"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

8/7/09

Friday Fiction: You Can Count On It


Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted by Stina at Scroll Bag. Make sure that you head over to her blog and link up with your own fiction. Or, if you just want to read some great fiction (ALWAYS great in my opinion!), head over to Christina's blog and check out the links there.
This is one of those rare stories that I actually DID NOT write for the Faithwriters' Writing Challenge. I actually wrote it for possible publication (which didn't happen). I think it's been a couple years, and I still like it.

As you read this, I'm either getting ready to go to, or at the Faithwriters' Conference in Livonia. Watch for a post some time soon (probably Saturday!) with at MINIMUM pictures of the fun. SOOO excited!

Anyhow, without further ado...


You Can Count On It

"What do you think, Steve? Can you do it?"

Steve's smile was big and wide. "Absolutely, Max. Don't give it another thought."

Patting the taller man on the shoulder, Steve walked toward the door. "See you tomorrow, Max. Nine o'clock, right?"

Max nodded. "See ya - and thanks again."

Steve gave Max the "okay" sign and strode out of the office building.

Max glanced at his watch, then shuffled back to his cubicle. He had one more project to finish up and he'd be out the door too. Nancy needed it on her desk by 9am Monday morning, so he had to finish it before he left.

No way I'll make it in early Monday - not with the big move over the weekend.

His cubicle was soon filled with the sounds of rustling papers and the tapping of fingers on the computer keyboard. After about 10 minutes, Max looked up and sighed.

"Where are the O'Malley stats?"

Scanning his email inbox, he found a note from Tim Lenson with the subject line "re: O'Malley statistics." Opening it, Max sighed once again.

Max - will have the figures to you in an hour tops. Tim

The email had been sent two days earlier.

Grabbing his phone off the hook and putting it to his ear, he dialed Tim's extension, only to be transferred immediately to voicemail.

"You have reached Tim Lenson. I am out of the office from Friday, March 17 through Wednesday, March 22. I will return all calls when I return on the 23rd. If this is an emergency, press star one to reach the receptionist."

Max slammed the phone back into the cradle and tried to catch his breath. He closed his eyes for about two minutes, until his fists had unclenched, his face's red tint had dimmed and his breathing had slowed.

Guess I'll have to do as much as I can with what I have. Do I ever hate this!

Finishing up what he could, he sent Nancy the report, attaching a note about the missing info.

Not much else I can do. That's what I get for counting on people.

**

Max sat in his kitchenette, surrounded by packed boxes, tapping his fingers rhythmically on the table. Looking up at a circular spot on the wall where his clock used to hang, he snickered, then glanced at his watch.

Forty-five minutes. Sheesh - I can't even count on the pizza delivery guy to get me my food in thirty minutes or less.

Just as he picked up his cell phone to call the pizza place, the doorbell rang. He headed for the door, to find a pimple-faced teenaged boy with a white box in his hand.

"Fifteen bucks."

"Hope you're not expecting a tip."

**

The sounds of Justin Timberlake suddenly burst from Max's clock radio, waking him from a sound sleep. Groggily looking at the clock, he slowly lumbered out of bed, unplugged the clock and put it in an open box on his bedroom floor.

Steve should be here in half an hour; theoretically, anyway.

Dressing, he mentally planned out his day, both with and without Steve. It would definitely take him longer without him, but he figured he could get it done if he had to. He'd probably have to skip work Monday, but he had to move, and there was really no one else he could ask for help.

Grabbing a protein bar from atop the kitchen counter, he opened every cabinet and drawer, double checking that he hadn't left anything behind. As he packed up a couple of lids and cups, the doorbell rang. He looked through the peephole and saw Steve. Opening the door, Max smiled for the first time since the previous afternoon.

"Hey there. You made it."

Steve chuckled. "Sure did. You seem genuinely surprised I showed up. Did you think I was gonna flake on you?"

"With the couple days I've had, I wondered. Can't count on anyone these days, it seems."

"You can count on me, man - always. When I say I'll do something, I'll do it."

"It's sad, Steve, but that's pretty refreshing. You're a rarity these days, and I really appreciate it."

"No problem. God wants me to be faithful, so I am. Easy as that."

Max chuckled. "Maybe more folks need to listen to God - including me. So, you ready to get started?"

**
Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Scroll Bag for more great fiction.

2 comments:

  1. I really like this one, a good example of how we are to be different from the world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, there you go, switching from entertaining to stepping on toes.

    Nice pointed reminder that our yes should be yes and our no should be no, and we should follow through on what we say.

    I knew I should have changed into the steel-toed shoes.

    ReplyDelete

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