I dropped the ball in regards to last week's flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds
. This week, then, I'll be fulfilling both last week's challenge
, and this week's challenge
. The latter will be significantly shorter than the former.
Challenge #1: A Terrible Lie (March 30, 2012)
This challenge involves using "a terrible lie" to create conflict, using no more than 1,000 words (I used 916). I started off in one direction, but ended up in a completely different direction. I also managed to gross myself out. ::shudder::
Their cheerful waitress, whose name tag proclaimed her to be Buffy, returned. “How is everything? What do you think of the special? Isn’t it great?”
“Everything’s fine, but we have a problem,” David began, his eyes conveying earnest apology. “We totally forgot about a previous dinner engagement. Can we get our check?”
“Oh, gosh, of course you can. Do you want to-go containers for your meals? You could have them for leftovers tomorrow.”
David smiled. “I wish we could, but we won’t be getting home for hours, and with it being so hot outside…”
Buffy nodded. “That’s smart. I don’t want you to get sick on spoiled food, but I’m really sorry.”
“Not as sorry as we are. The food is fantastic.”
Buffy looked at Laurie, who had remained silent during the exchange. “Are you okay, honey? You look a little—”
“She’s fine,” David interjected. “She’s mad at me. I’m the one who forgot. She doesn’t like to be late.”
Laurie kept her eyes carefully averted, and her mouth tightly closed.
“Oh, gosh, okay. Well, I’ll grab your check and be right back, then.”
“Wait!” David stopped her as he reached into his back trouser pocket and removed his wallet. He handed her a credit card. “This will save you running back and forth.”
“I’ll be right back.” Buffy hurried away with the card.
“David, this is wrong.” Laurie spoke through gritted teeth, her breathing unnaturally deep and slow.
“No one will ever know.”
“That’s not what I mean, and you know it. We should-”
“Shut up!” David’s hissed directive silenced Laurie, at least momentarily. “Look,” he said, his tone soothing, “just don’t say anything, okay? You’re going to embarrass us. Let’s just pay our bill and get out of here.”
“‘Embarrass us’? Do you think I care about embarrassing us?”
“Shh!” David hushed her as Buffy returned.
“Here you go,” Buffy said, handing the card and receipts to David. “Just sign the top receipt, and you’re good to go. And here,” she placed an index card-sized paper on the table between them. “This will get you twenty-five percent off your next visit.”
“Buffy, you are too kind,” David smiled as he signed the receipt with a flourish. He had inserted a generous amount on the tip line for good measure. He handed her the top receipt, slipped the credit card, their copy of the receipt, and the coupon into his wallet, and then returned it to his back pocket.
“Well, you two take care. I hope we'll see you back here soon. Enjoy your other dinner.” Buffy was off to a table not far from theirs.
Laurie watched her go, and her eyes widened at what she saw on the table. “David.” His name came out on a gag, and she stood abruptly.
“Forget it, Laurie. Let’s go.” David stood too, took her arm, and guided her swiftly toward the door.
“How is everything? What do you think of our special? Isn't it great?” Buffy waved at them as they left, before returning her enthusiastic attention to the other table.
Buffy’s second question nearly caused Laurie to gag again. Out of the corners of her eyes, she counted at least four other tables with diners digging into the restaurant’s featured special of the day, and a low moan escaped her.
They stepped into the fresh air, and Laurie leaned on David weakly, forcing him to half-carry her to their car. “Breathe, Laurie,” he instructed quietly. “You’re attracting attention.”
Sheltered by David from prying eyes, Laurie swallowed the bile in her throat and breathed in huge draughts of air. Try as she might, her mind kept returning to her plate in the restaurant.
The special, as detailed on a colorful chalk board, had sounded tasty enough.
“Comfort Food Casserole: Homemade mac & cheese with peas, sweet red pepper, and country-fried chicken breast, served up with a side salad. (We won’t count calories if you won’t.)”
It had smelled heavenly when Buffy set the plate (“Careful! It’s hot!”) on the table before her, and the peas and red pepper made it look even more appetizing. Laurie, hungry from a day of running errands, had dug into it with her fork, and nearly gotten the fork into her mouth when something caught her eye.
She had squinted as she moved the fork away from her face, poking at it with a finger from her other hand. “Oh, God.” She had set the fork down on the plate, her face first ashen, then slightly green. There was a clump of short, grey hair peeking out from under some breading, and what looked like a tiny cl—
Laurie pushed David out of the way as she lunged toward the popular coffee shop beside the restaurant they had just exited. She made a beeline for the ladies’ room, and prayed it wasn’t in use. It wasn’t. She slammed and locked the door behind her just in time to empty her stomach of its contents.
David remained by their car. He pulled his wallet out of his pocket, and removed the coupon from it, and then replaced the wallet. In two long strides he was beside a city trash can. He ripped the coupon into tiny pieces and let them fall into the receptacle with a quick, almost guilty glance at the restaurant.
“We’ll never eat there again,” he mumbled to himself as he stepped back to the car, where he waited patiently for his wife.
Challenge #2: Just the Opening Line (April 6, 2012)
For this challenge, the goal is to create one sentence; the beginning of a new story. The sentence should be such that the reader wants to read more. Here's my sentence:
They appeared as silhouettes to her, and on a humor-filled whim, she called out, “Boo!”