The Dumbbells

I’ve been trying to figure out how to keep this short story in present tense (somewhat, at least), while being able to move through time rather quickly in parts. This is all new to me, so don’t judge. Anyway, I came up with what I thought was the perfect plan for this one – which is kind of in a diary format. Kind of.

Anyway, I’m going to keep the older portions running below so I can see how the story moves backwards. In time that might need to change. This one might have basic illustrations (like below) due to time restraints and my desire to rebel. Ha!

Also, I’m still using the Daily Spur’s word prompts, and today’s word is incident.

I’m super excited about this one and I hope you enjoy it!

June 14, 1974

It’s been three years since dad died, and mom said it was time to go through his things in the garage. I knew she meant “me,” because she doesn’t like to go in there. It makes her too sad. “That’s where the incident happened,” she always says. She calls it that because she doesn’t want to talk about how he died. Not to anyone. 

I had a pretty good donation pile going when I came across his old dumbbells. They were in bad shape, but nothing that a good scrub wouldn’t fix. The weights were another story. One of them was so heavy that I had to drag it across the floor. That’s when the garage started to smell like orange and vanilla, and I felt his shadow over me again.

“Let me help you with that son.” 

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I told you I’d see you tomorrow,” the old man laughed, “and I always keep my word.”

He helped me get the weights into the corner, and the boxes into my wagon, and we headed down 3rd Street toward the church’s donation center. 

“Mom said I can use part of the garage,” I told him. “I’m going to set up a pad, and maybe get one of those old benches, and I’m going to start lifting those weights.”

“That’ll do just fine,” he said with a smile.

June 13, 1974

The old man showed up just after Billy Clyde knocked me out. School let out early and it was too hot to take the bus. Burt, the driver, always sweats real bad, and on days like this he would stink to high heaven.

I was outside of Cassiel Park when I saw Billy catching up to me, so I made a beeline for the gate. I figured I could lose him by the horseshoe pit. There’s a small hole in the chain link fence, behind the bushes, and nobody else knows about it. Even if they did, most kids are too big to fit. If Billy followed me there, I could squeeze through and leave him in the dust.

My plan didn’t work though. Billy disappeared after I crossed the playground and I didn’t see him again until I was at the bridge. I don’t know how he got ahead of me, but he was right there, just waiting for me. There was no way for me to get past him, and I didn’t want to look stupid, so I put my head down and raced toward him just as fast as I could. Then everything went black.

Billy was gone when I woke up. My ears were ringing and my face was covered in dirt. The sun was so bright that I had to squint just to see. I closed them again, and started picking the grass burrs out of my hair when I felt his shadow over me, and the smell of orange and vanilla filled the air.

His voice was loud and deep. “Let me help you up son.”

All I could really see when I looked up was his big white beard. I made my way up his wrinkled face, and then his bright blue eyes came into focus. He had an old red fishing hat on with its strap hanging down past his shoulders. He helped me up and walked me to the gate just to make sure I got on my way, and then he waved and said the darndest thing.

“I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Idioms: Part II

The Conclusion

In case you missed it, here is Part I

Once in a blue moon things happen that surprise me. I figured there was a snowball’s chance in hell that he’d call. I mean, the kid was gorgeous and I was sure he had bigger fish to fry. So, imagine my surprise when the phone rang. I was on cloud nine.

I didn’t mince words either. I gave him my address and told him to come visit after work. It’d been a decade since I had dated, so I figured that ship had sailed. Needless to say I started feeling nervous, but I told myself to be cool… surely it’s like riding a bicycle. Things would all come back to me.

Well, when it rains it pours. The night was a disaster. Talk about the perfect storm. First, he showed up late, and I’m a real stickler about tardiness. He started sweet-talking me with excuses and apologies, and I told him that actions speak louder than words

We decided to call it a truce, and we sat down to get to know each other better. We had just met that morning, after all, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. After some excellent conversation, he leaned over and kissed me softly on the cheek.

“You’re a sweet lady,” he said. “You remind me of my mother.”

Well, that was the last straw. My face turned red, my head started spinning, and I knew the night was going down in flames. I guess it’s not all his fault, it takes two to tango after all. I should have known the age difference was too extreme. I don’t even know what I was thinking… your guess is as good as mine.

“Obviously you’re not playing with a full deck,” I cried. “You don’t say that to someone you’re about to sleep with! Besides… you can’t judge a book by its cover, you know.”

“Are you off your rocker? He squealed as he opened the door, “I just wanted to talk!” 

The door slammed, rattling the pictures in my hallway as they always do. And there I was, sitting alone in my living room, lit only by candlelight, feeling like a fool.

After a night like that, I was certain that I’d wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. But I actually started the day in a good mood and I know that every cloud has its silver lining.

I put my foot in the shallow end and took a chance. It wasn’t the best date I’ve ever had, but it was a blessing in disguise. You know how the old saying goes, “no pain, no gain.” It’s like exercising… the more you do it, the easier it gets. I’m not as afraid as I was before, and I sure as hell know that there are other fish in the sea. Next time I’ll just be sure to look before I leap.

And check his ID.

Anyway, I think the key in this dating thing is patience… 

Slow and steady wins the race, and good things come to those who wait.

Until next time,
Stay blessed!

My featured image for Part I was a bit of an afterthought, and not really original, so I decided to use one of my own illustrations for Part II. I post things on Facebook from time to time, and I had posted this one there – but I’ve never shared it on the blog. I thought it would be perfect for the conclusion of my story. Although I’m not real sure it’s concluded yet. I have piles of idioms left, and my protagonist has a lot of life left in her!

Honestly, this has been a REALLY fun writing experiment. I thought I would share a link to the site that lists a bunch of idioms, in case anyone is interested in some idiom fun. I will say that it got me thinking!

Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed!!

A Bunch of Idioms:

And Other Lies I Tell Myself


I’m not going to beat around the bush. It’s time to bite the bullet and get it out of my system.

To make a long story short… I was waiting in line at the grocery store this afternoon, minding my own business, and this old woman sneaks up behind me and yells “A penny for your thoughts!” 

She was barking up the wrong tree because pennies are my business. “A penny saved is a penny earned!” I shouted back at her. 

“Whoa, easy does it.” she exclaimed. “I was just trying to break the ice.”

I didn’t know what to say. I’d been feeling under the weather since morning, and to make matters worse, I was about to purchase a chicken that cost me an arm and a leg. I figured I’d better cut her some slack, because things tend to get out of hand quickly lately, what with the virus and all.

“Sorry,” I replied. “Please take it with a grain of salt. I’m just upset because I got out of the house late today, and you know what they say… the early bird gets the worm.”

Hang in there,” she said. “You didn’t miss the boat. You’re here now, and it’s better late than never!” 

“You can say that again,” I replied. “And another thing that gets me is that I can’t believe how expensive this chicken is!” 

As she rested her hand on my shopping cart to help keep her from tipping over, the old woman leaned in and whispered, “Oh honey… don’t cry over spilled milk. Besides, didn’t your momma tell you that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

I smiled and moved forward to set my items on the conveyor belt. As I reached for my eggs, the top came loose and the whole carton started to tumble. I hate the way they’re always cutting corners. Those egg cartons are so flimsy. I understand they’re trying to help the environment and all, but they need to go back to the drawing board. I mean, it’s not rocket science! 

Anyway, this handsome young bagging clerk came rushing around the cart, and would you believe that he managed to catch that carton in mid-air, just before it hit the ground? He was really on the ball!  

“Wow,” I said, batting my eyelashes in the most flirtatious manner, “That was a close call. Go figure, too, because normally I don’t put all of my eggs in one basket.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.” he said, winking as he grinned. 

I decided to do something at the drop of a hat. “Would you care to join me for brunch?” I asked. My face felt flush and I knew that I’d bitten off more than I could chew

“Oh, sorry ma’am,” he answered. “I’m working all night, but I’ll take a rain check.”

I decided to throw caution to the wind. Handing him my business card, I purposely brushed my hand against his. “The ball is in your court.

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun.

I need to hit the sack, but I’ll be back later to finish my story.

Until then,
Sleep tight!

To be continued…