Micro Fiction: Vol. 1 June 2009 Entry #2

06/09/09 - Two Randomly Generated Terms: "Cell phone" & "Jell-O"

Lucy couldn't get used to the fact that there was one less place at the table now.

For years, John sat in the seat under the worn table lamp by the corner.

His routine was something of envy, even for a train conductor. Off the rails by 5:52, in the car three minutes later and home to his wife for supper by 6:30.

Lucy would cook John a variety of things, but no matter how fancy the meal John would always be disappointed if it didn't end with his favorite dessert, Lime Jell-O.

Sometimes he'd eat the stuff with Coca-Cola. Sometimes with milk. If he was feeling really adventurous he might throw a few Chunky Chocolate Cookies stolen from Lucy's not-so-secret sweet stash hidden behind the cereals in the pantry.

But one day John didn't come home from work at the appointed time.

Lucy brushed it off, he'd be home. He always was. One of the trains must have lost power, that was the only thing that ever kept him from coming home late.

Lucy dialed John's cell phone. No answer.

"Hello," her husband's voice droned. "You've reached the mailbox of John Patterson, I'm not available right now, but if you'll please leave your name, number and the ..."

Lucy clicked off the cell phone.

"Must be on the road," she muttered. "I'll bet he had that damn radio jacked so loud he couldn't even hear the phone ring. Typical."

Still, better get supper going, she thought.

Lucy walked into the kitchen, opened the fridge and pulled out the day-old pasta with the hamburgers ground up in it. She decided it was good enough for a reheat and popped the dish in the microwave. As it cooked she dug around and mixed up a quick batch of the green Jell-O.

The meal was ready to go. She flipped on the news and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

It was 9 o'clock and still no John. Lucy began to wonder what was wrong.

10'o clock. Still no John. Lucy tried her husband's phone again, but was greeted with the same droning voice.

"Hello! You've reached the mailbox of John Patt ..."

Lucy hung up. This was really unlike her husband to not call. Had something happened? Where was he?

11 o'clock came and went. Lucy sat helpless at the dinner table staring at the now completely rotten spaghetti and meat. She suddenly felt a tinge of guilt for forgetting to stick the food back in the fridge. At least the Jell-O hadn't gone bad.

"Where is he?" she asked herself. "I wonder if I should call ... "

A knock.

Lucy's heart jumped into her mouth and her stomach began to close in on itself.

"Maybe that was just the wind ..."

Another knock. This time louder.

Lucy answered the door. It was the police.

It had been five years since a freak electrical accident killed her husband, but Lucy still set a place for her husband at the table.

Her young twins would often ask about the empty space, but Lucy would just tell them it was for their Dad.

"He's still with us," she said. "We can't ever forget that.

"So who wants some Jell-O?"

No comments:

Post a Comment