Writing Prompt: Starbucks

This writing prompt comes from the wonderful world of Reddit. It’s amazing the kind of stuff you can find on there…

A Starbucks Barista has given you a Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino with soy instead of a Caffè Vanilla Light Frappuccino with non fat milk. Make this as tragic, heart-wrenching and miserable as possible.

It’s funny how a last day on earth is the same whether you’re sick or scheduled for a lethal injection. In my case, I’m sick, dying to be precise. The doctor has given me about a week…about six days ago. I’ve been holed up in this hospital bed, feeling my body weaken, counting down the seconds of life.

My wife cried. My mom cried. My dad cried. My siblings, cousins, niece, nurse…they’ve all cried. I cried with them.

But now I’m done with crying. Now all I want to do is enjoy my last day on earth as much as I can. I want Starbucks, specifically a Caffè Vanilla Light Frappuccino with nonfat milk.

Back before I got sick, I used to have a Caffe Vanilla Light Frappucino with nonfat milk every single day before I went to work at my law firm. It was the best way to start each day working at my dream job. I had it all back then…now I have hours.

It took some doing, but I’ve convinced the doctor to let my wife and me go out to Starbucks. I remember striding into my local Starbucks dressed in an expensive suit. People, specifically women, used to stare. Now everyone stares at the withered man in the wheelchair.

“What can I getcha?” the chipper barista asks.

“A Caffe Vanilla Light Frappucino,” my wife says, trying to sound chipper herself.

“With nonfat milk,” I put in.

“Certainly,” the barista (Her name is Tiffy…not Tiffany…Tiffy.) says. She gives me a sympathetic look. It’s like I’m dying or something.

We go to a table and wait. I look at my wife, who is trying not to look at me. I remember when we used to compete to tell the best work story. I remember when it was a race to see who could get promoted at their job first. I remember when we had our entire lives together to look forward to.

Now she won’t have anyone to compete with. I reach out for her hand, and she jerks it away because she has to wipe her eyes.

I’m helpless. I can’t work. I can’t be with my wife. And if the doctor is right, I can’t live to see a new week. There is only thing in my life that I have control of anymore: a Caffe Vanilla Light Frappucino with nonfat milk.

“Here you go!” Tiffy comes bouncing over.

“For you, ma’am, a passion iced tea lemonade.”

“And for you, sir, a Double Chocolaty Chip Crème Frappuccino with soy.”

I stare at this foreign drink in front of me. Of course. Of course I can’t even get my favorite drink correct on the day I’m probably going to die.

“Um…that’s not what he…” my wife begins.

“It’s perfect, Tiffy,” I cut in. “It won’t kill me to try something new.”

Writing Prompt: “When He Came Back”

From Writing Forward: Start the first line of your story with: “My husband disappeared on August 28, 1998.”

“When He Came Back”

My husband disappeared on August 28, 1998. He returned August 28, 2014.

I was making pancakes for my new husband Julian when my old husband Glen came into the kitchen. He was yawning and dressed in the same pair of pajamas that he had worn to bed sixteen years ago. I stared at him with pancake batter splattering from my spoon to the floor as he rummaged through the cabinet for a mug.

“Want some coffee?” he asked.

I made some sort of strangled noise, but Glen didn’t seem to notice.

“Ah well, more for me,” he said. He poured himself some coffee from a brand new coffeemaker that I had gotten Julian for his birthday a week ago. Then, he went over to inspect my cooking. “Looks good,” he said with a grin and kissed me on the cheek.

My cheek still remembered the once-daily touch of his lips, and it was this act of familiarity that jolted me from my numbed silence.

“Glen!” I exclaimed. “What the hell?”

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Short Story: “Roscoe’s Stories”

For my first short story, I thought I would post a nonfiction piece I wrote in college. It’s about my grandfather, Roscoe Braxton, who died recently. I’m a little ashamed to post this story. The majority of it is about how I took him for granted, but I tried to be honest. I think it reflects how many grandchildren feel about their grandparents, and I hope by the end, it shows just how special he is to me.

Feedback (good or bad) would be great! I don’t think I’ll ever publish this one, but it’s nice to get critiques anyway.

“Roscoe’s Stories”

It was Homecoming Weekend during my sophomore year of college at the University of Missouri (“Mizzou” to its fans). Because ESPN College Gameday had come to campus, I had stayed up all night to try to get a spot near the front where I could be on TV. I was unsuccessful and trudged home after standing for three hours in a torrential downpour. I changed out of my wet clothes and climbed into bed, hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before the football game.

I was just drifting off when the my phone vibrated and jolted me awake. I cursed myself for being a light sleeper and rolled over to see the words “Granddaddy Roscoe” on my screen.

“Not now,” I groaned.

I thought about letting the call go to voicemail, but my dad had given me a lot of crap for not returning my granddad’s calls. I inhaled deeply, mustering up the dwindling reserves of my patience and answered the phone.

“Hi, Granddaddy,” I said, with cheer that I didn’t have.

“Hey, how ya doin?” My granddad’s rough, gravelly voice was even more abrasive than usual. Plus, he used the same greeting every time he called.

I imagined him sitting in his apartment, his once tall frame stooped with age. He was probably wearing his familiar flat cap hat and his khaki jacket that he wore rain or shine. I could picture the wide glasses he wore to assist his eyes that were slowly getting paler because of glaucoma. With these images floating around in my head, I felt guilty for not wanting to talk to him. My granddad was old, and I didn’t have that many grandparents left.

“I’m good,” I replied, as always.

“Y’all are playin’ a big game tonight, eh?” he asked.

By “y’all,” he meant Mizzou. It was a big game, I supposed. Mizzou hadn’t beaten Oklahoma in years, but we sure as heck weren’t going to win tonight. Oklahoma was ranked number 1 in the nation, and I couldn’t remember what Mizzou’s ranking was.

“Yeah,” I said. “We’re playing Oklahoma.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said, chewing on his next thought like a cow chews cud. “They’re a pretty decent team, aren’t they?”

“They’re number 1 in nation,” I said. I grimaced as I thought back to last year’s Homecoming game, where Texas scored more than 70 points on us. “We’re heading for a slaughter.”

“Well…” He took a long pause, a torturously long pause.

I ground my teeth and watched the clock in my room. I knew that every minute I talked to him was a wasted minute of sleep.

He finally spoke. “I don’t know, Andrea. Mizzou’s a pretty good team. I think you can pull out a win.”

I rolled my eyes. My granddad didn’t know a thing about Mizzou. That was my school. He was a University of Tennessee fan. What did he know about Midwestern sports?

“I hope so,” I said.

“You know, back in 1961–“

Oh no, I thought. Here it comes. The story about how my granddad had taken one class at Mizzou during the summer and considered himself an alumnus. The cycle of stories was about to begin. Continue reading