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The Tip

Jenna barely heard the rough clicks of Sam’s key in the door over the gentle hiss of the water as she washed the vegetables. A quick sigh escaped from her mouth. As much as she loved her husband, after work he tended to be a bit grumpy. The fresh stack of bills that lay on the counter would only make it worse. She turned off the water and began to wipe her hands when she saw him come into their tiny apartment, turning to close the door and lock it behind him.

Jenna grinned at the sight of him. He had an unassuming cuteness about him. When she had first seen him at their church she never would have pictured them together. He had shaggy brown hair, hazel eyes, and an average frame that could easily be lost in a crowd, but he was smart enough to know that those were not his strength.

The first time Sam had approached her it was simple and quick. He introduced himself and came off as shy. Each time they spoke after that he emerged from of his shell a little more. It did not take long for Jenna to see his heart and know that it was more beautiful than any other she knew. He had a rare combination of a sweet spirit and powerful intellect. Sam could make you feel like the most wonderful person in the world or like you didn’t exist. He knew the power of words and just how to use them.

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Gifts (Part 2)

Click here to read Gifts (Part 1)

“Enjoy your birthday honey. I’ve gotta go now.”

 

Val’s father walked over and kissed her forehead before heading for the garage. The moment he was out of sight she turned and spoke over her shoulder.

 

“Follow me S.A.R.A.!”

 

That was the last time Val would have to issue that command. From that day on, girl and robot were inseparable.

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A Thousand Reasons

“That’s weird…”

The high-pitched squeak of Riley’s chair signaled his coming arrival to the top of the grey wall that separated our cubicles. His words arrived a split-second before the top half of his face.

“What is?”

I looked up to see the hazel eyes of my curious co-worker looking down upon me. His short brown was neatly parted and brushed to one side. When I started working here, his habit of looking over our shared wall reminded me of the neighbor Wilson from Home Improvement, but after a few weeks of why Star Trek is more scientifically accurate than Star Wars instead of words of wisdom from obscure tribes in Africa the illusion faded.

“Some girl dialed my number by accident, but instead of hanging up she left a message.”

Riley’s voice rose a bit with excitement. “Oh yeah? Let me hear.” (more…)

Animals

My problem was that I was looking at her face. Her brown hair was pulled back in a single ponytail. She paused for a second to let her blue eyes adjust to the dim atmosphere. As she started walking toward the counter I tried to picture her covered in fur with large ears, but nothing really clicked. That’s when I heard Paul’s voice whisper as he poured a shot of espresso. He never looked my way.

“Duck.”

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Tug of War

When I was seven years old my family took a trip to see one of my mom’s great aunts that she hadn’t seen since she was a little girl. It was a two thousand mile identity crisis. Unsure about her future, she made a desperate attempt to find out who she was by “getting in touch from where she came from”. The trip would have passed through my life like a specter had it not been for my father’s suggestion that we spend an afternoon at the beach.

I did not understand my father’s enthusiasm for this little adventure, but was grateful for any opportunity to escape my great-great aunt’s cat fortress. As I crested the small hill that obscured the water from where we parked I froze. In my head I had pictured a larger version of the lake we went to with our neighbors back in Nevada. This was not just bigger. It was wholly different.

The water spread out before me like a tangible twin of the sky. This body compelled my attention. I was in the presence of greatness and suddenly felt very small and wholly insignificant. I wanted so badly to touch every piece of it, but the magnificence of what lay before me cast out any doubt that I might be worthy to feel a single drop on my skin.

It took an hour before those feelings began to subside. I would not go within ten feet of the water’s edge. My family laughed and joked that I was afraid. They were right, but it was not the simple fear they assumed me to have.

When I first approached the water, I came with the awe it was worthy of. I closed my eyes and let the waves whisper to my toes. Entering deeper I learned one of the great secrets of my life. Wave after wave drifted toward the shore with the gentle rhythm of a pulse. They could be seen and felt. Anticipated. But the great waters carried another kind of wave.

The sun, the birds, and the air I took for granted were ripped from my life as the undertow grabbed me and pulled me into the darkness. Salt stabbed my eyes as I was tossed to and fro. Fear and awe swirled inside me as the tug of war between the light and the depths commenced. I was ripped free of any hold the light held on me and swallowed in the grasp of the water. Then, having proved it’s might, I was released.

Freedom became something new to me. At first, I didn’t know what to do with it. Then, as my lungs started to burn, I remembered the light. I clawed up from the deep with all my strength and when I broke the surface the air welcomed me as a mother does a lost son. I rested in that embrace, but could not shake the effect of being so completely held by the waters below.

Later, sitting on my towel and staring at where the sky kissed the water, I still felt the tug of war.

Copyright © 2012 Adam Drake

All I Wanted

I almost killed him. And I could have done it. I’ve got a hundr… sixty pounds on the little twerp. His big blue eyes were locked onto me until I couldn’t take it anymore.

“What are you looking at Thane?”

His little smile was the kind of evil that is so far from good it doesn’t even know that it’s evil.

“Mrs. Owens, your arms jiggle like the Jell-O mom makes for Halloween. I like Jell-O!”

What would the sentence be for killing a five year old? Life in prison certainly, but would they give me the chair? When I pictured the jury filled with women in their thirties I almost convinced myself I could get away with it. But then I remembered that it wasn’t him I wanted to kill. (more…)

Watching

The room seemed to transform from an oasis of air conditioning to a fiery furnace as soon as the words left Senator Corbin’s mouth and by the look on the Chairman’s face, Robert Corbin was one of the three Hebrew boys. The deep oak paneling of the Committee for Commerce, Science, and Transportation meeting room suddenly felt like being trapped in a jail of wood. And the smell of fire was near.

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The Prison

I pulled the prisoner through the damp hallway ignoring the intermittent cries of pain from my grip that had clamped around her bicep. When her feet began to drag my grip would tighten spurring them into a half-hearted shuffle. Her questioning eyes clung to each empty cell we passed, but I had a special place in mind for this one.

I drug the condemned deeper into the darkness until we reached the last cell. After opening the door I threw her in with all my might. She tumbled like a rag doll and lay unmoving against the back wall that stopped her roll. Her long brown hair covered the bruises that I had left on her face. Only the rise and fall of her tattered black shirt gave an indication of life.

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You Have 48 Hours (Cont.)

This is part two of an invitation for reader participation in one of my stories. You can read part 1 here. I tried to follow one of the ideas given, but as my first grade art teacher no doubt remembers, I was never good at staying inside the lines. 😉

Zane’s hand reached out of it’s own accord and plucked it off the table. The blank card felt expensive as it rested heavily between his fingers. He flipped the card around to see and address printed in pink letters with an all-too familiar dolphin leaping out of imaginary water beneath the text.

A smile split Zane’s lips. As a lover of puzzles he knew immediately that he could not resist investigating. It would not take much effort to reschedule his plans for the day. Doing laundry and taking a nap before the game came on would have to wait until Sunday. (more…)

You Have 48 Hours

Author’s Note: Over the past few months I have had a few requests that, although slightly different, suggested various forms of reader participation so this week I thought I would give it a try. The following is the beginning of a story. I will leave the ending up to you. You can share your thoughts and ideas for what happens next by commenting and I will take one or more of them to finish the story. Let the fun begin.

“Maybe it’s just brown. Everything seems like it’s brown nowadays…”

Zane’s eyes wandered around the interior of the coffee shop as his mind searched for the best answer. “Love” was the first thought that popped up but was immediately followed by the image of his cat Whiskers. It was a noble idea, but hardly accurate if a cat was the primary source of love in his life. He pondered the word “Boring” for a minute, but rejected it knowing it would leave him melancholy for the next few days.

The article that had sent him on this thought adventure still filled the screen of his laptop. Bold letters along the top asked “Is Life That Simple?” The author believed that if a person could find a core idea around which their life rotated, they could find happiness. It highlighted a recent poll that had asked people describe their life in a single word. “Exciting”, “Love”, and “Fun” were the top three answers. (more…)