In one of the workshops, Lynn asked us to write the introduction to two stories. One had to be a modern/real-world story, the other a fantasy. My gorgeous and hilarious husband had reached his writing saturation point. The words would no longer come, so instead he drew these:
What the?!? A real-world kitten and a fantasy kitten, of course...
I got stuck on the fantasy prompt, which I never expected would happen in a million years, but for once, I didn't have any scenes jumping to mind. The modern prompt, however, presented itself to me at once, and the result is here:
I am bored, in the worst way. “And what,” you may ask, “is the worst way, Tom?” My answer would be first date gone horribly wrong bored. Don’t get me wrong, Dustin brought me to the nicest restaurant in town, and drove over an hour to get here, but that’s where the high point ends.
It’s one of those places where the tablecloths are white and they have actual candles in the centerpiece. The furniture all looks like it was hand-made in Italy and flown over, and the menu prices don’t dispute that theory. Not the sort of place I frequent on my best day, and this isn’t my best day. We’re at a four-sided table, and Dustin insisted on sitting to my right, instead of across from me.
“…and that’s how I got Rush Chair. Crazy, yeah?” It takes a moment to break my reverie and murmur my agreement. I’m sure the story was positively wacky, but I’m not sure how it’s relevant. Dustin’s profile said he was 25, but I’m fairly certain his finger slipped off the 3 key. Either way, Rush Chair was clearly some time ago. Not that age bothers me. I’m a hell of a lot older than I look, to tell the truth. It’s the discrepancy that has me concerned, and behind my dreary boredom, a sense of unease is starting to slink in.
“So, what do you do again?” I ask, trying to seem interested. The dining room is full of clattering plates and talkative people, and I have to repeat the question because I’ve spoken too quietly. Cars roll by on Marion Avenue, and I’m trying to listen to Dustin rather than watch them through the windows dominating the east wall of the room. He says something about an insurance company and I murmur how fascinating it is.
That feeling of unease grips the pit of my stomach, tightens, drops. Something is wrong, and it’s not Dustin’s typing skills.
“We should get down,” I interject into an ongoing description of daily paperwork. My tone is too calm, really.
“I’m sorry?” He is confused, and rightly so.
“I said we should probably get down.”
“Meaning?” His tone drips with the sense of a hundred meanings that never occurred to me, and never will. The feeling takes over my whole body, like the adrenaline rush that happens when you almost fall down a flight of stairs, and catch yourself just in time. I roll my eyes, grab him by the tie and pull him, forcefully, under the table a moment before the windows explode. There is shouting, and a gunshot, followed by the sound of running.
“What the fuck was that? Tom?” I realize I’m still holding onto Dustin’s tie, and I let it go. Checking to make sure my badge is in place, I grab my gun out of its holster.
“Sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t discuss police business with anyone outside the department. If you’ll excuse me?” I get up and start running, heading for the windows. Whatever just happened, they can’t have gotten far.
“Can I call you?” he shouts after me.
“No,” I reply, not looking back. Boredom eliminated.
I wonder if I can do anything more with this... That would be awesome. We shall see.