The Tuxedo Room

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

She pulled open the drawer and picked up her finest lace underwear, tonight she chose black.  Her little black dress with some silver jewelry and black heels to match.  As she slipped into the dress she began to daydream about the night.  He had said to dress up, they were going dancing after dinner.  There was only one place in town he was taking her, The Tuxedo Room.  It wasn’t your normal dance club, but a much more romantic place with jazz, swing and a little jive.

She spent time making sure her make up was fresh.  Eye shadow and lipstick… no need for any foundation as she had smooth perfect skin.  She had been graced with her mother’s beauty.  Her mom had modeled for print ads until her early 50s.

He was there to pick her up at eight o’clock sharp.  He was always on time and she knew to be ready.  She felt tonight might turn out to be a special night.  This was their “almost“ second anniversary together, “almost” because their first date was set up the day before the Covid shutdown came.  So, they obviously had to cancel due to the closures.  There first date didn’t happen until they had communicated through emails and phone calls over a year.

She opened the door and he stood there in a black suit and grey tie, they were a perfect match. He escorted her to the car where he had a red rose in the seat for her.  She turned to give him a kiss and he was gone.  She looked up and down the street, he was no where.  Panic began to fill her she called out his name, “Alan!  ALAN!”

She suddenly sat up in bed gasping for air.  It was the same dream.  Or more accurately the same nightmare she had had since he died.  The victim of one of the new strains of Covid-19 not covered by the vaccines.  He was one of the first patients of the new strain to die from heart failure.  She still dreamed of the night they planned but never had.  When his parents had boxed his things up they found the engagement right that was meant for her, but he never had the chance to ask her to be his wife.  She would have said yes, in a heartbeat.

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – underwear

The Clean Up Crew

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

The sandwich shop was empty except for the crew of three employees on duty for the late evening shift.  Within a span of five minutes the three of them looked a total of twelve times at the clock.  It was New Years Eve and they were hoping to get closed and cleaned up in time to see the midnight fireworks.  9:58pm and in walks a couple.  You could tell the crew was openly discouraged, but faced the customers with smiles, “May we help you?”

The couple ordered and left, the shift manager locked the door and put the closed sign out.  “Do you think we can still make the fireworks Dan?”

The shift manager said, “We will sure try.  Get started on the dishes, while Bill cleans down the grill and I will do the drawers and pull deposit.  First person done gets lobby, second gets bathrooms.”

You could hear Bill groan from the grill and scrapping beginning almost immediately.  The crew worked hard on all of their closing duties.  When the mop bucket was emptied and turned upside down, the friers reduced to closing temp and turned off, and the pop machines torn down for the night, it was 11:18, “Not bad guys, looks like the fireworks won’t start until we get there.  Thanks for the hard work tonight.”

The three left the building after Dan entered the lock code on the alarm pad.  Then they disappeared into the dark.

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – crew

The Hunt Continues

Photo by William Fortunato on

He boots up his laptop and peruses his email.  Just like the day before, nothing new except ads. He really was hoping to hear back from one of the four jobs he had applied for this week.  He knew he was probably grasping at straws to think he could make close to his former wage, but he was starting off aiming a little high and then will move his expectations down.  But it was really discouraging that he didn’t even get a “We’re sorry, but the position has been filled.”  So, it was back to the online job search again.

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – peruse

(100 words)

Crank Up the Fans

Photo by murat esibatir on

The TV droned on about affordable healthcare.  I sat in my chair waving off a fly.  The air was fueled by a sticky hot August day and I was waiting for the repairman to come fix my air conditioner.  The phone rang and I answered, “Hello?”

“Hello, is this Mrs. Johnson?”

“This is.”

“This is Nate from Keltner Heating and Cooling.  I am going to have to reschedule for tomorrow.  Unfortunately, my van was involved in an accident so all my afternoon appointments will be rescheduled to tomorrow afternoon if that works for you?”

“On my, are you alright?”

“Yes, I am fine.  The other driver had a pretty bad cut from broken glass, but nothing more serious.  Thanks for asking.”

“Yes, tomorrow afternoon will work fine.  Will it be at the same time?”

“Yes ma’am, it will be.  Thank you for understanding.”

“You’re welcome.  I will see you tomorrow then.”

I hung up the phone and breathed a heavy sigh.  It was going to be hard to sleep tonight, but the weatherman promised rain.  I wanted it to be a rain that cooled it down a little or at least knocked some of the humidity out of the air.  I could only hope.

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – affordable


Photo by Aline Nadai on

Another day of rain.  This was the seventh day in a row that saw grey clouds and at least some small amount of rain.  There were flood warmings everywhere in the area and Judy dreaded going to work.  She worked for a farming company and their office of course was in the country.  A gravel road to get there and a parking lot that had turned into a quagmire of mud and rock.

As Judy went to get into her car, she opened her umbrella and sprinted jumping over puddles along the way.  She reached her car and tried to shake off some of the water before she brought her umbrella in.  Just then her phone rang.  It was her boss calling her.  “Yeah Jeff, what’s up?

Jeff responded, “Did I catch you before you left for work?”

“Barely, I was just getting ready to start my car.”

“Don’t.  There is no way we are going to have more than two or three farmers in the office today with the floods threatening.  So, why don’t you take a personal day and avoid the mud today.”

“That is music to my ears Jeff, thanks!”

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – quagmire

A Warm Towel Please

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

“Honey I am sick of that shower downstairs.  It is always cold and drafty in the basement.  I want a shower I don’t freeze in.” she said with a pleading look in her eyes.

He took a deep breath and said, “You know we can’t do much in the basement as it still leaks a little when we get heavy rains.”

“What about renovating the upstairs bathroom?  We can hire someone to do it and we can have a warm shower when they are done.”

“Don’t you remember, we looked into that and it is just too expensive.”

“You’re right.”

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – renovate

(100 words)

On the Edge of Stardom

Photo by Wendy Wei on

“Did you see the article in People about that singer that won the Voice?”

“No, I didn’t.  Is it this week’s issue?”

“Yes, it tells all about her years with regional bands.  I guess she played some in Iowa.”

“Really, did they say where?”

“It just said a small club in Iowa, not even a city.”

“I know she blew me away on TV.  It would have been cool if we had seen her live before.”

“There have been quite a few good bands we have seen that should have made it big.  There’s lots of talent in the area.”

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – article

Read Between the Lines

The boy sat outside the office door.  His parents were inside talking to the principal.  He had gotten caught reading a comic book instead of his history book for the second time in as many weeks.  The door slowly opened, and Mr. Whitaker called Johnny to come into the office.

“Johnny, your parents and I have conferred and have come to a decision.  We don’t want a suspension on your record, but we cannot ignore your lack of respect for Mrs. Halladay.  Starting Monday after first period, you will report here to my office to have a private History lesson as I used to teach history before I became the principal.”  Mr. Whitaker paused and looked at Johnny’s parents and back at him.  “You will do this for one week until the midterm exam and then you will return to Mrs. Halladay’s class to take the test.  Do you understand Johnny?”

Johnny looked almost white as a sheet and he swallowed hard, “Yes, Mr. Whitaker I understand.”

Johnny’s father said, “You will also have at least an hour of study at home too son, so there will be no reason you shouldn’t get an A on that midterm.”

Johnny’s mother just smiled a weak smile at her son.  His dad then continued, “Well Mr. Whitaker if there is nothing else, I think we should take Johnny home now.”

The principal got up and opened the office door for them.  “Thanks for coming Mr. and Mrs. Sanders.  And Johnny I will see you next week.”

The family of three left the school in silence.  Johnny feared this would not be the end of the discussion about it.  And when he got home, he found out how right he was.

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – confer

Her and Him

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on

The sanguine dress lay on the floor in a pile.  Music played softly on the stereo.  And candles lit the empty room.  It looked like the perfect setting for a romance novel without the people in it.  But this was not a romantic scene.

The adjoined bathroom held three people.  The officer called to the scene and the coroner.  And a woman lay slumped in the bathtub covered in the same sanguine only this really was blood red and not a low cut dress.  The detectives had yet to arrive on the scene, but foul play was suggested by the knife wounds on the body.

The woman was a thirty-year-old single woman who was missing from work the last two days and her boss called for a welfare check as the woman had no family in the area.  The detectives would have their work cut out for them as she had few friends and acquaintances close to her for them to interview.  She largely worked alone in a graphic design business and was the quiet house in the neighborhood.  She was a very private person.

The detectives arrived and began a search of the house, with techs bagging evidence and taking pictures.  They confiscated a laptop and her cell phone.  Just as they were bagging the cell phone it rang.  This may be their first clue.  The detective raised an eyebrow when he saw the caller ID; it simply said “Him.”

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – sanguine

Built Solid

Photo by Ralph W. lambrecht on

They came up the stairs and opened the door to the storm cellar.  Looking around they saw debris everywhere.  Trees were down or at least damaged, one laid on top of their car.  As they continued to survey the land, they saw the staunch walls of the old brick farmhouse looked untouched.  As a testament to his grandparents who built the home almost 90 years ago it stood like a beacon in the remains of the storm.  A tornado had just blown through and was now headed towards the next town.  They would have damaged crops and the barn was in pieces, but they had not lost their home.  More important than that was the fact all four of them had ridden out the storm safely and would be together to repair what was left after the storm.

Written for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – staunch