Welcome to the Spot Writers. This week’s prompt is “no phone restaurant,” and today’s post comes to us from Cathy MacKenzie. Check out the youth anthology, OUT OF THE CAVE, recently published under her imprint, MacKenzie Publishing. Available on Amazon and Smashwords
The No-Phone Restaurant
by Cathy MacKenzie
Jill sipped the Merlot, hoping the wine wasn’t staining her teeth, and glanced at her watch. Seven forty-seven. Where was he?
Bruce had said he’d arrive by 7:00 p.m. Forty-seven minutes late. Was that any way to treat a blind date? A prospective blind date, she reminded herself, for if he never showed, there’d be no date.
She clenched her teeth. How had she forgotten her cell? What if he’d texted her—or, even worse, left a voice message? They’d conversed several times on the telephone, long conversations getting to know each other and decide whether to proceed further. After three weeks, they figured it was time to meet in person.
And now this.
Where was he? Had he been leading her on? Had he stood her up? Or had something drastic happened? Should she be feeling sorry for him, or should she be annoyed—mad, even?
If he hadn’t stood her up, something untoward must have happened. They’d had such a great rapport. No, he wouldn’t have stood her up.
She pulled her purse from beneath the table and rummaged inside for the scrap of paper. While in the car one night, when he’d first messaged her, she had written down his number. She never could remember numbers, not even from one screen to another. Luckily, she hadn’t thrown it out. Or had she?
No, there it was. She clutched the paper in her fingers and breathed deeply, staring at the number.
And then it hit her. “Oh no,” she mumbled. “I’m at the wrong restaurant.” How could she have made such an error?
She hoisted her purse over her shoulder and headed to the bar. “Where’s your pay phone?”
“Over there.” The bartender pointed to the far side of the restaurant where video lottery machines were lined up like pinball machines at a fairground. She supposed there wasn’t much difference between the two. Users of both expected to become instant winners. Was she in that group, expecting to become an instant winner at love?
When Jill reached the area, her stomach fell. The receiver had been ripped from the wall. She headed back to the bar. “It’s broke. Do you have a cell I could borrow?”
The bartender scratched his head and grimaced. “Lady, I’ve been scammed in the past. ‘Only a local call’ —no, it was a call to India. ‘Just let me use it for a sec’—nope, that character disappeared out the door.” He pointed to the exit.
Surely he jested. Who would do that? “But I’m trustworthy.”
He laughed. “Lady, that’s what they all say.”
Jill protested, “But I am. Truly.”
He laughed again before running the rag along the countertop.
“I need to make a call. It’s urgent.”
He stopped. “There’s a phone down the street, at Ace’s Pharmacy. If it’s still open.”
“Thanks.” Jill raced from the restaurant toward the drugstore, which as she had feared, was closed. She peered into the darkness and spied the payphone in the foyer. So close, yet so far. She sped to her car and home, where her cell lay on the kitchen counter where she had left it.
-Thanks for nothing- the text read. -Sorry I wasted my time on you-
Jill texted back. -Sorry, I was at the wrong restaurant. A no-phone restaurant. And I forgot my cell at home-
She stared at the screen, waiting for his reply.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
RC Bonitz: http://www.rcbonitz.com
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Tom Robson: https://robsonswritings.wordpress.com
Have you read The Spot Writers’ first book? Check out the just-released Remy’s Choice, a novella based on a story we wrote a while back. It’s available at Amazon for only $1.99 e-book and $5.99 print. Remy, just out of a relationship gone wrong, meets handsome Jeremy, the boy next door. Jeremy exudes an air of mystery, and he seems to be everything she’s looking for. While Remy allows herself to indulge in the idea of love at first site, she realizes she’s the girl next door according to her boss, Dr. Samuel Kendrick.