Flash Fiction: Long Lines by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to the Spot Writers. We’ve all been waiting for the New Year, which is now upon us. And waiting is rarely the most fun topic to cover. For this prompt, we have to write a scene/story that’s whole premise is around waiting in a line.

Today’s post comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Check out her anthology, OUT OF THE CAVE, horror stories for 13+. Great for youth AND adults. Twenty-one stories by twenty-one authors. Available on Amazon and Smashwords. Makes a GREAT gift!

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Long Lines

by Cathy MacKenzie

My feet are killing me. I eye the line ahead of me that is so long I’m not sure how I’ll stand it—to use a pun, haha! Everyone leans against overflowing carts while I hold three small items in one hand. Surely everyone can see I’m without a basket or a cart. Isn’t there one Good Samaritan who will let me in?

It’s a new year, too. Has everyone’s joy and happiness and do-good-unto-others mantra vanished already? You’ve barely finished your turkey, I want to scream, but I don’t because I’m not the type of person who desires limelight—especially not bad limelight!

I live in obscurity. I didn’t even have to wonder, like those preoccupied posters on Facebook, how to defrost a 24-pound beast of fowl. Why would I cook a turkey for one? I don’t need a week’s worth of leftovers, except in my case leftovers would have equated to a month’s worth. I reconsider—no, the turkey would have lasted a couple of days at most. I would have trashed the turkey after two meals.

I shift, moving left to right, right to left. I rise on my tiptoes. Wiggle my toes. I take a quarter step forward, one inch backward. I brush against someone’s arm and bump another person’s boot, but they ignore me. My back kinks. One leg cramps. We’re barely moving toward destiny: the cash register.

Christmas is over. Why’s everyone shopping? Ah yes, gift certificates and gifts of cash are ablaze in their britches. Or they’re replacing abhorred gifts with items they’d much prefer.

Me, I received no gifts. Nary a one, but that has advantages. If I don’t receive, I don’t give. Life’s sometimes easier when you’re alone. You can do what you want, live as you like.

I get lonely often, though, and that’s when I head to the local Walmart and stand in line at the busiest times of the day. I enjoy people-watching. I also like to complain, but who can I complain to if I’m sitting home alone?

Of course, I’m not talking to these jokers, complaining or otherwise. It’s simply fun to pretend I know them, that I belong, that people are kinder than they look. To satisfy my gripes, I’ll purchase an object, mar it, and then march to Customer Service and let loose!

“Ma’am, I see you only have a couple of items. Would you like to go ahead?”

I catch my breath. What’s that? Someone talking to me? I focus on the male before me and then eye the chocolate bar, notepad, and pen I’m clutching. Would have been cheaper—and faster—had I gone to Buck Branch, but it’s not as busy as Walmart. Not nearly a bit.

I smile. “Thank you so much, kind sir.” He’s alone. I glimpse his naked left ring finger—that supposed declaration of eternal love—not that a ring-less finger means much nowadays. But you never know. After I manoeuver in front of him, I pat him on the arm and ask, “And how are you today?”

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The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco. www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/