Today is Day 3 of my Writing Challenge. So far I have managed to write every day even though I was away on my 4-day vacation.
Day 1 was almost successful, I wrote 463 words for the novel I am working on. I had a 4 hour drive that day and I was physically exhausted, but decided to stick to my challenge.
Day 2 proved to be a challenge as it was filled with activities involving a lot of fresh air and so when I was finally back in front of my laptop, all I wanted to do is go to sleep. I ended up writing 167 words for my novel. I know, sad, but I made a point of doing some writing no matter what.
Day 3 was my rebound day. I was determined to get some of that writing done, no ifs and buts, and so I just grabbed a journal I had on me at the beach and began writing a short story. As promised, below is this story. I proofed it as much as I could, but I don’t want over analyze and to hold on to these short stories I will be writing during this writing challenge, and so I am letting it out into the world as is, just like I will do with any other stories I will write during next few weeks.
He always had a knack for getting in trouble. What’s worse, half of the time he didn’t remember what happened. Like this morning, he woke up and found his pillow covered with red stains, taste of blood in his mouth.
“Ouch, what the hell!” he grumbled and rolled out of bed.
He stood on his feet and swayed side to side, his head suddenly foggy. “Wow!” he said to himself and sat back down.
Trying to regain composure he looked around his body. A tattoo on his right forearm called his attention. It definitely wasn’t there before, that much he could guarantee. He touched it, gently pushing on the outline of what appeared to be some weird flower.
“A flower? Are you kidding me?” he said and pushed the outline harder. “Damn it, that freaking hurts! Flower?!”
The pounding in his head made him wince. He instinctively reached out to the source of pain on the right side of his head and winced again. There definitely was a wound and his hair, wet and sticky, proved that. He looked at his hand. Yep, blood.
He closed his eyes for a minute trying to regain some semblance of memories and composure. What happened yesterday?
He started his day by going to work, there was no other way his day could have started. As much as he hated that place he also needed the money to pay for his apartment, which he wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Nestled at a nearly penthouse level, it gave him a birds eye view of the whole city and he could look at that view for hours, feeling all his worries leaving him. And those worries were a plenty.
He still had a giant debt to pay off for his last stint at the hospital. His cancer went into a remission but left him owing three years worth of his boss’s salary. The danger of his restored vintage 1960 ‘vette being repo’ed was always in the air since it was the only piece of anything valuable he owned. The forty grand he borrowed from a local loan shark to fix it up haven’t been forgotten either and those guys would show up every other week but he knew that his latest injuries were not from them. They usually showed up on Saturdays to ruin his weekends.
Today was Wednesday, so yesterday was Tuesday and on Tuesdays he usually did plain nothing, yet his body that was screaming with pain was telling him otherwise.
“What the hell did I do?” he exclaimed in exasperation, getting up and making his way to the kitchen. He knew this wasn’t going anywhere without a healthy helping of black coffee.
He sipped the hot beverage and instantly knew the source of blood in his mouth. His left lower molar was no longer there. Pain radiated from that spot as soon as the hot beverage hit it. In disbelief, he reached in and touched with his finger the spot his tongue just tried to explore. Yep, there was no mistake, a gaping space was there now.
He closed his eyes and rubbed his face with his hand, getting overwhelmed with all the signs of something that happened that his mind refused to release to him.
“What the hell happened to me?” he wondered out loud. As an answer, his phone rang and he flinched in his seat. “Stupid piece of crap!” he swore and walked over to the opposite wall where the vintage red phone hang.
“Yeah?” he answered, already annoyed with whomever was calling.
“Um, Pete? That’s me, Gray.”
“Ah, what’s up, buddy?”
“I… I just wanted to see how you were doing.”
“Funny you asked. I’m not sure. Sitting here, trying to figure out what train hit me.”
“I get it. I can’t imagine how that must feel. I mean to hear something like that.”
“And what would that be, Grayski?” he was puzzled even more now.
“Sorry dude, I promised not to intrude but just couldn’t help it. Sorry, I’ll check on you later. Or you can call me.” And he hung up.
“What the hell? Gray? Hello?!” he stared at now disconnected phone in a complete dismay. “Is there something I should know?” he hung up the phone and jumped up as it rang as soon as it touched the hook.
“Hello? Gray?” he yelled into the phone.
“Pete, this is Bradley.”
“Hey, Brad, what’s going on?”
“Nothing yet this morning, just wanted to check on you.”
“Ok, you too?”
“Me too what?” Brad sounded puzzled.
“Checking on me. Was what happened to me yesterday that exciting?”
“What? Um, well. Sorry dude, I didn’t mean to offend you like that. I’ll just go. Wanted to see how you were, call you later.” He said and hung up.
“What the hell?!” roared Pete. “Is this some kind of game? I’ll show them games!”
He placed the phone back having a feeling it won’t be too long till it rings again. He stood by until it rang a few minutes later. He picked up the phone and yelled: “I’m fine! Any other questions?”
“Hello? Is this Pete Flanagan?” a melodic voice on the other end asked after a pause.
Pete cleared his throat and answered in a much more subdued tone: “Yes, it is him.”
“This is Martha calling from the office of Doctor Goldstein to schedule a counseling session to help you cope.”
“Help me cope?” he asked, still not understanding what was going on.
“I’m sorry about the bad news yesterday. Doctor is concerned about the state of your mental being and suggested counseling.”
“News yesterday?” Pete slowly repeated and lowered himself in a nearby chair.
Before she had a chance to answer, he already knew what happened yesterday and why he couldn’t recall at first. What he found out yeaterday his mind refused.
His cancer was back with a vengeance and has progressed beyond cure. He had about three months to live.
“Yes, sir, the news about your health. Your cancer…”
“Yeah, my cancer, I got it!” he cut her off and she was now silent on her end of the phone. “I’ll take your counseling, I’ll call tomorrow to schedule.”
He hung up and stared at his hands now trembling uncontrollably. His head began to buzz with panic and he closed his eyes trying to steady himself. He remembered what happened yesterday.
He went to doctor expecting to be prescribed another round of chemo he couldn’t afford and instead received a death sentence with a proposed grief counseling. He then headed straight back to his workplace where his newly found freedom of impending death gave him a courage to tell his boss all the things he wanted to say in the past ten years.
After subsequently being fired, he headed to a nearby bar and began to drink heavily until his buddies arrived to save him from himself. They ended up drinking with him, after which they all wound up at the tattoo shop where sexy Roxy, the head designer, long caught their eye. There at the parlor, Pete, convinced that after death he would grow back as a beautiful flower, demanded that one to be tattooed on his forearm and them cried over it for a good hour after it was finished.
One of the loan sharks he owed money to happened to stop by the same joint and, seeing Pete wasting money on tats instead of paying back, ended up getting in a fight with him, during which Pete lost his molar and his opponent fell backwards hitting his head on the pavement and knocking out. Loan shark’s partner in turn shoved Pete so hard he flew and hit his head on a counter of the tattoo shop. They were all kicked out and bailed before police was to arrive.
Pete touched the side of his head again. “Counter.” He said. He then tongued the spot inside of his mouth there the molar was. “Loan shark.” He concluded. His eyes turned to his tattoo. “Roxy.” He mused.
Nodding his head as if trying to recall if he remembered everything, he walked to his desk and jotted a note addressed to Fein, attorney at law. The note was short and to the point: “I, Pete Flanagan, give my Roman Red Chevrolet Corvette 1960 to Bradley Thomson living at the address below as a gift, irrevocable.” He quickly signed it as if afraid to change his mind and stashed it into the fax machine sitting on the countertop. Watching the paper being sucked in and his gift making its way over the phone lines, he smiled and said: “Now, hospitals and loan sharks, hands off my ‘vette.”
He walked around the apartment, gliding his hand over its surfaces, stopping to admire his kitchen and finally making his way to his balcony. Placing his hand on the railing, he said: “You know I loved you, but there would be no way for me to keep you and I wanted you to remember me like this, and not when I’m nodding at the grave.”
Looking around at the sweeping views, he breathed in deeply, capturing the familiar smell of the air and the warmth of the sun on his face.
“I did always loved these views.” He said and jumped.
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