I generally choose my own prompts for Story A Day May. This year, I chose to use prompts strewn about my blog by Pete Laberge, who has the kind of wild and woolly mind I enjoy. Since they’re all at my discretion and only to spark the story, I could chuck any of them any day. Although I came close to chucking them today, I settled for merely tweaking ’em good and hard. I also tweaked the geography of downtown Indy just a tad.
It All Depends
by Marian Allen
The doors to the Downtown Kiwanis club to her right, the War Memorial to her left, she fiddled with her beads, half her mind on hope and half on tactics of withdrawal. It had been more than ten years since her last blind date; she could only imagine she’d agreed to this one out of lonely desperation.
She glanced at her watch often, as a courtesy to the curious. Ah, she imagined them thinking, she’s waiting for someone. Indianapolis was like that: metropolitan, but involved.
She was looking at her watch when a tenor voice said, “Billie? Billie Clinton?”
This was him, then. She looked up. And up.
He stuck out a hand even larger than hers. It was also clammier than hers.
“The same,” he said. “Mack Thompson. Friend of Sharon and Paul.”
They claimed to be glad to meet each other.
After a moment of awkward silence, she said, “Look. Sharon and Paul talked me into this, and I guess they talked you into it, too. Blind dates are hell. I remember that, now. So they wanted us to meet, and we met. Let’s spare ourselves some grief and call it done.”
She wished they were playing poker, because the unguarded relief on his face would have been insulting, if it hadn’t been so funny. He probably grinned and wiggled in his chair if he got a good hand.
Now he unclipped his fake tie and stuffed it in his pocket. “Thank God that’s over! Sharon’s little, but she’s an arm-twister.”
“Isn’t she? And Paul looks at you with those big brown puppy-dog eyes….”
Mack’s laugh rumbled so deeply, she could feel it through the sidewalk.
“Listen,” Mack said. “You like barbecue? There’s a great place just around the corner.”
She named the place.
“That’s it,” he said. “You know it?”
“I love it! What are we waiting for?”
He took her elbow, not guiding her, just making them a unit in the flow of foot traffic.
She took a chance, and said, “Thanks for not making a joke about my name.”
“Billie Clinton? That is kind of funny. I never met a girl named Billie before. I guess it’s short for something.”
“Wilhelmina. Some queen or other.”
“Oh, yeah? Cool! I vote and everything, but I don’t, like, dwell on politics.”
A perfect man. They do exist. Thank you, baby Jesus.
If things went well today, maybe next time she saw him she’d even wear her favorite little blue dress.
There might be a next time. Things might go well. It felt good to hope.
And here are the doors to the Indianapolis Downtown Kiwanis Club, courtesy of Google Maps.
In addition to Story A Day, this post has been part of Thursday Doors, a link-up hosted by Norm Frampton, photographer Extraordinaire. Visit Norm’s site, enjoy his wonderful photos, click on the blue frog link, and enter a world of doors.
MY PROMPTS TODAY: Bill Clinton, a Big Mac, and a speech at the Kiwanis Club