Silly Stories

The stories here are written in response to writing prompts. You'll find a bit of silliness, and I hope you might even laugh a bit when you read them. These impromptu stories are always fun to write. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Granny's Promise

Brett Harrington watched his youngest sister walk down the aisle hand-in-hand with her new husband. Hard to believe little Emmy was a married woman now.

From behind him, he heard an exaggerated sigh. He groaned. How had his grandmother made it across the room so fast? He loved her dearly, but he knew what was coming, and he wanted no part of it.

"That was certainly a lovely wedding, don't you think?" The elderly woman sighed again.

"Yeah, lovely," he agreed, quickly getting to his feet. Maybe he could get away before --

"All five of your sisters are married now," Hillary Harrington continued, latching onto his arm. How could a woman her age have such a vise-like grip? "You know what that means." The corners of her mouth turned up in a playful smile. "You're next, Brett. Really, it's well past time for you to settle down."

He shook his head. "I'm not ready, and don't even try to change my mind," he said, wriggling free from her grasp.

"You just haven't met the right girl yet. Believe me, once you do, you'll be hurrying to get that ring on her finger before some other man steals her away." She wagged her own finger in his face. "It's not right for man to live alone," she reminded him. "You know, I've met a lot of very nice young ladies recently, and --"

"No matchmaking, Granny. You promised, remember?"

"Well, I was just saying ..."

"Granny," he warned.

A tiny woman, she tilted her chin to gaze up at her grandson. "Do you really think I'd go back on my word, Brett? We agreed there'd be absolutely no more matchmaking, although you have to admit, I did very well with all your sisters."

"No more matchmaking," Brett repeated, his voice stern. "Remember when you tried to fix me up with Sondra Carlson?" His date with Sondra could best be described as an unmitigated disaster. Sondra hated sports, went into hysterics at the sight of a ladybug, and thought a perfect weekend should include an afternoon at the opera. Thanks, but no thanks.

"All right, I'll admit, Sondra wasn't quite the right match, but everyone makes mistakes." She shrugged. "Forgive me?"

"Yeah, I suppose."

Hillary beamed and nodded. Her blue-gray curls danced around her fair cheeks.

"Speaking of promises," she said slowly, a mischievous grin spreading across her face, "I do seem to recall one of my grandsons promising to cut my grass this week."

"One of your grandsons?" Brett stared at the woman and wondered if she were becoming senile. "Granny, I'm your only grandson."

"Well, then, it must have been you," she pointed out with a look of victory in her blue eyes. "Friday evening?"

He hesitated. There were at least a dozen things he'd rather be doing on Friday evening than cutting his grandmother's lawn, but he was her only grandson, and a promise was a promise. He expected her to keep her promise to him; he owed her the same.

"Friday evening," he agreed.

"I'll make it worth your while, Brett. How does a nice plate of spaghetti and meatballs sound?Home-made, of course."

"You don't have to cook for me."

"Oh, I have no intention of cooking." Hillary laughed. "I'll have my friend, Sophie, do the cooking. She'll be glad to do it. I insist, Brett. It's the least I can do for my favorite grandson."

"Your only grandson," he reminded her.

She lifted up on tiptoes and planted a kiss on his cheek. "Lovely wedding, indeed. I'll see you Friday evening, dear."


As promised, Brett hurried over to Granny Harrington's house after work on Friday. As he unloaded his mower from the back of his pickup, his cell phone rang.

"Brett, are you there?"

He winced and held the phone at arm's length. Granny had a horrible habit of shouting.

"I'm at your place now. Where are you?" He glanced toward the house.

"Running errands, dear, and I'm going to be a little late. But that will give you time to clean up before dinner. I know how sweaty and dirty you'll get out there working in the yard. There are clean towels laid out for you. You did bring a change of clothes, didn't you?"

"Yes, Granny. I wouldn't think of dining in my work clothes with my favorite grandmother."

"The other one's dead, so I'm the only grandmother you've got," she quipped.

"Take care, Granny," he said. "I need to get started on the yard." If he didn't cut her off, she'd talk for hours. "See you when you get here."


Forty-five minutes later, he finished his work and loaded the mower back onto the truck. Just in time, he thought, glancing toward the skies where gray clouds now gathered. He covered the mower with a tarp, locked the truck, then headed for the old rock. That's where Granny kept the key. Moments later, he stepped inside her house.

Still no sign of his grandmother. He hoped nothing had happened to her. She believed in being punctual and considered lateness as much a sin as gluttony, sloth, and whatever the rest of those deadly vices were. Brett never could keep them straight.

He showered, changed into clean clothes, and turned on the lights in the little house. All the while, he worried about Granny Harrington.

When another call came in, he grabbed his cell phone.

"Brett, dear?"

Her voice sounded weak and frail.

"What's wrong, Granny? What's the matter?"

"Now, don't worry. It's nothing to get upset about --"

"What happened? Where are you?"

"I'm at the hospital, but it's nothing serious. I just twisted my ankle a bit, that's all."

"Which hospital?"

She ignored the question. "I'll be here for a while, but I don't want to spoil your dinner, and I know Sophie should be there any minute with the food, so you go right ahead and eat, and don't worry about me. Do you understand?"

"Which hospital?" he asked again.

Granny hung up. Just then the doorbell rang. Cursing under his breath, Brett hurried to the front door.

He opened it expecting to see Sophie, his grandmother's portly Italian neighbor. He did not expect to see a petite, black-haired beauty with dark chocolate eyes and sweet lips the color of a dusky rose.

The young woman blinked. She'd obviously not expected him, either.

"Is Hillary Harrington here?" She held out a large box. "I was supposed to bring this over. It's from my Aunt Sophie. Do I have the right house?"

Brett regained his wits and nodded. "Yeah, I mean, no, she's not here, but yeah, this is the right house." He reached to take the box and his hand brushed hers. That brief touch felt like a jolt of pure electricity. Brett blinked in surprise. Things like that never happened except in those sentimental romance novels girls drooled over.

"I've got a few more things to bring over," she said, breaking into his thoughts. "If you'll take this, I'll be right back."

Brett nodded and watched her trot through the freshly-cut grass toward the house next door. He was still standing at the doorway, still watching, as she returned moments later, another box tucked under one arm, and a bottle of red wine in her hand.

The first drops of rain began to fall as she stepped onto the porch.

"Just in time," Brett said. He ushered her inside and took the box from her.

She held out the wine. "My aunt says you can't enjoy Italian food without this."

"Thanks." Brett took the wine. Granny Harrington had never had a drink in her life, but maybe Sophie didn't know that.

The dark-haired beauty waved. "Enjoy the meal." She turned toward the door, then hesitated. "The rain's really coming down now."

"Might as well wait a few minutes," Brett suggested.

"Would you mind? Here, let me help you with the food. My name's Belinda, by the way. I'm visiting my aunt for a few weeks."

"Nice to meet you, Belinda. I'm Brett Harrington. Hillary's grandson."

"Where is your grandmother?" Belinda looked around. "Sophie's told me so much about her, I was hoping to meet her."

Brett frowned. "I'm afraid she's had a slight accident. She's at one of the hospitals, but I have no idea which one. She twisted her ankle," he explained when he saw the look of concern on Belinda's pretty face. He glanced toward the small dining room that adjoined the kitchen. "I feel awful now. Granny always looks forward to our dinners together. Look there," he said, pointing to the table. "She's already set out the plates and glasses." He noticed she'd put out two wineglasses. Maybe Granny Harrington did like to tipple occasionally.

"Beautiful tablecloth, too," remarked Belinda. "What a shame your grandmother isn't here."

Brett nodded. "She said I should go ahead and enjoy the dinner." He looked at the boxes Sophie had prepared then turned toward Belinda. "There's enough food here to feed a dozen people, I think. Would you want to join me? Or maybe you've already had dinner --"

"Actually, no, I haven't eaten yet. I'd be glad to keep you company. I love Aunt Sophie's spaghetti." Her hand went to her lovely mouth. "Oh, the spumoni!" She pointed to the second box. "It needs to be in the freezer."

Brett took the spumoni, slid it into the refrigerator's small freezer compartment, then escorted Belinda to the dining room. He brought in the serving platter, and soon their plates were heaped high with spaghetti, meatballs, and sauce. Red wine sparkled in the wineglasses.

"Delicious," Brett said after tasting the first bite. He glanced across the table and smiled. Not only was the food delicious, but Belinda was quite delicious, too. Except for that nagging worry in the back of his mind about his grandmother, he'd be thoroughly enjoying these impromptu
dinner arrangements.

He lifted another forkful of pasta to his mouth. Suddenly, the room went dark.

"Power's out," he said, already getting to his feet. "Don't worry. I know where Granny keeps her emergency supplies. Just sit still, Belinda. I'll be right back." He made his way through the darkened room to the kitchen, pulled open a drawer, and took out the emergency flashlight. Nice that Granny Harrington always kept things well-organized.

He pressed the switch on the flashlight, but nothing happened.

He shook it, then groaned.

"What's the point in having an emergency flashlight if you don't have batteries in it?" he muttered aloud.

"Is something wrong?" called Belinda.

"Everything's fine. Be right there." He reached into the drawer again, pulled out candles and a book of matches, and moments later the soft glow of candlelight filled the dining room.

How romantic, thought Brett, gazing into Belinda's dark eyes. He seemed to get lost in them, just like in romance novels. His five sisters loved reading those sentimental stories, so he knew quite a bit about them. But electric touches and getting lost in starry-eyed gazes ... well, those things never happened in real life. At least, they'd never happened to him. Until now.

Brett and Belinda laughed and talked as they shared their meal. He couldn't quite put aside his concern for his grandmother, but in all other respects, his evening seemed to be turning out perfect. Belinda laughed at his jokes, talked about the World Series coming up, and listened eagerly as he told her about his recent fishing and camping expedition. They soon learned that they shared not only a love of Aunt Sophie's spaghetti and spicy meatballs, but they also shared the same tastes in music and movies.

This night couldn't be better if I'd planned it.

Brett felt the truth come crashing down on him.

"Damn it," he swore. "Granny had this all planned."

"What are you talking about?"

He let out a slow breath. "My dear grandmother is up to her old tricks again. She's matchmaking. I'm sorry."

Belinda frowned. "Well, it can't possibly be true, but even if it were, I don't think I'd mind all that much. I've really enjoyed getting to know you."

"Oh, I didn't mean to make it sound like I wasn't enjoying the evening," he hastily replied. "I'm just upset because Granny and I had an agreement. She promised she wouldn't do any more matchmaking."

"But, she couldn't have planned this, Brett." Belinda reached across the table and patted his hand. "I mean, you can't plan a twisted ankle, and you certainly can't plan a power failure."

"You're right," he admitted. "I guess I was jumping to conclusions." He laughed, refilled their wine glasses, and raised his. "A toast to the happy fates that brought us together."

They laughed and talked and shared more stories, and Brett finally set aside his worries about Granny Harrington. If her injuries were serious, someone from the hospital would call. Until then, he'd go right on enjoying this night with beautiful, enchanting Belinda.

"The spumoni!" she cried out a short time later. "It's probably a melted mess by now since the power's out."

"I'll get it." Brett got up and slipped into the kitchen. He took out two small glass bowls, then opened the refrigerator door. The refrigerator light gleamed in the darkness. He left the door open as he took the spumoni from the freezer compartment. It made it easier for him to see what he was doing as he dished out the frozen dessert.

On the third spoonful, he suddenly stopped, turned to stare at the refrigerator, then cursed under his breath.

"Belinda, come here a minute, will you, please? Do you notice something odd?" he asked when she joined him in the kitchen. "For some strange reason, the refrigerator still has power, and I'm beginning to suspect we're probably the only house on the block in the dark." He hurried to the window, pushed aside the curtains and nodded. "Yep, she planned it, all right."

"But ... how?"

"Wait here." Brett felt his way through the house. Sure enough, his suspicions checked out. Moments later he returned to the kitchen. "I should have figured it out sooner. She's got all the lights on timer switches, all set to turn off at precisely eight-thirty. As for that twisted ankle, I'll believe it when I see it." He moved the curtain slightly back again and peered out. Did he see two shadowy figures watching from behind the windows of Sophie's kitchen? "I have a feeling your Aunt Sophie is probably involved in this, too."

"I think you're right." Belinda gazed up at him. "I thought it was odd that my aunt suddenly had such a bad headache that she couldn't bring the food over, and then she disappeared downstairs, said she had to go lie down for a while. I thought I heard the basement door open and close, but I didn't think much about it."

"So my devious grandmother is probably with your auntie right now, and they're probably both watching to see what happens."

"What do you think we should do about it?" Belinda asked, in a breathless whisper.

"I think we should give them something to see." He drew back the curtains, then pulled Belinda close. Brett bent his head down and gently kissed Belinda's lips. She tasted like sweet, red wine. "Your aunt is right, by the way," he whispered. "Dinner is much more enjoyable with wine." He kissed Belinda again.


"I should be angry with you, Granny." Brett stood in Hillary's parlor, towering over the tiny woman on the settee. "I can't believe you lied to me."

She'd finally come home about ten o'clock, shortly after Brett had walked Belinda back to her aunt's house. He'd already made plans with Belinda to have dinner together again the following night. Still, that didn't change the fact that his grandmother had deliberately deceived him.

"Well, I thought the ankle was twisted. Never hurts to have things checked out."

"Don't make matter worse with more lies," he advised, bending down and brushing a kiss atop her head. "I said I should be angry with you, but somehow, I'm not. Actually, I'm impressed at how clever you were. I really believed your story about running errands and being at the hospital, and I really thought there was a power failure. But what I don't understand is how you could be so sure we'd have a rainstorm at precisely that time."

"Oh, that wasn't my doing at all. I was just hoping you'd accept the sudden power failure without looking for a reason. The rainstorm ..." She grinned. "Let's just say that was divine intervention. Obviously you and Belinda are a match made in heaven."

"You're a piece of work, Granny." He laughed and pulled her to her feet. "I suppose I'll have to forgive you this time. But, never again. No more matchmaking. Not ever," he warned.

"Of course not, dear. I've got no reason now." She pinched his cheek the way she'd done since he was a boy. "You and Belinda will have a lovely wedding, I'm sure. A lovely wedding, indeed."

~~~~~ The End ~~~~~