Oh my, I’ve had one of those my-head-is-about-to-explode days. I can’t wait to get home and soothe it with some 5MinuteFiction. (And maybe a beer.)
Did you have fun today? I hear there were some great entries, at least, that’s what BigAl, @BooksAndPals tells me. Have you checked out his book review site? If not, you really should. He does great, fair, balanced reviews on indie books. Such a great resource. (He was also the hero of that whole Jacqueline Howett thing that went down a few months ago…)
Anyway, enough gossip. It’s time for our finalists! Here they are:
Congrats you guys! Now, give their entries here a read and then vote for our winner. Show them some love, folks, and send your friends over to read, admire, and vote too. Voting’s open until 9:00 tomorrow morning. See you then!
“You sure you want to do that, chief?” I asked, looking at my husband who was valiantly trying to fix the sink.
His voice was muffled from inside the cabinet but I could make out “It’s gotta get fixed, doesn’t it?”
“Erm, yeah, but shouldn’t you look at the instructions first?” I was biting my lip trying to avoid laughing. Neither one of us were handy around the house but we were determined to try. I always looked at the instructions first, even going as far as Googling videos just so I had an idea of what I was doing.
My dear husband’s approach was a little more direct, and usually ended up a little more expensive.
He dug in there with a ratchet, some pliers, a bucket, and vice grips … basically anything he thought might work to help fix the problem.
The bucket was probably the most useful tool he had with him.
“How hard can this be? I just need to tighten up this bolt here and adjust thi-”
My husband’s voice was cut off by the sound of rushing water, specifically running water slashing all over my husband.
“Son of a bitch!” my husband sputtered, wiggling out from underneath the sink as fast as he could. Once he was out of the way, the bucket went in, woefully too small to hold back the onslaught of water that was pouring out of the pipes.
With a snort, I ran downstairs and shut off the main water supply to the house and grabbed a bunch of old towels. At least my kitchen floors would be clean later today.
“You sure you want to do that, chief?”
I hated it when he called me that. Dad always thought it was cute, a flashback to his younger days, but Grandpa kept saying it even though he knew I hated it. What kind of grown up behavior was that?
“You’re only five,” Mom said when I complained. “It makes Grandpa happy. Does it really matter that much?”
“Hey, chief!” Billy Ross said as I came out the door with my mit. All the neighborhood kids were there, too, so I knew I was done for.
“Chief!” they all echoed.
I did my best to keep a straight face but inside I was fuming. Stupid Grandpa.
Only three more days until the big softball match with our rivals the Brookside Terriers. Brookside and our own neighborhood, Kirkwood, had always been rivals–competing for resources from the city, local awards, championships–and we were determined to continue our five year streak and slaughter the dogs.
“If anyone can do it, you can, Chief.” The high pitched voice cut through the others and I turned to see Mary Watkins smiling her cute smile at me. Instead of getting mad I melted. Why’d she have to be here to join in that, too?
I’d always had a thing for Mary. Leading the team to a win as pitcher might help me win her over. She seemed to only have eyes for Johnny Lakes, but he was old enough to not pay her any mind. She needed a man her own age, and I figured I was perfect for the job, if only…
“Okay, chief, let’s get this practice rolling,” Billy said as we reached the field a block down. Kids trailing behind us like a Hollywood star’s entourage or rock band’s groupies.
“Can you just stop calling me that, please?”
“What, chief? It’s a term of respect. Pitcher’s our leader, after all.”
I sighed and wound up as he stepped to the mound. Couple of my fast balls ought to wipe that smirk away. They all respected me once my arm went into action.
But then something happened. Mary again, smiling from the fence. “Let him have it, chief!”
I lost my focus. My arm twisted. The ball curved. Glass shattered. Everyone ran, leaving me alone to face Old Mister Johnson as I stood there frozen, knowing I might never pitch again.
“You sure you want to do that, chief?”
A toe stabbing the dirt. A dusty cough. A wince. A battered eyelid shuttered against the hot sun.
“Of course, I’m sure, you idiot. What else are we gonna do?” The chief muttered.
Around them the air was swirling from a minor dust devil.
The Deputy slid down against the patrol car until his butt slammed into the dirt.
“I can’t do it with ya, chief. She’s my sister-in-law. That’s family. There’s your job, and then there’s your family. I’m sorry”.
In a fit of pique, the chief kicked some dirt against the tire. Some landed on the deputy. Intentional? Accidental? Who cares?
“Crap, crap, crappity crap…” The chief checked his gun and made sure the safety was off.
He pushed himself up against the side of the car and stood straight again. He cupped his left hand around his mouth like a makeshift bullhorn.
“Emily? This is Chief Rankle.”
“I know who ya are, chief, I diapered ya more than once!” came the strong voice from the trailer.
“Ok, so you ah… know I got no choice. ”
“oh, everybody’s got a choice, Willard. Everybody’s got a choice”.
“now, you agreed, Em. You swore.”
“A woman can be moody if’n she wants”.
“well, that’s as may be. But the fact is, Roger is standing there in a tux, and he aint gonna leave”.
“So, um… is he cleaned up all nice and all?”
“Yeah, just come on Emily, we ain’t got much time.”
A click as the door opened. An elderly woman in a somewhat used wedding dress walks out, carrying a shotgun.
“Put the gun away, Emily,” the chief shouted.
“Nope, a woman’s got to have her a little protection”
“Oh boy,” the deputy sighed” This is going to be a PERFECT day!”
“You sure you want to do that, chief?”
Chief turned to me with his awkward glare before galloping down the hillside to his waiting army. Mohawk Barbie clutched the rains of her pink pegasus and screamed “WAR!” as she flew around in circles above the encampment. Leonardo grunted while he clashed his swords together while the other ninja turtles hopped lightly on the balls of their feet, ready for action.
Chief regarded his men carefully before he announced his plans. “War,” he whispered to the wind, which carried his command softly through the group. Their response carried much further as their cries were heard across the field of battle to their enemies on the other side. The Care Bears formed a long line across the valley, ready to stare their enemies down.
Chief nodded, knowing he would lose many men tonight, but he was intent on sending those damn bears back into the clouds where they belong.
“My care bears are going to destroy you!” Jaime giggles maniacally.
“No way, sis. Chief is taking you guys down!” Jaime laughs again but we’re running out of time, so I focus on the carnage ahead of us. We’ve got five minutes before we have to leave for school, and the battle’s not yet won.
“You sure you want to do that chief?” Pete asked me in a whisper, my face so close to his I could feel his cool breath on my cheek. Every little hair on my arm stood at attention. Every nerve ending in my body humming for his touch.
“You don’t…” I hesitated and started to pull back. I though he wanted this kiss, I thought we both did. I was starting to loose my nerve.
“We can’t” Pete said, still whispering, his breath teasing my jaw.
“Why not?” I asked, my voice mimicking his. Even though I knew what the answer was. We were both attached. Both spoken for. Even though we were unhappy in our relationships were weren’t the type of people who wanted to hurt others. “Because of them?” I asked.
Right then Pete looked at me like I had never seen before, a look that contained all the answers. We would make this work, we would find a way.
And just like that he pulled my lips to his for our very first kiss. It was electric. It was nothing I had ever felt before.
And that is exactly the way we told the story to our grandkids.