Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Short Story: Loretta and Mick

“Are you sure we're not lost?" Loretta whined, straining against her seat belt as she shifted position again. The passenger seat squeaked in time with her movement.  “I don’t recognize anything out the window.”

Mick snorted, "Yes, dear, we are not lost." He ran a hand through his curly hair, as he continued with obvious patience, "I told you, this is a short cut from the bar to the party.  You’ve never driven here before, so far as I know."

“But I can only see crops and fences, not even a real farmhouse.  I’m already freezing cold, and we haven't seen another car for the past twenty miles," Loretta droned on, squirming more before fiddling with the air vents before returning to her vigil at the window.

The engine groaned as Mick stepped heavier on the accelerator, focusing his attention on the road in front. "I know, dear, that the heater for the car is broken again. I told you to wear a warmer coat for tonight."

Loretta scoffed, "I know that the heater is broken.  It’s always broken.”  She shot a quick glare at Mick.  “My warmer coat wouldn't do. I told you, this is a special occasion, so I had to wear my fancy coat." She wiggled more in the seat, jiggling a tune from the seat's springs. "After all, it's not everyday-"

“For the love of God!" Mick burst out, "Would you please sit still! You're driving me crazy!"  He hit the On button, then twirled the know, looking for a good radio station.

"Sorry," Loretta mumbled, facing the dirty window again. "But it feels like I'm sitting on a pincushion."

"A pincushion?" Mick sneered, running his hand through his curly hair again. "Wait - are you sitting on my brus-"

A reverberating thump echoed, as the car bounced a foot or so into the air before landing harshly with a swerving screech. Mick slammed his foot on the brake, steering into the fishtail as the car came to an abrupt halt.
The slow ticking of the car engine cooling off filled the silence.

"Well, that was interesting," Mick muttered to himself, still breathing heavy.

"Interesting?!" Loretta screeched, "You call that interesting?" She threw the door open, stomping through the frost to round the front of the car, casting a strange shadow up the road. "I am not driving one more foot with you, Mick, until you tell me how much you had to drink before we left!"  

"What?!" Mick exploded from the car, slamming the door hard enough to rock the car on its tires. "You think I'm drunk? Are you out of your blooming mind?"

Loretta crossed her arms over her chest. "No, I am not out of my mind. You just murdered some innocent animal, running it over, because you could not wait to have a beer until we drove all the way over to Tara's vacation house."

Mick stood, flabbergasted, his face turning alternately red and white while his hands crunched into fists. He began speaking in a low voice, "Why, you ungracious little snot..."

Loretta shrieked, "What did you call me?", punctuating each word with a poke into Mick's chest.

Mick slapped away Loretta's hand, growling, "I called you an ungracious snot, because here I am driving you out to your friend's house for a party, and you accuse me of drunk driving! You know how I feel about drunk driving! And Tara!"

"I know what you claim to feel about drunk driving!" Loretta retorted, as she crossed her arms over her chest again. "But that doesn't help that animal you just ran over!"

Mick stomped to the back of the car, scanned the ground pointedly, then  huffed, "Where! Where is this supposed dead animal?” He flapped his arms around, looking up and down the road, looking everywhere but at Loretta. “Do you see one, because I don't!"

"It's right over-" Loretta stormed over to the road, but stopped short as she reached the back of the car. "Well, it should be right here." She took a deep breath, blowing out a puff of steam. "I guess that poor animal didn't die."

"Or maybe there was no animal," Mick shot back, poking Loretta in her arm. "Maybe there was a branch in the road that rolled away after we drove over it.  Maybe if you walked your fat ass down the road a bit, you’d find a dip in the road that we hit.  Or maybe I'm not the one who had a drink before we left."  He roared the last sentence, finally crossing his arms over his chest in triumph.

Loretta glanced down the road, then back to the car, avoiding Mick’s glare.  "I'm not driving. It doesn't matter if I had a drink," she sniffed, as she quietly climbed back into the car.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Short Story: A Disaster of a Trip?

Chris began to question the wisdom of this trip.  “Why did I want ice cream and a movie?”  she whispered to herself, letting her head drop backwards on the bench.  The gray drop ceiling blurred in her vision, an old water stain almost resembling an old woman in a hat.  She scooted down a bit, wrapping her arms around herself for warmth as the cold wooden bench started to put her butt to sleep again.  Chris only just kept herself from looking at her watch again - the chattering of the other people in the police station belied the time, and Chris wanted to believe it was earlier in the evening.   

“Ms. Wright?”  a deep, bass voice rumbled through Chris’ head as she sat up with a start.  “Sorry if I woke you up.  I didn’t think anyone could sleep through this chaos.”

Chris rubbed her eyes with the backs of her hands.  “That’s okay, Detective Morris, I wasn’t really sleeping,” she said, stretching her arms and legs straight out in front of herself.  “I was just wondering if this place ever quiets down.”

Detective Morris chuckled as he stood at parade rest, “Ma’am, we always get a rush at midnight, when the movies let out, then another rush at 3:30am, right after the bars close.  Why, 2:00am is the quietest you’ll ever find it.”

Chris finally settled back in the bench, as she raised her left eyebrow at the detective, “Seriously?”

“Ma’am, I am always serious,”  Detective Morris smiled, “In fact, I am here to seriously tell you that I need one final statement from you, and then you can go home.”

Chris groaned, but stood up.  “Lead on, MacBeth,” she quoted, waving her arm down the hallway.  

Detective Morris led Chris past paper-filled desks, cubicles with calendars and photos pinned up haphazardly, and, as her mother used to say, “those sort of people”.  Chris smirked, thinking about the horrified look her mother would give her when she told her this story.  Finally, they went into the same interrogation room as before, where Chris sat down in the exact same chair, in the same position as the other three times she sat in it.  At least it’s warmer that the hallway, Chris mused to herself.

“So, what exactly do you want me to tell you this time?” Chris asked, trying hard not to sound as whiny as she felt.

“How about this,” Detective Morris began, as he sat down, opening up a worn manila folder. “I’ll read you your version of tonight’s incident, and you either correct me if I get something wrong, or you okay it.  Sound fair?”

“Sounds fair to me,” Chris replied, willing to agree to almost anything at this point.

“Good,” Detective Morris pulled out his reading glasses, then began reading from a piece of paper.  “Last night, around 9:00pm, you decided that you wanted to rent a movie titled “Addicted to Love” and eat some Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Chunk ice cream.  Is that correct?”

“Yes,” Chris huffed.  “Hey, a single working lady is entitled to some fun on a Friday night.”

“Yes, you are, ma’am,”  Detective Morris replied, as the corner of his mouth twitched.  “So you drove to the Piggly-Wiggly, and found it closed.”

“It closed at 9:00pm on the dot.” grumbled Chris.  “I mean, who closes that early on a Friday?”

“Then you drove to the IGP on the other side of town, and discovered that they do not carry Ben & Jerry’s ice cream,” Detective Morris continued, ignoring Chris’ small rant.  “So then you drove to the big Wal-Mart super center, just outside of town.  There, you found and bought your ice cream.”


“Well, then you headed back into town and went straight to the Video Mart, on the corner of Main Street and 10th Street.  You arrived at 10:47pm, parked your car, and tried to enter the establishment.”

“Only the doors were locked!”  Chris slammed her fist on the table, irritation at the entire incident overwhelming her apathy.  “I mean, they advertise that they are open until 11:00PM!”

Yes, ma’am,” Detective Morris worked to not smile, but failed somewhat.  
“May I continue?”

“Yes, you may” Chris slouched back in her chair, crossing her arms over her chest.

“You knocked on the door at 10:47pm,” he rushed ahead, “13 minutes before closing time, but the employees indicated to you that the store was closed.”

“Losers,” Chris muttered under her breath.

“Then you knocked harder, a verbal argument ensued, you displayed your displeasure at the employees by banging on the door, and the employees called the police.”  Detective Morris put the paper down and stared at Chris.  “Is that your version of tonight’s event’s, Ms. Wright?”

Chris nodded, “Yes, it is.”

Detective Morris nodded back. “Okay.  May I ask you a question, Ms. Wright?”

Chris nodded but managed not to groan out loud, “Sure.”


Chris sat up a bit straighter.  “Why?  Because my boyfriend of umpteen years left me last weekend for the secretary at his office, with the excuse that he sees her more.  I mean, he’s the workaholic!”

Chris stopped when she noticed Detective Morris chuckling softly to himself.  “Okay, what?  You’re the one who asked why.”

Detective Morris smiled, a genuine warm smile that made Chris relax a bit.  “I apologize, Ms. Wright, but I was not asking why you wanted to get ice cream and a movie.  A lady such as yourself is allowed to have fun on a Friday night.”  He sat back in the chair, folding his empty hands on the table. “I was asking why you were so offended by the store employees, why you let a couple of teenage boys get under your skin like that.”

“Oh,” Chris did not quite know how to respond.  She rubbed her hands on her legs for a moment, before answering, “Well, after running out of luck all night because I kept arriving after a store’s closing time, I felt cheated that the movie rental store was closed even though I arrive before closing time.  Plus, one of the boys made a rude, umm, comment to me through the closed doors.”  Chris looked at her hands, then at the walls, anywhere except at Detective Morris.  She felt the flush run up her cheeks at the memory, her heart pounding at the comment and what it implied.

Detective Morris lost the smile, but gently replied, “Don’t worry about those boys, Ms. Wright.  The owner of the movie rental store answered his phone around 1:00am, came round the station about 1:30am, and not only insisted that he did not want to press charges, but he told me that those two boys have been fired for their treatment of you this evening.”

Chris jumped a bit in her seat, surprise startling her into looking back at Detective Morris.  “Seriously, Detective?”

“Yes, ma’am,”  Detective Morris smiled again.  “The owner also wanted me to tell you that you will be getting free movie rentals for the next six months, as an apology from him for the bad treatment you received.”

Chris’s eyes widened, as her mouth hung open a bit.  She shut it with a snap, blushing a bit at her reaction.  “Thank you for telling me this, Detective Morris.  I must admit, I worried about what would happen to me.  But now...”

“But now you have the ability to watch however many movies you want on a Friday night,”  Detective Morris finished her sentence.  “I hope that doesn’t mean you won’t want to go to a theater.”

“Huh?”  Chris wondered at her sudden loss of vocabulary, but the twinkle in Detective Morris’ eyes left her speechless.

“Would you like to accompany to dinner and a movie next weekend?” Detective Morris asked, his brown (were they always brown?) eyes suddenly warm.

Chris managed to speak again.  “Yes, I would like that, Detec..  Do you have a name other than Detective Morris?”

The detective smiled, “Yes, my name is Christopher.  But my friends call me Chris.”

Chris returned the smile, “Well, then, it’s very nice to meet you, Chris.”

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