How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

Tailspin

72 Comments


Tired of waiting, I paced from the front room to the kitchen. Hurry up, Ma. What’s taking so long?

I pulled the curtain aside. Franco and Smitty raced up and down the dusty road. Anxious to join them, I gazed over my shoulder at the kitchen wall. The long arm on the cuckoo clock crept one tentative lurch at a time. I slumped into a chair again. Ma!

My baby sister, Caterina, stacked and whacked her blocks on the sloping linoleum. She jabbered baby talk, drool sliding down her chubby chin and onto her chest. I peered at the clock again. Tick. Tock. My chair creaked; I couldn’t sit still. A hint of last night’s spaghetti sauce and Ciabatta bread still hung in the air.

Urgent fists pounded on the front door. The baby’s jaw shot up. She clutched a red block in mid-air. With heart thumping and ears burning, I raced to see who it might be.

Mrs. Fournier, from across the road, shifted from foot to foot on the veranda, clasping and unclasping her reddened hands. A bleached cotton headscarf, worn in the bandana style, covered her hair as always. I didn’t know if she even had hair. Her face chalk white, she chewed on her bottom lip. “Excusez-moi…Maman, Rosalia?”

“Shopping. She’ll be home soon. What, Mrs. Fournier?”

“Téléphone—not worry, mon enfant, you only eight—où…?”

“At the P&G, I think. You want me to find her?”

Non—Oui!” She nodded, head bobbing like a tethered balloon. “Vous allez. Rapide.” She clapped her hands like a school teacher.

“I can run fast, Mrs. Fournier. You look after Caterina?” I pointed to the baby, grabbed my sweater and ripped across the lawn. Telephone. Never good news. Where would Ma go first?

 A few minutes later, my lungs burned and my side pinched. Pebbles from the gravel road attacked my bare calves. A penny loafer flew off. I staggered and pitched forward onto the sharp stones, sprang up and shoved my foot back inside. My scraped hands burned. I rounded the corner and tore up the concrete sidewalk on Godfrey Street, the main street in town.

Mrs. Kowalski and Mrs. MacDonald blocked my way. They regarded me with interest as I danced around them.

“You need to use the bathroom, dear?” Mrs. MacDonald stooped over me as far as her arthritic back would allow.

“No. I’m looking for Ma. Did you see her in the P&G maybe?”

“Yes, Rosalia, she’s there.”

“Saturday busy. Everything is okay?” Mrs. Kowalski the nosey one asked, her eyes sharp and probing as a crow’s.

“Thank you. Bye.” I rushed up the sidewalk to the end of the block, through P&G’s door and smack into Ma in line to pay. She swerved against the supporting pillar beside her. The carpetbag partially-full of groceries, swung at her side. The edge of the wooden handles collided with my hip.

“Ma, Mrs. Fournier says come home quick. She’s home with Caterina.”

“What is it, Rosalia?” My mother’s eyes, bright a moment before, faded and her face took on the washed out color of our neighbour’s kerchief.

“I don’t know. She said telephone. You think it’s about Daddy?”

“Excuse. Excuse.” Ma pushed her way to the counter and grabbed the checkout lady’s forearm. “You take, Giselle.” She heaved the cloth bag, handles clacking, to the cashier. “I come later pay.  Go home now.” Customers who’d moved back to make room, patted her back and shoulders. Smitty’s mother was one of them. Lips pinched tight, she closed her eyes and nodded.

I clutched Ma’s hand; we rushed through the door. People stepped out of the way. I tugged her arm all the way home for three endless blocks, her body stiff as the Tin Man. I peeked at her face. I hoped the news wasn’t bad. “Come on Ma. We’re almost home.” Lips moving without sound, she stared straight ahead.

I dropped her hand and sprinted ahead up the stairs to open the door. Ma staggered in behind me. Mrs. Fournier grabbed her arm as soon as we crossed the threshold. The bedroom door slammed in my face. I hunched forward with my ear to the door.

 

End of Part 1

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

72 thoughts on “Tailspin

  1. Last sentence perfect link to Part 2

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  2. And now we wait…
    I don’t want to wait, more please! 🙂

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  3. Argh, you’re leaving us hanging! Well played, Tess, well played. 😉

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  4. Will be waiting for part 2. This was great.

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  5. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I’ll be waiting for part two!

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  6. Well played Tess, well played.

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  7. Well done and that last paragraphs sets up a part two really well. 🙂

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  8. My ear is pressed to the door too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  9. You have such a beautiful way with words and now I want part 2 please. Hurry! 🙂

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  10. Wonderful narrative drive. On target selection of character tells….page turning control of cut to the chase….leaving all with an ear to the door….well done.

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  11. I’m waiting for the next installment.

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  12. I’m in awe. Your writing is superb. This is the type of read I would be holding in my hand and unable to put down. I can’t wait for part 2. I want to write just like you when I grow up. 😍😍😍😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • *blush* I can only hope the writing will be the same pace to the end. Thanks so much. I’m still growing too and feel there’s lots and lots to learn. I’m still new at this, but if you’ve enjoyed my efforts, I can do a happy dance. ❤ ❤ ❤

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  13. Tess I can not believe you will make me wait. I’m at the ve3ry edge of my seat! Brilliant writing. Bravo I say!

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  14. Now I’m hanging out for Part 2!

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  15. Great story…can’t wait for the next instalment!

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  16. It has grabbed my interest!!!!!! Write more!

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  17. I do so hope its GOOD news! Doesn’t sound like it though, does it? Perhaps Dad is coming home tomorrow, or has got a great job? I am waiting Tess…. Like all your other readers!!!! 🌹

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  18. Excellent! Waiting (im)patiently to see what happens….:-)

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  19. I see that you can write equally good even when it is more than 100 words.. looking forward to part 2

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  20. Such a talent you have young Tess. You had me in your grasp from beginning to the end. Waiting for part 2. You go girl! xx

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  21. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    There was I expecting one of Tess’s excellent 100word fiction on Wednesday … but no disappointment here.. Part one of Tailspin that will leave you on tenterhooks… wow Tess great start.

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  22. This was great! I raced through it, right along with Rosalia. Great cliffhanger…

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  23. Applesauce! Tess, this is fantastic! Vivid, intense… Huge hugs! ❤

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  24. Wow! I’m hooked. When’s the next installment?

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  25. You can’t do that, Tess! That is so unfair-what the heck was the phone call about??

    Darn.

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    • Sorry, Jacqui. The regular prompt wasn’t up and I decided to fill the spot with another story 6X l.o.n.g.e.r., but long enough for at least another post.
      I could have entered the whole thing but I know what I’m like: too many blogs to read and I can’t read all the long ones. Know what I mean? 😮 ❤

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  26. More more Tess give us more!! ❤

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  27. Looking forward to reading part 2!

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  28. Exciting! I’ll be waiting for the second part!

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  29. Oh my goodness I wish I hadn’t read this until part two comes, when are you posting it? I can’t bear it hurry up please!

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    • I had a tentative plan for same time next week. The regular prompt wasn’t up so I thought I’d better fill the space. You know I try to keep my post around 500 or so words. So many blogs to read; who has the time to read reams and reams on individual posts? o_O

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  30. I like you wove period details — penny loafer, etc. — throughout this piece. Thank you for sharing it with me, Tess.

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  31. At last, you give us more than 100 words and there is more to come. Hooray!!!!

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  32. Wow Tess, I could have sworn this was the beginning to a new book you may have started writing! Perhaps it should be? You have many potential books you could write from your flash fiction cliff hangers you leave us with. xo 🙂

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  33. I thought this was the beginning of a chapter for a book Tess…and now, reading other comments I see you wrote a story instead of your usual 100 word challenge and I like it…very much! Can’t wait for part two…

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  34. I love it. I like that your characters are emigrants. It adds so much to the story.

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  35. Interesting post – look forward to part 2! Nice suspenseful end!

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  36. Pingback: Tailspin (Part 2) | How the Cookie Crumbles

  37. I read part two first but part one is just as riveting.

    Lenora

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