This is a simple writing prompt that I used as I have been out of practice.
| THEY DID WHAT?
Chris tried to look busy after seeing from the hardware store window, that she was coming in. He knew that she would be talking his ear off about all the holiday events going on in town. Sheila Murry was infamous for driving the spirit too far for all occasions but was in overdrive through the holidays.
She entered the store sounding off the bell and Chris did not like that either. His boss refused to take it down because he thought his employees would ignore customers if they did not hear them come in. "Good morning! Chris are you here? I have a question for you." Sheila walked around through the aisles and found him.
"Hello, Sheila." He remained busy stalking the nuts and bolts into their bins.
"I know that you do not like to attend the Halloween Festivals, but I need to ask for you to please make a small effort to attend. You can just show up and stay a little while then leave." She waited for his answer.
Chris nodded his head. "Now Sheila you no that I don't care for all the costumes and ghost stories. I have things that need to be done and you know I have that other job now, so I just have no time
'Oh yes. I hear that you are trying to start up a business of your own. I think that is great, but I also think that it would help if you span yourself out a bit. Get to know more people in town for your own sake even." She rummaged through the nobs and handles that we are sorted into bins behind Chris.
"Would you cut me loose on an effort? I mean if I say, I will try?"
Sheila knew he was just trying to brush her off. She disliked him for that. He was always brushing her off. "That is going to be the best answer I get from you anyway. I am not asking you to believe in ghosts Chris, but I think you should start believing people if you want to do business with them."
"Okay, Shelia I will try. Is there something else I can do for you? Do you need help finding something?" He finished stocking his nuts and bolts.
"I am all set. Can you just ring me up for these nobs? I just refinished my bedroom furniture and want to replace the old nobs."
"Absolutely. Follow me." Chris led her to the cash draw at the counter and rang her up.
"Thank you, Sheila."
She walked toward the door and Chris began to relax. She turned before she exited the store. "Please, Chris?"
"Yes. I will try it." He began to think she may be correct about the people and doing business with them, but he was not going to tell her that. She would be there talking to him about it for the rest of the day.
As she left another person came into the store. He was an old man dressed as if he were still in the fifties. His eyes were squinty, and he did not look like the type to smile at all. "Hello, Sir. Can I help you with something?"
"I am hoping. You see young fellow; I am looking for a plumber. I have a backed-up toilet and would like someone to come take a look-see. The old man had a creepy and shaky voice that seemed to grow deeper as he spoke.
"As it happens, I am a plumber. I am not fully licensed yet, but I have finished school and am waiting to take the exam. I have been doing some work for some of the people here in town and if you don't mind, I need the practice."
"Well, yes. That seems fine. Can you come over to my house at six o'clock sharp tonight?"
Chris fumbled through the drawer behind the counter and found a note pad and a pencil. "I will be there. Can you just write your address down here?"
He watched the tremble in the old man's hand as he sketched out the address in print and placed the pencil down. He looked up at Chris. "Please try to be there before the festival begins. I do not like those little goblins, ghosts, and clowns knocking at my door."
Chris liked that about him. "I sure will be Sir."
The old man slowly turned and walked out of the store. Chris glanced at the pencil printed information on the pad.
Willard J. Marr
1463 Bleeker St
"Oh of course the haunted house." Chris nodded his head and agreed with himself that business is business and knew that he would be there.
While he cleaned up and shut down the store for the day, he thought that this would be a great opportunity to make Sheila believe he tried. He planned on going Straight to Mr. Marr's and doing the best job he knew how to do, but then he would take a short cut down Comp Rd off Bleeker St. He could walk the main street where she would surely spot him.
Chris decided to leave his car in the lot a walked to Bleeker St. only a block away. He arrived at the house and stood looking at it. He would be expected in five minutes. The house was old and in need of some repairs and paint. He could not even tell the color as it was peeling and so faded. "Dirty old and maybe white in a past life?"
He knocked on the door and waited. A scuffle from inside came toward the door. Perhaps Mr. Marr had already put his slippers on. The door locks clicked, and the doorknob turned slowly. And the door creaked perfectly to fit the house rumors of hauntings which Chris had already disbarred as he grew up hearing about them.
He was surprised to see a young lady about his age. She wore a pair of black shorts and a spaghetti strap tank top as though it were not the fall season in New England. "Hello."
He struggled to keep his eyes from falling to where they did not belong but failed. He cleared his throat and spoke. "Hi. I am Chris. Mr. Marr has asked me to check on his broken toilet."
She was sweet and calm. Not at all what he thought of her. "Hi, Chris. I am Lorna Mr. Marr is my grandfather. Please come in."
He stepped in and she closed the door and locked both the deadbolt and the doorknob. He thought it to be strange but still struggling he let it go. She waved at him to follow her. He did and again he struggled to keep his eyes appropriately focused. They entered a room that appeared to be a make-shift library and saw Mr. Marr sitting in his chair at a desk. A small lamp lit enough space that he was barely visible. The old man adjust himself in his seat and told Chris to have a seat. "Well if it is alright with you, I would like to begin Sir."
Lorna now spoke. "Do you still think you are here for a broken toilet?"
Chris turned to look at her. "Am I not?"
He turned to look back at Mr. Marr. He was gone.
Loretta Lynn Smart