I threw open a challenge on Facebook to give me something to write a short story about. I was given ‘Balloons, a square red box with a blue ribbon and a bow. This is what I came up with.
When I opened the door this morning, it sat on the step. It wasn’t even my birthday, but there it was, a red squared box tied up with a bright blue ribbon. I gazed up and down the road, but saw no one.
Inside, I placed it on the table, searched for a card, and didn’t find one. Yes, I was curious, but having just finished my latest detective novel, I hesitated in opening it.
Detective Dan Smith had been hot on the trail of a murdered heiress. Her body parts were sent in boxes to members of her family. Yes, pretty gruesome, although one would never guess the bespectacled, mousy me would enjoys such a thing, but I do. Hey, we all have our vices.
I thought about my mean boss. He constantly put me forward for things I didn’t want to do. I’d told him many times it was out of my comfort zone. Did he listen? Ever? No. I’d like to cut off his head and stick it in a box.
I sat down in the armchair and stared at it on the table.
I felt the most unappreciated person in my office, yet I did most of the work. I’d just secured a lucrative client, which meant taking the Marketing Director out to dinner while I told him how wonderful our company was.
Tension built in my neck at the thought of it. We were supposed to go together but meany Mark, my boss, dropped out. He said he had urgent personal business to take care of, and was sure I could handle it.
The beans gently began to bubble as I stirred. Absently, my mind returned to Mark. He said we made a good team. He didn’t know I’d been looking for another job. Something with less stress.
After a few moments, the toast popped up. I buttered it, spread the beans, and sprinkled cheese over the top. As I put it under the grill, I knew I’d be sad to leave. To be fair, Mark was nice. I’d miss him, and the work, but after the deal I’d just done, was the stress worth it? I’d rather sit at home with a detective novel than play super-office-girl.
I took my empty plate into the kitchen, returned, and undid the blue bow. As I lifted off the lid, three red sparkly balloons rose to the ceiling. Their strings dangled to the box as if pointing to the contents. I lifted out a parcel which was wrapped in red tissue, and revealed a heart shaped chocolate box. Lying on the top was a blank card with silhouette of man. I turned it over.
‘I wanted to leave it blank because it looked more macho. Note underneath.’
I raised the chocolate box and sure enough, a small envelope was taped to the bottom, just like in good detective novels.
Removing it, I put the chocolates on the table and sat in the armchair to read.
‘Don’t leave. I saw you looking at the job section. I need you, and know I don’t always say it. Without you, we wouldn’t thrive. My delinquent brother chose then to get arrested. Mum called me. So I’m sorry I dropped you in it. But you did it, and you don’t give yourself enough credit at just how good you are. But let’s talk about it. Dinner tonight? Farley’s at 8?’
My tense shoulders slackened and a smile broke out on my lips. Perhaps Meany Mark, wasn’t so insensitive after all.
Do you have a challenge for me? Can you suggest a topic or item to write about?