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!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Grandma's Garden

Welcome to this week's story for "Tuesday's Tales." Today's prompt was to use DADDOFILS -- or any other flower -- for our story or excerpt. I thought this would be a good opportunity to share a short story I wrote a few years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

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As I strolled through Grandma's garden, stopping to touch a tender bloom or to pluck away the weeds, memories warmed my heart.

Zinnias meant friendship, sunflowers were wishes, and the gray-green moss symbolized charity. Growing up, I spent summers with Grandma, and she made a game of teaching me about the flowers.

"They speak a language all their own, you know."

I looked up to see Grandma standing at the edge of the garden. "I thought you were napping."

She shook her head, and leaned heavily on her cane. "Can't sleep too well these days. Every time I close my eyes, I see this." She gestured with the cane toward the overgrown garden. "I can't keep up with it any more, Allison. I'm afraid it's as bedraggled as I am.”

Grandma was nearing seventy. She was still a beautiful woman in my eyes, yet I could see the changes age had wrought over the four years since I'd last visited. And I saw the sadness as she gazed on her beloved garden. For as long as anyone in Benton Springs could remember, Muriel Porter's dazzling roses and climbing clematis, her carefully-tended junipers and creeping myrtle had won the town's annual blue-ribbon award.

"The garden club will be here Sunday afternoon,” she told me. "Won't be much for them to look at this year." Slowly she turned and walked up the cobblestone path to the house. Sprigs of mint and lavender rippled in the breeze, their fragrance sweet in the evening air.

As Grandma climbed the porch steps, I made up my mind. I had to call Josh and ask for his help. It would break Grandma's heart if she didn't win that ribbon, although seeing Josh again would probably break my heart. No matter. Grandma's garden came first.

As I child, I loved visiting Grandma, and l always looked forward to seeing Josh Barron. We went swimming together in the old creek and played games of tag in the fields. Late at night, when the scent of tea roses and heliotropes hung heavy in the air, we’d sit on the porch and watch the stars.

But when we grew older, Josh wanted things I wasn’t willing to give. Even my friends called me old-fashioned, but it hurt worse when he said it.

“I don’t have time, Allison,” he said bluntly when I got up the nerve to call him. “Your grandma’s got to accept the fact she’s too old to take care of that garden. She needs to let it go.”

I wasn’t ready to let it go. The next morning I walked through the garden again, noting the work ahead of me. Weeds. Overgrown shrubbery. Rotting timbers. I barely knew where to begin. With no time to waste, I set to work.

“Still stubborn as ever, I see.”

I looked up from a petunia I was replanting. “Josh? What are you doing here?”

He pulled a hammer from the toolbelt at his waist. “I’ll nail those timbers up before they fall.”

“Why did you change your mind?”

“Because I knew you wouldn’t.” His dark eyes studied me. “I know how you are once you make up your mind about something.” He looked away. "It's not a problem. I'm working for Dad's construction company. He's got a full crew right now, so I can take a little time off."

"I can't afford to pay you."

"Don't worry about it."

Feeling distinctly uncomfortable, I nodded, and we settled down to work. Now and then we exchanged a few words or a glance or two. Mostly we remained silent. I wondered if Josh felt as awkward as I did.

Memories of the times we'd spent together in the past sprouted inside my head. I tried to yank them out as fiercely as I tugged at the weeds in the garden but with little success. My feelings for Josh were rooted much too deeply.

A few hours later, Grandma brought out a pitcher of lemonade and a plate of cookies.

“Just like old times.” She smiled at both of us.

* * *

The next few days flew by. Little by little, my defenses came down, and I began to feel comfortable with Josh again. Maybe too comfortable. I looked forward to seeing him each day and enjoyed being near him as we worked and chatted casually.

On Friday evening, a lot of heavy work still remained, but Josh assured me he would finish it the next morning. When he suggested we head down to the creek for a picnic, I didn’t hesitate.

I found Grandma's wicker picnic basket, grabbed an old quilt, and together Josh and I hurried off to the corner store to pick up our usual picnic fare: sandwiches, soft drinks, and potato chips.

We spread the blanket out beside the little creek and unpacked the basket. We laughed and talked as we enjoyed the food.

But then, I realized what a huge mistake I'd made. I should never have accepted Josh's invitation. I should have known where it would lead.

Our laughter faded to quiet conversation, and the quiet conversation soon became sweet whispers. Whispers turned to tender kisses, and Josh's arms drew me close in a passionate embrace.

It felt good. So good, I could barely resist.

But somehow I found the strength I needed. I shook my head and pulled away.

"The rules haven't changed," I told him. "I can't give you what you want."

"Oh, come on, Allison! Everything's changed. We’re not kids anymore.”

“Nothing‘s different.” I hastily began putting things away. “I’m still an old-fashioned girl with old-fashioned values. I won’t compromise who I am for you, Josh.” I picked up the basket and turned toward town.

“If you walk away, Allison, don’t expect to see me again.”

I didn’t even bother looking back.

* * *

I woke up early the next morning, stirred a lump of sugar into my tea, and considered the consequences of my actions the previous evening. The garden club would be coming on Sunday. Rejecting Josh meant that Grandma's garden wouldn't be finished on time. Even if I worked all day, I couldn't complete the task alone.

Grandma would be disappointed, but I'd done the right thing, and had she known what had taken place down at the creek, she would have been proud of me for holding fast to my old-fashioned ways. That thought gave me a little solace, at least.

I finished my tea, and with a sigh, I stepped outside. I wasn't quite ready to give up yet. I'd do all I possibly could before I admitted defeat.

I heard a rustling in the garden. My eyes grew wide.


He looked up from a patch of crepe myrtle.

"Morning, Allison."

"I don't need your help," I said, trying to keep my voice steady. "I don't need you in my life, Josh."

"I know. But I need you."


"I need you, Allison. Today. Tomorrow. Forever." He plucked a few of the spreading vines and held them out to me. Their periwinkle blue flowers glistened with early morning dew. Josh smiled at me. “I've never told you this, but when we were kids, I used to come over here, even after you’d gone home at the end of summer. Being here made me feel good.”

“Grandma’s garden is a special place,” I acknowledged.

“She’d come out and sit with me, and tell me about her flowers. Did you know they have a language all their own?”

I stared down at the vines in my hands.

Myrtle. The symbol of marriage.

“You know, Allison, the truth is I've always respected you for being so strong, for being who you are. I love you and your old-fashioned values," he said. Still on his knees, he reached for my hand. "Will you marry me?”

* * *

If Grandma’s garden had won another blue ribbon, our story would have a perfect ending. But Grandma decided it was time to let it go. She called the garden club and told them not to bother visiting.

Yet her garden will always be a special place for Josh and me. We were married there a few weeks later. Afterward, Grandma served lemonade and cookies, and the flowers whispered their own sweet words of love.

- The End -

I hope you enjoyed this story. If you did, please leave a comment.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

In the Driver's Seat

Welcome to my blog and to my "Tuesday's Tales" contribution for the week. When I read the prompt -- car -- an idea immediately came into my head. So, instead of continuing with "Love Spells" this week, I jotted down this short little story. I hope you enjoy it.

Be sure to check out the rest of Tuesday's Tales! Just CLICK HERE.

In the Driver's Seat

Margaret Beaumont opened the door of the old Buick roadster and slid inside. She stared at the bewildering array of levers, knobs, and gauges spread out before her. For the first time in her life she was sitting in the driver’s seat. Her heart pounded. She struggled to catch her breath. She’d lived more than a half-century without learning to drive. A half century plus a decade! At age sixty, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

“I don’t think I’m ready for this.” She reached for the door and she probably would have bolted had her instructor not placed a hand on her arm.

“Don’t worry, Maggie. We’re not going driving quite yet. I just want you to get familiar with the car and the controls.” He smiled, and when she nodded, he leaned toward the driver’s side. “Horn,”he said, placing a big, callused hand on the center of the wheel. “Wipers. Lights. Fuel gauge." His voice droned on as he pointed from one gadget to the next.

How would she remember it all? And what about those pedals on the floor? Was she supposed to know how to work them, too? Sweat beaded on her forehead. She pressed a hand to her brow, worried that she might faint at any moment.

Closing her eyes, she tried to remember all the things George used to do before they set off on a trip to town. Her late husband had been a cautious fellow, always concerned for their safety on the road.

“What about the tires?” Margaret opened her eyes and turned toward the man in the passenger seat. Charley Fisher was more than her driving instructor. He’d been George’s best friend for thirty years, and he’d now become her greatest comfort and her source of strength. With George gone, she’d come to depend on Charley. “George always checked the tires,” she told him. “He checked something under the hood, too.”

“Oil. Water." He flashed her another smile. “I’ve already checked things out. The car’s in great shape. It’s ready to roll.”

“You’re sure? I mean, well, it is an old car."

"A classic. 1952. It was a good year."

"Yes, I suppose so." Margaret blushed. She'd been born in 1952. Did that make her a classic, too? "But it's been sitting in the garage for nearly two years. Ever since ..." Ever since George passed away. Margaret sighed. She’d come to terms with losing her husband, had adapted to widowhood as well as any woman could --except for one thing.

She couldn’t drive. Which meant she couldn’t go across town to visit the grandchildren without a harrowing taxi ride or hours wasted waiting at one bus stop or another. She couldn’t go into town to even pick up bread or milk without imposing on a neighbor, or calling Charley and asking for his help. He never seemed to mind. In fact, he said he enjoyed the company. He’d lost his wife ten years before, and he probably did get a little lonely.

Still, that didn’t give Margaret the right to inconvenience him, nor did it mean she should take advantage of his kind-hearted nature. That’s why she had to learn to drive. Even at her age, she could become one of those “independent” women, couldn't she? The sort who didn’t need a man around to solve every problem, a woman who could make her own way in the world. Or if not in the wide, wide world, at least across town once in a while.

“Trust me, Mags, the car is fine. It’s all legal, too. Tags are current, and --"

“What about insurance? There’s no coverage. I stopped paying the premiums when George died.”

Charley leaned back in his seat. “Actually, I’ve been keeping the insurance payments up even though nobody’s been driving this old roadster. It hasn’t cost much.” His gray eyes twinkled. “Guess George never told you that he signed the title over to me when he got sick.”

“He did what?”

“Signed the car over to me. Asked me to look after it, take care of it, you know.”

Margaret smiled. She could easily imagine her husband doing such a thing. He loved the old roadster. He knew, too, that she had no use for the fancy automobile.

“Why haven't you taken it? I mean, it's yours. You shouldn’t leave it sitting in my garage. You could be driving it, getting some use out of it.”

“What about you?” he asked. “There are places you want to go, things you want to do. It's not too late, Maggie." He reached out and placed a hand over hers. "I’m not just talking about driving, you know.”

She stared down at their wrinkled hands, mesmerized by the way his long fingers stroked hers, moving slowly back and forth. His touch felt warm and reassuring...but strangely exciting at the same time.

“I don’t understand,” she whispered. “What are you saying?”

“I’m talking about life. About two people who’ve found themselves alone now. Two people who’ve known each other for a long time. Two people who’ve come to care about each other.”

Margaret leaned back against the upholstered seat. George had taken very good care of this car. He'd loved it, cherished it. He’d taken very good care of her, too.

Now, the roadster belonged to Charley. He would cherish it as George had done. And what of her? Had Charley truly come to care for her? As much as she cared for him? She'd never dared admit her feelings until now -- not even to herself.

She closed her eyes. “Have you ever read about dreams, Charley?” She didn’t wait for him to answer. “Years ago, I bought a book about dream symbols. George thought it was all rather silly."

"Dreams do have meaning, I think."

"According to the book, if you dream about being in a car, it symbolizes going places in life, moving on, that sort of thing.”

“Might be some truth to that.”

“What’s really important, though, is who’s in the driver’s seat.”

“At the moment, that would be you.” His hand tightened over hers. “You’re in control, Maggie.”

She nodded. She was in the driver’s seat, and it was time now for her to move on. But not alone, not as some independent woman who had no need for others. She needed people, needed her children and grand-children, and most of all, she needed Charley in her life.

“I think I’m ready.” She drew in a deep breath. “It’s a little scary, Charley, but I want to learn to drive,” she said, opening her eyes and turning toward him. “I want to learn to live. Will you show me how?” As she spoke, each leaned toward the other. Their lips met in a tender, tentative kiss.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of, Maggie. We’ll take it slow,” he whispered.

She sighed. Being in the driver’s seat felt good. She could make choices, could determine the direction of her life. And Charley would always be at her side.

Margaret looked down at the seat. Even though the car was a classic, vintage 1952, George had been a stickler for safety. He'd installed all the necessary safety devices.

“Better fasten your seat belt,” she warned. A wicked grin spread across her face.

-- The End --

I hope you enjoyed this story. If you did, please leave a comment. And don't forget to check out the rest of the stories and excerpts in this week's "Tuesday's Tales". CLICK HERE to return.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Love Spells - Chapter 6

Welcome! For today's "Tuesday's Tale", I've posted another chapter of "Love Spells". If you're new to the story, you can find previous chapters here:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5


Chapter 6

“It wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked,” Ellie explained to Miranda the following morning. The two friends had taken their coffee out onto the balcony and were relaxing in deck chairs. “It scared the wits out of me, I’ll admit, but --“

“But how could you have been so careless?” Miranda huffed out a breath. “What were you doing lighting candles so close to the curtains?”

Earlier, before Miranda arrived for their usual Sunday brunch, Ellie had dismantled her altar and put away all evidence of her spell-casting. Miranda would never approve. Rather than face another lecture about David Cameron’s unworthiness, Ellie preferred to keep her desires for love -- and her rituals -- to herself.

Stefan Blackwell shared her secret, but no one else.

Ellie smiled, liking the thought of sharing something so deeply personal with the man from the magic shop. Stefan intrigued her.

“What’s wrong with lighting a candle now and then?” Ellie closed her eyes. “It brings me a feeling of peace.”

“Like meditation, you mean?” Miranda sighed. “I swear, I don’t know where you’ve picked up all these crazy ideas. Next, you’ll be doing yoga and chanting like a Buddhist monk.” She made a point to give Ellie an exaggerated eyeroll.

“And what if I do?” For some odd reason, Miranda’s negative attitudes rubbed Ellie the wrong way. Usually she listened to Miranda; most of the time, she even allowed herself to be influenced by her worldly friend’s opinions. But not this time. “I’m expanding my consciousness,” she said, parroting words Stefan had used the previous day. She wasn’t sure what the words meant, but saying them gave her a feeling of power.

Miranda stretched out her long legs, then swung them over the side of her deck chair. Slowly, she rose. She peered down her nose at Ellie. “This doesn’t have anything to do with David, does it?”

“No, of course not. David’s gone, and I’m moving on.” Ellie suspected the lie was written all over her face, but she staunchly folded her arms across her chest and dared Miranda to challenge her.

“Good.” Although Miranda did not look convinced, she offered no further argument. “Now, the important thing,” she went on, “is to get out, meet people, and start socializing again. Once you find someone new --“

Ellie cut her off with an agitated wave of her hand. “No. Don’t even think of fixing me up. No blind dates, no ladies’ night out. I’m not ready. I need a little time.”

“It’s been weeks, already. The sooner, the better.”

Ellie shook her head. “Don’t rush me. It’s like I told you yesterday, Miranda. I want to get to know myself, to learn more about who I am, to figure out what I really want and need.”

“There’s something you’re not telling me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Wanting to cut the conversation short before it veered in unwanted directions, Ellie swung her legs over the chair and straightened. “Did you want more coffee? Another pastry?” She gestured toward the open doorway that led back into her apartment.

“No, nothing more for me.” Miranda glanced at her watch. “I suppose I should get home and leave you to your self-discovery. Call me when you find yourself, all right?”

For a moment, Ellie remained silent, a dozen different thoughts flitting through her head. Was Miranda joking? Teasing? Taunting? Or was she being her own way? Ellie couldn’t be sure, and she didn’t know how to respond.

“Well, I --“ she began, but a heavy knock sounded at the front door, so loud and insistent that Ellie and Miranda both heard it clearly from the balcony outside.

“Expecting someone?” Miranda asked.

Ellie’s heart pounded. “No, no one.” She thought at once of her ritual. If she opened the door, would David be standing on the other side? With Miranda following on her heels, she hurried to answer.

“Hi, Ellie. I thought I’d stop by to check on you. Everything all right this morning?” Stefan Blackwell leaned against the doorframe. Dressed in faded denims and a loose T-shirt, he still exuded confidence and masculine energy.

She felt a tug at her arm. Suddenly Miranda was dragging her toward the kitchen. “I’ll be right back, Stefan,” she called. Once out of the man’s sight, she jerked her arm away from her friend’s grasp. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“You have been keeping something from me! Who is he? Where did you meet him? Tell me everything!”

“Not now. And it’s not what you think. I’ll explain later, all right?” Ellie left Miranda in the middle of the kitchen and returned to the doorway. “Sorry about that, Stefan. Would you like to come in?”

“No, that’s all right. You’re busy.”

“Not really. You’re more than welcome to come in. I’ve got coffee. And pastries.”

“I don’t do coffee, and sweets aren’t exactly my thing, either.” He grinned. “But thanks, anyway.” He reached into a back pocket. “I brought you something, Ellie. This might be a good way for you to begin your spiritual journey.” He handed her a small box. “Tarot cards,” he said.

Ellie stared at the colorful box. She’d seen different decks of cards at Stefan’s shop. The pictures had caught her interest. He must have noticed.

“What do I do with them?”

“There are instructions with the deck, if you want to read them. But mostly, for now, just look at them. Lay them out. Touch them. Think about what you see. Think about what you feel.”

Ellie nodded. She glanced over her shoulder, wondering if Miranda were listening. When she turned back, Stefan had disappeared from view. She heard his footsteps retreating down the wooden stairway of the apartment building.

With a sigh, she closed the door.

Miranda practically ran from the kitchen. “All right, tell me! Everything. He’s gorgeous!”

“It’s not what you think,” Ellie said again. “He’s --“

My friend.

My teacher.

My rescuer.

“He’s...what?” Miranda prompted.

Ellie grinned. “Sort of like my guru, I guess. He knows a lot of things. Eastern philosophies. New Age ideas. Spiritual practices.”

“Oh, I see. So, that’s why you’ve suddenly developed such a keen interest in meditation.” She raked Ellie with a knowing gaze.

“He gave me these.” Ellie held out the deck of cards. “Do you have any idea how to use them?”

Miranda drew back. Her face paled. “Ellie, those are dangerous!”

“Dangerous? They’re nothing but colorful pasteboard.”

“They’re the devil’s picturebook. That’s what they’re called.” She reached out and took hold of Ellie’s shoulders. “That man may be handsome, but don’t trust him. He could very well be the devil himself.” She shuddered. “As for those cards, I’d suggest you burn them.”

Visions of Stefan surrounded by flames crept from Ellie’s memory.

Her knees went weak as she recalled the raging fire, the billowing smoke. Stefan had stepped into the inferno, yet he’d not been burned. Once he’d put out the flames, there’d been virtually no damage...just a bit of soot, a few ashes, and the charred remains of her love spell for David.

What mysterious powers did Stefan Blackwell possess?

Perhaps she should be frightened, but Ellie wanted only to learn more.

“I’d like to be alone now,” she said, and even as she spoke the words, she heard something new and different in her voice. She walked toward the door, opened it, and turned to Miranda. “I’ll call you later.”

“All right. But be careful, Ellie. Burn those cards! And don’t let that devil get too close.”

She closed the door behind Miranda and clasped the cards to her chest, feeling the steady, rhythmic beating of her heart.

Whoever Stefan Blackwell was -- friend, teacher, rescuer, or devil -- he had a powerful effect upon her.

He’s shared his power with me.

Ellie glanced down at the deck of cards she held. Holding her breath, she tore the wrapping from the box and opened it. She closed her eyes and pulled a single card from the deck.

Listen to your intuition. Trust what the inner voice tells you.

With trembling hands, she turned the card over.

The devil stared back.