Monthly Archives: May 2014

My Resignation

Day 12 of 16:  Writer’s Digest Writer’s Prompt Workshop

After years of unhappiness, you’ve finally had enough and have decided to quit—but we’re not talking about your job. Write a letter of resignation to someone other than your employer—your school, your family, your favorite sports team, etc. 

Dear Flo,

You and I are done.  We have been “friends” since I was 14 years old and I just can’t take you anymore.  From day one you have caused me tremendous pain.

I thought as we matured, you would improve.  Behave better, treat me with kindness.  But no.  You wouldn’t give me a break.  Even though we only saw each other about a dozen times a year, you couldn’t treat me with respect?  You couldn’t just come and hang out?  No, you had to make yourself known.  You were loud.  You were obnoxious.  You were cruel.  Everyone knew you were here, even when I tried to keep you under wraps.

You embarrassed me more than once.  At school, at work, out in public, anywhere you could.  I don’t know why I put up with you for so long.  Actually, that’s not true.  I know why…because I needed you.  I was dependent on you.  As much as I loathed you, I respected you on some level, you were essential.  Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

I have a confession to make…I used you.  I got what I wanted and then disposed of you.  You see, I saw a doctor about you and it turns out, you were bad for my health.  We both agreed that you needed to be terminated.

So goodbye Flo, I wish I could say it was nice.  But to be honest with you, it just really wasn’t.  I happily say goodbye to embarrassing moments, cramping, bloating, anemia, hemorrhaging and pain.

Now I can wear white any day of the month, I no longer need to count out my vacation days around you, and I can say goodbye to those ugly long sweaters that covers all that is happening below the belt.

Enjoy your after-life.  Wherever that may be.  I really don’t care, as long as it isn’t here with me.  It was nice while it lasted.  No, no, it wasn’t.  I don’t know why I said that.

Sincerely,

One Happy, Non-Menstruating Woman

 

The Stranger

Day 11 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writer’s Prompt Bootcamp

You’re walking home from work one night and taking shortcuts through a labyrinth of dark city alleyways to meet someone on time. Suddenly, a stranger parts the shadows in front of you, comes close and asks you to hold out your palm. You oblige. 

Only people who know the city well should do what I do when I’m in a rush to meet someone.  As is my usual practice, I am running late.  Although, in my defense, this time it really isn’t my fault.  I was wrapping up at work and getting ready to leave at five o’clock on the dot, when my boss asked me to make some last minute changes to a document.

I had plans for months to meet my friend Julie for dinner tonight.  Julie is someone I met long ago at a time when things weren’t going so well in my life.  She basically brought me back up to the surface.  So when we can schedule in some time to see each other, I don’t want to have to reschedule if I can help it.  That’s why I took every back alleyway I could to Connolly’s, the pub we actually met at over 23 years ago, so I could get there on time.

Because it was the dead of winter, it gets completely pitch black by 5pm.  The shortcuts I take are dark and devoid of people.  It’s downright scary walking this way alone.  My dad bought me a can of Mace a few months ago and it is in these times that I keep it wrapped tightly in my fist.

I’m in the back alley somewhere between 7th and 8th Avenue, when I hear a rustle.  I’m not very courageous so I don’t stop to try to find what it is.  Suddenly I see something move in the corner of my eye.  I know it’s not a rat because it’s far larger than that.  As the image and sound gets closer, I move faster.  All of a sudden it comes out of the shadows and steps directly in my path, preventing me from going any further.  I immediately hold up my Mace and point it toward his face.

He holds up his hand.  “No, please.  I come in peace.  I mean you no harm.”  What is this?  This guy sounds like he came out of a different era with his speech.  I stop dead in my tracks and pull the Mace away from him but still keep it where he can see it.  I can’t see his face because he has a black hood pulled down over his eyes.  “What do you want?” I ask.  “Please, listen to me.  Hold out your palm,” he replies.  With my empty hand, I very shakily and slowly hold it out, palm up.

He careful places something in my hand.  And as quickly as he appeared, he was gone.  Just like one of those stealth ninja guys.  I look down and see that he has placed a business size card in my hand.  I pull out my iPhone and turn on my flashlight app to see what it says.

“YOUR PLANS HAVE CHANGED.  JULIE WANTS TO MEET ELSEWHERE BUT TO FIND THIS PLACE, YOU WILL BE SENT ON A SCAVENGER HUNT.”

“Are you friggin’ kidding me?” I say out loud.  I try calling her on my phone but I am immediately forwarded to her voicemail.  “I’m going to kill her.”  I stand there for a minute deciding if I want to play along or turn around and just go home.  I decide I have nothing better to do so why not?  It’s a Friday night anyway.  After a few minutes of reading the clue aloud, I figure out what my next step is.

An hour and a half and 5 clues later, I find myself in front of Obao Restaurant, my favorite spot.  The doorman hands me my last clue.  It says that I found my destination.  I am full of mixed feelings…happiness, exhaustion and, if possible, a little bit of annoyance.  I open the door and am led to a back room.

It is in this moment I realize that I have been completely fooled.  Every person who means something to me is in this room and they all yell “SURPRISE” at the same time.  Julie throws her arms around me and whispers “Happy Birthday” in my ear.  Standing next to her is Jim who says, “I come in peace.”  Son of a bitch.  I’ll get him…

Dollar Message

Day 10 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writer’s Prompt Bootcamp

You’re at your favorite department store buying a birthday present for a friend. As the cashier gives you change, you notice a message with specific instructions scribbled on one of the bills. What do the instructions say? Do you carry them out and, if so, how? 

Stella needed a gift for a friend.  A birthday gift to be exact, for her best friend, Carol.  At 54, Stella has perfected the art of gift-giving and she takes pride in every present she purchases or makes for people.

She is now on Day 4 of the hunt for Carol’s gift.  “Bloomie’s.  Bloomie’s will have what I need.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of that from the start,” she mutters to herself as she drives in that direction.

Carol had recently lost a lot of weight and is in the process of creating a new wardrobe for herself.  Stella remembers this and heads directly to the Misses Department.  She remarks to no one in particular that she thinks it’s clever that they call it the “Misses” department.  She sure doesn’t feel like a misses these days, but doesn’t mind shopping like one.

After 4 long days, it takes her approximately 5 minutes to find what she is looking for in Bloomingdale’s.  A maxi-dress made of the softest material and is the perfect color for Carol’s skin tone.  She knows she’ll love it and will get great joy wearing it this summer.

She brings the item to the register, saying that she “will not be needing a gift receipt because I am THAT confident that my friend will love the dress.”  The cashier looks at her with complete indifference and says, “that will be $164.99 please.”  Stella hands her $200 in cash.  When the cashier gives her the change, Stella notices that there is a message on the ten dollar bill.  She reaches into her bag for her reading glasses and sets them on her nose.  She reads it and says a bit too loudly, “oh damn, not one of these again?”

Stella is not a fan of these messages.  To her, they are like a chain letter and we all know what chain letters mean if you don’t do as they say.  She should know because the first time she received a chain letter, it promised a life of doom and bad luck for the recipient if not followed.  She remembers laughing at the absurdity of it, ripping it up and tossing it into the trash.  The next day she slipped and scraped her knee going out to her car, found out one of her favorite stores had closed its doors, and then proceeded to get into a car accident.  It was just a fender bender, but an accident nonetheless.  Ever since that incident, she begrudgingly follows through.  She has become superstitious.  Knock on wood.  It drives her husband crazy.  He says it was just a coincidence, but she knows better.

The message says she doesn’t have much time to accomplish this task so she starts to think fast.  She calls her husband and tells him that she won’t be home for dinner.  In fact, she’s not sure how late she’ll be so don’t wait up for her.”  She finds her car in the parking lot and takes Rte. 101 toward Hollywood.

Stella’s husband, John, settles on the couch to watch the 11 o’clock news.  John never misses the news.  He likes to keep up on current events both internationally and locally. And of course, the weather.  The man needs to know the weather about as much as he needs his right arm.

Just as he starts to wonder where his wife is, there is a breaking news report.  It seems there is some kind of ruckus in Hollywood.  “Oh come on, don’t tell me the kids are climbing that damn Hollywood sign again,” John says to himself.  “When will they learn?  Stupid damn kids.”

“IT WOULD APPEAR THAT A WOMAN WHO LOOKS TO BE IN HER FIFTIES, HAS CLIMBED THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN AND IS STANDING IN THE SECOND “O” SINGING  WHAT WOULD SOUND LIKE TO BE THE THEME SONG TO “THE SOUND OF MUSIC.”  SHE ALSO APPEARS TO BE IN THE NUDE.  WE WILL KEEP YOU ABREAST OF ANY NEW DEVELOPMENTS.  BACK TO YOU CHUCK.”

The helicopter hovering overhead is shining its’ light on the subject.  The camera hones in on the woman’s face.  “Stella??? What the hell?  Have you gone and lost your damn mind?” John screams at the television.  He grabs his keys, gets into his car and drives the usually 20 minute ride doing close to 80 miles per hour.

When he gets there, he explains that he is the spouse of the crazy lady on the sign.  They have rescued her by now and have her covered with a blanket.  They are preparing to place her into the back of the police cruiser.  John rushes up and demands an explanation.

She is smiling and holds out her left hand to him, which is closed tight around something.  She unfolds her hand and gives the object to him.  As she gets into the car and the police take off, John looks at what she has handed him.  It is a wadded up ten dollar bill with a message.

“FIND A SIGN AND MAKE YOUR NAME KNOWN NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE OR YOU WILL DIE WITH REGRET”

“Yup Stella, you stupid fool, you’ve done it again.  This time you’ve completely misunderstood the entire message” John sighs.  He gets into his car and heads for the station.  He knows it’s going to be a long night with a lot of explanation.

Obit for Your Favorite Character

Day 9 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

Write an obituary for your favorite fictional character (literary, television, etc.), including how the death occurred. 

Roy “The Professor” Hinkley, B.A. B.S., M.A. Ph.D., 43

Roy Hinkley, otherwise known as “The Professor” has died at his home on Grass Hut Lane on an Uncharted Island Somewhere in the South Pacific.  He died from complications of syphilis after finally succumbing to Ginger Grant’s advances.  His death occurred on January 22, 1972.  News was received via “message in a bottle” style and took over 40 years to be found.  Although he has been gone for more than 4 decades, we feel a deep loss and will be missed by many.

Before the ill-fated 3-hour tour, Roy was a high school teacher in Cleveland, Ohio where he taught science.  He also dabbled in botany and was an inventor.  He was handy with coconuts and  bamboo but was unable to devise a way to get off the island.  Or even fix the ship, for that matter.

Although he was a very dashing looking man, he didn’t seem to know the first thing about women.  He made up for that by being a deep thinker, an avid reader, a staunch leader and a loyal friend.  Still, he couldn’t figure out how to get them all off a deserted island.

In 1972, he was survived by Ginger, Mary Anne, Mr. Howell, Mrs. Howell, The Skipper and Gilligan.  There is no family that anyone is aware of as family was never spoken of.

The Pacific Ocean is Roy’s resting place.  In lieu of flowers, send some help or perhaps send something that will fix a hole in a boat.

 

Full Disclosure

Day 8 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

He toured the house with the real estate agent.  “I love it,” he said. “Is there anything we should know about the house’s past?  The agent looked down.

“Yes?  Is there a problem?” Tom asks. Tom and Melissa had been looking for the perfect house for well over a year.  This would be their first home together as a married couple. The first year of their marriage was off to a rough start.  Melissa’s illness almost prevented them from being wed at all, so this home needs to be absolutely perfect.

This house has it all:  Queen Anne style Victorian with a turret, rounded wrap around porch complete with a painted ceiling the color of the summer’s sky, and a kitchen that would make Emeril jealous.  The backyard is filled with spectacular flowers of all kinds. Every color in the rainbow. “Melissa will love it, I know she will,” Tom mutters to himself as he roams from room to room.

The realtor looked up with a sheepish look in her eyes. “Well, it could or could not be a problem depending on your beliefs.”  Tom was pretty sure she was going to tell him it was haunted. He rolled his eyes at the thought.  “A little boy died in this home in 1848.  He fell down a flight of stairs which resulted in a broken neck.  It is said that he roams the house in the night.  But don’t worry, he supposedly is a nice ghost.”

“Really? That’s it?” asked Tom.  “There’s more,” replied Joan.  “It is said he was pushed by his father, who, in turn, hung himself in the foyer.  Legend has it that his wife died the year prior and he wanted the family to be together again.  The father is not pleasant.  As a ghost, I mean.  He can make life pretty miserable.”  Tom couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  He thought it was utter bullshit.  He believed that someone died here, and was pretty sure he could prove it by looking at the microfiche at the library, but haunted?  He was having a hard time believing that for even a minute.

Tom wonders what Melissa would think about that for a moment and decides that if she knew, she wouldn’t want the house.  But this house is perfect and there is no such thing as ghosts, so he makes the decision to go forward with an offer.  Makes the decision for the both of them, since she was too sick to come.  “Don’t you think you should discuss it with Melissa first?” asks Joan.  “No, I know she would love this home.  This is the one, I can feel it.  She will fall head over heels.”

And he is right.  After the closing, they drive over to their new house, Melissa is immediately smitten.  She can’t believe their good fortune.  She wonders for a moment why they got such a great deal on this magnificent home, but doesn’t let the thought linger for too long.

They reach the front door and Tom lifts his bride to carry her over the threshold.  He throws open the door, and it is in that moment he realizes he made a mistake.  Their excitement for their new home immediately vanishes and fear enters their lives.  A deep fear that even rivals that of the diagnosis of Melissa’s disease.

Back From the Future

Day 7 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

A knock at the door catches you off guard. Upon answering it, you’re greeted by a man who says he’s from the future—and he can prove it. More important, he says he has information that will save your life. 

This is not a good day.  It’s not even close to a good day.  It’s the kind of day you wish you could start over and plan every moment yourself.  It started with a strange dream last night.  It was one of those dreams that seemed so real that you had to think long and hard to determine if it really happened or not.  This dream not only felt real, but scared the living hell out of me.

Although it was Wednesday and I should be working, I decided to call in sick.  I can’t put my finger on it, maybe it was my dream but I just don’t feel right.  Besides the weather outside is practically monsoon-style.  I’m not really in the mood to be on the road with all the other idiots (me included) who slam their brakes if it so much as sprinkles.

Then I get a phone call that was on the other side of weird.  Actually, I received a couple of phone calls.  The first one was just a hang up.  No big deal, it happens.  Then when the phone rang again a few minutes later, there was a man on the other end looking for me.  I don’t know if the call was from the same guy or not, but if it was, he hung up again after he received acknowledgement that he had the right person.

Now I am, as my 14 year old niece would say, “legit freaked out.”  I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit at the dinette in my small kitchen and try to concentrate on reading the newspaper.  When I unfold it, the headline reads, “MISSING WOMAN FOUND DEAD.”  Next to the article, there is a photo of me.  I don’t read the article, mainly because I am officially on the verge of a breakdown.  I fold the paper back up and start to pace.

I can feel the panic rise up from my toes all the way to the follicles in my head.  My entire body starts to shake uncontrollably.  I run to the hall mirror to take a look at myself.  Besides being as white as a new sheet of paper, I am here.  I pinch myself for clarification and I am most definitely here.  What the hell is going on?  I am feeling a combination of dread, disbelief and utter confusion.  I run back to the paper to look again, except that the headline I read two minutes ago has disappeared and has been replaced with, “TROPICAL STORM BETTY HEADING OUR WAY.”

Have I completely lost my mind?  I can’t seem to control the thoughts in my head.  I start to bite my nails, which is strange because I am not a nail biter.  I am so scared and suddenly exhausted so I lie down on the couch and pull the blanket over me.  I am just going to close my eyes for a minute.

I don’t know how long I slept, but I am suddenly jolted awake by a loud knock on the door.  When I answer it, I am greeted by a man dressed in a black trench coat and matching fedora.  There was something kind and trusting about his face.  I went against everything my mother ever told me about strangers and let this man into the foyer to get him out of the storm.

When he spoke my name, I realized it was the same man who had called me on the phone a couple of hours ago.  “I’m sorry, do I know you?”  “I am from your future and I’ve come to deliver a message,” he replied.  Oh God, here we go.  “Excuse me?  I don’t understand what you mean.  I don’t think you have the right house.  You should leave before I call the police.”  He said, “Please, you must believe me.  I can prove to it to you.”

He proceedes to describe the strange dream I had last night in vivid detail.  I ask him about the newspaper article.  He said, “the article and your dream are one in the same.”  He followed it up by telling me that it was going to come true if I didn’t listen to him and change the chain of events that would lead to my death.

Who is this guy?  Is he like a Nostradamus or something?  I look around for cameras.  Am I on some Candid Camera type of show?  Am I being “Punked.”  But what is happening to me right now is more like The Twilight Zone.  I’m expecting Rod Serling to step out of the shadows any minute.

I start to shake and suddenly feel the urge to vomit.  He leads me to the couch.  I am surprisingly not afraid of this man.  There is this inexplicable feeling of overwhelming trust, in lieu of everything that has happened this morning, I also get the feeling that I don’t have much of a choice.

I am on a train, one of those commuter trains that takes you to and from the city.  I look around and notice that I seem to be the only person here.  Even though I am wearing my earbuds, there is no sound coming out.  All I hear is the “clack clack clack” of the train running down the tracks.  It’s daytime but the lights inside the car keep blinking on and off, almost strobe-like.  Suddenly, I hear the heavy door between the cars ahead of me open and close and a woman comes running down the aisle, her arms outstretched.  She is screaming and begs me to help her.  As she gets closer, I notice that this woman is me.  And there is blood streaming down her face.  I look down and notice that there are pools of blood in the palms of my hands.  I open my mouth and try to scream, but no sound escapes me.

I hear a phone ringing again, except this time it’s my cell.  It’s my new boyfriend, Alex.  I am so relieved to see his name pop up across the screen that I excuse myself from my man of the future and answer quickly with a breathy “hello.”  “Hi babe, it’s me.  I have a great plan for the weekend.  Pack your bags.  I’m taking you into the city, we’ll take the train.”  When I look across the room for my man from the future, he is gone.

Alphabet Poem

Day 6 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

Write a 26-line poem using all the letters of the alphabet. Have the first line start with the letter “A,” the second “B,” the third “C,” etc. 

About this winter, how did it go?

Bleak and cold, it sure did blow.
‘Course I hate the snow when there is too much
December was bad, even with Christmas and such.
Every damn day, there seemed to be white
Falling from the sky, it sure did bite.
Growing around me, big mountains of ice
How does it keep coming?  I think I’d rather have lice.
Ignoring it was ridiculous, silly and futile
January was just about or equally as brutal.
Kill me now, was always my thought
Learning is not happening, they need to be taught.
My God, the kids need to go back to school
Not going is really not cool.
Oh I am for sure losing my mind
Please oh please all this white is making me blind.
Quit snowing now or forever hold your peace
Right away, right this minute I’m sick of wearing fleece.
Summer is coming, it best be better
‘Til then Mother Nature will be getting a letter.
Unanimously, I’ll bet you all will agree
Vacation for us with wine and a side of brie.
Winter this year was so bad
Xoxo no I don’t mean that, good riddance and never come back
Yikes!  I sure do suck at this poetry
Zippety doo dah I think I’ll keep my day job-etry.

American Graffiti

Day 5 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

You’re downtown, and see graffiti in an unlikely place—graffiti like you’ve never seen before, concerning someone you know.

Have you ever seen something that just gets you to your core?  Something that seems so unbelievable that you think it must be true?  Well, it happened to me.  I saw something today on my walk home from lunch with a friend.  Something that puts me in quite the dilemma.

My day started out great.  My husband and I had a nice breakfast together.  Then I had plans to meet a very old friend for lunch.  A friend I have known since the 4th grade.  I was then going to finish up my day by enjoying a quiet evening at home alone because it was my husband’s turn to meet an old friend.  Me, some microwave popcorn and Netflix was the plan.  Perfection.

I had a couple of glasses of wine with lunch, so I was feeling energetic and giddy.  You know…that feeling before the “comedown.”  I’m sure I’ll be snoozing on my couch in an hour when it wears off.  In the meantime, I decided I would take a different way home.  A nice, long linger on this beautiful day.

I stopped in an unfamiliar florist for some flowers.  I love to add a splash of color in the house.  It just makes it feel that much more alive.  At this point, I was starting to lose my buzz, so I decided to step it up.  I took the alleyway to the right of the florist to save some time.  I walked down the alleyway and turned left for my shortcut.  Suddenly, I find myself distracted by large writing in bright colors on the back wall of the building that houses the florist.  When I look over, I see a familiar name.  “Grant Goodacre.”  My husband.

Sure there could be another Grant Goodacre in this large city.  And I would have thought so if whoever had written this didn’t paint Grant’s cell phone number in bold letters beneath his name.  Okay, so someone painted my husband’s name and number on the back of a building.  So what?  Except that wasn’t all.

What I read rocked my world and smashed it to pieces:

FOR A SEMI-GOOD TIME CALL GRANT GOODACRE @ 222-5252
GOOD IN BED BAD FOR THE HEART 

In smaller letters below this exclamation, there are notes from several women. To sum things up, it seems Grant is a frequent patron of “Leela’s Florist” and it looks like he buys flowers for all of his conquests.  These women refer to these special posies as “Break-up Flowers.”  From what I can gather, he makes them fall for him and when they get too close for his comfort level (because he is married after all), he sends them a bouquet with a “Dear Jane” letter.  As if that will send them quietly on their way.

Grant and I have been married for 7 years, no kids.  Living the good life in a great rental downtown, dinners out, vacations with friends.  We want kids.  Or so I thought.  Every time I bring it up, he reminds me of the fun we are having, tells me we’ll try the following year and talks me right out of it.  It suddenly becomes quite clear why he keeps putting me off.  How could I be so stupid?

I am very much in love with my husband.  He’s the only man I’ve ever dated.  He was my first and last lover.  Grant is the total package — tall, dark and so handsome he seems make-believe.  He’s a real charmer.  His charm charmed the pants right off of me.  That should have been my first clue.

I’m what you would call a Plain Jane.  I get that look from people.  You know that look that gives their thoughts away?  “What is HE doing with HER?”  People are shocked by our pairing.  When he brought me home to meet his parents, his dad hesitated to shake my hand.  As if I wasn’t really there. That should have been my clue #2.

Clue #3?  Late nights at the office, meeting a friend for a drink, weekend with the boys a bit more often than I cared to admit.  Oh dear God.  I am married to a Cliche.

So, here I am.  Seven years (eight if you include our courtship) into a relationship I thought was going pretty well.  My first reaction is to forgive him.  Move on and don’t confront him with what I discovered.  I’m passive and absolutely dread confrontation even in a case such as this.  It frightens me to imagine my life without him.  He is the love of my life.  My family.  My world. Maybe it’s something I did to send him into the arms and beds of other women.

Then I have a moment of clarity and snap to.  Fortunately for me, but not so fortunate for Grant, one of his paramours left her number.  It was one of those, “call me and let’s ruin his life” kind of deals.  Except Grant’s life doesn’t seem to be ruined because he is still standing.  I was about to change all that.

I reached into my purse and pulled out my phone.  Jennifer answered on the second ring.  Jennifer, my friend from 4th grade.  My friend who I just shared a bottle of wine with.  My friend who I just shared my most intimate thoughts.  My friend who I unwittingly shared my husband with.

With shaky fingers, I quickly hit the “off” button.  It was here that I made the decision.  I walked back into that florist and asked what kind of flowers Grant Goodacre sent to his lovers.  They knew him well.  “Good ole’ Grant.  He is such a sly devil, that one.”  I had a bouquet sent to him with a card.  The card read, “Enjoy your very first bouquet of “break-up” flowers.  My lawyer will be in touch.  You’re about to get as screwed as you screwed me, sans the orgasm.  Signed, your screwed over in more ways than one soon to be ex-wife.”

As for Jennifer?  It’s called Karma.  And it’s a bitch.

Sent To the Wrong Printer

Day 4 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

You’re at work and you print something personal.  Unfortunately, you’ve sent it to the wrong printer and, by the time you realize it, somebody else has already scooped it up.

Oh boy, it’s going to be a long day.  It’s already been a long week.  I have so much to do today, but I really need to get this letter typed up and faxed to the doctor.  These symptoms have been horrible and getting worse.  He asked me to write a timeline of what has been going on so I’ll do that before I start working.  It’s times like these when I realize I need to splurge on a home computer.

Dear Doctor Applegate,

On Saturday, July 11, noticed a foul smell emanating from anus.  Day 2, brown liquid produced post bowel movement and problem with urination.  Wednesday, July 15, lesions and redness on face and legs accompanied with terrible itching.

Please give me a call in the office as soon as you can.  As you can imagine, I am a bit concerned. 

Sincerely,

Patricia Johanson

I sent it off to the printer.  It’s so irritating that I have to walk down the hall to retrieve my printed items.  I inquired several times as to why I can’t have my own.  The answer is always, “it’s not in the budget.”  Yeah, sure it’s not.  I’ll bet those trips in the corporate jet isn’t in the budget either, but that doesn’t stop you.

I make the stroll down, stopping for a sip of water from the fountain.  As I approach the printer, I don’t see my document.  I look on the floor, behind it, next to it.  I check to see if it is jammed.  That’s when it dawned on me that it was sent to the wrong printer.

Crap!  I run around the corner toward the other printer and who do I see?  That jerk-face Bob standing there with his comrades.  He’s holding a piece of paper and they are all laughing.  He looks up at me and yells across the floor, “smelly ass there, huh Patsy?”  He’s such a jackass.

I ran to him and tried to grab at my print-out.  I suddenly felt 13 again when Davey Jones (not that one) would torment me and my “4 eyes.”  I gave up and turn to go back to my desk.  There’s no point in trying to fix Stupid.

I wasn’t there for but a minute, when my phone rings.  It’s Dr. Applegate telling me that Rocky had a good case of Anal Sac Disease and Mange.  Gross.  Don’t know how that happened.  Must be that new dog next door he seems to be enamored with.  Luckily, after a few days of meds he’ll be good as new.  Thank God.

As for jackass Bob, I believe he needs a taste of his own medicine.  In the form of a large dose of Ex-Lax in his morning coffee tomorrow.  I think I’ll pull a chair up near the bathroom.  This is going to be better than having front row seats at the circus.  Bring it on you clown.

Mystery Cookie

Day 3 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

One day you come into work and find a cookie mysteriously placed on your desk.  Grateful to whoever left this anonymous cookie, you eat it.  The next morning you come in and find another cookie.  This continues for months until one day a different object is left–and this time there’s a note.

I work at one of those large conglomerates where you are pretty much just a number.  I work to make ends meet, I have no passion for what I do.  One day usually runs into the other with nothing unusual happening.  Outside of the occasional birthday and retirement celebration, it’s pretty ho-hum.  Until the cookies changed all that.

It was a Monday in June.  My morning was the typical rush to get out of the house on time which included getting not only myself ready but my 2 children.  The typical “no time to breathe” type of morning.  I already had visions of that evening of my sweatpanted-clad self sitting on the couch with a large glass of red wine, watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, the kids in bed.

After sitting in rush-hour traffic for an hour, I pulled into the parking lot at work.  I made the 10 minute trek to my desk, where I plunked myself into my chair.  As I reached over to turn on my computer, I saw something in my peripheral vision.  I looked to the left and was greeted by a big, fat, macadamia cookie oozing with large white chocolate chips.  My favorite.  The cookie was still warm.

“Looks like Jane has been baking again,” I said to myself as I bit a quarter of it.  After all, I was starving.  I usually don’t have time to eat breakfast before I leave for work in the morning.  The cookie was gone in another 3 bites.  After it was safely in my belly, I walked down five cubicles to Jane’s desk to thank her.  Except Jane said she didn’t do it.  “Oh, did you get a cookie too?”  She did not.  So I went back to my desk, started and ended another typical day at the office.  Not giving another thought to my cookie surprise.

Until the next day.  And the day after that.  The cookie was always the same type…macadamia with white chocolate chips.  And it was always warm.  I sat a little perplexed that first week.  I continued to wonder who could be doing this.  By Friday, I had asked everyone in my department and a few of the surrounding areas if anyone was leaving me this sugary surprise and the answer was always “no.”

I usually bring my lunch to work every day except Fridays.  On Fridays, I treat myself to the taco bar in the cafeteria.  Hell, I work hard all week, I owe it to myself.  All that is missing is a margarita.  Which is fine really, extra sour cream always makes up for that.

While I am talking to Bertha, the cafeteria worker who dishes out the tacos, I decide to tell her about my cookie mystery.   I love Bertha.  She’s always so sweet and easy to talk to.  I tell her that it’s always warm.  After I explained the type of cookie it is, she reminded me that they sell the same cookie in the cafe.  So, whoever is leaving me these treats, comes in before me and gets to the cafeteria first thing while the baked goods are still hot.  Was I getting warmer? Only time would tell.

I spent a couple of days going into work a few minutes early and going to the cafeteria.  Looking to see if someone was buying a macadamia white chocolate chip cookie.  Not only did I not catch anyone, but I didn’t really have the time.  It’s practically impossible to leave the house when I should, let alone a little early.  Besides, anyone could buy a cookie.  How would I tell which person was buying it for me?  The cookie was always on my desk.  Every single day.  This situation was becoming more bazaar and mind boggling by the day.  Who the hell was it?

At this point, I was starting to feel agitated, a little freaked out and frightened.  I was starting to not welcome the cookie.  Most mornings, it wound up in the trash.  I was becoming sick of macadamia white chocolate chip and I had gained a couple of pounds.  Was it a woman who disliked me and my size 4 self?  Was it a secret admirer?  I hope not.  I know I’ve been divorced for a few months now, but I was not ready to start dating again.

Then 4 months later on a Friday, almost to the day it began, I got to my desk and got another surprise.  Instead of my morning cookie, there was the birth certificate of a woman.  A woman who seemed familiar.  And laying next to it was an envelope with my name written across the front.

Here’s to hoping for the moment of truth.  With shaky hands, I reached over and ripped the envelope open with my letter opener.  What I found inside changed my life.  Inside the envelope was a letter.  This letter was from my sister.  A sister I never knew I had.  Her adopted name was Bertha.  The cafeteria worker.