Garden Party

Summer, Still-Life, Pitcher, Garden

Today seemed like a day when everything should have been perfect. The sun was blazing in one of those too blue romantic skies and there was a playfully teasing warm breeze. The urge to just get outside and soak it all in consumed me.

And that was when everything went wrong. I feel out of the bed, bashing my knees on the harsh carpet and after shaking that off, I slipped in the shower. My legs now red and slightly bruised, I ended up putting on crop jeans instead of my new sexy mini skirt. Taming my wild curling brown hair into an up do that some how made it looked like I didn’t care, followed.

Breakfast was another episode; the crumbly remains of cereal at the bottom of the box, gone off milk and a dirty spoon. Abandoning that, I got a breakfast snack bar and a glass of water and went outside in the garden. Hot yellow light poured over me, making me feel better. I sat on a very abandoned and lonely looking wooden deck chair in the middle of the lawn. Which thankfully, didn’t collapse on me, but groaned so much like my old great grandma, that I give up on it as soon as I had finished and went back inside.

Having no plans for this Sunday and caught by the unexpected weather, I decided to see who’d be up for a garden party. That was like my fourth fail of the morning. I selected a few people on my phone and sent them texts then whilst waiting excitedly, went through my friend lists online. I typed a few messages to people, a couple of friends I’d not seen in ages, an old ex, who I was still sort of in connect with, my hairdresser….Okay, that was an accident, but still, it didn’t matter.

Phone still in hand, I called up the note page and began listing things I’d need to do and buy. My mind hummed with this picture of a classy Sunday evening party. The men all around the small bbq, drinking beer and eyeing up the cooking food. The women clinking flute wine glasses, helping to bring out the salad and bread. The table! A huge wooden bench with a nice patterned cloth and center piece of flowers in a vase.

My phone beeped a texted and I picked it up. My ex had replied. Sorry, got a date tonight.  My heart fluttered then sank. A date?

With who? I texted back without even thinking.

You don’t know her. Meet online.

The words burned before me. I placed my phone down and wondered if it was too early to have a little drink. Shaking that idea away, I got another glass of water instead and thought about seeing if any of my neighbors were interested in coming over. Of course, I’d need to go and see them about borrowing some chairs anyway.

Getting  up, I noticed my black cat pad into the room back from his night time escapades. He meowed then jumped on the sunny window sill and watched the birds darting about the tree. Ignoring him too, I went into the hallway and slipped on my shoes. Going out, I tripped on the door frame and windmilled outside. Somehow steadying myself, I looked back trying to figure out what had happened.

Toeing the door frame, I pulled the door to and called on my first neighbor on the right. Rattling the gate, I saw her car was missing and wondered if she had taken her kids somewhere. Knocking on the door, my mind cast back and I wondered if a newly singled mother of three kids would want to come to my garden party. I hadn’t really tallied kids in….

No one answered the door. Turning, a tried the door next down, feeling more gigged as the whole street knew that a party loving girl lived there. I rang the door bell and waited. And waited. Finally, a bleary eyed, heavily beard and very naked man opened the door.

‘Yeah?’

‘Is Connie in?’ I asked, trying to look around him or anywhere else for that matter.

‘In the shower.’

‘Well…er…I’m having a small party later and I was wondering if I could borrow some garden chairs? I’ll call back later.’

I backed up, waved a little and scampered off.

With my cheeks still red, I made my way down the other side of the street with little luck. Going back home, I checked my phone and found a few people had replied with yes and two more had said they couldn’t make it. More notice next time, please. One had even added.

Pulling a face, I decided to go out and get some food. That would surely clear my head of Mr. Naked Beard Face. Grabbing my things, I head out and jump in my little car. It takes a few moments for the engine to start up, but then I’m off and stuck in traffic.

Staring out of the windscreen, I look at the long line of cars facing both ways. What’s happened? Some kind of emergency? Knowing, I’ll probably never know, I join the queue and make it twenty minutes to a normally five minute drive. The supermarket car park is packed too. Nabbing a space, which turns out to be a mother and baby, I jump out and hurry in before anyone notices my lack of child.

Cooling fans greet me with their whirling breeze and after collecting a trolley, I’m off in a mad cyclone of people and food. Did everyone decided to suddenly come here?  I grit my teeth at a screaming child and snatch up some chicken wings from under an old man’s nose. I throw in some burgers, sausages, chicken kebabs – which there’s never enough to go around of. Then I get some chicken drumsticks before remembering a vegan is coming. Sighing, I wonder into the fruit and veg and select a few things. How come a picky eater decided to come? What can I offer her?

I get some rice and a few other things, then hit the party section. They don’t have any pretty cloth table covers, but there’s plates and cups and cutlery. Loading those in, I avoid some chatting mothers, who are letting their kids play with balls in the toy section and make my way to the drinks. There’s too much choice. But I get some white wine and red, some mixers and some beer. Did I asked people to bring stuff?

I pull out my phone and check. Nope. Listing everyone up again, I send messages to that request and go to the tills.

‘Having a party?’ the depressed teenage girl behind the desk asks me.

‘Just a small one,’ I reply.

‘Looks like everyone else is too….’

‘The weather’s nice,’ I blurt and began packing.

‘I guess so…’

She fixes me with dark, having-seen-too-much eyes and scans my items. I hurry away, still feeling her gaze on me. I load the car and get in, having clocked someone waiting for my parking space crawling up. It’s too hot inside, so I opened the windows then sit off. Arriving home again, my cat is still on the window sill and if it wasn’t for his gently breathing, he’d be mistaken for being dead.

Getting sorted and ferrying everything from car to kitchen. I go into the living room and pick him up. He’s still alive and he gives me that look of oh my god did you just awake me? What are you thinking? What do you want? He tries to claw at me, but I carry him into the kitchen and place him outside. He sits looking rejected before trotting off.

I spend the rest of the day preparing and answering any messages that come through. Finally, everything is ready to go and someone knocks on the door. I hurry to answer it and find my neighbor Connie and Mr Naked Beard Face waiting for me.

‘Hi. Ken said you needed some chairs?’ Connie opens with.

I nodded, ‘I’m having a garden party.’

‘I could only spare four,’ she said pointing them out.

Ken is stood next to the stack of them, avoiding my eyes. Clearly he remembers what happened this morning.

‘That’s fine. Do you want to come in?’ I ask.

‘Sure, but we can’t stay long….’

I welcome them in and Connie directs Ken into the back garden.

A few moments later, some else arrives and the flow of people keeps coming. In my head, I begin to count and something tells me I didn’t invite this many…Wait, do I even know that guy with the Bon Jovi t-shirt?

I stare, trying to figure him out then someone taps me on the elbow and asks about food. As normal, some of the men have taken it upon themselves to show off their inner caveman and have got the bbq under way. It doesn’t take long to direct people to things then I’m back trying to find out more about my Bon Jovi fan interloper.

Checking all the rooms, I bump into Mr. Naked Beard Face coming out of the bathroom.

‘Sorry,’ I mumble.

‘About this morning…’ he starts.

‘No, it’s fine,’ I wave him away and check the bedrooms. No sign of interloper.

Out in the garden again the smell of smoking and cooking food hits me. I nibble at a muffin, eyeing my guests. Laughed rings in my ears and I turn to spot my hairdresser with Mr. B J Fan. Hurrying over, I butt into their conversation and get introduced to him as her boyfriend. Mystery solved.

Letting it go, I enjoy myself. The evening glows on and even though I didn’t get the picture perfect garden party I wanted, it seems to be going okay. Then of course the real partying breaks out and everyone seems to get drunk too fast. Loud music pours out my CD player, like a big finger pointing out the source of all noises. People sing and yell, someone starts throwing drinks about, there’s a queue for the bathroom. Midnight rocks up on the clock face and somehow I’m not drunk enough to come back to my senses and kick everyone out.

On the doorstep, Mr. Naked Beard Face, AKA Ken, turns to face me as Connie wobbles down the street clutching half a bottle of wine.

‘I’m sorry about this morning. I just got up and I didn’t think…’ he says.

‘It’s fine. It happens. You should go and help her,’ I nod over at Connie, who seems to have dropped her keys and is swearing loudly.

He stares at me, unsure about it then he turns and goes over to help her. I shoo the rest of the people out as taxis pull up and others do car shares with what I hope are sober drivers. I close the door and lean on it. My house smell of smoke, beer and sweaty bodies on a hot summer’s night.

I go into the living room, avoiding the mess and sink down onto the sofa. Someone has left their jacket on the arm chair and there’s a split cup of something pooling on the window sill. I shut my eyes. I drifted then the cat wakes me with a paw to my face. Hugging him, I take him upstairs and collapse on the bed, my dreams strangely full of necked beard men.

Home Comfort

Brown, Carton, Chips, Cholesterol, Cod, Delicious

There was just something comforting about coming home after a holiday and eating their favorite food despite everything else they had eaten whilst they had been traveling.

Too Soon

Angel, Cemetery, The Dead, The Tomb Of, Death, Funeral

Life was so brutal. That thought spiraled in my mind and sink deeper inside me, coming to rest in my heart. Someone put their hand on my shoulder, patting it and I felt a slight warmth through my thin white blouse. I couldn’t look up. I couldn’t stop staring at the silver and diamond topped band on my left hand.

My throat and mouth felt stuffed with cotton wool, almost as if I had eaten cotton candy that wasn’t melting. I swallowed, but it didn’t move. I placed my other hand over the ring. Breaking the contact, I rose my head and tried to thank whoever had patted me. They had all ready moved on though and were paying their respects.

Whilst I figured out who they were, my mum handed me another tissue. I took it without thinking and dabbed my eyes. So much for the waterproof makeup, my overflow of tears had vanquished all the packaging claims. I pressed the tissue to my face and took a few deep breaths.

Everything would be over too soon and this moment I was desperately clinging too and also praying it had never happened at the same time would end.

Just like him.

The Receptionist (Part 2)

Free stock photo of marketing, woman, apple, desk

Emily stayed behind her desk, though her body and mind were eager to get up and go. Pretending to type and look at paperwork, she kept her eyes on the door leading out. She heard the elevator, a few footsteps and passing voices before everything fell silent.

Stealing a last look around, she pulled out her tiny phone again and checked the messages. Nothing flashed on the phone. She closed it and grabbed her voice recorder instead.

‘I don’t think he’s coming back. Time to snoop around his office again. Maybe I can find out why he left,’ she whispered into the mic.

Switching it off and making sure it and the secret phone where in the small pockets of her jacket, she got up. Picking up two files that needed go on to his desk, she walked over and opened the door.

His office looked just like her work space did; spotless. The large glass desk dominated the room and the small white laptop on top was almost unnoticeable. There was a large fake green plant in the right corner next to a row of floor to ceiling windows. Thankfully, the blinds were closed. Two landscape paintings faced each other on the right and left walls, they looked old and expensive.

Emily placed the files on the desk and lifted the laptop. She turned it on with a tap of the screen, remembering seeing him do that once. She sat on his chair, feeling it cushion her back and behind straight away. She smoothed her skirt out and watched the laptop demand a password.

He fingers reached out then she paused. Of course, it would be passworded. She glanced around, pouting her lips, hoping she would spot something that would give her a clue to what the lock was. Her eyes landed on something on the floor she hadn’t noticed before.

Getting up, she walked over and picked it up. It was a napkin from a bar with a number penned on it. Wondering how it got there, she slipped it into her pocket. She walked back to the desk and the wired bin that was next to it.  Emily bent and looked through the scraps of paper and other rubbish.

If anyone comes in, just say you lost an earring, she reminded herself.

She found nothing of interested.Straightening, Emily heard the phone ringing on her desk. Sighing, she walked out and answered it.

‘It’s me. I forgot something,’ her new boss’s voice growled into her ear.

In the background, she could hear traffic and beeping car horns.

‘Oh?’ Emily answered.

‘There’s a paper file, a red one. Do you know where it is?’

‘Yes. I just put it on your desk,’ Emily gushed.

‘Get it and bring to this address,’ her boss uttered then sighed deeply.

Emily snatched up a pen and wrote it down. She nodded into the phone and said, ‘I’ll find someone to bring it to you, right now, sir.’

‘It’ll take you less time to walk there then it will to find someone! And bring my laptop too.’

The phone clicked off. Emily looked at it in her hand then placed it back down. Her mind spun, but she didn’t give it time to develop any of those thoughts. Going back into his office, she grab the red file and his laptop. She went back to her desk and slipped both into her large black fake leather handbag.

She pulled out her recorder, made a quick note then prepared to leave.

   To Be Continued…

The Receptionist

Free stock photo of marketing, woman, apple, desk

There was a reason Emily Jonesson played dumb as she stood behind the front desk, fluttering her fake eyelashes at her new boss. She smiled sexily, feeling the stickiness of the too thick pink lipstick in her mouth once again. To distracted her self, she twirled a bit of strawberry blond hair that had fallen at her throat.

She watched him closely, taking in the red of his fat cheeks, his thinning black hair and the fact that his bright blue tie wasn’t done up right. Emily  waited as the boss signed in, flung the cheap pen down and stormed off. The door slammed behind him and shouting drifted back to her.

Emily sank into the leather chair and watched through the frosted glass as her boss carried on arguing with someone who she couldn’t see, but was possibly on the phone to someone. Slowly, she picked up the phone next to her and connect it into his office. His shouting voice hit her ear and she listened as he demand a cancelling to some kind of order.

She held her breath and listened hard, but after a few more minutes realised that there was nothing interesting about that call. Hanging up again, she pulled a small voice record out of her black jacket pocket and began mumbling into it.

‘He takes a call at nine twenty, but it seems to be nothing more then a wrong order for printing paper and filing boxes. Seems to be normal. Everything is quiet so far.’

She turned the device off and slipped it back into her pocket. Looking at the computer screen was more, she fixed her boss’s appointments in her head and noticed that none of them seemed out of the ordinary. Scanning through the other programs she had open, her mind wander as to why her actual bosses thought this guy was up to something. Everything looked to be in order and above board.

Tabbing all the programs, she looked down at her diary, open next to the keyboard. The pages were filled with her neat handwriting telling her where and when she need to be. Slotting the pen in, she closed the sparkly pink book that looked more like a child’s play diary and sighed deeply.

‘Soon it’ll be over and I can give up this want to be beauty queen look.’

The door to the boss’s office crashed open and Emily jumped. Quickly, fixing a look of shock horror on her all ready looking shocked face, She stood up and lend over her computer. She watched him storm out, walk past her as if she wasn’t there and go out the other door to the corridor. It banged behind him and Emily felt the vibrations running through her legs.

Yanking out her voice recorder, she made a note about what had happened then pulled out her secret mobile phone and dialled the first of only two numbers that were stored in the tiny thing.

‘He just left,’ she whispered into her hand, ‘I don’t know where he’s going….He’s cleared his appointments for the whole day. I just got the notice now.’

Emily hung up and looked at disbelieve at the message box that had popped up on her screen. Maybe her bosses had been right about this guy after all?

To Be Continued…

 

All In The Mind

Dracula, Halloween, Vampire, Horror, Creepy, Scary

‘I worry,’ muttered the vampire sweet jar at the side of Aurora desk, ‘about her current state of mind.’

He flicked his red rimmed eyes to the left and right, spotting both the grey plushie cat and black sparkly beanie bat. Both were hidden under and in-between packets of sweets and chocolate.

‘Why?’ the bat squeaked, though he seemed to have no mouth to do so with.

‘Because,’ the vampire began then trailed off with a sigh.

The plushie cat was mumbling something underneath him and he had to slide over, so she could free herself. Moving back again, the sweets stored inside of his black plastic body rattled loudly. He watched the cat scrambling up a packet of gold dusted chocolate Easter eggs. She went to rest on a colouring book that was sticking out from the stack and started trying to nuzzle into her felt fur.

The vampire cleared his throat and began again, ‘because she has clearly lost it.’

‘Lost what?’ the bat questioned.

He flapped his too large wings uselessly about which resulted in him tumbling off a small cardboard box and hitting a large jar of felt tip pens.

The vampire rolled his eyes and watched the bat struggling to right himself before plopping next to the keyboard and Aurora’s fast moving fingers.

‘Her mind,’ the vampire repeated.

The bat looked at him, then the cat and finally Aurora.

‘I don’t understand,’ the bat called up to them, ‘she’s doing what she normally does at this time of day and look! There’s a new creation just waiting to be sewn next to her.’

The cat peered down, trying to look snotty, but her wobbly black line mouth made it look more like she was trying to hide a smile. The vampire joined her by looming over and was surprised to see a square of blue felt with a strange paper shape on top of it just above the keyboard.

‘What is that?’ he asked.

‘I don’t know…I think it has a curly tail and nose though,’ the bat answered back.

‘Can you all please be quiet?’ Aurora broke in.

Her bright green eyes landed on the group and her pale lips formed a strained frown line.

The vampire shrunk into the gold dappled flock curtain behind him, knocking over a box of fudge as he did so. The cat hissed and swung up to join him, landing on the chocolate eggs again. Whilst the bat turned his eyes upwards to the mountain of snacks and wondered how he was going to get back up there again.

Aurora groaned softly and picked up the bat. She placed him back on the stack next to a packet of mixed mints and the printer’s tray. She folded his wings in, but they flapped out again.

‘I’m not losing my mind,’ Aurora added, ‘it’s just the depression again.’

‘Is that why you’ve had the urges to sew?’ the bat asked, wishing she’d pick him up again. He had long forgotten what it felt like to be in her warm hands, having his fluffy fur rubbed.

‘A little. But I need to write this story first and submit it. Though I don’t know why I’m bothering,’ Aurora added with a shake of her head.

She turned back and began typing once more, her eyes darting from screen to keyboard. The words before her started to blur and tears filled her eyes before she could stop them.

‘Here,’ the vampire called, ‘have a lollypop.’

Aurora turned to him and picked up the plastic jar. She tipped him over, twisted off the lid at his base and pulled out a Halloween themed lollypop. Securing the lid, she placed him back, disturbing a packet of oat biscuits. Moving them to the side, she sat for a few moments whilst she opened the lolly and took a few licks.

‘So what is it?’ the bat squealed.

‘A seahorse,’ Aurora replied, ‘I’m going to make it into a key ring for my new bag.’

‘But you all ready made a purple octopus,’ the bat pointed out.

‘I know, but I wanted a seahorse too and then there’s this…’

Aurora went to the other side of her desk and grabbed a plastic wallet. She shuffled through the papers then showed them a pattern for a felt mermaid doll.

‘She looks nice and summer like.’

‘I don’t like her…’ the vampire muttered, ‘can’t you make her more gothic?’

‘Maybe,’ Aurora said and put the papers down.

She popped the lolly into her mouth once more and looked at the computer screen for a few moments. The words typed up there didn’t seem to make sense any more.

‘Do you think it’s true?’ Aurora whispered as she looked over at the cat, ‘have a lost my mind?’

The vampire shot her a sad, fang flashing smile, ‘Yes. You’ve started giving us voices in your head again. We really are not really you know…Maybe you need to get some help? Perhaps before you start believing you headphones are trying to kill you again?’

Aurora sighed and got up from her computer desk. The room was silent but for a ticking clock. She picked up the bat, rubbing his fluffy fur against her cheek. Deep down she knew the vampire was right, just like he always was.

For Art

Scrapyard, Recycling, Dump, Garbage, Metal, Scrap Yard

Matt liked going to the scrap yard because he never knew what he was going to find. Parking his car in the carefully reserved spaces just outside the tall electrical wired topped gates, he got out and went in. A small box booth painted bright red to stand out against everything else sat just inside the fence, with a huge man balled up inside. Matt waved to him and clocked the scrap yard owner’s wave back before wandering in.

Towers of scrap and waste rose up around Matt like small mountains. Someone was trying hard to keep control of the towers being structured out of the same items, but it was an almost impossible task. The metal piles held abandoned cars, some looking crushed others just looking dumped where sticking out alongside white kitchen appliances which also mingled with other metal objects.

The smell was bad and Matt slipped on his cloth mask and gloves as he walked. The air was heavy with old oil, rusting metal, household waste and other rotting things. Following large paths that had been marked out of the cranes and other monster machines to follow, he approached a few of the piles and looked at the stuff on offer.

His mind rushed over all the things he could create and soon he had gathered a list of items. Finding a worker, which took a very long time, he got the young man to gather what he had picked it out and cart it back to the booth for the total and payment. He then got help arranging deliver and sent of home again.

Matt knew he always took too much home. Thinking about as he drove, he felt he couldn’t help it. Somehow, people’s unwanted items took on new forms under his hands and found so much joy in it. What had once been his hobby was now his way of life. A way of life selling recycled art.

Nature

Horse, Standard, Horses, Mane, Horseback Riding, Animal

There was just something so dramatic about the canvas photograph the made her stop and stare. She was late for a meeting all ready and the busy lunch time streets were making her made dash harder, but some reason she was now catching her breath in front of a small shop window.

She took in the photos details as the city moved around her. The two horses were locked in a battle on a beach. Their coats splattered with water and sand, though they didn’t seem to have noticed. There was something captivating about the black and white photo. It held a majestic beauty over her.

She went and brought it straight away. Adding for them to hold it for her till she could make it back. Then she hurried onto the street once more and bolted to her meeting.

Dandy

You were meant to make a wish by blowing away the seed pods. Instead, she swallowed them and lost her chance.

Nothing

Black And White, Night, Dark, Moon

She just wanted to vanish into the nothing, that way she could stop feeling all those heightened emotions. Laying back on the sofa, she let the heavy metal music pounding from the headphones fill her head. She drifted with the drums, the guitars and the lull of the singer’s screaming voice.

Swallowing tear after tear, she wondered if she would ever feel unbroken again.