#SwiftFicFriday W107 – Vote!

#SwiftFicFriday W107 – Vote!

Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!


Beef Stew

I lay in that bliss, that divine post-coital bliss, drifting in and out, hearing then not hearing the buses going up and down the avenue. The cars driving and people walking on my block. Each time I stirred, it was a little darker till the only light was from the short hallway. I reached over, but was alone and I again drifted off, now on my stomach from my unsuccessful effort to spoon her.

I can’t say how long it was that I was out this final time. I can say that when it ended, the aroma from the kitchen was the first, pleasant sensation I had. “God,” I thought, “I am so lucky” as I turned onto my back with only bits of the sheet covering me now. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply. Stew. Some kind of beef stew. The perfect thing for a late January Sunday.

The smell…the aroma got stronger. I felt something land lightly on the side of the bed. When I opened my eyes, she smiled, holding out a long spoon. She was in silhouette but I knew she was smiling.

“Taste this,” she said.

193 words by Joseph P. Garland (@JPGarlandAuthor)

The Home

The old man was grumbling under his breath.
“He’s at it again,” Sally said, pointing at Mr. Clump. “Old man Grumpski…what an absolute pain!”
“The swearing under his breath?”
“Yup,” she said nodding. “At least I think it’s swearing. Polish, right?”
No,” I reminded her, “Ukrainian.”
“Right. I don’t know why he can’t swear in English.”
“I’m sure he can,” I said.
In fact, I knew he could. He had once been a high school English teacher. Life had taken a few turns and it had been harsh for Clump for decades. Loss of career, loss of family, saved by the bell of a lotto win, just in time to get too old to care for himself, and here we were, Happy Acres.
Unhappy Acres, I suppose, today.
Quite a few days.
“What’s he complaining about?” I asked Sal…”Any idea?”
“Oh yeah. Perogies? He wants perogies for dinner. And cabbage rolls…what does he call them…? Hole…?”
“Holubsti…delicious… let’s give him what he wants…he pays a pretty penny.”
“They aren’t on the menu. It’s Cajun night…”
“Don’t we have some perogy in the freezer?”
“Maybe. But cabbage rolls…that’s another matter. Head chef is a stickler for her menu.”
“Maybe…look, this might be a career-ending move but let’s give Clump what he wants…at least if we have perogy and we surely have sour cream…an onion.”
“Okay, but when heads roll…”
“Don’t worry Sally. When heads or cabbages roll, I’ll take the fall.”

241 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)

“I could eat these all the time. Of course, I’d probably get as round as a hippo, but it just might be worth it.” Roxanne finished her half of the cake and brushed off her hands. “Show me how you did it. I want to know the recipe.”

Ambrose snorted. “We have plenty. There’s no need to make more.”

“For a growing boy like you? This won’t hold us for longer than a day. Two tops.” She waved at the cakes. “Show me…Please.”

He’d opened his mouth to protest, but the “please” made him drop his shoulders and grunt a short laugh with a half-smile.

“Oh, all right. Come over here and I’ll show you what I did.”

Over the next hour or so, they worked side by side and Roxanne tried not to enjoy the way his chest and arms bunched as he mixed and kneaded the dough. She also liked that he was roughly her height – actually a little taller – and they could look eye-to-eye when standing close.

It would make it very easy to kiss him.

She coughed, waving her hand as if clearing the air of flour dust. Where the hell had that thought come from? Kissing wasn’t on the itinerary for this mission, particularly not kissing a centaur, for goodness’ sake. And she hadn’t been interested in sex or kissing anyone in a long time. Oh sure, she’d had the odd fantasy about some pretty man she’d seen in movies or commercials or magazines, and there’d been a few lovely-looking men in the Army. But then they’d open their mouths and that was the end of the fantasy. Especially the ones who had to one-up her because she was so tall.

Most men can’t handle me as I am.

Most human men. Ambrose wasn’t human.

300 words by Siobhan Muir (@SiobhanMuir)

“Tiny Toni!” Big Al boomed from behind the counter. “They finally let you out, eh?”

Toni Tyler smiled menacingly at the greasy diner owner.

“Didn’t I say I’d kill you if you called me that again?”

Big Al shrugged.

“I like to live dangerously. Besides, you’ve been coming here since you were,” Big Al positioned his hand around his hip then shook his head. “Actually, you’re about the same size.”

“Ha. Ha,” Toni enunciated her disdain and made her way to a booth that put her back to a wall with a view of the door.

Since Toni’s dad died, Big Al was the only person who could tease her about her height. Her mom wasn’t enough over five feet herself. Big Al, alone in the front of the house at this hour, followed Toni.

“So, what’ll it be?”

“Coffee. And keep it coming.”

Toni set her tablet and phone on the table and synchronized their screens.

“You oughta eat something,” Big Al advised.

“I’m meeting my mom. We’ll order together.”

As Big Al fetched the coffee, Mrs. Tyler entered and Toni waved her over. The exhausted executive slumped across from her daughter and arched an eyebrow.

“Coffee? At this hour? You don’t even like coffee.”

“I got into it in college,” Toni rolled her eyes over to her devices. “And I still have some things to do.”

“What’re you having, Jada?”

“Herbal tea, please. Oh! And you wouldn’t have any blueberry cobbler?”

“Fresh today.”

“Make that two,” Toni smiled and met her mother’s eyes. “You always made blueberry cobbler when dad worked late.”

“Always burned blueberry cobbler,” Mrs. Tyler laughed before glancing at Toni’s devices. “You have to do that tonight?”

“It’s personal. To unwind.”

It was mostly true. Toni would feel better once she found her father’s killer.

300 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)

The weather forecast said it was going to snow, somewhere between 4 and 7 inches. It also said that 3 days later, the temperature would be in the high 40s, and it would rain. The snow would last 3 days, at most.

No one would starve, or run out of food, or milk, or chicken, or bacon, or even toilet paper.

That’s why the store’s aisles were filled with people, and why those people had hundreds of dollars worth of groceries in their carts, and why the checkout lines ran from the cashier stands, halfway to the back of the store.

It made no sense. People were panicking. Buying groceries like they would be trapped in their homes for weeks, not for 3 measly days. I would have hauled another cart full of 1 pound chubs of ground beef out, so we could sell them, except we’d run out of ground beef. We didn’t have any more.

“What are these people going to do? Cook hamburgers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for the next three weeks?” I paused, looked around at the insanity, and continued thinking, “And they must be going to make them super spicy, because they’re buying enough toilet paper to last three years.”

It never ceased to amuse me when people went off the deep end, and panic bought everything. It was stupid, yes. It made no sense, yes. But, damn was it good for business. While the panic buying stampede was in full force, I got to work over time, trying to keep up with the insanity. I didn’t mind, as long as they didn’t resort to yelling at me. “Can you please check the back! I know you have more back there! Stop hoarding it!”

“Humans.” I knocked my head against the door frame. “Stupid.”

300 words by Mark Ethridge (@mysoulstears)

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