Near 500 words: TW goes home

Episode 15 of The Writer.

TW’s (aka The Writer) strategy had worked. TW suggested he might be having a mental breakdown. Dr. Hollings gave him a year‘s sabbatical at full salary. TW couldn’t believe his luck. And his sabbatical was to begin the next day.

First the appointment with Dr. Christine Baxter, then the sabbatical. TW was having a good day.

Sitting at his desk, staring at the computer screen, he got to thinking. Maybe he did have a nervous breakdown. Maybe he only dreamed he saw Sylvia standing in Timbuktu. Maybe he only thought he saw a white streak across the sky. Maybe he only imagined he passed out.

If he did imagine it, it was some vivid imagination he had. Then decided it was real.
He checked his email, answered a few that needed answwering, and shut down his computer. He reached into his drawer and grabbed several files and stuck  them in his briefcase. Every thing else was of no consequence.

“What’s going on?” Buddy said, coming up from behind TW.

“I’m taking a year-long sabbatical.”

“You are? But why?”

“I told Dr. Hollings I was having a mental breakdown. I needed to retire. He offered me the sabbatical instead.”

“Are you okay?”

“I have questions I need answers to.”

“Can I help?”

“Come to think of it. If I need you, will you take care of Cat?”

“Sure.

TW reached into his pocket and pulled out an extra set of keys. “These will get you into the house. Cat may be shy of you. Just come in and stick around until she gets used to you.”

The two shook hands. TW grabbed his briefcase and was off. He dropped off his desk keys with the receptionist, then stepped out into the afternoon. He went over to Human Resources to fill out the paperwork for the sabbatical. Since Dr. Hollings had contacted HR, everything went easy.

Twenty minutes later he pulled up into his driveway. He pulled out his house key to unlock the front door. The door was open a crack. He pushed it open and listened. No sound, not even of Cat.

“Did I leave the door open?” he whispered. He’d never done that before but it was possible. So many strange things happening lately. Maybe he’d been distracted.
His fingers tightened around his briefcase. Just in case someone was still in the house. The house was dark inside, except for the living room light he’d left on. He softly made his way into the kitchen. No one.

Then down the hall to his bedroom. No one. And no one under the bed or in the closet.
Next he checked his office and the bathroom. No one. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Nothing missing.

Then he realized Cat was hiding. Usually she greeted him. Maybe she had gotten out if he left the front door open.

He heard a meow and a scratching at the front door. He breathed a deep sigh of relief, walked to the front door and opened it.

Cat stood on the Welcome mat, looking up at him. Then he realized she was bleeding.

Near 500 words: A Halloween Story

Friendships had never been easy to come by for Jane. Then she met Eleanor Whitaker. It was a Wednesday and she was late for work. She barely caught the bus. The bus was already packed with only one seat left. That was beside a white haired elderly woman wearing a white cashmere sweater.

“Would you like to join me?” the woman suggested.

Jane nodded yes and took the seat. “I’m late for work,” she said, still trying to catch her breath.”

“I used to hate that. I lost a lot of jobs being late for work.” Jane wasn’t in the mood for talking. The woman was. “I don’t have to do that anymore. I’m retired.”

Jane looked at the woman. “Yes,” then she went back to what she was thinking. How she was going to have to finagle her way with her boss?

“You know what I finally did to prevent getting fired,” the woman said.

Not really curious but trying to shut her up, Jane shook her head and turned away from the woman.

“I cast a spell,” the woman said.

Now curious, Jane turned back to the woman. “Did it work?”

“Did it ever? And it was my first one too.”

Near 500 words: The Wisdom of Solomon

Boy stared at the photographs of the two women. One was a woman with nobility in everything he saw in the painting. The other was a peasant woman, the colors bright that she wore. They were his aunts. And they had been at war with one another.

Aunt Gwen was the noble one. Aunt Pan was the peasant one. Each wanted to offer him a life. Since his parents were dead, they went after each other like two generals fighting a war, planning their strategies.

Aunt Gwen brought in the troops by the hundreds, marching in battle formation. Her generals were veterans of the battlefields that were the courts. They knew all the ifs, ands, and buts, all the wherefores and whatevers. They brought in the tanks of the injunctions and the bombs that were the subpoenas.

Aunt Pan was a guerilla fighter, fighting on her home turf. She knew just how much she could get away with in the courts. She had only one lawyer but he was a good one. And he devoted his total attention to the war she fought. He was her son. And he became a lawyer for just this one thing. To win Boy’s custody.

The judge saw the women and realized there would be no end to this which would satisfy both women. He needed a solution that was best for the boy.

After a long, sleepless weekend, he finally saw his way through the haze. He walked into the court, rapped his gavel against the bench and ordered the two women to come forward. Not their lawyers but the two women.

“Ladies,” he said, as he glared down at the two aunts. “There is only one solution to this dilemma. This is my order. You will sell your two homes and buy a third. Then you will move into the new home. Once you have done this, you will receive the boy. Until you do this, the boy will be in my custody.”

Gwen had a well-I-never look on her face. Pan frowned.

“And you will live in that house with the boy until he turns eighteen. You can never take the boy to another country without the court’s permission. Anytime you wish to travel, you must travel together as a family. You will end this war or I will end it for you. Now, shake hands.”

He pounded the gavel on the bench. “It is so ordered.” Then Judge Solomon left his bench and went to his back office. There he called for the boy and took him home with him. Since he and his wife had no children of their own, they took much care of Boy. And they waited.

For two months, Aunt Gwen and Aunt Pan held their truce. They consulted with each other over the house they wanted. They found one. As they began the process to buy, they argued over who would sleep where and what furniture they would have and just about everything else.

They consulted their lawyers. The lawyers said the same thing. “Until you do this thing, the judge will not release the child to you. We have searched our law books and we have consulted about appeals. Nothing else will work. The judge giveth, the judge taketh away.”

So once a month the two women saw the boy. One could not see him without the other present.

So now Boy was eighteen. He was readying himself for college. And he was studying the two women on the wall of the judge’s hallway.

They were dead now. One night they had become so angry they crashed their cars into one another. Both were killed instantly.

Judge Solomon walked behind Boy, put both his hands on the Boy’s shoulders, and said, “Never forget these two women. They loved you so much they gave their lives for that love. In their own, strange ways. They were amazons and they fought fiercely for you. Would that they had laid down their war and declared a peace.”