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Sorry today’s letter is late. It’s been one of those weeks where I feel like I am going to scream if I don’t get caught up. LOL. Anyway…. for today’s, I thought this flash piece I wrote would be appropriate. 🙂 Enjoy!

Adrenaline surged through Gretchen Edwards’ veins as she woke, visions of the characters who’d been dominating her dreams dancing through her mind. She sat up and grabbed the little notepad she kept next to her bed, scribbling every detail she could remember. Within minutes, she had several pages covered with random thoughts and names. I need fuel…

She set the notebook aside and stood, her yawn echoing through the room. Her dog, Freddy, snapped to attention, his head tilting as his eyes searched the room. Gretchen leaned over the bed and scratched the dog’s head. “It’s okay, boy. Mommy just needs some caffeine bad.” Another yawn escaped her lips, emphasizing her point. She turned and left the bedroom, Freddy following close behind.

“Freddy, settle!” She glared as the dog’s claw nipped the back of her foot, her tone sharp. Freddy whimpered in response and slowed down. Gretchen opened the kitchen door and Freddy scooted in behind with his tail wagging so fast, she could only see a white blur. She smiled, reaching down to pet him. “You want your breakfast?”

She didn’t think it was possible, but Freddy’s tail wagged even faster at the magic word. “I guess that’s a yes,” she laughed, reaching for the bag of kibble. “Here you go boy.” She scooped some kibble in his bowl and watched as the dog dove for it, gobbling the food in a blur of teeth and slobber. I wonder if he even tastes the stuff…

That chore done, she turned her attention to her most prized kitchen appliance- her coffee maker. She picked up the canister sitting beside it, putting two scoopfuls of the intoxicating blend into the slot. She added water, and pressed the button. While she waited, she walked over to the kitchen table to start up her laptop. Realizing she’d left the notebook in her bedroom, she ran back to collect it.

By the time she’d returned and pulled a muffin out of the box she’d bought yesterday, the coffee smell permeated the kitchen. She breathed deep as she set her muffin on the table. She glanced over at the machine and saw it wasn’t quite done, so she decided to pass the time by checking her e-mail.

A knot settled in her stomach as she saw the first one was from her editor. This can’t be good. Sure enough, she groaned as she scanned the text. There was a change in schedule and he wanted the manuscript in a few days early. “Well, boy…. Looks like the plan for today’s changed. You’re going to have to happy with a couple trips to the yard.”

Her words caused the dog’s ears to perk up, but he never turned his head away from the bowl in front of him.

Gretchen poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down. She pushed the notebook she’d retrieved only moments ago aside and opened the file for her latest book instead. She scanned the first few pages, making a mental note of any suggestions she disagreed with. She’d just scrolled down to page four when she heard a familiar squeaking sound next to her. “I’m sorry, Freddy. I can’t play with you right now. My tight deadline just got a lot tighter.

The dog dropped the toy, nosing it against her foot.

“Freddy, I told you I can’t play. Go lay down, boy!”

The dog stared at her, his ears down and body slouched. A small whimper sounded, causing a stab of guilt in his owner.

“I’m sorry, boy. Here, let’s let you outside a few minutes so you can run.” She stood up to open the back door as Freddy raced after her. A sly smile tugged at her lips as she watched the dog run outside. I knew that would work…

That issue settled, Gretchen returned to the computer and continued reading over her editor’s suggestions. She only got two pages in before the sound of Freddy’s barking carried into the room. Already? She sighed and got up to let him in.

The dog bounded into the room, propping up on her as he attempted to lick her face. Gretchen laughed despite her growing annoyance. “I love you, too, boy. Now, go lay down so Mommy can work.” She returned to the table, scanning the page to see where she left off.

Before she could read more than another page, a cold, wet sensation snapped her back to reality. She glanced down, seeing Freddy laying on the floor, looking up at her with sad eyes. Oh, come on now… “Look, I’m sorry I can’t play today, but there’s nothing I can do about it.” She stood and walked over to the kitchen door. “Scoot.” She pointed towards the living room, watching as Freddy slinked out of the kitchen. As soon as he was safely out of the way, she closed the door and settled back down at the table.

She scanned another page, nodding as she read some comments and raising an eyebrow as she read others. About five pages in, her attention was once again disrupted. This time, the sound of clawing was responsible. She looked around, realizing Freddy was scratching on the door. “Bad boy! Stop that right now.” Sweet silence filled the room again, but only for a moment. The clawing resumed, even louder than before. “Freddy! What did I just say?”

She stood, about to open the door and scold him some more. Before she could, the phone rang. “I’ll deal with you in a minute,” she warned the dog as she picked up the receiver. “Hello?”

“Is this Gretchen Edwards?”

“Yes, who’s calling?”

“Miss Edwards, I’m Howard calling from Ace Security Services, and I’d like to talk to you about-“

“I’m sorry,” she cut in, trying to keep the annoyance out of her voice. “I’m not interested.” She hung up before he could say anything else. It was really the only way to deal with calls like that, some of the people were so pushy!

No sooner had she put the phone down, than it rang again. She rolled her eyes and picked up the receiver again. “Yes?”

“Gretchen Ewards? I’m Mike, calling on behalf of Tyler Communications….”

Not another one… “Sorry, not interested.” She left the receiver off the hook, determined to cut out any distraction possible.

That problem solved, she opened the kitchen door to deal with her other major distraction. “Okay, boy, I mean it. You need to settle right now and let me get back to work. I hear one more scratch at that door, and you’re not going to like me.”

The dog stared at her in silence, his head titled and a shamed look in his eyes.

“Good boy.” She closed the door and sat down, resuming her reading. It only took her a couple of minutes to get fully immersed in what she was doing, the pressure of her impending deadline helping along her focus.

The knock at the door, and Freddy’s barking, almost caused her to fall out of her chair. She glanced down at the clock on the bottom of her screen. Well, at least I got fifteen minutes in this time… “Coming!”

She stood and walked out to the living room, giggling as she watched Freddy bark at the door. His fur was sticking up and his ears were perked up. “Step aside, boy.” She peered out of the peep hole, sighing when she saw her neighbor standing outside.

She forced herself to smile before opening the door. “Susie… how are you?”

“I’m alright, I was just wondering if you have any eggs I can borrow. I totally spaced at the store yesterday, and now I’ve got a couple of hungry kids begging for them.”

Gretchen shook her head. “I’m sorry, I have to get to the store myself.”

“it’s alright. I guess I’m just gonna have to force them to eat cereal this morning.” She laughed and waved as she headed back to her own house.

Gretchen closed the door, leaning against the hard wood. There is no way I’m getting much done here today.

 

Twenty minutes later, Gretchen was on the way to her favorite coffee shop. She drove the short distance to Charlie’s, her heart sinking when she saw all the cars pulled into the lot. She managed to find a space on the far side of the parking lot, closing her eyes. Please have space, please have space…

She pulled her computer bag out of the back seat and walked up to the door, glancing inside. Her face fell as she saw all the people crammed inside. She turned around and headed back to the car, deciding to drive to the other one a couple of miles down the road. She barely ever used it, but she didn’t have a choice right now.

You have got to be kidding me. She stood inside the coffee shop, sighing as she scanned the room. There wasn’t a single seat available. She started wondering if someone was playing a gag on her. It sure felt like it. Just as she was about to turn and try another location, she spotted someone packing their stuff up. She smiled, sending a silent thanks out to whatever force had taken pity on her. She watched the man pick his bag up and head for the door. As soon as he was out of the way, she hurried for the table and set down her bag.

Gretchen pulled her wallet out and walked over to the counter to order her favorite deadline fuel- A pastry and a cup of black coffee.  As she turned around, she almost dropped her food. This has got to be a joke. Someone was sitting down on the seat she’d just claimed. It took her a minute to act, she was so surprised. Couldn’t the girl see the bag leaning against the other chair?

She walked over to the table, trying to keep her tone as polite as possible. “Excuse me, but that’s my bag there.”

The woman looked up from the book she’d been reading. “I’m sorry?”

Gretchen pointed to the other chair, trying to keep the anger out of her voice. “That bag, there… it’s mine. You’re sitting in my seat.”

“Oh.”

Gretchen just raised an eyebrow, noting the boredom in the woman’s voice. So far, she’d made no effort to get up. Gretchen cleared her throat. “So… are you planning to move? I did claim the table first…”

The woman regarded Gretchen with an annoyed expression. “Fine…” She stood and gathered her books, taking much longer than Gretchen thought was necessary. She didn’t even bother to apologize before walking out the door.

Gretchen shook her head in amazement as she pulled out her computer. I’m going to make this deadline or die trying. She remembered the nasty look on the woman’s face. And I might not be exaggerating…

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