How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


#BlogBattle – Week 61

Prompt: Surfer

Genre:  Drama



“Know what it means caught in the act? Well, I wasn’t. Didn’t do nothing.

“I had a life long ago, but it got boring fast. Sure, I wanted a little excitement. I worked hard at a job that sucked. Yes, I said it. The wife knew I hated it, but what could she do except complain there was never enough money. Yeah, she worked at this and that—babysitting, was a cashier once, sold Tupperware. Nothing in the real world so her pay added up to birdseed. Said it was her job to bring up our kids, not hand them off to someone else. Anyway, it probably wouldn’t have worked ‘cause we had a new kid every other year—four times…”

“Hey, slow down. Chill. Want to get us killed?” His passenger reached out to grab the wheel only to be shouldered back.

“Thirty plus years I’ve been bowing and genuflecting at the altar of the Boss Man. See? Had kids and a mortgage, responsibilities. Is that all we’re on this earth for—to toil, sweat, and die. The company kept laying off and cutting back the last fifteen years. Got gut rot. Call backs no guarantee. Can’t throw your seniority away so I hung on. Stashed dough in tins and jars, preparing for the next cutback. The only thanks at home were hands out for my hard-earned dough.

“The kids are grown and gone. About time. We had a house because of the sweat on my brow. Wants to sell the house. Wants half of everything. Nope, not from yours truly.” He smacked the steering wheel, open palmed. “I’d like to get my hands…”

“Geez Louise. Pull over. You keep wandering over the line.” Mike tapped Charlie’s arm with a fist, but again he shrugged him off.

“I’m fine. Keep getting these letters from her lawyer, and…”

“Thought we were going fishing. Any new fish stories?” He leaned in to fiddle with the radio.

“Leave it.” Charlie groaned, withdrew a cigarette from his shirt pocket, and tapped it on the steering wheel. Before he reached the car lighter, Mike flicked his Bic, offering a light. Blowing smoke through his nose, he nodded, squinting through the windshield. “My best man and blood brother. How long have we known each other? Forever, right? Haven’t seen you in a year and you can’t listen for five minutes.”

“What do you need, man. Shoot.”

“Never mind. I’ll figure it out.” Charlie shifted his weight in the old mustang’s bucket seat. Though the air conditioner blew full tilt, his balding head glistened where thin red hair had once flourished. Wiry brows drawn in a frown, his ruddy cheeks shone, too.

“You got a lawyer, right? What’s the worst you can expect?”

“Half of everything and then there’s the thing about my pension she can claim…”

“Whoa, where did that trucker come from? I’d say he’s in a hurry to hell.” Mike rubbernecked the back window.

“Talk about reach out and touch someone. He almost wrote his name on my car. That was too close. Look at him go.”

“Want I should drive?”

“Nah, I’m okay. You still have all your hair. I just lost mine.” Charlie honked when he laughed. Mike didn’t sound much better. “When you said to slow down, I remember a bunch of cars ahead of us.” He checked the rear view. “Nobody but us now.”

Mike steepled his hands. “Start at the beginning. What was the tipping point? Any idea?”

“Not sure. Other than working in the mill, I developed an interest in computers. You might say I had a gift. Learned to fix them. Easy. Soon, friends, and everybody called for help. Patty complained because I fixed them on my off days. Said I wasn’t available to her. Wasn’t charging money. What did she know? I don’t work for free. The money was good. Women were needy. One in particular—but nothing happened. She wanted me, I know, but I’m a married man, right?” She kept calling with problems and soon her wide-eyed gazes got to me. I felt sorry for her. Lonely, I guess. Anyway, I promised to look in on her now and again. I loved the attention. Who wouldn’t? She was a lot older than me but looked pretty good.

Got home late one night and Patty’s sitting in the living room—sprang at me like a panicked cat. Said she’d found an e-mail on my computer from a woman. Didn’t know she knew about computers. Saw my car on the street in front of an apartment building, she said. How did she track me…? She spied on me? I never spied on her. Told her people e-mailed for repairs. Had to change my password.”

Mike ran a hand over his full head of dirty blond hair and adjusted his watchband. Staring out the passenger window, he exhaled. “Can’t fault her for worrying, can you? This is her marriage too.”

“You’re not listening. She’s out to get me no matter what or how.”

“What else happened?”

“Sometimes—you know when shifts change and it’s hard to switch your inner clock and sleep’s not your friend?

“Yeah?” Mike cricked his neck.

“I cranked on the computer in the middle of the night a few times. Television’s a joke except for sports. Got into Chat Rooms. Real interesting. Lots of people with crappy lives. I was flabbergasted how real these people were. Soon I was on there every spare minute. Met a couple women in my area. Yeah, we met for coffee a few times. What’s wrong with that? Again Patty, the detective, managed to match unspecified fragments and attacked me with accusations of fooling around online.”

“In your defence, you said?”

“Checking my online investments.”

“You do investments online? Is it safe?”

“I do some, but am not sure about going hog wild. No.”

“You lied to Patty?”

“How did I lie if I’m not using real money? Was studying if I’d be any good with real money.

“Patty had the nerve to ask how much I’d kissed away in my online trading. I said I’d made thousands—couldn’t help it. Her eyes got so big.” He snorted. “Still, none of her business.”

Bug-eyed, Mike glared at his friend. “None of her business? She’s your wife and the mother of your children. What is wrong with you? So did you invest real money or not?”

“Here’s the kicker. Got past my password, again. Printed the chats and shook them in my face. Time for strange women and not her. Stuff like that. I didn’t check investments. I wasn’t an ordinary web surfer. I was a liar, an unfaithful husband, looking for trouble. Oh, yeah. Then she screamed about house stuff, the broken steps, no new appliances. What about the furnace? Yada yada. Nothing I did was good enough. No wonder I found ways to spice up my life. In the morning, she was gone.”

“Where is she now?”

Charlie raised and dropped a shoulder. “She called so I have her cell. Said she’s getting a lawyer, an apartment—not coming back—blah-blah-blah.”

“How long had the chats been going on?”

“Whose side are you on, Mike? I have her lawyer hounding me. I even said let’s start over. I begged. That hurt. Nope. No way. Nada. Any idea how I make this go away? Not lining no lawyer’s pockets. No sir.”

Mike stared ahead. Mouth clamped shut, he manoeuvred his lips back and forth.

“Well?” Nostrils flared, he peered at his passenger.”

“Pull over. I don’t think you’ll like what I have to say.”

“Hit me.”

“Ever go to work tired, make mistakes?”

“Tired. Yeah, so? Night shifts are great for catching some shut-eye.”

‘You get away with not working? And get paid?” Mike slapped his forehead.

“No biggie. Everyone does it. We cover for each other. An hour here and there.”

“You don’t care about anybody. Are you crazy? What if you drop a load, kill somebody from your crane?”

“You and hoity-toity Lenore are so perfect, right? You’ve never done anything you’re sorry for?”

“Get serious. Sorry? Only because you got caught. Pull over, I said. You planning to skip out on your ex? They’ll find you, and you’ll pay, sooner or later.

“Watch me because I can.” Lips clamped, Charlie wiggled thorny brows in his direction.

“Pull over. I want no part of this.”

“We’re in the middle of nowhere.” Charlie smirked, an ugly twist to his lips. Checking his mirrors, he slowed and pulled over. They were alone on the road. He turned to Mike with a cruel squint. “We’re stopped. Now what?”

“My bag. Open the trunk.”


Mike bent to reach inside.

“Nobody calls me crazy.” Charlie slammed the trunk lid with all his might. “Guess you drowned fishing. Wuss.”

The End

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

~ ~ ~

Rules of the Battle

  1. 1500 wordsmax (effective May 2016)
  2. fictionaltale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG(no more than PG-13Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered aroundthe theme in a way that shows it is clearly related.
  5. State theGenre of your story at the top/bottom of your post.
  6. Post your stories on the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of the month, by 11:59 PM PST
  7. Go for theentertainment value!
  8. Put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section, and/or include a link to a battle post (not a page) in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post).
  9. Use the hashtag#BlogBattle when tweeting your story.
  10. Let us know if you have a Facebook author/writer page so we can LIKE it to stay connected.
  11. Have fun!

The poll for voting will be added the Wednesdays after the Tuesday Story Posts. You’ll have until the Monday prior to the Next Story Tuesday to read the submitted stories & vote for your top three. That gives you two to three weeks to read and vote! Please consider the expert use of the theme word when choosing.

The Winner and the next theme word will be announced the following day, on Wednesday.



HOT Flash – Compulsive

“Georgie, you’re home late.”

“Wa’ ‘pened m’ b’k?”

“What d’say?” Jake rolled out of bed by-passing slippers, and strode to the study across the hall. “What’s the racket?”

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

“Ha!” White teeth flashed.

“Okay, my compulsive fusspot. Come to bed.”


“You gonna faint? Gotcha.”

A ticket flapped. “—won…lottery.”

~ * ~

This is the Fall Quarter of Flash in the Pan. The theme is Disturbed.

The Hot Flash limit for the word Compulsive is 50 words. I used them all.

Check how to join:


Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

I LOVE the new features on appliances nowadays, especially my washer, dryer and dishwasher. Where was my head last night? Am I really starting to act like a  OLD broad? I didn’t say I was one. Not yet.

At 8:00 pm, I was just going to start my dishwasher but remembered to set a two-hour delay start because utility costs are cheaper off-peak from 10:00 pm until 7:00 am (my mistake). About two minutes to magic time, I couldn’t figure out why the darn thing hadn’t started. I opened the door. Everything was still dry—and DIRTY. The cycle hadn’t begun. Hmm. I closed it again. Looked at all the buttons and pushed Start again. Nothing. Horrors. An oh-oh moment. What if it’s broken? What already? It’s only been in use half a dozen months since installation. I started to pace. What could be the matter? I mean, really the matter? Dollar signs kept flashing in my head. Panic was setting in. I decided to leave well enough alone. Time for a cool-down. Maybe a glass of wine.

Who is working for whom?

The clock struck ten. A soft mechanical humming made me pause. And turn. I looked at the darn dishwasher in amazement. What just happened here? Then I had an epiphany. Oh damn. I had it set to start at 10:00 pm. and it knew what to do. What had I expected? That the computerized component should read my mind OR just start at the time set? Senior moments. Ugh! I HATE them. I wouldn’t want to compete with a 5th grader. Been there. Done that. Anyway, I hate studying.

To add insult to injury, this whole scenario could have been avoided had I been paying attention to ‘time of use’ energy conservation new hours. We have on-peak, mid-peak and off-peak time choices. Without my noticing, off-peak had been changed from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. Duh.

My next thrill-seeking venture will be the new elliptical machine I bought recently. I’ve been waiting for a five-year-old to come along—but I don’t know any—to put the darn thing together for me because you KNOW only THEY can understand the instructions.

Money in the Bank

In a recent post (Show Me the Money), I was expecting a minimum of $360. return from the bank because they have a policy that 60-year-old customers no longer need to pay service charges. I just heard about it recently so I spoke up. I estimated they would lowball the average per month service charge I’d been paying. I was RIGHT! No surprise.

They also said they’d contact me when the investigation was finished and they’d made the deposit into my account. They did NOT. I found out by checking recent activities. Actually, I was curious so I kept checking my account. No biggy really because I’m actually richer than I thought I’d be. The “extra money” was just slipped in like I wouldn’t be paying attention. I found $376 plus change that wasn’t in there prior to my appointment with the bank.

I confess I was, however, skeptical—about everything. The fact that the bank would back track five years and give me anything at all astounded me. That they chose to use the lowest denominator didn’t.

This post is just to bring attention to my age-related new-found perk. Hmmm. I wonder if I’ll have to pay taxes on this money. Even though I’ve already paid taxes on this money somehow I feel this whole process was way too easy. Will there be some kind of backlash? As they saying goes:

There is no free lunch. (no matter what you think or what you’ve heard).



Show Me the Money

What a day I’ve had at the bank today. Recently someone mentioned that at my bank there are no transaction charges on bank accounts belonging to any customer who has reached the age of sixty. The current account is then changed to a senior’s account to flag you as a ‘special’ person.

So it seems, if you speak up, good things happen. If you don’t the bank saves money. I have no idea if all banks have this policy or a similar one, but no-one seems to understand why I’ve been overlooked for so LONG (especially me). However, I believe it can always be said my age has gone unnoticed all this time cause I’m so darn good looking (for my age). Or the tellers don’t do math. Or, possibly it’s true that banks save money so long as everyone stays mum. I KNOW how magnanimous banks are, but  it could be just me. I’ve just gotten suspicious with age. Anyway, I think sixty is too young to be called a senior, isn’t it? Except for the discounts—if you ask.

I’d been in and out of my bank a lot in the past three years because I moved to a new house and then I had renovations done afterwards. To accomplish this, I eventually cleaned out my account in fits and starts. Moving larger sums of money, more than the usual day-to-day amounts, suddenly set off alarms and a bank employee scrutinized this sudden activity. I got a little ticked the first time I got the third degree, but soon realized that if an imposter was trying to clean out my bank account they’d hopefully get the same treatment, so I cooled my jets. Someone was looking out for ME for a change.  A bank. Imagine THAT. But no-one noticed my age.

The unexpected highlight of my day is that I’ll be getting back five years’ worth of transaction charges! I’m sure that won’t be to the penny—with rounding up here and there, averaging and whatnot—but I’ll be getting REAL money back. My charges have been eyeballed at around $8 per month (closer analysis to be done). Let’s count low at $6 per month x 12 months ($72) x 5 years ($360). I wonder if there’s going to be a catch to this somehow.

Another happy outcome of today’s meeting is I’m changing my Visa card to one with no yearly fees ($29) to a cash back Visa card (up to 1%, no cap) and no fees. This amount will be put into my account. I think it’ll be at the end of each year but I could be wrong. There was too much happening, too fast. Thought I was having a hot flash.

There’s a clincher though. I should charge EVERYthing on the card and then pay it off before payment is due to grow my dividend. Sounds to me like a sneaky way to encourage bad habits. Skip paying off the balance now and again and you’re stuck with  bigger payments with more interest in Visa’s pockets. The cash back interests me though so I’ll try it.

Another reward from this card is that I’ll get ‘security and extended warranty insurance’ on my purchases. I will get an additional year instead of just the one offered by the manufacturer (i.e: just as the one-year warranty of an electronic purchase is slipping away, voila, I’ll be protected for another year IF something happens). Sounds crazy but why look a gift horse in the mouth?

Lesson learned:  Now that I’m a senior, I’ll brazenly speak up and ask about what perks might be ARE available to me. Anywhere.

This appointment has been an eye opener. I’d like to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience in the U.S. or Canada or has a worthwhile tip to share.