March’s prompt was based around an old saying, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” The proverb, first recorded in the early 18th century, was used to predict spring weather. If March was stormy and windy, it was a “lion,” and the month would end in a much calmer fashion. The reverse was also believed to be true, a calm first of March meant storms by the end of the month. Since this is a common phrase in the southeast, it was chosen as our prompt for March’s flash piece.
This… wasn’t an easy prompt to work around. Or rather, it was, but not if I wanted to keep it within 500 words. Everything I started grew out of control until I was well into 1000 words before I’d even gotten to the turning point from lion to lamb. Then I had the bright idea to not make the piece about weather of any sort. Because I like challenges and hate my brain. I’d bounced this idea around for a while, it was one of the ones that grew out of control, but it stuck, so I tried again. Cutting, trimming, writing, and rewriting it until I narrowed it down to 499 words. I feel like it’s a little choppy in places, places I couldn’t smooth out without going well over the word limit, but it gets the idea across (I hope). We’ve all had “one of those days,” where everything goes wrong in the morning. This one is no different.
One of Those Days
It was going to be one of those days where Murphy’s Law struggled to keep up with the destructive chaos. She’d already missed her alarm, snapped the handle off her coffee carafe, broke the lipstick out of its tube, and walked to the garage to discover a flat tire and an even flatter spare. All before 9:00 am.
She was already so done with this day, and she’d only been awake an hour. She refused to ask what next. That was just tempting a fate that seemed to have it in for her. Sara reached into her pocket to call her boss. Might as well burn some PTO, do a bit of retail therapy, and try to get her good karma back on track.
The phone wasn’t in her pocket. Or her car. Or her bag. She gave a little scream and stomped back to the elevator. Of course, she’d left it in her apartment. Of course.
“No can do,” replied her boss to her request for a day off. “Waterson moved the meeting to today, and I need you here. You know how much he likes working with you.”
He liked moving around the room so he could brush against her breasts or ass even better, she thought.
“Fine.” She blew out a breath. “I’ll call a cab, but I’m adding the cost to my expense budget.”
“No need. Knox is in the area. He’ll be there in five.”
The line went dead. Groaning, Sara leaned forward and banged her head gently against the doorframe. Grantham Knox was the firm’s golden boy. Young, handsome, and brilliant, he’d vaulted up the corporate ladder like it was downhill sprint. At 32, he was slated to become the youngest partner in the firm. And he was chauffeuring her to work after a disastrous morning.
“My life is a farce.”
Nothing happened when she pushed the button for the elevator. Either someone was holding it or it, too, decided to give her the middle finger. Muttering words unsuitable to a work environment, she took the stairs.
“What?” She snapped into her phone.
“Good morning to you too, sunshine.” Knox’s voice, smooth as melted chocolate, carried more than a hint of amusement. “Your chariot awaits.”
He guided her to a sleek electric car, not the jacked-up SUV she’d expected, and held the door for her. Manners demanded she thank him for the lift, but the frustrations of the day stole her words. The car’s quiet hum did little to break the silence.
“We need the Waterson contract,” he said once they pulled onto the interstate. “Any ideas on how we can secure it without letting him get away with sexual assault?”
Sara opened her mouth to answer but no sound came out. With one question, Grantham Knox—the golden boy—showed more concern for her safety than her boss of almost a decade. Relaxing, she laid out the details of the contract.
Perhaps the day wouldn’t be so bad after all.