Free Fiction Thursday – Reunion

Good morning, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is actually going up before I head off to bed after a long evening of writing, since I plan to be cooking stuffing for the turkey around the time I normally post my Thursday stories. I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving has a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, and laughter, and that you manage to get your geek on a little sometime during the day. *g* Me — I’m thrilled there will be a Castle marathon tomorrow. I’m looking forward to Castle and Beckett and the gang keeping me company in the kitchen. In years past I’ve cooked Thanksgiving dinners accompanied by X-Files and Buffy marathons. Of course, back in those days I knew the names of all the episodes, and even made note of the fan favorites. Now I just enjoy the show. My geek has apparently mellowed with the years.

This week’s story is a contemporary fantasy about a celebration dinner of a whole different sort, and probably with more food than a normal Thanksgiving Day feast. I hope you enjoy “Reunion.”

Reunion

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed

 Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover art © Shawn Hempel | Dreamstime.com

Beth started cooking three days before Jesse showed up.

She didn’t know he was coming.  She didn’t even know him, for that matter, or any of the others who came.  She didn’t like to cook all that much to begin with, but for some reason, late one Wednesday afternoon while she was in the middle of a customer service call with an elderly man who couldn’t navigate his way through her company’s online banking system, Beth felt a sudden need to bake bread.

Banana bread.  Pumpkin bread.  Zucchini bread.  Sourdough and whole wheat and cinnamon raisin.  She wanted to shove her hands into a huge ball of dough and knead the stuff until it had just the right measure of elasticity while the heady aroma of yeast filled her kitchen.

And that wasn’t all.

She wanted to cook a turkey.  And a ham, a huge one, all bristling with pineapple chunks and maraschino cherries skewered on toothpicks.  Roast beef.  Brisket.  Barbequed ribs slathered with homemade sauce, heavy on the brown sugar and light on the vinegar.  Roast pork with applesauce.

The thought of all that food seriously derailed her train of thought.  She couldn’t get the old man off the phone quick enough.  She was afraid he’d hear her stomach rumble through her headset.  She could practically smell all that food, and it was making her mouth water.

Once the call ended, Beth took herself out of the queue of in-coming calls.  She stood up and leaned over the top of the half-wall that separated her cubicle from Sherrie’s.

“You have any crackers left?” Beth asked.  “Gummy bears?  Pretzel sticks?”

Sherrie always had food.  She was the one person in Beth’s eight-person department who made it her duty to look out for everyone else, even though Sherrie was the youngest of them all.

“You pregnant, girl?” Sherrie asked as she handed over a bag of potato chips.  “You don’t normally get the afternoon munchies.”

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – My Father, the Popsicle

Good morning, everyone! We’re back on Thursday this week. Yay!

I don’t know about you, but at my house we’re gearing up for Thanksgiving, which seems very early this year to me. I’m just not ready for turkey day. I finally started cubing and drying out day-old bread for stuffing, and tomorrow night I go out to my friendly neighborhood Trader Joe’s on the hunt for a turkey that weighs less than twenty pounds. Wish me luck!

Now on to the free story. This week we have “My Father, the Popsicle,” a story about a girl who believed she was an orphan, right up until the day she got a letter concerning her father, who’s not quite as dead as she thought. Enjoy!

 

My Father, The Popsicle

Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

Cover art Copyright Thierry Maffeis at Dreamstime.com

Jodi thought she was an orphan until one sweltering Thursday night in late June when she received The Letter from Billingsly, Wendham & Owens, Attorneys at Law.

That’s how she always thought of it after that.  The Letter.  Wasn’t that how you were supposed to think about things that changed your life?  Capitalized and important?

At first she thought the whole thing was a joke.  She’d just worked a double shift at Hot Dog on a Stick in the new mall south of town.  She was dead tired and sick of the smell of lemons, corn dog batter, and hot grease.  Her head hurt from pulling up her hair under that stupid striped hat, her shoulders ached from all the fresh lemonade she had to mix, and to top it all off, the air conditioning had been out on the bus ride home.  To say the bus had been fragrant was the understatement of the century.  She was in no mood for jokes.  Her roommate Harry had a pretty twisted sense of humor.  A fake letter from an attorney was just his style, but tonight the joke wasn’t funny.

“I ought to rip him a new one,” Jodi muttered as she opened her front door.  “Hear that, Harry?” she said to her empty apartment.  “I ought to rip you a new one.”

Not that Harry would be home yet.  Harry worked as a bartender at the only gay club in town.  Tonight he was on swing shift.  Whether he could hear her or not, after a day spent swallowing the snappy comebacks she wanted to make to clueless customers whose IQ wasn’t much higher than the hotdogs they ate, muttering about Harry’s lack of humor sure as hell made her feel better.

Still, the envelope did look kind of authentic.

Jodi dropped her keys and the rest of the mail on the coffee table.  It was all junk mail flyers and offers for credit cards neither one of them could afford, so it didn’t much matter where she left it.  She plopped down on the couch she’d rescued from a second-hand store, slipped off her sensible, style-free shoes so she could stretch her toes into the carpet, and ripped open the envelope.

She skimmed through the introductory stuff.  Dear Ms. blah-blah-blah I represent more blah-blah-blah bankrupt estate.  The word assets caught Jodi’s eye, but the word that brought her up short was father.

What?

If this was Harry’s idea of a joke, it definitely wasn’t funny.  He knew she had no sense of humor when it came to her family, or lack thereof.

She ended up reading The Letter three times in a row, each time with an ever-increasing shakiness in the pit of her stomach, not to mention a growing sense of unreality.

(read the rest of the story here)