Suspicious Minds

Fiction & Illustration

Outside the theater, Scarlett strapped on her boot and hailed a cab. It wasn’t until she was back at the hotel, walking toward the elevator, that she noticed something irritating her toes. Once she was in her room, and able to take it off, she discovered a folded note inside.

Meet me at Chasen’s on Beverly Boulevard. Tomorrow night, 7:00 sharp. The Breast of Chicken Charlemagne is to die for. 



P.S. Leave the boots at home. 

Scarlett smiled. “Serendipity indeed,” she whispered. 

Sadly, the dinner date never happened. After shopping all day to find the perfect dress, Scarlett was restless. She was dressed and ready far too early, so she headed to Chasen’s an hour before the meeting time. She figured she could get a cocktail beforehand, which might help ease her nerves. 

While she ordered her dirty martini, Scarlett noticed that Charlie, her dinner date, was there and seated already. Before she could get up to go greet him, the mysterious man – the man from the theater, that is – walked over to his table.  

She knew instantly that it was the same man from the other night, because of his gloves and his arrogant demeanor. The man handed Charlie a vase of red rose buds – like the ones that he had held onto at the theater –  and just like the roses that she had left on the roadside, which she had chosen for her bouquet.   

“What’s the deal with these roses?” She thought to herself. “This is just too bizarre!”

Convinced that something sinister was up, that these roses had something to do with her escape from the nuptials, Scarlett found the back door near the ladies room and hailed a cab for the hotel.

Back at her room, Scarlett slammed the door and dove into the plush bed. She breathed in the scent of fresh linen and gazed through the window at the evening sky. 

“Am I going mad?” She asked herself.

That’s when it caught her eye. A vase on the table near the window had been filled with fresh flowers while she was gone. Red rose buds, to be exact.

In a panic, she texted her dear friend Hazel, the one person she trusted, the only one who had been privy to her plans to run out on George. Scarlett told her about the roses, and her suspicions that they had something to do with what she had done.

“Oh honey,” Hazel responded. “You’re being paranoid. I’m sure it’s just a weird coincidence.”

Scarlett, however, did not believe in coincidences. She set the phone on the nightstand, and dreamt of being back home.


Is Scarlett beginning to feel that the grass is not always greener on the other side? Is her guilt simply playing tricks with her mind? Or, as she suspects, is something far more sinister going on?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what tomorrow’s word brings. After last nights tale, I started thinking about something I was told before… that short stories should not be all rosy, cheery, rainbows and sprinkles. Ha!

If that is good advice, then it seemed to me that everything was going too well for Scarlett. So… there you have it. That’s not to say she won’t find a happy ending, it’s just that it has to be difficult to get there. Like life, I suppose.

The illustration was “meant” to be simple. It may look simple, but it was not. To make matters worse, I couldn’t figure out how to make night sky without using too much black or color, so I opted for a black moon. It’s kind of an evening sky in reverse.

One last thing before I sign off. I wanted something in my story to be authentic, so I searched for old famous restaurants in the Hollywood area. Chasen’s was apparently frequented by the stars – opening in the 1930s and closing in 1995.

Anyway, the Culinary Institute of America has info about it and an image of the old menu on their website. The price of the Breast of Chicken Charlemagne was a mere $4.75. And Filet Mignon was only $6.50!

Oh… where have all the good times gone.

That’s about all for tonight. I hope you enjoyed!

Until next time,
Peace & love my friend!

Word of the Day Challenge: Chicken


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