If you missed last week’s episode, you missed a great one. You can watch the replay here.
Jamie put her heart into today’s prompt, which is to use the following five words in your story: resolution, explosion, compete, lifestyle, fever. Enjoy, and make sure you reach out to her to let her know you want her to finish this story!
“I’ve got to test negative before they’ll let me return to work.” Gladys stood at the sink, stirring cream into a half dozen eggs, wondering if the bread had gone bad or if she was going to be able to serve toast to her guests.
“Are you going to tell them?” Clyde jerked his head to the right to indicate the guests asleep in the two spare bedrooms down the hallway.
“I told Sally. I figured, their her friends. If she wants to tell the rest of them, she can.”
“Quite a decision you’ve made,” Clyde sniffed.
“You tell them, then,” Gladys said, shrugging as she poured her eggs into the buttered pan. She began stirring them gently with the metal whisk, irritated that her plastic one had been dirtied the morning before and was not at hand for use, and that she had to whisk extra carefully to preserve the finish of her nonstick pan. The fact that it would only have taken her fifteen seconds to wash the plastic one was squashed in favor of holding a grudge against Sally’s friend, Barb, who’d been the one to dirty it while making the french toast the morning before.
“Some soggy toast it was, too,” Gladys thought bitterly, remembering how the entirety of the household had raved about it.
“I think you ought to tell them,” Clyde said. “All of them. They deserve to know they’ve been exposed.”
“I’m asymptomatic,” Gladys said, whisking more furiously in spite of herself. She hated when her husband tried to tell her what to do. Still, she had to admit the idea of keeping such information from the guests in her house being a bad idea had merit.
“I haven’t even spiked a fever.”
“You should tell them.”
“I’ll test again. I’ll keep testing until I get a negative.”
“That’s not a real solution, and you know it.”
The room fell into silence, save for the subtle hiss of the gas burner and the slight crackle of butter as the eggs neared completion. Grabbing a spatula from out of the drawer, Gladys gave a final scrape to the pan and plopped the eggs on a serving platter. They steamed. Gladys watched the vapors rise and thought about hopes and dreams and plans and how her life was but a vapor, and wished she had married someone who could understand those sorts of thoughts and could engage her on them.
She reached for a plate and set it on top of the eggs to keep them hot as she checked the bread. Still good. She felt the stick of butter on the counter.
She cursed and popped the stick into the microwave.
“Bad idea,” Clyde offered, and Gladys bit her lip to keep from responding. She wanted to say she knew what she was doing, and that she microwaved butter all the time to butter his blasted breakfast every workday for the past twenty five years.
But she didn’t.
It was one for the “keeping my resolutions” column.
She flipped the stick after five seconds and gave it another five then smiled satisfactorily at the perfectly softened results.
She popped four slices of bread into the toaster.
“Mind the settings,” Clyde offered from his seat.
Resolutions went out the window in an explosion of words.
“Why don’t you cook the breakfast?” She shrieked.
“Calm down,” Clyde said, rolling his eyes.
“Stop telling me what to do and I will,” Gladys snipped.
“Look, I just want you to do the right thing.”
“I’m not telling our guests my personal information just because you want me to!”
“What’s going on, guys?” A disheveled, slippered and peep-eyed Barb had scuffed silently into the room.
“Nothing,” Gladys said.
“If you say so,” Clyde responded.
“Well, good morning,” Barb chirpped.
“And good morning to you, early bird!”
Gladys wanted to spit watching the two of them chatter about current events and tv shows. When the room fell silent, she considered filling it with what she really thought of Sally and her friends and Barbs french toast. Instead, she said,
“I’ve made some eggs.”
TIME IS UP! SEE YOU ON THE PODCAST!!!
Thank you for tuning in to watch me write live! Catch the Christian Indie Writers’ Podcast at 10am Eastern to see/hear me read this piece LIVE! See you there!!!
Jamie Hershberger enjoys writing shorts (short fiction) under the pen name, J. R. Nichols. She is the creator and curator of www.writingshorts.net and the editor of The Writing Shorts Newsletter. Her flash fiction has won several contests and has been featured in two anthologies.