Just Having Lunch

Jerry knew that he looked ridiculous. He was wearing sunglasses and fedora, but he didn’t want his wife or her ex-husband to see him.

He was sitting several tables away from Louise and her ex-husband, Jacob, at an outdoor café. The sun was shining, which Jerry was grateful fro, because otherwise he would have looked even more ridiculous in his fedora and sunglasses. The song “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night” came into his head. Louise would chuckle at that, if he told her, but of course he couldn’t tell her. He didn’t want her to know how paranoid he was.

It wasn’t that he didn’t trust his wife, he told himself. It was that he didn’t trust her ex-husband. Jacob was a slimy little bastard, from everything he had heard about him. And he was indeed little. Before they saw down, Jerry had stared at them partly because Jacob was at least two inches shorter than Louise. How could she have married someone shorter than her?

They had been ordering earlier, but now they appeared to be deep in conversation. Jacob was leaning across the table as he spoke to Louise, who was still sitting back in her chair, shaking her head. What were they talking about? Jerry had assumed that most of the conversation would be about their kids, who were 8 and 10. Was he trying to get more visitation time?

“Would you like something to drink?” The waitress’s voice made Jerry jump. He didn’t really want anything, but he needed to order something considering he was a customer at this restaurant.

“I’d like a coffee,” Jerry said, “with cream and sugar.” He took a quick glance at the menu to decide what to eat so that the waitress wouldn’t disturb him again. “I’ll also have the turkey and swiss sandwich, no mayo.”

The waitress nodded and scurried away. Jerry refocused his attention on Louise and Jacob. Now they were both leaning forward as they talked. Louise was gesturing quite a bit with her hands, as she always did when she was passionate about something. Jerry was leaning forward, too, but he couldn’t hear anything. Maybe he could just casually walk by and pretend to drop something…

No, that idea was ridiculous. They would both see him for sure, and then his wife would be upset that he didn’t trust her to have lunch with her ex. And he couldn’t blame her for being upset with him. After all, this was really an invasion of her privacy. But, then, she was his wife. And she was having dinner with her sleazy ex-husband. He should be there in case something goes wrong, right?

Apparently the lunch was going very well, though, because Louise had just tipped her head back and laughed. He could even hear her a bit. She had always had a loud, distinctive laugh. What on earth had he said that was so funny?

Then, his wife grabbed the purse from the back of her chair and got up. She was starting to head his direction. He quickly grabbed the wine menu from the center of the table and stared at it to try to hid his face.

It was no use, though. Louise stopped right in front of him.

“Jerry, if you’re going to spy on me, at least don’t wear that stupid fedora.”

Something out there

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Annie Shaw relaxed and enjoyed the feeling of the sun beating down on her. The waves were gently washing onto the beach.

“Aren’t you going to go in the water, Annie?”

Annie stretched and looked at her little sister. Amy was 12 years younger than her, and it was hard for her to understand why someone would just lie there and soak up the sun when they could be splashing around in the waves.

“No, Amy, I’m getting a nice tan.”

“But that’s boring. I want to go swimming.”

Annie looked around, but she didn’t see their parents. Amy wasn’t allowed to go into the ocean by herself. Annie looked out into the water and watched the waves for a few moments.

She blinked. What was she seeing out there? She put her hand up to her forehead to shield her eyes from the sun and try to figure out what was out there? Could it be a shark? They were in Florida after all.

Amy was tugging on Annie’s sarong. “Annie, can I go swimming.”

“No, Amy, there’s something out there.” Annie was still trying to figure out what it was, but all she could see was something moving around. Maybe it was just a swimmer, but whatever it was looked so much bigger than a person.

“What is that?” Annie said to no one in particular as she walked toward the water. Amy was following behind her.

A scream made Annie jump and nearly fall over onto the beach. The scream was coming from the water. Now there were many screams and a great deal of splashing as people attempted to get out of the water.

Annie took Amy’s hand. “Amy, I think we better go.”

“What is it, Annie? Why are people screaming?”

Now Annie was swiftly walking away from the water and tugging her little sister along with her. “I don’t know, Amy, but I don’t’ think we should wait around to find out.”

Annie was trying to keep moving, but curiosity made her turn around to see if whatever it was was still behind them.

What she saw made her heart jump into her throat. People were continuing to run out of the water and up the beach, but it the creature that was lumbering through the water that made Annie’s jaw drop. Amy shrieked and grabbed onto her.

“Annie, what is that? Is that a monster?”

Annie didn’t believe in monsters, but she didn’t know what else to call it. It was at least 7 feet tall and gray with scales covering it from head to foot. It was looking around, and Annie found herself frozen for the moment with Amy beside her. The creature turned and stared right at her. It had bright yellow eyes. Annie wanted to run, but her legs felt like lead. There were screams and cries and people running all around here, but somehow they all sounded very distant.

Then the creature turned away from her and roared. It was like nothing Annie had ever heard before. It didn’t sound like a lion or a bear. It sounded almost unearthly.

Then, just like that, the creature turned and stomped back into the water, slowly disappearing under the waves. The water was now calm, as if some unheard-of creature hadn’t just emerged from it and terrorized a beach full of people.

“What was that, Annie? Is it really gone?” Amy asked, looking up at Annie with wide blue eyes.

Annie gave her sister a hug. The legs that had felt like lead moments ago were now able to move again. “I think it’s gone, Amy. Still, why don’t we find Mom and Dad and go home?”

Amy nodded. “Okay. I don’t want to swim anymore now.”

Bad Haircut

Bridget stared at her reflection in horror. “This…this is not what I asked for.”

The stylist looked sheepish. “Sorry. Didn’t you say you wanted your hair short in front and long in back?”

“It’s a mullet! I definitely didn’t say I wanted a mullet!”

“Well, I just got out of beauty school two weeks ago. I guess I thought that was what you wanted.”

“No…no, it most definitely is not,” Bridget said. She couldn’t seem to turn away from her reflection, as much as her new haircut was scaring her.

“Well, maybe I can fix it…”

Bridget jumped out of the chair. “No…No, I think you’ve done enough.”

Bridget knew the stylist hadn’t meant to ruin her hair, but she certainly didn’t trust her to fix it. As she was fleeing the salon, though, her worst nightmare came true. She nearly ran right into Jake Simpson, the boy she had had a crush on since the sixth grade. And he was seeing her with this horrible haircut. Bridget had never wanted the earth to just open up and swallow her up so much.

Jake put his hand on his mouth, and Bridget felt herself turning bright red. It was clear that Jake was trying to keep himself from laughing. It took several moments, and then he finally took his hand away.

“Did…did you just get a new haircut?” he asked, and he couldn’t seem to stop himself from snickering a bit. Bridget turned even redder, if that was possible, as two of Jake’s friends walked up. They didn’t even bother trying to keep themselves from laughing.

Bridget just turned and ran, hoping this nightmare would be over soon. What on earth possessed her to think it was a good idea to try a new salon? She could only hope that Marjory, who had been her stylist for years, would be willing to forgive her. Bridget had started feeling like she wanted something new, but clearly a new stylist was not the answer. She could only hope that Marjory would be able to take her in to fix her hair on short notice.

Marjory’s salon was located in her house. Bridget ran up and pounded on the door, hoping and praying that Marjory could fix this mess that she had gotten herself into.

Bridget felt like she had been pounding on the door for several minutes when Marjory finally opened the door. Marjory’s jaw dropped at the sight of Bridget’s haircut.

“Oh, good Lord! What did you do?”

Bridget almost cried. “I’m so sorry, Marjory. I decided to try different stylist. Clearly it didn’t go very well.”

Marjory continued to stare at Bridget. “To put it mildly. Here, come in.”

“Can you fix it?” Bridget asked, desperation creeping into her voice.

“Well, I think so, but we’ll need to make it really short,” Marjory said.

Bridget sighed. She was worried that would be the case. “That’s okay. I trust you.”

So, Bridget sat down in the chair and let Marjory get to work. Finally, Marjory whirled Bridget’s chair around. She now had a cute pixie cut. Bridget knew it would take some getting used to, but she was thankful to Marjory for managing to fix her horrible haircut.

“You fixed it! Thank you! I promise that I will never go to another salon again.”