Laurie Hicks Game Night
It’s not easy watching over a retirement home for the diminished gods and goddesses of yore… but if you are going to hire someone for the job, choosing a seraphim with a flaming sword isn’t a bad idea.
Grumpy Old Gods Volume 2
The Grumpy Old Gods are back in this second installment of mythical fun. Join us for 13 new tales of deities that are retired, reborn, waning, or AWOL from their assigned posts as they hilariously navigate life, death, and everything in between.
LAURIE HICKS GAME NIGHT
About Laurie Hicks
By day, Laurie Hicks tracks down computers in her asset management job. But at night and on weekends, she becomes a create-o-holic. When she’s not creating fantasy stories out of thin air, she sews, embroiders, or does surprisingly accurate tarot readings. Laurie grew up in Cleveland, which helped develop her sense of humor. She resides in Kentuckiana now, subject to the whims of her two cats — the Lord and Mistress of the universe. They, in turn, suffer the addition of her husband. Though many people ask why she hopes to one day return to the birthplace of Rock and Roll.
A flash fiction story, written by Laurie Hicks.
Sometimes the unexpected will hold life-changing possibilities…
By Laurie Hicks
Edna Higginbotham settled herself on the park bench with today’s project. Her hands worked rhythmically while she peered through lidded eyes as people walked by. She didn’t know how other Catalysts saw possibilities, but to her they were brightly colored strings, heading from each person to their possible futures. Some strings glowed brighter than others – these were the ones she was most interested in.
As she scanned the possibilities, two brightly glowing yellow strings caught her attention. She caught one of them on her needles and began to build a design
Renee walked along the path, archive box of personal items in her arms. Her car was in a lot on the other side of the park, so she couldn’t help feeling she was on the Walk of Shame. It had been the worst day of her life. The absolute worst. Eyes brimming with unshed tears, she sniffled, then shook her head. She refused to cry. They shouldn’t have fired her – her idea had been sound. So sound in fact, that when that bitch Brenda presented it, their manager loved it. Yet she was the one who got fired!
She did all the right things – went to Human Resources, filed a complaint, submitted documentation to prove it was her idea. When HR pulled her, her manager, and bitch Brenda in for mediation, somehow Brenda ended up looking like the wronged party. In retrospect, maybe she shouldn’t have pitched that fit.
It was time to incorporate the other string. Edna’s needles snagged it, and a complementing design began to take place.
Renee’s thoughts were interrupted as she stumbled into someone, dropping the box. The lid came off and items tumbled across the ground. Biting back a curse, she knelt to pick up what was left of her job.
“I’m sorry; I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
Ignoring the woman who’d collided with her, Renee continued to pick up her stuff. She was afraid that if she said something, she would either yell at the woman or start crying. Or both.
“Let me help you.” The woman picked up a folder. “What’s this?” she asked.
Renee looked up. “Nothing,” she muttered. “An advertising idea. Garbage.”
“Why is it garbage?” The woman began flipping through the folder. “This is really good. I think…”
“It was stol…it doesn’t matter.” Renee stood up, putting the lid back on her box. “I’ve got to go.”
The woman put a hand on Renee’s arm, halting her. “It matters to you. Let me buy you a coffee so you can tell me about it.”
Renee shrugged off the woman’s hand and stood. “No thank you,” she mumbled and resumed walking.
A movement caught her eye and she glanced at the homeless woman knitting on the park bench.
Edna returned Renee’s look, then returned her attention to knitting. This was what made the possibilities so interesting – when her subjects weren’t cooperative. She would introduce a new stitch; the story would change slightly but it was the outcome that was important.
Renee froze. “How…who…?” She turned, speechless.
The woman held out the folder. “You forgot this,” she said. “Your name’s on it.” Renee hesitated.
“If it makes you feel better, my name’s Anne Clark.” Renee reached for her folder, but the woman drew it back. “However, I wish you would reconsider my offer.”
Renee grabbed her file, determined to leave, but something stopped her. Maybe it was the look of desperation on the woman’s face. Maybe it was the fact that she had just been rejected, and now she was doing the same to a kind stranger. Maybe it was nothing more than the sound of knitting needles.
“Why?” she asked, albeit suspiciously.
“I’m in a bind, and from what I saw, I think you might be able to help.” At Renee’s dubious look, Anne flashed a reassuring smile. “Consider it a job interview.” She looked at the archive box in Renee’s arms.
She just wanted to go home and wallow in her misery, but this Anne was being persistent.
“Fine,” she said, trying not to sound sullen. “Just one cup.”
As they walked towards the coffee shop, she looked at the homeless woman one more time. The design seemed prettier now. In a moment of generosity, she put a five dollar bill into the can at the woman’s feet.
With a final twist of her needles, Edna finished off the section. Anne just opened an advertising firm, and Renee was very good at gauging what would sell best to a given demographic. All due to one perfect moment, they would one day become a top advertising firm in the city.
She returned her attention to the people around her. Possibility strings created a kaleidoscope of color, swirling with potential. Two glowing blue strings – one a jogger about to have a heart attack, one an off-duty police officer. By incorporating them into her design, the jogger’s children would grow up with a father. As she finished off the design, the darkness at the far end of the blue string faded. Without a father, one of the kids could grow up troubled, but now that possibility had dwindled.
Several hours later, Edna had created that one perfect moment and changed the lives of four more people. She glanced at the sun, calculating that she had time for one more. She unfocused her eyes, and two red strings began to glow. Grabbing them, she began to weave them into the final pattern but was interrupted by an exuberant puppy wanting pets.
“Ember! I’m sorry,” a young woman apologized. “She’s still a puppy.” Before Edna could answer, Ember lunged across the path, jumping happily on a man.
“I’m sorry.” This time the girl’s apology was directed to Ember’s latest victim.
“It’s fine, I like dogs,” the man said.
Their eyes met, and time slowed.
Edna finished off her work, smiling. Sometimes that one perfect moment took care of itself.