They are renovating the building across the road of my local independent coffee shop for months. I hate the sterile, choreographed warmth of Starbucks – not to mention the coffee’s awful unless I pour obesity-inducing levels of sugar in. But watching the builders swing up and down the scaffolding like monkeys, it takes me back. It reminds me I should call my brother – the brother who’s in a wheelchair because I made climb the scaffolding when we were kids and he fell.
Until I can return to my coffee shop without being reminded of my big sis failure, Starbuck it is.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I need a break. From everything. You’ve been gone how long? Only three weeks? Feels like three years.
Getting up in the mornings feels like raising myself from the dead. Waking the children in the mornings feels like failing to raise the dead. I’m exhausted by the time I’ve finished the school run. At work, I’m nothing but a shell pretending everything’s normal.
I admit: I don’t know how you did it for years. When you return, we’ll split the chores – promise, Lily!
Daft thing to say, but I’m too shaken for witty commentary. I can’t believe nobody got injured beyond a few cuts and bruises.
‘Not good,’ Kitty says. ‘Gotta be the understatement of the decade.’
She’s emerged from the shelter defiant and unwilling to show that she’s as frightened as the rest of the campers. Nothing slows Kitty down, though, not even a tornado that strikes with a five-minute warning at 5am in the morning. She gathers paper, wood and stones and builds a fire.
‘Skinny cow,’ the fat woman hisses. Getting out of the way of a huge bloke, I bumped into her chair. I feel the eyes of the other fatsos on me. A smile tugs on the corners of my mouth.
‘She didn’t even take sirup in her coffee,’ the barista faux-murmurs.
I didn’t go for the triple-chocolate brownie upsell, either. But I approve of the barista’s efforts. Poor sheep they can’t help themselves. They don’t know how food marketing works. I do. I run many successful campaigns.
I love watching fat people. Even when they call me a cow.
My fifth and final Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge post is inspired by the creepy chap on the left – this weeks photo prompt for FFfAW which, I’m sure, will inspire all sorts of scary Clown stories. Thank you Lynn for nominating me for the challenge – it’s been great fun.
And my final nomination to join the challenges goes to – YOU! Leave a comment to let me know you fancy the challenge. According to the rules, you are supposed to post a photo and a story (though the interpretation of story is broad: could be a poem, a short paragraph talking about the photo, fiction, non-fiction, whatever suits your blog…). You’ll also have to nominate another blogger to join the challenge in each post, but nomination doesn’t mean they have to join – it’s an invitation, really. So if you want to play, tell me.
Five Photos, Five Stories – Day 5: Fooled
‘Have you heard, guys? We’re getting new uniforms. Effective immediately, apparently they’re on the way,’ Jerry says.
I see through it straight away, but Belle buys it. She looks at the photo of the clown. The horror that grips her is written all over her face. She looks down at the sleek uniform she’s wearing, all black but for the slate-grey apron. She takes off her hipster glasses and daps at her eyes with a napkin.
She woke up feeling sore and exhausted. She needed a fix if she wanted to keep going.
Trouble was, the place looked a mess. She hoisted herself up from the makeshift bed. How was she to find her gear?
There. That box smelled promising . She tore it open. Inhaled the aroma. She filled the kettle, ground enough beans for a strong coffee. The smell filled the room. The smell of home. She took a sip. Yes, she could do this. She’d unpack, get this mess under control.
Next time she moved, though, she’d label her most important box ‘coffee paraphernalia’.