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July 2019 Writing Challenge

  • 13 Aug 2019 1:52 PM
    Reply # 7826252 on 7790685

    Louis, I enjoyed the slow build-up in the story. 'Diablo' was a nice touch.

    Sherri, Vivid description of characters as told by their actions

    Enjoyed reading both vignettes


    Last modified: 13 Aug 2019 1:54 PM | Michael Worthington
  • 12 Aug 2019 12:20 AM
    Reply # 7823276 on 7790685
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    From "Titanium Blue"

    Jenna, with Toby in tow, sauntered into the restaurant at 6:45. With Tar still in Washington and her mother already on the road taking Mac to his heart doctor’s appointment, Jenna was once again juggling single motherhood and being a business owner. She smiled at her son, thankful for his cooperation. As she ordered breakfast for the two of them, the real reason for Toby’s maturity came up.

    “Have you decided Mom?” Toby asked, a big swallow of milk having left an adorable mustache above his lip.

    Jenna sipped her coffee and read the news off her phone. Turning to Toby, she frowned. “Decided what?”

    “About me going to Alex’s Halloween party. Well, it’s actually after Halloween but we’ll still be celebrating.”

    Jenna frowned. Hmm, so that was why he was being so helpful? I should have known. She sighed. “I will talk to Alex’s mother.”

    “Yippee,” Toby shouted upsetting his glass of milk.

    Tar reached over the patrician and righted the cup before it could spill. “What are we celebrating?”

    “Mom said I could go to Alex’s party,” Toby said.

    Jenna shook her head. “I said, I’d talk to his mother.”

    Toby grinned as Tar joined them. “It sounds like good news to me, mijo.”

    Tawny brought over their food.

    Tar stiffened but showed no other reaction to the waitress.

    Tawny stopped, plates held and stared at Tar.

    Jenna knew he’d not been to the Depot during Tawny’s shift in over a week. He tended to avoid her as much as possible. She reached for his hand and squeezed it.

    Tar returned the gesture.

    Tawny leaned between them and dropped their plates causing them to separate. “Will that be all?” She didn’t quite sneer but her tone had Jenna looking up in concern.

    He gave her a curt nod. “I’ll take some coffee if it’s fresh.”

    “Of course, it’s fresh, I just made it.”

    Tar reached over and stole a piece of Jenna’s bacon.

    “Hey, no one told you could have my bacon,” Jenna scolded scooting her plate to the edge of the table. She stuck her tongue out at him.

    Tar leaned over and tried to steal another piece. “Come on Jenna, sharing means caring.”

    Raising one eyebrow, she snapped a bite of bacon between her teeth. “Not when it comes to bacon.”

    Tawny set down Tar’s mug of coffee with a notable thud, sloshing coffee onto the table. “Excuse me,” she muttered and wiped up the spill. Tossing the rag onto the table behind her, she asked, “Would you like to order?” She presented her back to Jenna but her gaze on Tar was heated.

    Tar grinned at Jenna. “Well, since Jenna won’t share, I guess I’ll have to order my own.” He didn’t take his eyes from Jenna’s, walking his fingers across the table trying to be sneaky. He switched and swiped a piece of Toby’s French toast. Toby giggled. “I’ll take whatever is fast. How about three eggs over easy, bacon, grits and a biscuit. Oh, and lots of coffee.” He sighed. “Last night was my first graveyard shift. Man, this town is dead. The most excitement I saw was a couple of Tom cats fighting on the lawn of the multipurpose building.”

    Jenna smiled into her coffee. “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

    He waved the toast as he talked. “No, it’s not a bad thing, especially as a parent. But when you’re the one on duty and nothing is stirring, I’m surprised I didn’t fall asleep.” He yawned. “Which is what I’m going to do after I take Toby to school.”

    Jenna said, “I can take him if you want to go on home and go to bed.”

    He shook his head. “Nah, I like to scare the little children by flashing my blue lights and turning on my siren. Besides, I’ll need time to digest my food before I lay down. Do you want to go for a run after I drop Toby off?”

    “Won’t you be too tired?”

    He shrugged. “It might make me sleep better.”

    “Mom already went for a run,” Toby said, “I got ready all by myself.”

    Tar raised a brow. “You did? Well, that shows what a big boy you are.” He looked to Jenna.

    She shrugged. “I cut my run short since it was Toby’s first time getting himself ready for school, but he did a good job.” She grinned. “I guess he really is growing up.” She sighed. “So, it won’t be long, and he’ll be able to mow the lawn and all those things I have to hire someone to do now.”

    Tar raised a brow. “I can mow the lawn for you.”

    Jenna handed him her biscuit stuffed with bacon and half an egg. “Oh, the season’s over now. I was just…”

    He winked at her.

    She blushed, her nipples tightening with longing. Every minute she was around him made her want him more. “How are you liking the job?” She was surprised at how steady her voice sounded.

    Swallowing the biscuit in two bites, he washed it down with a swig of coffee. “Except for the shift work, it’s not bad. I’ve met most of the business owners, I like them. Everyone has been welcoming and friendly. It’s been a relatively easy few weeks.”

    Tawny brought his plate and Jenna reached up to snatch a piece of his bacon, but the waitress moved the plate out of her way and scowled at her.

    Jenna rolled her eyes. “Really, he’s stole two pieces of my bacon and I only wanted one of his…I see where your loyalties lie, and I sign your paycheck.”

    Tawny blushed. “I’ll go get you some more.”

    Tar laughed. “Don’t bother, I’ll share.” He leaned towards Jenna, “What will you do for my bacon?” He teased.

    Jenna looked from her grinning son to the frowning waitress and snatched the bacon from his hands. “I won’t kick you under the table.”

    Toby laughed.

    Tawny hurried to wait on another customer.

    “Your mama is so mean,” Tar told his son.

    Toby shook his head. “She gave you half of her breakfast,” he defended.

    Tar laughed. “She did, didn’t she? I guess she’s not so mean after all.” He smiled across the table at her and the ache inside her grew.

    If she didn’t make a decision soon, she was going to combust into flames. She considered joining Dana’s Cupid Zone but the thought of being with another man held no appeal. I’m still in love with my husband.


  • 03 Aug 2019 10:07 PM
    Reply # 7811068 on 7790685
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    Great to hear from you Louis, beautiful story. Thank you for joining us and sharing it. 

  • 02 Aug 2019 12:12 PM
    Reply # 7809391 on 7790685
    Louis Edwards

    Comfort Diner

    Jimmy’s eyes darted from the road to his rearview mirror. He wanted to put as much space between him and Diablo New Mexico before Devon Legette discovered he was no longer in town. Devon was a person, once you made a deal with him, you gave your soul to the devil.

    With a few hundred miles behind him, the knots in his stomach subsided. Now, all he wanted to do was find a good cup of coffee and a decent meal. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and noticed a handcrafted sign that read, Welcome to Serenity an oasis for the weary traveler. He raised a brow, I could use a place like this.

    He slowed to a safe speed. If there was one thing he learned, small towns had a way of noticing new-comers. He stopped at the only light in town. Most establishments were closed. A local drugstore on the corner was closing for the night and next to it were some senior citizens sitting at tables in a bingo parlor.

    The light changed and off to his right down a dirt lane a neon sign caught his attention. He guided his car down the path and he drew closer to the building he read the glowing blue sign. Comfort Diner, best food in town. It looks like it’s the only food in town. He parked his car, put on his Cubs ball cap, and entered the diner.

    Tingling from a bell above the door announced his arrival. A few heads turned his direction with a smile offering a welcome nod. Some eyed him with suspicion. He spotted a corner booth and sat in it with his back to the wall. Even with prodding eyes Jimmy felt the safest he had felt in days.

    An older lady approached him with pad in hand. “Hello honey. What can I get you?”

    “What’s your special for the day?”

    “Tonight’s special is, hamburger steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans or corn, rolls, and your choice of soda, tea, or coffee.”

    “That sounds good. I’ll have that.”

    “What would you like to drink?”

    “Sweet tea will be fine.”

    The lady left and returned with a large glass and straw. “There you go, honey.”

    “Thank you.”

    “Not a problem.” She returned to the counter to help other patrons with their orders.

    He wrapped his hands around the cool glass, sighed, and took off his cap. The place had a warmth about it that allowed him to escape his past. The people overall seemed to accept him as one of them instead of a stranger. A half-cocked smile crossed his face. No wonder they call it the Comfort Diner.

    The lady returned with his food. “Well, I know you ain’t from around here, cause everyone knows everyone around here. Where you from?”

    He didn’t want to tell her afraid if he left any clues Devon may find him. “Nowhere in particular.”

    “Listen honey, you ain’t got a thing to worry about around here. You’re safe as long as you stay in town. If’n you need comfort, you just stop in here any time you like. Besides, the sheriff don’t cotton to any kind of ruckus from the outside.”

    The lady returned to her duties. What she said was a soothing salve to his soul, a peace he had been searching for since he turned his life around. He knew things were different, but he couldn’t shake the fear that tracked him like a hound. Jimmy, you need to put that behind you.

    The last morsel slid down his throat followed by a cool gulp when he heard the bell clatter against the door. His mouth grew dry, sweat formed under his lip, and he felt faint. Entering the diner was a man sporting a pinstriped three-piece suite, diamond studded dinner ring on his pinky, walking stick topped with a gold skull, and black and white saddle shoes.

    The man walked to Jimmy’s booth, placed his cane in the seat across from him and sat down. “Well, well, well, look who we have here, my old friend Jimmy.”

    Jimmy wanted to leave but fear paralyzed him.

    “You’re probably wondering how I found you?”

    Jimmy tried to form the words, but they stuck in his throat. All he could was nod.

    The man wagged his finger in the air. “Jimmy, Jimmy. I have ways of keeping up with old clients.”

    Jimmy’s eyes grew wide. “What do you want?”

    The man leaned in close enough that Jimmy could smell the sweet must of his cologne. “Remember, we had a contract.”

     “Devon, I gave that life up and I have a new contract with someone else.”

    “Then why are you running?” Devon settled back in the booth.

    Yeah, why was he running? Jimmy remembered reading part of the agreement he made with the other man. All debt is paid in full. He recalled the other part. Don’t fear anything, I will protect you.

    “I don’t have to run anymore.”

    Devon leaned forward. Jimmy could feel the man’s hot breath and see the darkness in his eyes. “Let me tell you something. I don’t care what you do. I own you and don’t you forget it.”

    The bell rang and Jimmy spotted an officer. Their eyes locked, and the man came to his booth. He stopped at the end of the stall.

    “Devon, you know I don’t put up with your kind around here, so I think you need to leave.”

    The man gathered his cane and pushed past the sheriff. “This isn’t over Jimmy.”

    Relieved, Jimmy thanked the lawman and noticed his name tag, Sheriff Peace.

    The sheriff removed a card from his shirt pocket and handed it to Jimmy. “If you need anything, you can call this number.”

    The officer left and Jimmy looked at the name and number on the card. Sheriff Prince Peace 968-226-7729 (you can pray).


  • 30 Jul 2019 8:27 AM
    Reply # 7803841 on 7790685
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    Beautifully written Michael, and so real. You had me in tears and cheering the crowd at the diner! 

  • 29 Jul 2019 6:58 PM
    Reply # 7802845 on 7790685

    THE DINER

    Judy had caked on makeup to cover the bruise, but her tears had made it run which ruined the effect. She waited at the table for her friend who had agreed to meet her for lunch. She nervously sipped the sweet tea to have something to do with her hands, and to keep herself from dissolving into a sobbing mess.

    The bell above the door tinkled to announce Tammy, who breezed into the diner like she didn’t have a care in the world. Judy knew better because they had been best friends since middle school, but Tammy always seemed to rise above her problems.

    “Hi honey,” Tammy said. “You didn’t order tea for me?”

    Judy stood and hugged her friend. “No, I wasn’t sure when you would get here, and I didn’t want the ice to melt and water down your drink.”

    As they sat down at the table, the waitress came over to asked for a drink order.

    “I’ll have a bourbon and water,” Tammy said.

    The waitress didn’t know what to say, so Tammy said, “You're out of bourbon? Then get me whatever she’s drinking.”

    The waitress left to get the beverage, and Judy suddenly reached across the table to grasp Tammy’s hand.

    “He hit me,” she said. “I need to leave, but I don’t know where to go.”

    “You could go to your sister in Texas,” Tammy suggested. “I’ll give you money for a bus ticket.”

    “No, she’s got her own marital problems,” Judy said. “I’d just make it worse.”

    “You could sleep on my couch,” Tammy said. “I just thought it might be better to get away from here.”

    “He keeps saying he’s sorry,” Judy said. “And he promises that he’ll change. This time he even offered to go to counseling. I just don’t know what to do.”

    The waitress set a glass in front of Tammy and asked for their order.

    “Bring me a chicken-fried steak,” Tammy said.

    “How about you honey?” the waitress asked Judy.

    “Nothing for me,” Judy said. “I’ll just have tea.”

    After the waitress went to put in Tammy’s order, the bell tinkled again, but this time the door slammed back against the stop. Steve stormed into the restaurant and looked around the room.

    “Don’t look around, but Steve just came in,” Tammy said.

    Judy tensed up, and Tammy could see the tears welling up in her eyes. Then he recognized his wife from the back and made a beeline toward their table.

    “You’re coming home,” Steve said in a loud voice. People around the diner turned to see who was causing the commotion. Tammy saw a middle-aged woman lift up her phone to take a video.

    Steve grabbed Judy by the arm and tried to make her stand up. Judy just went limp because she couldn’t emotionally process the situation, and she collapsed on the floor as he pulled her out of the chair. Then he grabbed her arms and tried to drag her along the floor.

    Two older men got up and stood in front of the door. One of them spoke, “Take your hands off her. Nobody is leaving until the police get here.”

    Steve dropped Judy and stomped his way over to confront them. Several women joined the men in front of the door, and one was talking on her phone. He tried to push his way between them, but one man pushed his chest and made him back up a step.

    Then an older gentleman got up from his table. “Young man, you better rethink your actions.” He tapped the pistol holstered on his belt, “I haven’t shot anyone since Vietnam, but I can if it’s needful.”

    A siren sounded down the street, and Steve ran toward the kitchen door like a cornered rat. The big, fat cook carrying a large meat cleaver blocked his exit out the back door. The crowd moved away from the doorway to let in the two police officers.

    “What’s going on?” the older officer asked.

    “I called 911,” said one woman.

    “I did too,” said another.

    “I’ve got video,” the middle-aged women announced. “He was assaulting the young lady who’s lying on the floor.”

    “Yeah,” added the waitress. “That’s what happened. He grabbed her arm and tried to drag her out of here.”

    “Turn around,” the younger officer told Steve.

    “I didn’t do anything,” Steve said. “She’s my wife, and she’s got to come home. She needs to take her meds; that’s the whole problem.”

    The officer put handcuffs on Steve’s hands behind his back, while the older officer went to check on Judy. Her limp body added some validity to her husband’s claim, but Tammy had already gone to Judy and was helping her back into her chair.

    “I’m taking something for my nerves,” Judy admitted. “But it’s because I’ve had to deal with his abuse.”

    Judy was afraid the male cops would take her husband’s side, but the younger office hustled Steve out of the diner. The older one gave Judy a business card.

    “This is the name and phone number of a domestic violence counselor,” he said. “She can help you file for a personal protection order. By law, he will stay in jail for at least 24 hours, and then face a judge about bail. As a victim, you can provide testimony at his bail hearing. The counselor can also place you in a domestic violence shelter. Now please excuse me while I collect information from witnesses.”

    “I can email you the video,” the woman said as he wrote down her name and contact information.

    “We have a video camera covering the door,” the cook offered.

    Tammy moved her chair around so she was sitting beside Judy, who just sat there in shock clutching the card like it was a life preserver. She had no idea that anyone would help her or even believe her.

    “Come on,” Tammy said. “You can sleep in my bed, and I’ll sleep on the couch.”

    Last modified: 12 Aug 2019 1:44 PM | Michael Worthington
  • 22 Jul 2019 10:39 AM
    Message # 7790685
    Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)




    Did you end up in a small town diner after traveling, or is this your home town diner? What happened here? Maybe it's where you met your true love, or the location of a crime scene. Tell us in your words what this picture is about.

    Share your story or poem in one-thousand or less words by uploading it here as a reply. All genres and levels of writing welcome! 


    **** A small prize will be given to one of you for the  Round of Applause award*****

    So show us your best effort with the July writing challenge. Good luck!


    JUNE 2019 winner will be announced in July.

    Last modified: 22 Jul 2019 10:43 AM | Kimberly Riggs (Administrator)
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