Thursday, July 8, 2021

Writing prompt

 I mentioned last week we were going to try a monthly writing prompt.  Basically, post a sentence and readers could post comments with 200-400 word "stories" inspired by the prompts.  Here is this month's prompt:

I'm not a goddamn walker.


I'm not a goddamn stroller.

Use whichever one inspires you more.  There are NO RULES... use the prompt as your first line, within the story, or just as inspiration.  Since the comments are wonky, we would recommend writing it in another editor first.  If you have trouble posting, email it to me at and I'll take care of it for you.  And if you go crazy and can't stay within the 400 word limit (I couldn't quite make it), we can post it as a separate entry.

My own attempt is under the jump break...

“Do you want a push, Caleb?”

The question comes from my father-in-law, Bert. The three of us—me, my wife Carly, and Bert—are heading from the car into the park to the picnic tables to enjoy an outdoor lunch this beautiful spring afternoon.  Only problem is that it’s a 10 minute walk to the picnic tables, and about 50 feet into the journey, Bert started limping. It’s his bum hip.  

“You look tired,” Bert notes.  “It’s got to be hard pushing yourself around all day.”

He looks pointedly at my hands gripping the cushions of my chair. I’m not tired. And I don’t want a push.  I never want to push. When I chose this wheelchair three years ago, selecting from what seemed like a countless number of designs and specifications, my occupational therapist recommended the handles on the back of my chair. And I admit, there are times when they come in handy.  There are times when I need a push. I don’t need it now. I don’t want it now. And the only reason Bert wants to push my chair is to take the pressure off of his aching hip.

But I’m not a goddamn walker.

I open my mouth, about to tell him that I’m fine, thank you very much.  But then Carly‘s hand drops onto my shoulder. Applying just enough pressure to be uncomfortable. Enough for me to get the point.

“That’s so nice of you to offer, Dad,” Carly speaks up.  “Right, Caleb?”

“Yeah,” I mutter.  “Sure.  Thanks, Bert.”

And just like that, I lose control of my mobility as my father-in-law seizes the handles of my chair and pushes me the rest of the distance to the picnic tables. At least he asked permission though. Plenty of people don’t. You’d be shocked.

“You know, Bert,” I say, as we enter the park.  “They’ve got canes you can buy at the drugstore.  All kinds.  Even ones you can fold up.”

My father in law freezes, and we come to such an abrupt halt, that for a second, I’m scared I could lose my balance and get thrown from my chair. That’s happened before, by the way. I can get back up—my therapists taught me how—but it’s never fun.  

“I don’t need a cane,” Bert says.

Carly‘s hand is on my shoulder again. Squeezing.  “Caleb, Dad is fine.”

Except he’s not fine. We had to drive over there last month because he fell and was having trouble getting up. That’s when I started looking at the canes at the drugstore. I don’t know why Carly is so willing to enable him.  Maybe it’s just too much for her to have a disabled husband and a disabled father.

“I’m fine, Caleb,” Bert says.  “I don’t need a cane.  I’m not a cripple.”  And then he adds, “No offense.”

Yeah, none taken. Doesn’t he understand that I would give all I’ve got to be able to walk with a cane? Hell, a walker would be fine. But that’s even less likely than my father-in-law cracking and finally getting that cane.


  1. Annabelle, I would very much like this story to have a sequel. Thank's for the post.

  2. (I went over 400 words too...I hope that's okay?)

    Layla sipped her drink as she absentmindedly scrolled through her phone. Her work bestie was late for their happy hour meetup. Nina was never on time, but she was used to it. After the crazy week they'd had, she didn't mind decompressing on her own for a bit anyway.

    After a few rounds of Candy Crush, her phone buzzed. "On my way! Sorrrryyy!!", texted Nina.

    She smiled and starting looking for a gif to send back. A loud cackle interrupted her thoughts and she glanced up. Across the bar she noticed a group of younger girls stumbling in, their matching hoodies confirming that they were from one of the sororities at the nearby college. It was clear by their obnoxious laughter that they had been pregaming before they ended up here.

    'Oh lovely.', she sarcastically thought to herself. As she rolled her eyes, she caught the smirk of a cute guy a few tables away. Not realizing she was being watched, her cheeks warmed but she shrugged unapologetically at him. She guessed he was in his mid 30's, like her, and probably wasn't thrilled with the romper room entourage either. His chuckle confirmed her assumption.

    She returned to her phone, skimming her newsfeed. Contemplating whether she should order another drink or wait for Nina, she eyed the bar to see how busy it was. Cute Guy must have been thinking the same, because in her peripheral vision she saw him pushing away from his table. When he didn't stand up and instead rolled to the end of bar, she couldn't help but focus on him. Her pulse quickened and she felt her stomach flutter.

    Unfortunately for him, Layla wasn't the only one who took notice of him. One of the drunk sorority sisters squealed as he stopped near them at the bar.

    "Ohhhh, yayyyyy! Take me for a ride!", she slurred as she plopped down on his lap.

    Layla's eyes widened and Cute Guy looked stunned. Before he could react, one of the other girls grabbed his chair from behind and began pushing him along the bar.

    "Weeeeeee!!", she yelled and Layla's jaw dropped. Cute Guy, clearly ticked off, grabbed his wheels and brought them to a sudden halt. The abrupt stop caused his unwelcomed passenger to slide and she landed right on her ass.

    "I'm not a goddamn stroller!", he barked at her as she pouted from the floor.

    Layla went from being horrified to totally amused at the sight of the pretty blonde on the nasty bar floor. She tried to stifle her laughter but Cute Guy must've caught her because he was heading for her table.

    "I'm glad that shit-show was entertaining to someone!", he said in mocked annoyance.

    "Oh please, I'm not the only one. Blondie was enjoying it...until you sent her packing at least.", Layla said, laughing.

    "Yeah, yeah. But you realize that taking pleasure in my pain means you owe me a drink now, right?", he challenged.

    Layla pretended to be shocked, "You mean I have to go near that circus now?!"

    "Uh huh. I'll take a rum and Coke please. Good luck!", he replied with a shit eating grin.

    1. Great story! We only did the word limit because we were worried long stories wouldn't be accepted by the comment box :)

    2. So fun! And so cringey. Those types of girls are the worst!

  3. Vegmama, I liked this version very much, thanks for writing! And it sounds as a great intro for more ��

  4. Thank you for both entries!

  5. I chuckled to myself as I adjusted my legs, moving my feet on the footplate . There was no need they had not moved from the moment I had transferred into my chair, the pointlessness amused me. It was something to do to pass the time, and time goes slowly at the airport departure gate. I had already checked out the other passengers that looked like they had a disability, another pointless exercise as most were either elderly or didn’t have any obvious disability other than they were sat in a wheelchair, most an airport supplied one which always makes me think ‘really? Do you really need it?’

    And then as if my saviour had descended from the heavens, the dude in the orange tabard emblazoned with ‘airport access team’. He approached and asked ‘have you booked boarding assistance’. Stiffing the urge to say ‘no didn’t realize I had a disability’ and flashing a silent ‘don’t bite’ glance to my partner I smiled and replied ‘yes thank you’ He moved swiftly around me to the back of my chair and paused. I found myself chuckling to myself again as I knew he had got in position to push me along the access tunnel but there weren't any push handles, I grinned at my partner and she grinned back, then to put my ‘helper’ out of his confusion I set of wheeling with a ‘Its ok mate I’ll wheel myself’.

    Quickly joining the convoy of chairs that headed along the access tunnel to the waiting cabin crew and plane entrance. I recalled the bet I had had with my partner over ‘how many really cant walk’. I had gone with 2 she went with just me. The convoy slowed and low and behold one after the other of the other ‘wheelchair users’ rose from their chairs and walked onto the plane. Fuck, I was the only one, looks like duty free is on me this flight. My ‘helper’ moved along side me, ‘just a few feet to go sir can you manage that from your chair’. Now I know it is just his training and he had seen every other wheelchair user rise like lazarous and become ‘walkers’ but I cant, I never will and I get asked this every time I fly, it fucking irritates me. It took some effort to keep control and I uttered ‘im not a goddam walker’ through gritted teeth, out of the corner of my eye I could see my partner about to go into full Kill Bill mode and take him out! He had no idea the danger he was in.

    Now for the joy of transferring into the plane aisle chair in full view of the waiting passengers who had now backed up behind us. God I hate flying.


    1. Thanks for sharing! I have seen so much media coverage recently about wheelchair users and plane travel, so this was such a nice little dip into something that has been on my mind. :-)

  6. How fun! I love this! Thank you to you both for creating this writing exercise! And what a GOOD exercise it is, too, because I am the queen of adding unnecessary EVERYTHING. :)

    I'm in a bit of a melancholy mood lately... hope you all enjoy anyway!



    I watch from the finish line as they race past me. I glance down at my Garmin, something I still wear, mostly out of habit. My racing days are over.

    3:28:54. 3:28:55.

    Kerrigan should be finishing any second now. She’s got thirty seconds to PR. A minute to qualify. The seconds tick by and still she doesn’t round the last corner.


    Finally I see her. “You got it, babe!” I yell as loud as I can. It isn’t very loud and I still have to pause to catch my breath afterwards. “You got it! Almost there!”

    When she crosses the finish line the look on her face is exuberant. I engage the joystick on my chair and go to meet her. She meets me halfway and flashes her wrist at me. The numbers are there in a big, blocky, white font.


    I hold my hand up for a high-five. A semblance of one. My curled fist just sort of hangs limply at the end of my arm. She grins and throws her arms around me. Kisses me hard. Our family and friends rush over to celebrate. Her brother picks her up in a hug and spins her in the air.

    Watching them casts a momentary shadow over my happiness. I can’t help but wish I was the one doing that.

    Eventually the celebration ebbs. Everyone drifts off to watch the rest of the runners cross the finish line. My mom scurries off to find Kerrigan more water.

    Kerrigan looks at me with a slap happy grin on her face and then collapses onto the grass beside my wheelchair.

    “I think I did it, Ash,” she is splayed out like a starfish and there’s a hint of wonderment in her voice. “Asher. I think I actually qualified for Boston.”

    “Fuck yeah you did,” I tell her, smiling. “I’m so proud of you.”

    And I really am. Proud of her. But a small part of me is sad, too. Boston was supposed to be our goal. But then I got sick. Kerrigan offered to keep doing races with me. When I got too weak to use a manual chair she offered to push me. Anything to keep doing what we loved together.

    “I’m not a goddamn walker,” I had growled at her. Not my proudest moment.

    But sitting here, watching her bask in glory? That definitely is.

    1. I miss your stories, EJ. I want more from Alex and Elliot, please. And let me say I need to know how the Max and Inez story ends. Do you intend to rewrite them? I believe many miss your writing. I apologize if my English is confused, I am Brazilian and I confess that my English is very bad. I loved this story you posted. You will continue?

    2. Hi, Izabely! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this (in very articulate English!)! I would like to finish Max and Inez’s story, eventually, but I’m not sure when… alas, probably not the answer you were looking for. :-/ I am posting a short three-part story soon though!

      Johanna is the one who gets the credit for the fabulous story He’a Not Mr Perfect about Alex and Elliot, and I wish she would continue, too!! Johanna, if you’re out there, we miss your story and characters! :)

    3. Yes. I'm sorry for the confusion. I don't know where I got it from that He's not Mr. Perfect was your story hahahaha I'm really excited to read new stuff and old stuff from you. And as for Between the pages, take your time.

      Johanna, I miss your characters.

    4. This was gutting! You manage to convey so much in so few words. I long for your skill!

    5. Oh, you're kind! I enjoyed reading yours, too! :)

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  8. I'm a little over at 425 words, but here we go. Thanks Annabelle for reminding me about the prompt!


    Two quick knocks came to my left. I turned and glanced in the open doorway. A woman stood there, and fucking hell, she was hot. Her long, toned legs poked out from underneath her grey pencil skirt.

    “Leslie Adams, I’m here to go over your wheelchair options.”

    Oh. Goodie.

    I quickly blinked. “Yeah, come on in.” I waved her toward me.

    Her black stilettos clicked along the tile floor. She pulled up a chair next to me and sat, crossing her shapely legs.

    “Let’s get right down to it.” She patted the binder on her lap. "Since you’re a low-level injury, you’ll want to go with a manual chair with a lightweight frame. I suggest titanium…” She flipped open her booklet and went into the sales pitch for quite some time. Her brown hair was pulled back into a knot, but as she went on, a few strands began to fall out and brush against her creamy skin, making it very hard for me to stay focused.

    Seriously, couldn’t they have sent someone…less attractive?

    “Well? What do you think?” She peered at me from behind black square-framed glasses.
    What did I think? “I think the only thing more depressing than this, would be picking out my own coffin,” I replied honestly.

    “Don’t think of it as being confined to a wheelchair.” She pulled off her glasses, leaning forward on her elbows. “The wheels are your liberty! Your freedom!” Reaching out, she squeezed my shoulder and flashed an exuberant smile, expecting me to mirror her excitement.

    Sorry, not happening.

    She blinked at me, waiting for a response. I sighed. “This one.” I pointed to a frame; it was the one she’d said was the lightest on the market. Sounded fine by me. We went on with the wheels, and finally, the backrest.

    “Sometimes it’s helpful to have handles for the occasional need for a push up a steep hill or ramp.”

    I snorted.

    There were three hills at Ft. Knox where I was stationed that they told me I’d never forget. Agony, Misery and Heartbreak.

    After finishing what we thought was Misery with about a hundred extra pounds on me, our drill sergeant informed us we’d hiked the wrong mountain.

    At that moment I understood the true meaning of Heartbreak.

    So back at it to Misery we went. I didn’t know my body could take that kind of beating. I thought I’d die. But I didn’t. I made it.

    I had what it took to endure.

    “No handlebars,” I quickly spat. “I’m not a goddamn stroller.”

    1. Love it! I always love your writing, Avery!

  9. I loved all the stories. This was a great idea. Maybe a longer story will come out of one of these. ajkingston, I think you introduced the phrase in the most natural way and in a place of power for the short story. Well done! EJ you conveyed the character's melancholy so well in such a short space. Infinatedreams, we all love that topic. Vegmama, I definitely want more! Annabelle, you're a master as always.

    1. Thank you for the comment! Hope you'll feel inspired to give us a little story, too. You know we all enjoyed "Some Things Never Change" !

  10. thanks for the comment, I enjoyed writing even though my grammar is pants! Somehow feels like im cheating as I got inspiration from real life experiences. Infinatedreams

  11. The First Date

    By, Britishtetra

    Sat at her dressing table, Ellie contemplated on what colour lipstick to apply. One by one she ran her fingertips over the top of each silver stick, hoping for a sign. Likened to a jolt of electricity, one stick tingled a finger.Once applied, she smacked her lips. The scarlet tint awakened a faded urge. As her green eyes gazed upon the reflection, Ellie wondered when she would get a date.

    The dress code for work was left to the employee's discretion. Feeling flirty, she dressed in a white cotton shirt, a black short skirt with black high heels. Ellie rose to her feet, stepped back, unfastened the top two buttons of her shirt; and posed in the mirror. “Irresistible,” she said, “today’s my day.”

    Awaiting the arrival of the lift, the neighbour opposite closed his door.

    "Good morning?" He said, "I'm Tom."
    The heels scraped ninety degrees, as she turned to reply.
    "Oh hello," she replied, lowering her vision. "I'm Ellie."

    A sudden throbbing struck her inside. A pulsating ache that required relief. For a moment Ellie’s vision lost all clarity. Whilst the aluminium door opened, Tom approached the entrance, "Do you want to go first?" He asked.
    Nibbling her lower lip, she answered, "No, its fine, we'll go in together."

    The interior had the space of a phone box. Tom backed inside, and placed his briefcase beside the left wheel. He guided her into a comfortable position. Luckily nobody would notice, as the descent would last no more than a minute.

    With a mouthful of black hair, Tom nudged his chin into Ellie's shoulder. The awkwardness of her being seated upon him, gave him a brief window of opportunity. As the door closed, he guided his right arm around Ellie's front, brushing the side of her breast. The action received a favourable groan. Quickly Tom did the same with his left arm, interlocking the fingers tightly together.

    Above the door-frame the bright red numbers decreased...then stopped! In order for her to reach the emergency button, Tom had to break his hold. Seconds felt like hours. Minutes like days. When his fingers gradually opened, Ellie shuffled her bum forward, reached across to hit the button.
    "Same time tomorrow?" Joked Tom.
    Ellie smiled, inhaled a big breath…"Okay its a date."

  12. A thunder soars outside, so loud it shakes me awake. It's raining.

    The bedspot next to me is empty and cold. I get up after fighting off the disorientation. All the lights are off, but I can make out the shadows. The office light is on.

    He's gotta be kidding me.

    "Ten minutes, right?" I stand by the doorframe.

    He's leaning over the drafting table, slouched in his chair, and would've jumped if he could at the sound of my voice.

    "Ugh." He takes his glasses off and brushes his face with his hands. "You were napping when I left the bathroom. Sorry."

    He's only sorry he got caught.

    It doesn't bother me that he takes forever in the bathroom. I'm used to it. What bothers me is... "What the hell are you doing?"

    Working. He's working.

    "I'll just finish this draft." He says, trying to offer me a crooked smile. "You can go and keep my side of the bed warm."

    I wouldn't hold my breath. "Jack, c'mon."

    He grabs his wheels and for a moment I think he's gonna move—intead he does a pressure lift. I'd bet good money he hasn't done that all night. When he drops back on his cushion, he winces. He's in pain.

    Goddammit. It's almost enough to wash down my irritation with concern.

    "The storm..." He doesn't finish that thought. His severed spinal cord comes with several downsides—long bathroom routines, and neuropathy pain that's somehow triggered by storms.

    I hug him from behind and rest my chin on his shoulder. The handsome bastard really is working. Productive motherfucker.

    "Come back to bed." I slowly pull him away from the table, taking advantage of the fact that he doesn't ever lock his wheels. I'm the one who runs after it when he transfers into his car and it decides to roll away into traffic. That's how we met; I ran over his wheelchair.

    Not sorry.

    I keep pulling him back, my arms crossed in front of his chest because he doesn't have handlebars.

    Jack stops his wheels and spins around to face me and give the stink eye. "I'm not a goddamn stroller, Liz."

    I stand up straight. He's also proud and stubborn and has a chip on his shoulder about that for reasons entirely unrelated to his severed spine. Too bad.

    "You're *my* goddamn stroller." I sit doen on his bony lap. "And I want you to take me to the bedroom. Now."

    We battle in silence. Poor Jack—I'm not giving in.

    And he better finish off what he started.

    1. This is my favorite reply so far! I need more Liz and Jack in my life, please!

    2. I'm thinking the exact same thing lol Maybe I'll do this weekly challenge with the same couple every time and at some point have a bunch of stuff written about them haha

    3. Wow, I'm so glad this has inspired you so much! But we are doing the challenge monthly, not weekly. I'm hoping to give prompts for different types of disabilities too. But don't let that stop you! If you want to write more of this couple please do so. You don't have to wait for the next challenge to do it.

    4. I also want more about this couple. It can be a short story, novel or book (I would love a complete book). I loved the dynamic of this couple. Forgive me if my English is bad, I'm Brazilian and I'm terrible at English.

    5. Ah, for some reason I thought this was gonna be a weekly thing haha! Unfortunately I don't have enough ideas to come up with a full story plot. The thing with the prompts would be that I could always write small pieces like this and not worry too much about a storyline.
      Thank you, everyone <3 English isn't my first language either.

    6. This is so effing delicious! More, more, more. I think this was my favorite line: "That's how we met; I ran over his wheelchair."

      I just need to see this scene in action.


  13. Dark Moments

    By, Britishtetra

    “ I am not a goddamn walker”

    I can still remember using that phrase to the physiotherapist in rehab. That was ten years ago after I received the news that I would never wear my football boots again. At the time it was like getting hit with a cannonball, fired from close range. All emotions changed from that moment. There was an emptiness inside me, a coldness that could never get warm. Since then finding love has been impossible, friendships come and go but the experience of the one, was doomed.

    There have been many times when I thought why continue? What can I offer? Who would want me?
    Then I look around too many people who are worse than myself. I was at the lowest point in my life.

    Suddenly as I made my way out to the edge of the cliff, I viewed a goddess.

    She stood about six foot, with long flowing black hair almost touching the top of her bum. I locked the brakes, unable to move, frozen in anticipation of what could be.

    As she walked past, her lips widened in my direction. It was the sign I had been waiting for. A signal to approach, say something, create a spark, make conversation. Yet, I stayed silent. No words came out! The darkness crushed me once again. Then footsteps came closer, my head turned, and in front of me, stood an angel.

    “Are you okay,” she asked, “only this is a notorious spot.”

    I knew what she meant. I could see why many people at such a low point in their lives would jump here. It was 300 feet straight down. If you were lucky you plunged into the sea. If not you splattered on the rocks. That was written on the brochure. Yes there was actually documentation on coastal suicide spots.

    “Just admiring the view,” I said, “ thinking about doing an Evel Knievel.”

    She chuckled, laughing at one of my remarks. So I tried a few more, … “Do you think I could make France?” And how about, “Barnes Wallace.” That nearly brought the house down.

    Perhaps I did have a knack after all…

    One sand dune after another, she assisted me back to the car park. It has taken me four hours to reach that particular spot. If I had settled on the earlier one, I’d be dead by now.

    Perhaps it was fate…

    1. Wow- the ending there hits you hard. I love it!

  14. Too long for a single comment, so continued as a reply!

    **“Austin- hey. It’s Mary. Could you give me a call back? It’s kind of an emergency.”

    Austin groaned. He lifted his head. The clock flashed a bright 6:12am as the answering machine clicked off. He was just drifting back to sleep when the phone rang again.

    “What, Mary? You know, if everything is an emergency, nothing really is.”

    Mary Truvy had been Austin’s best friend since they were three years old and her family had moved in next door. They had grown up as best friends, but things had started changing. He couldn’t help her showing up in his dreams, especially after she came over on the regular in nothing but her bikini.

    “Austin, I am so glad you’re awake-“

    “I wasn’t,” he yawned, but she talked over him.

    “My uncle asked me ages ago to check his dogs while he’s away on this stupid trip and I totally mixed up the dates. I’m at the lake with Callie until Tuesday. Is there any way you could go and take his dogs for a walk?”

    “No,” he said flatly.

    “Come on. Pretty please? I’ll owe you unlimited favors.”

    “No, Mary. I can’t. I’m not a goddamn walker.”

    She paused and he could almost see her dark curls falling into her face over her furrowed brows as she thought about what he said.

    “As in, I can’t walk. Or did you forget that part?”

    He said the last part as a joke. He knew she hadn’t. She had been with him when he’d been diagnosed at age 5, the manual wheelchair at 11, and the recent switch to the powerchair at 21. Becker Muscular Dystrophy- no cure, but Mary found plenty of ways to be creative about it.

    “But-“ Mary paused again. “You don’t need to be able to walk to walk the dogs, right?”

    “Truvy, you kill me.” He rolled over and looked at the power chair next to his bed. His doctors told him he was lucky- he had enough mobility and balance to be mostly independent.

    “Oh, come on Austin. He just lives over on Hilldale. Charge up the battery juice and go for a cruise.”

    Austin laughed. “And when news headlines read, ‘You friendly neighborhood cripple arrested for illegal summer dogsledding’, how do you plan to explain that to my parents?”

    “Barb and Tim love me,” Mary scoffed. “Besides, once we get married, they’ll know it was out of love.”

    Austin’s heart sped up. It was a good thing they weren’t in person. His blond hair and light complexion would have made his full body blush so obvious.

    “Love, eh?” He wanted to smack himself. Was that really the best response? And what did she mean? Was it a declaration? Or was it just a joke? They had never talked about it, but the kissing in her car and the heavy rubbing in their not so innocent best friend sleepovers made him wonder.

    He managed to pull himself into a sitting position and heaved himself into his chair. The movement pulled his focus, so he almost missed Mary’s response.

    “Oh, Austin.” She was suddenly much more serious. “Sometimes you can be so blind.”

    1. Continued!


      He managed to pull himself into a sitting position and heaved himself into his chair. The movement pulled his focus, so he almost missed Mary’s response.

      “Oh, Austin.” She was suddenly much more serious. “Sometimes you can be so blind.”

      He wasn’t sure what to make of that. But he knew checking on the damn dogs would make Mary happy, and he liked it when Mary was happy.

      “What kind of dog are we talking?” He pressed the joystick forward into his closet to pick out clothes.

      “They’re these little yippy purse dogs. Yorkies, maybe? Are those the ones that look like Ewoks? His wife buys them like pairs of shoes.”

      Austin pulled his t-shirt over his head. “Wait, multiple? How many dogs?”

      Mary coughed then mumbled.

      “What are you not saying?”

      She exhaled. “So many things. More than you know.”

      He imagined her dark eyes dropping as she tried to avoid his question. That might work in person, but not over the phone. He waited.

      “But, with the dogs… there are 7. And none of them are fixed. And because of that, they are extra… friendly.”

      Why had Austin agreed to this? “This definitely extends beyond the duties of a best friend, you know. Need help moving? Sure. You can borrow my truck and I’ll pack the pillows. Rock solid alibi after you murder an ex? I’m your guy… but walking a gaggle of horny purse dogs that aren’t even yours?” He waited for her to laugh, but it didn’t come.

      “I know,” Mary said, he voice a touch more emphatic than he was used to. “But do you think it is beyond the duties of a boyfriend?”

      His hand jerked and he cursed as he slammed into one of the stools at the breakfast bar. “I’ve never been one, so I’ve never reviewed that particular job description.” He tried to sound cool and casual, but the stutter and alternating octaves gave him away.

      Mary smacked her lips as she smiled. “Maybe when I get back on Tuesday, we could review it together? Like a job interview?”

      Austin’s face split into a wide grin. “I’ll be your pinch hitter, but just this once. I’ll need something to talk about in the interview.”

    2. This was such a great read! I'm such a sucker for a good friends to lovers story. :) Also enjoyed reading about a different kind of disability than normally is featured here!

    3. So sweet! Really loved it, Celaena.

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  16. I took the liberty of posting a story I wrote earlier which is just over 1000 words, so hopefully it'll fit in two comments:

    “You have to put the crutches away, sir. They will activate the metal detector” – the security agent stopped him before he could step onto the platform of the scanner

    “I can’t, I can’t go without them” – he protested through gritted teeth

    “You should have gone to the disability check-in, we can get you a wheelchair that will take you to the gate, but you will need to go to aisle 20, that’s where the disability check in is. Ivonne, get him the wheelchair, and get Marcus, he’ll take him to the disability…”

    “Stop saying that!” – the man interrupted angrily – “I don’t want to… I just need to walk to the other side, can’t you scan them manually or something, it’s not like I’m smuggling drugs here…”

    “I’m sorry sir, did you say you have drugs on you? I’m going to need you to step to the side…”

    “What’s going on?” – the woman who was accompanying him, Lizzie approached the agent

    “I have reason to believe this man is in breach of federal law. He needs to be searched and he refuses to put the crutches on the belt. We are getting him a wheel…”

    “I’m not taking a wheelchair” – the man repeated firmly. His companion took a split second to make a decision.

    “How about I help him walk through the gate?”

    “Ma’am, the scanner can only be used by individuals. If you just go to the disability check-in in aisle 20, you will be able to…”

    “I’ll just get him to the scanner, then help him to the packing area, then come back for my own search, how about that?” – she was confident enough that the agent didn’t immediately refuse. She walked over to a tall, muscular men, and whispered something, gesturing towards the couple, no doubt letting him know that he should keep an eye on them, in case they indeed turned out to be smugglers, or worse. He nodded, adjusted his weapon belt and stood straight, fixating his eyes on the two.

    The female agent waved at the woman to go ahead. The woman gently pulled the man back to the belt, where he deposited his crutches with a disgruntled look. She grabbed his arm and they headed to the metal detector. The man clearly struggled to get his legs to move forward, and leaned heavily on his partner, while taking small, shuffling steps. His left leg was dragging behind a little, and it was clear from his limp that he was not faking the need for the crutches. When he was inside the scanner, he let go of her, and instead leaned on the plastic frame, which trembled dangerously. After 5 second, the light inside turned green, and he turned to face the other side, where the arms of the women were already waiting to support him.

    He almost tripped over his feet going down the ramp, but she steadied him immediately.

    “It’s alright, I got you Paul” – she reassured him, as he wiped drops of sweat from his forehead with the free hand.

    They were stopped by the bulky male agent who insisted on patting him down. Lizzie didn’t let go of him, except when the officer insisted on patting his left arm, and even then, she put a hand on his back so that she could support him if necessary.

    As expected, another problem arose when the security officer got to his calves.

    “What is this? Are you smuggling weapons in here?”

    Paul rolled his eye, not even concealing his exasperation. “These are my braces. I can’t walk without them, and can’t remove them. If you pull up my pant legs, you can see they are made of plastic and entirely harmless.” – he would have preferred to pull up the pant legs himself, but was worried that this would result in him falling over. The officer didn’t waste any time in examining his braces and shoving the metal detector into his legs, but eventually he had to concede that there were no drugs or weapons hidden inside them, and let him go.

    1. As promised, Lizzie left him in the packing area, where he leaned heavily on the table, and walked back to get her own security check done. While she was being patted down, Paul saw his crutches reappearing on the security belt. He took a step forward, supporting himself on the table, but before he could attempt to take another one, a large woman with an even larger suitcase bumped into him while rushing to get to the gate, almost sending him to the ground. He managed to stay on his feet, and resigned himself to waiting for Lizzie to return his belongings.

      With his crutches back in his hands, Paul was independent again. He swatted her away when she tried to help put his backpack on. - “I can handle a backpack, Lizzie” – he snapped. She nodded, bent down to tie her shoes, then picked up her own bag and their jackets, and they headed to the waiting lounge.

      “You said they weren’t as strict with you before, didn't you?” – she inquired when they found a seat near the departures board – “Crazy how paranoid everyone is these days” – he only shrugged, but she ignored it and instead studied his face – “you look really pale. Are you ok? Can I get you a coffee or something to eat?”

      When he shook his head, she gave him another concerned look, but informed him that she was going to get a drink. She returned with a cappuccino and a bag of blueberry muffins – “your favourite” – she beamed – “in case your change your mind later”

      “I lied to you, I’m sorry.” – he mumbled, when she sat next to him again

      “Excuse me?”

      “I have flown only a few times before. But not since high school. Mostly with my parents for some treatment, once with the whole group from my class… and I was always this kid in a wheelchair, they insisted I sit in it and then pushed me around the whole airport, with everyone looking at me like a freak… It was horrible” – his face turned red, as if the memory alone made him angry and embarrassed – “I can walk on my own, you know, I worked hard for it and I don’t need anyone’s help. I’m not a goddamn stroller!”

      “ohh” – Lizzie put the coffee on the empty seat next to her, reached for his hand and squeezed it gently – “I understand. But see, we made it through on our own, so it’s fine, you don’t need worry about it. Now how about that muffin” – she dangled the bakery purchases in front of him

      He smiled and reached his arm around her, pulling her close – “Thanks for looking out for me, Lizzie” – he murmured, planting a kiss on her temple.

    2. Omg, I loved this!!! Such a nice read. Wish we could see more of them... :D

    3. Thank you! I started writing a story for them, so maybe one day :)

  17. Jealousy.

    By, Britishtetra

    A breakfast of champions that’s what the residents called it. Two fried sausages, two eggs, mushrooms, beans and if you were lucky, a piece of fried bread. Not quite enough for the defibrillator, but well worth the wait. That was every Sunday, until the new carer arrived. Where she come from nobody knows. Some say the army, some say a private hospital, and one of two of us said hell!

    In the beginning we all thought she was quiet. The first couple of days it was the odd murmur, until the incident. What made Jack decide to run over her feet, nobody knows. At the time it was funny, now we could’ve killed him.

    Can you imagine being 75 years of age and having a sweet 22-year-old give you a bed bath. It’s magical, except for one dam thing… nothing works down below. When I was married, Mildred had an exceptional right hand. Mind you that was after the Parkinson‘s had set it, and boy did it shake. I used to lie back and think of England. But, when the shakes increased, it was like a pneumatic drill. When I got in the shower, it was like viewing a roll of black pudding.

    Wednesdays that was the carers day. To be specific the mornings 8 am till 9 am. The hour to dream, the hour to hope, the hour to lust. I often thought she knew what she was doing. Perhaps it was the grandad fetish, sitting on the old gentleman‘s lap remembering her childhood. Still we didn’t care.

    On Tuesday some of us drew straws. It was fun, as she always began in Block A, Tom Harris’s room. The man was young, late 50’s with a spinal injury. By the time she had exited, the rest of us got five minutes at the most. What made him special?

    He wasn’t famous. In fact he couldn’t move, stuck on a respirator, all silent and still. He hardly sat in his wheelchair, perhaps on his birthday, or maybe Christmas Day.

    When Tom died, we all rejoiced.

    It is now Wednesday.

    “Are you ready George,” said the carer, “your top of my list today.”

    The quicker the water was on the quicker it was off. A cat could of licked quicker.
    “Oh well,” said George, “ I suppose I’m just not Tom?”

    The carer stopped in her tracks… “Don’t you mean dad!”