Payback

By Meg Sorick. A short story from July 2015, edited and ready to go into the collection. Here’s one last read:

“I know it’s not much,” I said, as I handed the homeless man an orange and a five dollar bill. I had passed him every day since he first appeared a week ago, on my route to work. With haunted green eyes and a sad smile, he looked neither dangerous nor crazy, just like a guy who had fallen on hard times.

“There but for the grace of God, go I,” I thought as I entered the diner where I waited tables. With a heavy sigh, I tied my apron around my waist and picked up my order pad. I had the worst section again: the one right by the door. Every time the door opened and closed, the wind rushed in, chilling my stocking clad legs and bare arms. Despite the fact that I never stopped moving all day, I never managed to get warm. By the end of my shift, my feet were sore, my back was aching and my meager tips wouldn’t go very far toward paying my bills.

I packed up the last of the vegetable soup to take home for my supper. I smiled. There was enough for two containers. No sense in letting it go to waste. On impulse, I grabbed the last two rolls and a couple of packets of butter and tucked it in the takeout bag with the soup. My homeless friend was waiting in his usual spot. “I brought you some hot soup,” I said. “Do you have somewhere you can go for the night?”

“Thank you,” he said, gratefully accepting the container and the rolls. “Now don’t you worry, I’ll be all right.”

The next day, I packed another orange in my bag for the homeless man, but to my surprise, he wasn’t in his spot when I passed. I trudged on to another long day at the diner.

Just as lunch rush had ended, a handsome man in a business suit sat in my section and smiled at me.

I gaped in confusion at his familiar features. “Is it you?” I gasped.

He smiled and gave a little shake of his head. “You’ve met my brother, Marcus.” Flicking his eyes toward my name tag, he added, “Cecilia.”

“Is your brother all right?” I asked, fearing the worst.

“He’s all right now. I’ve taken him home.” He passed me a business card which read, Lucas LeGrande, Executive Chef, above the name of the finest restaurant in town and said, “You’re the only one who ever showed my brother any kindness. I’d like to return the favor. Come work for me.”

Header Image: “Together” – artist, Lesley Oldaker, oil, 2011

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Meg

Here we are on the last day of November. For those tired souls who participated in National Novel Writing Month – congratulations! It’s over! I did not participate this year, but instead set the goal of revising my completed manuscript for publication. I am not sure what happened to my time this month, but I’m sorry to say that I barely even made a dent in the job. Besides the introductory section I posted recently, I have accomplished absolutely nothing!

Nevertheless, I am still going to attempt to finish so as to publish before the year is out. If it seems a little quiet around here, you’ll know why. I’ll be in the subterranean lair, feverishly editing away…

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe…

Inspire:  breathe in

Inspire:  fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative

Writers look for inspiration everywhere.  In some of my previous posts I’ve mentioned finding inspiration in music, in art, and in my own personal life experiences.  Having your senses stimulated this way, often fires your creative process.  There’s another way, though…

Like the rest of you, my life is busy and my mind can be a very noisy and messy place.  It can get to the point where it feels like I can’t catch my breath.  Maybe even like I’m under water.  When that happens, it’s time to take a break and find some quiet time.  For me, that means getting outside, no matter the weather.  Walking the country roads past the crumbling old walls that line the pastures, I let my mind wander.  There’s a fallen down barn on the dirt road about a mile away.  The red-tailed hawks perch on the half-rotted beams and watch for field mice and rabbits in the tall grass.  The wind sighing, the birds singing, the chatter of the squirrels is the only music to my ears.  Cross the creek, rushing with last night’s rain.  The smell of damp leaves, the early spring mud, all loamy and decayed.

Breathe it in deeply.  Inspire…

Maybe you live in the city and can’t get out into nature that easily.   Go out and walk the sidewalks, enjoy the sunshine, the hum of traffic, the jostle of people hurrying to their destinations.  Spend an hour, if you have it, without your phone.  Ignore the texts, e-mails and alerts for a while.  They’ll be there when you get back.  Find a park, sprawl on a bench, listen to the buzz of conversations going on around you, the laughter of children playing.  Let it be like white noise, vague and mesmerizing.

Inspire…

Now go home and write something beautiful.