I went to a website familiar to me, titled: Ann Linquist Writes. Ann instructs online writing classes that I've taken and facilitates her personal website. On her website, I found her latest writing prompt which included the four word clusters listed below. She challenged writers (all are welcome) to include these phrases in a short story. Mine follows.
A woman named Red Hannah
An annoying limp
Macaroni and cheese
A big E
I lived in a humble home with a crooked stoop and a torn screen in the front door. The house was smack dab at the east end of Finley Road where no one drove unless by accident. On those rare occasions, by the time I creaked and groaned up from my chair to say howdy, whoever it was, was gone. I’d raise my scrawny arm and wave at the dust that rose up as the car disappeared. Then, I’d feel empty and grope for something to fill the emptiness.
When folks spoke of me, their stories were of “a woman named Red Hannah.” They knew little of me for I avoided going to town but for bare necessities. An annoying limp made walking real hard so I never wasted my steps. I don’t know where I bought my food. The sign over the door was worn bare except for a big E. No matter. Inside, I knew right where to go for macaroni and cheese, milk, bread, canned fruit and dried beef.
Food worked miracles. When I felt lonely, empty of soul, my stomach talked to me. It asked for fruit and milk first thing every morning. I obediently set the table. Bread, dried beef and milk at my table for one was my high noon grasp for joy. I saved the mac and cheese for my grand finale dinner. Just me and my stomach thought life was good.
We kidded ourselves for a long, long time, that is, until 9:00 in the morning or thereabouts, on June 1st, 1949, when a rusty truck stopped at the end of Finley Road and dumped out a crusty old man. He stepped up on my crooked stoop and rattled my door. He didn’t seem in a hurry. I made it to the door before he could go. To make a short story shorter, on account of this accidental visitor, I’m not eating alone anymore.
Life is better with two stomachs to fill.