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Day #365: The Last Story

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The Story:

All Rachel wanted was a quick commute home and maybe a bubblebath. She knew she’d get neither and sighed audibly, causing the two men seated in front of her to throw snooty looks over their shoulders before returning their attention to the presentor on stage. “I’m not even supposed to be here,” she thought sulkily to herself before trying to concetrate on what the presenter was saying. But here she sat, three hours after her work day was supposed to have ended she had convinced herself to stay out of professional obligation, that and there had been no oportune time to slip out.

Allen waited for Rachel as long as he could. Finally looking at his watch and knowing he should have left at least five minutes ago, he cursed the Burger King toilet and his shallow jean’s pocket for their concerted sabatoge of his only method of contacting her. His cellphone may as well be a fishtank accessory now for all the good it did him after taking its recent suicide dive into the murky toilet water of the fast food eatery. It was no use- he had to leave. He only prayed she would see his note before she saw… them.

By the time Rachel arrived home, the house was dark and she was hungry. Those were really the only two sensations that registered after her marathon 13-hour day. Not worrying with the lights, Rachel kicked off her heels and hobbled across their tiny loft to the fridge. Peering inside and seeing nothing she wanted, Rachel settled on a bowl of cereal and after pouring a good amount into a bowl and adding some milk, she took her dinner to the couch where she collapsed unceremoniously. Staring straight ahead and not even really tasting the spoonfuls of vanilla almond granola, she wondered briefly, where Allen was. The thought only half formed, however, before Rachel gave up sustenance for sleep and curled up on the couch. She was fast asleep before the remaining cereal had time to go soggy.

Since leaving the house two hours ago, Allen couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that he had forgotten something. Hoping it was a residual feeling of being without his cellphone, he tried to rationalize the feeling away, but with little success. Later, as he passed a woman at the end of her break packing up her lunch bag, a wave of sickening foreboding washed over him as he saw her press the lid of her Tupperware securely in place. He had forgotten to seal one of the containers. Without thinking, Allen took off towards his car- he had to make it home before Rachel. God, he hoped he wasn’t too late.

Still asleep where she had collapsed on the couch, Rachel subconsciously brushed at something tickling her face. Suddenly, the darkness disappeared as seemingly every light in the house was simultaneously turned on, causing Rachel to wake with a start. Seeing that it was just Allen, Rachel went from groggily confused to seriously peeved and was just about to tell him off for waking her up when she noticed the expression on his face. It was as if he had seen a ghost.

Allen’s worst nightmare was staring back at him. He would have sworn it was a dream or some ridiculous scene from a cheesy horror flick if it hadn’t been his own girlfriend curiously returning his stare, not knowing apparently, the terror she was about to experience despite his best efforts to prevent it.

“Babe, don’t be scared, but I have to tell you something. I needed to bring two of the animals home from the rehab clinic to stay here overnight. One of their containers was not properly secured and…now, don’t make any sudden moments and stay as still as you can, because there is a trantula on your head,” Allen tried to move towards her slowly but quick enough he could hopefully remove the aracnid before Rachel reacted and threw the thing across the room as he fully expected her to do. He could tell by her lack of reaction that she was having trouble processing what he had just told her, and might even be contemplating the chance that he was playing some elaborate prank on her. He wished he was.

Rachel wondered if her boyfriend was losing his mind or just his sense of humor. Telling her there was a giant spider on her head? Man, he needed some new material or some sleep, either way, Rachel wasn’t buying his act. Then, she felt something move in her hair.

She had felt it move, Allen could tell by the dramatic shift in her expression. He knew he would only have a split second before she reached for the uninvited headwear and flung it as far away from her as possible. Just as he was sure he’d be spending the next half hour scraping trantula-sized splatter off of the wall, something unexpected happened. Rachel smiled. Then, with all the grace of a ballerina, she slowly arched her arm up and over her head and slowly lowered it before gingerly plucking the spider from her head.

Honey, you missed a leg.

Rachel was getting a kick out of the stunned look Allen couldn’t seem to recover from, thanks to her little stunt with the spider. Not wanting to continue his misery any longer, she shrugged her shoulders causally and said, “I got your note about bringing home these guys. You know, you really should be more careful securing their containers. When my dad brought me home my first trantula- his name was Percy by the way, the same thing happened to me and Percy almost met his maker when my mom accidently swept him into the dustbin while she was cleaning. Don’t you just love spiders?”

Mary Jane knows what I'm talkin about... Spidey love Fo-eva!

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Today was a loooong day. Thirteen hour work day, to be exact. Tonight, from 6 to 9pm, our graduating physical therapy students presented their capstone projects and although I had every intention of ducking out early… the opportunity never presented itself. That’s ok, I was glad to lend my support to these guys after all their hardwork… I may just need a few naps tomorrow.

TWO:    There are not one, but two ginormous tarantulas sitting on my dining room table as we speak (or as I type… whatever, you get the idea). While seeing them here is no surprise, Andy was kind enough to give my plenty of warning, actually seeing them here, knowing that we are sharing the same air is wigging me out just a smidgeon. I, unlike Rachel from the story, am not exactly a huge fan of these critters and the notion that we will be spending the night (actually two nights) under the same roof is giving me the heebie jeebies.

***THIS IS IT! My last story! Can you believe it’s been a whole year????  I set a goal to write one work of fiction based on something that happened to me that day and by golly! I did it! What a rollercoaster this blogging journey has been. There’s so much I want to say, so I’ve decided to add two more posts, one tomorrow on the lessons I’ve learned thanks to this experience and one on my actual birthday (which is Friday… that whole leap year thing kinda screwed up my days!) about what my future plans are, with the blog and beyond. So stay tuned…

Love & Squirrels.

Day #340: Strange Beat

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The Story:

“What a crappy day… how the heck did all of this pile up on me? I’m going to be here all night at this rate…”

Several minutes later, Teresa busy entering data into her spreadsheets hears what appears to be an African drum coming from somewhere in the building. Completely immersed in her work she looks up for a second before brushing it off- figuring it was just one of the janitorial staff’s Walkman turned up way too loud.

“I wonder if I call Laurie if she would come help me out with some of this…” Teresa muttered to herself as she stretched her arms and rubbed at the tension growing between her shoulder blades. That’s when she heard it again, this time the drums were louder and there was singing… yes, she distinctively heard a man singing along to the beat of the drum.

Suddenly, as if from out of nowhere, a black man dressed in what appeared to be tribal costume filled her doorway and after throwing a huge grin at her swung his drum around his body and entered Teresa’s office. Not far behind him came two young women, also in colorful costume including grass skirts and bold purple prints, swinging their arms and stomping their bare feet. “Ah Ha Ha Ha!!!” the man screamed. Answering his call in kind, the two women repeated in sweet melodic voices, “Ah Ha Ha Ha!!!”. And then the drumming began again. Dancing to the beat of the drum, the women swung around Teresa’s small office in an organized frenzy, all while a huge grin painted on both their faces.

Teresa was too stunned to move.

After a few minutes of drumming and dancing, the man began to sing in a deep baritone, “Oh, oh… Happy birthday… to you. Happy birthday…. To you-oooo-oooo… Happy birthday, sweet MAh-lisssaaa, happy happy birth-a-day… toooooo ahhhh youuuuuu!”

“Melissa?” Teresa said to herself and then repeating it aloud interrupted the man and his dancing ladies who had moved into a second drum-induced dance. “Wait a minute, who’s Melissa?”

The drumming stopped. So did the dancing.

“You are not Melissa?” the friendly-faced man asked, sweat pouring off his face from his efforts.

“No, I’m Teresa,” Teresa responded.

“So, it is not your birthday?” he asked, obviously quite confused.

“No, it’s not my birthday. My birthday is in October. I think you have the wrong office. There’s a Melissa on the second floor, maybe you guys are for her?” Teresa offered, strangely feeling a bit bad for disappointing the enthusiastic trio.

“Oh ok. Thanks!” and with that, they shuffled out of Teresa’s office and down the hallway. Teresa heard the ‘ding’ of the elevator arriving a moment later and after another moment the ‘whush’ of the elevator doors closing behind them.

Teresa sat for a moment and thought, “Yep… that wasn’t strange at all…” before returning to her work.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Tonight Andy and I joined a friend of mine for her birthday dinner at a popular tapas restaurant known as Café Tu Tu Tangos. This place is pretty epic… set up to look like an artists’ studio, there are independent artists painting in the restaurant, there’s a tarot card reader, a portrait artist and the food is hands down awesome (wild boar flat bread anyone? How bout gator gumbo?). By the time I was on to my second glass of sangria, I began to hear drums. Thinking perhaps I had received a bad batch of the fruity drink, I looked around for a minute before identifying the source of the suddenly loud drums that seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. A man dressed in tribal garb and beating a drum followed by two very limber dancers in grass skirts and necklaces made of shells snaked their way out from the bathrooms and into the center of the very crowded restaurant, where they then danced and shout/sang for a good ten minutes. It was freak-a-frackin awesome. The experience made me think, how funny would it be if a band like this just appeared randomly in other settings, like while you were shopping for shoes, or at work in an office building. How great would that be? Wonder if they are for hire, I mean my birthday is coming up…

Cafe Tu Tu Tangos

Love & Squirrels.