Supershort Stories #1: I Have a Cold Already

These supershort stories are simple exercises in creative writing, based on plots generated by Plot Generator 1.3 app by ARCAPPS for android. The stories are fictional, but some parts are true – I enjoy weaving my children’s lives into the story for the challenge and the fun. I also challenge myself to cover every detail in the plot, while keeping the story to three paragraphs, but this is a really tough challenge!

Plot 1: You are at a secluded cottage by a small lake. Someone manages to disgrace your reputation as a lawyer. You are feeling trapped. You are given a large bribe, and must choose to accept or decline.

I HAVE A COLD ALREADY

“Mom, I have a cold already!” I couldn’t help remembering so long ago when my then 5 year old daughter used this line to stay outside and play in the new fallen snow.

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I had insisted she go back inside before she catches a cold, and her logical answer stayed with me all my life.  I watched now from the huge picture window of my weekend rental cottage as the snow filtered down through the thick forest of pines, slowly draping the boughs and covering the small frozen lake. I felt a bit comforted, watching the snow erasing the day to a background of white. I had come here to escape the disaster engulfing me, but I felt it was probably too late. “Me too, Sweetie” I whispered aloud to the little girl in my memory, “I believe I have a cold already, too!”

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How many years of climbing legal ladders just melted like the snow falling on the smoking chimney. I worked so hard for this? It had seemed like the top of the ladder, landing the position at Jenkins, James and Associates. And now it doesn’t matter to anyone that my reputation was destroyed by a lying, conniving legal assistant still jealous of me since college. There it was, a tiny scrap of paper strategically lying in the path of the Vice President’s feet as he entered his office last Wednesday morning. It was a well made forgery, a photoshopped masterpiece appearing for all the firm like a check stub for two million dollars made payable to me from the Chief of Police, for whom I lately won an acquittal from a scandalous case of corruption. Shock, surprise, denial and drama erupted all around me, exploding my career and my life in mere moments. I remember running blindly from the building, driving home in speechless shock.

Time passed in a blur for me until Thursday evening, when my cellphone rang, disturbing my trance. No name, just a number displayed and the voice was not familiar. But he swore we were good friends long ago, and offered to pay me three million dollars for all the files on a case he knew my firm was handling. He wanted my reply on Sunday, and now here I am, watching the silent snow falling on Sunday morning. It would be easy enough, it’s my case and all the files are in my possession. “And I have a cold already!” I yelled angrily at the snow. I had prided myself that I couldn’t be ‘bought’ – I always protected my reputation so carefully. But nobody would believe that now, and I just wanted to run far away and hide. I heard my cellphone ringing through a daydream of sunshine on a quiet, hidden beach. “Hello?” I knew it was him. He spoke but I wasn’t listening. Two little faces smiled up at me from their sand castle and I recognized the little hidden beach with the park where I used to take my children to play so many long years ago.

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Tears welled up in my eyes and I felt my children were awaiting my reply, as the man repeated his request impatiently. “No, Sir,” I felt my confidence returning, “I will never compromise my firm or my reputation under any circumstances.” The man burst into laughter. “I told him so,” he declared with equal confidence. “This is William Jenkins, do you recognize me now?” My head spinned as I comprehended I was speaking with the President of the firm. “Mr. Jenkins?” I couldn’t think of any reply. “Yes, my Dear, I told James he was completely wrong about you, and you’ve proven I’m correct. Please report to my office first thing tomorrow and we’ll get to the bottom of all this. Don’t you worry another moment!”

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