How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

#BlogBattle Week 44 – Prompt: Worm


To join  and / or meet the wizard behind this challenge click below:


  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. State the Genre of your story at the top of your post.
  7. Post your story on Tuesday, by 11:59 PM PST
  8. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a linkback to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/orinclude a link to this page in your own blog post(it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  9. Have fun!

Each winner will receive the awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage.




The clock said ten past noon, but it was five o’clock somewhere, right? Tara twirled the generous celery stalk in her Bloody Caesar in careless coils, head in a fog. A splodge of drink splashed onto the island countertop. She ran a finger over the wet splosh and plunged it into her mouth. Waste not; want not. She didn’t laugh.

The highball glass clasped against her chest, she circled to the window over the kitchen sink. Hefty storm clouds gathered thick and low, gray as grimy mop water. Freezing rain blistered the glass and refused to abandon the pane. Like me. Frozen, grasping. She swirled the celery again and took a bite. Lifting the glass to eye level, she said aloud, “Happy New Year Baby,” and took a swig of Clamato and vodka, the reckless splash of hot sauce a slow burn down her throat. Her eyes bulged. A hack attack overtook her. She reached for more Clamato, then vodka, but put it down again. Today I celebrate January 1st. Alone. No need to get plastered and maudlin.

Tara shook her head. Waves of chocolate-colored hair grazed her shoulders and danced around her somber, pixie face. Something click-clicked in the silent house. She held her breath, froze listening—not the storm—what then? The creak of the front door and a jangle of keys—and brazen footsteps. Fixed to the ceramic floor like a post, she shot out a hand to ward off the intruder. “You!” The word exploded out her throat, leaving her weak and baffled. She set the glass on the island and slumped her petite frame over the surface to brace herself.

He halted mid-stride, his back stiffened. “Hi-dee-ho and all that.” The smile slipped a degree and lifted again. “Seems I’m in time for cocktails and lunch?” He looked about. “Maybe?”

“You have a nerve. Get out. Get out.” Tara glowered, staring him down with every ounce of strength in her hundred and five pound body. ”You copied the keys?”

“Settle down. I came to wish you all the best for the upcoming year.”

“Answer the question.” Her color bloomed from flushed to flame-red. Fists clutched into knots, she banged the island’s laminate top. “You copied the keys? How dare you?”

He had the grace to blush to the roots of his blond crewcut. Coat unbuttoned, he bounced from heels to toes, an innocent smile plastered across the face she once found attractive. “Let’s not fight. Fix me one of those, will you?”

Tara gasped, disbelief on her face. “Where did you think I’d be when you planned to rifle through my house? The divorce is final. You don’t live here anymore.”

Plunging hands deep into his pants pockets, Harry lifted colorless brows as if in surprise. “Where else would you be in this weather?”

“Liar. You thought my mother’s.”

“You used to be a sweet, loving woman. My, you’ve changed… Drinking alone in the middle of the day… Won’t share a drink with your husband…”

“Ex. Ex-husband.” To control her internal tsunami, Tara wrapped jelly-like arms around her middle and leaned against the sink cupboard. “You’re a liar and now a thief. How I allowed you to worm your way into my life, I’ll never understand. Once was more than enough. You’re nothing but a worm with a capital W, a sneak, a schemer. How had I been so blind?”

He altered his gaze from side to side and back again, everywhere except her face. “All’s I want is my wine-making kit. The one my brother gave me.”

Her voice harsh, Tara croaked out a hoarse laugh. “You had plenty of time to claim it all. Everything’s gone.”

“What do you mean, gone? Gone where?”

“Gone. Gone. Hand me the keys. Now.” She lurched forward, open-palmed, teeth gritted till they ached.

He blinked in quick succession and rocked on the balls of his feet. “Who’s the thief, Tara? Gone where?” His voice shook, squeaked like a child’s.

“Keys first.” She drew in a ragged breath, and waited, shoulders taut. A headache hammered at her temples.

He blanched, a lost expression on his face for the first time in the year since divorce proceedings began. Tara’s heart softened. No. His scheming…

“But my brother ordered it for me special.”

“Harry, you better sit.” She guided him to the kitchen table and chairs where they’d enjoyed many a meal during their seven-year marriage. “I’ll get you water.” He remained immobile, a stature carved from stone. “Here. Drink up.” He blinked at the glass, but didn’t lift a hand.

“I never believed you’d go through with it.” He plucked at the crease in his pants, muttering as if to himself.

Tara dropped into a chair facing him knee to knee. “I feel terrible. I do. The thing is you had nine long months to collect the rest of your things. How many times had I reminded you? Two months ago, I cleared out the basement and garage and hauled everything to Salvation Army.”

“Two months?”

“Yup. A week after I asked you the last time and mere days before the decree absolute.” I don’t want to feel bad for you. Leave. Go already.

“How’s about a shot of vodka instead?” His chin pointed to the water.

She scrutinized his face, gauging her next move. “Okay, one shot, and you leave. I’ll not join you in a drink.”

He considered for a nanosecond and searched her face as if he’d never seen her before. “When did you get so tough? I remember the ‘fraidy cat who jumped at her own shadow.” He sprang from the chair. “One for the road and I’m out of here.” She snatched the bottle and poured.

He gulped it in one swallow, stared at the empty glass, and slammed it on the counter.

“Hi-dee-ho.” He grabbed his coat.

“Harry, didn’t you forget something?”


“My keys? I won’t ask for my razor back.”

* * *

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

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!

42 thoughts on “#BlogBattle Week 44 – Prompt: Worm

  1. Great job Tess. I could feel the tension and the love between these two


  2. First thing…change the locks!


  3. Good to be reading yours again, Tess. “And searched her face as if never seen before” is a great line. Good job!


  4. Tess, great writing! Had me guessing what’s next? Tension & more! Yep, I’d change the locks, but then where would your story go! Nice to see you back! Chryssa


  5. Break-ups are always tough. Always a lot of history there. Nice to see you posting again, Tess. 🙂


  6. Tess this is superb, I’ve missed your writing ❤


  7. Pingback: #BlogBattle 44 “Worm” Entries & Voting – Rachael Ritchey

  8. Great story 🙂 I’ve missed them.


  9. As always Tess, you immediately drew me so completely into the story that I forgot all about “worm” until she said the word. 😀 I’m sure he must have hidden something in the wine kit…
    Have a terrific Tuesday my friend. Mega hugs!


  10. You always create truly vivid scenes and stories. Happy new year, Tess!


  11. Atleast he didn’t cause any further trouble,, but did he? the next day, did he return sneakily? great story enjoyed it maybe I should get into prompts like this… next please!


  12. I thought for a minute that Tara was going to give in. I didn’t want that. I’m glad she stuck to her guns.


  13. Another one of your fantastic stories Tess, I have missed them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wonderful story. Awful men who prey on the lonely. I’m running down to tell my husband–again–he will never get a divorce out of me (not that he wants one; I just don’t want to be that lonely).


  15. Nice job on the tension between those two. It brought back memories of my divorce, which means you evoked those feelings well.


  16. So nice that you’re back and your storytelling is still as sharp as ever! 🙂


  17. Good for Tara, I’m rooting for her. Great writing, Tess!


  18. Excellent story. I was hooked. Great tension, emotion, and detail.


  19. Tess I have missed you your stories, hanging on the edge of my seat not being able to read fast enough. Loved this!


  20. You know Tess is back when the tension begins building! The zingers fly! Awesome as always. ❤


  21. You sure know how to turn a phrase. Love this story, Tess!

    I do hope Harry wasn’t planning to use the razor on Tara.


  22. been so glad you’re back -great story, Tess.Jx


  23. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Tess Karlinski is back with her special kind of flash fiction.. usually a sting in the tail… and no disappointment this time…


  24. I enjoy your writing so much, Tess! I’m glad you’re back to the battle. 🙂


  25. Hi Tess,
    I can picture and hear every word–it’s all so natural, and loaded with emotion and backstory. Just like always, you nailed it!


  26. So late getting here but certainly glad I didn’t miss this one! As you always do, you drew the scene perfectly. Great tension between these two, wonderful truly. So happy to be reading you again!


  27. Well done, Tess! I can feel the strain between the two, with the overtones of alcohol laced throughout the fictional tale. Gripping!


  28. Brilliant. You managed to tell these two’s story in one conversation. Skilfully done. 🙂


  29. Excellent fiction, flash or not. We all know how difficult ‘flash’ is – here, you told a long long story of a bad marriage in an amazing 1,000 words. I went through the gamut of feeling so sorry for Tara, hating the ex, then wondering if he’s really changed, really a sorry man, and then back to ‘the bast—-‘! Great use of dialogue, by the way.


  30. I enjoyed this Tess! You weaved in the tension really well!


  31. Great story Tess! It is so nice having you back and enjoying your stories again. 🙂


  32. Missed your stories…as always such great characters!!


  33. Nice to have you back in the blog battle, Tess! 🙂