Tag: Warning

WARNING: Julie’s Flowers By Sally Madison

Word: WARNING
Words: 500

Julie’s Flowers
By Sally Madison
Julie’s stomach had turned and churned with excitement, anticipation and dread the first time she had seen her. Julie’s heart broke, as she could only have imagined what Millie’s life had been like. She had seen the posters. She knew what Millie looked like, but she couldn’t see a likeness to herself. Each day for two weeks, Julie followed the circus train to each city and laid flowers near Millie. Julie had chosen calla lilies, not roses, because she did not want to seem romantic, only loving.

This day, they were in Schenectady, NY and a terrific thunderstorm was brewing, but the show must go on, so the crowds were very thin. Julie had just entered the tent with her bouquet for her mother, when Millie spotted her. Millie’s eyes lit up when she saw her own image, from years ago, walk into the tent. Julie was holding the flowers close to her heart, as she locked eyes with her mother. Julie walked straight to Millie’s stage. “It’s you,” said Millie softly. … “Is it you? …But who else could you be.” … Millie’s mind was racing… it couldn’t be. …How could it be? …How could she find me? …No-one knew …but here she is. …It must be.” Millie rose and waddled to the stairs of the station, and descended carefully, one step at a time. The others in the side show tent starred at Millie, who had never used the front stairs before. Face to face Millie’s eyes filled with tears, Julie’s eyes filled with tears. They locked arms, crying softly. Not speaking, they walked slowly to Millie’s car.

Once inside they hugged again. Millie didn’t know where to start, so Julie began the narrative. “I was on vacation on Mackinaw Island when I met the woman who arranged my adoption. During the time our friendship developed, she confessed her part in the adoption. She knew your name and where you were from.”

“I went to St. Louis and researched the records and all the people who would remember you 25 years ago. I found Grandmother Margret. She is elderly, but still tries to manage the school for the blind. Grandmother had no warning of my existence, so when I walked in, she was shocked, having mistaken me for you. She knew nothing of the circumstance, when you did not return home from school. She had made inquiries, but no one responded.

Julie lowered her eyes and knew that the pain would get worse. Holding Millie’s hand tightly, Julie continued, “I also know the man who fathered me.” Millie’s face became distorted and her eyes widened with anger, and pain.

“But how did you locate me?” Millie wanted to know.

“I was leaving Grandmother Margret’s house, when her maid approached me. Once we were out of Grandmother’s hearing range, she had seen the circus, and recognized you. The circus had left town before she had a chance to speak to you. I have been following the circus ever since.”

WARNING: Givin’ You a Warning By B.A. Sarvey

Word: WARNING
Word Count 499
Givin’ You a Warning
By B.A. Sarvey

Who does he think he is? Calling me loser. Never amount to nothing. He’s the friggin’ dropout. He’s the one quittin’ school. Not me. 

Stuart slammed his locker shut. Kicked it for good measure. Started walking away then turned back, slammed his fist into the center of it. A shock-wave of pain, like a huge splinter of ice driving into his hand and all the way up his arm, hit back. Stuart leaned into the locker, forehead pressed against cool metal. Almost felt good, the jangling bones—but he hoped it wasn’t broken. Needed his hand for work after school. Needed the paycheck. Swelling and throbbing heat followed the stab of ice almost immediately. Sh*t. Better not be broken.
Nonchalantly, Stuart pushed away from the locker, looked left, right. No teachers. Good. If anyone questioned the dent in the locker, he could plead ignorance. Or maybe stupid. A couple girls watched from a nearby doorway, whispered, giggled behind their hands. “What are you lookin’ at!” he barked. They scurried away. A group of guys passing turned around at his shout. “What?” Stuart snarled. “Nothin’, man. Chill.”
Stuart, head down, cradled his arm, made his way along the hall to his classroom. “Can I go to the nurse?” Stuart’s teacher took in the swollen hand, the pained eyes. “What happened? Are you okay?” “Sure. Gym class.” She knew she wouldn’t get more information—or any truth—out of him, so she let him go. Stuart left the classroom, left the school, kept walking.
It was January but really warm—forty-two at least. The wind bit into his exposed ears just enough to get his attention, woke him out of mild shock. He pressed his arm harder against his stomach, trying to ease the ache in his gut. Stupid. What did it matter that Lucas called him a loser? Lucas would be gone tomorrow, gone to wherever drop-outs go. The only way Stuart would see him again was if he went to the Mall. But he couldn’t let the insult pass unanswered. Stuart had given fair warning. Told Lucas to shut-up or he would shut his mouth for him. Lucas had just looked at him, smirking. Then someone—Lucas?—called him a drug addict. Stuart lost it. That expression ‘seeing red’? It’s true. Intense anger creates like-a blood-haze in your vision. Words hurled back and forth in a verbal assault. ‘Would feel so good to ram my fist into his face,’ Stuart had thought. “Not worth it. He’s not worth it,” someone was saying. Then the bell had rung. Lucas swaggered out. Stuart let him go. Wasn’t worth it. Phone call home. Suspension. Worthless old man looking for any excuse to hit him—that’s what waited home.
Stuart stopped walking. Now what? Get kicked out for leaving? He turned around, headed back to school. What did Lucas know about his life, anyway? Guess he couldn’t judge Lucas, either. Maybe he didn’t have an old man, warning him to stay in school.

WARNING: The Best Laid Plans By Peg Scarano

Word: Warning
Word Count: 499

The Best Laid Plans
By Peg Scarano

There are some things you just cannot prepare for not matter how prepared you think you are. And we all know – the best laid plans always need a Plan B. If you don’t have one, make one!

A great Plan A for the withered and winter weary is to head south. An additional part of this plan that may not have been so great is to have your kitchen completely gutted and remodeled while you are gone. That means getting all cupboards and drawers emptied, the refrigerator totally cleaned out and all the accumulated niceties that found a home behind your stove and refrigerator over the last 28 years need to be evicted. Also, temporary shelter needs to found for everything that was removed and will return to the new kitchen. If you have never tried it, I really don’t recommend it as a fun thing to do. Add one more thing to these outlandish plans – your oldest daughter expecting her first baby – on February 7th … so they said.

So Plan A was to take our time emptying those cupboards and drawers and refrigerator because we sure didn’t want to have to search for kitchen utensils to cook with while we were still living at home – that was the beauty about having the job done while we were away, right? We were to leave home on February first and begin the traditional dancing in and out of our family’s lives for the next ten weeks – starting with the middle child who lives the furthest north; moving on to south Jersey when the oldest gives birth; on to Virginia to see #3; and then flying from there to Florida to waltz into my brother’s life for three weeks before turning around and doing the jig backwards.

With no warning, Plan A went to hell in a hand basket six days prior to schedule with a phone call from the oldest informing us she was in the hospital. Little Baby Boo had his own schedule and he was definitely the boss. OK – so we fall back to Plan B – of which there wasn’t one.
Poppy and Noni to-be, went into high gear and got sox days worth of things done in a day and a half and high-tailed it to New Jersey without looking back!

Henry Stone O’Connell arrived at 2:33 p.m., Sunday, January, 28th, weighing in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces. He immediately changed the lives of so many people I can’t even begin to count. He has a beautiful head of black hair, a complexion to die for and eyes that melt my very soul. No, there are some things you just cannot prepare for – a new life brought into this world by one of the strongest women I know who will be the best mother ever to her little son….That is until one of the other two bring a new life into this world – and then the competitive games will begin – yet again!

WARNING: Warning By Mike Cecconi

Word: WARNING
Word Count 492
Warning
By Mike Cecconi

His future mother-in-law called him “Jimmy”, even though his given name was James Sheng and nearly everyone since junior high just called him “Jim”. Qingzhao’s mother was a tiny tanned tin tyrant but she doled out the terror in her sometimes-subtle ways, she was letting “Jimmy” know how much she really thought of him.

Jim was fourth-generation San Franciscan, Qingzhao the first of her family born in The States, Jim had little connection with his roots except for that one high school summer he worked at a P.F. Chang’s in the mall and to her mother, it probably made him even less Chinese. At first, she was happy her daughter was at least dating within her ethnicity but she was deeply disappointed when she heard he’s given her a ring on one knee.

The only thing Qing’s mother respected about him was that he was working on his doctorate. Not in medicine or law as she would have preferred, but a PhD in 19th Century history from a school one tier below the Ivy League, it was something. It wasn’t much but it was the closest to a thing that counted. She’d even call him “Doctor Jimmy” if she was drunk and temporarily almost a nice person.

He’d spent years, long before they were engaged, trying to impress her mother even though he was far more connected with the first American Civil War than he would ever be with anything traditionally Chinese.

And then he stumbled onto information he thought would fix all his problems at once, accounts that the airplane had been invented in the then-Chinese region of Taipei, now Taiwan, thirty years before it had been invented in America. Despite this not being his focus in 19th century history, he changed his thesis to that topic and barreled forward in trying to prove it, to make his doctorate and name on it, to secure his place in his new family with it, everything. As much as an academic can be a man possessed in his fervency, so he was.

He should have seen the warnings, of course. The way it was all too good to be true, as those things are almost always false to some degree. His future mother-in-law had devoted years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to this hoax, specifically to ruin him. A few months before he was to defend his thesis, it all came out and the best he got from the school was getting to start over, years of work again, with his earlier idea.

The first airplane had flown in America, not Taiwan, his mother-in-law was jailed for fraud and he’d have to start over again. But to her last, his wife stood by him to the end. The day that her mother went to jail, in the courtroom Qingzhao just whispered to her now-husband:

“You know that I love you, James, Wright or Wong.”

And she did. And she always would, which counts for something. Wright or Wong.

WARNING: No Warning By Sharon Collins

Word: Warning
Word Count 499

No Warning
By Sharon Collins

Sister journeys away from me more often of late. She is gone again tonight. I fear she seeks to leave me. I will miss my beautiful, white she-wolf if she does leave, as I need her far more now than she needs me. Long past are the nights when I curled around her, keeping her little puppy bones warm. Now full-grown, she sleeps curled at my back instead. How our lives have changed. Besides sharing her warmth, Sister shares her food. Mid-way though the days of the early-dark, she decided food from the sea was not only smelly, it was not nearly as tasty as the rabbits she could hunt at the forest’s edge. Thanks to Sister, many rabbits have given their meat to our bellies and their white fur to my sewing tool. Tonight I lie beneath a cape of white rabbit rubbing my favorite yellow-bright back forth against its soft fur, sending bits of fire dancing into the dark. Lonesome, I stare at the sky and wonder if the moon is lonesome too, but decide not. The honking-birds that return with the long-days are keeping her company tonight. I asked the Wise-man once if they flew all the way to the foot of the Endless Ice. He said it was not necessary for a girl to know such things. But I wished to know…I always wish to know.

Without warning, my wishing vanishes as the floor of our cave begins to shiver like a live thing. I try to stand, and crash to my knees when the floor suddenly slants sideways scattering my bowl of yellow-brights toward the fire-pit and almost rolling me into it after them. The walls tremble and groan like a beast in great pain, and stones, shaken loose tumble toward me. One strikes my head and the last I see is a yellow-bright melt and puddle like honey.

I wake to a sound I have never heard before, a low, rumbling hiss. Scrambling to the cave’s mouth, I cry out for Sister. I do not know if I am angry or grateful she is gone this night, for the sight before my eyes terrifies me. The sea is gone. Far below, where there should be water and waves, there is nothing but empty sand, dark and damp in the cold moonlight. I sense this is very wrong and for the first time in a very long time, I do not wish to know why. In the distance, there is movement. The hissing rumble becomes a roar. I cover my ears but do not cover my eyes as I cannot believe what I see. A wall of water races toward me, getting bigger with each frantic beat of my heart. I am sure I am screaming as the towering wave slams into the cliffside, but I cannot hear myself over the grinding and groaning of water pounding on stone as the flood rises to within an arm’s-length of the ledge where I kneel.

WARNING: Initiation By Sam McManus

Word: Warning
Word Count 500
Initiation
By Sam McManus
The trick is to keep breathing, to inhale and exhale in perfect rhythm, just like when making out with the CPR dummy in order to get that ever elusive first aid certification. But that’s hard to do when she keeps watching me for signs of distress, for a chance to say “I told you so,” because I know she wants to, even though my cheeks are on fire and I’m flat on my back. It’s hard to look casual when you feel like you’re being asphyxiated. “Warning: look away from the dummy,” the sign on my back should read as I walk down the street on my way back home. If I ever get up off this floor, that is.
She hovers above me like an angel, a sadistic angel, waiting for me to slip up, to cough, or to admit defeat in some other subtle way, so I’m just trying to breathe as normally as I can. Damn that ghost pepper. Damn this need to be accepted by the cool kids. Wasn’t that supposed to stop being a thing after high school? Well, here I am at forty-five, still wanting to fit in, still flat on my back trying not to hack up a lung in front of the most beautiful woman I’ve seen this month. Maybe I need to go back to my shrink, but I still owe him money. And all he’ll tell me is what I already know – I need to accept myself as I am, or no one else will.
“You’re going to crack,” she says, before rising to her feet and practically skipping back to her cubicle.
Lunch is over, I realize, and I know if I stay in place this will turn into even more of a “thing” so I scramble to my feet, looking not unlike a crab scuttling away from the chef at Red Lobster. I almost make it completely upright before I crack. Before I can stop myself, my mouth opens and the largest belch ever comes unbidden to my lips, exploding into the open air of the office like a cannonball headed for the Alamo. As the echo of the sound has finally begun to fade, I’m frantically glancing around, from cubicle to cubicle, praying that no one heard my shame.
“Told you so!” she says, from behind me, a sneak attack. She had apparently circled back around from her cubicle to mine, stealthily, like a ninja. “Put up or shut up, Thompson,” she says, dissolving into gales of laughter again. Her laugh is a tinkling cymbal, but at the moment I just want to shove a pepper in her mouth to shut her up.
It’s not supposed to be like this, not for me, not at this point in my life, not this cubicle, not this initiation type behavior. I sigh and fish five bucks from my pants pocket, tossing it in her general direction. Then she is gone – for real this time – and I can finally exhale.