Date Time

“I’m back! After a week of really sore hands they’ve decided to let me write again! I missed you all and so I’m smiling this morning. Anyway, here’s a tale requested by Marla, a fellow writer with a website full of great stories and poems.”

I wrote this story for the following prompt.
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Wordle — Pinch, Nose, Topple, Tocsin, Contest, Forward, Crestfallen, Fence, Edge, Pile, Whistle, Lick
FOWC with Fandango  — Naughty
Your Daily Word — Pare

Date Time

What was that tocsin? Grey sat bolt upright then heaved a sigh of relief. Just the alarm clock screaming that it was time to get up. Easing his legs forward and off the edge of the bed, he felt his heart rate soar. ‘Shit! It’s going to happen today,’ he realised.

There were ten hours to wait and already he was a bundle of nerves. Standing, he reached above his head and stretched. Stepping around the bed he managed to topple right over his pile of clothes.

‘Damn it! This is gonna be a bad day. Come on, Grey — get hold of yourself. You can do this and make a good day,’ he told himself through a flurry of running paws.

A stocky white bulldog charged him and began to lick every inch of flesh she could reach.

“Morning, Rebel!” Grey hugged her before rising to dress. He spent an hour cleaning his room and then went down for breakfast.

Sometime later he was washing up. Looking through the window toward the back garden, he noticed two pigeons being naughty with each other on the fence. ‘That’s it you two, have fun while I’m a nervous wreck in —!’

Bang—

Grey flinched in such a way that he smashed a plate against the taps, showering the sink in china sherds.

Bang —

“Rebel!” Grey gave a shrill whistle, “Stop attacking those pigeons!”

The bulldog had rammed the fence twice trying to reach the loving birds. Now she trotted indoors looking very pleased with herself.

Grey shook his head toward her and in doing so saw the clock. ‘Oh, no! six hours left before you ruin your life!’

Dispelling the thought, Grey made himself a sandwich for lunch. An hour later it lay uneaten on the coffee table in the lounge. Who could possibly eat when their stomach was churning with ever-rising anxiety?

The Olympics was on the TV. Team GB had just won a gold medal in the new BMX event leaving their opponents crestfallen.

Grey barely noticed, he was looking at the TV but seeing nothing. ‘Just five hours left! It’s going to be a horror show. You’re going to make a fool of yourself. She’ll laugh at and hate you!’ He thought over and over in a never-ending spiral of dark thoughts.

Four hours to go.

 Grey couldn’t help pacing back and forth. He reached up to pinch his nose and relieve an itch, and poked himself in the eye. Slumping onto the sofa, he felt rebel bound up beside him.

The kindly dog began to lick his tears.

“I’m okay, dog. I’m not crying I poked my eye,” he said while fondling her chest. “Don’t feel like going on a date for me, do you?”

Rebel gave a single bark and pawed his leg.

“Yeah, you’re right. I do need to get off my arse and do it myself, don’t I?” Taking a box from beneath the coffee table, Grey began to line up stacks of Battle Monster’s cards. He’d been meaning to pare them down and sell the duplicates for a while. Maybe sorting them would help calm his nerves.

Two hours to go.

Grey felt every loud tick of the clock as if a little man was hammering away in his chest. Forget butterflies; dragons were working up a maelstrom of nerves in his stomach. ‘Flowers! Need to get Flowers… Better shower — bad BO will make her run a mile… Yeah, use extra deodorant and aftershave… I’ll wear my blue suit. No – that’s too pretentious… Smart casual, nice jeans and a grey sports jacket will be better… What if she hates jeans? —’ “Oh, shut up brain!”

Ninety minutes to go.

Grey took his shower. The warm water seemed to relax him but only for a few minutes. He proceeded to change his outfit seven times. With one hour left on the clock, he settled for the jeans, white shirt, and grey sports jacket he put on first.

By then there was only just time to drive to the restaurant.

Grey drove a modest Vauxhall Zafira. Although time was running out, he kept the car moving at a steady pace. Committing vehicular manslaughter before a romantic date was never a good idea. ‘This is it! In a few minutes, you will have the best night of your life, or you’ll end up never being able to show your face again!’

Up ahead, the white and gold façade of Café Picoso came into view.

‘There it is, my place of judgement!’ Grey felt his fingers squeeze down on the steering wheel. His stomach clenched to match, and then he felt his jaw drop. She was …

The lady of many a man’s dreams was stood admiring the Mexican restaurant’s menu board. She’d promised him a pretty red dress on the dating app they met on. The satin dinner dress she was wearing was nothing short of spectacular against the sultry, flowing curls of her auburn hair.

‘Shit! She looks like a beautiful celebrity. I look like a bloody tramp!’ Grey could barely breathe as he made a left turn into the car park. ‘Too late now!’  

Alighting from the car, he averted his eyes from the young couple using the bonnet of a Jaguar in the most inappropriate way. In doing so he noticed the shopping mall was running late opening hours. ‘I can buy a new outfit … But she’s already here and waiting for me … She looks amazing. I can’t go looking like this!”

Grey took out his phone and typed out a text message, ‘I’m running late, Charlotte. I’m going to be about fifteen minutes,’ With it sent; he set off towards the mall.

The phone beeped in reply within moments.

‘So, I see.’ It read.

Grey froze. The scent of roses and jasmine wafted over him. ‘Shit!’ He thought as his heart rate matched that of an Olympic sprinter going flat out for the finish line.

“Where are you going?” asked Charlotte coming to a stop five feet behind him.

Turning to face her, he managed a shaky smile. “I … er… well. I’m er … you … Erm —” he babbled himself to silence while going red in the face. ‘Well done you, blithering idiot. You just ruined everything and you didn’t even get inside the bloody restaurant!’

Charlotte grinned looking somewhere between demure and amused, “Well, that explains a lot.”

“I’m so sorry. I saw you looking beautiful around the front and panicked. There’s a suit shop in the mall. I was going to buy a suit so I wouldn’t embarrass you.” Grey glanced at his car. ‘Might as well drive home, now. This date is over.’

Charlotte walked over to him and tilted her head to one side. She began to pace around him, visually exploring every inch of his outfit with silent fascination.

‘What is she doing?’ Grey thought as the silence stretched into infinity.

“You’ll do,” she said at last.

“I — I will?”

“Sure, I don’t expect you wear expensive suits for me,” Charlotte reached and kissed his cheek. “You look perfectly handsome.”

Grey felt his cheeks blush as the heat rose and threatened to ignite his collar. “T-Thank you. Shall we go in and order some delicious food?”

“Yes please.” Charlotte rubbed her modest belly as they walked back toward the restaurant. “I’ve been so nervous I haven’t eaten all day.”

Grey couldn’t help laughing. “Really? That makes two of us.”

“Then we need to make a promise.” Charlotte looked toward him as they reached the road.

‘Oh, boy. Now, I’m in trouble,’ Grey thought as he kept his gaze forward so as not to fall over his feet. “What promised would that be?”

“Let’s promise not to run away from each other. To not feel embarrassed and to have a lovely date.”

“Then I can do.” Grey opened the restaurant door with a dip of his head, “After you, milady.”

“Why thank you good, sir.” Charlotte simpered as she entered.

Grey gazed upon her behind for just a second. ‘Maybe, I can survive a night with this beautiful lady without making a pillock of myself after all,’ he thought as the door closed behind him on what would become a very special evening.

The End


Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection

Have a great day!

53 thoughts on “Date Time

Add yours

  1. I really liked this! And thank you for the shout-out.
    I told you that you were good enough to write about someone doing nothing for almost an entire day, and you did it splendidly. I was actually riveted and forgot all of the random bits I challenged you to add until the very end when I thought “OMG! He really did all of it!” When I was reading it, I forgot all about that conversation, all I cared about what was happening, and cheering Grey and Charlotte on.
    And for the first time, I actually peeked at the other comments – I am not the only one that got invested in it. You just need to realize that you are a writer, and you can write anything – no matter how much you are convinced you can’t. Excellently done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, so grateful you read it and overjoyed I did okay with your challenge.

      I do like to challenge myself and take challenges too. This was a big challenge having just Grey for much of the story but I did it!!.

      My readers seemed to like it and that makes me smile. Thanks again, Marla.

      Like

      1. You’re welcome! What else do you think would be “impossible?” I will challenge you to that too, and watch as you soar above your own expectations because you CAN and have the ability to.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have to think on that one. I think I have to try this one again from a 1st person view so I can do a new situation and really get inside the character. 3rd person I still don’t really get that close I don’t think.

        Thank you for believing in me. That means a lot.

        Like

      3. OK, to motivate you from thinking about doing it to doing it (because you clearly love a challenge) – write a similar story, but from first person perspective. OOOOO- this time, there’s a twist to the challenge – the same story, but written from Charlotte’s perspective.

        You’re welcome. But I only see what you’ve shown on your site. I’m not imagining your abilities, I’m just seeing them – which you’re not.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s an interesting twist. Let’s see what I can create.

        Yeah, well when your a person of low confidence to begin with and you see a story that’s your pride and joy trashed by between readers to a point that they want every word changed in the first chapter, it leaves you feeling you so your best but its probably all wrong no matter what you do. That makes it so special when I read comments like yours saying I did good. Then demon says. ‘It’s a lie! they’re just taking pity on you and your rubbish writing.’
        I really appreciate those comments though.

        Like

      5. “That’s an interesting twist. Let’s see what I can create.”

        You’ll create a Mason Masterpiece!

        “trashed by between readers to a point that they want every word changed in the first chapter”

        Give them a challenge: do better. Tell them to create their own story (they can’t use yours! Their jerks!!) and see how THEIR first chapter looks. Bet you they can’t string together two sentences on their own. The people who trash your work don’t understand your work. That’s the problem. They’re the loudest and they don’t actually know anything.

        Also, our mind focuses on the negative feedback and doubts the positive feedback. It’s just how it works. You learn that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If it’s YOUR pride and joy, that’s what matters. It’s your artistic vision (something they lack in spades) and their negativity is their attempt to make you as talentless and droll as they are.

        Your demon talks too much. It’s not even a good demon. Good demons don’t talk that much – they just do demonic things. If he’s a chatter like that, he’s not worth paying attention to, he’s starting off as a sub-par demon himself. He’s just another droll, talentless voice droning on in your ear.

        And the comments are not just from me. I have peeked through some of your comment pages when you were saying this the first time we spoke. You said some general statement as you did before where you said “readers” ripping it apart. I was curious to see what people were saying and what their “constructive criticism” was. Mason, it doesn’t exist. They’re ALL good comments from people who enjoy reading your work. The harshest comments I’ve read on your page are mine LOL

        Maybe that’s why you continue to engage with me. Everyone else says they like it, and you hear “they’re taking pity on me and my rubbish writing,” but I kick you in the pants at every turn and it’s harder to read someone telling you to knock it off as someone “taking pity”. It’s even harder to twist it into “taking pity” when they flat out say you’re good enough to do what you want to do and it’s not the audience but the author holding themselves back and to raise to the challenge that you want to put on yourself, and then basically dare you to try. Maybe that’s why you’ve actually tried? I don’t know… only you can answer that.

        But I’m telling you straight as I know how: you can write. You can write better than you think by like a million. The only one saying that your writing isn’t good enough right now is YOU. Knock it off. That demon is worthless. Writing is in your blood. Everything you write may not brilliant, but everyone misses the mark. That doesn’t mean that the writing itself is not good. It also doesn’t take away from the talent of the writer. And when you get to writing the other half of that story, I would love to get the link if you don’t mind. I wanna see you ROCK IT.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Those betas were writers from the writing community on Twitter. I had 6 of them. after publishers crushed me I CLI!bed out of my personal hades and decided to do it myself like every one else was.

        Those betas all agreed to do three chapters at a time. I got the first three back from them and merged them so I could work on all the comments together. There was nothing to work on. They even hated the titles. They didn’t leave me a single sentence they liked in 22 pages. I felt like I’d been shot.

        In 2 months that book will hopefully be published aside from punctuation and grammar it’ll be how they hated it too and that nightmare will be over.

        Since I’ve written on WP most people do seem to love what I write, I’ve been lucky and found a good collection of followers. I just have to force me to believe what they say.

        I engage with you because I feel you are a nice and genuine person. And I enjoy talking with you.

        I don’t run from Challenges, I can’t grow if I do that. I may fail them but I will at least give them my nest shot.

        I’ll send you a link for sure. Let’s see if the prompts work tomorrow! Until then have a good night!

        Like

      7. The betas weren’t you. You know the message you wanted. They may have a point about putting a semicolon in, but otherwise, it’s your vision – not theirs. And when you ask 6 people to edit anything you’re asking for 6 different opinions. NEVER MERGE IT! You’ll come away with a blank page! Didn’t they teach you that in “Opinions are like assholes 101”?

        Punctuation and grammar are easy to overlook as a reader. It’s what the person wrote that matters. I promise you that. And it’s not a nightmare – you went with what you wanted to go with. It’s going to be published. That’s a dream come true. Enjoy it.

        Believe this: people are not prone to compliments if they don’t mean them. They don’t take the time. So for every minute you spend reading a kind comment, realize it took someone an equal amount of time to write it.

        Thank you. But I still think the occasional kick in the pants helps LOL And the same applies to you – I engage because I think you are kind and genuine. Otherwise I honestly wouldn’t.

        And I know you don’t run from challenges. Sometimes the way you speak though, it seems like you know there’s a challenge but you’re hesitant to try because of that demon. But you have crushed the challenges and will continue to – especially the ones you give yourself.

        Have a good night!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yes, I ran headlong into publishing in different ways like an untrained train driver with no breaks. I deserved all the failings because I wasn’t ready and didn’t have the smarts to get what I wanted from them.

        Now, I do know bettetr and I can steer my train to success and thats what matters.

        Yup, we need those kicks in the pants. We can’t learn without them.

        You’re right demon tells me I’ll fail if I take a challenge and so I have to fight that before I can try.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. You didn’t “deserve” the failings. You just needed them in that moment to learn so you can succeed.

        I can’t help it. When you wrote you learned how to drive your train, I clapped and celebrated for you.

        Everyone needs a kick in the pants to try something challenging. You’re one of the lucky few who learned how to battle their demon enough to try.

        Everything in this comment you wrote highlights your strengths. You recognize you have them. That demon will block you every time you recognize it. Tell him to F off. Everyone has their very own. You just have to figure out how to fight it. I like this song by a self-made rapper Tom MacDonald:

        Kinda says it all

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Through demon and bad experience I grow. Through every battle lost I learn.
        Through fight and perseverance I rise above. only then can I succeed where life wants me to fail.

        Thank you for clapping! my friends kept me in the game and through that I had to keep fighting!

        Like

      11. “Through demon and bad experience I grow. Through every battle lost I learn.
        Through fight and perseverance I rise above. only then can I succeed where life wants me to fail.”

        This should be a motivational quote!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. BTW: I have tried about 10 times. I simply cannot get your primary page to load – it just keeps timing out. You said there was something else that you wanted me to read. Do you mind sending me the link? Apparently, I have no issues opening direct links, but main pages are just too much for my internet to handle. I’m sorry for any annoyance this causes if you chose to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well you stop taking the blame for EVERYTHING. My hot-spot SUCKS. It’s the hot-spot’s fault. I can barely load my admin pages. It has nothing to do with you. However, if there’s something specific that you would like me to read, if it’s not too much of a pain in the a….arse, please just send me the link via comments or email, ok?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Of course, I love reading your work!

        I was trying to figure out how to make WP load better on low-bandwidth for myself, but all of the information is how to change your homepage to make it load faster for others. Just Google “low bandwidth wordpress”

        Like

      3. If it helps anyone I’m happy to do it so long as its possible anyway! I mean I’m not very good at website building. If I have to code anything I have no chance!

        Like

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