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The Spot Writers – “The Trophy” by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to The Spot Writers. March’s prompt is to use these five words in a story: builder, chance, trophy, glory, unexpected.

Today’s post comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Her one-woman publishing company, MacKenzie Publishing, has a submissions call for stories for an upcoming anthology titled TWO EYES OPEN, which call ends March 31, 2017. The theme: thriller, mystery, horror. Check out MacKenzie Publishing’s website for further particulars. www.mackenziepublishing.wordpress.com

***

“The Trophy” by Cathy MacKenzie

Pete stared at the unexpected snow piled outside the window of his front-room office. The wind had abated, leaving huge drifts. Could he even open the door? Although he detested winter, he’d take a chance at the snow, which was preferable to staring at a blank screen—though both were glaring white canvases, daring him to choose: write or shovel.

Once a builder, Pete had aspired for his own construction company but had given up on that dream.  The glory he sought would surely come when he wrote a Pulitzer-prize winning novel, but that dream had never materialized either. Suddenly, he was left with nothing: no job, no novel.

Even his wife had left him. “You’re too much a dreamer,” she had screamed before slamming the door in his face.” Later, he laughed. Good thing you had an escape. His belly would have hurt even more watching her fat butt waddling through a tunnel of packed snow, which had been the case the previous year when there’d been so much snow they’d only been able to access the side door. And even then, it had been a literal tunnel. Truth be known, he was glad she left because, by leaving first, she had voided the pre-nup they’d signed several years previously. Not that he had anything to give her in a settlement.

When he stepped outside, he found the snow to be light and fluffy. The newscaster had forecast colder temps, so the snow would harden overnight, but he’d worry about that later. For now, he needed a drink.

He ambled to the local bar, a place he frequented often. The guys there knew him. No one admonished him. No one nagged. No one made him feel guilty. Yes, he was glad for the umpteenth time that Alice had left. And of her own free will, too. He was one lucky man!

He and Joe commiserated while they drank. Joe, on marriage number four, had one too many whiskeys while Pete consumed several beer.

A shadow covered Pete before he realized the room had darkened. Joe, in his stupor, was oblivious to the change.

A voice bellowed. “What are you doing?”

Pete looked up. Alice. “What are you doing here? This is a men’s establishment.”

“You’re my husband. I have a right to be here.”

“No, you don’t. You left, remember?”

Alice held firm. “And now I’m back. Like Arnold.”

“Arnold?”

“Schwarzenegger. The actor. The governor of California?”

“Right. Him. Yeah.”

“Come home now, Pete.”

“I need another drink.” Pete slammed down the empty beer can, motioned to the bartender for another, and eyed his friend. “Joe, you awake?”

Joe tilted his half-empty glass on the counter. “What do you want?”

“Are you awake?”Pete repeated.

“Of course I’m awake. I’m here, aren’t I?”

“And Alice is here, too.”

Joe glanced at Pete and then at the hovering figure. “Hey, Alice. How’re you?”

“Fine, Joe. You?”

“All’s good.” Joe slugged another mouthful. “Yeah, all’s good.” He stared at Alice a moment before speaking. “So, what’s this I hear? You left Pete?”

“No, I did not leave Pete.”

“Pete said you did. He’s been gloating about his freedom.”

“Oh, you don’t say. Pete? What say you?”

Pete gripped his beer. “Hmmm?”

“Come on, Pete. Time to go home,” Alice said.

Joe giggled. “Pete, you have a trophy. Hold it high.”

Pete frowned.  “Trophy? Alice?”

“Alice is a trophy, yes. She’s twenty years younger than you. Isn’t that a trophy bride?” Joe snickered.

Pete stared at his drink. Trophy? He didn’t think so. But he hadn’t much success at a job or a novel or…nothing. Yeah, he’d better grab a trophy—any trophy—while he could, even if she did have a fat butt. “Alice, sweet. So good to see you.” Was that enough? “I’m sorry. I appreciate you so much. Let’s go home.”

Alice smiled and latched to his arm. “Come on. Home it is. Snow is in the forecast. You may have to shovel in the morning.”

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco. www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/

 

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Don’t Send a Woman to do a Man’s Job!

“But I’m not going to Canadian Tire,” I said after Hubby informed me I had to buy wiper blades since he just broke one on the car.

“You said you were going to Walmart. It’s right across the street.”

“But I changed my mind. I’m going to Bedford Place Mall instead.”

“You can take the truck if you want, and I’ll take the car.”

I didn’t want to take the truck. “Never mind, I’ll go.”

I should have been grateful, I guess. Hubby had left for work that morning, forgetting to clear the snow off the car and turn it around in our awkward driveway as he had promised. He had actually gotten all the way to work before he remembered, not that his office is that far. Yes, I should have been grateful he returned to ready the car for me.  But dammit, I hate buying car stuff. And he was the one who broke it!

“What size do I get?”

Hubby recited the info I would need: make, model, etc. “And get them to install it. You don’t want to ruin the windshield.  If they can’t do it, come to the office and I’ll do it.”

It should be a simple matter to buy a wiper blade, right? I drove to Canadian Tire, careful to not turn on the wipers while I drove, and stood in line for fifteen minutes before remembering I could look up the blades myself. I was not surprised to see a computerized gadget instead of numerous plastic pages, which is what I had used the last time I bought blades. I inputted the specs and scrolled through endless blades, all different sizes and prices. Hubby would be mad if I bought the cheapest at $9.99, but I wasn’t about to spend $50 or more. After debating between $14.95 and $19.99, I selected the $19.99, just to keep him happy.

Then I realized blades are sold singly. Why? Of course, Hubby hadn’t told me which side was broken. I charged outside. After several minutes, I determined the passenger side, which seemed to be bent at an odd angle, was the culprit.

After twenty minutes searching for the correct number of the blade I had selected, I finally found it, paid, and left. I wasn’t waiting an hour for automotive service to replace the blade.

As luck would have it, it was raining when I exited. There went the rest of my shopping spree. Hubby wouldn’t be happy if I landed at his office, expecting him to install the blade in the rain. And I wasn’t about to drive with rain pelting the windshield. I went home.

When hubby returned home that evening, he looked at the package and informed me it was the driver’s side that was broken.

“Sure didn’t look it,” I said. “Thanks for telling me.”

“I didn’t know they were sold singly,” he said.

What?  A car buff like him doesn’t know that?

“Okay, I’ll have to go back tomorrow,” I said.

***

 

car

 

Today (tomorrow) looks like a Christmas wonderland, with a couple of feet of snow. The car is covered. Hubby didn’t clean it off or turn it around.

Hubby has sent me to do a man’s job several times in the past, never with pleasant results. I’m not a man; I’m a woman. I don’t know the first thing about car parts; I don’t want to know, truth be known. However, time passes and one forgets past horrid experiences—until episodes are re-lived.

“Don’t send a woman to do a man’s job” is going to be my mantra in the future.

I sent Hubby an email: “Since I can’t get out today, can you pick up a wiper blade at Canadian Tire? (Driver’s side!)”

 

 

 

 

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