Number Two

1C7B1692-B890-4987-9F7F-07690554C869You’re with your friends and you feel a dump coming on. How do you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom? Do you just stand up, say “excuse me,” and leave the room? Or do you have another way of announcing that you need to heed nature’s call?

My go-to expression is to say “I need to see a man about a horse.” I know that makes no sense, but that’s my signal to everyone that it’s, um, pony time? I might also announce that “it’s time for my mid-morning sit down.” Or mid-afternoon or whatever time of day it happens to be.

My other, more 21st century expression is “I need to go check the latest news,” since I never have my sit downs anymore without bringing my iPhone with me. I’ll stay there, seated and reading my iPhone, until my butt cheeks start to tingle.

My son usually tells us that “the buffaloes are at the gate.” My wife and daughter, however, make no announcements. They just stand up and disappear for a few minutes and then return, seemingly no one else the wiser (or so they hope).

So what about you? When in the company of others and the need to use the bathroom hits you, do you just get up and leave the room for a few minutes, or do you somehow announce your departure? If so, what do you typically say? And be honest — do you take your smartphone with you? Or a book or magazine?

Inquiring minds want to know.

 

Time To Write — Tall Tales

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“I’m sick to death of the way you’re always making things up, Michael,” his mother scolded her son. “Don’t you know that you should always tell the truth and never lie.”

“Helen,” Michael’s father interrupted, “cut the kid some slack. He’s just got a vivid imagination, is all.”

“George,” Helen said, “I can’t believe you’re defending him. He’s always telling these tall tales and I never know whether to believe him or not.”

“Let me handle this, Helen,” George said to his wife. Then he turned to Michael and said, “How old are you now, son?”

“I’m twelve, Dad,” Michael said. “You know that.”

“And for a twelve year old boy, you’ve got quite a wonderful talent,” George said. “You, Michael, are a natural born storyteller. You weave such interesting tales and you tell them so very well.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Michael said, beaming.

“I have a suggestion,” George said. “You have such a flare for telling stories that I think you should start writing your stories down in a notebook. Be creative, son. Exercise your imagination. And then, when you’ve written a few stories, you can read them out loud to your mother and me. Maybe someday some of the stories you write might even be published in a magazine or a book.”

“Really, Dad?” Michael said excitedly. “I would love that.”

“But there’s one catch, Michael,” George said. “You can make up and write all the stories you can think of in your notebook. But when your mother or I ask you questions, you must always tell us the truth. No making things up. You only make things up for the stories you write in your notebook. So, do we have a deal, Michael?”

“Yes, we have a deal,” Michael said, and then he ran over and hugged his father.

“Great,” George said. “Now go be the fantastic storyteller that I know you can be.”

“I’m gonna start writing my first story right now,” Michael said as he stood up and started running toward his bedroom.

But before Michael took two steps, George grabbed him by his arm and said, “First go hug your mother and tell her you love her.”


Written for Rachel Poli’s Time To Write prompt, where we’re asked to write a story about a storyteller.

New Job

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When Stacy walked through the door, her husband, Nick, could immediately sense that all was not well.

She went to hang her coat on the antique coat rack just inside the front door but she missed the hook and the coat fell to the floor. That’s when Stacy burst into tears.

Nick ran over to his wife and flung his arms around her. “I take it your first day on the new job didn’t go so well,” he said, hugging his wife.

Stacy finally got her sobbing under control. She leaned her head on Nick’s broad shoulder. “Actually, it was close to perfect. Even exceptional.”

“So are these tears of joy?” asked Nick.

“Not even close,” Stacy responded.

Nick ushered Stacy into the living room and motioned for her to sit on the couch. He sat down next to her. “Tell me what happened.”

“When I got there, the receptionist took me directly to the office of the editor-in-chief,” Stacy explained. “She couldn’t have been more warm and welcoming and told me how she was looking forward to having me on her staff.”

Stacy took a deep breath in an effort to regain her composure. “After talking for about a half hour, she personally gave me a tour around the editorial department. Everyone I met was so pleasant and friendly. She showed me to my workspace, gave me a list of assignments to work on, and explained how to access the rough drafts on the system.”

“That sounds great,” Nick said.

“It was,” Stacy responded. “I got right to work. I loved it. A few of the other copy editors asked me to join them for lunch, which I did. They are really nice, genuine people.”

“So…?”

Tears once again started streaming down Stacy’s cheeks. “At around 3:00, the owner of the magazine called everyone into the large conference room for an important announcement. That was when we all learned that the magazine had just been acquired by a large publishing conglomerate.”

“Oh wow,” Nick said.

“And that’s when they announced that our little magazine was going to cease production because it overlapped with one of their existing publications. Some of the writers and editors, they told us, would be offered positions at their other magazines.”

Stacy took a moment to compose herself before continuing. “But most of the staff, including me, of course, were let go. Effective immediately. Only those who had worked there for more than three months would receive severance.”

“Yikes,” said Nick, shaking his head.

“So today was my first and last day at my new job,” Stacy sighed.

“Exceptional,” said Nick.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “exceptional.”