Saturday, April 12, 2008

Short Story Saturday

Tom stepped out onto his front porch, and gathered his newspaper, frowning up at the grey, drizzly sky. Looking down the street, he noticed Mr. Peterson walking by, with a bright blue umbrella, and a smile on his face. "Ever since he'd stopped wearing the atrocious bow ties he was known for he seems happier", thought Tom.
Tom had grown up on this street, and knew all the neighbors from the time he'd been a young boy. Edna, the crazy cat lady, used to give him Macaroons every afternoon as he walked home from school. Mrs. Peterson had always had a smile and a wave for him. He hadn't known the young couple that moved in a few years ago, but he'd heard the rumors of her being carted away in an ambulance. Their house still stood empty, but a few promising people had come to look at it. Tom hoped it wouldn't stay empty for long.
Tom had inherited his house from his parents when they had died, five years ago. His mother had died first, from breast cancer, and his father, two months later of what Tom swore was a broken heart. He was their only child, and he missed them both every day.
Shaking his head, Tom went back inside, poured himself a cup of coffee, and sat down to read his paper. He worked the night shift at a bakery, making fresh breads in the early morning hours to be delivered to specialty stores and restaurants all throughout the area. He loved his job, and the smell of freshly baked wheat bread still made him happy. He'd learned the recipe from his mother.
He never went right to bed when he got home from the bakery, he enjoyed unwinding with a hot cup of decaf coffee, and the newspaper. Glancing through the headlines, he was startled to see a picture of a girl he'd gone to highschool with, Erika, on the front page.
He'd been rather shy and geeky in highschool, and Erika had been the head cheerleader. He was well beneath her radar. He had gone to one class reunion, and she had not even remembered him, at all.
Reading the article, he discovered she had moved to Florida and married the captain of the football team (Quel Suprise). Tragically, however, she had wandered too close to a swamp area, and was eaten by an alligator. The article he'd discovered was her obituary.
"Wow" thought Tom, scanning the article again. "What a way to go". He noted they were having a local service for her, and it was on his day off. Making a mental note of the date, Tom finished the paper, and his coffee, and went to sleep.
Three days later found Tom in his best suit, at the service for the girl who never remembered him. There were close to a hundred people there, many of them from his highschool. Feeling awkward, he stayed on the outskirts of the crowd. Her parents were there, well, he assumed they were her parents, as there was a family resemblance, and most of the people were crowded around them, patting their backs and murmuring sympathetically. Not looking where he was going, Tom moved forward, and then straight into someone else, causing them to drop the bottle of water, and car keys she'd been holding.
"Oh I am so sorry!" he stammered as he bent to pick up the car keys. Unfortunately, the young woman he had jostled also leaned in to retrieve her keys, and the crack of their heads smacking together reberverated through the air.
"Ow!" they proclaimed, each one of them clutching their foreheads and stumbling back a step. The pain was so intense Tom's eyes were watering. The girl didn't seem any better off.
Rubbing her head, she smiled ruefully at him. "You don't remember me, do you?" she asked.
Looking at her again, he studied her features. long, dark brown hair, big blue eyes, of medium height, and (if he said so himself) a nice rack.
"No, I am afraid I don't" he finally admitted.
"It's me, Pattie? Erika's sister?"
"Fatty Pattie?" he stuttered, then, turning red because he'd just managed to insult her at the funeral of his sister, he tried again. "Pattie, I mean? Oh I am so very sorry"
Pattie shrugged off the use of her old highschool nickname. The truth was, she HAD been overweight. But her parents had sent her to 'fat camp', the summer after her junior year, and her senior year, she'd studied abroad, as a foreign exchange student to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She'd loved it there, and, after coming back, had worked hard, and bought a Farm, in Malaysia, and owned a laser making factory. She was a millionaire now, a few times over.
Smiling at Tom, she remembered their youth, and how she'd loved him all through highschool. He only had eyes for her stuck up bitch of a sister, though. "But she is dead" thought Pattie, a trifle meanly. She and Erika had never been close, as sisters, and had actually not spoken to each other in years. "He is still pretty cute" she thought, checking him out, now. Tall, with sandy blond hair and green eyes, Tom looked good.
"You've changed, too" she mentioned.
"Well, we all got older, and hopefully better, right?" answered Tom, smiling gently. "I am sorry about Erika, though".
"Thanks" she replied. "Can I ride with you to the gravesite service? My parents are making me crazy" she asked.
"of course" he answered.
Pattie and Tom became inseperable after that day. She stayed in the United States for 6 weeks, with Tom, in his little house that he'd always lived in. Tom took a vacation from the bakery, something he'd never done. After 6 weeks, they knew they wanted to be together, forever. Tom quit his job, and prepared to relocate to the farm in Malaysia. They planned on getting married there, and, if they were lucky enough to have a child, they both agreed they would not name it Erika, and she would not be a cheerleader. Patty said they did not even have cheerleaders in Malaysia. Besides, what would a farm in Malaysia do with a cheerleader? Or a laser factory, for that matter.
The day came for them to board the plane for the long ride to Kuala Lumpur. Exited, they got up early, and packed their one bag (having sent all the others ahead). They got to the airport in plenty of time, and claimed their first class seats with glee.
Halfway through the trip, however, as they were crossing the ocean, their happiness turned to tragedy. Tom had been complaining of a headache for a few hours, and the ibuprofen Pattie always carried had not helped. Suddenly, he keeled over, unresponsive. Pattie began to holler for help, but, alas, no doctors were on board. Just a nurse who was trying desperately to have a vacation. "Get me the AED said the nurse, grimly starting CPR on Tom. She knew it was hopeless, his pupils were already fixed and dilated.
Pattie buried Tom in Kuala Lumpur, at her farm in Malaysia. The autopsy had revealed a slow bleed in his head, the frontal lobe. Right where they had bumped heads all those weeks ago. She continued her work on the farm, and in the laser factory. But her heart was never the same, again.


sybil law said...

Ooooh good one!
But I have to laugh, because I just watched that freaking HILARIOUS video right before visiting here! Hahahaha

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hmmm, something here sounds familiar. ;)
And how good are you at this? And how do you find time?
Go Mie.

mielikki said...

Syb-good timing with the reading!

Jo- I thought it would sound familiar. As far as time, I try to start the story at the beginning of the week, and work on it a little each day... until I think its done

holly said...

awww! what a way to go!!

i love it - a laser factory in malaysia. god if i had a dime for everyone in knew who had a laser factory in malaysia.

i'd have no dimes. . .

another good one, mie! i had an attack of the exhausteds, hence my tardiness. :)

Daryl said...

I missed reading your story on Saturday so I thought I should come over and catch up .. you really do get better and better.. and I LOVE that your stories/characters are sort of intertwined living on the same street .. you must must must put them together in a book! MUST.