Nope, definitely someone else
"Honestly, this is the most hilarious thing I've heard all week, and my kids are in pre-school!"
"She doesn't have a mean bone in her body! In fact, I've rarely seen her get mad about anything. There's no way it's her."
"I agree. Now, if it was a children's book about kindness and joy, I might be complelled to think it's her. But all that angst? Action? The romance!"
"Oh my God, yes! The romance was so incredible, and I haven't felt rage on behalf of a character this intensely before. If I remember right, she's never been in a long term relationship, has she?"
"That's true. She rarely dates, hates going out too. For some reason she gives great relationship advice though."
"That just means she's an introvert and a great empath. I don't think these books are by her, in any case."
"I feel the same, it's just...the way the words are written, the flow, the humor... the snarkiness is very unique to her. The little one liners I swear I've heard her say them sometimes."
"Nah, probably just a coincidence. The thing is she's too nice. She'll give you everything she has if she thinks it's what you need. She's also so sunshiny and happy. But some of the characters in these novels? Selfish as fuck. The charecterizations are often dark too. Granted it's for the plot, but I can't imagine she could have a part of her brain that can fathom, let alone write all this."
"I think you're right. Let's go meet her this weekend. We love her just as she is, it doesn't really matter whether or not she writes books like these."
Hi! Thank you for reading! So I am a closet author and this little drabble is how I imagine my friends would react if they read my fantasy novel. (Let me know if you'd like to read this too! I have quite a few chapters ready and the outline is complete.)
I write under a pen name and no one close to me knows I have a ongoing writer persona :) Sometimes it's more of a curse than a blessing, but it gives me more creative freedom to write. It's hard to find new readers when you don't have a network to start off with so I am super glad to be a part of communities like Prose where writers and readers can support each other without judgement. :)
A Good Turn
I've been driving this beater for 15 years now. I got it back in high school and never really had the heart to upgrade.
I work in a shady part of the city and most of my clients are in the very least, part time criminals. My car used to be keyed over every week. It's been a long time since then, however. They all know me now, their kids know me and we keep each others secrets.
So when I rear ended the slow Subaru at the gas station by mistake (well not really, but a little push never hurt anyone), I expected the guy to take one look at me and wave it off.
Instead, an elderly man stepped out, with beady eyes and a walking stick.
"Hey," I called out as I got out of my car too. "Man, it's hardly a scratch."
"You damaged my car on purpose. You will pay for a bumper replacement." he said in a croaky old voice.
I laughed. "Look, I didn't do it on purpose. Besides, you drive a Subaru. If anything, it's my bumper that is dented worse."
As much as 'no' was a complete sentence, I didn't want to give this old man money. It was probably a scam anyway. Maybe he was new here.
"Okay. Whatever floats your boat. See ya." I said turning around and walking back to my own car.
The old man started following me and I stopped to turn and raise my eyebrows at him.
"What?" I asked. I felt my hackles rise as the man reached inside his coat. I wasn't scared of confrontation, having lived on this side of the streets for years, but I wanted to avoid a fight.
Fortunately, what the man pulled out wasn't a weapon, it was insurance papers.
"Can you contact this company and ask your insurance company to help pay for repairs?" he asked. It was honestly quite sweet, and the man seemed honest enough.
"Sure." I lied easily. "Of course. Let me note it down."
I took one look at the page he handed me and burst out laughing.
"Mr. God Almighty?" I wheezed. "Place of residence The Heavens! Old man this is quite the prank. Thanks for the laugh."
He looked upset for some reason and snatched back his papers.
"It's true." he said, a sulk setting in on his face. "I am God. And you hit my car on purpose."
I let out a low whistle. This was almost certainly someone's grandpa with deteriorating cognitive skills. I had to deal with this kindly and well.
"Okay, I'm sorry. I hit it on purpose. Only because you were so slow. I'll have my insurance contact yours." I said placatingly. "Now, do you have a home address I can send it off at?"
The man frowned. "No."
"No home address?" I asked.
"No." he said.
"You don't want me to send it off?"
"No." he repeated.
"...okay. So what's the problem?" I asked, perplexed.
"You didn't mean your apology."
"You need to mean it when you say sorry. Otherwise it doesn't count." he said sagely.
Great. Not only was this man loony, he was going to moral police me. I was genuinely sorry I came to this gas station anyway.
Maybe doing a good turn would help me in the long run, though. Come to think of it, my karma points have been dismal lately. The old man probably needed the bumper money for something essential like food or medicines.
"Fine. I am sorry. I mean it. I should have had more patience and not rear ended you. I have noted your car number and will ask my friend who is an agent to help you get your insurance cover. Please just go away now." I said not completely dishonest. I really did have a resourceful friend at the only insurance company in town. He would make sure the guy got a decent settlement.
His face lit up a little and something tugged at my chest. It may have been the undercooked ravioli my wife made for lunch today, but she worked so hard at it, I had to eat all of it.
"Here." I said, handing him a few fifty dollar bills. "This will cover some of the cost."
I turned back hastily before he could follow and got into my car, mouthing with a sigh "thank God". I hit the accelerator and got the hell out of the gas station without the gas I came for, but still out of money.
Against my better judgement, I looked at my rear view mirror and saw him waving enthusiastically.
"You're welcome!" called the old man, his croaky voice very loud.
I somehow made it to the next gas station without my car shutting down and bought a raffle ticket with the extra change. And what do you know, there really is a God. I won a thousand dollars!
Did this story make you laugh? Let me know your thoughts! Thank you for reading.
This Caterpillar Believes in You
A butterfly lands on your backpack as you board the bus.
She sits patiently and rides with you to the very last stop.
When you get down, and stumble, light headed against the hard footpath - it flutters slightly, and settles on your hunched shoulders. Loose change scatters, there's blood on your knees and tears leak out of your eyes.
You take a minute to breathe and decide that this is not what will break you. You get up and keep going.
Dust your knees and get back up.
To all you anxious souls reading this, please know very soon, your metamorphosis will be complete and you will glimmer like a butterfly. Don't lose hope and don't give up. Somewhere, right now, a little caterpillar is trusting everything and sealing itself in a cocoon. We all have faith in it, so why can't we have faith in ourselves too?
I'm sure the little caterpillar believes in you and your ability to stay strong.
Follow @thejovialwriter for more! Share this post with someone who needs to see this.
Cheers. Sending you lots of love and light.
#writers #motivation #inspiredaily #inspired
My pen friend from another country came to visit me today. I picked her up from the airport in my battered old convertable, the heater working just enough to keep us safe from frostbite.
“Do you think it will snow?” she asked as soon as she got in the front seat beside me. She had never seen snowfall before so I could understand her enthusiasm.
I personally hate winters. The cold gets to me, I always have a runny nose and my sore throat prohibits ice cream consumption. Further, I detest freezing my fingers off shoveling snow off the driveway and despise the extra work needed to put snow trackers on the car tyres.
But she looked so eager to see the little specks of frozen water, I couldn’t help but allow a small smile to form on my face.
“Maybe.” I said looking at the grey skies. It was a terribly dull evening, dark and cloudy, the road illuminated by yellow headlights and bylanes with half hearted Christmas decorations. My friend was dressed in bright colours, as though trying to compensate for all the grey, with splashes of red and yellow all over her coat and tall boots.
“It’s always warm in my country.” she said between shivers. I realized that her jacket, though lovely to look at, did little to keep her warm. I shrugged off my own and gave it to her.
“Thanks.” she said gratefully putting on the larger garment. I was almost sorry when the brown faux fur covered her bright coat. It was as though, I had subdued her light. I needn’t have worried however, because her energy was back in an instant.
“It’s Christmas tomorrow!” she said happily, taking out her phone to text her Mum.
“And my brother’s birthday.”
“Is his name Jesus?” I asked sardonically.
She laughed, clearly missing the sarcasm. “No, his name is Max. He’s only twelve, and I miss him.” she said as she typed.
The signal turned red and I stopped the car, squirming around in my seat to look at her.
“What will you take back for Max?” I asked noticing her flushed face, and chattering teeth. If only I’d earned a bit more during summer break, I could afford to replace the car’s heating system.
The signal changed to green, and I pressed the accelerator, eager to snatch my eyes away from her discomfort and my guilt.
“Lots of gifts, he loves Hollywood and baseball, so that’s convenient.” she said with a smile as she tried to hide her shivers. The cold was getting to her and I wanted nothing more than to rush her home, hand her hot chocolate and pile all our blankets on her. But it would be midnight by the time we reached, and I hoped she would be okay.
“I really hope it snows.” she said blowing into her hands and rubbing them together. “It’s warmer when it snows.”
Impulsively, I swerved into a Chinese takeway restuarant and ordered the hottest items I could find. I produced some money, the remainder of my student loan, and handed it to the lady at the counter.
“Don’t you think it’s too much?” she asked when the lady handed her a huge bagful of inexpensive warmth.
“No.” I said, feeling better now that she was surrounded by noodles and soup. “Start eating, you must be hungry.”
She peeled open a pack of dumplings and stuffed one in my mouth.
“These are good.” she announced as I struggled to clear my mouth to speak. “Thanks.”
I swallowed and forced myself to look at the road, more so because I found a speck of sauce right beside her lips.
She is your friend.
“Thanks for coming to see me.” I said stiffly after a while.
She stopped eating to stare at me. “Don’t thank me, you’re the one who’s letting me crash at their place during the Christmas holidays.”
“Nah, you’re away from your family, stuck with me in this cold godforsaken place.” I said shaking my head. “I think you got the shorter end of the straw.”
She yawned, stretching out her legs and leaning on the door.
“I got you as my pen friend.” she said looking out of the window. “I got the best.”
My face turned hot as I continued to drive. A blush crept over my cheeks and neck as I tried to keep myself staring at the road. By the time I garnered the courage to look at her again, she was fast asleep.
I drove diligently, pausing only at crossings to sneak a peek at her. She looked like an angel, as she dreamt, surrounded by cooling takeway food and covered in my old jacket. I wondered what she was dreaming about. Was she thinking of home? Her family, her little brother, the Christmas dinner?
The night dragged on and the stars popped out. The sky felt heavy now, as we neared my address.
“Melissa,” I called softly after I shut down the engine. “Melissa, wake up, we’re home.”
She stirred and looked around disoriented. “Is it snowing?” she asked innocently.
I have never wished for snow this much before.
I shook my head at her words and helped her out, stopping short as something soft and white fell like cotton candy and onto my palm.
There was no mistaking it. I stared up at the skies and followed a tiny speck as it dwindled in the air. It danced in the light wind, twirling, and flowing loftily before coming to a soft halt.
The snowflake landed on her nose. All I wanted to do at that point was tell her. Tell her so many things. But it seemed she wanted to do something different.
“You have a snowflake on your brow.” she said, reaching up to wipe something off.
Her cold fingers touched my flushed skin and for a single moment, all I could see and feel was her: her smile, her eyes, her touch and then all too soon it was gone.
She distanced herself and looked up at me as though afraid I would have pushed her away if she hadn’t moved of her own accord.
“You have one on your nose.” I said closing in on the space between us. She bit her lip nervously as I gently lifted the snowflake off her nose and showed it to her.
“If you look under a microscope, you’ll see be able to see a unique pattern.” I said sagely.
She laughed, clear and cymbal like lighting up the night. I glanced at my watch, and sure enough, it was midnight.
“Merry Christmas.” I said simply, frozen not by the cold. “Guess it snowed after all.”
“Guess it did.” she said, still standing far away. “Merry Christmas.”
It’s too soon. It’s not even been twenty-four hours.
My heart is already hers.
“Shall we go inside?” she asked shaking me out of my thoughts. Her eyes met mine, and for as long as our gaze held, I could tell her heart was beating in tune with mine.
“Yes.” I said with a smile. “Let’s go.”
Two Steel Rings and a Heart of Gold
"There isn't enough money left." said Mrs. Stevens in hushed tones inside the kitchen.
"I know. The company isn't paying any salary this month either." whispered Mr. Stevens. He wasn't the only one facing this in the midst of a pandemic.
"If we miss the next payment, we'll lose the house." said Mrs. Stevens as she broke into tears.
"We don't have enough food either." said Mr. Stevens. "That was the last of our bread."
"I'm sorry." said Sara to herself as she put back the second piece of bread back in the empty basket. She tried not to overhear the conversation in the kitchen, but years of foster care had given her many unwanted skills, such as stealth in shoplifting and eavesdropping.
"What should we do?" asked Mr. Stevens sounding utterly defeated. "We'll be homeless."
Only about a year ago, Sara used to scavenge the streets for food. Her previous foster family often forgot she existed other than to do chores. She ate out of dustbins when hunger pushed her to it. Sometimes she would nick a few snacks from the store. She didn't have that much of a conscience, but she felt stolen food never filled her stomach.
She could do it again, however. She could go to the grocery store and steal something for dinner. Maybe get some of the expensive cheese and meat.
"But at least we are together." said Mrs. Stevens, her voice breaking as she hugged her husband. "Thank goodness, Sara is with us and not all alone in this terrible time."
And suddenly, Sara couldn't anymore.
She went back to her room and shut the door, thoughts racing. She needed money for her family. She was thirteen years old. There had to be something she could do to help.
She rummaged through her scarce belongings until she finally found it. Her biological mother's wedding ring. It was gold plated and studded with a small gemstone. Her father had died in the war and mother had died while giving birth to her. Sara rested in the knowledge that she was born out of love and greatly cherished her only proof.
Mr. and Mrs. Stevens had saved her life. Sara was deeply malnourished and sick when she was rescued. She hadn't had the will to live anymore. But her new family wasn't like the rest.
They gave her a small room, hot home-made meals, they talked to her every single day, and they cared, cared ever so deeply about her that she cried.
Mrs. Steven's soft round face made her feel so happy and seeing Mr. Stevens come home from work with a smile, made her feel emotions Sara deemed were worth much, much more than the ring in her hands.
Clutching it close to her chest, she ran back to the kitchen, heart thumping as she spotted her adoptive parents sipping tea.
"Hello Sara." said Mr. Stevens with a smile. His mustache rested easily over his kind face. "I see you didn't complete your meal. Take a seat and finish up."
Mrs. Stevens poured a fresh cup of tea and handed the bread basket to Sara, a genuine smile on her face.
"We-can-sell-this." said Sara in a rush, as she produced the ring and laid it on the tiny table. "The lady at the orphanage said we could get 3000$ for it."
"Oh Sara!" said Mrs. Stevens as she hugged her daughter tight. "We can't sell that."
Sara said reluctantly, "Why not? It's mine and I want to sell it."
Mrs. Stevens looked back at her husband wearily. She wore a thin steel band on her finger like her husband. They'd sold off their own rings months ago.
"Are you sure Sara?" asked Mr. Stevens furrowing his eyes.
"Yes. Please, sell it as soon as you can." said Sara as she split the bread into three parts and handed one to each parent before biting into her own piece.
Perhaps it was the pureness of her action that did it. Perhaps it was because the Stevens were so kind. Or perhaps the world decided that things would get better and they did.
The ring sold for 3500$ on eBay and Mrs. Stevens bought a cart full of the cheapest foods. They would not be hungry again as long as she lived.
Sara helped her bake muffins and cakes and packed them in paper so the local grocery store could sell them. It wasn't much money, but enough for them to stay afloat.
Mr. Stevens got a job as a food delivery man. It didn't matter that he used to be a financial analyst. It didn't matter he had two degrees. His little daughter had sold off her mother's ring.
He worked longer hours. He trudged through on days when the weather was bad. He would do whatever it takes to buy it back.
Sometimes the only price to pay, is your ego and the Stevens had already got rid of that.
Sara thought of her biological parents sometimes. It struck her sometimes, to realize she had nothing to remember them with anymore.
But every night when Mrs. Stevens tucked her in to bed, she knew their love lived on.
It’s only sauce.
I like his smile.
I think he’s sexy.
I’d like to go on a date with him.
″...accused of murder in the first degree...”
He’s kind of cute.
Now that his wife is out of the way.
″...evidence clearly left behind the scene of the crime- a sock and two sets of fingerprints is enough to identify Mr. Jonathan Samuels as guilty of murder.”
I wish they’d hurry up with this trial. I’d like to run away with him.
He’s looking at me. He’s got nice green eyes. I wonder how his hands would feel all over me...
His lawyer's voice cut through my daydream.
″...the defendant was watching a football match in the living room when he heard a noise. He went to the garage and found his wife on the ground. She had slit her throat and was dying.
He tried to stop the blood flow with his sock and left some prints on the door before he called the hospital and the police. Mr. Samuels is devastated he lost his wife.”
I could make him forget her.
He’s tall. Taller than I’d dated before. He’s got a strong jawline. I can tell he’s very authoritative.
The fat presecuter started to speak again snapping me out of my thoughts.
“Mr Samuels has a history of domestic violence cases against him. In 2011 he was found guilty of punching his then girlfriend Amanda Miskin, in 2013 he was accused of shooting his neighbour’s dog, in 2014 he was booked for throwing a flower pot at his ex-wife Ms. Morena Gray. In 2016 he was fired from his job due to anger issues by Comet Company Ltd. where he worked as a manager. Since 2017, there have been rumours in the neighbourhood that Mr. Samuels regularly beat up his wife, as confirmed by ten friends of the victim Mrs Mary Samuels. The marks on her throat as verified by a qualified doctor clearly show she could not have inflected those wounds on herself.”
A man full of rage.
I could handle that.
I’d handled that before. I’d even stood in court and testified five years ago.
The jury found him not guilty. They let him go. His lawyer was too good.
He almost killed me when he got out. But died in a car crash a day later.
I still find people like him insanely hot.
The other jury members looked solemn. My jury hadn’t looked like that. What had I done differently? Maybe they didn’t believe my story because I was still alive.
″...court dismissed till 3 pm.” said the judge.
We all stood up to go to the cafeteria. I listened in on the other jurors.
“He’s guilty.” said the woman in a blue tunic. Self righteous and so utterly mistaken. She thinks the world is full of good people and bad people. She’s the kid who never had to settle for the grey crayons in kindergarden.
“I agree.” said the man in a brown suit. He was the accountant at the bank I always avoided. Always smiling, happy, son-of-a-bitch.
The nine other jurors nodded in agreement as they sat down at the table, plates of spaghetti in front of them.
It was fascinating how, if you put enough sauce, it would look like splattered blood on your clothes by the time you finished your meal.
“He’s innocent.” I said suddenly.
The table paused to listen to me explain, if only because their mouths were full.
“He’s got anger issues for sure, but he isn’t a murderer.” I said.
My abuser hadn’t killed me. He’d always liked to see me suffer.
“I think someone else did it.” I said taking a fork and twirliing it around my plate of spaghetti. “He wouldn’t have slit her throat because he knew he would get caught. It wasn’t him.”
“But the evidence points straight at him.” started old Mr. Harris. He was a good guy, had three grandkids, lived an easy life. Couldn’t be bothered to know how I, back then, living across the street, got such frequent black eyes.
“It’s been planted to make it look like he did it. But he didn’t.” I said firmly. “Believe me, there is someone else involved. A scorned former lover, a wellwisher, a hateful friend---even a robber.”
I hadn’t had anyone. Maybe that’s why I lived.
We returned for the afternoon session shortly after, my eyes meeting Mr. Samuels as I entered. He was more good looking than I had imagined.
He was neatly shaved. I could almost imagine the scruffy beard growing in a few weeks, reeeking of alcohol and overburned cigerettes.
″...just received CCTV footage from across the street, Mrs Mary Samuels is seen with a man, who is clearly not Mr. Jonathan Samuels. This man on the 53rd second mark, slits her throat and runs away after an argument. This clearly shows Mr. Jonathan Samuels is not guilty. Police are looking for a middle aged man, 5 foot 11 inches tall...”
The jury looked at me and nodded.
In a couple of hours they would all agree with what I had told them.
“The jury finds Mr. Jonathan Samuels not guilty.” was announced precisely at 5 pm.
As we left the room I quickened my pace, so I wouldn’t turn around and ask Jonathan Samuels for a drink. I had to get back and see my therapist.
But he was at the door speaking to every jury member as they filed out of the empty courtroom.
“Thanks.” he said to me with a charming smile. The bastard was smirking now.
I’d seen that look so many times before. I ran out of the building, before I kissed him.
He knew his wife had an affair. He knew her lover was abusive too. He knew he would eventually kill her for him.
He knew. He knew.
I thought of those haunting green eyes turning red. He’d be more careful next time.
And now he was free.
Just like me.
I boarded the cab and held my head in my hands.
But was I really?
The Last Day of April
Avril was born in the midst of a curfew, in her grandmother's bathtub. It had been uncomfortable, but was the least of her worries.
Many things happened mere moments later, as men and women in outfits she didn't recognize, stormed into the small home. First, they took Avril away, holding a report and saying that her mother was infected. The house was emptied of its inhabitants, and the little baby girl taken to another hospital.
There she grew, mere centimeters on the formula milk they fed her. Her eyes opened and shut themselves at the sight of light. She wasn't ready yet. She wanted to go back to the womb, to swim again in the protected waters.
She did not get her wish. Instead, she felt the days roll by, hinted by the yellow light on the window, that came and left as often as her sleep.
The people bustling around sometimes dropped fluffy toys of strange creatures into her cot. Strange smiling faces often appeared in front of her, cooing at the utter cuteness of Avril's obvious discomfort. They spoke of how the timing was unfortunate and how the world was forced onto it's knees. They talked of morose things like death and shared prophecies promising the same.
They said the year was cursed and that this month simply wasn't meant to be. Avril looked on innocently at the hurrying nurses and the busy doctors and wondered if perhaps, her life had simply been mistimed?
But there were many benefits to being born in April. One of them was that it was spring time. It was green and full of flowers outside and if Avril tried a little hard she would catch a whiff of the roses on the desk in front of the room. Sometimes when the windows were left open in the nursery, a little butterfly would enter or Avril could hear a swallow chirrup from the tree outside. A pale trickle of sunlight would tease through the curtains and land on her light brown eyes, a soft warm wind tickling her plump cheeks.
Avril was curious, as much as she could be. Spring was about discoveries and she was no different. Her brown eyes grew wider as the days dragged on. She taught herself to raise her legs, and wave her arms and even turn a little in her cot. Perhaps, one day she would learn to crawl and then she would find her way home. She didn't cry much, or command much attention, as though already wisened by the tragedy surrounding her.
She did not know how many days she stayed in the crowding nursery or why so often the nurses she liked disappeared. Everytime that happened, for a brief moment she always wanted to go back, to the soft warmth of her mother's womb.
And then one day, they surprised her by saying she could.
A tall man in a white coat, stuck a cold stethoscope on her chest and declared her fit and fine. Avril would have scoffed if she could, but smiled instead. She had long since learned that many adults didn't know what to do with creatures who cried.
They put her in a little pram and tucked her into a car. The wheels hit the tarmac and for the first time in her life Avril looked out into the streets. Brilliant, loud music played as people cheered on the road. They wore bright colourful clothes and sported big, bright smiles. Some of them whistled and hooted as though they were celebrating.
Everyone stood a little far apart, a tune on their lips as they clapped, with no intentions of stopping soon.
Were they clapping for Avril?
She found herself smiling despite not knowing.
Balloons filled the clear sky, white with freedom and colours of the country. There were people in uniforms, looking tired and zealous at the same time. Their badges shone brightly in the morning sun, the glint reaching their eyes. They saluted every vehicle that went past them and Avril waved back with her tiny fist.
People were standing on their balconies, holding their hands in prayer, as they looked on at the celebrations. The roads were filled with streamers and shining glitter as an occassional cab swept past. Everyone had somewhere to be, and they were merrymaking as they went. And yet Avril spotted in the corner of the streets, a few people, with tears streaming down their wrinkled faces, a smile gracing their lips. She didn't know what it was called, but what she saw was gratefulness and relief.
The humming car engine finally stopped at a dead end road and honked loudly several times.
A woman, with brown eyes like her own, opened the door, and picked Avril up instantly. She fit in her arms perfectly and smelled sweet, like home.
Her arms were strong and gentle at the same time, the way most mothers are. Avril hugged her tight burying her face in her mother's bosom as the woman thanked the driver repeatedly.
The first time Avril looked into her mother's eyes, she saw utter joy. She had been weakened by an illness, but somehow survived. Her skin brightened as it touched Avril's and a soft blush speckled both their cheeks. Her heart was full as she realized, the world had fought a war, and won. Here, in her arms lay her reward.
Her soul lit up as she carried her little girl hom e, whispering over an over again, how a child born on the last day of April, brought love and luck to the world.