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Month: January 2018

Fiction: It’s Hard out Here for a Baby

Fiction: It’s Hard out Here for a Baby

It’s Hard out Here for a Baby

Life isn’t easy for a baby. No one seems to understand me. Sure every once in a while they do something amusing and I flash them a smile. Overall, however, these so-called grownups, the people are supposed to be in charge, don’t seem to know what they’re doing. I hope it isn’t like this my whole life.

Just the other day, my parents were preparing for a trip to the grocery store. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching them run around the house, gathering diapers and bottles, and always forgetting something. What makes me mad is when they strap me into that horrible chair, which if its use wasn’t banned by the Geneva Convention, it should have been. The seatbelts always scratch my neck and keep me from touching my toes, which I would have you know I just recently discovered. On top of this, they pick me up and put my stupid chair in the car backwards, so the only thing I get to look at on the trip is the back of the car!

Whoa, look at that! It’s my hand…Cool…

Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah. I was strapped into the seat on our way to the grocery store. I cried for a while just to let them know I wasn’t happy with the whole seating arrangement. After that, I figured I could use a nap and just as I was dozing off, the parents were jerking me out of my car seat and into my stroller. This contraption might have been a pleasant change if it wasn’t so filthy from being in the trunk of the car all day.

By the way, what’s up with the grocery store? It all seems pointless to me. Can’t you people be like the rest of us and eat the natural way? I don’t get my food off some shelf at the Piggly Wiggly, if you know what I mean.

My parents managed to go through every aisle of the store and pick out all of their food without banging my stroller on anything too often. Of course they forgot the one item they were buying for me. I tried to tell them they forgot diapers, but they just wouldn’t listen. They thought I just wanted to be held. Whatever the reason for the miscommunication, it means in a few hours I will be strapped into the seat again and paraded around the store.

Anyhow, I haven’t eaten in two hours and fifty-five minutes, and it doesn’t seem like anybody notices. Enough of this, someone better feed me soon… “Waaaaaaaa!”

Story Fragment from 2011

Story Fragment from 2011

This is a fragment of a story I submitted as part of a writing contest for a local newspaper. It didn’t get selected, but I enjoyed writing.

“…I’m gonna have to go into the office,” said Brad.

“But Daddy, what about ice skating?” said Clara, herself now on the verge of tears.

“Maybe Grandma can take you?” answered Brad. “I’m sorry but I really have to go in to work.”

“But she can’t skate backwards like you can Daddy,” said Clara.

“I think Grandma will do a fine job,” said Brad. He knew it wasn’t really about skating, just like it wasn’t really about him going to work during the week. Ever since her mother went to Afghanistan, he couldn’t leave the house without Clara putting up a fight. He just could not convince her that he would not be going away like mommy had.

“It will be fun, sweetheart,” said Martha, putting her arm around Clara. “We can even stop at the Creamery afterward.”

“Okay,” said Clara with a sniffle.

After a swift goodbye, Brad was out the door and into his car. He turned onto Stony Batter and then onto Axemann Road, the Logan Branch his only companion on his way to Pleasant Gap.  He couldn’t believe he had to go to work on yet another Saturday, and yet he knew he shouldn’t be surprised.  The company’s web server was being held together using his digital equivalent of spit and duct tape. It needed replaced.

Brad knew that wouldn’t happen any time soon, though.  The company had recently instated in the office such cost cutting measures such as the “bring your own roll” program in the restrooms.  If they lacked the funds for toilet paper it was doubtful they were going to spring for a new server. With the company’s growing online sales, however, the bean counters would eventually have to do something. He hoped that didn’t mean outsourcing IT.

Brad jiggled the cord on his satellite radio receiver. It too had outlived its lifespan and needed replaced, and just like his company he lacked the funds to do so. Brad looked up just in time to see her, standing in the middle of the road.  He applied his brakes hard, turning the wheel slightly toward the side of the road, forcing himself against the wheel. Had he looked up one second later, he would not have been able to stop in time.

After taking a moment to compose himself, Brad switched on his 4-way flashers and exited his car. “Are you okay?” he said, baffled why somebody would be standing in the middle of the road.  The girl, well now that he got a closer look, woman, still did not look up from the pavement.

He had expected someone younger, perhaps with ear buds dangling from their ears, oblivious to the outside world, as the youth so often seemed.  Instead he found a woman about his age, clearly disheveled from living, at least recently, a hard life. He couldn’t help notice, however, that she had a strikingly pretty face, and eyes that seemed oddly familiar.

“Let’s walk over here,” he said, ever so lightly nudging her to the side of the road, taking care not to scare her even further into harm’s way. To his relief she complied.

He had never picked up a hitchhiker before but couldn’t just leave her there on the side of the road. She would surely wander into traffic again, and who knows if the next driver would notice in time.  She would have to come with him. “Are you hungry?” he asked.

Without raising her head, the woman nodded.

“Okay, good,” said Brad. “There’s a little diner just up the road. If you get in the car, I can take you there.”

The woman didn’t answer, but started for the car.  It was good enough for him.

Brad attempted to introduce himself to her as they drove past his office on their way to the restaurant, but she did not answer. Midway through the drive, he rolled down his window ever so slightly and discreetly. She had clearly not showered in some time.

As Brad pulled into the parking lot of the diner, he wasn’t sure what his next move would be and he struggled to remember where he had seen those eyes before.