Tag Archives: Prose

Short Story: Lights Out Part 1

Life in a high rise office is alright; at least most of the time.  You sometimes have to deal with recycled air or “sick building” syndrome, but you get great views from the windows and the feeling that you are above it all, down there on the ground.  Some buildings even have mezzanine levels that extend from the building with gardens or cafe’s that let you get outside and look right down on the city below.   The only time a high rise is a real pain is when the power goes out.

Which happens now.

“Click”

Shit! Janice thought, mid sentence in an email to her never-far-enough-away college buddy Burgess, a boy who never grew up and a townie from Moorehead.  Burgess was having some kind of family crisis out there in Moorehead and had wanted Janice to come out and help him deal.  Janice was mid “No fucking way…” when the lights had dimmed then flashed off, along with her monitor.

She stood up and watched the Prairie-Dog city that was the cube farm stand up together and look around, the murmers that never seemed to cease had paused and everyone looked at each other for some kind of idea what happened.  The emergency lights clicked on and some people started to walk for the stairs.  Janice started to pack up her stuff and join them when a voice came over the PA

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Security Chief Mike Pendegrass, please remain in your offices and keep the stairs clear at this time.  I repeat please keep the stairs clear at this time”  the PA hissed, beeped and went silent.

“Aww, what the hell!?” Frank James on Janice’s Left collapsed back into his chair, his dangerous weight nearly collapsing it.  He unplugged his laptop and fired it up, intent on continuing his work.

Janice sat back down. but finished packing up her stuff and then rolled her chair over to the window, where there was enough light to read by.  She took out a collection of short stories she had been carting around with her and began to read, waiting for the power to come back on or for the all-clear to leave.

Around the office, people either returned to what work they could or began to mill around in groups, gossiping or making guesses about what was going on.  Janice tried to concentrate on her book, the story she was reading was about a bunch of guys in an office dealing with some sort of miniature priest outbreak, but she couldn’t get into it.  She leaned her head against the floor to cieling window and looked down into the streets.  Her phone lit up and vibrated at her hip.

“Janice, are you okay?” it was Burgess.

“What do you mean Burg’?  Yeah, I’m cool”  Janice noticed alot of people getting calls, all of them some variation of “I’m Okay” or “What? What do you mean Bombing?”

Janice stood up and pushed her chair to her desk and walked out to the cafe at the end of the office, to get a better view of the streets.

“Janice, Jan.  A bomb went off in Saint Paul, it’s gone, blown up!” Burgess was frantic.

“Burg’ I’m in the office right now looking down at the street, there’s nothing going on down there, all the lights are out, but I can see cars and some lights out there.  It’s just some sort of power out or some…”

Janice looked out at the sky, it had twin Suns set in a sickly green-blue.

“Burgess, I’m gonna have to call you back”

Last Day for Ice Cream

When you lick an ice cream cone, a really really god ice cream cone, you get that inital soft scoop of it on your tongue and you pull it into your mouth.  Curled there on top of your tonge, it melts and squishes around your mouth and teeth, you sometimes let it slide down your throat, half-melted.  Other times you give it the once over in your mouth, seeking chunks of stuff in it, just in case.  Then down it goes and you go for that next lick.  Never quite as good as the first one, but always great.  You catch the drips down the side and in the end you dispose of the cone last and then it’s all gone.  Melted away down your throat and sometimes on your shirt or shorts.  The last of the ice cream gone.

In the summer time, all the Ice Cream stands are open for business.  They have big signs that implore you to come try their amazing flabors.  Some sell Gelato or Sherbert, soft-serve or sundaes.  They all want your money for their wares.  Bored teenagers and flamboyant foreign men all vie for your dollars as the summer marches on.

In Scotland you can get a 99, which is a cone (usually soft-serve) with two chocolate bars stuck in it (Flakies) that give the eater a chance to choose betwen keeping the ice cream from melting and eating around the chocolate bars, or eating the chocolate first and running the risk having ice cream down your shirt.  The choice was yours.

In Ontario (and other places I assume) we had no ice cream trucks, ratehr the Dickie Dee cart, which was a bike-cart deal that a surly teenage boy or a jubilant girl would push around the streets, ringing a series of bells.  The reaction was the same as that to the Ice Cream truck, balls and toys would drop, aliens would go unfought, cobra commander’s final blow never landed and children would stream to the street with whatver cash they could get from their parents to buy some seriously overpriced frozen treats.

Then Summer would come to an end, and the Ice Cream stands would close, one by one.  The last holdout left with a big tub of pralenes and cream and heavenly hash to sell.  Hard.  Icy.  Bricklike.  It was the last of the summer Ice Cream and it was still better than anything else, because it was the last of Summer.

Tomorrow, School.