For those of you who followed me from my old blog, Fishing For Words - glad to see you again. It's been awhile, hasn't it? I did well for a time then fizzled out,- mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa. I am in a better place now.
To start things off on a fun note, I have decided to make you an offer. I have written a story I think might be appropriate for the season. I would like to have you read it and comment on it. Here's how it starts:
Everyone She Loved
She was standing in front of the window, watching the taillights fade on the highway headed out of town. That last customer, a mother with twin boys, was young, weary written all over her face. Peasy knew how to read that face. Knew it involved a man and a dream gone wrong. She'd seen that face in her own mirror years ago. The young woman wasn't completely defeated; in her eyes there was still a light–dim but discernible. Peasy had snuck the woman's $20 bill back into her sack while she used the restroom. As the car pulled away, she silently wished her well.
“I saw you give her that twenty bucks. Your boss will be so pissed.”
“Hush, Bristol,” Peasy rubbed her eyes and turned toward her son. “She needed more than that but it was all I could do. I just voided the sale; he'll never know."
"You're just a softie." He grinned at her. That grin could always melt her resolve to be tough with him even when he was just a little boy. The urge to ruffle his hair was strong. She remembered how he hated that.
"What time is it?" Her watch was slow. It needed a battery, just another thing on the list of items she didn't have the money for. At least it had the right date - August 29, 2013. Where did the years go? Seems like just yesterday that Bristol was born.
Bristol checked the employee time clock. "Nine fifty-five. Time to start closing."
She laughed. "You in a hurry?"
"Nope, got all the time in the world, but I know how you are, Ma. You'll dally until some poor sucker drives by and needs a fill-up." He looked at her sternly. "You're tired. You need to get home so you can get some rest."
Peasy turned off the hot dog warmer and gathered the shriveled meat on a napkin. She'd throw it out onto the parking lot for the strays and coyotes to pick up. It would all be gone by morning. She ran the register tape, put the money for the a.m. shift in the safe, and put the deposit in the cloth bag for the bank. As she wiped down the counter, Bristol stood on the other side and watched her.
"I checked the back door. It's still locked," he said.
"Always looking out for me. Thanks, hon'."
She threw on her jacket, gathered up her car keys and the bank deposit, and turned off all but the security lights. As she left, she placed an envelope on the counter. Bristol noticed, giving her a questioning look.
"I'll explain on the way. Let's go," she said as she closed the door and tested the lock. "It's chilly out here tonight. Fall's coming. Change is in the air."
The old Ford truck complained a minute, then started up with a whine second time around.
"You need to get that looked at, Ma. I think it may be your fuel pump"
"How much would that cost, Bri? I'm not made of money."
"Probably pick one up at the junkyard for $150. I could talk you through putting it in. You're always good at fixin' stuff when I was a kid."
Peasy chuckled. "You were always good at breaking things. You know the saying about necessity being the mother of invention? Well, this mother had to use a lot of invention to cover the necessity."
Bristol started to say something, but she interrupted him.
"Bri, we need to talk. That envelope back there? It had my notice and the store key in it. I quit my job."