How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle Week 11


Rachael Ritchey is the originator of this challenge

The prompt this week: …news…

To join in click:


Susan hadn’t been away since her honeymoon twelve years before. Her excitement about the cruise roiled inside her like a pressure cooker ready to blow. There were so many details, concentrating wore her out.

“Harry, you printed the tickets, right?”

“Yes, I said I did.”

“And our passports?” She fumbled in their suitcase rechecking the contents yet again. “I made a list, but can’t find it. Have you seen it anywhere?”

“You worry too much. Come. I think you need a drink. “

“I’ll check on the twins first.  Scotch. Neat. See you in the living-room.”

Long-legged Harry reached her in one step and squeezed her elbow. Dark velvet eyes searched hers, luminous and gentle. Soot black curls hung over his forehead. “Two more days.”

She leaned into his lanky frame and breathed him in, then sighed. Dear Harry. What would I ever do without you?

He found her chin, lifted it with a finger, and caressed her mouth with a feathery kiss. Her face glowed pink. Before she found her voice, he patted her bottom and veered away. “Downstairs.”

Susan closed the twins’ bedroom door. A cell chimed downstairs. Who can that be? She massaged her neck and drifted down the steps, her husband’s side of the conversation muffled at first.

“Right. Yes. Of course. See you then.” He tossed the phone on the sofa.

“Who was that?” She stared wide-eyed at his now furled forehead, curls pushed back. “What’s wrong?”

“That was your dad. They missed their connection.”

“You’re doing that pulling-on-your-lip-thing. What else?” She rubbed her neck again.

Harry shifted his gaze to the tray of liquor bottles on the buffet. “Sit,” he said, “How about that drink?”

“What else?”

“They have an hour’s wait, but may turn back home. Your mother’s feeling unwell.”

“What’s the matter with her?” Hands crossed on her chest the words came out dry and hoarse as if she’d swallowed sand.

“Sounds like flu—they think. A nurse on their flight couldn’t confirm.” He handed her a drink and studied her face.

“But their connection is less than two hours away. They’re almost here.” Tucking wayward blonde hair behind an ear, she stared deep into her glass, as if unsure what to do with it. The errant wisps sprang back.

“Your dad will call when it’s sorted.” He threw an arm around her shoulder. “Take a drink. It’ll calm your nerves.”

Susan raised her glass. Half-way to her lips, the cell chimed. In a couple strides Harry seized the phone and set down his glass. His wife wiped her chin and patted her blouse where it had spilled. She pulled a shirt tail out of her jeans and dabbed at the wet spots.

“Good idea. If you’re sure, Peter… I’ll get a pen.”

She banged down her drink and raced to the kitchen for a pad and pen. Harry whipped them out of her grasp. Phone tucked against his shoulder, he nodded as he wrote. “Fine, I’ll see you before nine. Which terminal? Fine. Fine.”

“Tell me.”

“Where’s your drink? Tut-tut. First take a swallow.” She threw her head back. Harry grabbed the hand with the glass. “Not too fast.” Still she sputtered afterwards and he whacked her between the shoulder blades.

“Your Mom and Dad took a room at the airport hotel and will fly out in the morning. I’ll pick them up myself and cancel their limo for tonight.”

“So, Mom’s better?” Susan rubbed a temple and closed her eyes. “Now that we aren’t waiting up for them, maybe we should call it an early night.”

“My thoughts, exactly. Off you go, I’ll make that call and shut off the lights. Be up in a jiffy.

* * *

Susan crawled out of bed, mouth dry as cotton balls. Bleh. Cheerful birds chirped and tweeted outside the window. She padded to the bathroom to brush her teeth though she had done so the night before.

“Want pancakes for breakfast?” asked Harry, face buried in his pillow. No answer offered, he sat up and surveyed the room. The sheets and blankets were twisted and half on the floor. He checked his cell on the night table. No messages. Good.

Susan gargled and the water in the sink gurgled. She stuck her head around the open door. “You’re awake? Want pancakes? After I shower?”

“Go ahead. I’ll start in the kitchen. No texts. No news, which is good, right?”

* * *

Morning rush hour traffic brutal as usual, Harry arrived in plenty of time. The slip of paper wasn’t in his pocket. He pulled into the first parking lot and punched the number for home.

“Everything, okay? The school bus will be here in a minute.” Susan’s voice squeaked.

“Forgot the paper and can’t remember which terminal, one or three?”

“Where’s the paper? Boys don’t move. I mean it.”

“Living-room or night table.”

“Living-room— It’s two. See you soon.”

* * *

By ten o’clock, she’d paced and length of the living-room half a dozen times, peering out the window every few steps. Where is everyone? I’ll give them five more minutes.

Before Susan snatched the phone, it sprang to life. She blinked, startled. “Harry, where are you guys?”

“This is the drugstore. Your prescription is ready for pickup.”

“Oh! Thanks.”

The phone dropped on the coffee table, she continued to pace. A cruiser crept up the driveway. She was struck stock-still.

The End

 © 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.


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!

52 thoughts on “#BlogBattle Week 11

  1. You are writing very well 😀


  2. Come on, Tess. You write with such strength in your characters plus fast pace and then, zap, we’re left to make up the ending. As always, this is a brilliant story.


  3. It isn’t the end is it??? you can’t do that to us 🙂


  4. I could feel the tension as I read each sentence.. more to come?


  5. Great story Tess!

    But it’s not the end for her is it???


  6. Oh Tess, your cliffhangers are so terrible! What’s next? I loved this one, bouncing through with such great tension.


  7. Aw oh, I think I know the ending of this story. I have been on the receiving end of a story like this! The news is not good! As always, your writing is wonderful.


  8. Now, by a cruiser, I think you mean a police car? If so, that ain’t good. I’m guessing Susan and Harry’s trip is off, putting it mildly. Excellently written story as always Tess ❤


  9. Gee Tess. Why a cruiser? Damn. Good job.


  10. Oh-oh I sense a tragedy coming up. Brilliant story 🙂


  11. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    A short story that will have you on the edge of your seat by Tess Karlinski the master of flash fiction.


  12. Excellent. I’m sure the news are bad but they could be…


  13. Tess you have such an unbelievable talent with short fiction. Absolutely gripping. (Now that i’ve stopped choking on that cliffhanger. 😉 ) Mega hugs! ❤ 😀


  14. Great story, Teresa! We can only hope the cruiser had the wrong house.


  15. Tension, fast-paced, and so many things life hanging! You’re torturing me!


  16. Oh no, that can’t be good news. Excellent short fiction, Tess, wow, you really have the ability to be succinct and riveting. I just always want more, but am thankful for what you give. 🙂
    Hope this day is treating you kindly. 🙂


  17. Oh that is so unfair, Tess. You rarely finish these. You want me to finish–here: “They lived happily ever after”. There–no more stress!


  18. Brilliant writing Tess. What a cliffhanger to leave us on.
    xxx Gigantic Hugs xxx


  19. Tess when i read your posts I can’t read fast enough. It’s as if I just want to scan because I so desperately want to know what happens in the end. Of course I can’t because then I would miss your incredible words. Really excellent piece Tess.


  20. Excellent story, Tess ❤ I so enjoy reading your posts.


  21. Build me up, have me on the edge of my seat and then say “the end.” I hope you have part 2 in the works! You have to! Great story, as always.


  22. Another good one. We got to know the characters very well in just a few sentences.


  23. Oh, Tess. I’m so jealous (in a good way!). I wish I’d written this! The tension continued to build throughout the story, and I felt anxious through the entirety of it. Just when I was hoping all was well, you end with a cruiser coming up the driveway. Good news or bad? I fear bad.

    I loved this!



    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO


  25. Unfair! Don’t leave us hanging like that! I like the way the sense of trouble builds slowly in this story.


  26. That feeling of the endless waiting. I’ve done that. I liked the way you have the story flipping between scenes.


  27. Excellent story, Tess! And I love the way you described Harry. 🙂 I’m still trying to figure out the ending! I think it’s bad news, but I’m not sure yet what it could be…


  28. So many unanswered questions in this. So many possibilities for what could happen next, my head is swimming with them. Good way to make the reader think. I liked it i. 🙂


  29. Loved this story – and I liked the end – it’s good for readers to have to think!


  30. Thank you, Judith. I agree. You can’t always tie everything up nice and neat, nor do I feel the need. ❤


  31. The end? Bam! Just like that? Ooh, you’re good.


    • I hope this isn’t a cliff hanger. I consider it pretty much self explanatory… Yes? No?


      • No I wouldn’t call it a cliff hanger And yes it is self explanatory but there are questions. What happened? An accident, carjacking, shooting…? Did they all get hurt or die? Or one or two? Who? Where were they when it happened? Oh I could go on. 😉


  32. Yes, I agree with all of what you say and am pleased you ‘got’ it. ❤ ❤ ❤ I felt those same questions would swirl around.
    Thanks so much for responding to my question, Patricia.


  33. So – to summarize my understanding … you led us deeply into a story full of what now appears to be simply red herrings to end it with a cruiser pulling up into the driveway. Totally random! You are a master!


  34. Oops. You think a police cruiser is random? 😮


  35. I don’t know how many times I read that last line. After the first time I was like wait…what? Very well written. I love how you write your characters, their conversations, interaction, and mannerisms really give you a clear picture of who they are. Great cliffhanger!! 🙂


  36. Thanks a million, Carrie Ann. I appreciate your kind words.
    Tell me, do you hate that I didn’t spell out exactly what happened? Does the police cruiser arriving at such a time not spell ominous news? 😮 3


    • It’s one of those things that you love to hate. The TV shows always do that at the end of the season…leaves ya thinking. The police cruiser does spell out ominous news….or does it?…it could go either way. Definitely makes me want to come back next season,
      hoping there is more to the story. 🙂 Well done!!


  37. No cool, Tess! I hate your ending, and I love it! Will there be more?! Please tell me there’s more. ❤ I'm like Carrie and I read the last line one too many times. haha Nice!


  38. Another reason my travel is limited to back and forth to the mail box.


Some things in life are complicated. Let's keep it simple.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s