Rated: E · Short Story · Comedy · #1074519
It was a day with the domino effect, a cascade of messes . . .
I tripped on my broken shoelace, the one with the piece dangling off the right side, which caused me to fall over the bucket of paint that my younger brother Charlie had left out so he could finish the fence.
Of course, while I was cleaning up that mess, the fancy pink suitcase, the empty one my sister had left in my garage until her next trip, got dribbled on. I knew my sister would be furious, but I hadn't done it on purpose, anymore than the screaming child from the neighbors next door who'd just moved in the day before meant to throw the baseball into my yard.
Yet it happened - the broken window, the screaming child, the suitcase with paint drizzlings in a pattern somewhat like a Picasso, the spilled bucket of barn-red paint oozing all over the sidewalk, and my shoelace, severed by age, but still long enough to trip me.
How was I to know that it was the domino effect -- a cascading series of events that sometimes seems unending while you're in them and merely laughable when they end?
Maybe if the police officer hadn't stopped by, maybe I'd just have called it a normal day . . . But when the policeman drove up in his shiny black car without a hint of white, I never expected bad to turn to funny, and then into the best day of my life.
Broken windows and crying children are more or less normal. And anyone can spill paint or fall. Even a Picasso suitcase is not that unbelievable. But when the cop told me that my older brother, Sammy, had promised that not only would I buy a ticket to the Policeman's Pancake Dinner that evening, but that I'd be there to flip flapjacks . . .
The day turned hazy. My eyes sprang mini leaks that threatened to wet my broken shoelace and my splattered pant-drip legs. Apparently I'd gotten some paint in them - my eyes, of course; there was no question about the pants; they were a blur of streaks and splotches.
Through my leaking eyes, I attempted to take note of both the way I looked, my hair falling down out of its ponytail, my shirt a traveling circus of red and the original blue, green, and gold plaid, but I was staring too hard because the cop standing there with the ticket in his hand had a really long nose - a regal nose one might say. and his golden brown eyes were examining me curiously, but with the friendliest manner. Then he smiled.
"Do you paint pictures or only jeans?" he asked.
He had lovely teeth -- perfectly straight ones displaying a grin that lit up the whole gray and gloomy day, and with his policeman's body of muscles, clothed in a handsome uniform - how could I not grin back in return (as I silently cursed my brother for no advance warning in his latest match-making attempt.)
Meanwhile, Daniel, Danny to his friends, was telling me how he'd be standing next to me at six-o'clock, managing the frying of both bacon and sausage.
I sighed. I didn't dare tell the guy I didn't know how to cook. (What had my brother gotten me into?) I reached into my pocket and pulled out a five. "Here," I said.
Daniel's eyes broke away from mine and sped to the bill. It was tipped in barn-red paint. He laughed and stretched out his hand.
You can tell a lot about a man from his hands. Daniel had manicured fingernails -- no, not sissy- manicured -- but evenly straight like he cared how he looked. His fingernails were clean, too -- always a nice thing to see.
The screaming boy from the neighbor's house next door apparently had a twin sister. Another ball came out of nowhere and lined up with the outstretched five-dollar-bill. The ball passed by, grabbed the bill, and took it flying. Of course both landed in the recently resurrected bucket of barn-red paint. Plop.
"That's how my day has gone so far," I said as the neighbor's daughter came running into the yard, accompanied by a Great Dane who immediately spied my cat and chased her up the maple tree.
"Where's my ball?" the girl demanded rudely as her dog sang an ugly melody at the bottom of my tree.
Do you know what the true test of a man is? It isn't his smile or his dimples, or even whether he has clean fingernails or not. It's how he reacts to crazy scenes.
Daniel passed with flying colors. He corralled the dog, which didn't bite him, scooped up the ball from inside the paint bucket, wiped it off on a slightly dirty rag found lying beside the bucket, handed the ball and the dog --which he'd just dragged away from its cat-barking -- to the little girl and firmly stated, "You were just about to say something to Miss Simms, weren't you?"
The rude girl mumbled something that sounded like "I'm sorry," then letting go of the dog, she sprinted back into her own yard. Luckily the Dane followed her.
Meanwhile, I was wiping my tear-filled eyes off with a clean section of my shirt.
"See you at six?" Daniel asked with another stomach-clenching, butterfly-of-anticipation smile.
"What about the five?" I asked. "I'm afraid I'll have to go inside to get another one."
Danny glanced up at the meowing cat and down at me."No sweat. This dinner's on me as long as you like bacon and sausage."
I nodded and tried not to think about what would happen when at six o'clock my flipped pancakes flopped. But, I didn't say anything.
Besides, Danny was already returning to his car and paused to smile at me with the most adorable dimples.
I sighed and headed for the house and a good clean up. On the way, I tripped over the cat, which had just bolted down from the tree. Of course I was positive my day was just about to change!
It was 1000 words -- but,
now with a couple of corrections,
the word count has risen to 1015.