Monday, April 27, 2015

Short Story - A Perfect Mistake

     I mentioned in my previous post that not much was happening…well, I’m hereby retracting that statement.  I am writing again and that, for me, is a big ‘happening’!  I guess my thought was that the things that were happening BEFORE the accident are not happening much now!  The journey is definitely still on!  I’m currently on a different road than originally planned; however, the ADVENTURE continues!  I thought I would include a writing or so of mine as part of the blog…given the fact that that IS what’s going on!
     There is a quarterly contest for freelancers that gives a writer an opportunity to create a short story from a prompt, with a specified word count AND in only 24 hours!  I missed the registration deadline for spring, but I took on the challenge anyway for my own personal practice. 

My understanding, regarding the prompt, is that as long as you keep the basic “flavor” and components, you can alter it in any way that fits into your own story.  So, here is the one I just wrote yesterday.  I hope you enjoy it.

PROMPT       ( 78 words )
Sitting on the porch steps, she stared, ignoring the
scent of lilacs from the overgrown bush. Her heart
lurched when she saw the mail truck approaching,
dust in its wake. Would it arrive today? The ancient
mail carrier took his time handing her some envelopes
and, finally, a large package in brown paper. As he
drove away, she dropped the envelopes on the porch,
and walked quickly around the side of the house,
praying nobody inside saw...

                                                                         A Perfect Mistake

      Jenny couldn’t believe the day had arrived for Bill’s big promotion party.  She had been preparing for this event for months…mostly through online shopping and sending favor requests via email to a few local friends.  Her unusual strategy worked brilliantly as she was held up in LA for business up until a week before the party.  She so enjoyed planning this huge celebration for her boyfriend of 3 years…now, actually her ex…as of five days ago.  Yes, Bill had met Jenny at the airport with one heck of a “Welcome home, honey”. 
     “I think we’re growing apart, Jen.  This just isn’t working for me anymore.   I think after the party, we should go our separate ways. ”
     Jenny was stunned at his matter of fact demeanor, the brevity of his words and his callous attitude.  Her heart ached and it was going to be terribly awkward, but it was too late to inform 75 people that Bill’s big bash was canceled.  She couldn’t help but wonder whether she could “be cool” for the crowd, portraying the proud girlfriend, pleasant and hostess-like and still remain detached.  Could she fake it about still being a happy couple until after the party?  Oh, and what about the…?  Jenny needed a plan and quick!
     She was being haunted by her memory of all the expense and effort she put into customizing a gift for him in recognition for his achievements…and now…now her surprise had to be abolished somehow.  He could never know!  He might deserve it, but he wasn’t going to get it from HER…not now.
.     It was a picture perfect Saturday afternoon in New Hampshire, still a couple hours from party time and Jenny was obsessing over the delivery. 
     “It just better arrive at the exact time I scheduled it.  After all, I DID pay extra for that service!  And if I’m gone too long, one of the guests is bound to notice.”
     Yeah, she was sweatin’ this one!
     Everything was set and Bill showed up about a half hour early…the first one there, of course.  Jenny greeted him with a cordial embrace and they conspired to pull off the evening’s charade.                Guests appeared in droves at first and as the last 20 or so trickled in, Jenny’s heart began to race 
with anxiety about the package.  She was getting nervous and she looked it!  She decided to go out front and sit on the porch.
    Just perched there, staring, she noticed how overgrown her yard was.  There had been quite a bit of rainfall in her hometown while she was in California working.  She ruminated about not hiring someone to take care of things while she was away.  Sadly, you couldn’t even appreciate the gorgeous lilac bush by the front gate.  “No matter,” she thought,  “It’s all I can do to ignore the glorious perfume it emits.  If I had to look at it, too…the flower of LOVE…that could do me in today!”
     Suddenly, she heard the sound whose meaning had been transmuted from excitement to dread!  The USPS truck was heading her way slowly as it made a stop at each home along her street.  Jenny was feeling very impatient at this point.  Thoughts were running rampant in her mind.  “Does everyone have to get mail today?   I can’t wait until this is over.   I sure hope I’m not being missed in there.  C’mon, already!”
     Finally and with a bright smile, the postman declared, “I got that special package along with your mail, Ms. Jenny.  You still want me to hand deliver it to that young man of yours?”
     “NO!!!….um, I mean no thanks.  I’ll take it from here.  Thank you, Mr. Wiley.”
     Before he could say, “You’re welcome,” Jenny grabbed the package leaving her mail behind and sprang to the side of the house praying no one inside saw her.  She’d have to be quick.  She had already been away from the party for over 20 minutes.  Jenny took a deep breath and courageously opened the well-cushioned box to take one quick look at his “pre break-up” gift before she tossed it!  She could feel her emotions surging as she began to read the inscription on the plaque that she lovingly designed for the wall behind his desk in his new office.
William Bradley
A respected man of honor
Never prone to quip
A leader to his crew
The Captain of his shit
     When she first saw that blatant last letter typo, she was met with a moment of panic.  Then she laughed until she cried.  “Toss it?  Hmmm?  Maybe I’ll give it to him anyway!”  
(785 words)

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