Welcome to the two hundred and seventy-second in this series that is ‘5pm Fiction’.
Late April 2011 I discovered StoryADay.org and the project that is to write 31 stories in 31 days. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog, knows how passionate I am about short stories so my clichéd eyes lit up at this new marvel. And just a few days later there I was, breathing life into new characters. This went on to become (with some editing of course) my 31-story collection eBook Story A Day May 2011. I have since published (as eBooks) the 2012 and 2013 collections, detailed on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories/story-a-day-may.
I was nearing completion of the 2012 project when I decided that I didn’t want to stop at the end of May so 5PM Fiction was born. I put a load of prompts on the 5PM Fiction page and today’s was to write a story including the following keywords: butter, task, trousers, 31, blue. Here is my 681-worder.
How Lucky Is That
Emily sighed as she spotted the last Chelsea bun being put into a paper bag and given to the man in front of her. After he’d paid for what should have been her treat, she scanned the shelves for a second choice and eventually plumped for an Eccles. Hoping that this bakery wasn’t the sort to pad their produce out with inexpensive flour, she handed over the 80p.
Folding down the sides of her paper bag as she walked out the shop, she took a bite and sighed again as she munched through a mouthful of pastry. She’d needed something to keep her going while hitting the town centre but by the end of the cake, felt like a sumo wrestler.
The day didn’t get any better, with the seemingly-simple task of buying some black trousers for her 31” inside legs proving elusive. She’d tried her favourite high street stores and was about to give up while ploughing through an M&S full-price trouser rail, when she spotted the perfect pair adorning the end of a sale rail, across the shop’s aisle. Letting go of a pair of grey pinstripes which fell back into line with their navy neighbours, Emily rushed over, holding out her arms like a scene from Wuthering Heights. She was just inches away when a tiny old lady, standing on her tiptoes, unhooked the trousers and bundled them irreverently into her shopping basket.
“No!” Emily wanted to yell, but just looked in disbelief at the woman who had, up to then been oblivious. The woman turned round to look behind her, clearly thinking that Emily was staring at someone else, but when she turned back and was still the subject of the glare, she followed the line of Emily’s gaze down at her basket.
“Is everything alright, dear?”
“Um” is all Emily could manage, still looking at the trousers.
“Hello?” the woman continued.
Emily pointed at the basket. “The trousers.”
“I know, aren’t they lovely?” the woman said smiling broadly.
Emily nodded. “Are you sure…?”
“Oh they’re not for me, obviously.”
Emily waited for her to explain.
“Oh, no, they’re for my daughter. She’s ever so tall, you know, like you. She has a devil of a job finding any long enough. And they’re on the sale rail… £45 reduced to £10, how lucky is that?” the woman beamed.
Emily knew only too well how the devil worked but mustered a smile and walked away empty-handed. Outside the shop, she watched through the window ensuring that the woman bought the trousers, which she did.
With just a newspaper, multi-pack of crisps and a bag of Thornton’s Butter Fudge to cheer her up, Emily headed home to walk her dog. At least she had the following day’s car boot sales to look forward to. And maybe, she’d even find a pair of black trousers.
With Bertie strapped safely in the back seat, Emily set off for the usual Sunday morning visit to her mother down the motorway. The Jack Russell dog loved going in the car and being a sunny summer day, made the journey even more enjoyable.
They’d just joined the motorway, with very little traffic, when Emily spotted blue flashing lights ahead of her. She slowed down, not to take a look (she despised rubber-neckers) but to assess the situation and was almost at crawling speed when she reached the police car and its unformed officer waving his arms.
The policeman walk towards her, bent down and twisted his head to face Emily who had already wound the windows down. “Sorry madam, it’s going to take a while. There’s been a rather nasty incident; we’re waiting for the air ambulance, and have to close the road until it’s been and gone. But look on the bright side, be grateful that you weren’t a minute earlier.”
As he walked back to his vehicle, Emily turned round to face Bertie who was bright-eyed and panting at the prospect of some excitement. Emily smiled, patted him and realised that being late wasn’t going to bother her so much in future.
Photograph above courtesy of morguefile.com.
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