the prettiest girl he’d ever known, his new bride, Sara, hurry down the platform waving after him.
He was gone to fight in the struggle. – Southeast Asia -. He was still unsure what it was about, but they all assured him that he was protecting America.
So he went. And, there he found
A Carl he’d never known
Wounded and dead, piled like driftwood
A Purple Heart
Morphine and his own proclivity for the same
The tempo of steel wheels lessened as the train eased into the station. Carl pressed his hand on the window and searched the platform for Sara. They had taken away his morphine, but substitutes are easily found, in a war zone. Life was never going to be what he’d grown up believing.
Medicines that raced like trains through his veins were more important
More important than the bride he barely knew
More important than money or food or family
More important than life itself
The train doesn’t stop here anymore.
The economy is in decline.
Property values are non-existent.
Sara lives alone at the edge of town.
Carl never stood a chance,
– bowled down by forces beyond his control.