Saturday, August 29, 2009


This short story is in response to
Click on the above link to join in or read other entries.

How it works: Raven supplies two sets of words (or phrases) to use in a piece of writing. One can choose the ten- or five-word challenge ---or combine both into a fifteen word mega-challenge.

Mega challenge:
records, impulsive, really cool, bread crumbs, angels, Sponge Bob, magical moment, back and forth, suffering, good fences make good neighbors, side effects are generally mild, clingy, rooster, samples, curiosity
(Words from the challenge are in bold face in the story.)

“Hey, can you hand me a sponge, Bob?” Nell asked as her husband entered the back door. She was on the floor in front of the kitchen cabinets, soaking up milk with paper towels.
“I thought they said side effects are generally mild,” Bob snapped as he handed her a damp sponge from the sink. “You’ve been dropping things for three days. First it was the container of bread crumbs, then a mug of tea, silverware, a plate, and now this.” He kicked the empty milk carton out of the way.
“Dr. Jamison said that I’d stop suffering these episodes after I get used to the new medication.”
“Well, for heavens sake, Nell, don’t try to hold anything that can spill or break or make a mess.”
“What should I do when you’re not here? Stop eating?”
“That wouldn’t be a bad idea. You could stand to lose a ton.”
Nell knew she had gained about ten pounds over the last months due to lack of exercise. She gritted her teeth, deciding not to let him goad her.
Nell changed the subject. “Your sister called. She has business in the city and wants to stay with us for a week or so. Should I tell her it’s okay?”
“Oh, yeah, that will make for some magical moments, the two of us going back and forth, arguing about everything that ever happened since we were toddlers.”
“What do you have against your sister? I think she’s really cool.”
“You know we’ve never gotten along. She’s clingy and impulsive. And she’s up with the roosters and will wake us at four in the morning. And when I’m at work, I know her curiosity will have her going through the business records in my office upstairs.”
Bob paced in front of his wife. “You know how they say good fences make good neighbors? Well long distance makes good relatives.”
“You’re going to have to call her to tell her she can’t come. I won’t do it for you,” Nell said.
Bob snapped, “Are you going to sit on the floor the rest of the day?”
“Can you please help me up?”
Bob placed his arms under Nell’s arm pits to pull her from the floor and back into her wheel chair. “I wish you wouldn’t slide out of your chair to clean up your messes. You just do it to make me feel guilty.”
Nell grimaced. “Who's going to help me. Are some angels going to show up to wipe the floor? Besides, I knew you’d be home for lunch soon so I thought I'd start cleaning it up so you wouldn't have to.”
Bob set his jaw and shook his head.
Nell wheeled herself from the kitchen, tired of Bob’s impatience ever since the accident.
Bob stewed in the kitchen. Nell was more of a pain-in-the-ass to him now than before the accident. He not only had to put up with a woman he didn’t love, but he had to do everything for her and the housework, too. His girlfriend was getting impatient.
Now he was forced to play the loving husband role, at least around others, so no one would be suspicious. The brake failure was supposed to kill his wife and now he was strapped with a paraplegic. He had rejected poison because he knew the coroner would have taken blood and urine samples and might have suspected foul play.
If he divorced her, he wouldn’t get the pending fortune Nell’s father had left her. Divorcing a cripple would ruin his business. His associates and clients would think he was a cad. What a mess she had made for him.
In the living room, Nell turned on the stereo. She was angry, but she had a plan. Bob would be in Chicago on business the entire upcoming week. She had already told him she would have a friend in to check on her. The reality was that five friends were going to show up to pack her belongings. Since the accident, she hadn’t been able to go upstairs. They would go through Bob’s office to search for evidence of his affair. Her friend Britt, who always suspected the accident wasn’t really an accident, would make a copy of Bob's hard drive.
Nell had already had her lawyer start the divorce process. He assured Nell if they could find evidence of Bob’s rigging her “accident” he wouldn’t get any of her father’s money.
There was an opening at an assisted living facility where Nell could stay and receive physical therapy until the condo she had purchased was retrofitted to accommodate her special needs. Her father's bank was more than willing to approve a loan until her father's vast estate was settled.
Wouldn’t Bob be surprised the day the divorce papers were Fed Exed to his Chicago hotel? He would try to call her but there would be no answer. And then he’d be rid of her ---albeit not exactly as he wanted.
Maybe Nell couldn’t walk, but she certainly wasn’t helpless.

(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)


Dr.John said...

Stories don't get much better than that. Great characters, good dialogue and two twists.
Just great.

Reston Friends! said...

What great writing -- he is really, really, ICK and she is really, really smart! The best line is the sponge, Bob one -- you caught me then and it only got better after that!

Argent said...

Got to agree with the good Doctor: cracking story! The characters were so well-drawn and I really like the feisty Nell!

Raven said...

Go Nell! Well done! And I realized - don't know why - that I missed one of the words (records) in my poem. Drat. Not sure I have the ambition to go back and fix it now. May just have to accept my failure.

Great story as always.

Anonymous said...

I knew it would be a good read When I read how you used Sponge Bob. You are so clever.

Raven said...

Knew I forget something when I came by earlier and as I was sitting here weeping at the Kennedy funeral... I remebered that I wanted to say how brilliantly I thought you got rid of Sponge Bob.

Argent said...

I messed up on Mr Linky and the link goes to the wrong post. You can see my Wordzzle by clicking Here.

Richard said...

I greatly enjoyed the story and the loved the ending.

Stephen said...

The story turned sad as we found out Nell needed a wheelchair, and then got sinister as we found out what Bob was doing, and then upbeat as we found out what Nell had in mind for Bob. Bob is certainly going to have a surprise, and he may have to worry more about going to jail than about losing the money. It was a very good story.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Anonymous said...

It was extremely interesting for me to read the blog. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.