If It Was Only A Sabbatical – Flash Fiction Snippet

Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash

Over the last year I have written down snippets and little plotlines, even dialogue of a cooking story that has no real basis other than just inserting some of it into my writing life. Since cooking and the restaurant world is so much a part o f my life these days, I can’t help but write about it. I have ideas of some sort of novel, maybe a bit biographical, but I’m not sure. Mostly it’s just playing around with scenes. So after Coffeeman left, I found myself channeling the situation in a different way. What if Coffeeman was leaving only for a sabbatical or something. It would be hard, but doable. Right now, doable is just survival. Surviving till the next change. Nothing so wonderful as sabbatical. (you would not believe how many times I’ve spelled that word wrong.)

So here is something I wrote in my journal on September 5th. With a few edits. Of course.

She let her knife sink into the freshest tomato, still nearly warm from the sun. Slice, slice, slice. Perfect rounds of flesh. It was all she could focus on right now. The prep list was too long, Micha was leaving in a few days, the boys in the kitchen, from line cook to dishwasher, were all acting up, and she was about ready to fall apart. Tired, apprehensive. Could she do what Micha had faith in her for? Did she know enough?

She was ready to swear at anyone who stepped out of line. A recent run in with a shelf, which had left a nasty bruise on her underarm, had left her swearing a blue streak that left all in earshot giving her a wide berth and wary look. She was nearly in tears when she bent back a fingernail after prying at a cambro.

“You know you’re going to be fine,” came Micha’s voice from her left, scaring her out of mind and musings. She let her knife hit the board with a whack and glared at him.

“Don’t do that!” she growled. He just chuckled at her and slid a coup of coffee over too her.She accepted it with a nod and leaned her hip against the counter with a sigh. He was sipping at one of his many cups that she found floating around the kitchen throughout the day.

“Have you taken a break and gotten something to eat?”

She shook her head the tiredness hitting her. The sadness. She was already missing him and the little things she knew were going to be gone. Things like him asking if she ate before her sugar dove and she started threatening everyone with bodily harm and a knife.

“Go eat something. Take ten and come back when you’ve done that. This will wait.

“Bu—”

“No buts, just go.” He shooed her with a direct look.

She made a face at him, but didn’t argue, setting her knife on a towel and heading off to the line to see if there was still some soup from an earlier family meal.

The French Laundry

Nothing much. A touch off of the characters from Just A Day, Just An Ordinary Day… Not – Flash Fiction because I like them and well, yeah. So enjoy. I’m picturing a very different kitchen than what I work in. Something along the kitchen from The French Laundry. It’s so open and pretty. I want a kitchen like that. When I first started working at my place, I was bummed by no windows and no clocks. We never knew what time it was. It was my own insane asylum. Now, I’ve gotten used to it, and I am out in front where the windows are a lot of the time so I can see out and it helps. But I still dream of open kitchens. Lots of windows and natural light. I think all our moods would be better.

Kate

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“James, we’ve got to stop meeting like this…” – Flash Fiction

Photo by Rachael Henning on Unsplash

I rolled over, my head spinning, stomach revolting from the night before. I groaned and blinked to see if the spinning would stop. Nope. I shut my eyes again and breathed in shallow breaths. There was an ax trying to split my head right down between my eyes, needles were trying to push out of my eyes, and I was chasing cold sweats.

“James, we have got to stop meeting like this,” I muttered, remembering the several beers and shots through the revelry. It was great going down, but now on the flip-side, hours later, I wondered why I kept thinking I could down that much alcohol without consequences.

Like the one that just rolled over and put his arm over me. “Babe, who is James, and could you stop the room from spinning?”

“Brian.” I groaned, remembering who had brought me home. Ex boyfriends and booze were a bad mix.

“James. As in Jameson,” I replied and reached for the glass of water on my nightstand. The headache and dizzy would go away with a couple of aspirin. Too bad Brian wasn’t going to be that easy to get rid of. Yeah, Jamesons and ex boyfriends were a horrible mix…

 

Had a little too much fun last night and the consensus with one of my girlfriends was “James, was not a good idea after the beer.” Little too dizzy, migraine and nausea made for a not so great night of sleep. Hydrate, people.  And avoid James.

Kate

Weekend Batman – Flash Fiction

Photo by TK Hammonds on Unsplash

“Sir,” droned Alfred’s voice, holding the black telephone on a silver tray. “Inspector Gordon has been trying to reach you. The Bat-signal has been on and you haven’t’ responded.

The sigh was audible as Bruce stood up and scratched his chin where the stubble had formed over the weekend. 

“Who’s the villain this time, Alfred?” Bruce stretched, arching and cracking his back before scuffing his way toward the cave, motioning for Dick , who was sprawled out on the sofa, to follow.

“Just a giant cyborg stomping through Gotham. Appears the Joker is manipulating it from the head.” Alfred followed behind as the duo headed through the tunnels

“Easy peasy, we’ll be back in time to see the rest of the match,” Bruce pushed the button for his jet and grabbed a mask off the prototypes table.

He had just stepped into the pilots seat when Dick stopped him.

“Uh, Bruce?”

“What?”

Dick motioned to Bruce’s attire which consisted of a black and yellow Batman t-shirt, blue gym shorts, white socks and Birkenstocks.  “Can you be Batman in that outfit?”

Bruce narrowed his eyes at his sidekick.  Then he slid on the mask that just covered his eyes. The stubble was still their, and the hair, well, bedhead was a mild understatement.

“Of course.”  The voice had dropped an octave and was now the ‘Batman’ voice. “Now grab a mask and get in,” he growled, starting the engines.

Dick grabbed another one of the masks off the table and put it on before climbing into the passenger’s seat.

“Besides, Robin, I’m sure you can still do your thing in that getup,” Batman said as the hatch opened above and the jet began to rise. 

Robin looked down at the flipflops, basketball jersey and shorts in his signature red, green and yellow.

Boy, the Joker was gonna have a field day with this caper.

 

Great Scott! I had a dream last week where I was helping this guy make a cake for his niece, on a stupid equipment table, then looking out the apartment building you saw this giant robot powered in the head by a villain, and suddenly this guy was putting on the superhero mask and was Batman in t-shirt, gym shorts and Birkenstocks or whatever. I asked him if he could be Batman without the gear, because I guess I was the sidekick. The “Batman” replied  that, “of course he could, before we were spiraling down in a plane to take on this robot.

Needless to say, the dream sparked the question to my coworkers, can Batman be Batman without the cape, if he were just in shorts and a t-shirt. It earned an emphatic, ‘YES!’ which didn’t surprise me as all my coworkers were guys…. But it stuck in my head, for days.  Then Dona posted this cute little thing that had the synchronicity lining up and I thought, “Yes! I have to write this flash fiction piece.”

I’m not sure I got it all quite right, terminology wise, but it is just a bit of fun. Something light I haven’t done in a while. I’ve always loved Batman and Bruce Wayne stuff, so this was incredibly fun.

Kate

Just A Day, Just An Ordinary Day… Not – Flash Fiction

“Joe, make it a double…”
Photo by Brent Gorwin on Unsplash

I’m taking a bit of flash fiction from earlier in the year and reworking it. So if you all read this one before, well I’ve changed it some.  I have this idea of the gal, G, or Gigi, or something… is a sous chef or working her way up to that, and another sous chef comes in, they meet, fall in love, bla bla bla, but  haven’t put the pieces together. I like that my world gives me inspiration. I love that the guys I work with are like brothers. Idiots, complete and total kids, I could smack all of them half the time. I write down the random conversations I’ve had with them, or points of interest because kitchen talk is not like any talk I’ve had anywhere else. I joke with the people in back that the reason we are in the back is because we couldn’t be out front. It’s funny and hard and I’m glad I can write about it. This was once based on other things but I’ve realized that I have this guy in my head for a Chef that’s like Jon Favreau from the film Chef, only thinner. Someone that’s like this giant teddy bear of a guy. I kind of want to work for him.  He seems like he would be passionate and fun. Gads, I’ve been in this world too long….*smacks forehead*

 

He wore a brimmed fisherman’s knit cap, dark and dingy hoodie, converse tennis shoes, thick frame Elvis Costello glasses, anyone could have taken him as a hipster or college student, but for the gray invading the scruffy week’s stubble and curls in the dark hair at the base of his neck. Writer, she mused. Had to be with the pen and spread paper. Or maybe one of those cool professors. She was scribbling the description down in her ever present notebook. Filled with a weird curio of curiosities from random bits of poetry, recipes, lines from a movie, song lyrics, and random ass fiction, it was a writers delight and a view of who she was as a person. Dangerous in the wrong hands.

“Or maybe he’s just doing the crossword puzzle,” Micha said over her shoulder nearly making her shriek at his stealthiness. He had slipped up behind her and glanced at her notes before his devilishly deep, rich voice crawled up her spine. 

She sighed as he came around into her line of sight and she tried to calm her racing heart that had decided to go galloping around in her chest. The damn man loved to scare her. And he was good at it.  Like a brother, he teased her mercilessly and was too good at it. Thankfully she could smack him when he was close. Unfortunately he walked by and went up to the counter to order his drink and was too far out of reach. She debated tossing her scone at him, but the blueberry delight was too delicious and she didn’t want to share.

Micha was the perfect boss. Fun to be around, a bit of a dreamer, talented, creative, pragmatic, a wild pain in the ass. Okay, maybe that last one wasn’t so great.  He was this perfect combination of soft planes and hard edges. The glasses softened his face, when he deemed to wear them. Today he was. Rimmed rectangle lenses and tapered navy blue temples. Spiked hair today. He must have been playing in gel, she noted as he slung off his leather jacket and ordered a double espresso latte.

“He’s doing the crossword,” Micha smirked as he sat down across from her with his first of many coffees of the day.

She stuck her tongue out at him. “Smartass.”

“Better than a dumbass,” they both finished together, and while he chuckled, she rolled her eyes.

“So, plans today?”

“You know. Just an ordinary day. Scrub out the walk-in and organize the freezers.”

She groaned.

“What? You knew it was coming.”

“That is not ordinary!” she wailed. “I seriously do not have enough caffeine in my system for this.” She raised her hand to signal the young guy at the counter. ‘Joe, better make me another. It’s gonna be a long day.” She flipped the page in her notebook and started making lists.

“We could just wing it,” he supplied casually.

She arched her left brow at him and tilted her head down looking over the rim of her glasses.

“You are way too chipper about this. What should I be afraid of?” her voice was filled suspicion.

“The produce order comes in at noon and the beef order at 3, and I kind of want this all done before then…”

“Oh god. And?”

“Emily and I have reservations, so I will be gone by 5…..”

“I hate you.”

“I know. Want to get started?” He grinned.

She could smack him….

So, enjoy. This was a fun bit to write and fits into a cooking novel I am plotting.

Kate

Personal Hells

This post is coming after a thing happened with a writing thing with a work thing, with a too personal thing, with well, being a writer just isn’t always an excuse. It kind of all relates to my personality, a lot of which people don’t always get. Heck, even I am still figuring myself out daily.

The first part of my job with my restaurant was hell. A personal hell. Oh sure, there were good moments, and the opportunity was something amazing, but chef #1 and Lucifer were personal hells. They each had their moments that left me crying most of my time after or prior to work. It was because of #1 that I quit one month in and was hesitant to come back, but I liked the job. Lucifer, while a charmer in his own way, became another personal hell.  I doubt myself a lot. Even now with the support of come amazing people, I spend my time doubting myself and selling myself short and worrying that I am disappointing people and always ready to wince and take the blame. In the words of Topenga, or maybe it was Shawn, on Boy Meets World directed at Cory… I want people to like me. It is a fault. It is why I am not always assertive. It gets me into trouble.  And I doubt myself a lot. Even now.

The first six months of my job did not encourage me to have confidence, so when the new boss came on, I think I became this slightly over exuberant puppy. I am a people pleaser. So  I tend to come off as reeaaaalllly exuberant about certain things. I don’t always think about consequences and I would say, what you see is what you get, a lot of the time. Crushed easily, excited easily, a bit neurotic, oh very, very blonde… (“what are you smoking?” ‘Nothing, Chef, I’m blonde. That pretty much answers it.”) <—- true conversation. If I think of something at 3am, I will text you even if you are asleep because, I am awake, why aren’t you? I know I will forget it by morning. I forget other people have lives that do not include my weirdass sleeping schedule.

People think I’m flirting when I’m being nice. I am uber nice. I am the “Oh Kate will do that,” person. (Even when I don’t want to obligation fills me with grief if I don’t do it.) Guys have thought I was flirting with them when I was just being nice. Trust me, I’m not. I do the stupid hair twirl thing when I’m flirting, which I don’t flirt, because I don’t know how to flirt as I never understood what the hell it was supposed to be like. (That’s another long ramble not for here)

It makes life rather frustrating at times. And currently, I can cry at the drop of a hat. You would laugh if you heard me say I love my job and am relatively happy but then say I can cry that easily.  While I love my job, I have not necessarily dealt super well with my role in my job. I stress about coworkers, I stress about coworkers lives, how it’s affecting my life, whether or not things are getting done at work, to my standards, to Chef’s standards, worrying, micro managing, and just all around stressing. It’s made me tired and prone to crying. Just ask three people tonight that I was talking to, oh, pardon, four; and I couldn’t keep the tears in check.

Part of that comes off of removing my piece of flash fiction from earlier. It was just taken the wrong way, for which I am crushed that I might have jeopardized anything within the weird, close, family structure of a restaurant. As Sassy Girl said tonight, kitchen life is stressful. We find our outlets, be it alcohol, crying, snarling, writing, hanging out with friends. It’s a stressful life, and I am not always sure what outlet to use. Writing is an outlet that I like to use, but also like to share, but also forget how public it can be. I haven’t written a lot lately because I have been so busy and my little flash piece was this utter excitement that I had written something fun for a change instead of Night Shift Notes on what was or wasn’t done in the kitchen (goddammit!) I forget that it isn’t always a private thing to ‘share’ your writing. So I hadn’t thought when I pushed the publish button.

I might take a step back from writing so much about kitchen life for a while. I’m not sure. I am trying to figure out the best outlet at the end of the night when the adrenaline is still high. I haven’t figured it out. I don’t know what to do. I want to bounce around walls, and drink coffee, and drink a glass of something buzzworthy and write and sing and do who knows what. I am having a hard time finding the outlet. Hey, anyone with restaurant experience want to give me some ideas of outlets. (Exercise is not one I want to do, so don’t suggest it.)

Anyways. Exuberant puppy me probably needs to tone it down. Writer me needs to tone it down. And hopefully life will continue on without any speedbumps. Today was a detour. Now let’s get back to the main road.

Kate

Power-tools and Old-Fashioneds – Flash Fiction

“Helloooo,” Maisie called as she tapped on the window of Cap Browning’s side door.  There was no response, though she had just heard a power saw running down, so she opened the door and poked her head in.

“Cap?” she called, then jumped when Cap came out of the side doors from his spare room that he used for storage and winter wood building.

“Ah, Maisie, I wondered when you might be up.  Come to sample my new brew?”

“You did say to come up when I wanted some.  I brought a bottle too since you mentioned you didn’t like this batch.”

Cap shook his head slowly.  “Nah, this one is too sweet for my tastes and I have gotten tired of trying to finish it off.  I’ve switched to drinking old-fashioneds.”  He motioned for her to come in and he headed off down the hall, a board over his shoulder.

Maisie followed him, setting down her bottle on the kitchen island before hurrying after him.  She noticed the open bottle of maraschino cherries and the bottle of whiskey sitting on the cutting board with a couple of orange slices. She wondered how many old-fashioneds Cap had already had.

“What are you up to?” Maisie asked as Cap stepped into his small, open-spaced, plant room.  He set the board into the unfinished window sill and glanced back.

“Trying to finish trimming out this window.  But it seems like I can’t get this board to fit.”

No doubt it was due to a few too many drinks, thought Maisie, but she just grinned at Cap.  “Well, it’ll be lovely when it’s done,” she commented.

 

Oh my gosh, I thought I had posted this bit of flash fiction! I had written it almost 4 years ago when I stopped by a friend’s and he was literally working with a chop saw cutting trim for a window. He was on his second old-fashioned, I think, when I came up with a bottle for him to transfer one of his homemade beers into. He didn’t like it but my family did.  I still think, man, should you have been cutting wood while drinking?  That being said, ‘Cap’, makes incredible old-fashioneds. I need to ask him to make me one again, soon. (His mojitos are to die for, along with his Montana Mules. Can you tell I like his drinks?)

Kate

Writing In A Book and The Story It Created – Flash Fiction-y

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford the other day, and within a few moments I read a couple of lines that had me needing a pencil as I had an idea that I had to write down.  At the time, I was indisposed without my notebook or pen. I started panicking because I knew if I didn’t write it down I would forget it. Fortunately, I found blank pages at the back of the paperback and I was able to have my sister get me a pencil tout de suite.

So there I was scribbling in a book. Something that I rarely do. In fact, I posted my interesting dilemma on Facebook and Susan Wooldridge’s responses were wonderful.

read-ex-libris

 

 

ann-fadiman

I found out as an interesting factoid today in my writing group that those pages at the back of the book are for taking notes. I love it! I am forever needing to make notes, but I am not always one to go crazy and write in my books. I make notes in the margins; word definitions and such. But It’s almost hard to go crazy with my markings in a book. I’m learning if I am going ot keep the book and it’s one I need to make notes in, I do. Cookbooks especially.

Well, writing in this particular book created this bit of flash fiction that  I have no idea if it is going anywhere, but I like it.

 

Despite their close proximity to their neighbors, the dead keep to themselves in their solitary graves; they don’t talk back. At least to each other. It makes cemeteries rather quiet, unless you’re like me. You see, I can talk to the dead. Sometimes at night, when the dead seem to be more restless, I go and perch on headstones and have a chat. I’ve met lots of nice dead people. The fresh ones being more chatty than ones who have been dead for quite some time. But they never talk to each other.

Why I can talk to them but they can’t talk to each other is a mystery. I’ve talked to my psychic friend, Paul, but even he can’t get a proper hello out of any dead. They ignore him. In fact, they ignore me if he’s around. Trust me, I’ve tried to prove that they talk to me, but whenever I bring Paul around, it’s like nobody is home. Dead silence. Ha ha, even I have to laugh at that joke.

So, when I can’t sleep at night, I head up to Piedmont Hill and visit. I have my favorites; the ones who talk about their kids and life, or the ones who have been buried a while and want to know what’s new in the world. Sometimes I try to talk with someone who has been buried for a hundred years or so and saw the old days, but like I said, they are content in their solitary confinement, rarely answering. Though there is one grave for a Captain John Werthers who was originally from Liverpool, England. he always tells me to go bugger off. Even though it’s really rude for him to say that, it always makes me chuckle. Sometimes I go to say hello just to be annoying. Supposedly he was a loving father and devoted husband, but I wonder since he’s so crotchety.

My favorite graves are the Deveraux Sisters; Elise and Della. Both dies of scarlet fever in the 30s. They are so sweet and hilarious, though again, they only talk to me, never to each other and they don’t want to hear about the other sister. Inf fact, they don’t ever believe me when I mention they are buried next to each other. I’ve tried seeing if anyone ever wants me to carry a message to someone else buried, but there’s this weird sort of structure where no one ever believes that they are buried next to a loved one. Like everyone is in stasis and the loved ones must be living.

Which is funny and annoying when they ask about how a loved one is doing and I tell them they are buried next to each other, or two rows down. They start shouting at me to which I shout at them and look like a crazy person yelling in a cemetery. At night. Which I am. Maybe I am crazy….

 

So there it is. I sish I could find an image I saved years ago that I feel fit with this story, but I have too many image files. If I ever find it I’ll add it….

Kate

Let Me Occupy Your Mind As You Do Mine – Flash Fiction

A darker version of a similar idea for Bookends bookstore.

A darker version of a similar idea for Bookends bookstore.

Rafe Simon sat at the small table that separated Bookends from The French Press coffee shop. It was both the most unpopular table, from eight in the morning till two in the afternoon, or the most sought after table, from two-thirty to five.  It became a very popular table mid afternoon when high school girls would fight over the coveted table just to have the chance to watch Jeff, Mia’s Elvis Costello wannabe assistant, working in the bookstore. Personally, while Rafe enjoyed chatting with Jeff, he couldn’t quite understand the girls’ fascination. Especially the floppy hair, skinny jeans, and thick, black, plastic-framed glasses.

Currently, though, Rafe’s view of the shop was quite improved as he observed Mia unloading a shipment of books at the front desk. The Devil’s Food cake slice added to the sweetness of his view, the cake moist, and for once, more chocolatey than most. The lyrics to the song playing in the shop didn’t hurt either. Gotye was eerily singing “Let me occupy your mind, as you do mine….”

Mia glanced up and at Rafe just at that moment, a frown between her brows before it lifted and she smiled. Rafe jerked his head in a hello and he watched her duck her head still grinning. Mission accomplished. Now he was in her mind.

About bloody time, he thought to himself. The woman hadn’t left his thoughts since meeting her two weeks ago. She had taken up residence and while he was loath to kick her out, she did make life rather distracting when it was as if she was twirling her finger in the hair near his ear while he went about his days on holiday. Bloody woman had to be his mate’s girl as well.

Rafe sipped his coffee and watched as Jeff came to take the stacks of paperback books Mia was setting out on the counter. She stopped and grabbed on, flipping it open excitedly.

“O Lord! He will hang upon him like a disease!” she exclaimed, dramatically leaning against Jeff, her forearm pressed to hear forehead.

Rafe chuckled, both at her and at Jeff who had rolled his eyes heavenward and shook his head in mock surrender. “Bravo, Beatrice,” he called, clapping his hands.

Mia blushed and stood upright. “The books for the high school’s play have come in,” she explained. “I love Much Ado About Nothing.”

“Classic play,” Rafe agreed.

“Best play I’ve seen in Ashland,” Mia sighed. She scooped up another stack of books and swirled off, leaving her to occupy Rafe’s mind even more as he pictured taking in a play with her.

the-bookends-love-triangleI started ‘Bookends’ (working title at this point) over ten years ago and I have only recently started thinking of working with it. It’s a love triangle romance with my characters inspired by Colin O’Donoghue, Martin Freeman, and a lovely model from the Garnet Hill catalog.  Like my earlier post about Regina and Luke, this is another Hallmark style story. Granted, in all my original drafts, unlike a Hallmark film, sex is involved. Love scenes are so much fun to write. But as I continue on, I find that sometimes you probably don’t need that. You can add it if it fits the storyline, but it’s not necessary. Unless one is writing a Harlequin Blaze….. I have contemplated that as well.

But at this point, all my stories are a Hallmark style story, and like the film, Love Actually, everyone in every story is connected at some point. Be it best friends each have their love story, or other stories are just connected somehow. One day, ONE DAY, I might have them all written. Sigh. Right now, I play out my characters in my head more than writing them.

A Christmas Vignette – Regina Decorates Luke’s Office – Flash Fiction

ysnkckdkyty-rodion-kutsaevRegina whirled into the lobby of the hotel, her ruby red, velvet cloak whirling around her. Her arms were laden with bags and there were also a few hat boxes clutched in her hands.  She sniffed appreciatively at the warm pine smell coming from the very large Christmas tree in the lobby. Currently, it only had its lights, twinkling fairy lights, but soon it would be decorated. Late at night, the staff would set to work turning the hotel into a Christmas dream. The bannisters would be strung with garlands, greenery would be around windows and doors. Bowls of glass ornaments and strings of shimmery beads. Glittery snowflakes and icicles dripping off of the balcony overlooking the lobby. The hotel would be alive with classic Christmas music and every member of the staff would have their holiday uniforms; sparkly dresses for the ladies, and festive vests and bow ties for the men.

Regina hummed The Christmas Song, Karen Carpenter’s voice in her head as she plopped her purchases in Luke’s office. Luke was out, it appeared, and Regina grinned deviously. She picked up the phone on his desk and rang up the kitchen.

“Hi, Margo. Could you have a bottle of champagne, a plate of shortbread cookies and some finger food brought to Luke’s office? I’m decorating.” She couldn’t stop the giggle to Margo’s groan of “oh God.”

Luke, while festive, did not like his office touched. Even by Regina, and they were a thing.

Regina had just plugged in some holiday music and was pulling things out of her bags when Craig came in with the things she’d ordered, the champagne in an ice bucket and the rest on a tray.

“Put the champagne on the desk and the two plates on that table,” she directed, pointing at the small table between two comfortable chairs she frequently confiscated when she was writing.

“The boss ain’t gonna like this,” Craig warned as he set the champagne flutes next to the bucket of ice and popped the cork on the bubbly.

“That’s because he’s never had me decorating. Besides, he can’t fire his woman.”

“Just don’t say I had any part of this,” Craig warned.

“Why would I? You only brought my order,” Regina said, confused.

Craig grinned and stuck his head out of the door. “Oy! Jason. Sam. Bring it in,” he called.

Two of the other bellhops came in carting a faux, fluffy, white Christmas tree and set it up in front of one of the long windows that looked out on Ashland’s bustling East Main. They plugged in the cord hanging near the base and the tree was lit up in glittery white.

“Lissa ordered this for your suite, but when she heard you were decorating the boss’s, she told us to bring it in here.” Craig and the boys left and Regina stood, staring at the tree in glee. She knew she always liked Luke’s assistant, Lissa, but this was extra perfect. And she was amazed that the word had gotten around that she was decorating in the twenty minutes since she’d ordered the food. Ah yes, living in a hotel was like a small town. Gossip was always a hot topic.

To the sounds of Bing Crosby and many more classic Christmas artists, Regina pulled ornaments from bags that had come from Paddington Station, one of Regina’s favorite stores along Ashland’s shopping district. There were other bags of ornaments from other stores and soon there were silver and gold and glittery red ornaments hanging on the tree. Thank goodness she didn’t have to put the lights on herself. She wound glittery pine garlands around the windows, she sipped the champagne, she nibbled the good eats, and soon, the office of the very prominent owner of the very luxurious hotel, was a warm and cozy winter wonderland.

She had the shades up so passersby could look in the windows, and she caught many open-mouthed “whoa’s” as she fixed things. Some she would wave at, others, she would toast with her glass of bubbly. It was fun.

By the time Luke entered his office at half past four, Regina was a bit tipsy and belting out White Christmas. He should have been furious with his zen office now almost as richly decorated as a store, but when his gorgeous lady held up a bunch of mistletoe in a gold bow and presented her very red lips, who was he to make a fuss?

2fbfidnx0oo-annie-spratt

So I have recently been writing little vignettes of my various novels and their characters. I wanted to give everyone a Christmas story. I read off one of my little somethings the other night and was told that it was like a Hallmark script. I had never thought about my stories that way; the stories I have been writing for 16+ years, but it was incredibly encouraging because I like to write nice stories. I have been trying to figure out what to do with my stories for ages. Now I might have some inspiration.

Regina and Luke are the start of something I wanted to write about Ashland, Oregon, and the glorious Ashland Springs Hotel. I wrote a character piece on Luke ages ago. You can read it here.

“Release the Dragons” – Flash Fiction

Jack’s study is wallpapered in a  1940s paper that features a lot of Van Dyke brown and golden apples. It’s a bit fuzzy and feminine, but because of the browns, it retains enough masculinity that Jack can deal. Had the papering been in roses and pinks, he would have torn it off long ago.

There are bottles of scotch lined up on a shelf, specialty types and expensive, and they add to the ‘his study’ vibe, at it really is all Jack. The rest of his house might be feminine, considering it’s his wife’s domain, but thankfully the study is all his. Down to the strange decorations on his wall; African masks and Native American spears, cigar boxes tucked into the book shelves, stacked books, a messy desk, dim interior. The study is Jack. Jack and the study are one.

The scent of the room is warm. Not so much as musty, but dust has a warm smell, and the crammed interior leads to there being more dust than might be in the rest of the house. Jack’s wife gave up on trying to keep his study neat and tidy. A little dirt never hurt anyone.  The books are new smelling, with glue and fresh paper and ink, but there are also older books. Books with yellowed pages and spicy with age. Leather covers with the warm and sharply metallic scent from the leather. There is a leather chair, worn from years of Jack sitting in it to their dogs  claiming as their own. An open cigar box smells of the sharp resinous smell of Spanish cedar and the unburned smell of tobacco. There is a warmth and coziness to the room and it is homey feeling without the pretentious feeling that it needs to be homey.

It’s a balmy Saturday afternoon and Jack is enjoying a small glass of scotch while he reads the latest historical book  on the Second World War. He has a great love of that particular war and has too many books on the subject. His wife, Sadie, is baking cookies in the kitchen and there is the warm smell of vanilla and burned sugar when the back door buzzer goes off, startling Jack.  The damn thing sounds like a fire alarm buzzer, it’s about as dramatic as one, and his three grandsons get a huge delight ringing the thing.

Jack sighs as he hears the trampling feet and voices garbled into a cacophony of sound. There seems to be a barking dog in the midst as well.

“Release the dragons,” Jack mutters as the heard of grandsons, a new dog, and a friend from school all pile into the hallway outside his door. He hails them, downs the rest of his scotch and slowly gets up.

Saturdays are for his grandsons even if they are about as disciplined as a herd of dragons.

 

I was complimented on how I describe a room and write it out recently. I think I have to give that credit to Zane Grey and Emilie Loring, whose work has inspired interiors and exteriors enough that I like writing about spaces. I want to have you, the reader, picture it in your head like I describe, but I realize each of us is different. Ah, one can dream.

So, for now, enjoy this snippet of flash fiction.

Kate