Prompt Fiction

Fiction: Digging It Up

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I actually began this story with the intention of using the following three words from Three Word Wednesday: Change, Dizzy and Key. However, it came out so fast that I completely forgot to use the words. lol

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“Mom, come here and look at this.”

Hope continued to evaluate herself in the mirror. “What about this one?” she asked her 17-year old daughter while nodding at her reflection and staring at the peach sleeveless turtleneck she held up against her torso. “This one looks dressy.”

“That color is all wrong for you, mom. It makes you look like an albino,” Edie responded without taking her eyes off the scene outside.

“Really?” Hope’s voice trailed off in disappointment. “But I thought this looked good on me.”

“Nope. And you’re whining again.”

“Well, thanks for shattering my self-confidence.” She threw the top onto the bed in a fit of temper and moved to rummage through the rest of her closet. She had lost nearly twenty pounds in the past three months and nothing in her wardrobe appeared to fit her anymore. She wasn’t sure she had very many more clothes she could try on.

“Seriously, mom, you need to see this.”

“I’m sort of busy right now! I need to meet your father for lunch in 45 minutes!” Her voice was laced with tension and she felt a twinge of disgust at her desperation. Since when had she become so desperate to be someone she wasn’t?

Since her husband had been working longer hours and was home a lot less, that’s when.

The children weren’t aware of how shaky things had become between her and William lately. She wanted to look drop-dead gorgeous for their lunch date and remind her husband, if not verbally, then subliminally, how good he really had it.

“There are strange men with bulldozers crawling all over our yard,” Edie said in a breathy timbre.

“What?” Hope continued to grab handfuls of clothes and toss them out of the closet. She felt a bubble of a giggle percolate deep in her belly as she pictured someone walking into the bedroom and seeing various articles of clothing being tossed into the air and no one visibly throwing them. I’m hysterical, she thought. I’m going to have a nervous breakdown and then where will I be? “On my own with four children to support and a medicine cabinet full of prescription drugs, that’s where,” she mumbled under her breath.

She continued to empty her closet and felt like screaming in frustration. She’d have one hell of a mess to clean up later, but she didn’t care. She NEEDED to find something, anything at this point that would accentuate her weight loss. Maybe Edie had something she could wear …

“MOM!”

Hope jumped and issued a small squeal of surprise. She paused, her arms over her head, to glare at her daughter. “WHAT?” she yelled back.

“Come here, now.”

“Don’t talk to me like that young –”

“These guys are ripping up our driveway!”

“WHAT?” Hope repeated, only this time, the lone word was yelled in confusion.

Edie disappeared from view and Hope followed her to the window that overlooked the back of the house. Her daughter stood to one side and with one hand, flicked a grand gesture to the scene outside. “Our driveway is gone.”

Hope looked out of the window and her soft blue eyes, the color of aged denim, widened in shock. “What the heck are they doing?”

“Ripping up our driveway,” Edie shot back, her voice laced with sarcasm.

“I can see that, Ms Smarty-Pants. I mean, why are they doing it?”

“Because it’s their job?” her daughter offered helpfully.

Hope ignored her and wracked her brain for an explanation. She didn’t remember talking to anyone about coming out to dig up their driveway. And she didn’t recall William saying anything to her about setting something like this up. Maybe they had the wrong address?

“Um mom,” Edie fidgeted nervously next to her. “You might want to find out what’s going on?” She gestured to a huge backhoe that was positioning itself just before her asphalt driveway, the claw-like scoop lowering slowly toward the edge of their property line.

“Crap!” Hope whirled around and stuck her feet into her floral flip-flops and rushed out of the bedroom.

“MOM!” Edie called after her.

Hope whirled around in a huff. “Edie! You’re seriously getting on my nerves.” She stuck her hands on her hips, “What now?”

Edie smiled and Hope bristled. Her daughter gestured to her bra and panties. “You’re sort of underdressed for a confrontation, don’t you think?”

Hope glanced down at her body and growled. “Damn it. WHERE is my head today?” She hurried back to her bedroom and hurriedly shrugged into a t-shirt and old gym shorts. “I’ll be right back.”

“What, are you kidding me? I’m coming with you. Those guys are hot.”

Hope rolled her eyes and brushed past her daughter. She ignored her as she stopped to primp in the hallway mirror before hurrying to catch up with her.

Hope threw open the doors and half walked, half ran, toward the small cluster of dark, tanned men gathered around her driveway.

“Excuse me!” She said, raising her voice to be heard over the roar of the bulldozer’s engine. “Excuse me!”

One of the men, a heavyset man in his 50’s caught a glimpse of her and motioned for the man in the bulldozer to cut the engine by making a slicing motion across his throat. The noise abruptly stopped and Hope skidded to a halt, Edie so close behind her she nearly stumbled into her.

“Hi.” Hope said, her voice overly bright and cheery. “Um, what are you doing?” She gestured to the large chunks of dirt, gravel and asphalt three feet from where they were standing.

The heavyset man took off his construction helmet and ran a hand over his sweaty brow. “Uh, digging up your driveway.”

Hope felt like screaming. “Yes, I can see that. But WHY are you digging up my driveway?”

A mixture of emotions skidded across the man’s face: annoyance, alarm and confusion. “Because we were hired …” the words came out in a halting flow of Irish brogue. “Tom!” He turned to bark at the impossibly thin man behind him. “Check our work papers.”

He continued to smile and shift his bulk awkwardly from foot to foot as he waited for Tom to walk back to the truck and retrieve the work order. Hope flashed a polite, but tolerant smile and Edie batted her lashes at the cute, dark man who looked like he might be of Latino descent.

Hope gave the man Edie was oogling the once over and a warning look. When the man noticed her glare, he coughed and quickly got back to work. Edie huffed in irritation next to her.

“Okay, here we are,” the man said while taking the work order from his employee’s hands. “Is this 421 N. Pickwick?”

“Yes,” Hope confirmed quietly. She brushed her hair out of her eyes and sighed. “Who authorized this?”

“Uh,” the man squinted to read the name. “A William Stone.”

Hope’s heart sank and she nodded. “Right. That’s my husband. Okay, I’ll call him and see what’s going on. I’m sorry to bother you.”

“No problem,” the man shrugged and waved for his guys to get back to work.

“What’s the big deal, mom?” Edie asked as they walked back into the house. “So, our driveway is being repaved, big deal.”

“It’s not a big deal,” said Hope.

“Then why are you getting so bent of out shape?”

Hope didn’t answer her and instead went right for the phone. She dialed her husband’s office and impatiently tapped her manicured nails against the kitchen countertop.

“Mom?”

“Ssh. … hey, it’s me.” Hope said as soon as her husband answered.

“What’s up?”

“Did you authorize some guys to come out and repave our driveway?”

There was a long moment of silence before he responded. “Yeah. It needed it.”

He sounded defensive. Hope softened her tone. “Why didn’t you tell me what was going on?”

“Why?”

“Why?” she sputtered. “How much is this costing?”

“Why do you care? I’m paying for it.”

She closed her eyes and absorbed the barb. Her lack of financial contribution to the family had been a sore spot between them for the past several months. “It would have been nice to have been consulted, that’s all.”

She waited for him to respond. When the silence stretched out for long seconds, she cleared her throat and asked, “Do you really think it needed it?” Though they had lived in their house for the past 20 years, they had been vigilant in making sure everything was properly maintained. And in her opinion, the driveway had been fine.

Several long, silent seconds stretched between them again before he answered, “It adds value to the house.”

She blinked. “Why would that matter?”

His answer was cold and hollow, “Because I just put the house up for sale.”

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen – What If #1

Thirteen Interesting “What If” Situations – How Would YOU Respond?

Please feel free to give your opinion on these situations even if you’re not playing Thursday Thirteen. There are no right or wrong answers here – it’s a question of scruples and what would you do?

null1. You’re a policeman. You pull over a car that’s speeding in a school zone. The driver is a neighbor’s son. Do you let him off with only a verbal warning?

My answer: It depends. If this is his first offense, then I would most likely give the kid a warning. However, if he has a record (whether speeding or not), then I would absolutely give him a ticket and most likely say something to my neighbor, too.

null2. You and your spouse are planning to separate. Your spouse develops an illnes, becomes an invalid and requires constant care. Do you still file for the separation and leave?

My answer: Boy, this is going to sound harsh, but yes, I would go ahead and file for the separation, however, I wouldn’t entirely abandon the man – I would stick around and make sure he’s being taken care of, checking up on him, helping out, etc. However, if he fell ill BEFORE we decided to separate … wow, that’s a tough one. If I stayed, I would resent him, but if I left, I’d feel guilty for doing so.

null3. You’re a young executive. Many members of top management in your company belong to a swanky country club. Do you overextend yourself financially to join the club?

My answer: No. Mainly because I’m not going into debt for any person and pretend I’m something I’m not. However, I would wrack my brain for another way to show management my stellar capabilities. *grin*

null4. You have to go to court on a drunk driving charge. Do you tell your boss the truth about why you need to take the time off from work?

My answer: Absolutely not. However, I would keep in mind that my boss is most likely not stupid and will find out sooner or later. To avoid any unpleasant scenes in the future, I’d join a program to prevent myself from getting into this situation in the future AND to show my boss that I’m responsible enough to nip any problem I might have in the bud before I hurt someone.

null5. A friend, whom you’re very competitive with, signs up for an outdoor survival program – the challenge is to spend three days and nights in the woods. Your friend dares you to test your resources in the same program. Would you?

My answer: Actually, I probably would. One, I’m pretty competitive and two, I’m pretty sure I could hack being out in the woods for that long. But I wouldn’t do it solely because my “friend” dared me, I don’t easily succumb to peer pressure like that, but mainly just to prove to myself that I COULD do it. I’m weird that way.

null6. You are the most financially well-off in your family. Your aging parents need financial help and all of your brothers and sisters want to contribute. Do you give more?

My answer: Absolutely, positively – no doubts and no second thoughts.

null7. Before your father died, he asked to be buried back in his homeland. The expense will greatly diminish his estate. Do you honor his request?

My answer: Again, absolutely. It was my father’s money and my father’s last wish. I’m not about to renege on something that important because of greed.

null8. You’re amazed how low the electric bills are at your new condominium. Later, you discover why – your washer and dryer outlets are hooked up to your neighbor’s system rather than your own. Do you tell your neighbor?

My answer: I’d be tempted to let it go, but yes, I’d tell him. I’d feel too guilty and would let my neighbor know what was going on. Especially if he was cute. *wink*

null9. You and your spouse are on a weekend sailing trip with another married couple. The boat is small and sensitive to any motion. You and your spouse are in a tiny sleeping berth and become amorous. Do you rock the boat?

My answer: Are you kidding me? My husband is too shy to kiss me or hold my hand in public, there’s NO WAY he’d rock the boat. And I’d be too self-conscious about the boat rocking and knowing our friends knew what we were doing to do it to begin with. Wait, did that make sense?

null10. Your co-workers ask you to contribute to a gift for a fellow employee. You hardly know the person. Do you contribute?

My answer: Yes, but I wouldn’t be happy about it. I mean, I’d have to work with that person for hopefully a long time. I wouldn’t want to start the working relationship off on the wrong foot because I was too stingy to give some money. But MAN, I’d be hoping they wouldn’t put me in that situation to begin with.

null11. As a public servant, you’ve taken an oath of confidentiality. You discover that the city government is misleading the public about an important issue. Do you leak this information to the press?

My answer: Probably, but not in the obvious way. To keep my cushy job (because what government job isn’t cushy?) I’d try and expose the truth without actually letting on that it was me doing the exposing. That way I wouldn’t get into trouble and the public would know what was happening – a win-win situation, if that’s possible in this case.

null12. A tradition in your spouse’s family dictates that your first-born son should carry the grandfather’s name. You hate the name. Do you break tradition?

My answer: Yes. I’m already the family rebel, why change that image? *grin*

null13. You think your friend tickles and cuddles your eight-year-old child too much. Do you ask your friend to stop?

My answer: I think it depends on how the child reacts to the cuddles and tickles. If the child is distressed by the physical attention, then I would absolutely step in and say something. But if the child is having fun and I can see that my friend is just more of a touchy-feely sort of person, then … maybe not. But I’d sure keep a close eye on the situation and wouldn’t hesitate to say something if I thought there was a HINT of anything weird going on.

Your turn.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

tags: thursday thirteen

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