The following story was written for #WeekendWritercize competition. This week, the challenge was to “Use the published poem of your choice to inspire original prose.” Given the specifications of the competition, this story also appears as a comment at that site.
The poem that I chose to use was the following:
Das Glück ist eine leichte Dirne
By Heinrich Heine
Good Fortune is a fickle hussy,
And can’t stay put long in one place;
She smoothes your hair back if it’s mussy,
A kiss – she’s gone without a trace
Dame Grief is quite the contrary:
She hugs you till you call it quits;
She says that she is in no hurry,
Sits by your bed, and knits and knits.
Here is the story:
“Fifty THOUSAND dollars! That’s what I’m saying! I am NOT just going to pump this back into the slots. Time for me to go home.”
With that said, Kevin cashed in his tokens at the cashier and left the casino. Fifty thou was a lot of money and he didn’t want to blow it all by hanging around any longer. He checked out, got into his car and got onto the Atlantic City Expressway.
At the toll booth, there was only one car in front of him, but it was taking forever to go through.
“People never plan ahead,” he sighed. “Can’t imagine what a mess this will be when the tolls go completely electronic. Besides, that guy has a Mercedes! Why does he have to fish for change? Let me guess: he probably doesn’t carry anything that small.”
The car ahead began inching forward. Kevin took his foot off the brake, but the other driver was still having trouble with the toll and hadn’t really moved. The resulting “SMACK!” both maddened and sickened him.
“Hey, Buddy!” he shouted out through the window. “Don’t you know how to use a toll booth?”
The driver of the Mercedes squeezed out of his door, walked around back and assessed the damage. At the same time, Kevin got out of his Chevy to have a look. By the time he got around front to see what had happened and to talk to the other driver, he had already calmed down.
The collision had dented the bumpers of each car, but it wasn’t anything major and there wasn’t any body damage. Even so, Mercedes replacement parts aren’t cheap, so Kevin still seethed a bit, inside.
After taking pictures and exchanging phone numbers, license-plate numbers and insurance information, the two returned to their cars and drove off. Kevin was still angry, but at least nobody was injured and it hadn’t been any worse.
By the time he reached his house, Kevin was just glad to get home, but something didn’t look right as he approached it. Something was different about his house. At first, it was so shocking that he hadn’t even noticed, but there were police card blocking off part of the street so that a large truck could back up.
That truck was backing up to HIS house to remove a large limb that had fallen from an overhanging tree and plummeted straight through his roof.
Kevin ran over to one of the officers. “What happened to my house?”
“You’re Kevin Sanderson?”
“It’s a good thing you weren’t home. Do you know if anyone else may have been inside?”
“No. My wife and I just separated and she’s living with her folks. It hasn’t been going well.”
“Well, I’m sorry to hear about your wife,” replied the officer. “From what your neighbours have been saying, that tree had some pretty bad rot and it seems it just couldn’t hold up that big branch up any more.”
“Yeah, I have, uh, had someone scheduled to cut it down tomorrow. Looks like I need a roofer now, instead.”
“I’ll say. Do you have any idea how much those branches weigh?”
“Well, thank you for your help, officer.”
After finishing his conversation with the policeman, Kevin opened his car door and sat back down to watch the massive piece of wood be lifted off of his house.
“What a day,” he thought to himself. “Good thing nothing else can happen, I’ll probably need to stay in a hotel until this has been fixed.”
As he sat there, helplessly taking in the scene, someone else came over to see him.
“Kevin Sanderson?” said the newcomer.
The newcomer presented Kevin with an envelope.
“You’ve been served.”
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