Nikki Kan’t Quit – Rocky Row Flash Fiction

The following is a scene featuring a supporting character from the world of An Uncertain Confidence, a Rocky Row Novel.

Nikki Kan't Quit - www.alliepottswrites.comNikki Kant drummed her fingers on her desk’s cheap veneer while she listened to the city liaison ramble on her voicemail. The desk was one of those cheap particle board models you order over the internet and assemble yourself and had a tendency to wobble if her daily paperwork and personal clutter wasn’t placed on its surface just right. The vibration from her finger’s impact sent a pen rolling off its edge. She didn’t bother to pick it up.

The liaison’s voice increased in volume, becoming more clipped by the second as he worked himself into a rage. Apparently, helping a friend was the sort of thing that was frowned upon in the eyes of the city. She’d heard enough. Returning the out-dated handset to its cradle, she pulled out a desk drawer. Her fingers paused over the accordion folder that hid her secret stash of dark chocolate covered caramel seasoned with sea salt. I’m going to need this. She pulled out the accordion folder out as well as a second file folder.

The drawer stuck when she tried to shove it close. Nikki tried again. The drawer remained firmly in its position. Figures, she thought. Folders in hand, Nikki walked over to her boss’ office. By the look of his expression through the glass window, he was off to a similar morning. She tapped on the door with her knuckle before letting herself in without waiting for him to wave.


“Do you realize I’ve had five reporters call me already?” He glanced at the clock hanging on the wall over her head. “It’s not even nine.” His desk phone rang. The chief frowned. “I’m guessing that’s another one now. Do you want to explain what you were thinking?”

“Not particularly, no. It shouldn’t matter. I was off duty.”

“Off duty or not, what you do reflects on this department. I hope you understand how serious this situation is.”

“I don’t, actually. All I did was go for a run.”

“That’s not all you did and you and I both know it.”

Nikki shrugged.

The chief stood and placed his hands on his desk. “You’re on your way to a suspension pending a full investigation into your behavior over the last few weeks – you understand that, don’t you.”

“That won’t be necessary, sir,” said Nikki separating the accordion holding her stash from the second folder containing a single sheet of paper.

The chief’s eyebrow shot up. “You’re quitting?” He sat back in his chair. It creaked under his weight. “I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed. I thought it would take more to break you.”

Nikki snorted. She opened the thin folder and pulled out its contents. “I’m anything but broken,” she said placing the resignation letter on his desk. “I suggest you read it.” She tucked the accordion folder under her arm. She wasn’t going to need reinforcements after all. Finally going through with her decision after drafting the letter days ago felt better than eating a dozen chocolate bars.

The chief stared at the piece of paper. “This changes nothing,” he said.

“Oh, I’m pretty sure it changes everything.” She removed the badge from her breast and placed it on the desk next to her resignation letter.

“You walk out that door, and you’re on your own. I won’t be able to protect you anymore.”

Nikki smiled. “I survived three tours. I think I can manage.”

A brief knock on the door announced their meeting. Rangle poked his head in. “Chief, I just heard-” He noticed Nikki’s presence then his gaze moved to the chief’s desk. He couldn’t have missed the badge nor the sheet of paper. “I knew it,” he said. “I pegged you as a quitter your first day.”

“I’m not surprised,” said Nikki. “You’ve always been a terrible detective.”

Rangle’s face took on a shade of puce. He turned to the chief. “So, as I was saying, I just heard that we got a lead on that bomb threat last week.”

“It’s a distraction,” said Nikki. “If either of you had only listened–”

“That’s enough, Ms. Kant.” The chief slammed his palm down on the desk. “You’ve made your decision.” He nodded at her resignation letter. “Now, how about you get out of my office so the rest of us can do the job you’re walking away from.”

I’m not walking away from anything, she thought. She turned on her heel and opened the office door. I’m just not following your rules anymore. She closed the door with a bang. A few of the other officers lingering nearby glanced her way at the sound, but no one stopped her as she made her way past the main desk and out the door. Nikki smiled. It was just as well. They wouldn’t have been able to stop her now, even if they’d tried.

The Knock – A Short Story and Flash Fiction Fun

The problem writing non-fiction full-time, particularly when it is geared around a very narrow set of keywords, is that occasionally you feel as if you’ve run out of ways to explain a topic differently than you had the week before. You start feeling redundant, and possibly a little uninspired.

The fact of the matter is, you are totally being redundant, but that’s kind of the point. You have to keep in mind that the person visiting those sites or reading those types of articles are typically are looking for an answer to their question and are only visiting you for a short time. Lots and lots of articles on the same thing can help increase your rank and makes your content more likely to reach those in need of answers.

Therefore, you do what you have to do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also indulge in a little bit of creative writing fun. That being said, I decided this week to make use of some random story generators I found online. The following is the result.

The Knock short story flash fiction - www.alliepottswrites.comShe knelt on the carpet in her new living-room, a big cardboard box in front of her, unwrapping ornaments, photographs, and other mementos. The fan overhead rattled as it spun. She’d congratulated herself after installing it earlier that morning, with a mimosa, celebrating the fact she hadn’t called her parents a single time, or worse, her ex-boyfriend. The last thing she needed was to give him an excuse to work his way back into her life.

Unfortunately, she had to concede she hadn’t spent long enough verifying its blades were balanced before turning it on. She made a mental note to add fixing that to the ever-growing to-do list.

There was a knock at the door. She jumped. Most of her possessions were still packed away in boxes, so the knock had resulted in an echoing boom. She had no more than taken two steps when the knock sounded a second time.

“I’m coming,” she called out. “Coming.”

She was just about to open the door when she thought it might be better to first see who her visitor might be through the peephole instead. The breezeway on the other side of the door appeared empty.

Guess they had the wrong apartment, she thought, returning to her labor. She knelt beside the box of ornaments and pulled out a figurine of a dancing girl her grandmother had gifted her on her sixteenth birthday. She held it up, loving how the light shining through the glass made patterns on the room’s freshly installed carpets. Holding the figurine in her hand, she dug through the box, looking for its hook so that she might hang it next to the apartment’s kitchen window.

The boom of a heavy-handed knock on the door startled her again. She gently placed the dancer on the box and returned to the front door, but once again the breezeway on the other side appeared empty.

She pursed her lips. She’d several kids playing ball down the street the day before as she’d begun moving in. They must have decided to play a prank on her. Opening the door a crack, she shouted, “go home.”

Her eye caught the box of juice on the kitchen countertop. She frowned. She must have forgotten to put it away after making her drink earlier. She glanced back at the door and shrugged. “Why not?” She poured herself a second drink that was more champagne than juice and raised her glass. “Here’s to the next chapter,” she said out loud. She tipped the glass back and draining its contents. The combination of pulp and bubbles tickled her tongue.

She took a step toward the main room and bumped into the wall. She giggled. “I made that drink too strong.”

She stepped on the carpet, loving how its plush weave surrounded her toes. Another round of knocking boomed from the front door, this time even louder and more insistent. She turned her head and shouted, “go away, whoever you are.” Her ears detected the sound of a siren in the distance. Good, she thought, maybe someone else got tired of those kids and called in a complaint.

She returned to the box of ornaments. The room began to spin. Yeah, that drink was way too strong. Lesson learned. She sat down in an attempt to reclaim her equilibrium, but the dizziness increased. She looked for something to center her gaze on.

Only then did she realize the figurine was gone.


#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Seven

As much as I absolutely love to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience), I have found it always makes me end on a cliff-hanger. As I am curious as to the story’s end (and hope you are too), I have decided to continue the series with a few more posts. While these posts are not sponsored and do not conform to the rules of the game, I hope you enjoy them all the same.

If you’d prefer to start from the beginning, you can read the first post here.

A Writers-toolbox inspired short story -

A crimson ribbon swirled in the sink as Frank rinsed off the tools of his trade. He twisted the faucet knob, slowing the flow of water to allow the color to expand and formed intricate shapes before contracting once more and disappearing down the drain. He sighed as the water ran clear. As much as he tried, he could never quite capture the raw beauty created by the drowning art on his canvas with paint.

A grunt behind him reminded him of the task at hand. Frank turned to his partner, Donald, who was still standing guard by the door. “The girl’s tougher than she looks,” he gestured at the crumpled figure in the chair. “Stupid — but tough. Leslie isn’t going to be happy.”

Donald didn’t need a tongue to tell Frank his feelings on the subject. The expression on his face spoke volumes enough.

Frank looked at the girl again. “Guess there’s nothing left to do but clean up.” The girl. Margaret was her name. Emphasis on was, Frank thought as he shook his head. He remembered how she’d looked when she’d arrived with eyes that flashed between hope and fear. And those pouty lips.., he savored the thought as he would a snifter full of high-end brandy later that night. At one point he’d found himself almost ready to believe her. He shrugged, dismissing the image. Such a waste. Thoughts like that served no one and they still had work to do.

Donald’s face was once again a mask of granite as walked over to one of the large plastic drum style containers the restaurant hiding the back room used to transport leftover grease to the biodiesel processing plant. He picked up the drum and positioned it on the hand truck with an ease that came from years of practice.

An aroma of freshly baked bread tickled Frank’s nose and made his mouth water as he dried the last of his instruments. The kitchen’s really stepped up their game today, he thought as he packed his tools back into their leather case. The scent of rosemary was normally not so strong. His stomach rumbled. It would have to remain empty a while longer. In his line of work, it was never a good decision to delay sharing the results of an interview, no matter how enticing a meal was.

Frank winced as an ear-piercing screech came from the direction of the hand truck. “Stop, stop, stop,” he said coming to Donald’s side. He crouched down to examine the base. “Here’s the problem. The wheel’s stuck.” He poked at the wheel, looking for whatever was blocking its axle. The cool metal rim was tacky to the touch with strands of matted hair stuck to its surface. “Is this the same one you used on the last job?” He pushed on the rubber of the tire, but the wheel stubbornly refused to turn.

He frowned. If they didn’t clear whatever it was out now, there would be no way to get the container out of the room once it was filled. Then again, Donald had more muscle in a finger than most did in their entire arms. He might not even need the cart. The girl probably only weighs one hundred sixty or so, he thought as he glanced over his shoulder.

The chair was empty. Frank jumped up and spun on his heel. His gaze followed a trail of red spatter from the chair to the unguarded door.

Donald grunted.

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Frank whistled. Donald wasn’t the only one getting sloppy. “Maybe she’s not so stupid after all.”

His partner snorted.

“Well, don’t just stand there.” He gestured at the open door. “Go get her. She can’t have gone far.”

Read the conclusion here

#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Six

As much as I absolutely love to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience), I have found it always makes me end on a cliff-hanger. As I am curious as to the story’s end (and hope you are too), I have decided to continue the series with a few more posts. While these posts are not sponsored and do not conform to the rules of the game, I hope you enjoy them all the same.

If you’d prefer to start from the beginning, you can read the first post here.

A Writer's Toolbox Inspired Short Story -“What exactly are you saying?” Bill asked looking anywhere except into Iris’s eyes.
She reached out and covered his hand with her own. “I think you already know.”
Their waitress chose that moment to approach their table. “Can I get you guys anything else?”

“Not unless the kitchen stocks whiskey as well as handguns,” said Larry.

The waitress frowned as she placed their copy of the bill on the table’s edge and walked away.

“What the hell Larry,” said Iris pulling her hand away from Bill’s. “Are you insane?”

“What? It’s not like she knows I was being serious.” Larry leaned forward as a pimpled teenager wiped down the table behind them.

Bill wrinkled his nose. From where he sat, the rag the kid used smelled like his grandmother’s laundry room. “So what do we do now?”

“Do?” Iris blinked. “Weren’t you listening to anything I was saying? There is nothing we can do.” She frowned at Larry. “Besides if the kitchen did sell guns, what would we do with them? None of us have the first clue how to use them?”

“You don’t need guns.” A woman motioned for Bill to make room on the bench. “Though the whiskey might be nice.” The woman slid next to him, pushing his water glass to the slide to make room for a red leather journal. “I know I should probably mind my own business, but it sounds to me like you could use all the help you can get.”

Larry cocked his head to the side. “Do we know you?”
The woman beamed. “My name is Laurie.” She tapped the bottom of her hair. “But you might know me as Candice Wentworth from The Bus Shelter in the Rain.

Larry’s brows knit. “I’m not sure I—”

The smile left Laurie’s face as her shoulders sagged. She made her voice take on the high-pitched tone of a child’s. “Should’a done it my way.”

His eyes widened. “Bill. Do you realize you are sitting next to Bethany Hallows. As in the Bethany Hallows from Beth Knows Best? I loved that show growing up.” He turned to Iris. “Tell me you watched it.”

Iris looked from Bill to Laurie with twisted lips. “If you heard that much, you know who is involved.” She reached for the scrap of paper that was their bill. “It’s nice to meet a celebrity and all, but I think we should go.”

Laurie’s smile returned. “Oh, I know exactly who is involved. And more importantly, I know where your friend is.” She pulled out a credit card and took the paper from Iris. “Consider this, my treat.”

Jump to the next installment here.


#ShortStory Saturday’s Flash Fiction Fun with The Writer’s Toolbox – Part Five

The following is the fifth post in a series of sponsored short stories written using Jamie Cat Callan’s fun and easy to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience). 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, some more random than others, which help your writing pop as well as a protagonist complete with overarching goals and an obstacle to overcome. I absolutely love it.

If you’d prefer to start from the beginning, you can read the first post here.

How I beat writer's block with one creative game -“There she was, Amy Gerstein, over by the pool, kissing my father.” Laurie looked up from the script. “I’m not sure about this line. Do you think my character more upset because her father has a thing for Amy, or because she does?”

The waitress shrugged as she poured Laurie another cup of coffee.

“Hmmm, I think it’ll try it both ways in rehearsal and see which one gets the better reaction.” She slapped the pages down on the table next to a dog-eared copy of an old Danielle Steel novel. “Would it kill the writers to give us an entire script to work with all at once?”

“If you are going to order anything other than coffee, I’ll need to put it in now,” said the waitress. “The kitchen is going to be closing soon.”

Laurie sighed. “I have to lose fifteen pounds by the end of next week. I know. You don’t have to say it. My personal trainer tells me he’s never seen me so fit too, but that’s the biz for you. If you ask me it’s completely unnecessary. There is nothing in the script that says the character has to be skeletal thin and my costume designer is having a fit, but what can you do? I was told in no uncertain terms I either I lose the weight or I lose my job. It’s almost as if they are looking for an excuse to renege my contract.”

Laurie raised the mug to her lips and muttered, “I bet the first thing they’ll do is give the role to that woman from the Stop & Shop too. If she wasn’t Leslie’s current favorite …,” Laurie words trailed off. Losing her job was the least of her concerns if anyone heard her badmouthing someone connected to Leslie in public.

“So that’s a no.”

“That’s a no.” The liquid burnt her tongue. If she didn’t need this job to pay her mom’s rent, she’d have walked off the show long ago.

The waitress turned away to serve the table on the other side of the aisle where a pair of men and a woman sat. None of the trio acknowledged the waitress refilling their drinks, too absorbed in a conversation that was growing more animated by the second.

The fresh floor wax caused the waitress to slip on her way back to the kitchen sending her tumbling to the floor. Laurie jumped out of her booth to assist the woman, but the waitress was already upright and heading back into the kitchen before Laurie could reach her.

On her way back to her table she overheard a piece of the trio’s conversation. “He was skating on thin ice – that’s all I can say.”

Laurie slid into her chair and strained her ears while trying to make it look like she wasn’t listening. Whatever the conversation was about, it sounded far more engrossing than re-reading lines from a two-bit script any day.

The sound of the dishwasher in the back shouting something about clean plates and Laurie stifled a curse. The drama going on in the kitchen prevented her from hearing what the woman at the table said next.

“But Daisy would never agree to do that,” said the man seated closest to the aisle. “Not for him. Not for anyone. She would have to know she’d be the first one they’d sell out and risked even more if our father caught up with her first.”

“I’m sure she thought it was the only way to help your mom. Daisy told me her condition was getting worse,” replied the woman.

“And how does getting involved with those people help my mom.”

“Bill, you may want to lower your voice,” said the second man, meeting Laurie’s eyes.

Laurie took another sip of her coffee and shuffled the pages of her script in an effort to look pre-occupied.

Bill ignored his friend’s advice. “If what you say is true, why tell us about it? Aren’t you afraid your own life will be in jeopardy?”

The woman picked at her food. The plate was as full as it had been when the waitress first sat it down. The second man looked at their female companion and then at Bill. “You still don’t get it, man, do you?”

The woman shot a pointed glance his way. “Larry, don’t. Please.”

“What?” Bill asked. “Why?”

The woman continued to look at Larry. “Let’s just say it has to do with the time Leslie called me a leech.”

Will Laurie find a role worthy of her talents? Will the waitress place a worker’s compensation claim? Who is Leslie and why is everyone so afraid? The series is coming to a conclusion.

Jump to part six 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.

Those who pick up Parisian Charm School will enjoy reading about secrets such as

  • The Charming Benefits of Travel
  • The Art of the French Flirt (And Why Conversation Matters)
  • Food Is Love: The French Dinner Party

You can find a sneak peek here

In addition to her upcoming novel, she is also the author of the books Bonjour, Happiness! , French Women Don’t Sleep Alone, and Ooh La La!: French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day.