Shop Talk


It was a send-off bash for an American who was quitting. The owners arranged for everyone to meet at a favorite restaurant that had a nightclub downstairs. I was finally going to get to sample some of this nightlife I’d heard so much about. I’d found the place easily enough and as we were gathered round the table I inquired about a drink, a tall beverage with leaves crammed into the bottom. “Oh it’s a Mojito. Here, it’s really good, have this one!” “Thanks!” I was pleasantly surprised and when we all decided to migrate to the club, were paying the bill and an owner commented she was buying everything but the drinks “that mojito’s hers”, I was surprised again. The stress barrier having been lowered, at the club I did buy a second mojito, maybe a third… anyway, around 2A.M. I was satisfied I’d had enough; decided to catch the metro, head home. As I bade everyone farewell I discovered the trains stop running at 1 and don’t run again until 6. I had no excess cash seeing I’d spent my party allowance, but not to worry I’d thought thanks to a special travel pass so travel was covered. Although I said I’d wait until 6 that didn’t stop a new found friend from jumping to my aid combing out our colleagues for contributions so I could take the bus. Before I had the chance to step out the door another of my co-workers seized the moment to put the moves on me to get me to go home with him, first with a drink – interesting they’d run out of ingredients for a mojito so I’d have to have something else, never heard of that happening before – and then sexy suggestion. Even now just recalling it I can feel his alcohol-soaked breath spray in my hair onto my neck as he stumbled into my ear to whisper, “do you want to?” The entire scenario of what could be flashed before my eyes. I’m a lot older, well not that much but enough, still he was feeling pretty good, sex could be nice but what about when he came-to in the morning? I had an inkling of what he might say and me being me told him, which always throws people (being me), “oh, you don’t want to sleep with me… it’s not a bad idea… look how wasted you are, but you know what…”


What I did and wanted to do anyway was point him in the direction of a woman who I knew wanted him; I’d overheard her talking about him in the ladies room; how about that, yes, girls shop-talk too! He was perplexed yet happy sort-of with that and once he was better situated and they’d left together – he couldn’t help but look back but she was chewing his ear off demanding attention so with barely a glance to remember me by he snapped his head forward – I left to wait for the bus. At the casino across the street the party was still going on. People were in and out, the police were in and out, and once or twice an ambulance pulled up. A group of college students staggering by stopped for directions (yes from me, the other American who had walked around Madrid so much she could be a tour guide, this was their lucky night), did their best to strike up conversation and discovering I was a teacher (I’m that good) decided to practice their English, so I conducted a street side class for those few intoxicated youth of Madrid, which made for a great time as I was discovering the universality of slurring and how it slowed down language enough – in this case being the Spanish I was learning – to understand what was being said. The bus I was supposed to take finally arrived but didn’t want to let me off where I needed, something I was warned might happen – another quirky thing; can’t say you come across many bus drivers who tell you “no, I don’t feel like stopping there” – but by then it wasn’t much longer until 6A.M., so I sat back down on the bench, continued watching the night life, the night become light, appreciated that my friend from Holland had raised 20 euro for me, and reflected on being able to tell people, “I went to a club in Madrid and was up all night”.




Nothing Personal


“How did this happen?” Fran stood at her car still reeling. She never wanted to teach, in fact; she wasn’t a teacher and had protested, adamantly, but Trish had desperately needed her help. Years had gone by. Years… That wasn’t the worst of it; they’d known each other almost forever.


Trish had gotten a call, a complaint. She knew better but called Fran into her office anyway. “They said there was a photo and would forward the link. I had to hotline you. This is your last day, I’m sorry.”

Stunned Fran stammered. “We’re more than colleagues.” “I said sorry.” “But I thought we were friends.”



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100WCGU – Week#176


The prompt for this week is:

 …but I thought we were friends…



She’d done it. Bought the high-end stuff no turning back. With the lemon wedged and salt at the ready, she opened the box, removed the wrapper around the cap and broke the seal. “Seal, angels of death, Armageddon, humph…”

Using care she aligned crystals along the purlicue, admiring the curved precision she filled the shooter with the other hand and breathed it in. The scent was overpowering as she teased salt to coat her tongue, filled her mouth with liquid biting down on a wedge as she swallowed.


Eyes closed, she fell back into cushions and exhaled.





The prompt this week is:

…the scent was overpowering…


Grandma’d Always Said Never Skimp


Mattia was in the kitchen. I didn’t know her, not yet anyway but I would over time. Wasn’t worried. We’d met at the interview about the room and she was enthusiastic about me moving in. Took it as a good sign remembering what the agent’d said about good karma – she’d sensed good karma when she spoke to both of them about the rental. Her other flatmate was a sweetheart. Spoke lousy English but a sweetheart.


When I came in she’d just finished cooking for herself, had her plate and was about to go to the table in the other room as I’d begun unpacking my groceries. Guess curiosity got the better of her. I put dinner napkins I’d bought on the top of the fridge, noticing she paused, put her plate down, put her napkin away, reached up, grabbed the package, opened it and took a napkin. As far as I knew my mouth hadn’t dropped open as I watched. After putting the package back, she picked up plate and utensils and continued on not saying a word. I’ll have to admit I was surprised she didn’t ask but for the sake of diplomacy I didn’t say anything. It’s not uncommon for dry goods such as napkins, paper towels, dish detergent and toilet paper to be used and replaced by all who share the house or apartment. It wasn’t mentioned during our first meeting though so I later spoke to her offering money toward household goods. Oddly she was aloof as she brushed at the air with her hand. Huh? It was explained most everything they used came from their store. If I wanted to use something different I’d have to buy it on my own. Well yeah, that’s normal, most of us have our favorite products but the topic of sharing was glossed over and my offer flippantly dismissed. Flippantly, that was it. Didn’t make much sense. An alarm was stirring but I distracted myself thinking of the location, the boutique across the street, the subway stop on the corner, the massive El Corte Ingles two blocks away and that restaurant, oh, what was its name that served eggs benedict located right near the train station. Still I’d felt I hadn’t even been here for five minutes, something’s not right yet, but I’ll keep an eye on things, mine in particular.

At the same time I was annoyed with myself even thinking like that.

It’s true what ever I make I usually Italianize, but does that mean the incense burning in the living room with the stove fan turned on in the kitchen immediately after I cook imply they don’t like Italian, or I should say she doesn’t? I can’t say I’ve met many people in my lifetime who didn’t go for Italian food. Not impossible though.


Something’s brewing

The soup is stirred

Quiet observant

Say not a word



Honestly! I’m being absurd.



Teenage Days


He enters angry, his head down

No smile

Scowling frown

“Excuse me”, I say

“Is this your name?”

But he doesn’t speak

“Yoo-hoo, hello, I’d like to know

I’m the teacher you see

Whatever you did

Now your time’s with me

And your fellows beside”

He keeps his head down

He won’t reply

I chuckle deep

“Well, I guess this is you”

As I check his name

“You’re the one they called said

He’s coming, be prepared”

No reason to fear

Nor be scared


“Do you think it’s funny!”

He snaps, grrr, grr

“What happened to you?


But I didn’t do it

You did something

That sent you my way

All I do is make comfortable your stay

Though inconvenient it be


I’m laid back you see”

He softens some

Reason is sound

An administrator comes

He loses his ground


His calm is gone

He makes a demand

To call his father

“I want my Dad!”

“OK, come on

To the office

We’re gone”

She takes him away

Backpack and all

Never to return

So sad, so true

Hope his weekend pans out

As we left the room early

For better things to do

At the close of day

And went our separate ways


Bless accursed teenage

You never know

How reaction will go

When it puts on its show