How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


Packing Up and Homeward Bound

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

Breakfast was a disappointment. Again:  dry buns, squashed croissants, and small stale Danish. I loaded up on cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapple, a piece of toast, and coffee. I decided not to gorge on our last day.

After breakfast, Ernesto and his wife entered an elevator with two Chinese businessmen. It stopped part way to their destination and wouldn’t budge. One of the businessmen began to sweat, his face beet-red. Ernesto’s wife hit the red button and someone answered at once with instructions but nothing worked. After a moment or two—that’s all it took—the elevator stirred to everyone’s relief, especially the Chinese man.

~ * ~

Time to leave for the airport, Sue and I towed our luggage to the elevator at 8:25 a.m. Though it appeared too full, the occupants insisted we get on. We stopped on almost every floor and with much shifting, more people squeezed on. I laughed inwardly because this felt like the Volkswagen commercial where endless lines of people pile in. Nobody thought the elevator was too full to get on and no one considered waiting for the next one. By the time we’d reached the first floor, we had enough Chinese people to start our own small village with a population of a million or two.

~ * ~

After we’d settled at our boarding gate at the airport, Sue and I went in search of bottled water to take on the plane. Before boarding, we passed through another security check, opened our bags and carry-ons, and lost the untouched water. Other passengers had also purchased water but were robbed of their bottles as well. A female passenger argued with the stewardess.

“There should be a sign if we’re not allowed to bring water on board.”

“Madam, we are not allowed to do that in Hong Kong.”

“Well, how was I supposed to know my new water bottle will be confiscated?”

“You will know for next time.”

United_787_800_RR

I tried wifi at the airport without success. The plane before us had been delayed; the passengers moved to another gate after much dithering. Our flight wasn’t announced. Tick. Tock. The clock snuck past our boarding time with no updates offered. Finally, another gate became available. We were 35 minutes late boarding. Thank goodness we didn’t have to run to the other end of the airport, but I worried about the prearranged limo we’d paid for to pick us up in Toronto.

The aircraft was puny: two seats on either side of a narrow aisle, not unlike the one we had taken from Toronto to Chicago at the beginning of our trip. The door closed and—nothing. We waited. The passengers shifted in their seats and looked at each other across the aisle. Coughs and sneezes echoed throughout the cabin. Drat. Disease incubator!

1st announcement:

“We need to fuel up so we have enough gas to get you to To-ron-to.”

2nd announcement after a long spell of twitchy waiting:

“We’re trying to locate the guy who’s supposed to fill us up.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

(Is that enough fuel? Are you kidding?)  Credit: Wikimedia Commons

3rd announcement:

“He went to the wrong…”

W-h-a-t?

My heart danced the Nitty Gritty. So close to home—yet would we even make it?  The air in the cabin grew stale and stifling. Susan’s stomach had been queasy while we were still in the airport. I now had a scratchy throat and stuffed sinuses.

Credit:  SOUL of the North : tolpuddleman’s channel

~ * ~

Finally soaring, the flight proceeded without further incidents. My eyes didn’t itch nor burn from lack of sleep though it was the middle of the night. By 1:00 a.m. breakfast arrived, but I wasn’t hungry. I had half the omelet, a taste of the anemic pork sausage and two toonie-sized hash brown coins. The drinks cart came around once. I would have loved more coffee. Finally, a second offer was made.

I watched a lot of movies, and read a complete book I’d borrowed from an avid reader in our group. Touchdown in Chicago didn’t require five or six hours to proceed on a flight home.

We arrived in Toronto ahead of schedule and in one piece but had to trudge forever across the tarmac to the airport. I felt like a rag doll. The airport is huge; it isn’t easy nor forgiving. There are no walkalators nor airport treadmills. Not a washroom in sight for miles and miles.

I noticed something interesting at the baggage carousel. A female police officer and a sniffer dog checked the incoming luggage. I’d have expected a German shepherd, instead, a beagle named Lucy sniffed and wagged.

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

We waited about five minutes for the limo driver. The deal was if the plane didn’t arrive on time, the driver would only wait for an hour. Phew! Almost home.

Soon we sped towards home-sweet-home, the great adventure over. I couldn’t wait for a hot shower without watching the clock and to snuggle in my own bed again.

The End

Next on February 2nd: North to Alaska

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I plan to drop in for a visit and a short update Monday.

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62 Comments

#BlogBattle Week 30 – Prompt: Reach

To meet the mind behind this challenge click below:

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

Rules:

  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 this awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage:

********************************************************************

I’ve decided to expand last week’s story titled Choices. Read Part 1 here.

 

“Sit tight.” He thundered past to turn around. The shake and rattle faded with distance, but not for long.

Oncoming headlights of a single car pierced the shroud of hammering rain against her windshield. The wipers quit upright in mid-sweep as if stunned. Steve’s car howled closer behind her and stopped alongside. Victoria bit her lip, but scurried out of her car into the waiting and open door beside her. The stink of stale cigarettes, wet rags, and rancid grease punched her in the face before she shut the door. Phew.

“Good thing you came around the corner close to the sidewalk. I’d hate to push your car in this rain. ” Where to? His eyes roamed her huddled frame without apology.

“The Bradley Assurance Building downtown. Please.”

“Didn’t your mother never tell ya to look the person you’re talking to in the eye? What a scared little mouse you are.” He hooted and bobbed.

The grating voice in her ear over the earsplitting broken-Mack-truck noise gave her a headache. Purse to chest, she withdrew a hand to press against the drumbeat in her head. She sucked in a deep breath through her mouth, snapped on the seatbelt, and drew herself up straighter in the bucket.

“Let’s not talk.”

“Get over yourself, will ya?” He whipped a smoke out of his breast pocket.

“You’re not going to smoke that!”

He smirked and narrowed his eyes. “My car. My rules. Seems to me I’m already doing you a favor—What’s that saying about beggars and such?” He tapped the cigarette tip on the steering wheel and stuck it into the corner of his mouth.

Victoria sank deeper into the seat. Someone’s horn sounded over the cacophony in her head. She peered out the window. The traffic around them had swelled. Rain still swamped the windshield. Whish-whoosh, the wipers labored. Swoosh-whish. The wail of an ambulance drew closer. Steve eased to the curb with the rest of the traffic. He didn’t light the smoke.

“If ya hafta know, I quit for the third time a week ago. Sucking on these babies calms me down, ya know.” He turned to her with a lecherous grin. “You look like a drowned cat…”

She flinched and sidled closer to the passenger door, forehead to the cool window. The ambulance passed and commuters snaked forward again.

“Touchy-touchy. I’m telling ya like it is so you can fix yourself when you get to work.”

“Where are you going? This is the wrong way.” Victoria hated the shrill sound of her voice.

Eyes ready to burst out of her head, she jerked forward, hands raised toward the dash. The seatbelt restrained her.

Steve withdrew the soggy cigarette and shook with silent laughter. “I knew it. You’re a scared little mouse, aren’t ya? I’m going around the block to drop you in front of the building, not across the street.”

“Oh.”

“About your car? Want me to take care of it?”

“No-no. I’ll call the auto club. You’ve been more than helpful. Your wife must be worried what’s keeping you. Can’t thank you enough.” The front door of her building came into view. Soggy pedestrians with dripping umbrellas high-stepped around each other in squelching shoes.

Steve flicked on his signal and edged to a sloshing stop and flung his hand on the back of her bucket seat. He jiggled black caterpillar brows at her. “Oh, I’m sure I’ll think of something.”

“What are you—sixteen? It’s a figure of speech. Doesn’t mean what you’re thinking.” She wrenched open the door and stumbled into a river of streaming water searching for any opening along the curb.

“Careful now.” He snickered.

Without a backward glance, she slammed the door and sloshed her way up the stairs joining bedraggled employees rushing through the revolving doors. She charged forward, collapsing her umbrella and squeezed into an already crowded elevator. I hope my presentation goes better than my ride with Steve.

* * *

Dry and warm after a long disheartening day, Victoria curled up on the sofa, a tall Spanish coffee on the side table, a book, and Marmaduke in her lap. The now cold rain riddled the windows as if tired from plunging all day. She stroked the cat’s silky head. He leaned in against her palm and purred in a stupor. Now and again he shivered in delight. “Aren’t you my sweet, sweet boy?” One eye opened to examine her, a look of scorn on his face. He gave a heavy sigh and closed it.

“What’s with you, cat? Little Sarah next door said you look like a cow. You didn’t make faces at her.” The Tom shifted and coiled into a compact rope, paw pressed over his eyes. “A cow, she said. Good point, I think.” She poked the fur ball in a shoulder, but he ignored her.

“What a horrible day it’s been. Don’t let me start about our dreadful neighbor. I wanted to reach over and wipe the smirk off his face. Permanently.”

“Shh. What’s that?” Her knees bounced skyward; the cat bolted to his favorite window. Victoria’s heart hammered in her ears. Tiny hair she didn’t know she had, prickled on the back of her neck. Chest tight, her knees turned to water when her feet hit the floor. Rain fell with a lazy trickle now. Someone or something was poking around outside. Thank goodness she’d closed the drapes. No. The silly cat left an open space when he jumped on the window sill. She grabbed her cell, and paraphernalia, and switched off the lights on her way upstairs.

Nobody’s home next door. They’re at the parent-teacher meeting at the school. What on earth did they have to do with anything?

It wasn’t them she meant. It was Steve. She didn’t trust him.

 

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


49 Comments

#BlogBattle Week 29 – Prompt Ride

The brains behind this challenge can be found at

#BlogBattle

Rules:

  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 this awesome #BlogBattle Winner Badge to display with their winning story on their webpage:

********************************************************************

Choices

Victoria hated long-distance driving. Hazel eyes gritty, she pulled into her new street and coasted to the curb. The red brick house still charmed her as much as the first time she’d seen it a month earlier. The realtor must have hired someone to trim the lawn and sweep the driveway. Was that a special service? She blinked bleary eyes for moisture and chuckled. Birds twittered along the tree-filled road graced with only eleven houses and an elementary school tucked in one corner of the dead-end street. She flicked off the car radio and gaped with wonder. The sun sneaked over the horizon. Sleepy heads lingered in dreamland in the safety of their beds early on this Saturday.

Six months ago, Victoria wouldn’t have imagined any of the recent changes in her life: a promotion, the move 600 miles to a strange town and a house. A house, not an apartment. She released the brake and drifted into the driveway, the Chevy’s motor a soft purr.

Meow.

“We’re home, Marmaduke. Come on. I’ll show you around.” She glanced into the rear-view mirror before slipping out of the car. She vibrated with excitement.

Meow.

She grasped the cat carrier from the back seat, keys already pointed towards the side door. “Gotcha. You’re going to love it here. So will I.”

The side entrance area was small, understandable for an 80-year-old house. She tripped up the handful of stairs to the main floor. “Oooh.” The living-room furniture had been arranged the way she’d planned in her head: the taupe sofa in the center of the space, facing the fireplace, her black area rug laid between the two. Down the hall boxes marked ‘kitchen’ cluttered the counters. The table and chairs were arranged for instant use. A huge basket wrapped in cellophane sat dead center. Coffee, tea, and mugs waited within. No need to search through her own boxes yet.

Meow. 

“I know, sweetie.” Zip. “Out you come.”

The white and ginger-smudged cat poked his head out and sniffed, pointed face cautious. He leaped towards the couch, changed direction and looped down the hall to investigate. Victoria stepped out to the car for her coffee-maker and luggage. While the coffee brewed, she slipped upstairs. Her bed set up beneath the sloped ceiling in the story-and-a-half awaited only sheets and blankets. “Oooh, Sam, what a jewel you are.” The spare bedroom had also been put to rights.

She’d anticipated the movers’ arrival first due to her own late start and the realtor had agreed to let them in, but this was far beyond her expectations. Too early now, but I must call Sam before lunch to thank her.

* * *

Marmaduke sprang out of her arms into a Meerkat look-out stance. She clutched at the cat, but he escaped to her feet, front paws on the armrest. He gawked at the intruders, tail thumping against the cushion. Victoria sat up and locked eyes with two raggedy children in her living-room’s threshold, hands clutching each other.

“Hello.” She rubbed her eyes. It was still daylight. Noting the mug too close to the edge of the coffee table, she pushed it back to safety. Guess I fell asleep… She swallowed a yawn.

“Your cat gots spots like a cow. You gots kids?” The shorter girl peered over her shoulder and stepped forward dragging her older sister along. The taller girl’s eyes grew by the second.

“No, I don’t. What are your names?”

“I’m Sarah—I’m four. That’s Sylvie—she’s seven. She don’t talk.”

“Nice to meet you. How’d you get in?”

Sarah giggled into her hand. “We comed in the door. You gots cookies?”

Victoria shook her head. “I just moved in—haven’t bought groceries yet. Where’s your mother?”

“She’s asleep on the bed with my brodder. He’s our new baby.”

“Where do you live?”

“Next door.” Sarah pointed in the direction of the side door. The girls spun round and raced down the stairs and outside before Victoria hopped off the sofa to follow. She watched the ragamuffins sprint down her drive hands clasped as if glued together.

From an all adult building to a house and now to kids in the neighborhood… What a ride the last month’s been. I hope this isn’t a mistake.

* * *

Marmaduke swooped from one window sill to another till he’d settled on the one fronting the street. “Say hello to the school kids for me since I’ll never see them.” Victoria stroked his head before leaving each morning at 7:00 and sometimes long after suppertime upon her return. The cat settled in the same spot all day seemed to never move.

Over the next month, she saw little of the neighbors except in passing, but she heard plenty through her open windows during the early fall. The baby bawled loud and hearty. His father, Steve’s rusty Ford broadcast its comings and goings with a howling muffler.

One Friday morning the sky opened up and gushed rain as if it might never stop. Victoria became drenched in the short sprint to her car. Running late, she gunned the Chevy out of the driveway and around the corner, where it quit. Not another vehicle in sight, she tried starting it. No luck. Again. Nothing.

She whipped out her phone to call CAA, but couldn’t hear for the deafening noise. Passing in the opposite direction, her neighbor, Steve, stopped and smirked. He wound down his window as did she. “Need a ride?”

Her head bobbed like a dashboard dummy. What choice did she have?

 

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


58 Comments

#BlogBattle – Week 14

Come join us. For details, check out

http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

This  week’s prompt is …frog… + up to  1,000 words

No More

Frankie’s nerves were as brittle as her fingernails. She hated the house since the divorce, and everything else afterwards. Thoughts of selling it weighed heavy on her mind. The whole rigmarole involved overwhelmed her, but she had no alternative, had no idea what to do next. Would she survive the wait between selling and moving? Should she have called the priest?

She pretended to read the paper, but watched her five-year-old daughter at play instead. Thick black curls bobbed around the serious little face. Forehead pinched, Suzanne tucked her doll into the toy pram muttering under her breath. “Bad dolly. You go sleep. Now.”

“Dolly’s not bad, Sweetie. Babies are never bad.” Frankie folded the newspaper and tossed it on the coffee table. “Maybe it’s not her bedtime yet.”

“She not listen all day. Baby needs sleep to grow big and strong.” Her mouth in a pout, the little girl yanked the carriage handle and headed for the hallway. Where’d she learn those words?

“Suzanne, Mommy’s running your bath now.”

“Don’t want no bath now.” Leaving the carriage at the bottom of the stairs, she raced upwards as fast as her pudgy legs allowed.

Temperature adjusted and water streaming, Frankie poured in fragrant bubble bath and listened to the busy footsteps overhead. Then silence. “Mommy, what I come here for?” The girl’s call sounded puzzled.

Clamping down a giggle, her mother’s nose crinkled. “I don’t know. You didn’t tell me.” She sing-songed the words back to her daughter. Silence continued. Mandy, skulked out from wherever she’d been catnapping and tore up the stairs after her precious. Susanne soon thumped down the stairs, short arms under the black cat’s belly, whose legs hung limp as a ragdoll almost brushing the floor.

“Bath time, sweetie.”

“Mm-mm. My favorite. Strawberry.” Suzanne dumped the cat and pulled at her clothes. Mandy sauntered into the bathroom and hopped onto the edge of the tub, content to watch the suds froth. Suzanne bolted and climbed in, her mother close behind pulled off her purple Tee, then turned off the faucet. The girl squealed; Mandy curled her tail tight around her and relaxed on all fours for comfortable guard duty.

Crash.

Frankie froze, washcloth in mid-air. The cat recoiled and dashed towards the sound. “Sit tight, Sweetie. Mommy will be right back.” She handed Susanne the cloth. “Don’t move. I’ll only be a sec.” The girl, too involved with her singing, paid no attention. Twinkle, twinkle weetle star…”  One foot over the threshold, Frankie flashed a quick glance towards her daughter and dashed down the hall.  Mandy sniffed at the framed picture leaning upright against the baseboard. She stared at air and bounced about the room. Not again. At least no broken glass this time. Frankie scrutinized the empty spaces in the room, her face pinched, brows drawn. She plunked the picture on the coffee table and rushed back to the bathroom.

“Good girl. You waited for me. Out we come. One. Two. Three.” She plucked up her daughter wrapping a towel around her. “My, oh my. Somebody smells go-od.” The young girl clapped and shrieked. Frankie bit her lip as she clutched her daughter and buried her face in the girl’s damp curls, a frog in her throat.

“Tomorrow, we’ll buy a new pillow for the rocking chair in your room.”

“Can’t. The lady upstairs won’t like it.”

Lips flopping like a guppy, Jackie cast around for words but nothing came out. “W-w-what lady?”

“The lady that lives in my room. Can I have a drink, Mommy?”

“A small one, ‘kay? What does she look like?”

“Like a gamma, and gamma hair.”

Frankie fought to keep her voice light. “Is she a nice lady?” She set the girl on a kitchen chair and poured an ounce of water into a glass. Sounds like the lady I saw when we moved in, but that was seven years ago.

“She sits in the rocking chair and sings to me sometimes.” Frankie handed the girl the glass.

“Mommy. Let go.”

No-one and nothing is messing with my baby. Blinking to suppress determined tears, Frankie released the glass. “How about we have a girl’s night and you sleep in Mommy’s bed tonight.”

Suzanne yelped and clapped. The cat streaked into the kitchen, eyes black, fur standing on end. “Mandy we sleep wiff Mommy tonight.”

* * *

Her daughter asleep, the cat curled beside her pillow, Frankie crept downstairs. While she let the water out of the tub, she peered into the living-room. Strange. The picture wasn’t on the coffee table. It hung on the wall where it belonged.

Pushing fists into her mouth not to cry out, Frankie closed her eyes rooted to the floor. No more ifs or maybes. She’d made up her mind. Enough. Let us make it through this night. No more ghosts at the foot of the bed, nor children in the basement nor white-haired ladies singing to my child. No more falling pictures. 

Time to leave. Morning wouldn’t come fast enough. She shut off the lights and rushed upstairs to her sleeping, daughter. Not even the cat twitched when she slipped into bed. The rain outside picked up, the crimson maple thrashed the windows. Sleep didn’t come. The house creaked and sighed. Frankie tossed.

No more. Time to say goodbye.

Something or someone knocked on the bedroom door. The cat sprang up and glared at the sound. Frankie squirreled closer to her baby.

The End

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


29 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week 154

This week the prompt is: …please let me sleep…+ 100 words

Come join in the fun. Click below to learn how:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/100-word-challenge-154/

100wcgu-72

What’s in a Name?

Sue-Ellen’s nose itched. She mashed a fist into it and rolled over. A muffled thud shook the foot of the bed. She snuggled deeper into the covers and sighed. Something wormed its way beneath the comforter and tapped her cheek. “No.” she turned over.

Thump. A weight dropped on her shoulder. “Please let me sleep.” She unglued an eyelid and peeked out through a crack. The cat purred loud and large,  and jumped off. He slipped a paw in again and tapped her face. “Cinnamon?”

“Where is Kil—?”

Smash. Crash. The cat tore off the bed. Sue-Ellen followed

“Killer! You’re a demon cat!”

The End

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

 


49 Comments

Roses (part 3)

Part 1  &  Part 2

Roses

Odd. George wants me to call him at the unknown number. April chewed her lip. She paced the length of her kitchen and stared at the text message. He’d used the code they’d planned years ago, his first name and full initials: George gat. Why today? Wait! Not that sicko again.

Heart hammering she punched in the numbers. Someone picked up within half a ring. “George?”

“Yes, it’s me—”

“What happened to your cell? What’s going on?”

“Patty and I are at dinner. I expect my cell is in the car. This is her new one. How are you holding up?”

“George, you used the code—”

“Yes, as a precaution. I knew you wouldn’t recognize the number. Listen. Everything okay with you?”

“Everything okay with you? Like what? I can’t think. Give me a minute.” She held the phone to her chest, flung her head back and took a deep shaky breath, and blew it out the way she cooled her coffee, except in one long puff of air. The second time made her dizzy and a tension headache threatened to erupt. “I’m back. Something did happen. Someone knocked, but I didn’t want to answer. Later, I found a box of roses in front of my door.” Tears lurked in the corner of her eyes. She bit her lip.

“I see. A card or markings on the box?”

“Nothing.”

“Of course not. Anything about the roses?”

freeimages.com

freeimages.com

Blinding tears gushed free. Hiccup. “Henry’s and mine favorite. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? How is it even possible?”

“Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. I’ll make some calls. Call you later, and stop worrying.”

“How can I?” Caramel galloped past her with the unique scream he used when the moon was full or when he was frisky. Back he came again and slammed into the fridge before braking.

“On second thought, Patty and I will drop in for a brandy on the way home. Feel better now?”

“Thanks, George. Tell Patty I’m sorry for ruining your dinner.”

“You didn’t. Sit tight.”

“What do you have there, kitty?”

 

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


36 Comments

Roses (part 2)

Click here for Part 1 (one week ago)

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Roses

April gazed at the flowers, sightless. Caramel somersaulted across the floor like an orange tumbleweed when the tissue kissed the floor. April woke from her reverie and regarded the cat at play. She held the box away. “What shall I do with you? Too pretty to throw away—who sent you?”

The cat gave up on the shredded paper mess. Meow? Eyes luminous black slits, he stared up into her face. An ear twitched and he cocked his head. Meow?

April blinked and squinted at the cat with recognition this time. “How late is it? Haven’t I fed you yet?” Still gripping the box at arm’s length, she spun toward the kitchen. “Come on.” He galloped ahead and pitched into his empty bowl by the fridge. April waved the box back and forth as if glued to it. At last she dropped it on the table with a kerplunk, then rubbed palms on her trousers. The cat wove back and forth around her feet as she filled his dish.

Hands on hips, April studied the table again and nodded.

She arranged the roses in a crystal vase Henry had given her long ago. With the tip of her forefinger, she caressed a stem. Oh, Henry, I—

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony interrupted Caramel’s vigorous crunching. April jumped and retrieved her cell. Leaning against the black granite counter, she pursed her lips. I don’t know who this is. She put it down in a rush as if it had seared her hand.

The cell resounded again fifteen minutes later. Jittery, she picked it up. The same number flashed on the screen. As well, there was a message from her lawyer she hadn’t noticed before.

Part 3 Next Time

 

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

 


71 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #164

Join us at:

https://jfb57.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week164/

This week’s prompt is …and then I smiled…+ 100 words

100wcgu-72

GINGER

We had a special bond, Ginger and I. She stared me down for attention across a room.

“What?” I stared back from my recliner. “Do you want a hug?” Unlike her, I blinked. Her face lit up, she straightened and stretched. Across the carpet, she leaped and flew into my arms.

“What am I to do with you?” Head settled on my shoulder and tucked underneath my ear, she released a drawn-out sigh. Cheek-to-cheek at last, she stopped squirming. I hugged her warm, compact body, she purred, and then I smiled. “You’re worse than a two-year-old kidlet.” She lifted her head and exhaled again.

 

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess and How the Cookie Crumbles


116 Comments

Happy and Sad

Serious planning has begun. My packing list expands and contracts now and again. The clock is ticking and I feel a rush of excitement.

The past two weeks, my cat, Lady Gaga, has been especially needy. She demands hugs and cuddles in a loud, urgent meow. Never has she looked as tall as these times when she stretches on her hind legs and taps my hip, as if I cannot hear her complain. She looks so mournful, I wonder if she knows about my travel plans. I have been careful not to pull out the suitcase yet. Can you believe that I plan to be so well-organized I’ll only unzip my luggage while she is sleeping and close to my departure date? I’ll throw everything into my suitcase, re-zip and store it upstairs in my daughter’s house until I leave.

I live downstairs

I live downstairs

The sad thing is, I will miss her. I’ve been dreading leaving her. I worry what she’ll feel when I disappear for more than a few hours. True, she will be in her own house. Although she sleeps most of her day away, she wakes on occasion and searches me out like a two-year old. I give her a pat on the head and off she goes to find another spot to sleep again.

During this same time frame, Lady G. has decided walking all over my dining-room table while I sit at my laptop is her right. For a year-and-a-half since we met she didn’t have this habit. She now insists on sitting at my elbow waiting for a pat on the head, a rub under her chin or behind her ear. I can no longer leave my laptop open when I get up for another coffee, a snack or a bathroom break because my furry friend has somehow learned to be indispensable. What gave her the idea to sit on my keyboard? Does she think she’s saving my place?

These helpful sitting sessions have skewed the images on my screen, frozen my mouse as well as the screen, the keypad refused to cooperate and powering off didn’t work. One morning I dashed to get dressed, desperate to race to Best Buy for help. On second thought, I pulled the battery and the normal settings reappeared. Whew. Saved some dollars too. One function I learned about is the f11 function key. It talked beneath Lady Gaga’s tail on one occasion. Must make time to investigate that.

I am home all day and she knows I’ll be back soon if I disappear. No-one will be home as they will be at work and at school. As well, she has scheduled mealtimes. Her caretakers, although they promise she’ll be loved and fed, do not keep to a timetable. Their animals often must remind them the food dish needs refilling.

This is my spoiled furry friend.

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This is Barbie the neighbour upstairs with whom Lady G. has a on again / off again relationship. The other cat is older and fussier it seems, but they get along.

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This is Max, who sometimes kisses and other times terrorizes Lady G, but she has been known to instigate some of these plays. ( have no idea why this picture turned out so small.)

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Not Cinderella’s Slippers

It all began last month on September 26th. I’d slipped into Walmart to pick up canned cat food. My precious puss, Lady Gaga is spoiled, I agree. Her breakfast consists of a large tablespoonful of Iams (wet) beef, lamb or chicken, and a quarter- cup of Iams dry food. I always make sure her cupboard is well stocked in case a world-wide shortage should occur.

I wasn’t in a hurry; I roamed the store. Office supplies were on sale after the back-to-school fever had subsided and I went a little crazy. We’d had the odd cool night already so I moseyed over to the shoe department. I should never grab a buggy in any store because then I’m tempted to fill it up. I looked at slippers: purple this time. I chose a soft fuzzy pair, slip-ons—thick and spongy inside. Lovely.

I had to try them on as soon as I arrived home. Heaven couldn’t fit better. Four days later I was a physical shipwreck. If I sat, I couldn’t get up, because first one hip and then the other had stiffened up and ached. By the third day, I groaned as I hoisted myself out of the firm leather living-room chair while babysitting after school. My six-year-old granddaughter heard me and thought that was funny. “Babcia, is getting old,” she giggled behind her hand and wouldn’t repeat herself when I asked what she’d said.

This pain had come on too suddenly. Why? What was the cause? I’d started to drag one leg as if it were a lead post (without the normal flexibility of my knee half-way) and then the other. I rolled out of bed the third and fourth morning certain my hips had been smashed or battered in the night.

I slipped my feet into my cozy slippers; I kicked them off again. A light came on. This was déjà vu. Last winter I had purchased a pair of slippers as well and kicked them off shortly afterwards. They had also been a cushy pair I loved on sight—and at least a couple of days until I realized they were cursed, or I was, if I continued to wear them.

Moral of my story: four days after I kicked off the slippers from Hell, I’m not as stiff or tight, and my hips aren’t killing me. I can sit and get up; to walk, I don’t drag my legs across the floor. I’m almost back to normal. I don’t hurt in the morning after sleeping. Heaving out of a chair no longer is necessary.

MorgueFile free photos

MorgueFile free photos

Can you believe this? If it hadn’t happened to me, I might be doubtful. I promise every word is true. I wonder if my alignment hadn’t been messed up because of something about the slippers. The first time, last winter, when I decided to ditch the (new) slippers, I figured my reasoning might be a fluke but after this second time, I don’t know what kind of slippers to trust now.

All summer I have worn the better style of thong inside and out, and am back in them again. Has anyone had a similar experience? With slippers?