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Weekly Short Story Contests > Week 453 (April 8-April 15) Stories Topic: One More Light

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message 1: by C.P., Windrunner (new)

C.P. Cabaniss (cpcabaniss) | 633 comments You have until the 15th of April to post a story and from the 16th to around the 22nd of April, we’ll vote for which one we thought was best!

Please post directly into the topic and not a link. Please don’t use a story previously used in this group. Only one submission per person is allowed.

Your story should be between 300 and 3,500 words long.

REMEMBER! A short story is not merely a scene. It must have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

This week’s topic is: One More Light

The rules are pretty loose. You could write a story about anything that has to do with the subject/photo but it must relate to the topic somehow.

Most of all have fun!


message 2: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments AUTHOR: Garrison Kelly
TITLE: Goddamn Dog
GENRE: Contemporary
WORD COUNT: 1,898
RATING: R for swearing



As Tim Coleman laid half asleep in bed on a rainy afternoon, he kept wondering why his girlfriend Jade Quinn had “One More Light” by Linkin Park playing on repeat before she left for work in the morning. She wasn’t her usual peppy self. No smiles. No kisses. Not even a hug. Just cold, empty eyes as she left Tim in charge of dogsitting duty. The pouring rain coupled with the dour mood made him curl up against his pillow even more. A pillow was no substitute for Jade, however. He would have settled for Millie crawling up under the blankets. But then…

Something assaulted Tim’s nose like a wrecking ball to the face and had just about as much knockout power. He pulled his nostrils under the blanket, but he could still smell that rancid, god-awful odor coming from the living room. “Oh no…no, no, no…please tell me she didn’t do it…no…no…NO!”

He threw the blankets off of him and stomped out to the living room wearing just his athletic shorts. The harder he stomped, the more rage pumped through his ogre-like body. The odor set his nostrils nearly ablaze as he tried to suppress the urge to vomit. And then he made it to the living room and saw that Jade’s hardwood floors had become a battlefield of landmines. Gigantic, steaming brown landmines with the general herself laying on the ground in guilt. Millie the salt n’ pepper colored Labrador mooed like a cow before unleashing a cloud of toxic gas from her already putrid bunghole.

“Goddamn it, Millie! You stupid fucking goddamn dog!” shouted Tim from the top of his lungs. “I am so sick and tired of cleaning up your fucking messes! You goddamn dog!” Fury and venom poured from the fat man’s lips with every swearing scream. “I’m going to fucking kill you, you stupid dog!” Though he would never go through on such a threat, Millie wouldn’t have known as she guiltily tucked her head.

Tim stomped to the bathroom and fetched the necessary cleaning supplies for a job this disgusting: paper towels, a mop, and a bucket he filled with soapy water. In between retrieving these necessary items, he kept on roaring like the pissed off lion he was. “You goddamn dog! Quit shitting all over the fucking floor, asshole!”

His first course of action was to scoop up all of the dog turds with god knows how many paper towels before flushing them down the toilet separately. Every time he bent over, the odor triggered his gag reflex to where he wanted to vomit himself inside out. While that would be an instant relief to his aching and tired body, it would also mean more messes to clean up. “Goddamn stupid ass fucking dog!” he screamed.

After flushing the turds down the drain, he sat on the toilet seat for a while and wiped the sweat from his body, which poured like the rainy weather outside. Tim took several deep breaths not only to recover his lost energy, but also in a vain attempt to calm himself down. “Stupid dog…stupid goddamn dog!” he screamed, completely destroying his ambitions of nirvana.

Step two of this ultimate cleaning job was to mop the floors as vigorously as he could. A few strokes in and he was already sucking wind. Wind, by the way, that was broken by a sixteen-year-old dog huddling in the corner. “Stupid dog!” Tim screamed again as he scrubbed the wooden floor. No matter how hard he mopped, the air thickened like he was in a burning building. At this point he was genuinely surprised the smoke alarm didn’t go off during this job. “You stupid motherfucking dog! Quit making me clean up after you, you little shithead!”

Once he was certain the shit was completely cleaned up off the floor, he death-marched to the bathroom to flush the mop water down the toilet. His head ached worse than if he had been beaten with hammers. His heart pounded as if a Mortal Kombat character was trying to rip it out. His lower back flared with pain like he had taken a body slam over a pile of razorblades. Tim sat on the toilet and sucked some more wind, confident that his job was finally over.

He had recovered a modicum of his energy before he put the cleaning supplies back in the bathroom closet. Slowly and languidly, he waddled out to the living room and took care not to slip on the wet surface. The only wet surface he had to deal with it that moment was the one on Jade Quinn’s horrified face, an intensification of what she felt when she left for work this morning.

There she was in her business skirt, high heels, and wrinkled dress shirt. She dropped her purse by her feet and stared down Tim’s guilty soul with wetness in her eyes. Her lips quivered as she tried to form a sentence. “T…Tim…did I just…hear you…yelling at Millie?” No response, only a saggy frown to match his guilt. “Answer me!” she cried.

Tim’s own face quivered as he too tried to muster up the words he needed. “Jade, I’m sorry. She…she shit all over the floor and…I panicked…I would never do anything to hurt Millie, you know that, right?”

Pointing her manicured finger at Tim, Jade fought back the rest of her tears in vain as she mumbled, “You…would never…hurt Millie?” Silence hung between the two lovers like a yawning, fiery chasm. “You just did, you insensitive asshole!” Jade dropped to her knees and held her long blond hair in her hands, emptying her eyes of emotional fluids. Millie slowly edged towards her and got a scratch behind the ears from her one true master.

Tim gingerly approached his girlfriend and knelt down to put his massive hand on her shoulder. Jade swatted him away instantly. “Don’t touch me!” she sobbed. “You’ve done enough damage today!” She hugged Millie around her neck and cried into her salt and pepper fur. “I’m sorry, baby girl. I’m sorry he yelled at you like that.”

Tim stood back up not knowing what else to say. Apologizing didn’t work. Explaining his actions didn’t work. Not even a gentle touch of the shoulder could bring his girlfriend out of her sorrowful abyss. He knew he fucked up badly and could do nothing but sit on the leather couch with his pudgy face in his hands.

“You can’t sit there anymore, Tim,” blubbered Jade. “Not after what you did. This was supposed to be Millie’s special day. I was going to take her to the park and get her ice cream after I got off work. And now…all she’s going to remember is you yelling at her…How could you, Tim?”

“Wha…What do you mean all she’s going to remember? Is that why you played that Linkin Park song this morning? Jade, you can tell me what’s going on.”

Wiping away tears even though they wouldn’t stop coming, Jade lifted her face from her hug with the dog and said, “Millie has stomach cancer. That’s why she’s been going to the bathroom on the floor a lot. And you react to this mild inconvenience by yelling those awful things at her?!”

Tim didn’t notice it when he was cleaning, but now that he thought about it, there were small traces of red in Millie’s stool. The guilt choked him up like a noose around the neck. His eyes grew sore, but he did a better job of hiding his sadness than his girlfriend. Even during this dark time he was too proud to fall apart in front of her. But he couldn’t help it. One tear rolled down his cheek while many more cascaded from Jade’s eyes.

“You know, Jade…there’s no reason…why we can’t still get Millie ice cream.” His voice trembled as he etched out those words.

“Yes, there is!” shouted Jade as she stood back up. “She’ll just shit all over the floor and you’ll scream like a little child again as you clean it up! The only reason why you’re sorry is because you got caught! You don’t care about my dog! You don’t care about my emotions! In fact, get your fat ass off my couch and get dressed! I don’t want you here anymore!”

Tim didn’t get up. He sat there and let another tear roll down his cheek. “I’m sorry, Jade.”

“No, you’re not!” cried Jade as she grabbed Tim’s arm and tried in vain to jerk him to a standing position. When he wouldn’t budge, she just crumpled to a pile on the floor and cried some more, prompting Millie to lick her face dry.

“Jade…if you give me the keys to your car…I will go to the supermarket and buy vanilla ice cream for Millie. She loves vanilla, right?”

“Go to hell, Tim!”

“Listen to me!” urged Tim as he cupped Jade’s shoulders in his hands. “If you still want me gone from here, I’ll go. But please let me get the ice cream for Millie. She deserves that much. Right, old lady?” Tim petted Millie’s head and talked cutely to her about what a good dog she was, even planting a kiss on her wet nose. Millie returned a puppy kiss for his efforts.

Tim then held Jade’s hand in his own and begged, “Please…let me get the ice cream. You can even come with me if you want and we’ll listen to One More Light for as long as you want. I love that song too. And Millie can come ride with us. She can stick her head out the window and…”

“Tim, enough,” said Jade while a holding a hand in front of her boyfriend. She wiped away a tear and sniffed snot up her nose. “I know what you’re trying to do and it won’t work. She’s just going to shit in the car again and you’ll go on another yelling spree. If anybody’s going to get the ice cream, it’s me.”

With that said, Jade and Millie walked out of the house together for a ride in the car while Tim sat on the couch in his shorts sulking it up. A few tears escaped his eyes and he didn’t bother to wipe them away. It was over. It was all over. Not just for him, but for Millie as well. The puppy kiss didn’t even feel like true forgiveness. Knowing his hands were unclean (in more ways than one), Tim Coleman pulled himself off the couch and trudged back to the bedroom, presumably to get his things and go.

And then…he walked past the kitchen and saw something magnetized to the refrigerator door. He pulled down a familiar sheet of glossy paper and studied it for a while before making his final attempt at goodwill towards Jade and Millie. Wasting no more time, he picked up the phone and dialed a number on the sheet of paper. A few rings later, he was patched in.

“Thank you for choosing Pizza Hut. How can I help you tonight?”

“Yes, I’d like an extra large meat lover’s pizza with stuffed crust.” Tim couldn’t contain his sorrow over the phone and it was noticeable.

“Are you okay, sir?”

“Not really. But I’m sure my dog will be happy to see you once you get here with that pizza.”


message 3: by Edward (new)

Edward Davies | 1727 comments Title : Xmas Rivalry
Author : Edward Davies
Word Count : 939
Rating : PG

Klaus stood back on his front lawn and smiled. His yearly inspection of his Christmas tree lights had gone swimmingly; if anything he might have had even more lights up than the year before. There was no way he was going to lose the streets annual Christmas decorating competition, one he’d won every year for the last decade or so.

He lived on his own now. At the ripe old age of seventy-six, his wife had died the year before. His children had moved away, and now the only thing he had in his life was his Christmas decorations; his Christmas decorations and the thought of the massive ham that was the annual prize for first place.

As he admired his lights, glistening with a brilliant white light in the early evening dark, he happened to look down the road and one of the houses that had stood empty until lately. A few months ago and elderly woman had moved in, Sinitta he though her name was, but she hadn’t really made much of an impression on the street. Klaus could see someone moving around on her roof, and he narrowed his aged eyes to try and see better.

Was it a burglar?

If it was a burglar, it was a pretty old one. The apparent burglar was moving very slowly, very cautiously, and was tentatively moving to a ladder propped against the side of the house. He watched as the figure slowly descended the steps until their feet were both placed on solid ground. It looked like a woman to him, he thought to himself, but from this distance he couldn’t be sure. It was most likely Sinitta, though what a woman of her age had been doing on the roof was anybody’s guess. Klaus continued to watch as the old woman shambled slowly away from the ladder. Bending to pick something up from the ground, she appeared to flip a switch, and then Klaus had to shield his eyes.

The light was blinding. He could barely see when he finally ventured to move his hands away from his eyes, and what he saw stunned him rigid.

Sinitta had decorated her home for Christmas, and the decorations were more than a match for Klaus!

Klaus narrowed his eyes so they almost completely disappeared under his white eyebrows.

“She must be stopped.” He mumbled to himself.

Heading to his garage, Klaus looked around for something he could use to knock out her electricity. Failing that, something he could use to smash a few of her fairy lights. He picked up a hammer, a screwdriver, and a shovel with a half broken handle. With his weapons in hand, he headed over to his new neighbours house, hoping that nobody would see him. It would normally be pretty dark at that time of the evening, but with all the Christmas lights it was almost like mid-afternoon. Thankfully the lights were bright to such a degree that Klaus had to squint to see where he was going, so anybody else who happened to see him passing by would only recall seeing a squinty figure walking down the street, if they could have seen him at all.

As he approached Sinitta’s property, he ducked as best he could behind some bushes, watching the woman and waiting for her to disappear back into the house. Once she had, he set to work.

The first thing he tried was using the screwdriver to get into the fuse box that was situated on the side of the house. After a few feeble attempts, all of which failed, Klaus gave up on trying to open it up and remove all the fuses to the house. His next idea had been to smash it open with his hammer, but in hindsight he’d decided that would make too much noise. So, putting down the hammer and the screwdriver, he located part of the cable that was powering the fairy lights and, lifting the shovel above his head, or as close as he could manage with the broken handle, he thrust the head of the shovel into the cable in the hope of cutting through it…

What happened next did not bode well for Klaus. A jolt of electricity shot through the shovel, leaping from the head of the tool and entering his body. Klaus twitched spasmodically as the fairy lights one by one exploded in a shower of sparks. As the lights went out, everything went black at Sinitta’s house, and also for Klaus as he passed out…

Klaus awoke to find himself in a hospital bed, a policeman sat next to him with a stern look on his face.

“What happened?” Klaus asked, feeling more than a little puzzled.

“You were electrocuted, sir,” the policeman said, “whilst on someone else’s property.”

Kalus looked over the policeman’s shoulder where he could see Sinitta standing, looking very cross indeed.

“We’d like to ask you what you were doing on the property, sir,” the policeman continued, “and why you were interfering with the electrical supply.”

“Did they go out?”

The policeman leaned in, “Do you mean the power?” he asked, “If so, then yes.”

“And all the lights?”

“Well, yes,” the policeman seemed puzzled now, “you can’t have lights in the house without electricity, sir.”

Sinitta stepped forward, “They say I might have to wait until the New Year before an electrician can come out to fix the damage you did!” she snarled, “You blew the entire circuit board.”

Klaus turned away, trying to look embarrassed, but a private smiled crossed his face and he muttered a word to himself.

“Good.”


message 4: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Klaus would make an excellent stand-in for The Grinch. Hehe!


message 5: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (last edited Apr 17, 2019 12:56PM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Title: A Clash of Roommates
Author: CJ
Word Count: 1,353
Rating: PG (some mild language)


I was headed home after a long day. Though I was feeling pretty burdened from work I knew I at least had a reason to be glad for life. It had been past half a year I was living on my own and away from my parents. My buddy Sam and I got to share the rent and live like relatively happy kings at home.

I did admit the first weeks were pretty rocky though. I hated that since he was used to living alone and I lived in a house with a few people we were clashing every step of the way, even with stupid things!

As I opened the door locked it and stepped inside I found Sam in the kitchen stirring a big pot of what seemed like water. I walked past the island-like structure near him and sat down at the only table.

This place was better than a studio apartment and we each had agreed to make a sacrifice in this three room, one-floor space. I would pick up on rent wherever he was lacking (I worked and he was on disability) and he chose to make the walk in-closet into a makeshift room for his bed.

One thing I couldn’t get over though was even if this apartment was fairly spacious the rent was atrocious. It was technically one bed, 2 rooms and the rent was two thousand one hundred a month. This was just one building. It was not a string of multiple home spaces but it was also in need of nearly daily upkeep. I mean a lot of it.

The landlord was strict too as we had to keep the place spic and span and if we didn’t he would charge an extra five-hundred. Also no smoking allowed (though Sam still snuck a few cig breaks in here to my annoyance).

He was cooking pasta. I was surprised to see him still at home around the afternoon as he was usually outside running around out of boredom.

He seemed mad too so I just sat in the reading slash dining room and waited for him to speak.

“So? You didn’t say hi. Why don’t you talk to me...?”

He spoke in the tone I expected. Though I knew it was his medicine that made him feel irritable I always tried my best to let things slide. I realized as soon as I spoke I nearly shook.

“I uh…. I just didn’t know what to say.” I paused then tried to change the subject. “Well, you’re home early.”

“This place is gettin’ on my nerves. I’ve just been thinking about a lot.” He paused and I wondered just what on earth was up. “Craig, I have to tell you somethin.’ I just got news that doesn’t sound good. Just found out the government is taking my stamps. A good amount of them it looks like.”

I was shocked. “What? Why are they doing that??”

“Don’t you think I’d know? It’s just… I am going to call them. You might have to pick up the slack in this.”

“But my job only pays so much.” I tried really hard to not raise my voice. “I’m already working almost all the time and that place never lets me even work full-time.
“Being there for a few years sucks, I still don’t make enough to cover everything.”

I said to myself. “It’s why I needed a roommate.”

“What?”

I was uneasy.

He caught the fact I muttered though. “Look if you’ve got something to say, just say it. I don’t like people who don’t talk about how they feel.”

I got up to head to my room. “Gotta get dressed. If you want help with dinner, just let me know.”

---

Later on, my friend and roommate had an idea. “I want to add everything up. We should see what we need to pay coming next month.”

“Will we have to tell him we will owe him next month? Like an i. o. u. ?”

“Don’t even say that! I don’t want to think about that. The landlord would get pissed!”

“I don’t want to get over all this at dinner. Come on I just wanted to relax. This was the one time I just wanted to sit and not think about work but here is some more stress to think about.”

“Okay. Sorry dude. You see, you talk about what makes you mad and we worked it out? That’s what I’m talkin’ about.”

“Let’s go over our finances tomorrow.”

If only I knew how appropriate those words would be that day.

--------

Heading to work early because I had been called to come in at an earlier time than usual I popped by the front desk station. There was my coworker Alice.

“Hey. I’m here. I wanted to talk about something.”

“I’m on the phone. Just a second.”

I was anxious but happy it was a new day. The best part was it was payday! It was also a day we had to go upstairs to see our posted schedule for the following week.

After a moment she hung up. “Yeah. What’s going on Craig?”

“I want to know if I can get any extra hours during the week. You know? Having a little trouble at home with the rent, I just found out.”

She glanced at the shifts on the sheet in slight urgency. “Umm, you’re coming in early now right?”

“Yeah.”

“Well just be glad you got that. Who knows if anyone’s gonna get any hours this week… or for a while.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just check out your new shifts upstairs.” She glanced at her watch. “No wait, scratch that. Start now and I’ll send you on your break at around 5 o’clock, then you can look at your shifts. We’ve been cutting everything down. It’s a slow part of the season.”

Oh no. I forgot that this happens about every year. It seemed to be happening more often this year though because it seemed unusual. Were we really hurting financially at the store? Or was this place just money-hungry? I strangely hoped for the former, thinking ignorance was bliss rather than really understanding what was going on at this place.

Later on during a tiring bunch of hours at the cashier lane I finally turned my light off and went upstairs to the break room to see the sheet.

I was getting 33 hours a week and here it was about 16.

I wanted to complain to somebody but I saw there were already people knocking down the door the manager was behind so I thought it wasn’t a great idea to confront him just yet. Or if I felt like it, I was feeling too uneasy to just jump into stuff like that. Even in this situation!

I went home that night feeling defeated. I somehow felt even worse than last time I had worked.

--------
Getting home I carried about 3 bags of splurge groceries off of the bus and to the front door. When I entered I heard nothing. No one was inside the house. Starting up dinner, I got an old bag of rice out of the counter and prepped the chicken I just got.

By the time I was near the end of making the dish (and a nice ready pot full of rice was was waiting to be plated with it) Sammy slammed the door and I nearly dropped the food.

He threw his coat and outer shirt on the floor. Not trying to acknowledge he was mad I tried to speak.

“Food is ready. I can make your plate too if you want.”

“What is it? I probably won’t eat.”

Not offended (at least he didn’t say he didn’t want what I made) I continued. “Lemon Chicken with Scallions. I got the recipe off the ‘net.”

“Why do you say ‘net? Nobody says that. Just say you were on wi-fi and got it off your phone.”

“Okay…. Fill in the blank, blah blah. It’s done! Enjoy.”

He kind of chuckled at that and I breathed a sigh of relief.

As I plated his food I thought about how I felt bad for Sam. This was a guy who wanted really badly to work. He was put (not voluntarily) onto disability and was told he should not work because it would be dangerous. He was no slouch when it came to having welfare. People when they got something free got so used to getting it they used it like it was supposed to always be a part of life. Not him though. People who used it made the system look bad but Sam was using it because it was pretty much literally his only vein of money.

He stood up and looked as I put the finishing touches on the dish.

“Why are you putting that green stuff on there, I don’t like veggies. Are you trying to make me weird? I told you I eat meat and I don’t like salad.”

“This isn’t salad.”

“Well is it a vegetable?”

“Yeah but it’s not much of a vegetable. It’s called green onion also known as a scallion.”

“An onion is a vegetable. I should have done mine myself.”

Dang you are harsh! I thought in my mind. Again trying to avoid any form of situation to invoke conflict in the house.

“I got my stamps cut. They are holding them for some reason. This isn’t fair. I don’t know why I can’t use any of them. By the way do you know how you’re working next week?”

“What?” I pretended I didn’t hear.

“I said, your shift. What are you doing this week coming up? How many hours are you working?”

“Let’s talk about that later.”

“Okay but we are going to talk about it.I want to do our money stuff. I want to see how much money we have to see how we are going to do the rent. How much are you giving for?”

“I thought we would say this later…”

He then was silent. Not sure what that meant I mentioned the problem after my plate was cleaned in seeming seconds of time.

“Okay, I’ve got to tell you my work will not go so well… err, for a while. We are going to probably have to cut back.”

“Wait, you’re not getting paid?”

Yeah and I’m mad! I wanted to say. “Yep…”

“Are you alright? You look like you’re going to lose it.”

Surprised at the sudden compassion I was caught off guard. Then he walked over to me.“You want a kiss?”

I turned away and busted out laughing. “Hey. That’s not cool. Don’t scare me like that, haha!”

I knew he did care about what I was going through but this was how guys act.

Forgetting what a laugh did at least I went to sleep later feeling some “weight” had lifted anyway.

---

The next weeks felt like a small lifetime. I couldn’t help but freak out about how much I had spent but it seemed like I couldn’t help but spend from the stress. Sam tried contacting the system but kept getting told they would e-mail him soon and thanks for contacting them (which sounded like a passive way of saying “We’ll deal with you when we feel like it”).

Soon it was three days of being at this place for seven months. I dreaded the deadline with my entire being as I was so unsure of what it would bring.

I thought living on my own would at least be relatively easy. At least it would be easier than having to deal with being at home with my parents having so many problems I tried to help solve but they wouldn’t listen to any part of my advice (my dad being really bad at using and saving what he made at work and my mom having to go through some trials from that and how to help emotionally with stuff). But of all the things I wished my brother didn’t sit around and smoke so much damn pot. For some reason that was the worst. It was like he was watching people crumble with their problems and his only solution was to light up. Nothing more for him to do… and the feelings would deaden and that was it.

I saved up so much money and it was now dwindling fast after I moved out.

Headed to work I hoped I would get it over and done with. I was at the cashier spot when it happened.

A customer had been telling me off, claiming the items she got were not coming off (though I told multiple times they would come off at the end), she then started name calling. Usually I thought this person was just trying to get everything for free but in this moment my head just wasn’t in it. Hearing this here and at home was too much.

So I threw a card I was about to give her onto the counter nearby then spouted: “You know what? Screw this!” I started to walk away.

“Did you hear that? Everyone, did you hear what he just said to me? Manager!”

The mean old man with twisted eyebrows looked like he was ready to pounce on me. I watched as he headed towards me, feeling like I was done. Fired. Kaput.

Continued below...


message 6: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (last edited Apr 17, 2019 01:02PM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments A Clash of Roommates- Part 2

But he was halted by Alice.

She walked over and as I got out of the station we talked quietly.

“What’s up? You don’t seem yourself lately.”

“There’s so much crap going on right now. I just can’t stand it.”

“You realize what you did was not very professional, right?”

I nodded. I almost began to cry and then I looked up at her. “You don’t know what’s been happening. My shift is ridiculous this week. I will probably lose the house. I don’t know what to do!”

“You know what? Talk to the store director. Tell him everything. I am sure that they can work something out. Change some stuff up. Do something. And if that doesn’t work, try something else.”

I paused and she must've figured I was pondering her idea. She nearly jumped after I spoke. “Look, can I just take a half day...?”

She looked at me almost like she was about to lose me as a worker. “You….you can, if you want.”

She looked at the manager. “Harold? I need to get some stuff done. Can you finish her order?”

The customer looked pleased. He got things sorted out with the person and somehow she walked off looking happy about what had transpired.

“Why didn’t you finish with helping her?”

Alice smiled, almost winking at me. “She gets on my nerves too...”

--------

When I got home I didn’t see Sam at all. Thinking again he headed out somewhere, I sat in my room. I used to look around the whole house just like a lighthouse would scan its surroundings. I guess I thought I was a kind of person checking out on people that I knew and wanted to keep them safe as well as I could.

About twenty minutes later I heard a strange sound. It was coming from Sammy’s room. A strange banging. At first I thought somebody might be breaking into the house but I jumped when I knew exactly what had happened.

Sammy was having another seizure.

I ran in. So many times before I’d get a lot of later guff from him for not doing anything he expected. I realized in that moment what I should do. I went in waiting for his gyrating and jerking around to stop (so I didn’t bang into him or have him knock into me) and then grabbed a pillow.

Silently (no yelling or loud noises) I maneuvered him as well as I could while he laid on the floor and got a pillow under him. I looked at him then I sat just further away letting him subtly know he could trust me. He was in a safe place.

When he was (almost) himself I had long called an ambulance. I rid in it with him too. In his goofy state he was saying how much he cared about me.

“Hey bud, I care about you too.” I tried to say in a voice low enough that his murderous headache wouldn’t get more worse.

Later at the hospital I told him the stuff that just happened.

“I didn’t know you worked that hard. You never tell me what you do there.”

“I don’t know. I guess I am too sensitive. I think too much stuff is my business, even if not talking about it bothers me apparently.”

“What does 'apparently' mean?”

“It means like when something comes to light. Is revealed. I think that’s what it means.”

“Don’t explain it if you don’t know what it means.”

I gave a small wheeze of laughter. Yep. He’s back, I thought.

“I know this sounds like a ‘no duh’ type of thing but I have learned to talk about stuff too. I sometimes get frustrated at the way you tell me things. I don’t like the criticism you keep throwing at me. Why do you question so much what I do?”

He sat there thinking about it. “I don’t know. I am used to living at home by myself. I want stuff done a way I am used to. I don't mean to do that.”

Hearing my side made him look at himself like something was dawning on him. I put a hand on his shoulder. A silent "guy" way of saying I wasn't mad at him anymore now that I understood.

I then continued chatting. “Well where I come from I’m used to not seeing any results after I talk to people. Telling my parents what they should do was awful. Seeing my dad continue to wallow in those problems and when I talked to them, they looked at me like I was a child. I know I'm not their parents. They thought I was trying to be their superior or something. They didn't listen at all so I stopped talking. That's then become a habit."
"I also get what you have been saying though. I gotta stop taking everything you say personal. I know you criticize and I've got to stop thinking you're attacking me. Let's both start over as friends, buddy. Okay?"

"Was thinking the same thing."

"Water under the bridge."

Though we didn’t say it we both learned something that day just at different times. And after that one or more things came to light.

-----

Sure we still clashed here and there but I learned what to do in those situations. My friend got the money back from welfare. For some reason they were keeping it temporarily. (The month happened to be during the "Government shut down"). And I got to take up other jobs at the store that are for “new” folks not just cashier people. I was able to get some more hours after finally talking to the higher ups about that problem. In a twisted way I thought it helped that some people just up and quit that were new. They thought they were "rolling in the dough," that is until they looked at their paychecks and got fed up. I knew better than them. Okay, I did still make money but only just enough to be comfortable at home.

I also got Sam to finally smoke outside. I defended my idea saying Febreeze was expensive (and tobacco is NOT easy to cover up as much as smokers like to claim). So because the new decision kept us from both spending extra dough and losing the house it was just fine and we compromised.

The two fighting stubborn swordsmen would go on another day and continue to clash. Life was good.


message 7: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (last edited Apr 16, 2019 11:56AM) (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Woo, that took way too long to work on and post, lol!


message 8: by C. J., Atm Seeker in the "Lin Kuei" (new)

C. J. Scurria (goodreadscomcj_scurria) | 4214 comments Wow. Just listened to the song that inspired your thread topic, Courtney. It's so sad we lost such a great musician and a guy who had such an impact on fans as well as the music industry.

I cried listening to it, it reminded me of my friend who died. Maybe I will cover it for the band in his memory.

"Who cares if one more light goes out?"/ Well I do


message 9: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments Rest in peace, Chester Bennington. I miss you every day. :(


message 10: by C.P., Windrunner (new)

C.P. Cabaniss (cpcabaniss) | 633 comments It's an amazing song. And I agree, Garrison. I don't follow celebrities, but I find myself thinking about him a lot.


message 11: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments That just goes to show what kind of impact he had on the world.


message 12: by C.P., Windrunner (new)

C.P. Cabaniss (cpcabaniss) | 633 comments Yes, it really does. There music was some of the music that gave me hope when I was a suicidal teen.


message 13: by Garrison (new)

Garrison Kelly (cybador) | 9028 comments I'm glad you didn't go through with the suicide, CP. (hugs)


message 14: by C.P., Windrunner (new)

C.P. Cabaniss (cpcabaniss) | 633 comments Me too.


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