#90 Teen Paranormal Romance

His steel cold frame encompassed her as they darted through the forest. Above, a full moon shine down, shimmering off the leaves in quick glances of light, blurring past her as they drew deeper into the growth. She’d only known him for 25 minutes, but for some inexplicable reason only possible in love stories written by those not ever having been hurt by another, she trusted him completely. He was strong, silent, masculine, handsome, and a vampire.

They stopped just short of the clearing. In the distance she could see movements of small forest creatures. The same sort you might see in a Disney film, except these didn’t talk. He laid her down on a bed of flowers, which she later realized were honestly just moss and weeds, but they felt like flowers to her.

“Oh Edmund”, she said softly, “This is so beautiful”.

“It is?”, he replied, skeptically eyeing the aforementioned woodland creatures and mossy bed, before quickly regaining his composure. “Yea… Beth… it is”.

“Are you going to tell me what it’s like to be a vampire?”, she said, relishing the last word as it came out of her mouth.

“I guess”, he said.

“Don’t you want to share it with me?”, she replied quizzically.

“It’s kinda dull honestly. I’m hungry most of the time, except I have an insatiable appetite for human blood instead of lattes or hamburgers. I don’t grow old, and for some reason in this version of my existence, I can’t turn into a bat, which kinda sucks”, he confided in her.

“It sounds dreamy”, she said slowly.

“Did you really just use the word ‘dreamy’?”, he asked.

“I suppose I did”, she swooned.

“Yea… sure….”, Edmund said as he came around the other side of his mossy half-effort-but-its-the-thought-that-counts bed. “Beth, I have to tell you something”.

“What is it?”, she asked.

“I’m kinda hungry, that’s why I brought you here”, Edmund said.

“You want to show me how you hunt?”, she said, peering deep into his cold, dead, sorta blackish with specs of brown eyes.

“Uh… Beth… you don’t get it do you”, Edmund said as he pulled out a bib, the same sort you see at value-priced lobster shanty restaurants. He couldn’t afford another dry cleaning charge this week.

“You want me to be with you forever?”, she inferred.

“Beth… I’m a frickin’ vampire. We met on Match after I literally told you in an email that you looked good enough to eat. I just figured you were suicidal or something, but now I can see – you’re just dumb and oblivious”, Edmund said as he opened his mouth, baring his fangs.

“Wait a minute – you don’t seem to be that romantic after all…” Beth said before she was cut off.

<five minutes later>

Jason, the werwolf, arrived in the clearing just in time to see Edmund untying his bib.

“I missed it again?!?”, Jason said incredulously.

“Told ya man, I work fast”, Edmund said with a laugh.

“One day I’m gonna get here ‘just in time'”, Jason said reluctantly.

“Sure”, Edmund said, “I guess some day you’ll get here early enough to rescue yourself a girlfriend, loser!”

Author’s Note: The title of this post was inspired by, honestly, a section at my local Barnes & Noble. They now have a shelf titled “Teen Paranormal Romance”. It’s right next to another shelf named (I kid you not), “New Teen Paranormal Romance”. Meanwhile, their computer book s are missing, and their science & engineering sections are hidden away!

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#89 The To-Go Cone

Mr. Finny owned the diner in town for over 40 years. His clients included the mayor, the city council, and pretty much anyone who worked within a square half-mile of his centrally located establishment. He was known to serve tasty food at competitive prices, and while newer, fancier, and more specialized restaurants opened around him, he watched as each one sadly closed while he soldiered on. He couldn’t wish them ill though – it wasn’t his way. At age 80, he simply enjoyed what he did too much to retire, but knew that some day he’d pass on just as the other restaurants had.

Finny had a reputation for hospitality, and his signature special trademark was the To-Go Cone. After a hearty meal, many of his patrons would be in a rush to get back to work, and Finny insisted that they take a small ice cream cone to-go, free of charge. His To-Go cones were legendary, appearing in many a person’s hand as they returned to work. The mayor had been seen holding one at his desk, and the district judge had one in his hand as he returned to court on a regular basis.

One day Mr. Finny began closing up his shop as the last patron, Joan, was preparing to leave. It was late, and she was tired. She found it odd that after she paid the bill, Finny wasn’t at the door with is usual to-go cone in hand for her. But she figured he was just trying to get out of there quickly, and for all she knew, the ice cream machine had already been shut down for the night. Reluctantly she exited the diner without her cone, without saying goodbye.

About a half-block down the street, her conscience got the best of her. She remembered Mr. Finny warmly as he handed her that cone during her childhood, her teen years (even when the diner wasn’t cool to be seen at), and as an adult. She turned around so that she could at least say goodnight to the man she’d known for so long. Even if she didn’t get her cone, it was worth it.

She entered the diner, surprised that her table hadn’t been cleaned. She felt funny, coming back in so soon, but she had a good pretext – to get her cone! She called out to Mr. Finny, but got no answer. Breaking the proclamation of the “Employees Only” sign, she walked into the kitchen and found Mr. Finny. He lay on the floor, sprawled out. A broken ice cream cone lay on the floor beside him, bearing Joan’s favorite flavor. She called 911, and waited while she watched him take shallow breaths.

The next day she visited him in the hospital. Despite being a man of advanced years, his collapse had simply been exhaustion from the long day. He’d broken a bone though, and if she hadn’t returned, the results of the fall might have been far worse. He agreed to have others help him close down at the end of the day, even if it meant keeping his teenage wait staff there a few hours later on school nights, and Joan smiled as he apologized for not giving her the cone before she left.

[SSDay]

#88 Late

There was a young person named Nate
Who sometimes arrived quite late
One day to a soiree
He created much delay
Arriving after they served the last plate!

[SSDay]

 

#56 Common Sense

He walks into the bank and sees the long queue line, empty as usual. Ignoring the looks of those around him, he unhooks the rope, walks beyond it, re-hooks it, and goes to the open window.

He leaves ample room in the traffic jam for those entering and exiting the lane, while the commuter next to him glues himself to the bumper of the car in front. In traffic he prefers to travel away from other vehicles – he calls them “accident packs” as they bunch up.

If he passes you, you won’t pass him again in a few miles after he slows down. He’s an avid user of cruise control when it’s safe.

At stores he confidently walks through the screaming security system – he knows he didn’t steal anything, and has nothing to prove. After all, what criminal is going to stop – and why should an honest man bother?

He makes others not so bold uncomfortable, but lives by the motto of “If it doesn’t hurt anyone else, why not do what makes sense”. It’s not his fault that the world has arbitrary rules that don’t always make sense. After all, he was raised in the generation that was told to ‘think for themselves’, so how can one blame him for doing just that?

Author’s Note: Yes, this is 56. It was written before 57, but I held off publishing it until today!

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#87 Gene

Gene worked in a small company, there were only 623 employees. He spent his days traveling from client to client, explaining to each how working with his firm would benefit them. They all agreed, rarely turning down his proposals. It was a shame Gene didn’t get paid on commission. But the perks of the job were good, and he was happy.

Then one day Gene met the woman of his dreams. She lived next door to one of his recent clients. As Gene lived literally out of a suitcase, traveling so much as to be technically homeless (he obviously preferred hotels with guest laundry services!) Gene decided he wanted to court this young lady, so he asked his client if he had a room available for rent. He did, and Gene moved his suitcase in and began dating the girl next door.

Life was good until Gene’s client started a metal band and practiced night and day. Gene and his lady friend had nowhere to go – the racket was just as loud at her house next door. So they ran off together, and fell deeply in love. When the metal band phase of his client’s life ended, Gene and his fiancé moved back into the old neighborhood.

Did I mention that Gene is an honest-to-goodness comes-out-of-bottles genie? Eh, it’s not that important.

Bruce Gholson -Genie Bottle © by Bulldog Pottery

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#86 I Think I Can Fly

“I think I can fly, Jazz”, Kitty said to her roommate.

“Why do you think that”, Jazz replied.

“Because sometimes, when I’m jumping from really tall things to really short things, it almost feels like I could glide up – like dip and come back up, you know?”, Kitty replied.

“That’s awesome”, Jazz said.

“You’re both morons”, chirped the parakeets.

“We’ll see how moronic you think we are when we break you tasty treats out of that little protective box you live in”, they replied in unison.

Flying cat! © by kirun

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#85 The Final Fifteen

The Final Fifteen
Experiment Soon Ending
What Will They Be Jon?

Author’s Note: As this haiku may give away subtly, we’re in the home stretch of A Short Story a Day. My goal of 100 stories, until now unannounced, will soon be upon us, and the project will be over. But don’t fret – an anthology will be available with behind-the-scenes stuff like “Why did Jon start this project” and “What was the motivation for this story?”, etc… True to the old Tagline of JonWestfall.com: More than you want to know!

[SSDay]

#84 Isolation

“Why is Jeremy still here?”, snarled Tom.

“I know, the little creep should have left months ago”, Sandra replied.

Jeremy Smith, a junior-level data analyst at Strategic Data Initiatives Inc. was not well liked by his co-workers. A natural loaner, Jeremy came into the office when he chose, left when he felt like it, and management never raised an eyebrow. And why should they? Jeremy was the fastest worker they had – he often completed work 2-3 times faster than his senior colleagues. He was in line for a promotion, in a few months he’d pass Tom & Sandra, both veterans of the firm.

They had taken upon themselves the job of trying to get Jeremy to quit. They instructed none of their friends to speak to him, something that none of them were doing regularly anyway. Jeremy was to be treated like a pariah. He didn’t seem to notice. It was normal for no one to speak to him, for his phone to not ring all day, etc.

Then they started spreading the rumors around. Everything they could think of. The nastier the better. Jeremy just ignored all of it.

Sandra & Tom were at a loss of what to do. They dared not put anything about him in writing, via email or somewhere in the office, as management could easily track that back to them. Suddenly it came to them.

“Ya know, he always wears that stupid hoodie”, Tom told Sandra.

“Yea, so what?”, Sandra replied.

“I bet he wears headphones underneath it!”, Tom said with glee.

“Ah, so he doesn’t hear anything… that would explain it”, Sandra said with a smile.

So they started on a new petition – to make a dress code change at the office. No hoods, no headphones. They coached it as some way to improve employee relations – people would feel more connected to each other, and junk like that. They got some supervisor in another part of the office to go with it, and he got it implemented site wide. On Day 1, they saw Jeremy walk in, no hood, no headphones.

They started their rumor mill up, and before long people were blushing at the things Sandra, Tom, and their followers were ‘accidentally’ saying about Jeremy. Jeremy just sat there, a blank expression on his face as he worked away.

Sandra & Tom couldn’t figure out what they were doing wrong. To their dismay, Jeremy was promoted. Not to management, but to a senior analyst position on a higher floor. They were happy he was gone. He didn’t fit in anyway.

Several months passed until one day a peculiar email arrived in both Sandra & Tom’s inbox. They had a meeting with their boss’s boss on a higher floor. They went up and gleefully thought about what this might mean. They’d both been looking to move into management, maybe this was literally the call up.

They were a bit shocked when they entered the room and saw Jeremy sitting in one of the chairs before the desk.

“Sandra, Tom, come in and sit down”, the boss beckoned. They sat down next to Jeremy.

“I believe you know Jeremy, although I gather you two weren’t close when he worked near you. So you should probably know that Jeremy is legally deaf – so speak up!”, the boss said as they peered over at Jeremy. That’s why the kid hadn’t ever noticed their venomous spew!

“Jeremy has worked on employee statistics here, and he’s brought me some interesting findings about both of you”, the boss began. Sandra and Tom began to get nervous.

“It seems that, for some time now, you’ve both been failing to meet performance standards. Normally you would have been coached on this and we could have fixed the problem – but it seems as though floor management has been a bit behind with silly things like dress code changes and enforcement. I’m really sorry to tell both of you this, but I don’t think we can keep you at the analyst level any longer”.

Sandra and Tom were shocked. Sure, they’d slacked off a bit since they figured Jeremy did and was rewarded for it.

“Uh, what are our options?”, Tom asked, a bit taken aback.

“Well, unfortunately you only have 2. You can become Jeremy’s assistants as he starts a new group here, or you can resign”, the boss said matter-of-factly.

“We’re not sure that would work well”, Sandra said.

“Yea, Jeremy honestly doesn’t seem like he needs assistants”, Tom added. “Perhaps we could work in another division, or have another chance?”.

The boss raised one eyebrow and glanced at Jeremy. Jeremy, for the first time Tom or Sandra had ever seen, let out a curled smile. Perhaps more of a smirk. His hearing aide turned up to high had given him Tom’s answer, and he knew the intent behind it.

“I’ll have security escort you both out”, the boss said.

[SSDay]

#83 The Plant

The plant sat serenely at the side of the desk. Every leaf a memory of the passage of time. Every branch a marker of a period of its growth, periods the family had marked by hours or days or weeks or months. The plant marked them as they were – extensions of itself, new life springing, moment by moment. The plant was not static, as the humans around periodically became. It did not regard change as something to be avoided, but as something to be embraced.

Then, in an instant, the plant was toppled by the cat.

Change happens, slow or swift. We just need to adapt to it, and we will survive.

[SSDay]

#82 Bigger Things Coming

Bigger things coming,
Fiction they are not.
Something epic,
Will Grab 82’s Spot.

The Goal I have set
To Have Content Abound
Makes Blogging as yet
Take backstage all round

But today a long post
Is coming your way
So poor 82 is short
Will just fade away.

82 © by Moe_

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