How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle Week 12


It’s that time again. This week’s prompt is ...horde…

If you want to play, click below for the rules

You’re A Lifesaver

This isn’t the life Gracie had pictured. The newspaper scrunched between her hands crinkled and grumbled, but not for long. She heaved the wad across the room and glared at the ink stains on her hands. Greasy fish and chips in newsprint or wrapped potato peels never bothered her, but the stink of ink on her hands made her queasy.

No matter her disguise, someone always found her out. Time to move again. She hated starting over and hated to think how many times she’d been uprooted in the past three years. Her phone vibrated in her jeans pocket. The number seemed familiar but not the name. She picked up. Damn, a breather.

“Wait, don’t hang up.” A male voice, whiny, wheezing.

“I don’t need whatever you’re selling.”

“Gracie, it’s me.”

“I’m going to hang up now. Bye.” Hate strangers calling me by name. She flicked her thumb to hang up.

“Wait, it’s me, Bob. Long time.” He forced a smile into his voice. “Saw your picture in the paper today.”

“Bob? You’re the last person I want to talk to. How’d you get this number?” She strode from the kitchen into the living-room, kicking the clump of print out of her way.

“Hear me out, will you.” He puffed and rasped into her ear.

“Answer me. Who gave you this number?” Gracie wound her pony tail round a hand, a nervous habit from her teens. “Bob? Tell me!”

“Don’t want to get anyone into trouble—“


“Your m-m-other?”

“Oh, you two are tight now, are you? No way. What lies did you tell her?” She yanked the handful of hair till tears sprang in her eyes and bit her lip, to not cry out. She released the hair. “What’s wrong with your breathing?” She prowled the living-room like a cat. “Not that I need to know, but you do sound peculiar.”

“I need a quadruple bypass but I don’t have the money.” A horn honked in the background and an eee-uuu eee-uuu of a firetruck screamed past, then silence.

Forehead pinched, she pulled the cell away and gaped at the screen, then brought it back. “Bob?”

“Yeah. I’m here. I needed a deep breath. So what do you say, can we make a deal?”

“How long’s it been? Five years? You tried fleecing me before the divorce and now you’re looking for a handout? This sound fair to you? She stomped into the kitchen and plugged in the kettle.

“Please, Gracie. You’ve won millions in the lottery and shared not a dime.”

“We were already divorced, remember? She slammed down a mug and ripped open a packaged teabag, her favorite, Lemon Thriller. The kettle whistled. She flicked the off switch. “How much?”

“I can be there in ten minutes.”

She frowned, nose wrinkled in distaste. “You know where I live? Oh yes— Mother.” Her hand sliced the air. “No. I’ll call my bank and have it couriered. Will two-hundred and fifty grand do?”

“You’re a lifesaver. I’ll pay you back. Promise.”

“No you won’t. Keep it. It’s yours.” Arrangements made, they hung up. Gracie rubbed her temples and removed the elastic from her hair. No point adding to the tension headache blooming at the back of her head. She glanced at the clock as a key turned in the lock. Right on time. Time enough to call her bank manager first. Punching in the number from her phone directory, she listened to her sister slam the powder room door and smiled. Girls will be girls.

“Bye, Don and thanks.”

Heloise rushed in. “Which Don? Your bank manager, Don? Have I news. You won’t guess who’s been hounding Mom—”


“She called? That’s a surprise.”

“Nope. Bob did. I can’t believe she gave him my information. Phone, maybe, but my address?”

“She’s almost 90, Sis. Getting soft.”

“Which reminds me. How would you like to live in Spain for a while? Everywhere I go, a horde of vultures awaits. Three years I’ve played cat and mouse with photographers and needy humanity. Someone always wants something. And now Bob. Time to leave town and move house while I’m gone. You call the travel agency and pick something you like and I’ll call my realtor. The sooner we leave, the better.

“So what’s Bob’s story? Mom said he sounded older than her, gasping for air and all. She couldn’t wait to be rid of him. Afraid he’d die on her.”

“So, that’s why she caved. Huh.”

“Saw you on the front page again. You’re quite the philanthropist—the childrens’ wing this time. ”

“I can’t do anything without a big deal. Why can’t organizations keep quiet like I ask? Even beg.”

* * *

A couple weeks later, Gracie toweled off after a refreshing swim in the pool one evening. The villa was magnificent. Maybe I’ll never go home again. Heloise stumbled down the steps towards her holding a cell as far away as her arm stretched.

“What’s wrong? Is it Mom?”

Heloise nodded like a dashboard bobble head. “Mom fell and broke an arm and hip. She’s not good.”

“How fast can we get a flight out?”

* * *

The funeral took place ten days after the sisters arrived home. They attended with their mother, who had been ensconced in a state-of-the-art wheelchair. She’d insisted on making the service though pain showed in her eyes.

Bob died of a massive heart attack. A life-long spend-thrift and drinker, he’d partied hard with his new found wind-fall and so-called friends. Everyone marvelled he’d lived to 67.

The End

© 2015 Tess and 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!

64 thoughts on “#BlogBattle Week 12

  1. Shows money can’t buy happiness. Well, maybe it bought Bob a little until he died! And I bet that’s exactly how lottery winners like Gracie often feel. But still, it’d be kind of nice to find out, wouldn’t it? 😉


  2. Well, that’s really sad, isn’t it?


  3. Sad, but very well written~


  4. I enjoyed your story very much.


  5. So enthralling as I have said before Tess I just can’t read fast enough. A surprise ending and a sad one.


  6. It would be nice to win a lottery and remain anonymous, but I doubt that is possible. It would be hard to say no to people you know wouldn’t it?


  7. I good use of the word horde. It could be used in so many ways. A great story!


  8. Well written story Tess!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Horde #BlogBattle Week 12 Entries & Voting | Writing Rachael Ritchey

  10. What an incredibly foolish man, we all know one of those don’t we?


  11. Apparently he got what he wanted.

    Well done Tess! I wasn’t looking for that ending!


  12. Life is all about the changes, good and bad.
    Excellent story, Tess, enjoyed the lack of sugar-coating. 🙂
    Hope this day is good to you. 🙂


  13. Sad story, but a great post. Love it.


  14. Great story Tess. I thought Bob needed a push and the money did it. Good job.


  15. Saying it like it is makes for compelling, and emotional, reading. This one is sad but you did such a good job with it, no sugar coating.


  16. Great story. I would hate to be in Grace’s position and feel constantly hounded! Sad ending but at least Bob had a great last few days with his ill-gotten money!


  17. One of the many hassles of having money. She should have moved to Europe as soon as she could after winning the money. Marvelous story, Tess. 😀


  18. You are the master of suspense. Each bit of plot doled out till I’m begging to find out what the real story is. Well told, Tess.


  19. Great story, thought Bob might be up to something. Gracie seems very angry (I would be too if I had to keep starting over), I guess winning the lottery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, huh?


  20. Always love your stories!!


  21. Very entertaining Tess, I don’t feel sorry for Bob, he just demonstrated why he shouldn’t have got a share of the money in the first place 🙂


  22. Oh good! A happy ending. Finally rid of the people who kept on and kept on betraying her. Mega hugs! 😀


  23. I love the “truth” of humanity that you show through your writing. Bob…although at death’s door can’t seem to resist being who he is. Excellent writing as always!


  24. I will have you know that if your blog were not a “no award zone” I would totally nominate you for one. Consider my comment nomination enough! You are amazing!


  25. That was tragic…Great read though!!!


  26. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    It is blog battle week 12 over on Tess Karlinski’s blog… How the Cookie Crumbles.. lovely stuff as always.. You’re A Lifesaver…


  27. What goes around comes around. Good story. 🙂


  28. Very entertaining, especially since I thought “Served him right!” when I got to the end. And a happy ending for Grace, since he won’t be back to ask for me. You can see it drew me in!


  29. My goodness, blog battle and not only up against the ‘horde’, but against Tess as well! 😀


  30. Ha ha ha. I try to ignore the ‘horde’. They can be scary. 😦


  31. Great story idea for the word “horde”, Tess. That would be an unnerving thing having people always after you and your money, so much so that you have to keep moving. Excellent writing!


  32. Thanks so much for reading and and for your kind words. I appreciate your support. ❤


  33. Well served Tess. Bob likely deserved as good as he got!


  34. This ending surprised me, but I do believe it is fitting. Thank you for reading as always, Val. I appreciate your comments.
    Hope you are well? ❤


  35. There are time I go back and reread in order to understand y our nuances. You are such a clever writer and make use of so many different delicious venues. These stories are real winner and I’ve missed reading along with you, Tess.


    • Thanks so much, Sheri. I do appreciate that you get my scribbles and are so generous with your kind words.
      Hope you are keeping well, or better? How’s the garden coming. Is the gardener still living up to first days? ❤ ❤ ❤ Hi to Tom from me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe you know I redesigned all the gardens this year and am making them all island gardens. Well, some of the flowers, roses, etc like the idea while others do not. I’ve also moved many plants into containers.
        Overall, the garden is shaping up the way I envisioned but know I won’t finish this season alone.
        My gardener is heaven-sent. I love the fact that he’s a self-starter. He’s picked up gardening jobs with all my neighbors and that means everyone will have wonderful lawns, even if they don’t want flowers.
        And, of course, I’ll pass along the hi to Tom.


  36. Indeed he got what he deserved. Great story, Tess. I hope they take Mom back to Spain to the villa too…:)


  37. Tess, Tess, Tess! Winning the lottery is a double-edged sword! I love your perspective on things. You always bring such keen insight. Great story!


  38. You have such a way of telling your stories, that you leave us no choice to read to the end to find your always surprise endings! Well done my friend. Life’s a party, only for so long. I guess that was good enough for Bob. ❤


  39. Great job, Tess… I wondered what would happen to Bob. In the end, he stayed true to the cumulative bad choices of his life. Well done! ❤


  40. Oh that Bob. What a stinker.

    No lottery winnings for me, please.


  41. You are so talented to be able to write these short stories! I was thinking it was an ex-husband.. then maybe a brother! 🙂


  42. Loved this story! Bob got what he deserved and I’m glad mom was there to be with Gracie and her sister! I enjoy your sassy outlook on life.


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