No Jacket, No Service

“Oh come on, Leo,” Jack said. “I’ve been patronizing this place for years and now you’re telling me you won’t seat me because I’m jacketless? What the hell, Leo? Are you trying to class this place up? I see your white linen tablecloths, the cheesy wall art you probably picked up at a flea market, and the faux marble columns you’ve added, but this having to wear a sport coat thing is a bridge too far, dammit.”

“Jack,” Leo said, trying to be as congenial as he could, “I know you’ve been a good customer, and I don’t mean to alarm you, but I need to do something to win the race against going bankrupt. And, unfortunately, Jack, that means I have to raise prices and I need to appeal to a new breed of customers who are willing to pay more to eat at a classier restaurant. And that means jackets are required. It’s just business, Jack, and it’s survival.”

“So you’re not going to seat me?” Jack asked.

“Okay, Jack,” Leo said, “I have a spare jacket in the back. I’ll let you borrow it tonight and I’ll set you up at a table in the rear by the kitchen. But next time, remember, no jacket, no service.”

Written for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One Word Challenge (patronize), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (jacketless), Ragtag Daily Prompt (art), My Vivid Blog (marble), Your Daily Word Prompt (congenial), Word of the Day Challenge (alarm), and The Daily Spur (race). Photo credit: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times.

The Forever Journey

“Let’s go over some of the details of your upcoming intergalactic journey, Mr. Andrews,” the woman behind the counter said. “First, because of the length and inherent risks of such a trip, we must receive payment in full up front. Installment payments are not accepted.”

Mr. Andrews grumbled, but nodded in the affirmative.

“As you can imagine, there’s no cellular, WiFi, or satellite service during the trip, so we can offer you an unconnected tablet computer or a loose leaf binder to record your thoughts and observations during the journey,” she said. “What is your preference?”

“I cannot believe that you’re able to offer intergalactic travel, but no outside world connectivity,” Mr. Andrews said. “That’s ridiculous. It’s barbaric. I’ll take the tablet.”

“Your obstinacy on this matter is regrettable, Mr. Andrews,” the woman said, “but the motivation for most who embark on this journey is to escape and to get away from it all. This lack of connectivity supports that escape from all the noise.” The woman got a gleam in her eye. “We are proud that our mission is produce an environment where our clients can let go of all that and can truly relax and find themselves.”

Mr. Andrews looked at his watch, looked around nervously, and said, “Fine, I’ll sign the damn papers.” The woman handed them to him, he signed them, and then asked where the departure gate was.

The woman smiled, pointed to her right, and said, “You’d better hurry, Mr. Andrews. The journey starts in ten minutes and I believe the police, who are looking for you, are on there way here. But if you hurry, you’ll disappear and they’ll never apprehend you.”

A few minutes later the police arrived. “Mr. Andrew is in the module, officers, ready to start his journey,” the woman said.

“Thank you, Donna,” Officer Krenshaw said. “He’s the third one just this week. How stupid are these guys to fall for the intergalactic escape entrapment? Won’t Mr. Andrews be surprised when he sees us walk into the module?”

Written for these daily prompts: E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (intergalactic), Fandango’s One Word Challenge (payment), My Vivid Blog (loose leaf), Word of the Day Challenge (obstinacy), The Daily Spur (motivation), Ragtag Daily Prompt (gleam), and Your Daily Word Prompt (produce).

The Mayoral Debate

“We’ve heard from our mayor, the incumbent. As a reminder, each candidate has been allotted two minutes for closing remarks,” the mayoral debate’s moderator said. “Now we’ll hear from the challenger.”

“Thank you, Dan,” the challenger said. “These are frenetic times, my friends. What we need in this town is incisive leadership, not someone, like my opponent, who has been halfhearted, at best, in the way he has run the city government. He represents a fringe faction of our citizens and in this election he will resort to almost any underhanded and possibly even illegal tactics to keep him and his cronies in positions of power, which would spell economic catastrophe for our fair city. I respectfully ask for you vote for me so that we can get our city back on track and start moving forward once again. Thank you.”

Written for these daily prompts: Your Daily Word Prompt (allot), Ragtag Daily Prompt (frenetic), Fandango’s One Word Challenge (incisive), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (halfhearted), Word of the Day Challenge (faction), The Daily Spur (resort), and My Vivid Blog (almost).

The Man Behind the Scenes

Ghostwriting? Why would you want to be a ghostwriter?” Dean’s father asked. “You do all the work and someone else gets all the credit.”

Dean knew this conversation was going to be a tough one. His father was a well known TV news anchor and was hoping his son would follow in his footsteps.

“Dad, you just sit in front of the camera and read what other people have written for you,” Dean said. “Your success depends upon what those writers put in front of you to read on the air. They are your ghostwriters.”

“First of all, Dean,” Lawrence said, “I don’t just sit in front of the camera and read their words. I bring their words to life. I animate them. I give them depth, dimension, personality. Second of all, I’m the face of those words. I’m the name everyone knows. Nobody knows their names. They’re anonymous, they’re interchangeable parts. Is that what you want to be, an anonymous interchangeable part. Clearly I’ve been too lenient in how I raised you.”

“You don’t know me at all, Dad,” Dean said. “I’m like a stranger to you. I don’t need to be in the limelight. I don’t mind being behind the scenes. And you know what, Dad? I’m a great technical writer, but I’m not the creative type. I’m not the idea type. So,” Dean continued, a gleam in his eye, “by functioning as a ghostwriter, I’m playing to my strengths and helping others who have the gift of creativity to achieve their goals.”

“Dean, you are not an insubstantial young man,” Lawrence said, “but the low bar you’re setting for yourself is going to put me on a slab in the mausoleum before my time.”

“Well don’t you worry, Dad,” Dean said. “Should that happen, it will be only fitting for me to write your obituary, since I’m a ghostwriter and you’ll be a ghost.”

Written for these daily prompts: E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (ghostwriting), My Vivid Blog (conversation), Your Daily Word Prompt (lenient), Ragtag Daily Prompt (stranger), Word of the Day Challenge (gleam), Fandango’s One Word Challenge (insubstantial), and The Daily Spur (slab).

His Day in Court

Gary felt as if he were free-falling, heading straight for the sidewalk below him when he awoke from his nightmare just before he splattered all over the concrete.

He sat up in bed, his sheets soaked by his sweat. He got up and went to his bathroom to wash his face with cold water and to get his bearings. Today was his day in court, and Gary was facing charges for having hatched an intricate scheme to take money from his gullible older clients by claiming he was an aficionado in the area of valuable antiquities.

Unfortunately, in some seemingly arbitrary case of bad luck, one of Gary’s victims happened to be a true expert in antiques and quickly realized that he and Gary’s other elderly clients had been duped. The man called the authorities and Gary was arrested.

Gary was out on bail, but as he stood in the bathroom looking at his reflection in the mirror, he sensed that his dream was a portend of what would happen during the trial.

Written for these daily prompts: E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (free-fall), Your Daily Word Prompt (concrete), The Daily Spur (bathroom), Ragtag Daily Prompt (intricate), Fandango’s One Word Challenge (aficionado), and Word of the Day Challenge (arbitrary).