The following is the next installment in a sponsored short story series I am writing using Jamie Cat Callan‘s fun and easy to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post). You can read more about Jamie’s other creations at the bottom of this post.
For those not as familiar with The Writer’s Toolbox, it prompts you with a first, middle, and last sentence as well as a series of descriptions to include and a protagonist and with it. The first post in the series can be found here.
“My brother did this weird thing with turtles.” Iris’s newest patient, Irene, sat with feet and arms crossed in the chair opposite her while Iris scribbled the occasional note in a black and tan steno pad. “He should be the one forced to talk to you,” the teen grumbled. “Not me.”
“Do you want to tell me about it?”
“About what? My brother or the turtles?”
“Either. Both.” Iris placed the pad and her pen on her lap. “We can talk about whatever you want.”
Irene’s eyes narrowed as if to say, ‘I may be young, but I’m not stupid.’
It was going to be one of those sessions. Iris fought frustration from showing as she picked up her pad once more, flipping it to the next available page. Its emptiness fit her mood. She’d listened to the speeches at commencement. She’d believed her professors when they told them their training had been special. She’d taken their every word as gospel. Their training would give them access to the whole wide world, should they choose to travel and no matter where they went, they would have the ability to make a difference.
Iris held her pen ready and mentally counted to one hundred. Irene’s shoulders sagged. “Fine, but I need a snack first.” She bent down to a bag she’d tossed under the chair along with her shoes when she’d arrived and pulled out a can of easy cheese. Tossing her head back, she gulped down an orange string that defied classification as either solid or liquid.
Charming, thought Iris. “So, your brother liked turtles …”
“It’s not weird to like turtles.” Irene huffed. “Turtles have built-in body armor. I mean, how cool is that? Do you know what I’d give to be able to tuck my head inside a shell? I’d kill for that.” The girl kicked her bare feet back and forth, making her appear more like an innocent waif than the street-hardened temptress the police file claimed her to be.
The door to Iris’s office swung open and in walked the dynamic duo of Bill and Larry, and at least one of them, if not both of them, carried an aroma with him like a T-shirt from a B-52’s concert. Irene gagged.
“I’m in a session.” Iris nodded her head in the direction of Irene. “You have to leave.”
“I tried calling.” Bill had the decency to look embarrassed as he let her lead him back out the door and into her office lobby. “When you didn’t answer … I guess we, I mean I, freaked out.”
“Have you never heard of voicemail? You leave a message. I call back,” Iris teased. Bill’s eyes tightened. In all the years they’d known each other, he’d never looked so vulnerable. If only … Iris banished the thought before it could cut her more deeply.
“It’s about Daisy.”
Iris blinked. “Your sister?” He couldn’t know –
Bill’s face relaxed, the mask of aloof unconcern once again firmly in place. “I didn’t realize it was such a common name. She’ll be ticked. Yeah, my sis. She didn’t show for duty and hasn’t been seen around her apartment. I was hoping you might know where she’s gone.”
Iris glanced sideways at Larry before answering. “We can talk, but not now. There’s a diner a block from here. Meet me there at nine.”
Iris closed the office door firmly behind her as she returned to Irene. “Now where were we?”
“Well, I guess it started after the time Fred went to the car wash and never came back.”
Curious as to what weird thing Irene’s brother did with turtles? I am too and yet I think some things we are better off not knowing. One thing is for sure, Iris doesn’t charge enough.
The next installment can be found here.
I believe in this product so much I reached out to its creator, the lovely Jamie Cat Callan, author of the upcoming Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi (available January 2nd, 2018) to tell her how much I loved her creation and was beyond thrilled when she allowed me to use her prompts for these posts.
“A recipe for happiness with ingredients that you don’t have to travel far to find.
Accustomed to the American pursuit of happiness, Callan (French Women Don’t Sleep Alone, 2009, etc.) explores her French roots to find fulfillment in life’s simple pleasures.
Translates the joie de vivre into a language of life that is not so foreign. –Kirkus review for BONJOUR, HAPPINESS!”