Thread: Small Worlds
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Old 12-03-2014, 04:31 PM
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I Wish I Could Stop Loving You Awhile

Crash, splat! “You stupid bitch, why don’t you watch where you’re going?!”

Tracy froze and cringed like a deer in headlights as Darren raised the now-empty, dirty pizza tray as if he meant to hit her with it. Everyone in the kitchen was staring at them. Embarrassment, fear of the angry man, exhaustion and helplessness made tears spill from Tracy’s eyes despite her effort to hold them in.

“That’s enough,” Stephen, the kitchen manager, said, unfreezing the room. “Jen, get this mess cleared up. Is the rest of this order ready? Dani, find out who ordered the pizza and apologise to them; tell them we’ll have it out as soon as another’s ready. Darren, get started on making it right now.”

“How long do we have to put up with this? The dozy bint goes ‘round with her head in the clouds-” Darren began to rant furiously.

“Tracy,” Stephen interrupted him and gestured with a shake of his head, “Come with me.”

She had her head in her hands, hiding her tears.

“Tracy,” he snapped more firmly. The girl now cleaning up the splattered pizza pushed her gently in the back and Tracy tagged after Stephen out into the cool, narrow stone corridor between the kitchen and the food store.

The tiny passage felt uncomfortably cramped. Stephen, always-Stephen-never-Steve, waited for her to control her crying while she apologised half a dozen times through her tears. In the end he gave up waiting and said, “This isn’t working out is it?”

She could say nothing to that, but tried to keep herself from sobbing harder.

He sighed. “Look, I can see you have your own problems, and that wouldn’t matter if you could just leave them at the door and do your job right, but that’s not happening...”

He trailed off, inviting her to say something in her defence. She’d begged to keep from losing jobs before and she felt he wanted her to beg for this one. He was a nice man and wanted an excuse to do her a favour. But she didn’t have the pride to beg now, or the will or the strength.

He sighed again, and though he couldn’t bring himself to say it, she knew she was dismissed. Quietly, she went to her locker and changed out of her kitchen togs, put on her jumper and picked up her bag. She took her coat from beside the door and put it on before going out into the dark street.

The rain had stopped but it was misty and bitterly cold; it would be horribly icy tomorrow. That thought sat in her like a lump; the ice would make walking to the restaurant hellish, but she wouldn’t be walking to the restaurant because she didn’t have a job there anymore.

When she got home she called the hospice where her brother was living, as she did obsessively, but the girl she spoke to was foreign and Tracy could barely understand anything she said.

* * *

I was challenged on another website to write a story between 500 and 600 words long (much shorter than I like writing, but the idea I created was for such a micro-story that I undershot and had to find ways to make up the count) that had to involve a pizza-related disaster. I'm guessing the challenge setter wanted something funny, but I'm not too sorry to disappoint. I like this. I'm proud of it. People over there are terrible at giving feedback so I thought I'd test the water over here and see if any of the old crowd are still around.


Also, hi everyone! Guess who's not dead!
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Oddworld novel: The Despicable. Original fiction: Small Worlds.

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