Thirty Days of Genius – Day Twenty-six

The envelope was worn and yellowed with age.  It was wrinkled where it had once been folded carelessly in half, though it had since been repeatedly smoothed out by gentle hands.  She held it as if it was a priceless treasure–and to her it was.

This was the only letter that survived the fire, the only remnant of a young man’s love for her during a time of war.  They had gotten engaged just before he was shipped off for the service to fight in a country halfway around the world.  He had written her religiously and every letter had been stored carefully in a memory box; every letter except the one she held.

It was this letter, the one where he talked about their future, that she had carried with her that day.  It was this letter that was the only one to survive.  The firemen didn’t know what had started the house fire but by the time they arrived the house was a total loss.  The memory box was destroyed and her last connection to her love was reduced to this one single letter.

So today, on the anniversary of his death, she pulled the letter out once again and read the words he wrote, about the big plans he had and the love they shared.  It seemed like a lifetime ago now, but she had never stopped loving him, even when he came home in the simple pine box, put there by a stray round from what might have been a friendly gun.

Writing prompts:  envelope, priceless, service

Thirty Days of Genius – Day Twenty-five

The emptiness of the night pressed close against me.  My heels echoed strangely as they hit the sidewalk.  I resisted the urge to glance over my shoulder, but only barely.  It was exactly the kind of night that all good girls and boys should be tucked safely away into their beds.  Thick, heavy clouds hung low in the sky.  A dense fog had rolled in from the bay, coating everything in a layer of moisture.

I was out braving the weather instead of curled up in my living room because my house was currently under construction.  However, the project was running long.  To make up time the crew had decided to stay late tonight to get back on track.  The incessant hammering had finally driven me out into the weather to “clear my head.”

Now that I was out here though, I was somewhat regretting my decision.  It was just odd out tonight.  When another set of steps began echoing along with mine, I fought the childish urge to run home to safety.  A dark shape loomed out of the fog and my heart quailed in fear.  I laughed in relief as the dark, scary shape turned out to be my elderly neighbor.

“Oh, dear, it’s a terrible night to be out.  What are you doing?” she asked with a frown.

“My house is still being worked on.  The noise was driving me batty, so I decided to go for a walk.  I didn’t realize how terrible the weather was until I was already out here.”

“Well, be a dear and walk me home.  I’ll make you some tea and you can keep this old woman company until your house is quiet again.”

Writing prompts:  construction, sidewalk, emptiness

Thirty Days of Genius – Day Twenty-four

I wondered, once again, how I found myself in these situations.  Sure, to some it was just a makeup party.  However, the hostess was flighty enough to set the women’s liberation movement back by fifty years or so.

I cringed as the lady’s voice assaulted my ears.  “Now ladies, let’s see what we can do for you.  You all want to look your best for your man, right?”  There was a cacophony of giggles from the rest of the women in the room.

“Now, dear, you are certainly in need of some help, aren’t you?”  The hostess’s beady eyes landed squarely on me.  My so-called friend–the one that had dragged me to this horrible event–elbowed me in the ribs to prevent the response on the tip of my tongue from leaving my mouth.

I smiled and in my most saccharine voice I replied, “You know, I always did want to learn how to apply clown makeup.  I see you know how, could you show me?”  My friend’s elbow found my ribs again but I didn’t regret it, the woman really did need to learn how to tone it down.

The hostess’s eyes rounded in horror, as if she couldn’t believe what I had just said.  “Why I never…you…you…” she finally managed to stutter out.  I just continued to smile, happy that my evening was finally looking up.

Writing prompts:  party, liberation, makeup

Thirty Days of Genius – Day Twenty-three

My attitude didn’t improve as I read the paragraph again.  Yep, I had read it correctly.  Black clouds gathered over my head as the scowl embedded itself deeper on my face.  I shut my laptop with more force than absolutely necessary and my roommate raised an eyebrow.

“Something wrong?” she asked.

“Yeah, Dan just email dumped me.  What a jackass,” I replied grumpily.  I wasn’t that torn up over the dump, he was on his way out anyway, it was more the lack of respect it showed that he couldn’t even tell me in person.

“Ouch.  You know what you need?”  Her eyes took on the evil glint that told me I wasn’t going to enjoy her next words.  “You need to come out with us tonight.  There are more fish in the sea and I happen to know just where to find the hottest ones.  We’re hitting up Scarlet tonight; come with us!”

I frowned.  Scarlet was a new club that opened up in the “revitalized” section downtown.  The problem is it opened before much of the rest of the area had a chance to improve.

“Come on, come on!” she pleaded.  “I’ll let you borrow my black dress.”  I must’ve still looked skeptical because she continued.  “I’ll even let you wear my boots.  You know, the red ones?”

She really wanted me to go if she was going to give up two of her favorite pieces to make it happen.  “Okay, I’m in.  I would’ve went even without the boots and dress but now that you’ve offered, I’m not turning them down.”

She stuck her tongue out at me.  “No fair!  You play dirty!”

I just laughed and rolled my eyes.  “When are we leaving?”

Writing prompts:  email, paragraph, attitude

Thirty Days of Genius – Day Twenty-two

The flying monkey screamed over the top panel of my cube and landed in a blissfully silent pile in the corner.  I sighed as Matt jogged in and picked it up.

“Sorry, Chris, I know you hate this thing.  I’ll try to keep it out of your cube.”  He flashed me a grin and went back to slacking, confident that the boss was safely in Chicago.

I just rolled my eyes and went back to work.  Yeah, it was Friday, but some of us actually liked to get work done during work hours.  Funny, I know.  The monkey screamed through my airspace again and I suppressed a shudder.  It would be an act of kindness for everyone in the office if that damn monkey was lost, never to be found again.

“Matt!” I yelled as the monkey made a third pass over my cube.  “Go play somewhere else!  Some of us are trying to work.”

Matt’s head poked into my cube.  “Chris,” he whined, “it’s Friday.  Come have some fun with us.  We’re having a contest to see who can shoot this,” he held up the flying monkey, “the farthest.  The best route goes right over your cube.”  He gave me puppy dog eyes.  “You don’t want to ruin my turn, do you?”

Matt was adorable and he knew it.  He had all of the women in the office wrapped around his little finger, myself included.

Writing prompts:  monkey, kindness, panel