Not So Flexible (A Six-Sentence Story)

frustrated
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Another lunch hour delayed by my coworker who hadn’t returned on time and I was steaming; I was already required to take the last lunch break and my stomach was growling in accompaniment to my mounting agitation.

It was an everyday thing, she’d return from lunch five to ten minutes late, and then take another ten to fifteen minutes in the restroom before returning to her desk so I could leave; never an apology, no response to my request for more timely returns, and obviously no concern for my desire to eat lunch too.

Finally I’d had enough and approached my supervisor to request some assistance in having “Miss Thing” either trade lunch schedules with me or return to her desk at the scheduled time.

“Well you know that our boss requires Admin Assistants to be present from twelve to one o’clock so I can’t switch your schedules,” she said impatiently, “you’re just going to have to learn to be more flexible and not let it bother you.”

Payback time came when said supervisor was throwing a fit because the boss was requiring her to give up her large corner office for a new young attorney that he’d hired.

I couldn’t help myself; popping my head in her doorway I said with a sweet smile, “I guess you’re just going to have to learn to be more flexible.”

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Single (A Six-Sentence Story)

tulip
~Photograph by Garry Gay~

Sam watched her from behind the lace curtain of his window as she walked slowly by with her schnauzer each day, always stopping to take a look at his flower garden near the fence. He knew her as Agnes from the house at the end of the street, a widow whose husband had died a year or so ago. He could remember a time when her yard also bloomed with flowers, and she and her husband would sit out on their porch swing with the dog, greeting those who passed by.

She always seemed so sad now, never stopping to visit with anyone, just accompanying her dog on his daily walk, and then retreating back into the seclusion of her home; Sam had been a widower for almost five years now, and he knew loneliness of being single all too well.

On impulse one morning, he picked the most beautiful tulip from his garden, put it in a matching yellow vase, and set it outside her front door where she was sure to find it; he hoped it would brighten her day.

Little was he prepared for what greeted him when he went out to collect his newspaper that evening… there on his doorstep sat a fresh loaf of banana bread wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a yellow ribbon, with a small note attached that read simply “Thank You!”

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Escape Plan (A Six-Sentence Story)

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He shoved her hard and she stumbled backward, nearly falling; standing inches from here face, he dared her to push him back. But she knew how quickly things would escalate, so she spoke to him in quiet tones as she always did to calm his raging fury, while deep inside her heart told her that he’d crossed the line and there could be no turning back; it was time to hatch a plan for her survival.

As soon as he left the house to set up for his band gig that night she began making calls, first to her daughter in a nearby state to ask if she could come and stay with her for awhile, then to her boss to ask for time off to take care of personal business.

Quickly she put her plan into action, packing a suitcase and stowing it in trunk of her car, and putting a few personal treasures in a box in the back of a closet under quilts where they would be safe if he started smashing things when he discovered she was gone.

She played it cool when he came home to shower and dress before returning to the club where he would be playing, pretending to read a book though the words escaped her; she knew she needed to wait until the gig began so she would have enough time to get many miles away.

No sooner was he gone than he was back for a piece of sound equipment he’d forgotten, and she trembled inside to realize how easily he might have caught her; as his tail lights disappeared once again into the darkness she left a note for him on the counter, tossed her cats into their carriers, and drove away into the night.

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After the Storm (A Six-Sentence Story)

storm~Image Source~

My mother was terrified of tornadoes; my sisters and I spent many stormy summer nights huddled with her under the laundry table in our basement as my father, refusing to be stirred, slept soundly in his bed.

She told a story of seeing the devastation left in a tornado’s wake as a young child on the South Dakota prairie.  A big farmhouse down the road from theirs had one wall completely missing, as if it had been neatly sliced off with a butcher’s knife, furniture still in place on the opposite side of the open rooms, curtains still hanging in the windows.

I never thought to ask about the family who lived there, but now I can envision them, probably hunkered down in the root cellar hoping that the old wooden door would hold, hearing the roar like a freight rain above them and praying for their lives.

Imagine the terror of a little girl huddled there in the darkness with her brother and her parents in the deafening noise of the wind, things being torn apart, and debris being hurled against the cellar door.

An eerie silence follows, and they slowly climb the stairs and push aside the door to find an alien landscape – trees uprooted, barn flattened, smashed truck that had apparently been picked up and dropped beside what remained of the smokehouse, and their big two-story farmhouse sitting there with one side wide open like a dollhouse; nothing would ever be the same.

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Twisted (A Six-Sentence Story)

dachau-concentration~Image Source~

I will spare you the actual images, you can search for them on Google if you want.  I think that the above monument at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site speaks for itself; I don’t need to tell you what it represents.

In 1977, while living as a military family in what was then West Germany, we decided to tour the Dachau Concentration Camp; something we felt we needed to do.  It left an impression that I will never forget as long as I live; the epitome of evil, the embodiment of man’s inhumanity to man.

While the grounds and remaining buildings, including the crematorium, have been sanitized and made presentable for public viewing, the horror of what happened there has not been whitewashed or lost.

The museum contains many haunting photos, but the ones that remain burned into my heart and mind are the piles of twisted limbs, emaciated corpses awaiting cremation… men, women, and children treated worse than any animal, their only “crime” being born a Jew.

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Hidden (A Six-Sentence Story)

q-removing-and-painting-old-heat-vents-how-to-hvac-painting
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“Hurry, they are coming; we have to leave right now!”

The young girl quickly bent down and shoved a folded piece of paper through the slats of the heating vent in the room where she’d been staying.

Ten years later, as a demolition crew was tearing down the old farm house to make way for a new development, they made an amazing discovery… a yellowed piece of  folded paper fell at their feet as they pried an old heating vent cover from the wall with a crowbar.

“My name is Kara Willams and I am nine years old. My daddy took me from my mama and we are hiding and I am scared,” was written on the note in a child’s scrawl.

Mac, the demolition crew supervisor, had no idea who this little girl was or what had become of her after she left the farmhouse, but he knew that he had to find out.

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Where There’s Smoke (A Six Sentence Story)

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“Don’t you be messin’ with no Ouija board,” Grandma admonished them, “those things are the Devil’s playground.”

Judith and her friends rolled their eyes at each other as they headed up to the attic of the old house in their pajamas for a slumber party, the Ouija board already hidden away in the rafters.

Judith wondered how her grandmother could possibly take a board game so seriously; all the kids were doing it, and it was all in good fun.

Soon they were sitting in a circle on the floor, Ouija board and planchette in the center, candles at each corner, inviting spirits to come and join them and asking questions about a classmate who had disappeared and was rumored to be dead.

At first they were nervous and giggly, not taking the movement of the planchette too seriously; then the air got heavy, and it slowly spelled out, “I have taken him, and if you seek him I will come for you as well.”

The girls looked at each other in terror as sulfurous smoke began to fill the attic, activating the smoke detector in the hallway below.

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