Career Day

“Well that escalated quickly,” Pri said.

She sat on the bare floor across from me in our shitty apartment, mugs in hand. We watched the cheap coffee table between us in rapt attention, where most of a law textbook had grown. Only the last inch was left, still wriggling out of the wood. The wood of the table squealed like nails on a chalkboard as the book worked itself out.

“Has your career grown in, yet?” I asked her. I didn’t mean it to come out in a whisper. Speaking any louder seemed to make the whole thing real.

“Not even a hint. I thought only prodigies and shit got their careers in their teens. Is there such a thing as a law prodigy? Oooh, are you going to be a supreme court justice?”

It started as nothing but a nub in the wood when we noticed it, something we could have polished out tomorrow morning. Maybe something that we should have polished out. The first book of my budding future had grown in before the end of our first cup of coffee. We were planning to go dancing tonight, but Pri had changed into sweats. I was still in my sequined dress, heels discarded by the door.

The textbook made a little popping sound and a bang as it settled on the table, fully formed and properly inanimate. I couldn’t touch it. I couldn’t stand to look at it but I couldn’t look anywhere else. I thought the grain of the wood beside the book wavered. Maybe it was just a shadow passing over the knot. I couldn’t get two books in one night. No one had two books grow in their first night.

Pri cocked her head ninety degrees to read the title. “‘Questions and Explanations for Civil Procedure.’ Sounds dull as fuck.”

I slammed my mug down over the knot in the wood to keep it from shifting again. “We should go out.”

“You’re not gonna read your book tonight?” Pri asked.

“I’m not even going to be a lawyer. I can’t afford to be a lawyer,” I said, getting my keys. “C’mon. If you don’t want to change then at least let’s get some food or something.”

(more…)

June Stories at the Confabulator Cafe

Welcome back to the Cafe, reader. We hope you’ve enjoyed the stories the Confabulators have spun thus far. And we hope to continue to dazzle you.

This month, the prompt was a first line, last line. Confabulators were challenged to begin their story with “That escalated quickly” and end it with “only time will tell.”

Only one brave soul took on that challenge. Please visit us later this month to read Dianne’s story for this prompt:

Friday, June 14: “Career Day” by Dianne Williams

 

Lisa West and the Goat

Lisa West was used to receiving odd messages. Running a 24-hour bakery brought that kind of thing to her. Well, that and her moonlighting career as a spy. Not a detective. She was pretty sure you needed a license for that and she hated the imagery of teenage heroines hunting ghosts. She’d discovered last year that her hometown was crawling with spies, so what was one more joining the profession?

But lately the messages were getting weirder.

She’d checked into the motel 15 minutes ago when she found a package on the grimy bedspread in the room. It beeped at her and kept beeping until she tore it open to find out what she had.

She found a burner phone inside, of the ancient flip phone variety, and tipped it into her hand. It flashed a text message at her.

“Bring the money to the place where the wheat meets the light at sundown.”

(more…)

B or G?

Wylie Brant

c/o The Province Hotel

Villa Armata

355 Hammond Lane

Palm Beach, FL 44380

RETURNED TO SENDER. INVALID ADDRESS.

***

“Jimmy Martins, what are you doing?”

I spun around, the envelope I’d been holding over the teakettle’s spout clutched in one hand. “Can you not sneak up like that?” I huffed.

“What were you doing?” My sister repeated.

“Gathering information.”

“By steaming open someone’s mail?”

“Who, me?”

She flashed me a disparaging look. “Why else would you give the mail a steam bath?”

(more…)

May Stories at the Confabulator Cafe

Spring is in full swing, here, and summer is just around the corner. And summer means vacations. Which often means travel. Long road trips. Sight seeing. Cramped, cheap hotel rooms.

Have you ever wondered about what has happened in the hotel rooms you’ve stayed in before you were there? Or after?

This month, we’ve tasked the Confabulators to write about a specific situation. If you were to find an unopened letter in your room when you checked in, what would you do with it? Open it? Turn it in? Leave it alone? What if any one of those answers had unintended consequences?

Read this month and find out.

Here’s the May schedule:

Monday, May 15: “B or G?” by Isabel Nee
Monday, May 29: “Lisa West and the Goat” by Dianne Williams