The “To-Do List w/a Twist” Writing Prompt Result from 8/27/13
I just had to make it to the dry cleaner’s before they closed. I headed down Church St,, crossed over Vanderbilt Ave, nearly collided with an idiot on a bicycle. “Hey, watch it!” I shouted at the non-helmet wearing man who turned right in front of me without any warning. A walker behind me slapped my rear bumper. “Hey you watch it,” she said, shouting at me angrily.
“Screw you!” I was much more impolite than that, but come on! Hitting my car like I’d misbehaved or was her child? “Touch my car again and it’ll be the last thing you do!”
I got to the dry cleaners a few minutes later, still shaking from my run-in with city people. Mr. Lee was just about to put the “Closed” sign on the door, but I barreled out of the car and begged him to open the door. He complied, but added, “Ms. Harris, we do close at 6.”
“I’m so sorry, I rushed here from work,” I said, digging in my pocket for the cleaners ticket and tossing $20 on the counter. This wasn’t my first time cutting it close to the closing time for Mr. Lee’s cleaners, but it was the earliest I had gotten there.
“It’s $10.50,” he said, handing me the small pile of suits and my own son’s Superman costume, an old Halloween costume he wore as his favorite pair of PJs.
He handed me the change and I tipped him $2. “What’s this for?” He asked, staring at the two sweaty bills in his palm.
“For staying open late and being patient with me. It’s been a rough day.”
He laid the bills back on the counter. “It’s OK. Please say hi to Greg for me.”
My heart sank. He hadn’t heard. I broke down in tears and Mr. Lee’s face changed to concern. “Ms. Harris? Are you OK?”
“My son is dead,” I said softly, fingering the Superman costume, which was still wrapped in the cleaners’ plastic. “I’m burying him in this.”
Mr. Lee reached across the counter and patted my hand. “I’m sorry, Ms. Harris. Did the cancer return?”
I nodded, choking back the memory of my little boy crying in the dark, in pain from the treatment. He had begged for me to help him, to ease his pain.
In what world was it OK that an innocent little boy dies while an ignorant man riding without a helmet and annoying, self-righteous woman who slaps a CAR in traffic live?
In my world, that’s where.
Mr. Lee returned the $20 bill to me and said, “It’s on the house. Please, if you need anything else…”
Back in my car, I sobbed into the Superman costume and looked up just in time for the non-helmeted bicyclist to zip into traffic – and then out of traffic so quickly two cars collided.
Author’s Note: This is a work of flash fiction. All work is copyrighted by the author. Want to use any part of it? Just ask!