Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stories on Demand: Part One

Submitted words: stalker, fantastic, omelet, Chiquita, sphygmomanometer, Branagh, strenuous, pompadour, luminescent, hypothetical.

When Harvey Branagh left his house that day, he had no idea that he would never return. Nothing about the morning’s events indicated that things would be any different than usual. 

He woke before his alarm, showered, shaved, fixed himself an omelet and ate it standing over the stove. Another person might have considered cooking in the nude a tad dangerous, but he was careful. It was eggs and vegetables, after all, not weld spatter. And if a neighborhood stalker wanted so badly to see his junk, he supposed he oughtn't disappoint.

He didn’t squeeze into his suit until the last possible minute. Although threadbare and a bit snug, it matched his shiny pompadour as woefully out of date. People passing him on the street couldn’t tell whether he was being ironic or simply behind the times, but he gave the impression that he thought he looked rather fantastic.

Well, there was something to be said for self-confidence.

You’d think that a large, impressively coiffed man the wrong side of 50 grinding up a hill on a 10-speed bike might draw some attention, but you’d be wrong. Passersby witnessing this strenuous effort were accustomed to the spectacle. It was the first of the month.

He was red-faced and huffing when he reached the top. To his eternal relief, the ground leveled just as he felt his heart would burst from his chest. He knew he was not the picture of health. His doctor, brandishing a sphygmomanometer, had recently informed him that he should be wary of exerting himself this way. Regular, low-impact exercise was the first step, he’d said. Start slow, he’d said. But he had to press on. He was late.

After another mile and a quarter, the cemetery slid into view. He wound down a narrow path, his tires slotting expertly into the grooves they'd worn in the grass.

Though the grounds were overgrown with weeds, there was one well-tended headstone in the northeast corner. The plastic flowers lent a splash of color by day, and the solar landscape lights bathed the plot in a soft, luminescent glow at night. He'd stayed till dark after he installed them, just to make sure.

Leaning his bike carefully against a nearby tree, Harvey paused to collect himself. Hypothetically, this should be getting easier, not harder. He pressed his palm onto the warm granite.

"Hello, Chiquita."



GEF said...

Of all the words in this vignette, I believe "oughtn't" was my favorite

Anonymous said...

I'm completely engrossed. Can't wait for more!


Warden's said...

Oh....I can't wait to hear about Chiquita...