Sarah stretched her leg and could see that the line of sunlight was about to reach her bare foot. He’d be home soon. She hurried to shove the spoon deep into the crack she had made in the cinder block wall. Next, she filled the crack with dust and spittle, hiding the spoon and concealing her digging. Her wrists were terribly cut and bruised from the iron manacles, and yet it would take another month before she would be free. The cellar door creaked open and she heard him descending, right on time as the sun warmed her toes.
The first thing he saw was the scar that ran along the left side of her cheek and ended at her chin. He closed his eyes for a moment but she shook him firmly from his prone position on the ground.
“Are you ok?” she asked him quietly.
He got up slowly until he was in a sitting position. Everything momentarily spun, then came to a stop.
“Yeah, I’m ok,” he managed to croak out.
“You need to watch your liquor, buddy.”
He looked at her through his blurred vision and saw the concern in her eyes. “Will do.”
“ … and people rioted, but she just mewled.” He looked from up his “work” at the frozen smile on the editor’s face.
“That was … ” she paused. “Different.”
“Yes. It’s avant garde.” He accompanied his mispronunciation with jazz hands.
“I see that.” She shuffled papers on her desk. “Might I ask some questions?”
“Why mewling? It wasn’t explained.”
“It completes the message.”
“Mr.” She glanced down. “Z … ” The fake smile was back. “I always think it’s a good idea, when writing, to state your central idea.”
“I think it’s clear.”
“God, I picked the wrong day to quit drinking,” she thought.
Russell sends this preface:
“Sometimes while golfing (I’ve played all my life), I hope for a miracle like this … “
“Daaaad! I don’t WANT to watch this stupid golf match!” Jimmy pouted.
Troy smiled. “Please give this tournament a chance.” Jimmy rolled his eyes, looking to the green.
The golfer was preparing to putt. He struck the ball, and the crowd murmured as the ball went off-course.
But then the left side of the green rose up, and a bizarre creature emerged! With five eyes and four arms, it gyrated and laughed goofily. The crowd gasped. “Into the hole, you go!” the creature demanded. The ball obeyed, dropping into the cup. Thunderous applause followed.
Jimmy grinned. “I want golf clubs!”
Editor’s note: Incredibly, this situation is covered in the rules of golf. I suppose it must happen all the time:
Rule 19 (1) b. If a player’s ball in motion after a stroke on the putting green is deflected or stopped by, or comes to rest in or on, any moving or animate outside agency, except a worm, insect, or the like, the stroke is cancelled. The ball must be replaced and replayed.
The middle-aged man at the bar is Larry Smith. We haven’t met since high school.
I’d always regarded him as an empty-headed lout.
“Still got your long hair, I see,” he says.
I recall how he’d taunt me with “bloody hippy” all those years ago.
“A teacher? You?” he says, boasting he’s retired after selling his successful dry-cleaning business.
A few beers on, he holds forth.
He now has opinions.
“Brexit keeps Britain British.” “Trump will preserve jobs.”
I humour him for another pint.
Making my excuses, I leave, thinking, “Once a jerk, always a jerk.”
Every seat at the registry office was taken, except one.
Michael sat next to the empty chair at the front and waited nervously for George, his husband-to-be. George was less than half his age, but Michael the entrepreneur was confident – it was true love they shared.
George lay on his bed and reread the solicitor’s letter. The surprise inheritance from one of his former elderly lovers suddenly made him a very rich young man. He tapped a few words into his smartphone and pressed send.
Michael’s iPhone peeped. He read the message with disbelief: “Changed my mind”, it said. “Goodbye”.
Julie was sorry for herself on this grey January morning. Her husband had recently left her and she had started smoking again. To make matters worse, the bus was late and a cold wind blew through to her soul.
Then she saw Valerie.
“How are you, dear?” Julie inquired.
“I’m just walking to the shops. Next week I’m going to visit my son in Australia.”
Valerie was ninety and blind but her hair and general appearance were immaculate.
Julie felt ashamed of her self-pity, put out her cigarette and made a late New Year’s resolution to be positive.