Fiction Fridays’ First Post: The Gift

Welcome to FICTION FRIDAYS!

In my last post I introduced this new series and, as promised, let me tell you exactly what it is. On Friday’s – not necessarily every Friday but at least once a month – I’ll be posting some fiction for your reading enjoyment.

What type of fiction do you ask?

Well, it could be anything. Pieces I wrote ages ago and am having some fun polishing up, new ideas I feel like using to flex my writing muscles or, best of all, suggestions from you, my readers. So, do you want to see me try to write a short story on what happens when a piano playing astronaut tries to beat a tap dancing neurosurgeon in a beauty contest … well, post below and I’ll give it a try. But maybe hit me with something a little more doable – like 900 hundred words inspired by the word “eternity” or a short story based on your favourite movie quote.

As my novels near completion, I may also whet your taste buds with excerpts from the books. We’ll see.

Today’s Fiction Friday piece was written for an online contest. The mission? – Write the intro to a novel using 500 words on the theme “The Gift.”

But wait – there’s more!

Fiction Friday
To launch Fiction Fridays, I’m giving away a short story, ‘Dick and Jane.’ It’s based on a writing exercise from Stephen King’s book On Writing. He provided the back story, I did the rest. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter below (I send out mailings every two to four weeks) and I’ll send you a copy. It’s got a couple racy lines though – so if you’re under 18 or offended by that kind of thing I have something else ready for you. And if you just want the story, not the newsletter, simply unsubscribe after you get it. No problem. (Though I recommend you stay!)

 

And now –

The Gift

She looked at the hip-swinging Elvis clock – behind as always. Two hours and twenty two minutes. Then she’d be free. “Amelia! Table 5, now!” Amelia squeezed by Reg, just missing his greasy beer belly. If she were in charge he’d be forced to wear a shirt two sizes bigger. One that fit. She smiled the smile she reserved for him … and auditors, lawyers – the scum of society.

“I’m on it Reg. I’m on it.” She didn’t need to rush. The diner couldn’t fit more than 30 patrons. She could walk from one end to the other in 22 seconds. If someone needed their food in 17 they could just wait, but Reg always demanded speed. Amelia quickened her step. Anything to make him happy. She glanced at Shirley, moving with slow, haggard movements. It took her 38 seconds to get from one end to the other and Reg never said a word. That’s nepotism for you. Amelia pulled down the tight little skirt he made her wear. Shirley got to wear slacks. Because of her varicose veins, Reg had said with a laugh. Can’t have her scaring off customers.

Amelia stepped by Timothy. She didn’t have time for green-eyed smiles right now. Timothy had first come in three weeks ago. He’d talked to her like he knew her, said he’d missed his train to work, might as well get some breakfast. Amelia had seen him every day since. At first she didn’t get it. The food was mediocre, the coffee inevitably too weak or too strong and Timothy didn’t have much interest in the smoothies, baked goods, or jukebox melodies that kept people coming back. When he started smiling at her like that, asking her questions, then she understood. She didn’t have time for that either.

Amelia set the platter she was carrying down in front of two women with curly blonde hair – sisters. Amelia’s shoulders slumped. She looked at the clock again. She was tired. She just wanted to go home. Cody was away on an overnight class trip, which meant she might actually be able to relax tonight. She picked up a coffee pot, let a brief smile cross her lips. Maybe she could take a bath. “Amelia! You think I’m paying you to look pretty?”

“No, Reg.” The dark liquid splashed into the cup, sloshing at just the right level to not let even a drop spill, to allow room for just the amount of milk and sugar Timothy preferred.

Timothy slid a book toward her. Its cover was practically hanging off. She couldn’t read the worn title. “For you,” he said.

Amelia looked at the book, then him. “What?”

“I thought you could use it.”

“I don’t need a-”

“Just take it. I promise you won’t regret it.” He smiled. “It’s a gift.”

Amelia picked it up, flipping it warily in her hand. “Is this a diary?”

“Just look inside.”  Timothy stood and placed a ten on the table. “Then we’ll talk.”

<<<>>>

P.S. I got the idea of Fiction Fridays from the … Better with a Pen blog. I looked the term up and dozens of other sites have done it too so I don’t feel it’s encroaching on her territory but I still figured I’d give a shout out.

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