Friday, June 16, 2017

Flash Fiction for fun, during these hot, stormy days of pre-summer

So the temps have been in the 90's around here (Chicago area) for at least a week, which is very unusual for this time of year.  We've never used our AC much, since husband says it makes his allergies worse, and I like the heat.  Weird, but I do...as does one of our sons, living with us while he job hunts.  Last summer, when the MIL was coming for a visit, I turned it on for her comfort, and only hot air blew into our house.  The repair guy laughed at the age of our unit, and explained that the compressor had blown, and it would cost more to replace that one part, than to buy an infinitely more efficient new unit.  Since we had just replaced the furnace that winter, we decided it wasn't the time.  So this summer we have lots of fans, we keep the blinds and curtains closed, but no other option even if we wanted it.  Our other son who lives at home bought himself a room unit last summer, so we've been seeing him even less than usual...only when he needs to use the kitchen.

But the nice part about living au naturale is the wonderful way you feel when there are storms and the temps cool off...even if temporarily.  Anyone living in AC has no connection to "nice sleeping weather," since it's always cold in your house.  But for us, those words have real meaning.  And we all enjoy a good storm...even when we're camping!

I wrote this flash fiction for a site a few years ago, where we were given 3 items in the prompt, and asked to fashion a story using them.  I wrote 2 stories.  The prompt was: an elevator, an actor and pink overalls. I call it One Stormy Friday in Chicago.

 "Hold that elevator!"

     Shanelle stuck her hand in front of the door, watching as the tall, lean man entered.  His curly dark hair was wet from the storm, and piercing blues eyes made her pulse race.  His tanned, freckled skin indicated long hours spent outdoors.

     "Thanks." He pressed the button for the penthouse floor.

     In this area of Chicago, most were dressed to flaunt their wealth. The only two exceptions were Shanelle, who was wearing jeans, sandals and a Bluesfest tee shirt. And the man.

     Shanelle smiled at the juxtaposition between his very masculine body and his clothing.

     Soon the only ones left on the elevator were Shanelle and the man. She was admiring his butt when there was a crack of thunder so loud they jumped; the elevator went dark as its upward movement stopped.

     "Ya gotta be kidding me," the man growled.

     He clicked on the flashlight hanging on the side of his pants and shined it towards her.

     "You're not claustrophobic are you?" 

     "Not particularly."

     "Good. Electricians who work these buildings can handle this. That was a really loud crack of thunder.  Who knows what got hit."

     "We're stuck in here?"


     "Should we call 911?"

     "Nah. They'll already be working on getting power restored.  I suggest we make ourselves comfortable."

     He moved to a corner of the elevator and slumped down until he was sitting, his long legs stretched out. He put the flashlight on the floor facing up.

     Shanelle sat down.

     "There's new batteries in the torch, making it good for a while," he nodded toward the light. "I'm Declan McNab."

     "You're Irish?"

     "Aye. I was born in Belfast, but we came across the pond when I was thirteen.  Me accent's no too heavy unless I'm drinking. Then I keep everyone laughing for free drinks."

     "Note to self: bring money when drinking with this man."

     The smile he gave her warmed her all the way to her toes.

     "I'm Shanelle Martin...from California.  We have earthquakes, but the last place you want to be is stuck in an elevator between floors."

     "Around here summer storms commonly cut off power.  Since we're not in any danger, this is my chance to get to know a beautiful woman better than if she'd gotten off without me learning her name."


     "Aye.  In a place like this I'm always mindin' my manners so as not to offend.  That's why I didn't talk to you before. You held the door for me, so I'm in your debt, milady."  He bowed his head slightly, extending his hand, palm upright, in a flourish.

     Shanelle leaned forward, "Since we're getting to know each other, I have to ask..."

     He interrupted with a pained look, "The overalls?"

     "Well, they are hot pink. When your flashlight dies, we'll be able to see by their glow."

     He rolled his eyes.

     "Some lessons life teaches are harder than others.  When you break up with a woman with a wicked sense of humor, be sure you don't wait to get your apartment door key from her until the next day.  Then you won't come home to find the key on the counter with a note saying she did your laundry...dying your work clothes pink."

     "She didn't?"

     "Aye, she did.  But she did leave the key.  So despite having to walk down the street wearing pink overalls, I forgive her."

     "What kind of job can you do in pink overalls?"

     "They used to be white.  Painters wear white overalls."

     "That's why the color took so well. But surely a big, strong man like you isn't afraid of wearing pink?"

     "Not in most areas.  But when I'm working in Boys Town I have to watch my back...literally."

     "Boys Town?"

     "Chicago's all neighborhoods: downtown, Englewood, Bucktown, Boys Town,..there's even the Viagra Triangle."

     "Viagra Triangle? Old guys on the prowl?"

     He nodded.

     "I'll need someone local to guide me while I'm here, lest I wander into the wrong neighborhood."

     "I'd be glad to show you around..."

     "I'll think about that."

     Suddenly the lights blinked back on and the elevator began to move.

     "Success!" Declan said, rising.   

    "Milady?" He offered his hands to her.  Shanelle put both of hers into his; a spark of electricity jumped between them.

     "Whoa, are we grounded?"

     His eyebrows rose.

     "Didn't you feel that spark?"

     His lips curved upwards and his eyes twinkled mischievously, "Aye, I felt it.  But that was between you an' me...nothin' to do with the elevator."

     "Why are you going up to the penthouse floor?"

     Declan grimaced, "I just painted one of the apartments, but some big-shot actress's complaining it has to be redone. I'm going to try to reason with her. Otherwise it'll mean overtime over the weekend."

     Shanelle's lips began to twitch, and her eyes sparkled.

     "What's so funny?"

     "Nothing." The elevator stopped.  "Walk me to my apartment?"

     Standing, Declan managed a full bow, his entire arm doing a flourish that reminded Shanelle of a Musketeer.

     "After you, milady."

     After passing two doors, Declan began to have a sinking feeling.  When Shanelle led him over to the door marked "4", he sagged against the door frame, shaking his head.

     "If I had a sword, I'd fall on it."

     "And I'd let you. You don't get out to movies much, do you?"

     "I like fast cars, aliens, explosions..."

     "I do rom-coms...usually I'm the heroine's Black best friend."

     "With your looks you should be the star.  Hell, even I'd sit through a romance if you were getting kissed...though I'd rather be doin' it meself." 

     She walked into the apartment and turned to see Declan still leaning on the door jamb.

     "I think we're going to have an interesting weekend, Mr. McNab. But there's one thing I must insist on."

     He walked slowly up to her with a hesitant smile, "And what would that be?"

     "You can't go home and change. I've never had a date with a man in pink overalls."

     He leaned over to kiss her, "Just wait'll you see muh shorts..."

Until next month. 



Tina Donahue said...

If you love heat, Fiona, you'd adore Palm Springs. OMG, it's 111 degrees and up daily. You can't breathe. It's like being roasted alive. I love the cool mornings, but by 9 am, it's too hot to do anything but crank up the AC. Even with the low humidity, it's broiling.

Enjoyed your excerpt! :)

Fiona McGier said...

I'm a Midwestern gal, so when(if) we get to retire, I want to head to one of the states we love to camp in...and since there will be our first grandbaby soon in Michigan, that's where I'd like to head. I've never been to Palm Springs, or into the southwest at all. I've been to the south and southeast, LA, VA and FLA, and the humidity was a bit too much. I've been northwest, like S.DAK and WY, but didn't like the lack of pines, or any kinds of trees. So I think I'll stick around the Great Lakes. Or maybe Canada, if the politics keep getting worse here.

jean hart stewart said...

Love the heat and love Palm Springs but that might be a little hot even for me. Loved your excerpt...cute and clever idea.

Fiona McGier said...

Thanks, Jean. I like flash fiction, because for me it's harder to write fewer words, so it makes me work more. Plus having unexpected prompts allows for me to think in different directions.