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As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4 2013: Short Story Challenge

I'll specify up front that this story is not complete. I know there is more to be said, but as I have spent more than half a day on it already and there are other tasks I need to complete today (reviewing), I'm going to post it for the challenge but return to it later. Not sure WHERE it is going, but I know it WILL be going.

"Final Snowstorm"

(tentative title)

Conversation had finally lagged; outside the front wall, which was all windowed except for the glassed door opening in, the concrete apron had been heavily draped in a comforter of white. Even the gas pumps, all six of them, wore white Santa caps, and snow piled up around the base of each. Not likely anyone would be pumping fuel on this night, was it?

          The wall to the right, which was one-third window from the front corner, displayed a parking lot also neatly draped in white. On the tiny tv above the cigarettes rack behind the counter, a harried announcer reported,

“12 inches measured already on the ground throughout the scott city metro area, and our forecasters are predicting an additional 24 inches by morning. It’s 8:01 pm now, audience, and the state highway patrol urges—no, insists—all motorists remain at home, or at your work place. if you are stranded, call 911 immediately for assistance. repeat: do not drive, do not leave your present location. if you need towing, call 911 now.”

          Camden and Carla glanced at each other as they stood behind the counter, camden still toting the broom which he had gone to the stockroom earlier to fetch.

“Not likely anyone stranded is going to be able to watch tv, to know to call 911, is it?” Carla asked rhetorically. she grumbled with another glance at the front window-wall. the last customers had stopped in by 4 pm, a 4-wheel-drive land rover on his way north from kentucky, and then the snowplow operator stepping in for a refill of coffee for his thermos. Long night ahead for him and those of his ilk; apparently it would be a long, lonely night for her and camden also.

“We should have left after the plow did,” camden argued. “I told you so then!”

“I know you did, Cam, and you’ve reminded me at least 60 times since. I was wrong. I’m sorry. so sue me.”

Camden rolled his eyes and stepped around the corner of the display counter, returning to his now unneeded sweeping. Carla grew tired of the silence, weary of watching the speedy drift of white flakes across the lots, and announced,

“Cam, i’m going to stock.”

“Don’t see why.”

“me neither, but tired of standing here waiting for the end.”

that made her coworker startle.

“The End?”

“of the shift. of the blizzard. of civilization as we know it. of our lives. of the planet.”

“geez, carla, you’re on a cynical run tonight, ain’t ya? why bother with the stocking then?”

“cause I can’t take staring out that window any more: that unending whiteout! I feel like a piece of typing paper and somebody upended a bottle of whiteout all over me. driving me slaphappy, cabin-fever crazy, claustrophobic, Mrs. Rochester-in-the-attic-maddened.”

Another patented Camden JellRodd eye roll accompanied the slam of the storeroom door. Then the lock clicked over; Cam had not even known the door barring the stockroom from the front business room of the store even had a lock-why would it? well, he wished Carla joy of it; if she wanted that badly to be alone, she should have just said so. He returned to his slow even sweeping, humming gently to himself. the TV continued to drone on in the background, above the register, and when it faded to static and snow, camden no longer noticed.

Part Two

So little about stocking a convenience store’s coolers and freezers caught the imagination, nor distracted the mind. two hours in, Carla had tired of the whole deal: the stocking, the blizzard, the job. What she wouldn’t give for a glass of red, a good night’s sleep, and gentle jazz playing on a sirius channel while she dreamed. of course, beggars ride harleys when wishes rule, so she knew none of those fancies were coming true any time soon. her shift would finish at midnight—she had clocked in at 2 pm because the day shift girl insisted on leaving early. If carla had been sensible, she would have told the girl to just lock up and leave. the manager hadn’t even been in today at all: he was too smart to chance being stranded. but not carla-and not camden-no, they had to show up to work.

          Glancing at her watch, she noted it was now 10:15 PM. surely she had stocked sufficiently to last till the second coming. she went over to the peacoat she had earlier tossed in the corner of the back room, and pulled out a paperback. she’d read about to midpoint in kealan patrick burke’s “the number 121 and other stories,” and couldn’t wait to continue. Obviously, no customers would show tonight, probably not even the snowplow; and if for some crazy reason she was needed, camden would call her. she’d forgotten she had locked the storeroom door, and sat on a crate in the corner, returning to the lovely and intriguing worlds of her book.

Part three

          the snowfall, if anything, was proceeding even more heavily than it had been from 4 pm to 8 pm. the crackling static on the tv was now at a louder volume, and the static seemed to have developed more intensity, as if alien radio waves were trying to transmit but missing the channel. the front window wall and side windows now looked out on a white blanket that had reached above the sills. fully half of the pumps were encased; the road had long since ceased visibility. a scratched-up old wooden push broom lay tossed aside on the floor, beside a long shelf-set of chips, a few feet from the side window. The door from stockroom to front room remained locked; but the outer door now also sported keys hanging from the inside, and the bolt at the bottom of the door had been latched. on the wall behind the register counter, camden’s store cap hung on its hook; he always refused to wear it unless the manager, mr. bright, was in the store. now it seemed lonely, as if it missed its owner, nowhere in sight.

--written from the prompt at
Let's Write in 2013 

January 4, 2013 Writing Prompt:

"Two convenience store employees are stuck at work during a blizzard."

1014 wc


  1. Wow. :) I think you're on a roll here. I agree, it's hard to just write 250 words, and once you get started, the imagination runs rampant. I see a novel in the works!

    1. Lori, bless you for the encouragement! that means so much to me!