“I will give you three dollars for a cigarette,” he said, cowling down in front of her as she sat in the airport lounge waiting to board. “I do not smoke” she replied, hoping that his sudden appearance and annoyance would go away. “Oh, I am so sorry. I could have sworn I smelled cigarettes on your coat. I beg your pardon.” He bowed his head and walked away with folded hands like a choirboy who had just been scolded. But she did smoke. She had just had one twenty minutes ago and she wanted another. Note to self; buy more perfume before arriving at the clinic. Who was she kidding? Three dollars for a cigarette; not bad.  She could have sold him the pack and paid for her ticket. Suddenly a bit of paranoia swept over her and she examined all aspects of her being there; strangers were watching. The “America Love it or Leave it” bumper sticker on her carry-on had her wishing she had left Richard’s carry-on at home and taken her own. Yet while she hid some things very well she had the feeling that other things about her were more noticeable than she wanted them to be. The suitcase began speaking to her and she sat back and quietly listened. All I can say is that it is about time we got out of that apartment. Richard would not have been pleased we stayed in the house so long. It had been a problem trying to decide where to put Richard on the trip.  But then again she never went anywhere without him. The carry-on was fine for now. But she was wondering, was he as obvious as the smell of cigarettes? Going on a trip with an urn full of  Richard was impossible.

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He was accustomed to being second. He was born the second son of the family living on the second floor apartment on Second Street. His clothes were secondhand, as were his toys. If he heard or told a story, he had heard it before. As a child he received the second bath and accepted it as his fate to contract mumps, measles, chickenpox, whooping cough and strep throat the moment big brother started feeling better. Not surprisingly, his birthday fell in March; the second month of the year amongst siblings. From the very first swaddling cloths that kept him warm as a babe until all the way through high school when big brother went to Viet Nam all his clothing offerings were seconds. Including the suit he graduated in from high school; as class salutatorian, the program from his brothers graduation the year before firmly tucked in a pocket. He actually liked being second he told the HR officer when once questioned about the irony of being number two his whole life, by an employment agency that had just filled the job he was applying for two days prior after receiving only one other application for the position! One can only suspect he never was the first to arrive at anything in his life, including meetings, social gatherings and least we forget; conclusions! His nature was not to ask for a first helping of any tasty treat he might be offered, but he was the first to ask for seconds. His wife was not a virgin when they wed, nor was it her first marriage. Yet today when he left the doctors office it came as quite a surprise when he told her what the doctor had said, and he admitted he had not asked for a second opinion

I have writer’s car block. Constantly turning the key to the right and the left as my imaginational engine grinds away wearing my battery down and raising my levels of frustration to sticker window shocking levels. Composing something new has left me feeling like a rusty old car you see parked alongside the road just long enough to be noticed for being there too long. These hands on this keyboard have lost that touch a writer feels as one synchronisticaly glides between blending thought and motion into textured print. This mind on this Ferris-wheel of disconnected thoughts finds itself rambling, freewheeling, thinking about burning out the clutch with each jagged start and stop. Pausing for only a millisecond of concentrated energy to consider the minds presentations and free flowing ponderances much as I would static from an untuned AM radio playing in the background of my life. Finding my warranted ever so considerate self-examination of everything I think of to write as if a policeman had me pulled over and was questioning me for a speeding ticket. Can this thought grow into a story? Can it survive the thrashings of an editor’s whipping pen? Can it survive a week alone created on an electrified writing surface teetering between delete and publish? Does the thought that I just created have the ability to get in the race for a good idea or is it just wind blowing in the window? Do you know how fast you were going? The rest stop I apparently have taken to gather my thoughts has only an entrance; no exit. Fumbling for a new idea I reach for the glove box of this sedentary car querying for that new idea; alas leaving me with a hand full of road maps and no so realistic destination.

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Geo 299's are works of fiction all in just 299 words. Most stories are stand alone, but sometimes three or four are linked together by a topic that has more story to tell. Feel free to comment and share with your friends. grantman
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