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3: "Heartbreak." 2: "Go." 1: "Bend."

Assignment 3.  Another Stranger Comes to Town

I guess the quick line that was originally stuck in my brain was there for a reason:

   

Heartbreak.

Suddenly childless, the young woman closed the basket's lid, buried her face in her hands, and wept.

   

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Assignment 2.  Let's Go On An Adventure

    

Go.

Oh man, this is gonna suck.  Okay, breathe.  Hoo.  Hoo.  Hoo.

“Let’s go, dickhead!”

Alright, I’ve got this.  On the count of three.  One.  Two.  Three!

Shit!  Okay, seriously, on the count of three.  One.

“Come on, man!  What the HELL?!?!”

Two.  Here we go, here we go.

“Move your ass!”

Threeee!

    

DAMMIT!

    

    

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Assignment 1.  A Stranger Comes to Town

Need to get this one out of my brain, so that I can proceed with the real work:

Suddenly childless, she closed the basket's lid, buried her face in her hands, and wept.

Okay, now I can think.

    

======================

Waiting.

Ellen sat beneath a buzzing streetlight at the bus stop about a mile outside of town and checked her phone for the twentieth time that hour.  She didn’t expect to see anything new, but had developed this nervous habit when she had nothing to do.  It was like her friend had once told her:  “There is no such thing as waiting any more.  There’s just ‘being forced to play with your iPhone.’”

She still wasn’t exactly sure what she was going to do when the bus arrived.  She had played through a million-and-one scenarios in her mind, and even though the time was approaching, she had not settled on a plan of action.  She was comfortable winging it in social situations, but at this late hour, there would be few distractions that she could riff with if the meeting turned awkward.

Her gurgling stomach seemed amplified on the quiet block, reverberating between the cracked asphalt and the shuttered face of the long-abandoned department store opposite her bench.  She picked absentmindedly at a soft pretzel, trying to temper the three shots of bourbon she downed in the parking lot an hour before with the cold dough.

The bus was behind schedule, which was really nothing new, especially for the long range express lines.  Her eyes darted to the right as the faint roar of an engine announced the presence of an oncoming vehicle still hidden behind the lush trees around the bend.  She began to rise until the faint sounds of George Jones on a tinny radio announced that this was a local.  She sat down quickly, a wave of relief rushing through her.  Traffic passed sporadically on this stretch of road, especially this late on a Tuesday night, and each one caused a similar false start and another knot in her twisted stomach.

She watched the rusted pickup pass, smiling to herself as the old-timer sang along tunelessly.  A pebble flung from the worn tires popped and skittered across the road, landing in the brush behind her.  The truck wound around the trees to her left, up the hill, and was gone.  The music faded around the corner.

Crickets chirped.  

Ellen closed her eyes, buried her hands into her denim jacket, turned her face to the sky and drew in a deep breath.  

In this quiet, she heard it.  The unmistakable roar of the bus, gears grating, breaks hissing as it slithered along the road behind her.  

She opened her eyes, exhaled, and swung to the right.

She’d be front-page news in a week, but tonight, alone at this rural bus stop, she was just a girl about to meet a pen pal.

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